Mr. Cellophane

In a location adjacent to a place in a city of some significance, what comes out of my head is plastered on the walls of this blog.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

At work today, the song "Physical" by Olivia Newton-John came on. This woman in line started singing it (knowing only the chorus; if you don't know the whole song, why embarrass yourself?). She was with a little boy. I presume it was her son. She started singing the song to her maybe-son. I couldn't wait to be rid of her. She thought I didn't want to be at work (early on a Saturday, yes, but not the point), while all I could think about was a) the sicko pervert who just sang a song to a little boy about fucking (it's not that hard to get the message) and b) how astronomical that boy's therapy bills will be in the years to come.

It's like a guy singing Robert Palmer's "Simply Irresistible" to his fiancee. I mean, why serenade your soon-to-be-wife with a tune about prostitutes and the purchase of said prostitutes?! (Listen to the song again: 'She's so fine there's no telling where the money went'/'She's so fine there's no other way to go'? Tell me I'm wrong.) Now that I think about it, this would've been a much better title for that Richard Gere/Julia Roberts movie. Leave Roy Orbison's song alone.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"He was dead...but he got better."

Hitman Chev Chelios survived a Chinese cocktail and falling from a helicopter, only to get scraped off of the pavement and have his heart stolen and replaced by one that requires electricity to keep it pumping. (Does this guy have the worst freaking luck or what?) Such is the plot of Crank: High Voltage, one of the most batshit crazy sequels this side of Gremlins 2.

Among this film's highlights: Chev and girlfriend Eve screwing on a horse track, Corey Haim looking like he scalped Dog the Bounty Hunter, Bai Ling as a walking Asian stereotype, a Godzilla-style fight that makes Chev look like a puppet from that old show "Spitting Image" (Google it), the late David Carradine as a horny, 100-year-old mobster, Lauren Holly as a vomiting psychiatrist and Chev taking on Spanish thugs while on fire.

If anything in the previous paragraph intrigues - or, at the very least, doesn't offend - you, you might enjoy this film, or, like me, sit besumed at the insanity unfolding before you. Ably matching the nuttiness of the film is the score by Faith No More's Mike Patton.

The score is based on a deceptively simple main theme of ascending and descending three-note scales. "Chelios" presents the longest permutation of the theme; a maddeningly catchy melody over staccato electric guitar riffs.

The main theme, which quickly grows on you, also figures into "Tourettes Romance" (far-off sampled vocals), the spaghetti westernesque "El Huron" (accordion giving way to oompah music), "Hallucination" (shakahuchi), "Chevzilla" (feedback over synth tympani), "Pixelvision" (detuned piano over Jew's harp with a side of sampled video game sounds), "Verona" (far-off harmonica) and "Noticias" (70s-style flute over xylophone).

Even in tracks not utilizing the main theme, Patton proves to be a talent with atmosphere, as with the strumming guitar and percussion of "Organ Donor" and the Orientalisms of "Triad Limo" and "Massage Parlor". "Chocolate Theme" seems like it could've escaped from a 70s porno, with its funkier-than-thou guitar, vocals and bass.

It's a credit to Patton that the score maintains interest, even in moments that might chase away most film score fans, such as the feedback-heavy "Tourettes Breakdance", the thrashing "Chickenscratch" and "Shock and Shootout" and the rock-infused "Juice Me", "Supercharged" and "Car Park Throwdown".

Granted, the film doesn't have a traditional, into-the-sunset ending, but the last couple of tracks ("Friction" and "Epiphany") strike me as somber. The former features tolling bells and what sounds like rustling leaves, while the latter is downright funereal with its organ work and anguished female vocal.

The songs on this are more entertaining than I would've expected. "Sweet Cream" is distinguished by (sampled?) organ riffs, a wailing female voice and various voice synthesizers inquiring "What the hell are you talking about?". "Kickin'" starts with the main theme before settling into a thrashing rock tune.

Given how terrific this score turned out, it's kind of disappointing that Neveldine/Taylor didn't procure Patton's services for Gamer. The score wasn't terribly noticeable in the film, but, from what I'm read online, Gamer's score, on its own, basically sucks shit through a straw.

For those who loved the main theme or just want a remnant to prove that what they saw actually happened, Patton's score is well-worth the purchase.

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Henry Gibson (1935-2009)

And still, the parade matches on...

