Most Anticipated Fall Movies

John pressured me into this.  Revolutionary Road is probably list-worthy, but I can’t say I know anything about it outside of that trailer.

10. The Soloist/Australia

These movies have Oscar bait written all over them.  The Soloist has Robert Downey Jr, Jamie Foxx, retard musicians, the whole shebang.  Austrailia has that weird war thing going on and it’s all romantic and shit.  Plus, they used real Australian actors!  The trailers haven’t left me that impressed, but let’s face it, we’re gonna see these movies.

9. Quantum of Solace
Casino Royale was an interesting bastardization of the 007 series that turned out to be an acceptable action flick (with the worst torture sequence in the history of cinema).  This new film picks up moments after the last and promises lots of gritty action, I guess.  And Bond walking around in the desert with a machine gun.  The odds are stacked against Quantum of Solace, what with it having the stupidest title I’ve ever heard, but maybe a glimmer of hope remains.

8. Body of Lies
I like Ridley Scott, Russel Crowe, and Leo DiCaprio.  Ridley Scott also seems to really like Russel Crowe too, but that’s beside the point.  This film looks pretty intriguing, mostly because it seems like Crowe put on a lot of weight for the roll.  That always is a good sign.  We’ll find out soon if it was worth the weight, this one comes out in just a couple weeks.

7. Synecdoche, New York

Charlie Kaufman, what an interesting writer.  With Being John Malkovich, Adaptation and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, he has created some of the most interesting cinematic 
works in recent memory.  Now Kaufman is stepping behind the camera and directing this latest feature.  It stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman, so with these two Synecdoche, New York is guaranteed to at least be interesting.

6. The Brothers Bloom

Bloom is a lucky name 
in film.  This film goes as far as to put it in the title, so you know it must be good.  The Brothers Bloom has plenty of positive hype behind it, not to mention a solid cast, that I’m anxious to see it.  Plus, con movies are inherently fun.  They just are, I don’t know why.  Even Ocean’s Twelve.

5. Zack and Miri Make a Porno
We can’t get enough of Seth Rogen.  Let’s just face that.  Plus, everyone wants Kevin Smith to make a good movie again.  It looks like he might have achieved something with Zack and Miri, the trailer’s charming.  This is another film with a lot of good buzz sorrounding it, I can’t wait to check it out.

4. The Road
Cormac McCarthy = money in the wake of No Country for Old Men, but it looks like this film has more going for it than the author gimmick.  Plus, Viggo Mortenson doesn’t mess around, that dude makes good movies.  The film promises to be shocking, disturbing and a great Thanksgiving dessert.

3. Milk
Gus Van Sant brings us the story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected in California.  The film pairs Sean Penn and Emile Hirsch again, and brings James Franco and Josh Brolin into the mix.  The trailer looks great and think movie will be as powerful as it is entertaining.

2. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
It’s getting closer!  We all saw that freaky trailer at some point, and we all know this film is going to kick ass.  I feel like I don’t even need to explain why.

1. W.

Who better than Oliver Stone to tell the story of the worst president ever?  Especially in a heated political season, right around the election.  Stone has a great cast, props especially for picking Richard Dreyfus as Cheney.  The trailer’s good, the posters are funny, it’s gonna be great.  I mean seriously, look at that poster.  “A life misunderestimated?”  That’s awesome!

R.I.P. Paul Newman

Paul Newman

Of all the obituaries I’ve done, which is at this point is a lot, this has to be the most crushing and saddening one yet. We all heard that screen legend Paul Newman had been ill lately, but for some reason I just didn’t want to accpet the fact that Paul Newman would die. Diagnosed with lung cancer last June, Paul Newman had been facing health concerns ever since he’d stepped down from his stage directing debut, a production of Of Mice and Men last May.

Passing away yesterday at his home, Paul Newman left behind a fantastic body of work including films such as; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Hustler, Hud, Cool Hand Luke, my personal favorite Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Sting, Slap Shot, Absence of Malice, his oscar winning role in The Color of Money, Nobody’ Fool, Road to Perdition and many, many more. With his notable silver hair accompanied by the most famous blue eyes in film and trademark charm Paul Newman continually won over the hearts of filmgoers throughout a legendary film career.

