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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Gerard Damiano, R.I.P.

posted by on October 29 at 2:00 PM

The writer and director of Deep Throat is dead at age 80:

Over three and a half decades, Deep Throat has been damned by religious groups, decried by feminists, defended by First Amendment advocates, derided by critics and debated by social scientists. It dragged for years through local and federal courts around the country in a welter of obscenity trials in which it was variously banned, unbanned and rebanned. All this had the effect, observers agreed, of sustaining acute public interest in the film.


In interviews over the years, Mr. Damiano credited his work as a hairdresser with having given him a keen understanding of women. This helped him greatly, he made clear, in his later career.

“I was just a nice guy, which is why I think I did pretty well,” he told The News-Press of Fort Myers in 2005. “I mean, I’d meet an actress and have to say, ‘Sit down, take your clothes off — I’m going to ask you to do some nasty things.’ You have to be pretty nice.”

NYT obit here.

The Stranger on The Strangers

posted by on October 29 at 1:00 PM


We got a copy of The Strangers in the mail a couple weeks back to promote the film's DVD release. I hadn't seen it, but I read Brad Steinbacher's review of it, a brief portion of which I'll throw down here:

Sleazy and unsettling, writer-director Bryan Bertino’s “inspired by true events” tale of a couple being terrorized in their exurban home by three masked boogeymen gets a lot of mileage out of the simple things. Doors are pounded on menacingly; blurred figures creep into frame unbeknownst to the victims. It’s all admirably restrained and, for the most part, effective.

I tried to contact Brad to ask him if I should watch it, but nobody's seen him since the shit went down in Peru a couple weeks ago. What the hell, I figured, it's almost Halloween, right? And so I watched The Strangers.

Well, it's not Hostel, anyway. There's not a whole lot of torture porn in the movie. As Generalissimo Brad says in his tremendously accurate review, a lot of the scares are of the good old-fashioned "Dumbass-endangers-him/herself-when-under-attack" variety. Unfortunately, both Liv Tyler and Scott Speedman are completely worthless, and the whole movie feels like 2/3rds of a good horror flick. I'm not saying that all the mysteries and ambiguities of the movie need to be resolved, but there needs to be more of the movie than what's just onscreen to make the thing an actual film with real characters. As it is, it's just the longest trailer ever made. I'd avoid this, frankly, because it'll just make you want to watch the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre again, and you can save yourself time by just skipping the middleman.

One Nation's Trash Is Another Nation's Treasure

posted by on October 29 at 11:39 AM


The Jessica Simpson-joins-the-military comedy Major Movie Star has never been released within the United States, for reasons made clear in the trailer. But as Fox News reports, the film recently topped the box office in Russia.

Next up for a movie described by one of its participants as “maybe one of the worst films ever made”: a November premiere in Bulgaria. So far there’s no U.S. release date set. Nor is there one for any other country in which English is the primary language.

Dear Russia: Send me a self-addressed, stamped barrel and I'll return it with Jessica Simpson stuffed inside.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Nice Touch of Evil

posted by on October 27 at 11:18 AM


Tom Hoopes wonders if Oliver Stone's movie W. backfired :

The movie W., despite the worst intentions of its makers, succeeds in making George W. Bush more likeable. Reviewers keep remarking on the strange phenomenon. They hated Bush going in — and kind of liked the guy when they came out.

The likability of Bush in W. should not be read as a miscalculation. Stone was correct to portray Bush not as a mean/sick son-of-a-bitch but as an average guy, as a man who is not exceptional in anyway, whose life story contains not one original moment. His likability, or his plainness, is yet another example of what the great Hannah Arendt identified as "the banality of evil." Bush is just another guy, another Eichmann.

But let's think about Ebola for a moment. What makes this disease so stupid? It kills too quickly and too horribly. HIV is by far the smarter virus. It's one that takes its time in the undoing of its subject. Ebola will never match the global scale of HIV. This is how we must understand evil. It is not the loud and frenzied madman we should fear but the affable one, the Mr. Joe Six-Pack. Evil is much more likely to be a couch potato (Oblomov) than an Übermensch (Monsieur Rigaud).

Friday, October 24, 2008

I'm Sure You Don't Need Me to Tell You This...

posted by on October 24 at 1:15 PM

But High School Musical 3: Senior Year opens today. I saw it on Wednesday (review forthcoming).

But while it is bigger and shinier and makes exactly the same amount of sense as HSM1 and HSM2 (that is to say, NONE SENSE), nothing in HSM3:SY comes close to surpassing this:

Which, obviously, remains one of the most perfectly entertaining pieces of entertainment ever created. FUCK I COULD WATCH THAT FOREVER.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oops, I Fucked Up: Secret Sunday Matinee Edition

posted by on October 23 at 2:16 PM

The Sprocket Society's Secret Sunday Matinee, which I recommend because it's totally fun and weird, is at a special time this Sunday: 4 pm. But in the print edition this week, I forgot to change the time. It says it's at noon. It is not at noon!

Special time, special movie. From the Sprocket Society via e-mail:

This Sunday's 4 PM matinee will be a great show, literally a once-in-a-lifetime screening. The Secret Feature is a spectacular 1950s Russian fantasy classic by the great director Alecsandr (Alexander) Ptushko, who lets his imagination and lush colors run riot in one of his most famous films...Extremely rare on any film stock, this particular 16mm print has never once been run through any projector or machine until this Sunday. On low-fade Anscochrome film stock, it is a mint copy stored well since it was struck in the late 1970s. I spliced it together tonight from the original lab cores.


