Sunday, February 25, 2007

Reno 911!: Miami


That would be how I feel about the Reno 911 movie.

On one hand, how can you not love the sheer inappropriateness brought about by an R rating, cameos by The Rock and Paul Rudd, and a reunion of the team behind the best sketch comedy show you never watched, The State. But... sitting here an hour after the movie got out, the most memorable thing about the movie was the cover version of "Police and Thieves," which made me think "Oh no, someone covered this song and now there will be people who don't know it's by The Clash!"

I mean, yeah, it was funny. I laughed. And really, it would have made a great 30 minute episode. But a 90 minute movie (err... not even 90 minute movie)? Not so much. Even though it doesn't seem right to complain about a complete and total lack of coherence in the plot for a movie like this, I will. Because it all seemed like a bunch of sketches stuck together. And sure, nudity and profanity are fun, but when that's not what originally made the show funny, it seems like a crutch to fall back on for cheap laughs.

I was super glad to see the Stella boys. I definitely squealed when I saw David Wain and was kind of surprised that there wasn't much more of a reaction. There was a bit more of a buzz when Michael Showalter and Michael Ian Black showed up, but that's probably due to Michael Ian Black's I Love the 80s work. Also, Paul Rudd's Scarface impression was pretty hilarious, probably one of the most amusing parts of the movie for me.

I know I haven't seen Hot Fuzz yet, but based on the screenplay, I think it did the action movie spoof descending into action movie actuality with a climactic shootout better. Also, Hot Fuzz trailer on the big screen? Hi-larious. Either the trailer was different than the one I had previously seen, or I got more out of it having read the script. The sight of Nicholas Angel on what appeared to be some form of public transportation despondently clutching his plant was brilliant, and it just looks so good. Also: Simon Pegg - swoon. I'm stoked.

(Ok I just went back and watched the trailer on and it's the one I just saw in the theater, so I guess I just got more out of it after reading the script.)

So yeah, Reno 911!: Miami definitely has its funny moments... sadly, the funny moments just aren't enough to fill out the entire hour and a half.

Ohhhhh... Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is on right now. Goddammit, do I ever have a thing for Robert Downey Jr. in this movie.

Friday, February 16, 2007

How's that for a slice of fried gold?

So the Hot Fuzz hype is in full force at work. It's kind of awesome, and it's renewed my desire to see Spaced, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright's first project together. If there were any justice in the world, this show would be available on region 1 DVD. Alas, it is not. That doesn't mean I didn't pursue other methods of obtaining it.

Spaced is about two strangers who pose as a couple to get a good deal on an apartment. It's got more pop culture references than you could possibly take in in one viewing, it's incredibly funny, and surprisingly touching. Tim's obsession with Gillian Anderson is hilarious, Daisy's complete inability to write is all too relateable, and Mike's desire to invade Paris is absurdly amazing. And Simon Pegg is just so damn adorable as Tim.

But truly, the great thing about Spaced is its ability to balance Evil Dead references with poignant passages like this one:

Life just isn't like the movies is it? We're constantly led to believe in resolution in the establishment of the ideal status qua, and it's just not true. Happy endings are a myth. Designed to make us feel better about the fact that life is just another thankless struggle.

Sigh. So good. I cannot wait for Hot Fuzz. And I'm kind of in love with Simon Pegg.

ETA: I met Edgar Wright at work today (2/22)! *swoon*

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Rebel Without a Planetarium

Thanks to the fact that I attended a Catholic high school, I've been somewhat put off the religion I was raised to believe. In its place, I've joined the church of Hollywood. No, not Scientology. I've become a lover of movies, a worshipper of the auteur, one who bows at the many altars of Paramount, Universal, and Warner Bros.

Moving out to LA, then, has been a sort of a pilgrimage to the holy land. It's surreal, wonderful, and a bit scary. And the potential for a religious experience, of sorts, is right under your nose at all times. Although my tastes run more towards the iconoclastic directors of the 1970s like Scorsese and Altman, I still appreciate classic Hollywood films, and there's one classic I appreciate more than the rest: Rebel Without a Cause. Accordingly, my first true religious experience came via a visit to Griffith Observatory.

It was quite surreal, not to mention a very fun trip, with some amazing views of the city. And as I stood outside the front of the observatory, staring at a bust of James Dean with the Hollywood sign in the background, taking it all in by myself, I got a little chill. I'm really here. Hooray for Hollywood, indeed.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Bayliss and Bolander and Munch, oh my!

So I've temporarily (or maybe not so temporarily) relocated to Los Angeles. Needless to say, it's weird. Being that I had to pack my entire life in two 50 lb suitcases, I had to leave a lot of my DVDs at home. I only brought 8 with me, and it makes me kinda sad. One of the things I had to leave at home was the 7 season box set of Homicide: Life on the Street, which I got for Christmas. It makes me really sad because over break I was well on my way to not watching any movies until I got through all 7 seasons of Homicide (and the movie).

Ok, that's a lie, because I did take a break to watch both Munich and some vintage first season SNL. But it would also be a lie to say that I didn't immensely enjoy Homicide. It is easily the best show that you (or I) never watched while it aired from 1993 to 1999. Homicide is different from L&O or CSI in that it is the complete opposite of a procedural. There's no formula; no "the special guest star did it," and often no closure. The detectives' personal lives were sometimes more important to the story than the crime committed. Probably because of its unique, gritty approach, Homicide was criminally underwatched during its 7 season run (I'm sensing a trend here in my TV loves - Homicide, The Ben Stiller Show, Mr. Show, Sports Night, Arrested Development), but that only seems to make it better, knowing you were one of a small, select group that got to experience this phenomenal show.

One of the things that set Homicide aside from the rest of the cop shows on the air was its excellent use of music. It didn't do the end of episode/heartfelt tune montage that House pretty much does weekly. Whoever was in charge of selecting music for the series did so with care and attention to something other than the pop charts. A 4th season episode has Munch (yes, Richard Belzer's John Munch of Law & Order: SVU originated on Homicide) listening to Leonard Cohen's "Suzanne," which is quite possibly the best artist ever for Munch to be listening to.

Anyway, the point of this all is to say if you have not seen Homicide: Life on the Streets, I implore you to check it out. You'll be rewarded with one of the best series of the 1990s, and you'll find yourself wondering: "Why didn't I watch this when it was on?"

Completely unrelated, I burned my elbow on the oven yesterday and now it is painful to lean on. I'm a spaz.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

To Widescreen or Not to Widescreen?

If there's one thing I take more seriously than anything else in my film snobbery, it's aspect ratio. There's nothing that bothers me more than watching a widescreen movie in pan and scan, or, on our HDTV at home, watching a standard definition TV show stretched out to 16:9. Say what you will about the size and shape of the TV, but I want to watch a movie in the format the director intended. That being said, even though I own the DVDs in widescreen, there's something I can't object to when it comes to the Star Wars trilogy in pan and scan. 10 year old Christina didn't care about the aspect ratio of Star Wars when she first saw it.

Point? I came home from my internship the other day and The Empire Strikes Back - my personal favorite of the trilogy - was on TV. And watching it made me happy. It made me remember why I loved movies so much in the first place. And I didn't care that it wasn't in widescreen.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Great Expectations (1998)

Confession #1: I have never read Great Expectations.
Confession #2: I kind of love Alfonso Cuaron's film adaptation, probably because I've never read the book.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes, turn and face the strain...

White text on a black background was giving me a headache.