Glorious News! Rena Riffel’s Showgirl Will Be the Showgirls Sequel/Remake/Somethingorother of Our Penny/Hopes and Dreams
March 4, 2010

Showgirls: The Return may purport to be the sequel to the greatest movie of all time (because it adds “The Return” to the end of the title), but if the extended trailer’s any indication, that doesn’t mean I have to treat this half-cooked sauerbraten like its canon:

What have you done, Marc Vorlander?  Sure, I haven’t seen this many boobs-per-minute since the last time I watched Showgirls (January 16, 2010, but who’s counting?), which I guess counts as a step in the right direction, but everything else about this trailer is a turgid art-house hot mess.  A Showgirls sequel shouldn’t look boring, but this looks BORING.  Even worse, I don’t see any Rena Riffel, and we were promised Rena Riffel!  Seriously, universe, is there no Penny/hope for a Showgirls follow-up that lives up to the original?

Oh wait, there is:

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Internet Spoilers: 1, Orphan Ad Campaign: A Bajillion
July 8, 2009

Well, if this internet commenter’s supposed spoiler is to be revealed, lil’ oprhan Esther’s secret is out of the bag, and it’s even more batshit insane than I could’ve ever anticipated.  I won’t explicitly discuss the details, but I’ll say this: It’s honestly such an impressively thought-out, completely out-of-nowhere sort of twist that I believe it.  And want to see this movie immediately so I can confirm its validity.  Not since the phrase “non-religious identical twin stigmata” has an ending scaled such heights of so-bad-it’s-brilliant absurdity.   Seriously, y’all, it’s so damn trashtastically awful that it’s pretty much seals the deal: Orphan is destined for of camp/cult/bad horror movie greatness.  

On one hand, if it’s true, I’ll be terribly disappointed to not have such a wonderfully gonzo revelation dropped in my lap in the final moments of the film.  But on the other hand:

orphan secret

No, poster, obviously the interwebs cannot keep a secret.  In the age of the internet, nobody can keep their trap shut to save their damn life, and it’s a rather brilliant move on the part of Orphan‘s marketing campaign to sell a film all around a climactic narrative reveal in a time where spoilers are all but anticipated.  When you think about it, it’s a clever spin on an old advertising tradition. (more…)

Bestest or Bad Idea?: MoMA’s Tim Burton Retrospective
June 15, 2009

Did you hear the breaking science news?  The Museum of Modern Art’s developed a nuclear-grade nostalgia bomb: on November 22nd, they plan to drop a career-wide Tim Burton retrospective, after which scores of movie lovers will be indubitably reduced to smoldering piles of enthusiastic screams and hyperventilation.  Really, every day at the MoMA will look like this:

janet-leigh-pyscho-squeee

My breath is quickening, my hands are shaking, and my ears are already bleeding from my anticipatory shrieks!  It’s just.  Too.  MUCH!  GYAH!!!

(…sorry ’bout that.)

Anyways, it’ll feature over 700 pieces (ranging from illustrations to film props and beyond), as well as a retrospective film series, so MoMA’s also discovered the way to beat the recession.  An exhibition this elaborate is going to inspire pilgrimages from the world over, and I highly imagine NYC is going to have to go on Nerd Alert: High ’til April 26th.  I be up on this exhibit like an ornate pattern on Nomi Malone’s fingernails, natch, yet I can’t help adding a splash of Maybeline’s “Conspicuously Cautious” to my Excitement nails.

It’s certainly spectacular to have Tim Burton’s work get such prestigious treatment.  He’s built a career on channeling his darkly whimsical imagination into camp, kitsch, and pop sensibility.  His moviess have a distinct look, and his stories frequently center around the Other as misunderstood protagonist.  He’s parlayed awkward-kid status into an career that transcends niche.  For those of us who were sympathetic to characters’ alienation, Burton built us a home that wasn’t erected in the seedy back alleys of nigh-forgotten cult; we got the warm flicker of celluloid and the buttered-popcorn scent of the multiplex.  Can any other contemporary filmmaker claim such success?  I think not, so YAY!

Plus, let’s not forget that whole film retrospective.  Like most all movies, his filmography will play better on the big screen, but I think a few are particularly well-suited.  Like Batman Returns:

Inspiredly insane performances by Danny DeVito and Christopher Walken?  A Batman movie about a nefarious business man and a twisted scheme to kill Gotham’s first-born children?  The sublime camp pleasure of Michelle Pfeiffer’s vixen-bitch Catwoman?  The undeniable batshit insanity that this was all squeezed into a studio-funded, action-figure shilling summer blockbuster?  Yes, my dears, the 90s were littered with Hollywood’s strange decisions, and Batman Returns was one of the strangest for sure.