Anyway, sorry everyone!

Re: Children Trapped in Adult Bodies

posted by on October 23 at 1:51 PM

Whatever, Jonah.

That shit is great, but "gold standard"? Nopes. Plus, everyone knows that Judge Reinhold's finest role was Honorable Judge Reinhold in the secretly awesome Clerks animated series:

And also, to the commenters who brought up 1976's original Freaky Friday, that's my personal favorite too. I linked to it in my original post, but in case you missed it:


And whether it's the gold standard or not, I stand by my original assertion that:

“Big was received with almost unanimous critical acclaim, and is considered by many critics the gold standard of movies in which a child is trapped in an adult’s body”
did not ever, ever need to be written down.

Okay, I've totally lost track of what we're talking about here. Big American Party! Everybody disco dancing! Who is driving? Oh my god bear is driving! How can that be!?


Re: "the gold standard of movies in which a child is trapped in an adult’s body.”

posted by on October 23 at 12:46 PM

I'm sorry, but it has to be said: Big is sooooo NOT the gold standard for movies in which a child is trapped in an adult’s body.

That honor belongs to the brilliant Judge Reinhold/Fred Savage extravaganza (Savageaganza?), Vice Versa:

The World's Most Unnecessary Sentence

posted by on October 23 at 12:17 PM

"Big was received with almost unanimous critical acclaim, and is
considered by many critics the gold standard of movies in which a
child is trapped in an adult's body


(The silver standard.)

Begging the question: Do you think Short Circuit is the gold standard of movies in which a robot believes he is people?

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Dolemite, Motherfucker"

posted by on October 20 at 2:16 PM

Rudy Ray Moore is no more.

More Dolemite gems after the jump.

Continue reading ""Dolemite, Motherfucker"" »

Who Watches the Watchmen Spoilers?

posted by on October 20 at 12:00 PM

Comic Book Movie reports that viewers of a Portland advance screening of the Watchmen movie are disappointed with the ending, which is different from the comic book. I'm not going to get any more spoilery than that, but I do think the ending of Watchmen was the weakest part. It's potentially the only part of the movie adaptation that could improve on the comic, and so this is not necessarily bad news.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on October 18 at 10:11 AM

I awoke this morning to a pair of squirrels making love in a tree right outside my window. Good morning, squirrels! Hey, I have a question about squirrels. I'm familiar with roadkill squirrels, but what happens when squirrels just die of natural causes? There are so many squirrels around. But where are all the squirrel corpses? Funny business, is alls I'm saying.

There are a lot of things opening this week, none of which are about squirrels:


Oliver Stone's W. takes on our sitting president--ballsy move, boring movie. Eli Sanders: "It's hard to say for sure how liberals, who are certainly Stone's intended audience, will react to this movie. A lot of them probably can't get enough of seeing Bush mocked and deconstructed, and will therefore love this. But a good number of them, one suspects, will be bored—they'll go in wanting a new, revelatory way of seeing the president and come out having had a few good chuckles amid one long, familiar flashback that they're very ready not to have happen again."

Disney pretends to make a documentary, calls it Morning Light. I do not recommend it: "Morning Light, a dumb vanity project from aging sailboat enthusiast Roy Disney, is a bland bundle of innocuously fabricated truth: Roy Disney buys fancy sailboat. Roy Disney recruits attractive Young People™ to pilot said boat. Young People™ recite scripted monologues about sailing over pretty sailing montages. Sailboat enters famous sailboat race. After much Togetherness™ and Lesson-Learning-At-Sea™, Young People™ almost win. Young People™'s lives will never be the same."

David Schmader on Sex Drive, the illegitimate grandson of Porky's: "In an inspired move, Sex Drive's teenybopper cocksman is played by a schlub—Clark Duke, a doughy, cute young actor whose dorky exterior only makes his sexual cockiness that much funnier. As the film makes its way through its preordained paces—cussing babies take a virginity-vanquishing road trip, trouble ensues—Duke's studly schlub manages to keep the proceedings mildly fresh. If a mildly fresh teen-sex comedy is what you're after, here it is."

And Paul Constant has very little love for Barry Levinson's latest Hollywood satire, What Just Happened?: "The worst sin of the movie is that, purgatory-like, it just doesn't end; there is no closure, and nothing gets any better or worse. If you have no taste for Hollywood movies about Hollywood movies, you should stay as far away from this movie as you possibly can. If you like good Hollywood insider movies like The Player and Levinson's own Wag the Dog, you should stay as far away from this movie as you possibly can."

Schmader breaks down the best and less-than-best of the lightly horror-themed Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival: "Hidden within the hit-and-miss horror is an impressive collection of gay documentaries, by which I mean documentaries about gay people—musicians, artists, writers, porn stars, drag queens, and activists—which add up to a fascinating minifest of queer life stories you won't see anywhere else." Complete schedule here.

PLUS! I deliver my most inane column yet, on the "history" of talking dogs.

In Limited Runs: Lucky for you, Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story is still playing at Central Cinema. Go see it! There's lots of classic horror/sci-fi/thrills at the Grand Illusion, including Invasion of the Body Snatchers (pods!), They Live (Rowdy!), and Galaxy of Terror (worm rape!). SIFF Cinema has the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival doc Jazz on a Summer's Day (Dave Segal: "Besides the excellent performances by Thelonious Monk Trio, Jimmy Giuffre 3, Gerry Mulligan Quartet, Chico Hamilton Quintet, and others, it’s interesting to see so many smart-looking black and white jazz fans harmoniously digging the scene"). At the Frye, film critic Robert Horton gives a talk on Alexandria...Why? and the Egyptian late-night is Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.

