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Mutants On Parade 6/25/09
by Lance Norris

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Still more waiting; starting to think it's never going to happen, so you have to find ways to fill the time and take your mind off the looming failure. It's moments like these that you can really start to feel like Rupert Pupkin. I'm sure, somewhere in his mind he really did think Jerry invited him up for the weekend, just like I know these people really want to make my movie... but where have they gone?

Needless to say, rather than hang out with Sandra Bernhart, I was watching a lot of movies, but that has only left to me getting pissed off at Netflix.

They sent me a broken DVD. Hey, things happen and over-all I've been happy with the 'Netflix experience', but I had to mail the cracked disc back to them and wait until they received it before they would mail out a replacement disc; like I was a part of some international scam to get two copies of the same movie at the same time.

Lack of logic being my natural enemy, I cancelled my Netflix account. Actually, that is not true. I have to wait until the 14th of next month to cancel because they don't give refunds for partial month's use. So I have a couple of weeks to figure out how better to spend my movie entertainment money.

On Sunday we stopped by Blockbuster to get a kid's movie. They wanted to set-up a movie theatre at home for Father's Day, so we rented MADAGASCAR II. The ironically cheerful Goth-chick behind the counter told me that for ten bucks I could rent unlimited movies and games for the week. I said sure, giggling to myself because they had no idea what they were in for.

The deal was, you could take out as many movies as you wanted for that ten bucks, but you could only take them out one at a time. Here's my whirlwind tour of catching up on stuff I
missed so far.

Sunday: MADAGASCAR II - Wasn't as painful to watch as I feared and the kids all stayed engaged with it. No easy takes to find a movie for 10,6 and 3 years-old. Just one question, why are both of Ben Stiller's birth parents black in the film? Just asking.

TAKEN - Luc Besson writes the best, dumb scripts in the world. Liam Neeson is a tad long in the tooth for the action hero stuff, but at least they didn't give him a nubile love interest. The only thing that would have made the movie better is if he hadn't saved his daughter just in the nick of time. Wasn't THE SEARCHERS so much better because Natalie Wood had been raped silly by the injuns and we didn't know until the last second how John Wayne would react when he found her?

88 MINUTES - Al Pacino needs to stop making movies. How could such a weak script actually get made? Gary Scott Thompson, the screenwriter, can't be blamed. He wrote THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS and HOLLOW MAN and is obviously retarded. Jon Avnet hasn't directed a good movie since... well, ever. Pacino just seems content to shovel more dung on his reputation as an actor with each passing year. Leelee Sobieski needs to stop looking like Helen Hunt and start taking acting classes. And Lawrence Bender is, well, Lawrence Bender. That, being Tarentino's towel boy and this poor excuse for a thriller are crosses that he must bare

FRIDAY THE 13th: THE KILLER CUT - A 'reboot' for the series, like it needed it. I only rented this one because my wife wanted to see it. They claim to have amped it up for a new generation of horror fans, but I found it pretty pedestrian. I haven't see the original in a long, long time, so I could be looking back too fondly; but I remember that one scaring the
crap out of me. No surprises here. The killer showed up every time and place you'd figure he would and the violence wasn't extreme. Tip of the hat to director Marcus Nispel for killing the black character that fought against all racial stereotypes on a woodpile, but I doubt Nispel even got the reference.

Monday: BAGHEAD - This is the reason all of Hollywood should kiss the screenwriter's ass. Without a script you have BAGHEAD, a bunch of unlikable, predictable characters running around the woods saying 'No I didn't.', 'Yes you did', 'No I didn't'.

CHOKE - I watched this because I'm a Sam Rockwell fan, but come on. It's like first (and maybe last) time director Clark Gregg jut gave up on whatever he was trying to say about two thirds of the way through the film. What was up with the stone house? Why wasn't that resolved? And what was up with Kelly Macdonald? The stone house had a more believable emotional range.

HANCOCK - All I can say is I am shock that I enjoyed this movie. I avoided it like the plague. Wrote it off like more of that maudlin, message crap that I can only guess Jadda Picket forces Will Smith to make, but Hancock was actually good. Of course, I watch the uncut version, not the theatrical release. I'm sure there was more message and less black man on Nordic woman sexual tension in the version you might have caught in the mall.

Tuesday: THE CODE - A Morgan Freeman/Antonio Banderas cookie cutter heist flick by milquetoast director Mimi Leder that tries to get too cute at the end and falls apart. The movie really only had two things going for it; Morgan Freeman is in it, but doesn't narrate the story and Radha Mitchell gets half nude with an aging Banderas. Unfortunately the story was about
as worn out as Banderas looks. No big surprise that this movie never made it to the big screen.

THE PINK PANTHER 2 - Steve Martin, Jean Reno, Andy Garcia, Alfred Molina, John Cleese, Lilly Tomlin, Jeremy Irons, Johnny Hallyday, ok; we know they spent most of their conservatively estimated $80 million budget on actors, but couldn't they have cut, say; Hallyday and hired a funny writer or two; or at least a better director than former A-Ha towel boy Harald Zwart? My oldest son fell asleep and the other two ran off to play before the film was 1/3 of the way over. No surprise there.



Wednesday: THE ROCKER - which was a huge mistake. Not just by me for renting it, but for Rainn Wilson for making it. He's got the disease that modern science knows as Jack Blackitist. He's a great supporting acting, but he's not leading man material and can not carry a movie. (Just look at YEAR ONE if you need proof. Black let's Michael "Rollie Pollie Ollie" Cera steal that movie from him) I wanted to rent something else to wash the bad taste out of my brain but I had to go see a dress rehearsal of a production of Much Ado About Nothing down on the Cape, so that cut into my movie time.

Thursday: Today I hope to get in at least one more before driving out to the western part of the state for a production Henry IV Part One.

Friday I have rehearsal for a short film I'm acting in, but hope to squeeze in a couple more movies, and Saturday, the day my week long rental orgy ends, I have to be on set all day, but I'll pick up one more, maybe something by Alec Guinness to remind me why I act, on the way home from what, I'm sure, will be a long day of shooting.

So, what have a learned? I have too much time on my hands.

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Ask a Bitter Man
Every Thursday

Lance Norris gives us his opinions on the state of film, vents about Hollywood, and generally lets his thoughts fly.


Other Columns
Other columns by Lance Norris:

Later On Croutons

Mutants On Parade 11/12/09

Mutants On Parade 11/5/09

Mutants On Parade 10/29/09

Mutants On Parade 10/21/09

All Columns


Lance Norris
Lance Norris, dubbed "Boston's only straight Film Critic" reviews movies for WZLX in Boston.

He has two books entitled Ask A Bitter Man: The Best of 1984 - 1999 Vol. 1 and I've Seen Better Film On The Teeth of Wolverines. which you can buy here


Contact
If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Lance Norris by clicking here.


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