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.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Catching up on obituaries.

Morbid way to get a post in before the weekend, I know, but a lot of people I admire have been leaving us this month.

Kevin McCarthy (11th) - Whether as Dr. Bennell in the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers or as a presence in any number of Joe Dante films, it was always nice to see him.

Harold Gould (11th) - Very funny as the head of Engulf and Devour in Mel Brooks's Silent Movie. Also, the best thing about Master of Disguise as the cantankerous Grandpa Disguisey.

Jackie Burroughs (22nd) - Most famous to me as the voice of the evil spellbook in The Care Bears Movie and as Willard's mother in the underrated Willard remake.

Gloria Stuart (26th) - I've never seen Titanic and I'm not really that familiar with her work prior to it, but the fact that she made it to 100 deserves respect.

Sally Menke (28th) - Worked movie magic as Tarantino's editor. The car crash scene in Death Proof stands out for me.

Arthur Penn (28th) - Director of a number of movies I should probably see, principally Bonnie and Clyde. Okay, I've seen The Miracle Worker, but it was so long ago.

Greg Giraldo (29th) - Provided some great zingers for Comedy Central's roasts.

They will all be missed.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

The hub of October reviews.

Because I'm bored, I'm posting this handy listing of reviews I've written for October over the last few years. The next review appears on Saturday.

Crawlspace (Pino Donaggio)
Critters (David Newman)
(The) Dark Half (Christopher Young)
Darkness Falls (Brian Tyler)
Dracula (John Williams)
Drag Me to Hell (Christopher Young)
(The) Final Conflict (Jerry Goldsmith)
(The) Fury (John Williams)
Halloween (John Carpenter)
(The) House on Sorority Row (Richard Band)
(The) Howling (Pino Donaggio)
(The) Kindred (David Newman)
Misery (Marc Shaiman)
Monster House (Douglas Pipes)
Mutant (Richard Band)
(The) Nightmare Before Christmas (Danny Elfman)
(The) Night Walker (Vic Mizzy)
Piranha (Pino Donaggio)
Poltergeist II: the Other Side (Jerry Goldsmith)
Re-Animator (Richard Band)
Sleepy Hollow (Danny Elfman)
Terror Tract (Brian Tyler)
Thinner (Daniel Licht)
Tourist Trap (Pino Donaggio)
Trick 'r Treat (Douglas Pipes)
Warlock (Jerry Goldsmith)
Willard (Shirley Walker)
Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (Bear McCreary)


Friday, September 24, 2010

Not much going on here. Just working on editing a super-awesome project while 2012 plays in the background on mute. Okay, that's a little disingenuous as I only have a small idea of the clips I'm going to use.

I managed to clear an assload of space on my computer on Monday, thus allowing my mad dreams to come to life.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Addams Family Reunion (Amotz Plessner)

It's the summer of 2001. I run across a movie on what was once called Fox Family (good times...). It's called Addams Family Reunion. Sounds worth a watch, right? Yeah, not really. It's a direct-to-tape mixture of painful sitcom writing (See, the Addamses are invited to a family reunion...for the normal Adamses - one 'd'. Let the madcap wackiness begin!), cheap CGI effects and some talented performers (Tim Curry, Daryl Hannah, Ed Begley Jr., Ray Walston, Kevin McCarthy, Estelle Harris, Clint Howard).

Unlike every other aspect of this misbegotten affair, the music by Amotz Plessner can stand shoulder to shoulder with Marc Shaiman's amazing work on the two theatrical films.

Addams Family Reunion
composed & conducted
Amotz Plessner

1. Mailman Chase/Special Delivery 4:43
2. Fester's Creation/Addams Family Tree 4:33
3. The Grandparents Arrive 2:14
4. Dinnertime! 1:06
5. Dreams of Old Age 1:36
6. Meddling Montage 0:47
7. Dance Macabre 0:45
8. Good News 1:00
9. Preparing to Leave 1:36
10. Mailing Mix-ups 1:24
11. Primrose Resort 0:21
12. Touring the Resort 1:47
13. Pugsley's in Love 0:25
14. Of Adams and Addams 3:03
15. Meeting the Kids 0:23
16. Hair Patrol 0:38
17. Wednesday's Croquet 0:18
18. Houseguests 1:40
19. Schemers 0:57
20. "The Will!" 0:08
21. The Victor 0:27
22. Gomez the Marksman 0:51
23. Showdown 1:23
24. Lurch to the Rescue 1:05
25. Dad's New Do 0:12
26. Grandma's Hospitality 0:54
27. The Contest 1:13
28. The Tennis Match 2:42
29. Blue in the Face 1:17
30. In for a Shock 0:42
31. Couples 0:52
32. Lurch's Romance 0:29
33. Goin' on a Dig 0:19
34. Night Search 0:45
35. Butcher's Loose 0:29
36. Trying to Escape 1:24
37. Running and Hiding 1:41
38. Gomez vs. Dr. Phillip 2:33
39. On the Run/Under Arrest 2:19
40. Lurch Sleepwalks/Thing Caught 0:27
41. Behind Bars 1:09
42. The Pound/Shock Therapy 1:28
43. Seeking Justice 1:04
44. Free to Go 0:06
45. Racing to the Rescue 0:28
46. Saving Lurch 0:39
47. Butcher Attacks 0:28
48. Playing Outside/Dr. Phillip's Treatment/Together Again/Drivin' Fools 3:33
49. Home Again 0:51
50. Power Outage/Fireworks 1:23
51. Finale 0:45