As always, you can find our complete Movie Times here. Happy weekend!

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Film That I Was Unable to Fit...

posted by on October 17 at 2:33 PM


...into my preview for the 13th Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival is, unfortunately, also one of the films I most want people to see: Sex Positive, director Daryl Wein's documentary portrait of Richard Berkowitz.

Who's Richard Berkowitz? Along with Dr. Joseph Sonnabend and singer/activist Michael Callen, he invented the notion of "safe sex" during the early years of the AIDS epidemic. He also caught holy hell from the gay community for daring to suggest that gay-male promiscuity, even during a time of plague, was anything other than inherently liberating. (This was back when being branded "sex negative" was worse than being dead, as many people found out the hard way.)

Of course, all of Berkowitz's "heretical" proclamations—about exposure to bodily fluids and the notion of high-risk sex—are standard HIV 101 now, and this Sunday, October 19, Seattle gets a chance to pay its respects to the pioneering Richard Berkowitz when he attends the SLGFF screening of his life story at the Cinerama. (If you think you want to go, you do, because the movie is good and the subject is extraordinary. Full info here.)

In other SLGFF news, the fest kicks off tonight the opening-night gala screening of Were the World Mine, described by its blurb as a magical, musical fantasia about gays in high school and described (enthusiastically) by someone who's seen it as "the gayest movie EVER MADE!" Full info here.

Milk Trailer

posted by on October 17 at 7:53 AM

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Save Your Last Few Pennies, Don’t Go See This Movie

posted by on October 14 at 1:12 PM

I went alone—the first time I’d ever gone to a movie theater alone—to watch, of all gay things, Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

You see, when I lived with my niece and nephew, they wanted a Chihuahua. They chanted “Chihuahua, Chihuahua!” despite my insistence that Chihuahuas were nothing but throw pillows covered in teeth and claws. But the chanters won. I fell in love with Pixel. Look at him. See?


Photo by Dawn Bustanoby.

So I went.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua is, in point of fact, the worst movie ever. Which begs the question: why—why!?—is it the top grossing movie two weeks running, selling $17.5 million in tickets just last weekend?

BHC’s sunny opulence is at odds with Americans—as of October 2008—collectively staring down the barrel of the darkest depression in 80 years. The opening scene features Chihuahuas (we’ve since moved on to Pit Bulls), Starbucks cups (currently closing stores everywhere), and a Louis Vuitton purse (now replaced with 20-cent taxed plastic bags). So its release now is A) a huge mistake, B) the result of a catastrophic production delay, or C) unfettered genius.

The story begins at the lavish mansion of a bejeweled white Chihuahua, who quickly becomes the object of affection for the gardener’s mangy, brown, slightly-more-robust Chihuahua. After being kidnapped, the rich white dog ends up in deepest, darkest Mexico. She narrowly escapes peril—thanks to her rough-and-tumble Mexican suitor and her own gumption—and makes it safely home to Beverly Hills. “Prissy? No mas,” says the six-pound protagonist.

Beverly Hills Chihuahua is the story of descent from economic security, into the jaws of poverty, and returning to grace unscathed. And that’s a story America really needs right now. Wrote StC in comments of yesterday’s Morning News: “I WENT AND SAW IT AGAIN. With four others. Oh, chihuahua!”

This is a familiar refrain. BHC evokes Shirley Temple, Good-Ship-Lollipopping her way through the Great Depression, or Little Orphan Annie escaping to the safety of Daddy Warbucks’s mansion. As America braces for poverty, it’s so much more manageable to prepare for the worst when you’re projecting your future onto the shivering frame of a six-pound dog.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Anatomy of Greatness

posted by on October 13 at 4:18 PM

I had no idea Anatomy of a Murder is currently running at the Grand Illusion. You must watch this movie! It's directed by Otto Preminger, scored by Duke Ellington, and stars James Stewart. Is there more you could ask from cinema than this: a German director, black American composer, and a Hollywood legend? The beautiful god, the lusty jazz, the muscular direction. Catch the movie before it goes on Thursday.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

This Weekend at the Movies: Addendum

posted by on October 12 at 1:56 PM


Charles Mudede loved The Grocer's Son, a French film about an attractive young man, the very old, and groceries:

The rays of light in this delightful film startle the surfaces of walls, the interior of a passenger train, the faces of the young and old people, the trees, the rolling hills, the rooftops of the village, the winding roads, the slow summer clouds above a French countryside.

It's playing all week at the Harvard Exit.

Friday, October 10, 2008

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on October 10 at 3:39 PM

Opening this week:


Brendan Kiley on the Darby Crash hagiography What We Do Is Secret: "Note to the world: Unless you're a reporter or a historian, striving for authenticity is played. Fuck authenticity, whether you're writing a novel or starting an Indian restaurant. We don't need authentic, we need imaginative and good."

Paul Constant pretty much likes Jonathan Demme's Rachel Getting Married: "Anne Hathaway should be commended for not drooling all over the part in a Method-inspired frenzy. Her performance meshes easily with Debra Winger's unrepentantly distant mother; the two seem seriously confused—and injured—by their own awful actions even as they commit them. But it's Rosemarie DeWitt's Rachel who holds everything together; she's a normal woman trying to enjoy her wedding day, even as two self-involved drama queens tear it apart."

