Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang – Movie Review (***)

(Originally posted on on 11-19-05)

Shane Black… Wow, how long has it been since that name was on a movie? One of original big pay day screenwriters. He wrote Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, The Last Action Hero, The Long Kiss Goodnight and The Monster Squad. He was the superstar screenwriter of the moment. He even had a featured role in Predator. And then he just fell off the map. Disappeared. Nothing for years. And now he just kind of reappears out of nowhere as both writer and director with a fully formed movie starring two other former celebrities that seemed to have never lived up to their potential. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang is a smart revisionist nourish action/mystery/comedy with a modest amount of action, a modest amount of mystery and the best comedy dialogue in a straight up movie in a long time.

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District 9 – Movie Review

(Originally posted on on 8-24-09)

I think the best way I can kind of level set this whole conversation and get my overall take on District 9 out there is to say that the story and the acting is on about a par with a Syfy Channel Original. It is cast with a number of mid-level charismatics/unknowns that wouldn’t be able to open a major big budget movie on their own. It starts in pseudo documentary style and then pops in and out of that format as needed in order to drive the plot forward.

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Hairspray – Movie review (***1/2)

(Originally posted on on 7-29-7)

Ok, I will admit right up front that I am only passingly familiar with the original John Waters movie on which the Broadway musical (and thus by extension this film version of the musical) was based, and even though I can hold my own in a casual film geek conversation that involves John Waters movies, I really can’t pull off an in depth critical conversation of his filmography. I have no real excuse other than to say that during that period in my life when Waters was making his cross over from truly independent film to more mainstream type fair I was busy watching independent foreign horror and martial arts movies (not much different than what I do today). Having said that, based on how sweet and fun the story was for this movie, I might go back and revisit the whole Waters’ oeuvre.

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Flash Fiction Story: Free Bird by Ben Fuller

The sun rested lightly on the horizon. Billy adjusted his left hand on the neck, and then reached down with his right hand to double check the cable connection and took in a deep calming breath. The pleasant rumble of the assembling crowd drifted up to his ears on the warm summer breeze.

Sometimes he felt like this was the only moment that mattered, this was the moment for which he kept on living. He generally felt that right now, as he heard Petey off to the side swearing under his breath trying to get the generator to kick over, as Layla smiled sweetly at all the locals dropping off food and then finding a place to throw out a blanket on the thick grass.

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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – Book Review (***)

(Originally posted on on 7-19-05)

JK Rowling is an extremely blessed writer. She wrote a book (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) that became the cornerstone to what has, in effect, become a publishing phenomenon. The series of books are pretty much the ink and paper equivalent of the Star Wars series of movies, and the fan base is just as devoted. With the release of each new book, publishing records fall and new ones are set and Ms Rowling becomes increasingly more financially stable. Added to this, however, are the increased expectations for her to deliver more – bigger and better adventures, twists, characterizations – upon which, to this point and for the most part, she has pretty much been able to deliver. But this is all academic. You already know this.

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Aeon Flux – Movie Review (**)

(Originally posted on on 12-17-05)

Aeon Flux is a bit of a conundrum to review as far as a movie goes. It is a big screen adaptation of an all flash over substance cartoon in which a scantily clad female assassin jumped through body contorting physical stunts in the pursuit of her quarry only to die at the end of each episode. And, oh yeah, each installment only lasted 2 minutes. And it was made for MTV – Music Television. You know, the place where intellectual depth is prized above all else, unless, of course there is the option of shaking your booty or spring break fashion show concerts or pretty much anything else sparkly that would catch the eye of an average attention deficit 15 year old. And did I mention she was scantily clad. Really scantily clad. I mean “electrical tape” scantily clad.

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Land of the Dead – Movie Review (**1/2)

(Originally posted on on 6-27-05)

George Romero (the original Night of the Living Dead) was one of the early pioneers of independent cinema. A number of our most successful contemporary filmmakers got their inspiration from his example. More than that, though, he has always been a restless intellect that has used the blood tinged palate of the horror genre to comment on the wider world as he sees it. With each installment in this de facto series of “Living Dead” films he has consciously and actively strived to up the ante, both in the gore quotient as well as in the subtext. In this sub-genre of horror films that he, in essence, created, Romero has always aspired to be Socrates while everyone else has struggled to be Tony Robbins. He has been out of the picture for way too long and it is heartening to see him back on the scene. Unfortunately, his triumphant return to Zombie Zen and Mayhem falls a little bit short of its full potential.

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Rescue Dawn – Movie Review

(Originally posted on on 6-29-07 approximately)

I find Werner Herzog an endlessly intriguing filmmaker. He has solidly commercial instincts and ability, but he rarely goes for the easy film sell. If you just look at his filmography ( you get the sense of a very particular artist with very particular tastes and a well entrenched point of view that he uses to inform all of his work. If he wanted he could work regularly in Hollywood at the Sidney Lumet/Sydney Pollack level of director (the level where A list stars like to hang out for those big Academy Award nominations and recognition – or at least used to during the 80s and 90s), however, he rarely does. That is why Rescue Dawn is such a treat. I just wished I hadn’t researched the real story it is based on after seeing it. Now I am second guessing everything I have ever thought of the acclaimed filmmaker.

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