Possibly known almost as much for hisNewman’s Own food company (Which donates all of it’s profits to charity and will know be run by his daughter Nell) for his acting, it’s kind of a reassuring thought that Paul Newman can not only live on through his films but as well on our local gorcery shelves and in our kitchens continually reminding us of his contributions to society. It’s sad to see him go but he certainly left quite a mark because there was only one Paul Newman.

Chew Carefully


From the pages of Chuck Palahniuk’s gritty 2001 novel right to the silver screen we have Writer/Director/Actor Clark Gregg’s directorial debut with the dark sex comedy Choke starring who else but oddball character actor Sam Rockwell.

With an idea concocted from the man who found success with the infamously popular novel Fight Club, of course followed by the cult favorite film. I wouldn’t be surprised if many “Palahniacs” had some pretty high expectations for this latest adaptation, despite the fact that popular books are so very rarely surpassed by their cinematic counterparts. So I can understand how some fans have already given this is a lukewarm reception, but if your one of those few who have the ability to judge without comparison to the source material, then this indie flick just might be worth your time… That is if you like dirty, explicit, and off-the-wall dark comedies.

Now I’ve never read any of Palahniuk’s novels, nor did I care for the 1999 movie Fight Club so for starters I think that gives me a fairly unbiased point of view. I wont be sitting there telling the guy next to me “That’s not how they did it in the book” or “I wish they’d done this more like the Fight Club movie” so I went in with a pretty open mind. “What motivated you to see it?” you may ask, well I’d probably say it was due to my soft spot for Sam Rockwell who truly is the driving force of this film.

So Rockwell plays Victor Mancini, a pathetic and sarcastic sex addict that basically any average slob could sympathize with. Working as a “Historical Interpreter”, Victor supports his mother’s (Anjelica Huston) pricey hospital bills by conning rich folks… How does he do that? By “choking” of course in fancy restaurants. Yes he purposely chokes on his food, waiting for a wealthy looking person to save him and then afterwards send his savior a “thank you” letter that just happens to mention some of his troubles regarding supposed medical expenses. Thus out of sympathy and pity these people send him money. Kind of tough to explain and maybe even “hard to swallow?” but it’s actually a funny and unique concept and Victor actually makes for a fairly interesting character. Though his world couldn’t be complete without being surrounded by some equally strange characters in Victor’s pervert best friend Denny (Brad William Henke), Denny’s stripper girlfriend and Victor’s love interest played by Kelly Macdonald.

Choke maybe mostly a dark sex comedy with all it’s dirty jokes and racy sequences but I think there’s some nice drama going on here too. Victor’s troubled relationship with his mentally ill mother gives this greasy film a heart and some of the numerous flashbacks with Victor and his mother are actually kind of sweet, though they are surprisingly numerous. I like that this film tries to keep balanced and even though it didn’t always grab me it was definitely a noble effort.

My main problem with Choke came near the end of the film. Where the first half the story travels a steady pattern, revealing plot points with a nice comic flow, the film begins to feel clunky in the last 10 or so minutes. Were suddenly hit with a whole slew of facts and twists and frankly too much info. Now this may of worked if the film was a little longer, you could of spread that stuff out, but it’s tough to get the impact of a 293 page novel in 89 minutes. It was a respectable attempt especially for a first time filmmaker, but perhaps it wasn’t quite meant to be, at least not yet.

So I can only assume that “Palahniacs” as I like to call them will be disappointed. I guess if we can learn anything from this experience it’s that you should always read the book after you see the movie. You don’t want to go in with too lofty of expectations, I mean that’s the main reason I couldn’t enjoy The Prestige I liked the book too much thus felt biased against the film’s differing decisions. It be a tough mistress in the world of adapted screenplays.

P.S. While watching the movie Peter opened a bag of M&M’s and it exploded all over the theater and the audience was like “Ahh man” but I think they sympathized. It looked embarrasing but it was pretty hilarious.