And he's pretty much bored with Secrecy: "You wish the filmmakers would realize that there's a perfect, preexisting technology for transmitting this kind of information-dense material; using this technology, interested parties can work through the material at their own speed and go back through parts they maybe didn't initially absorb with maximum efficiency. It's called a book."

Body of Lies
, according to Eli Sanders, appears to be exactly as good as the millions of other spy-action movies: "If you're not worried about plot déjà vu or stale themes, and are into spy-action movies mainly for the spy-action itself, then Body of Lies is just perfect. People die—mercilessly, surprisingly, repeatedly. Friends betray friends. Helicopters swoop in to blow up SUVs holding jihadists wielding RPG launchers. Vans roll through crowded Arab markets trying to snatch up wanted types without attracting notice. And through it all, the unblinking eye of the CIA drone hovers over the action—the view from on high, repeatedly laid low by the complexities of life on the ground."

As I mentioned yesterday, there are two timely documentaries out right now: here's Eli Sanders on Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story, and Christopher Frizzelle on I.O.U.S.A.

And in Concessions, I torture myself (why!?) with the conservative "comedy" An American Carol. Sorry, Republican relatives. I'm mad at you guys.

Over in Limited Runs, there's a Shakespeare-on-film series going on at SIFF Cinema, including Richard III and the Orson Welles-in-blackface Othello. Grand Illusion has Anatomy of a Murder and some rare religious propaganda films from Ron Ormond. There's a new 35-mm print of The Godfather at Cinerama. Northwest Film Forum is showing the dark and lovely The Exiles. The Egyptian midnight movie is Pulp Fiction, if you need to see it again. And tomorrow, from 4 pm to midnight, MOHAI is hosting the Revenant Film Festival for all your zombie needs.

For anything I missed, check out our Movie Times page.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The National Debt and a National Asshole

posted by on October 9 at 5:15 PM

Hello, internet people! We have reviews of two very timely political documentaries up on the website right now.


First, Eli Sanders on the amoral whispers and Democratic schadenfreude of Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story:

Republican strategist Lee Atwater was responsible for launching Ronald Reagan's 1980 presidential campaign in a town known mainly for murdering civil-rights workers, then throwing the race-baiting Willie Horton ad at Michael Dukakis in 1988, and throughout his career running all kinds of amoral whisper campaigns against Democrats (a favorite was the mental instability charge). Atwater's protégé Karl Rove used the same playbook against John McCain in the Republican primary in South Carolina in 2000, derailing McCain's candidacy amid false whispers about McCain having fathered a black child out of wedlock (and setting George W. Bush on the path to two terms as president).

Now, in one of the great ironies of modern presidential politics, John McCain and his chief strategist, Steve Schmidt, are desperately using Atwater-style tactics against Barack Obama, trying to combat sagging McCain poll numbers by suggesting Obama is a terrorist sympathizer and a dangerously unknown quantity (read: Manchurian Candidate). Schmidt, of course, is a Rove protégé—which makes him basically the grandson of Atwater and shows both how durable Republicans believe the Atwater magic to be and how out-of-new-ideas their party has become.

Read the whole thing. It's great, and it involves boiling oil. Showtimes here.

And second, Christopher Frizzelle on the, um, odd timing of hey-guys-I-think-something's-fishy-with-the-economy exposé I.O.U.S.A.:

It's premised on the assertion that no one (not the media, not average Americans) is thinking about/talking about/paying attention to the economy. With reference to the presidential election, one of the experts in I.O.U.S.A. opines, "The most important issue in this campaign is Iraq, but I think that [the economy] is the most important issue." Hearing that now, when newspapers are daily publishing ski-jump-shaped charts about this or that economic trend, makes you long for, like, six months ago, when the producers of this movie thought they were going to have to fight for your attention.

Showtimes here.

Go see 'em. Mmmmm, schadenfreude!

Re: The Rage of McCain

posted by on October 9 at 12:38 PM

When people talk about John McCain's crazy-rage, I always think of this:

I wish I could find a longer clip. It's even scarier in context.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

So You See, Blinds Are Like Regulars Now

posted by on October 8 at 5:15 PM

A lot of people are riled up about Blindness—a mostly uninteresting (and totally gross) film, based on the novel by José Saramago, about a sudden epidemic of blindness that sweeps the earth and turns normal humans into doodoo-encrusted rapists.

As Paul Constant mentioned a while back, the real-life blind are all kinds of mad at Blindness. Here is a picture of actual blind people protesting outside Pacific Place a few days ago:
I disagree with these blind people that Blindness is offensive to the blind. Blindness is only offensive to people who like good movies. And to people who don't like looking at slimy, blackened infected legs, or listening to hilariously misplaced folksy narration by Danny Glover. Basically, all people who do not like movies that are silly.

But anyway, the real reason I'm posting about Blindness is that there's a bit of a kerfuffle going on in the comments section for my review.

Continue reading "So You See, Blinds Are Like Regulars Now" »

And Speaking of Movies You Can Watch for Free at Home Using Technology...

posted by on October 8 at 1:30 PM

If you absolutely don't want to watch My Effortless Brilliance—I mean, it came out, like, a bunch of months ago and stuff!—the 2008 Seattle Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (which opens October 17th—more details in next week's paper) is hosting their first ever online Indie-Fest, via

Although the official festival doesn't start until next week, the website is already streaming three features and five shorts. One of the features is called Karl Rove, I Love You. One of the shorts is called Tranny MacGuyver. Viewers can vote on their favorites, and then the winners win some stuff! Hooray for winning some stuff! Hooray for gay and lesbian movies! Hooray for us all!

