This week’s short film is another music video (I will return to proper short films next week) for Hey Marseilles’s “Heart Beats.” The reason for picking the video is the local cinematographer and current Genius Award nominee Benjamin Kasulke, who helped make it with “Hayley Young, Sean Donavan, Mel Eslyn, Jeremy Mackie, and a zillion others.” In this year’s SIFF, Kasulke’s work can be seen in 2 local productions—Lynn Shelton’s Touchy Feely and Dayna Hansen’s Improvement Club. "Heart Beats” captures Seattle perfectly.
The Hangover, Part III: If you squint, you can see what remains of Zach Galifianakis's self-worth and dignity.
While it's true that The Hangover, Part III doesn't exactly duplicate the plot of the original Hangover, the way the atrocious Part II did, it doesn't bring anything much new to the screen, either. Doug (Justin Bartha) is kidnapped by a mob boss named Marshall (John Goodman), in order to convince the Wolfpack (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis) to chase down Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), who has stolen millions of dollars' worth of gold bars from Marshall. It gets more implausible from there, with a series of heists and stunts and a chase scene or two, all around Tijuana and Las Vegas. I laughed out loud a couple of times—is it telling that the best jokes in the movie have to do with cocaine, I wonder?—but mostly, I just wanted it to be over.
The problem is that it's the same humor as the other two Hangover movies, over and over again. Ken Jeong acts batshit crazy, Zach Galifianakis is inappropriate to just about everyone, and Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms get all the "can you believe this shit" lines, playing the fussy adults who have to chauffeur the hyperactive kids from one set piece to another. But they're not even given character arcs this time, unless you count bugging your eyes out and shouting "ALAN!" over and over again as a symbol of emotional growth.
None of this would matter if there were a lot of crazy humor in The Hangover, Part III, but there just isn't.
The Gang's All Here: "What is this, a table? I can't drive a table!"
I don't think the financial success of the Fast & Furious franchise is entirely attributable to fast cars and cheap thrills. I think a great deal of the movie's appeal at the multiplex comes from the fact that it's the only major summer movie franchise that features a truly multicultural cast. Not only that, these movies are totally blasé about the fact that they star a multicultural cast; nobody is a token character, none of the characters spend time dwelling on their differences. These are highly unrealistic movies—about which more soon—but the cast may be the most realistic set of faces you'll see in a blockbuster all year, if you live in a major American city. Part of the appeal of a Fast & Furious movie, I think, comes from that recognition.
Which is good, because even the most unrealistic movie needs to have some sort of a base of realism on which it can build. And Fast & Furious 6 is one of the most unrealistic movies you'll see this summer. Director Justin Lin, now on his fourth Fast & Furious film, has taken a fairly unassuming street-racing series and made each movie crazier and crazier until finally, with what might be his final entry in the franchise, he has given birth to a whole new genre: Car-fu. Using absolutely no 3D and plenty of what appear to be practical effects (with lots of CGI tossed in for good measure), Lin has become the John Woo of the demolition derby, tossing what feels like a good-sized mall parking lot full of cars around his sets until it becomes a kind of surrealistic ballet. You've got cars crushed by debris. You've got cars skidding daintily on their bumpers, perpendicular to the ground. You've got cars lashed to each other, flying through the air. They pirouette, they dance, they dive, they leap. They fold like origami, they roar, they butt into each other like rivals during mating season.
And the automotive violence rubs off on Fast & Furious 6's human cast, too. When The Rock, as a law enforcement officer named Luke Hobbs, tosses a bad guy around a Moscow interrogation room, it's not a body doing violence to a body. It's one of Lin's automotive crashes, dolled up in human form. Hobbs sends the crook sailing through the air into ceilings and floors and walls, only to pick him up and chuck him again, until he becomes injured and so turns into some sort of a simpering, whining...pedestrian, begging for mercy. And Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto only has one signature move: The flying head butt. Toretto leaps at his target with his whole body, bringing his gigantic, gleaming dome down square on the poor sap with a sickening bludgeoning sound effect. It's not so much a physical assault as it is a hit & run.
The plot—what little there is—calls back to just about every Fast & Furious movie that came before, and so it's a mess to explain.
The men behind Star Trek Into Darkness have thrown us ladies and boner-loving dudes a bone and released a deleted shower scene featuring a sinewy Benedict Cumberbatch in response to the completely justified criticism they've been getting over Alice Eve's gratuitous underwear scene.