This was one of several direct-to-video movies produced by Haim Saban. The library of Saban products is now owned by Disney. I get the feeling that it could be many, many years before people even give scores like this a second thought. With music as good as this, I think it'll be worth the wait.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Summing up the summer.

In the spirit of one of my linked blogs, What I Watched Last Night (at least, until he started using multiple posts on the same movie), I'm going to provide bite-sized reviews of the movies I saw this summer:

Iron Man 2 - Plottier than the first, but entertaining enough; Rockwell and Rourke make terrific villains

MacGruber - Gross-out gags, silliness, some of it hilarious - MacGruber!

Nightmare on Elm Street - Interesting story, good work by Haley, but pales next to original, overall

Chloe - Impressive nudity by beautiful leads undercut by weak script, weaker ending

Prince of Persia - Good action, funny banter, delightful turn by Alfred Molina

Killers - Quite violent for a rom-com...and quite entertaining; definitely worth a look

Just Wright - Queen Latifah and Common are charming, but lack of narrative conflict a serious liability

The A-Team - Fine origin story, good action, but bears only slight resemblance to the show

Shrek Forever After - Not a patch on the original, but some laughs; Walt Dohrn hilarious as Rumple

Toy Story 3 - Pixar's latest is nearly perfect; a smashing conclusion to the story

Death at a Funeral - Uneven; the original is probably better, but the cast makes it worthwhile

Knight and Day - Beautiful scenery, impressive action scenes trump disjointed script

The Last Airbender - Undeniably flawed, but far less terrible than it's been made out to be; folks, get over yourselves

Despicable Me - one of the year's surprises; funny and surprisingly affecting with terrific voice work by Carell

Predators - Exciting, worthy follow-up to Predator with terrific action scenes, interesting cast

Sorcerer's Apprentice - Nice effects (if a few too many of them), good chemistry between Cage and Baruchel

Inception - Unlike Nolan's The Dark Knight, this is deserving of the hype; engrossing the whole way

Salt - Attempt at building Bourne-like franchise doesn't entirely work despite fine action scenes, good acting

Dinner for Schmucks - Cast, particularly Steve Carell and Jemaine Clement, outshines uneven script

Charlie St. Cloud - Zac Efron sees dead people; not-bad drama benefits from lovely scenery, Rolfe Kent's score

The Other Guys - Some hearty laughs and Ferrell and Wahlberg make a neat team, but too many Step Brothers-like sidetrips detract

Cats and Dogs 2 - Surprisingly enjoyable follow-up focuses mainly on animal action; lively voice work (esp. Marsden) and strong gags help

The Expendables - Perhaps the ultimate 80s action movie; nearly overwhelmed by CG carnage in last third but fun

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World - Funny, sweet, exciting, well-cast; unapologetically, my favorite film of the year

Piranha 3D - Not the original, but an insane reimagining; Snakes on a Plane turned up to 11 with crazy-ass gore and fun cameos

Nanny McPhee 2 - Follow-up takes a while to find its footing, ends up quite entertaining with some nice surprises

Lottery Ticket - Enjoyable psuedo-remake of Friday; some strong laughs and good messages

Takers - Part GQ photo shoot, part heist movie; a decent guilty pleasure

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Monday, September 13, 2010

B-Y-E to fye.

I'm still too upset about this to care about the stupid title.

As I've mentioned before, I loved shopping for used (and sometimes new) CDs and DVDs at FYE. That's loved, past tense.

In my gasping desperation to recapture the same magic I had at the store, I cold-called locations that, simply put, were way the fuck out of my way. Today, I drove (and drove and drove and drove...) out to an FYE in Greece...New York. Momentarily, I regained that fleeting sense of anticipation in flipping through the soundtrack section. However, I found that the soundtracks (what little that interested me) were not on sale. Needless to say, the end result was, in no way, worth the effort expended. And so, I am officially giving up on FYE. There are plenty of other places to buy CDs and DVDs, but, let me tell you, the experience will never be the same...that is until I can get closer to Amoeba Music.