Gibson's passing is yet another reminder of how shamefully little I've watched of "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In". I caught some of it during the 1990s when it aired on Nick-at-Nite. Even more, I knew him as a co-star in two of my favorite comedies: as a college student in The Nutty Professor and especially as Dr. Klopek in The 'burbs.

It goes without saying that he will be missed.

(P.S. I only just learned that 'Henry Gibson' was a stage name; a pun on the name of famous writer Henrik Ibsen. I have to say, that's pretty amusing.)


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Random thoughts.

- Caught the opening of the MTV Video Music Awards. Madonna's tribute to Michael Jackson was quite lovely and the staging of his various songs was well-accomplished. I didn't stay around for the rest of the show (I'm more of - or, at least, I was - a Movie Awards fan), but of course I heard about Kanye West charging the stage proclaiming that Beyonce deserved an award more than Taylor Swift. Honestly, did that "South Park" episode teach him fucking nothing?! He might've apologized on Leno, but if I were Carlos Mencia, I'd watch my back, lest I end up with fishsticks jammed into my open neckhole.

- Last week, I ate at Red Lobster for the very first time. Now, I question why I haven't done so more often. If you have the means, I highly recommend the Wood-Grilled Chicken (with wild rice) and Hand-Breaded Shrimp.

- Patrick Swayze succumbed to pancreatic cancer yesterday. More than anything, he had a truly impressive run in the late 80s-early 90s. Dirty Dancing, Road House, Ghost and Point Break. As someone at Ain't It Cool News put it, 'Now who's going to tell Baby that no one puts her in a corner?'. He will be missed.

- In the season opener, the Buffalo Bills were defeated by the New England Patriots. In other news, mixing yellow with blue can make the color green. And the damnable thing of it? It was a last-second play that snatched the victory from the Bills. They haven't beaten the Pats since I started my customer service job. Moments like this sometimes make me think that the Bills are cursed.

- Apparently, David Newman scored "Scooby-Doo: the Mystery Begins". To me, this is less 'how could he do a project like this?' than it is 'how could this low-budget production afford him?'. I imagine it was a favor to producer/director Brian Levant (Newman has scored the majority of his theatrical features).

- "The Marvel Super Hero Squad" premiered last night. At first glance, one could get the sense that it's trying to do for Marvel characters what "Batman: the Brave and the Bold" is doing for DC characters...but with far more distractingly cartoony designs. I'm giving it a shot because the supervising director is "Angry Beavers" creator Mitch Schauer. Looks like the Doug Langdale rule is in play: the shows a person creates are far more entertaining than the shows on which they're hired help. Still, what little I've seen definitely outclasses "Glenn Martin, DDS", "The Goode Family" and "DJ and the Fro". That's good enough for me.

- I went to the movies today. I figured that Sorority Row and Gamer would make for a cheesetastic double feature...and I was right. The characters of Sorority Row are whiny, slutty, conniving bitches...and yet, the actresses manage to make them somewhat endearing. Strange. Also, I must say that I jumped quite a few times. Not a great thriller, but it'd make a fun watch on DVD. Also, Carrie Fisher is a stitch as the house mother. Lucian Piane's score wasn't a match for Richard Band's, as I thought, but it does hint at a promising talent. Gamer sees Neveldine/Taylor trying to balance the unabashed goofiness of their Crank movies with a more serious storyline. It doesn't always work, but the game cast does well (high marks go to Terry Crews; really, I heard about his song moment in a review, but who could've expected it?).


Sunday, September 06, 2009

Fall movie preview.

This will tend to happen when I get bored.


Gamer - The creators of Crank doing a movie about people in real-life video games? What took 'em so damned long? Gerard Butler faces off against Michael C. Hall and his goofy Southern accent. Can't wait.

Extract - Uneven Mike Judge comedy about the tribulations of extract plant owner Jason Bateman. There are some amusing moments (thanks mainly to Ben Affleck and the Simmonses - J.K. and Gene)...but a good many of the characters are more obnoxiously thick-witted than in the entirety of Idiocracy (Beth Grant's character, in particular, was more murderously annoying than she ever was funny). Still, I liked it far more than Pink Panther 2 and Year One, and that counts for a lot. George S. Clinton's score was very low-key and (perhaps, accidentally) reminiscient of John Frizzell's work on Office Space.