Thanks for the pecs, but sexism doesn't work that way. Nakedness doesn't simply cancel out nakedness, and we have no context for the above shot, so we don't know where it fit into the film or why. But what any reasonable viewer who's seen Star Trek Into Darkness does know is that Eve's underwear scene doesn't make sense, even knowing its context. It was gratuitous hot naked lady flesh, pure and simple. As Devin Faraci over at BadassDigest.com explains:
There are a couple of problems with [Eve's] scene. For one thing, there's absolutely no reason for her to be stripping. The movie doesn't even offer the flimsiest of explanations, like having her get radioactive goo on her clothes after examining the torpedos. I honestly don't know why she has to strip down in this moment during this conversation. It's almost like the actions of someone with a mental deficiency.
What irritates me the most is the JJ Abrams's cognitive dissonance in trying to justify his equal-opportunity topless scenes.
To be clear, Abrams admits that Eve's strip scene didn't work as well as he wanted, but he nonetheless defends it: "To me it was a balance—there's a scene where Kirk is topless earlier," he said in an interview with Conan O'Brien. The difference is, Kirk is shot topless, in bed, after he's presumably finished a coital romp with a pair of actual sex kittens. There's justification for him to appear topless. His nakedness, in that context, is a wordless salute to his virility.
Like all blockbusters, Star Trek is a movie stuffed with dudes—dudes who are funny, dudes who are friends, dudes who talk a lot and fight and who convey complex emotions. Struggling to exist amidst these dudes and all their snappy dialogue are two women—Uhura and Eve's character, Carol Marcus—neither of which are afforded the same amount of character development, dialogue, or screen time. And one of those women's biggest moments is posing in her underwear.
That is not equality, it's just fucked up—the kind of fucked up a whole porn's worth of Cumberbatch's pecs wouldn't fix.
Don Jon is a new movie directed by, written, and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a porn addict who gets into a relationship with Scarlett Johansson, who disapproves of his porn consumption. It costars Tony Danza (!?!), and it's packed with New Jersey accents.
Alison Agosti expected to see some weird shit when she attended Nicolas Cage's estate sale. Turns out the first weird and awful thing she saw—a dog peeing blood—turned out to be just about the only weird and awful thing she saw. But the whole report, which just went up at HitFix, is worth reading anyway:
My friend and I walked in, really just prepared for anything. At the very least, a sex dungeon, a secret tea room, SWORDS (I was expecting a lot of swords), but we were greeted only by a small foyer with a lone Egyptian-themed chair and some cardboard boxes. I was already wondering If I should have stayed outside for the conclusion of the blood peeing dog saga. Forward was an expansive living room, and to our right was a small weight room. We chose to go into the weight room first. I want you to know that it smelled exactly like a recently emptied canister of Pringles. Not original either, maybe pizza? Or cheddar? None of the equipment was any newer that maybe the late-80s. An old stationary bike, weights, and a menagerie of boxing gloves (including several pairs with flames, which would be a theme throughout the house). I began to feel a sinking suspicion that while this may have been a house that Cage owned, he certainly didn’t spend much time here.
Go read the whole thing, and then spend the rest of the afternoon daydreaming about the wonders Agosti would have found in a just world.
Officers working an emphasis patrol in Golden Gardens pulled into the park's upper parking lot just after midnight and spotted a crowd of about 40 juveniles cheering on a group of two or three people fighting (although, spoiler alert, it might've been one person fighting themselves).
And that's why our police blotter is the best one in the country.
by Jen Graves
on Tue, May 21, 2013 at 12:41 PM
Courtesy Warner Bros
THICKER, UGLIER, BETTER Leo is becoming Brando by the minute.
After watching Baz Luhrmann's movie The Great Gatsby Saturday night (Paul's review), a local 12-year-old who had insisted even before the film began that it was too long decided to test whether she could read the book in a shorter time than it took her to watch the movie.
The movie lasted 142 minutes. She clocked in at 156. She declared the book better, with the added implication that she should not have been dragged to the movie. Yes, but then she wouldn't have spent her Sunday reading the book. She had to admit this was logical.
A few years ago at On the Boards, a New York theater company performed the entire book while reading it line by line onstage in a production called Gatz, and that took more than six hours. And people loved it.
Paul's written before about folks making time-to-entertainment equations for themselves to determine how much they think things should cost: That, say, a book offers more hours of entertainment than a movie or a play, so it should cost more. I've honestly never thought about it this way, and it seems batty. But everybody's busy, time is at a premium, etc etc (I don't even have time to flesh out this concept in this sentence, for instance), so... do you think time should be money when it comes to movies and books and theater? And if you do, is longer better, or is shorter and more "efficient" better?