Lynn Shelton's Effortless Brilliance

posted by on October 8 at 1:06 PM

If you haven't seen Stranger Genius Award-winner Lynn Shelton's film My Effortless Brilliance, and you want to, which you should, and you have fancy cable, which I leave entirely up to you, it's available on Video On Demand for four more sweet, funny, effortlessly awkward days.

Michael Atkinson's review:

Mumblecore cries out in the wilderness in this personality-rich, bare-bones ultra-indie, which follows a flabby, narcissistic middle-tier young novelist (ex-Stranger scribe Sean Nelson) as he haplessly seeks to reconnect with a wary and embittered college friend (Basil Harris) in and around a cabin in the forests of Eastern Washington. Any pro-am awkwardness is wittily absorbed by the scenario, but while the performances are all savvy and convincing, Shelton (who splits screenplay credit with her improvving cast) steers entirely clear of drama. Think of it as Old Joy without the seasoning.

Free viewing on your effortless cable TV ends October 11.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Hard Core

posted by on October 7 at 3:42 PM

A few years ago, Eli Sanders wrote for us about Max Hardcore's legal troubles with the Bush administration. Here's the beginning of his feature, which I'll never ever be able to forget:

Here is how Max Hardcore makes his living: He rams his cock into women's mouths until they vomit, and then he sells videos of the encounters. He sells other videos, too, videos that feature his signature contribution to the world of hardcore pornography: a flexible rubber tube that allows women to suck from their own asses the semen or urine he has just deposited there, often very roughly. Are you turned on yet? Hardcore has been accused (but not convicted) of raping a British porn star named Felicity. He also has been accused of misogyny, a charge that seems apt given that many of his videos feature him shouting degrading insults at the women (often dressed as schoolgirls, complete with pigtails and hairless vaginas) who appear in his films. He describes himself as "an American original" and a leader in the field of "sexual mistreatment," and in addition to his novel use of rubber tubing, he claims both to have pioneered the practice of "anal gaping" and to be at the vanguard of "the misuse of medical speculums."

Will the culture suffer in the slightest if this man is prosecuted for obscenity? We may soon find out.

You should read Eli's feature; it's a great primer on obscenity laws and porn. Also, it's relevant now because last Friday, Max Hardcore was sentenced to nearly 4 years in prison. Reverse cowgirl does a fine job of summing up the case so far, and asks a very important question about people who are protecting Max Hardcore's rights to make porn:

...if you're going to talk about how far we've come when it comes to porn, if you're going to posit Paul "Max Hardcore" Little as the latest victim of the Bush administration, if you're going to lament one more strike against your First Amendment rights, you should bear witness as to what a porn star drenched in vomit looks like. Otherwise, you're blind when it comes to the hardcore realities of making porn in the 21st century.

They Uncovered Our Conspiracy!

posted by on October 7 at 12:49 PM

Wonkette points to the An American Carol website. You will recall that yesterday the conservative "comedy" was revealed to be a gigantic fucking flop. Worse than Speed Racer. Much worse than The Happening. Possibly worse than Howard the Duck, when adjusted for inflation.

Of course, this had to be good taste rearing its head, right? Wrong. According to the American Carol website, it's a liberal fraud.

We have had heard from numerous people across the country that there has been some ticket fraud when buying a ticket for An American Carol this past weekend.

Please check your ticket. If you were in fact one of those people that were "mistakenly" sold a ticket for another movie please fill out the form below. Hold on to your ticket so we can have proof.

If you have noticed other irregularities with the theatres in your area please let us know in the comment section below. For instance, Rated R film rating (when in fact we are rated PG-13), posters not being up, not being listed on the marquee, image or focus problems, sound issues, etc.

Please email us a picture of your ticket stub to

We are investigating.

I have two questions:

1) Why is it, if the secret liberal conspiracy controls everything, that George W. Bush has been president for the last eight years?

and, more importantly,

2) Why is it that conservatives always paint liberals as whiners?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Box Office Mo-Joe Sixpack

posted by on October 6 at 11:00 AM

This past weekend at the movies, An American Carol, the conservative "comedy," opened to terrible numbers. According to Box Office Mojo, it came in at number 9:


But still: Oh, no! American Carol came in ahead of Religulous, Bill Maher's documentary about how crazy religion is! Clearly this is a sign of how far-right conservative America has a bigger hold over the Godless elites & etc. Right? Wait a minute...


But American Carol opened in 1,639 theaters across the country, and made $2,325 per theater, on average. And Religulous opened in less than a third of the theaters that American Carol did, and made almost exactly three times as much per theater. Surely this must be due to the liberal elites, and says absolutely nothing about the future of conservative comedy, but this gives me great hope for the future of our country. Wait, what's that up at the top of the box office list?


Um, never mind.

Burn for Obama

posted by on October 6 at 10:41 AM

The movie: Burn After Reading by the Coen Brothers.

Burn After Reading is an astute, brutal comedy about infidelity, modern idiocy, paranoia, and the CIA. Set to thundering action-movie drums, the characters brew immense tempests over the most mundane nonsense.

The price: $25 cash.

The reason: Fundraiser for Obama's swing-state campaigns.

