Monthly Archives: April 2010

31 posts

The Final Word: Is 3-D better than 2-D?

Oh sure, we’re probably going to be stuck with 3-D forever now that everyone flocked to Avatar like 5 year olds to McDonalds. You chipped in several extra bucks for the “experience” of wearing glasses while watching a movie – something those of us with glasses are less than enthused about (Have you ever tried wearing two pairs at the same time? It’s not comfortable) – and now the studios think you’ll do it every damned time. And you probably will, too, because you think it’s better. Well, guess what: It’s not. It’s just another illusion that you will inevitably get used to and take for granted, but by God you will shell out a lot more money for the privilege of getting bored with it.

The Weekly Listicle: Best Horror Movie Villains EVER.

This week marks the opening of yet another horror remake: the new Nightmare on Elm Street releases on April 23, with the magnificent Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen, Little Children) as the king of night terrors Freddy Krueger. Robert Englund lent his spooky, almost silly persona to Krueger in all the […]

Suburban Gothic: A. Clarke Bedford’s America

Bedford explains “one begins to wonder if every snapshot of grandparents in a Model A Ford in Yosemite National Park, every image of a postwar father in an Army uniform, every mother in a 50s suburban kitchen, every painful Vietnam-era Christmas morning isn’t essentially the same.” The artist is able to look beyond the individual objects and snapshots and begins to view them as evidence of certain cultural practices. He examines why taking pictures is an important American pastime, and why certain types of photographs, like wedding pictures and portraits of stoic soldiers in uniform surface so frequently.

How to Get Your Work in the Louvre? Hang it up Yourself!

Ironically, while Mr. Guérineau has indicated a desire to infuse France’s museums with fresh blood and new ideas, his recent stunt is essentially an imitation of a more complex prank pulled off in March of 2005 by Banksy. The English graffiti artist smuggled four of his own artworks into four of New York’s major museums. While Guérineau’s actions seem to stem from desperation and barely disguised megalomania, Banksy’s prank was an intelligent, well thought-out experiment. The pieces he proffered were designed to act in conversation with existing museum exhibits and to express his political oppinions about a variety of issues.

Movie Review: The Losers

Movies with titles like The Losers are a gift to film critics. The monikers may be intended ironically but are invariably fodder for such puns as “The Losers… most certainly are,” for example. Or, perhaps a little less obvious, “For these Losers it’s all about how you play the game… in this case, very, very badly.” So it’s pretty lucky for director Sylvain White this rip-snorting firecracker of an action film is a hoot and a half. Yes, The Losers is brazen, bullet-riddled, sexy and hilarious fun…

The Weekly Listicle: Elite Teams of Elite-ness

Although the trope existed beforehand in literature (for what else, really, was “The Fellowship of the Ring?”), most film portrayals of elite teams in some way play off of the Seven Samurai dynamic, or at least Rififi’s, which in 1955 brought the concept into the world of the heist thriller. Since then there have been no shortage of classic teams, from Danny Ocean’s famous “11,” to the famed “Impossible Mission Force,” to the smooth-as-water space cowboys of the illustrious Bebop.

Kick-Ass and the Hit-Girl debacle

Chloe Grace Moretz as Hit-Girl in last weekend’s Kick-Ass In my review for Kick-Ass, I only mentioned Chloe Moretz’s Hit-Girl briefly, though her role is getting the movie the most press. Roger Ebert called the film “morally reprehensible” and Kenneth Turan writes, “[Hit-Girl’s] language is so astonishingly crude that it […]

Movie Review: Kick-Ass

Most importantly, Kick-Ass doesn’t pull any punches. The violence is hardcore, the cursing is constant, and the subject matter is not for the faint of heart. If you have an aversion to the f-word, the c-word, bloody violence, or an eleven-year-old girl brutally murdering bad guys (and taking a fair beating herself), avoid this movie. Otherwise you’ll be in hog heaven with the rest of the action- and comics-geeks. In video stores (do they still exist?) Kick-Ass would be comfortable in either the Comedy or Action sections.

When Film Critics Lose a Bet, Part 2: Tommy Wiseau’s The Room!

My clearest thought while watching The Room was that the film plays like a screenplay Neil LaBute would have written when we was 10 years old, full of righteous anger at the sadism and victimization that the author has experienced, but none of the wit, character, or even punctuation that competent writers develop over time.

The Weekly Listicle: Antiheroes!

Aaron Johnson as Dave Lizewski/Kick-Ass This week’s most anticipated release is Kick-Ass, directed by Matthew Vaughn and based on the graphic novels by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. (Stay tuned for the CLR review on Saturday!) The premise of Kick-Ass is this: a normal, slightly nerdy high school kid, […]

Book Review: Tammy Wynette: Tragic Country Queen by Jimmy McDonough

In the Nashville of the 1960s, songs were typically recorded in an hour or less and mistakes were kept in because they made the sound more “human.” Fussing over them any longer than that was considered “burning the beans.” After concerts, fees were paid in cash in shopping bags. In the course of recounting Wynette’s life, McDonough describes a cast of characters that no novelist could have invented without being accused of stretching the borders of believability.