But Mars Attacks! probably takes the strange cake:

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Rejoice! Powder Blue is Out on DVD Today!
May 26, 2009

I woke up this morning with an extra spring in my step and a renewed sense of hope for the world.  It’s safe to say that we all know why:

powder-blue

YESSSSSS!!!  After what’s seemed like an eternity of waiting, Powder Blue has finally made it’s way to DVD!  

Today feels just like Christmas, which–seeing as Powder Blue is set on Christmas Eve–is totally fitting.  Only it’s much better than Christmas because we’re getting Forest Whitaker begging a tranny prostitute to kill him, Lisa Kudrow sharing her tips to a successful diet, and a whole bunch of Jessica Biel’s ACTING.  And her dirty pillows.  Mostly, though, we’re getting Jessica Biel’s ACTING, which apparently involves her being addicted to cocaine (naturally…because she’s a stripper) and pouring candle wax on her ta-tas (naturally…because she’s a stripper).  In other words, Powder Blue is the classiest, most seriously artistic endeavor cinema has ever seen.  EVER.  Thank you, Timothy Linh Bui.

Don’t even bother Netflixing this mess, y’all.  We may be in a recession so blah blah blah fiscal responsibility blah blah blah, but that doesn’t mean you can’t afford the small pittance it’ll cost on Amazon.  Seriously, $12.99 (plus shipping and handling, ‘cos I know you want this mess overnighted) is a bonafide bargain if it’s supporting the beginning of Jessica Biel’s inevitable career as a camp icon.  This is her Showgirls, y’all, and she’s Powder Blue‘s Elizabeth Berkley.  And don’t even bother feigning your best surprise face: I’ve already got my copy next to me.

So I hope you prepare yourself, people.  I’m about to bring the Powder Blue love out like it’s my blog job, and that’s a blog promise.  I hope you like batshit crazy, because that’s all I’ll be serving for quite a while.

And, lastly, if you came here looking for Jessica Biel’s boobs and are disappointed to instead find a distinct lack of said boobs, allow me to redirect you here.  There you go.  Biel boobs to warm your heart and nourish your inner aspect.  You’re welcome.

From Beginning to End Proves Brazilian Cinema Does It Better
May 23, 2009

The less said about this trailer for From Beginning to End (Do Começo ao Fim) the better, other than it’s certifiably the most ridiculous thing I’ve encountered in quite some.  Just watch it and remember that this is an actual movie and an actual story that people felt committed to tell because they see it as having serious, artistic merit.  Also, before you click play and watch this, prepare to have your brain melt and then spew out through your ears.  Seriously, you’ve been warned:

Ermmm….neat?  And also, HUH???

Perhaps this is simply an example of a movie that touches on a taboo that I can’t even wrap around my head, but I’m willing to bet that the large majority of the world would equally agree with my sentiments that this is kinda creepy.  I could even see this movie as trying to be more a metaphor for the broader socially forbidden love of homosexuality, but that doesn’t really work because we don’t need an extra layer of uncomfortable icing on our sexual taboo cake.  Homosexuality still holds enough of a taboo in mainstream film to where it’s pretty a shortcake: you just add some strawberries (like being a cowboy in Brokeback Mountain) and then serve.  From Beginning to End is too much of everything, though, and so it looks like it’s a multi-tiered cake of various taboos that’ll inevitably collapse in on itself.

That said, I totally appreciate any movie that’s seeking to confront what we perceive as right and wrong in order to make us evaluate our moral codes and social fabrics.  I could and should be capable of treating this movie as a serious endeavor that demands an intelligent, open-minded  discussion about cultural sexual mores, but instead I just keep replaying this trailer in awe of how–in spite of its polished direction and competent performances and attractive male leads and Philip Glassian score (and I do so love my Philip Glassian scores, y’all)–this movie looks so epically trashy!

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The Boycott Against the Videodrome Remake Begins Today! Long Live the New Boycott!
April 27, 2009

In the past weeks, I’ve oh so gradually begun to rethink my initial and total disgust at the prospect of a Nightmare on Elm Street remake, in large part because of the rather inspired casting of Jackie Earle Haley as Freddy Krueger.  I still remain hesitant, of course, but I’m willing to lay off the knee-jerk backlash for a moment in favor of (incredibly) cautious optimism.