In 2004, George W. Bush won both Florida and Virginia, beating John Kerry by 8 points in Virginia. That state has gone to the Republican Party in every election since 1964, when Lyndon Johnson won and carried all but six states.

The amenities: Drinks, snacks, on-site childcare.


The details: This Thursday, October 9 at 6 pm at Columbia City Cinema. (Movie begins at 7 pm, call 276-5476 with questions.)

The organizer: The famous and historic Sarah Rudinoff.


Friday, October 3, 2008

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on October 3 at 4:26 PM

Opening this week:


The always excellent Sean Nelson reviews Claude Chabrol's pervy May-December manipulation A Girl Cut in Two.

In the land of the Blindness, the one-eyed man is the one with the least amount of feces on him.

Eric Grandy wasn't too into the precious Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist, even with the awkward™ stylings of Michael Cera.

Plus: Find out what Brendan Kiley thought about the Ed Harris-helmed Western Appaloosa; David Schmader's take on How to Lose Friends & Alienate People; and my less than enthused feelings on Bill Maher's Religulous.

In Limited Runs, make sure not to neglect Northwest Film Forum's annual Local Sightings, which kicks off tonight with a super fun party and continues for the next week. Elsewhere, protest primer Chicago 10 and desert island dream The Black Stallion play at SIFF Cinema. The Egyptian has Princess Mononoke at midnight ("I hate him! I hate all humans!"); and the Coen brothers' classic Blood Simple is at Central Cinema.

For everything else, check our Movie Times page.

You Are Not Your Fucking Film Grosses

posted by on October 3 at 3:00 PM

Say, I wonder how the lackluster film adaptation of Choke is doing at the box office? The Cult, Chuck Palahniuk's fansite, has announced a contest:

Clark Gregg and I got on the phone yesterday and decided that we needed to hit the ball out of the park this weekend with the box office numbers on CHOKE. ...if CHOKE doesn't at least crack the top ten in this upcoming weekend's box office, it's chances for being around much longer are slim. What's sad is, CHOKE is competing against movies that opened up in over four times as many theaters. But it's still averaging better than most on a per theater basis! Why? Because it's a great film! And it's one that needs our support! And dammit, that's what we're gonna do!

So Clark and I came up with a way to challenge as many people as we could to go see CHOKE this weekend... with as many people as they can convince to go.


We need everyone reading this post right now to go see CHOKE this weekend. But before you do, we need you to email this post to everyone you know. Contact everyone in your address book. Everyone you work with. All of your family and extended family. Everyone on your MySpace page. Your Facebook page. EVERYONE!!!

If you've already seen it, go see it again. If it's more than 50 miles away from where you live, leave enough time for the drive. If it's out of state, make it your day.

The person who gets the most people to go, gets a character named after them in Chuck's next book. Yes, this is for real. Clark and I spoke to Chuck on the phone yesterday, and he's completely on board with this.

Chuck fan reactions, including accusations of desperation, sheep mentality, and vaselined Michael Jackson glitter gloves, are after the jump:

Continue reading "You Are Not Your Fucking Film Grosses" »

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Blind Rage

posted by on October 1 at 3:54 PM

Defamer reports that the president of the National Federation of the Blind is calling for a boycott of the movie Blindness, which is based on Nobel Prize laureate Jose Saramago's book of the same name. The plot of Blindness, in which everyone in the world goes blind at the same time except for one person, is supposed to be hateful toward blind people somehow:

The National Federation of the Blind condemns and deplores this film, which will do substantial harm to the blind of America and the world. Blind people in this film are portrayed as incompetent, filthy, vicious, and depraved. They are unable to do even the simplest things like dressing, bathing, and finding the bathroom. The truth is that blind people regularly do all of the same things that sighted people do. Blind people are a cross-section of society, and as such we represent the broad range of human capacities and characteristics. We are not helpless children or immoral, degenerate monsters; we are teachers, lawyers, mechanics, plumbers, computer programmers, and social workers.

This movie looks bad on so many levels, but I can't rustle up any sympathy for the NF of the B on this one. And I'm not sure that a boycott of a movie by a group of blind people is going to do much damage to a film's box office receipts.

Remembering Sarah Marshall

posted by on October 1 at 11:55 AM


Back in April, Miz Lindy West reviewed Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Here's a bit of the very funny review:

Segel wrote and stars in Forgetting Sarah Marshall (which was produced by Judd Apatow), the movie that dunked my week in delight and then stuffed it down the fun-time esophageal canal of entertainment. Formulaic to perfection, it's the story of a hapless, harmless musician named Peter (Segel) whose TV star girlfriend, Sarah Marshall (Veronica Mars or whatever), dumps him for the world's Britishest rock 'n' roll longhair.

For some reason—perhaps I was suffering from Apatovian-related film fatigue—I didn't see Forgetting Sarah Marshall in the theater, but it came out on DVD yesterday, and I watched it last night.

Seriously, what Lindy said. I was not prepared for this movie to be so completely charming (and also maybe a little smart.) And I'm kind of glad I didn't see Forgetting Sarah Marshall in theaters, because it's perfect for a night on the couch with popcorn and beer and blankets. It takes a little while for it to warm up, but once things move to Hawaii, the movie stays consistently funny and actually works on developing most of the characters as though it know, a real movie or something. I have seen some very bad romantic comedies this year (Ghost Town, anyone?) and this movie was a just-about perfect antidote to awful, studio-made romcom trash.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

It's About Fucking Time

posted by on September 30 at 4:38 PM


TRICK OR TREAT….This Ain’t the Munsters XXX Hits Streets Today!