All About Steve - Sandra Bullock is missing a few bricks from her building as she signs up for yet another formulaic rom-com. Or is that her character who stalks Bradley Cooper? Who's to say?

9* - This animated film looks incredible, but I'm still not quite amped up to see it.

I Can Do Bad All by Myself - Tyler Perry's latest. I have nothing else to say.

Sorority Row - Very loosely based on The House on Sorority Row. This one seems to be taking its cues from the I Know What You Did... series. It goes without saying that the music will be nowhere near as gorgeous as in the original film. Still, the film looks fun in a goofy way, and the bit at the end of the trailer with Carrie Fisher cracks me up.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - The impressive voice cast. The fact that the creators of "Clone High" are adapting it. Either one of these aspects would be enough for me to want to see it.

Jennifer's Body - This film looks pretty entertaining. I'm still not very keen on Megan Fox, though.

The Informant! - Soderbergh in fun mode for this 'true story of a tattle-tale'. And check out the most whimsical casting this side of The Dark Knight: The Kurgan, Dr. Sam Beckett, Buster Bluth, Biff Tannen, the host of "The Soup" and the voices of "Invader Zim" and Fred Jones.

Love Happens - The film looks okay, if not exactly my thing. The title, however, screams 'parody of these kinds of movies'.

Surrogates - It's the future and, as opposed to leaving their homes, everyone does things through robots (surrogates)...kind of like the internet. When surrogates start getting killed, along with their operators, someone's gonna have to get off their ass to investigate. You'd think I'd be pumped to see this, but...I'm not quite feeling it.

Whiteout - Adaptation of a graphic novel about a female U.S. Marshal pursuing a killer in Antarctica. Kate Beckinsale fills the Ashley Judd/Diane Lane role.

Fame - Frasier, Lillith and Roc help a new generation of kids to live forever...and possibly, light up the sky like a flame.

Pandorum - Apparently, it's Resident Evil meets Event Horizon. Looks okay.

The Invention of Lying - Very amusing trailer as Ricky Gervais discovers lying in a world where everyone tells the truth.


A Serious Man - Amusing trailer for the Coens' latest, but I really hope this one doesn't fly off the rails the way Burn After Reading did.

Zombieland - Funniest trailer I've seen all year. Forget what I said in the 'summer movie preview' post.

Couples Retreat - Some funny guys (Jason Bateman, Vince Vaughn, Faizon Love, Jon Favreau) and cute ladies (Kristen Bell, Malin Akerman, Kristin Davis) in a romantic comedy from director Peter Billingsley. Music by recent Oscar-winner A.R. Rahman.

Whip It! - Ellen Page is a bright young girl who joins a roller derby team in the 1980s. Nice trailer. The film also stars Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig, Drew Barrymore (making her directing debut) and Daniel Stern?! Welcome back, JAFO. (Note: Page decided to make this film instead of Drag Me to Hell. Comparing how the two trailers made me feel, she made the smart choice.)

Where the Wild Things Are - This adaptation of the classic book has a very enchanting trailer. Spike Jonze doing a family movie? Who saw that coming? And I just know that Carter Burwell's score (co-composed with someone named Karen O) will be fantastic.

The Stepfather - This remake of the 1987 thriller looks far more entertaining than the awful Prom Night remake which had the same writer-director team.

Law-Abiding Citizen - After a plea bargain is struck that frees one of the murderers of a woman and her daughter, the bereaved father (Gerard Butler) singles out the trial's DA (Jamie Foxx) and, generally, fucks everyone's shit up. This was to be released in the spring, but here it is in October. Having read the script, I can't wait. It seems like a hoot, and should play quite well with a Brian Tyler score.

Astro Boy - The classic anime character gets a CG makeover. Looks good, but two things: a) the villain looks remarkably like the bad guy from the Bolt TV series and b) "I have machine my butt." - weirdest line I've heard all year.

Saw VI - ...Jigsaw Lives!. Hey, it was either this or ...City Under Siege, and I can do better than a Police Academy reference.

Amelia - Hilary Swank as famed pilot Miss Earhart. I wonder if the fact that everyone knows how it ends will hurt the film's success.

Cirque du Freak: the Vampire's Assistant - A young boy becomes a vampire and joins a circus's cadre of oddities. The trailer was far more engaging than I could've expected.