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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Tennis Shoes and Brie?!

Remember that post I made about revival theatres in Los Angeles? Well, last month, one of them showed a double feature of Better Off Dead and One Crazy Summer.

I don't know for sure, but I imagine that some of the facts in the Q & A that accompanied the former were revealed in this retrospective (such as a proposed alternate title for the film which this post bears as its title).

Pity this stuff couldn't have been shared in a DVD commentary (hint, hint, Paramount...and change that moronic cover while you're at it!).


Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Glenn Shadix (1952-2010)

Naturally, I've enjoyed Mr. Shadix in the likes of Beetlejuice, Demolition Man, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Planet of the Apes, so hearing of his passing is an incredible shock. He will be greatly missed.

Also, I can't forget his work in Heathers:

(I really wish I could've posted the 'eskimo' scene, but you can't have everything.)


Friday, September 03, 2010

Fall movie preview.


The American - George Clooney is an assassin on one last job. Maybe, it's less generic than I'm making it out to be.

Going the Distance - Apparently, this was pushed back a week. Seriously, have there been any good R-rated romantic comedies in the last 15 years? (And a kidney punch to anyone even thinking of saying There's Something About Mary.)

Machete - Could the movie really be as good as the trailer? Who knows? I must say, though, that I'm glad that they kept the 'I'll see what I can do' bit from the original trailer.

Resident Evil: Afterlife - Paul W.S. Anderson directs a series entry for the first time since the original. Really, does anyone care?

Easy A - Emma Stone is the school slut. Well, not really. A modern update of "The Scarlet Letter" from the director of the surprisingly funny Fired Up.

The Town - Another tale of nogoodniks in Boston, from the director/co-writer of Gone Baby Gone and 'the studio that brought you The Departed'. I'm sure that Boston is a nice place, just the same.

Devil - As one of the few people who didn't hate The Last Airbender, I'm somewhat intrigued by this M. Night Shyamalan-produced thriller about a group of strangers stuck on an elevator, one of whom might be...well, you know.

Alpha and Omega - I'll see just about any animated film that comes out, but this one...there's way too much cheese in the trailer that paints it as a parody of CG animated films instead of the real McCoy.

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps - Gordon Gekko is back and now, he's the mentor to the kid from Disturbia. Never saw the original, but the trailer has me interested.

You Again - Veronica Mars is in a snit because the girl who made her life in high school a nightmare - the chick from The Unborn - is due to become her sister-in-law. Looks cheesy as all hell...and yet, I'm kind of looking forward to it. Also, the poster may be one of my favorites of the year.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole - 'From the studio that brought you Happy Feet'. Man, Warner Bros. sure loves that slogan, don't they? Much like last year's 9 (not Nine), this animated feature - about owls and some kind of mythology - doesn't look that appealing to me. From the director of Watchmen. No, really.

Buried - Ryan Reynolds gets buried underground. I think this review pretty much tells you all you need to know.


The Social Network - Hopefully, the uproarious trailer parodies that have popped up (I highly recommend the Twitter one) won't diminish the impact of the story about the creation of Facebook. And, no, I don't have a page, thanks for asking.

Case 39 - This long-delayed thriller about a social worker (Renee Zellweger) getting in way over her head in her latest case is finally getting a release. From what I've read, the horror elements in this one are slightly less retarded than the ones in Orphan.

Let Me In - Remake of the acclaimed Swedish thriller Let the Right One In with Hit Girl as the young vampiress and a creepy-looking Richard Jenkins.

Life as We Know It - Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel don't care for each other very much, but end up as godparents to a baby girl. Despite an unfortunate bit of toilet humor in the trailer, this looks like an inoffensive, forgettable little movie.

Secretariat - Let me get this straight: this is a true story where a plucky blonde housewife (played by a fairly attractive brunette) throws her lot in with a stranger who is shown to possess great athletic ability and, in the process, it changes her life. Looks like Disney wants a piece of that sweet Blind Side money. Hey, if it works, it works.

It's Kind of a Funny Story - A teenager commits himself to a psychiatric ward. The trailer was amusing, especially the moments with Zach Galifianakis. (BTW, this looks far more promising than that other movie he's starring in this season.)

Jackass 3-D - Just what the world needed: disgusting, boneheaded stunts comin' at ya! You Hollywood yutzes sick of 3-D yet?!

Nowhere Boy - He was Kick-Ass. He was Charlie Chaplin (in Shanghai Knights). Now, Aaron Johnson takes on John Lennon. Interesting trailer. Could be worth a look.

Conviction - Hilary Swank puts herself through law school to get her brother, Sam Rockwell, cleared of murder charges. Could be fairly interesting.