Post-Music Bullet Points: "Another Way to Die"

I’m damn late on this post, but I thought I’d take some time and discuss my thoughts regarding that new James Bond theme Following a long line of other notable themes such as “Goldfinger” and “Diamonds are Forever” both sung by Shirley Bassey, “Thunderball” sung by Tom Jones, “A View To A Kill” by Duran Duran, “You Know My Name” by Chris Cornell, the awesome “Live and Let Die” by Paul McCartney and others. So like most I was pretty surprised when I heard the theme was recorded and performed by Jack White and Alicia Keys. I have no idea what audience that appeals to, so also like most I found the final product a dissapointment.

* Who partnered these two people together?
* What’s with that crappy drum machine, sounds like a demo.
* There’s no way Alicia Keys had anything to do with writing this song.
* Why is this so slow?
* This is kind of long, no way they’ll play the whole thing.
* Will they make a stupid music video of this, you know with clips from the movie?
* At least I like the brass, that’s a nice touch.
* I wish they’d gone with Muse performing the theme like they’d originally planned, at least they’re British.
* Did you know Jack White plays the drums in this? He’s not half bad.
* Sorry I could only link you to some guy’s crappy YouTube video of the song. I bet that’ll probably be taken down.
* I just realized I’m doing this using asterix’s, if someone wants to fix that be my guest.
* I should’ve written about the Thursday Night NBC premieres instead, they were pretty good.
* Can you believe 30 Rock doesn’t come back until October 30th?

There you go, half assed but true to myself until than have a pleasant tomorrow, Otteni out.

Slackers Unite!

Slacker Uprising

Michael Moore made history again with his latest film, Slacker Uprising.  He released it as a free download on the web and iTunes.  Which is pretty cool.  A completely free Michael Moore movie.  But is it worth the bandwith, or is this just a gimmick to pass off a lackluster documentary?
A little of both, actually.  Slacker Uprising tells Moore’s campaign in 2004 to encourage the youth vote.  He tours colleges in battleground states, resulting in an historicly high number of youth voters that November.  This film is unabashidly for the fans, Moore’s not going to win over any haters.  But that’s the point, this is an optimistic movie, trying to rebuild everyone’s faith in the election, democracy, and America.
Slacker Uprising is not a fair and balanced look at the 2004 election.  Bush is clearly villified and Republicans aren’t treated as the most intelligent people.  On the other hand, democrats are noble and patriotic.  Plus they have Steve Earle, Eddie Vedder, Tom Morello, REM, Joan Baez, Viggo Mortensen, and Roseanne Barr on their side.
This film could easily have been depressing, but as Moore says, they don’t win until we give up. Through the nationalism of college students, celebrities and Moore himself, viewers are left enthusiatic about the posibility of change.  And with the election mere weeks away, its important to keep that hope alive.

The Words to Transpire

Kings of Leon – Only by the Night

The Kings are back just over a year since their last album, Because of the Times, with another release.  According to Peter, Nathan Followill beat up his brother Caleb at some point in time.  While Caleb was recovering, he took painkillers which inspired him to write what he calls some of his best songs.  Knowing that and having enjoyed the songs I had heard, I came into Only by the Night anticipating quite a lot.
This album rocks a lot harder than Because of the Times, with a huge sound and lots of catchy riffs.  The band deliver a big, stadium-filling feel to it.  But it has the same problem that their last album did, it starts out really strongly, but can’t deliver a proper climax.
The first half of Only by the Night is incredible.  “Closer” starts things off really well.  “Crawl” rocks your socks off.  “Sex on Fire” is really catchy.  “Use Somebody” evokes the ’80s power ballad.  After that, it gradually goes downhill in quality.  “Manhattan,” “Revelry,” “17,” they’re all fine tracks, just not as strong as the first few.
With Only by the Night the Kings of Leon have put together another strong release.  One of 2008’s best.  If they were able to achieve so much in just over a year, I can’t wait to see what they can do next, hopefully when they spend a little more time on an album.
Favorite Tracks: “Closer,” “Crawl,” “Sex on Fire”