Hustler Video’s much-anticipated release, This Ain’t the Munsters XXX finally hits streets today!! If you’re wondering how to celebrate Halloween this year, then look no further…Hustler Video brings you the sexiest and naughtiest Halloween treat with the release of This Ain’t the Munsters XXX!!

“This flick will entertain the cum right out of you. It has it all: spot-on acting, great music, highly detailed sets, believable plot and some hot Munster fucking … One of the most entertaining story porns of all time,” enthuses Evan at

I hate it when Evan at enthuses.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Miracle at St. Anna

posted by on September 27 at 10:28 AM

It didn't make it up in time for This Weekend at the Movies yesterday, but if anyone is wondering about Spike Lee's new WWII drama Miracle at St. Anna, you can now read Charles Mudede's review here:

The pre–civil rights black American soldier is the ultimate contradiction. And Spike Lee is well aware of this; he knows that the men in his new film, four black American soldiers in Italy at the end of World War II, are caught in a complex web of contradictions: black Americans in white Europe, black Americans battling racist Germans for their racist American government. And then there are all of those lonely and lovely white ladies in the Italian villages. Good lord, how can a brother keep his head straight in this most trying of situations?

Friday, September 26, 2008

This Weekend at the Movies

posted by on September 26 at 4:34 PM

Hello! Sorry about the yelling earlier. I can't stay mad at you guys.

Opening this week, regardless of temperature:


I liked the quiet and angry XXY: "Alex's fierce, battered confidence in the rightness of her own body; her father's heartbreaking pronoun confusion; and XXY's gentle refusal to judge anyone's choices (or, more importantly, to force choice on anyone) make it a powerful—and refreshingly sensitive—lesson on modern gender."

Paul Constant calls Choke "an inept, poorly made movie for die-hard Palahniuk fans only."

But he liked Humboldt County slightly better: "Though three-quarters of the film's characters make their living solely from the cultivation of marijuana, there isn't even one fusty pot pun in the whole movie."

Charles Mudede details Year of the Fish's many failures: "Seeing the exploitation of the teenager indirectly (through the thick and colorful lens of a fairy tale—the Chinese version of the Cinderella story) distorts the reality to such an extent that the serious elements (sex slavery, sweatshops, urban loneliness) cannot be taken seriously. What one wants to see instead is an unforgiving, unremitting, and undistorted indictment of global capitalism—a monster that makes life impossible for billions of people every day."

I am here to tell you that The Lucky Ones is weird and dumb: "Daring to ask the question, "What would happen if three tired movie clichés had post-traumatic stress disorder?" the film seems to be based entirely on some screenwriter's precious bon mot: They survived Iraq, but how will they survive on the battleground OF AMERICAN LIFE?!"

And Megan Seling would have enjoyed Eagle Eye, if real life weren't so goddamned scary already: "Any other day, I’d watch it, eat my popcorn, cheer for the good guy, and be done with it. But given my current state of paranoia, I left the theater scared shitless that my cell phone was going to ring and it’d be Dick Cheney trying to 'activate' me."

In Concessions, I wrote about some stupid straight-to-DVD shit.

And in Limited Runs:

Couch Fest Films sounds like fun (see our Suggests page). Northwest Film Forum is hosting the Decibel Festival Optical Multimedia Showcase tonight and tomorrow; Jasper Johns something-or-other Painters Painting starting on Sunday; and, as per usual, the totally fun Sprocket Society Secret Sunday Matinee. Central Cinema has, like, five straight nights of Dirty Dancing. I Vitelloni and Mafioso are playing at SIFF Cinema as part of Festa Italiana; also at SIFF Cinema, Still Life. Late nights are The Host (Egyptian) and Repo Man (Grand Illusion). The Grand Illusion also has The Corporal's Diary, a war documentary. And all weekend long it's the Tasveer Independent South Asian Film Festival at Broadway Performance Hall.

Ta-daaah! Have a lovely weekend, everyone.
Don't forget that you can comment on articles!

Update: And, of course, there's the Port Townsend Film Festival going on all weekend in uber-lovely Port Townsend.

This Weekend at the Movies: Prologue

posted by on September 26 at 2:47 PM

Listen, people. Two weeks ago (after I heard the weather would reach 86 degrees) I opened up "This Weekend at the Movies" with the gentle suggestion that the overheated could enjoy themselves in air-conditioned theaters. Then you got all aggro on me:

Air conditioned theaters? It's 75 degrees outside. Folks need to be outside now; the remaining 10 months of the year when it's 45 and drizzly they can park their big butts in a theater seat and watch a movie.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn | September 12, 2008 8:38 PM

Okay, okay! It was just a suggestion! So the following week, when the weather had turned shitty, I thought I was good to go. I encouraged you all to escape the rain and cuddle up in front of a movie screen. Then this happened:
The weather is perfect. This is the weather I crossed half the country to find. We walked twice as far today because we didn't have any of that spring-break, titty-flashing sun beating down on us. Back when it was all freaking hot I wanted to be inside an air conditioned movie theater, but now? Now outdoors in Seattle is the only place to be.