Youth in Revolt - Michael Cera (who is due penance for Year One) is a guy who falls head over heels for a girl. Then (at least, according to the trailer), it takes a left turn toward that "Married...with Children" episode when Bud was visited by his cool alter-ego. Good cast, mildly amusing trailer...but I don't think I'll be seeing it. If I had to pay to see a movie with an ending like the one mentioned here, I'd seriously have to grab a sledgehammer and Gallagher somebody's nards.


A Christmas Carol - Yet another motion capture film from Robert Zemeckis (seriously, what the hell?). Jim Carrey (bearing an extraordinary reference to Count Olaf) plays Scrooge. Looks good (and the Silvestri score should be terrific), but the candle serving as the Ghost of Christmas Past strikes me as...a little gay (I don't care if it's a remnant of Dickens' novel). Give me David Johansen...or Jiminy Cricket.

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire - 'Academy Award nominee Mo'Nique'? A weird prospect, to be sure, but such is the impression left by this drama of a young girl and her harrowing life. Mo'Nique is the girl's monstrous mother.

Pirate Radio - Formerly known as The Boat that Rocked. Just mentally cut-and-paste what I said about the film in my summer movie preview post. November does seem a better time to open this, for some reason.

The Box - A classic Richard Matheson story adapted by a guy who thought that what his last film really needed was a scene of two SUVs copulating. (I swear to God, I wish I was kidding.) Proceed with caution.

2012 - Roland Emmerich destroys the world...again. Still, incredible cast (John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Oliver Platt, Danny Glover, Amanda Peet, Thandie Newton, George Segal).

Fantastic Mr. Fox - Stop-motion feature based on a Roald Dahl book, but the trailer very much makes it seem like a Wes Anderson original. Pay attention to the camera set-ups and rhythm of the dialogue and tell me I'm wrong.

Twilight: New Moon - Hey, if you saw the first one, you don't need me to tell you what it's about.

Planet 51 - An astronaut lands on a planet of aliens, where he's seen as the invader. The second trailer played better (for me) than the first one, but this seems like it'd be best for kids.

Old Dogs - Someone (I can't remember where) totally called it when they compared the trailer of this film to those fake Rob Schenider trailers on "South Park". That pretty much says it all.

Ninja Assassin - Stylish martial arts actioner from the director of V for Vendetta.

Nine* - More musical shenanigans from the director of Chicago, starring no less than six Oscar-winners. Talk about stacking the deck.


Armored - This would've been so perfect in September. Still, I'm looking foward to this thriller about an armored car robbery by a group of guards.

The Princess and the Frog - Disney returns to traditional animation with this adaptation of the fable.

Invictus - Clint Eastwood directs Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela. Finally, someone else acknowledges the resemblance!

Brothers - Speaking of resemblances, Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal are the titular siblings in the back-from-the-Middle-East drama.

The Lovely Bones - A young girl observes from beyond as her family mourns her rape/murder. Peter Jackson revisits Heavenly Creatures territory, replete with lush, CGI-created fantasy worlds. Not really my thing, but a perfect scoring opportunity for Howard Shore (as would be the pushed-back Shutter Island).

Everybody's Fine - Robert DeNiro does About Schmidt. Looks pretty charming.

Did You Hear About the Morgans? - A long way from Extreme Measures, Hugh Grant and Sarah Jessica Parker are a socialite couple forced to hide out in Middle America after witnessing a murder.

Avatar - It's nice that James Cameron is back to narrative filmmaking, but the trailer, no matter how impressive it looked in 3-D, left me feeling...nothing.

It's Complicated - A love triangle between Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin.

Sherlock Holmes - Robert Downey, Jr. as Holmes, Jude Law as Watson. Awesome trailer. Can't wait.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: the Squeakquel - My Name is Earl is back, and he brought along Chuck. (I guess when NBC screws you over, these are the choices you're forced to make.) The teaser was amusing, though.

* - I can just see the following situation occurring at a rental place next year:

"Excuse me. Do you have 9?"
"Yes. Right that way."
"This is Nine. I wanted 9!"
"Get the fuck out of my store."


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Disney buys Marvel for four beeeeeeellion dollars!


I wouldn't be much of a blogger if I didn't say something about this...but then, I'm not much of a blogger already, so what can you do?

What this will mean for either company, I couldn't tell you at gunpoint. Still, I'm quite tickled by the fanart that has erupted as a result.

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