This reaction, however, will never ever EVER be the case with the just-announced Videodrome remake that’s to be written by Ehren Kruger, the man responsible for both some pretty damn good (Arlington Road, The Ring) and really damn dreadful (Reindeer Games, The Ring Two) movies.  I already feel thoroughly confident in saying that this remake will firmly fall into the latter camp.  I mean, just consider this tidbit that Variety reported on the remake:

The original “Videodrome” starred James Woods as the head of Civic TV Channel 83, who makes his station relevant by programming “Videodrome,” a series that depicts torture and murder that transfixes viewers.The new picture will modernize the concept, infuse it with the possibilities of nano-technology and blow it up into a large-scale sci-fi action thriller.

Neat.  Because despite it being one of the most fascinating and ambivalent takes on media and technology and sex and violence in modern culture, I totally forgot that—since it was released in 1983–Videodrome clearly has absolutely nothing to say about our current moment.  It really might as well be about people in Victorian England, or maybe the Stone Age.  Really, just look at this:

Yikes!  Looks like David Cronenberg got it all wrong the first time.  Videodrome obviously can only interesting as a “large scale sci-fi action thriller.”  Movies with any restraint and minimalism are sooo booooooring.  So are practical special effects.  The only way to make Videodrome interesting or relevant is through CGI and explosions. Universal is clearly right with this remake, and I’m just a dunderhead who writes total nonsense!

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Powder Blue Looks Like the Train-Wreckiest Train Wreck
April 3, 2009

Look out, Elizabeth Berkley!  If the trailer for Powder Blue is any indication whatsoever, it looks like Jessica Biel’s in the running for Worst Performance as a Stripper.  I’m usually capable of withstanding large amounts of awful for the sake of good camp, but even I don’t know if I can make it through this mess.  Seriously, y’all, this movie looks terrible, and not in the fun way:

Admittedly, this movie will inevitably find an audience regardless of whether or not it’s campalicious because it’s already getting major press as the movie where Jessica Biel strips.  Given that I could care less for boobs, though, all I’m gonna get is a whole lot of overwrought seriousness.  This movie looks like it wants to be sooooooo serious with all its fragile, damaged characters that are supposed to reflect the frustrations and isolations that come with living in this day and age.  

Jessica Biel is a disenchanted stripper with a sick son and a good heart.  Forest Whitaker is a suicidal ex-priest who wants a tranny prostitute to shoot him.  And then there’s odd the mortician who’s just lonely and awkward and totally not a serial killer.  And let’s not forget Patrick Swayze, who looks like a tranny prostitute but apparently isn’t.  The characters are SERIOUS, y’all.  It’s nothing but 😦 all around for these guys.

Oh, and how could I forget the completely dialogue dialogue imbued with the glimmer of hope all serious movies need as they dissect the human condition:

Sad-faced stripper: When tomorrow comes, everything’s going to be okay.

Not-a-serial-killer mortician: Everything’s going to be okay.

Somehow, I don’t think it will be.  Powder Blue will still be on your resume.

I shouldn’t get too mean, though.  I’m not saying that this movie looks good or even enjoyably bad, but that doesn’t mean it’s not being moved to the top of my Netflix queue as we speak.  I’m just saying.

Holy Moses, Rena Riffel is the Truffaut of Actresses-Who-Play-Strippers/Hookers-Turned-Directors!
February 25, 2009

So yesterday, while I was searching for clips from Showgirls to include in my post about Slumdog Millionaire (isn’t that just always the case?), I stumbled upon this:

Sweet mercy!  What sort of batshit insanity is this?

In case you didn’t know, Rena Riffel has a small role in Showgirls as Penny/Hope, the new girl at the Cheetah.  She’s rather amazing in her own right, but Trasharella looks as though it’ll totally take the amazing cake.   

I normally tend to avoid deliberate camp because it always lacks the unaware charms of unintentional camp.  From Plan 9 from Outer Space to I Know Who Killed Me, great camp comes entirely from its sincerity in trying to be something other than terrible; anybody can intentionally make a bad movie, but only a certain crazed brand of genius still finds beauty in the cinematic train wrecks they’re masterminding.  Judging from the trailer, Trasharella appears to be channeling that genius in spades.

This is, after all, a movie that contains musical numbers, magic lipstick, and a vampire being killed by a woman brandishing a Barbie crucifix.  Awful or astounding?  

I’m going with astounding.  Simply astounding. 

I think we all know what has to be done.  I.  Can’t.  Wait.

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