Red - John McClane, Det. Somerset, Queen Elizabeth and that guy from Being John Malkovich are assassins trying to avoid termination. If there's a cooler-looking movie being released this season, I don't want to know about it. From the director of Flightplan, who seems to have a better script this time around.

Saw VII - Pretty much what I said about that Jackass movie.

Paranormal Activity 2 - Didn't see the original and I'm not that interested in this one. (Fun fact: the guy who directed last year's Saw movie was up for this film until Lionsgate - in a ridiculous bit of cockblockery - forced him to do the above film.)

Hereafter - Clint Eastwood's latest is a movie about coming to terms with death. Seriously, if that's not a bad omen, I don't know what is.

My Soul to Take - Another long-delayed thriller sees Wes Craven returning to the territory of A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream and even Shocker! Could do without the 3D, methinks. (Yeah, I'm a broken record, but I'm not the only one.)


Megamind - Dreamworks' latest animated feature tells of a supervillain who finds himself having to save the day from an up-and-coming villain. Hey, it might be as good as Despicable Me.

Due Date - The promise of a reunion between Kiss Kiss Bang Bang stars Robert Downey Jr. and Michelle Monaghan (as a married couple; Harry and Harmony got hitched!) is nowhere near enough to redeem what looks to be an obnoxious rip-off of Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

127 Hours - Danny Boyle directs James Franco in this story of a mountain climber who ends up stuck for... yeah. Based on a true story.

Fair Game - Yet another true story. This one's about how CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity was revealed, endangering her. (Dick move!) Not my thing, but the trailer looked okay.

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf - Tyler Perry's first film not based on one of his own plays. Whether that's a positive or a negative, I don't know, but how about that cast: Thandie Newton, Whoopi Goldberg, Anika Noni Rose, Kerry Washington, Loretta Devine, Phylicia Rashad, Janet Jackson and Kimberly Elise.

Unstoppable - Here's hoping that Tony Scott's visual style doesn't completely overwhelm this interesting thriller about Malcolm X and Captain Kirk trying to stop a train carrying nuclear waste.

Morning Glory - Rachel McAdams (in a role that cries out for Katherine Heigl...or maybe, it's just been too long since McAdams has done a light comedy) lures grizzled Harrison Ford out of retirement to co-host a morning chat show with Diane Keaton. Looks amusing...and (unbelievably) it was co-produced by J.J. Abrams!

Skyline - From the brothers who brought you Alien vs. Predator: Requiem! For those still reading, I'm not quite sold on this alien invasion story, even though Donald Faison (Turk!) is one of the heroes.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I - The first half of the last of the Potter films. The trailer is so dark, one could scarcely recognize it as a Harry Potter film. It got my attention.

The Next Three Days - Russell Crowe is determined to get his wife Elizabeth Banks out of jail...any way he can. Not-bad looking thriller from Crash director Paul Haggis.

Tangled - For some reason, Disney seems to be underselling this version of "Rapunzel", but I'll see it, regardless.

Burlesque - A young woman goes to the big city to make it in Los Angeles. Sounds ordinary, right? Did I mention the young woman is Christina Aguilera? Didn't see that coming, did you?

Faster - The, Dwayne Johnson is out for revenge and getting trailed by Billy Bob Thornton. From the director of Soul Food and Men of Honor, who, apparently, refuses to be pigeonholed.


Black Swan - This looks to be a peculiar cross between Suspiria and Swan Lake. Might appeal to me if it hits me in the right mindset.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - New studio, new director, new composer, but same kids. Still, I'm sure the target audience won't mind.

The Fighter - The story of an aspiring boxer. David O. "You are an adult!" Russell directs Christian "You are trashing my scene!" Bale and Mark "Say hi to your mother for me." Wahlberg (okay, he didn't really say that).

TRON: Legacy - Though thirty years late, a follow-up to Disney's cult classic, with Jeff Bridges reprising his original role.

I Love You, Phillip Morris - One more long-delayed movie sees the light of day. Jim Carrey chucks married life for a relationship with cellmate Ewan McGregor. I like the stars and the writer/directors, whose credits range from Bad Santa to "The Angry Beavers". Honestly.

Yogi Bear - Yeah. I think it looks okay. Want to make something of it?

Little Fockers - This, on the other hand... wow. Yet another Ben Stiller comedy of embarassment. Jesus, I thought we were rid of these! Oh, and they stooped to using a Gigli reference in the trailer. Still feel like making this film a box-office hit, America?!

Everything You Got - Reese Witherspoon must choose between Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson. Again, I'm making this sound generic, but it comes from James L. Brooks, so it could be something special.

True Grit - The Coen brothers take on a John Wayne classic. If nothing else, Carter Burwell's score should be fantastic.

Gulliver's Travels - Jack Black is Gulliver in what looks to be the loosest adaptation of the classic story yet.