If you don't love overcast weather, you're crazy to be paying the fortune it costs to live in this market. There a a million sunny places with cheap housing, you know.
Posted by elenchos | September 19, 2008 5:50 PM

Um, dear everyone: Fuck off. Don't want to see movies when it's hot? Fine. No problem. But you ALSO don't want to see movies when it's cold? KINDLY TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK IS THE CORRECT TEMPERATURE AT WHICH TO SEE MOVIES. Then, from here on out, I can avoid offending everyone's delicate climatic sensibilities with my weather-related movie suggestions.

The real "This Weekend at the Movies" coming shortly.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Re: Stud Duties

posted by on September 25 at 11:02 AM

I smell a sequel!

Next Cinema

posted by on September 25 at 11:01 AM

About the director of this short film, MANOJ....

....I have written:

Seattle is in the process of developing a cinematic language of its own. And it is the brave ambition of this new language to be distinct from the one that has been developed by outsiders, by those who look at our city in the way a person looks at a goldfish in a bowl. This kind of look, that of the outsider, can be seen in the new movie Battle in Seattle. Stuart Townsend, the film's director, pictures Seattle in broad, blockish, and general (or generally laughable) terms. We laugh at the depiction of Gary Locke (Seattle as a part/port of the Far East), of a political banner dropped from a construction crane (Seattle as a hub of radical activism), and of the Space Needle (the first and final meaning of Seattle). Countering this general view of our city is a growing local cluster of views, scenes, and scenarios. The primary locus of this counterdepiction has been independent films (the cinema of Lynn Shelton, for example). But there is another locus that deserves our attention, and that is the recent body of hiphop videos produced by Zia Mohajerjasbi.
Zia made MANOJ with local/not local comedian Hari Kondabolu, the star of the short film.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"I Want This Motherfucking Whale Off This Motherfucking Boat!"

posted by on September 23 at 2:00 PM

Ain't It Cool News points to this article in Variety. The director of Night Watch and Wanted is filming a re-imagination of Moby Dick.

The writers revere Melville’s original text, but their graphic novel-style version will change the structure. Gone is the first-person narration by the young seaman Ishmael...This change will allow them to depict the whale’s decimation of other ships prior to its encounter with Ahab’s Pequod, and Ahab will be depicted more as a charismatic leader than a brooding obsessive..."Our vision isn’t your grandfather’s ‘Moby Dick,’ " Cooper said. "This is an opportunity to...tell what at its core is an action-adventure revenge story."

At first blush, I think this has to be a joke, but then I remember the Demi Moore version of The Scarlet Letter, with its happy ending, and I bet this will actually happen.

Rentable Today

posted by on September 23 at 11:04 AM


We got a copy of Leatherheads in the mail a week ago, presumably in anticipation of the movie's release on DVD today. As is now public knowledge (Thanks, Lindy!), I am a huge Clooney whore, but I missed the movie when it was in theaters for three days last year, so I took the DVD home and watched it.

I don't understand exactly how something with so many great ideas behind it can be so very dull. I love screwball comedies. I love con artist movies. I loved George Clooney's other two directorial efforts. I tend to love movies set in Prohibition. But Leatherheads just kind of happened to me and then faded from my memory almost immediately.

Ostensibly the story of an aging football player (Clooney) recruiting a hot young football player (John Krasinski, who did not once look at the camera and raise his eyebrows knowingly—are you too good for us now that you're in a big Hollywood movie, Krasinski? Is that it?) even as he falls in love with a plucky female reporter (Renée Zellweger, who made me miss Jennifer Jason Leigh in the Hudsucker Proxy so much that I hurt inside.) It's also about the debut of rules in football.

There are some really funny moments, and some snappy dialogue here and there, but Leatherheads just kind of sits there for way too long. There aren't nearly enough football scenes—and I say this as someone who hates football, but found the few game sequences in Leatherheads a lot of fun. If Clooney had taken the time to have writers go back over the script and massage some humor into more of the movie, it would've been a great farce. As it is, though, there are lots of tone problems: a scene involving a police raid on an illegal bar turns into a bad Keystone Cops homage, for instance, and a couple of the obligatory character-building scenes drag on forever with no humor or invention. It's the kind of movie you watch when nothing at all is interesting, or you're stuck on the plane with a bunch of bad options. For serious Clooney whores only.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Midnight Meat Train

posted by on September 19 at 5:45 PM

Back in August I trekked out to Federal Way to review The Midnight Meat Train, a Clive Barker brain-smooshing horror movie beset by distribution problems (Lionsgate released it in less than 100 discount theaters nationwide). Needless to say, this experience was traumatic for me:

Listen, horror. I've said it before. I hate literally everything about your genre. I can't abide gore unless it is camp. Cold-blooded skull squishery does not interest me, nor does Ted Raimi's eyeball blasting from its socket, nor does a human strung up and bleeding out like a slaughtered piggy. Nor monsters. It's nothing personal, I just DO NOT WANT IT IN MY AREA.

But I very much respect that there ARE people who want to see Midnight Meat Train on the big screen. And if YOU are one of those people and you just happen to live in Kitsap County, well then, FUCK YEAH! A nice man at the Historic Port Orchard Theater e-mailed me to let me know that they're screening Midnight Meat Train September 19-25. So get thee to Port Orchard, horror fans.

And while we're on the subject, this gives me the chance to correct a woeful mistake. In that column about Midnight Meat Train, I listed a series of "far, far worse horror movies" in which I jokingly referred to the movie Saw II as "Saw II: Back in the Habit."

Clearly, this joke would have been much funnier if I had written, "Saw II: The Legend of Curly's Gold." I apologize for the oversight.