Monthly Archives: June 2010

30 posts

When Movie Marketing FAILS: Cats & Dogs 2, Knight & Day, Babies and Grown Ups


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You could not pay me to see Babies. Well, strike that, you could pay me, but you’d have to pay me a lot. I’m not going to hyperbolize and say that it would take a million dollars – not that I wouldn’t accept a million dollars in payment for seeing a documentary about my least favorite class of humans – but unless at least $100 American dollars and/or the touch of a beautiful woman would be assured for me afterwards, I won’t be getting near this film with a ten foot pole (which I would admittedly then use to knock it off of the shelf at Best Buy and fling it into the nearest plasma screen). Did I mention that I’m not a fan of babies?

Movie Review: The A-Team


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It would be foolish to say that Carnahan reined himself in, since these are some of the nuttiest set pieces in recent cinematic memory (and that’s saying something), but they’re always easy to follow and the script always reminds us that Hannibal’s increasingly unbelievable plans are only effective because no one would ever anticipate such lunatic stunts in the first place. While The A-Team seems to enjoy the many risks they take, they never treat it like just another day at the office either, and it’s that tiny bit of respect for context that keeps Carnahan’s film engaging, even when all logic dictates that you should be shaking your head in disbelief.

Did Alfred Hitchcock Invent the “That’s What She Said” Joke?


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In this clip, poor (yet fiercely adorable) Anny Ondra confesses that she “cannot speak well” while Hitchcock himself over-enunciates each syllable, mugging to the camera and culminating with what may be the earliest recorded version of the “That’s What She Said” joke.

I would stand in line to see Mr. Fillion brush his hair in the morning, but that's beside the point. Slither sequel!

The Weekly Listicle: Remakes We Love


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Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan in June 11’s remake of The Karate Kid. This week’s release The Karate Kid, starring Will Smith’s adorable male spawn Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, is a remake of the much-loved 1984 classic starring Ralph Macchio and Pat Morita. The new Karate Kid looks like […]

Book Review: My Life with Charlie Brown by Charles M. Schulz


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Charles Schulz (1922-2000) started out simply wanting to draw for a living. He never had any sense that these big-headed, small-armed kids he was doodling back in the 1940s would be a staple of newspapers for the next five decades. Indeed, it almost seemed that he repeatedly looked upon his own career with a kind of reverent awe. Part of the appeal of Schulz the man is that even when fame struck, he still seemed amazingly humble.

Art Review: Object, Image, Collector at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


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It’s the photoetching, a 1974 work called “The Train,” that is really breath-taking. It seems to take on the complicated issues of the African Diaspora, the art it produced, and Western views of that art, as well as presenting a moment from the struggle for Civil Rights. The faces that look out at us from the page are communicative and knowing, their gazes complicated and reproachful, and the liquid softness of the watercolor combines with the horizontal lines of the etching to create a beautiful, powerful work you can stand in front of for a long time.

Book Review: The Art Detective by Philip Mould


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Yet another of his discoveries turns out to be a lost watercolor by one of America’s greatest 19th century artists, Winslow Homer — a painting which had literally appeared out of nowhere one day in Southern Ireland, abandoned next to a dump heap! The work had been miraculously rescued by a local fisherman.

Book Review: Unbillable Hours: A True Story by Ian Graham


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It was an appeal on behalf of Mario Rocha, a Los Angeleno of Mexican descent, who in 1996, at the age of sixteen, had been convicted of the murder of another Latino youth, the result of a shooting that had occurred at a backyard house party. Rocha was given two consecutive life sentences, although he was in fact innocent.

Arizona and the Politics of Mural Painting


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Murals are designed to unite communities, create beauty and celebrate common values. The horrific reaction to “Go on Green” makes a mockery of these noble intentions. One cannot help but wonder how this fallout is being interpreted by the children of Miller Valley Elementary, who learned at a young age that their faces are seen as an insult to their community.

The Weekly Listicle: Insultingly BAD Movies


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They exist to make money more than tell a story, and are fully satisfied to merely distract an audience rather than actually entertain or – heaven forefend – enlighten them. In this installment of The Weekly Listicle, Julia Rhodes and I (William Bibbiani!) present ten films, in no particular order, that insulted your intelligence… and expected to be rewarded for it.

Alice Leora Briggs: Art from Juárez


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While Briggs subject matter is unpleasant, her work has a dark beauty and an immediacy not often seen in contemporary art. Its visual strength and documentary quality compels you to keep looking and inspires you to learn more about the tragic situation that she chronicles.

Art Review: Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers at the Hirshhorn, Washington, DC


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In one of Klein’s, racier projects, the Anthropometry series, the artist dressed to the nines and directed naked ladies while they painted themselves in IKB paint and impressed their bodies onto the canvas. Musicians played in the background and an audience of art lovers watched the spectacle.

Book Review: At the Edge of the Precipice: Henry Clay and the Compromise that Saved the Union by Robert V. Remini


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In 1850, the best that Clay could do was to coax Southern politicians to agree to halt the selling of slaves in the District of Columbia. The payback was the Fugitive Slave Act. Nicknamed the “Bloodhound Law,” it legally bound law enforcement officers in the North to assist in the seizure of escaped slaves, punishing anyone who assisted the runaways.

QUIT IT! (A Moviegoer’s Pet Peeves)


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In the last year or so I’ve become almost as comfortable in the local theater as in my own living room. I’m what you’d call a frequent filmgoer, and am reclining in front of a theater screen once a week whether or not I write a review. The rest of […]

HAVE YOU SEEN THIS FILM?: Barry Caillier’s Daredreamer!


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If you’ve seen Daredreamer, particularly around the time it was first released, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. This has to be somebody’s favorite movie, and has to have influenced a young child on the verge of adolescence.