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…)

A Guide to the Red-Band Jennifer’s Body Trailer For People That Don’t Care About Megan Fox’s Boobs
July 7, 2009

Have you seen the red-band trailer for Jennifer’s Body, which sells us Diablo Cody’s teen horror film by emphasizing the cursing and Megan Fox’s boobs?  Oh, and Megan Fox being teasingly “bisexual”?  Maybe it’s me, I can’t help but think Showgirls did the boobs and bisexuality so much better and with so much less Megan Fox.  Fortunately, I think the rest of us (and by rest of us, I mean people lacking an interest in Megan Fox and/or her boobs) still have plenty to be excited about.

For starters, there’s Amanda Seyfried:

amanda seyfried mean girls best

And she’s been the best since her scene-stealing turn in Mean Girls, and it’s simply a matter of time before she finally blows up.  She infinitely appealing and incredibly versatile (I believe her dumb blond every bit as much as her high school outcast), and this could be the breakthrough she deserves.  After all, Jamie Lee Curtis–the original Final Girl–made it big with Halloween.  For those of us who appreciate women or character and substance, she’s the Jennifer’s Body (Final) girl to watch.

And what about a generation’s nostalgia for a certain West-Coast based teen soap?  Jennifer’s Body has got the goods IN SPADES:

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Thanks to Google Image Search, We Can Now Bask in the Weirdness of The Frightened Woman
June 15, 2009

I’m no internet technician, so I can’t attest to understanding the precise ways that a Google image search works, but I do know that often times the results can delight and confuse in equal measure.  Mostly because they make no sense.  

So color me par-for-the-course when a recent search for “frightened woman” gave me this:

frightened woman

Naturally.

A colorful art installations meant to represent the mythical vagina dentata under a search for “frightened woman” is supposed to be representative of a frightened woman?  Frightening, for sure, but hardly frightened.  Or maybe the teeth are like a rattle snake’s rattle, so maybe she is frightened?  I just don’t know.  The lady bits are nature’s great mystery to me, and I fully intend to keep it that way.

But that’s not to say that I won’t still click a link to try and figure out what in the hell is going on, and I’m glad I did.

It turns out that said above image is from a late-60s Italian movie called The Frightened Woman.  According to DVD Times, it’s an erotic exploration of sadomasochism and gender politics set, and the look is apparently steeped in a 60s deco aesthetic.  In other words, it’s trash art with subtitles, and nothing about the movie’s trailer can convince me otherwise:

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Found: Mischa Barton’s Career. Still Missing: Her Appreciation of Solid Food
June 2, 2009

Judging by all available pictures, Mischa Barton is Hollywood’s hardest working actress.  Why?  Because she doesn’t even have time to eat:

mischa barton hungry

Even back in her glory days as both a cast member of The O.C. (best show EVAH!) and the spokesperson for Neutrogena, I always found myself inexplicably compelled to throw bagels at the television screen and screechily demand her to eat something.  But then she died on The O.C., and with the death of Marissa came the apparent death of Ms. Barton’s career.  WRONG!  Bitch is back this fall on the CW, and her new show is the trashtacular The Beautiful Life.  Just feast your eyes on this mess:

If nothing else, I will watch this show in its entire run just to learn Mischa Barton’s stomp walk and head swivels.  Seriously, when I deliver mail at work, I want to STOMP STOMP STOMP over to my coworkers’ desks, give a hungry-hungry-bitchface look as I toss their mail down, HEAD TURN, then STOMP STOMP STOMP away.  Fortunately, though, Mischa and The Beautiful Life aren’t just educational tools on how to be a fierce bitch.  No no, they’re also a lesson in crafting mind-bending drama:

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Werner Herzog’s Made His Showgirls
June 1, 2009

This is Werner Herzog:

herzog

(portrait © Robin Holland)

It’s rather safe to say that he’s one of cinema’s indisputable masters.  He’s made masterworks like Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Fitzcarldo and Grizzly Man.  He’s also a man of his word.  In short, Werner Herzog’s on the short list of the Bestest, and he’s now made Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.  It’s about a cocaine-addicted police officer without any moral scruples and a major case of sailor’s mouth (ruh-roh!), and it stars Nicolas Cage (double, all-caps RUH-ROH!).  This is the trailer, which is not safe for work and will probably have my mother asking me why I get a thrill out of such garbage:

Crimminy crap, such garbage!  But hilarious garbage, to be sure!  There’s no point in even commenting on Nicolas Cage’s performance because we’ve all come to expect him to be consistently, categorically insane.  He has a lucky crack pipe, he hallucinates iguanas, and he fires off his gun so onlookers will leave him be while he has public sex with crack whores.  Nicolas Cage’s officially our generation’s John Wayne, the grand camp jester of histrionic masculinity; he’s brilliant.  I think what’s more important is the rest of this cast.  Serioulsly, y’all, it doesn’t make a damn lick of sense.

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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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Nothing Can Save The Midnight Meat Train From Being an Unmitigated Disaster
May 19, 2009

If by “terrifying,” you mean “terrifyingly lame,” then absolutely, Midnight Meat Train movie poster:

midnight meat train wreck

It’s true that I’ve only myself to blame for sitting through this mess.  Shouldn’t I have known that, with a title like The Midnight Meat Train, it was going to be terrible?  Yes, I totally should’ve.  But, in my defense, there was quite a bit going for it.  For example, it’s based on a short story by Clive Barker, the man responsible for Hellraiser and Candyman, which are easily two of my favorite horror movies ever made.  Then there’s the trailer, and like all good trailers, it makes the movie look far better than it actually is:

This trailers says, “I’m stylishly directed, and although I’m just a trashy splatter flick, at least I’m trashing it up with style to spare.  Also, I’ve got Brooke Shields being a steel-faced bitch!”  While all of these things are essentially true, none of it adds up to being even remotely approaching good.  The performances range from whatever (Bradley Cooper’s obsessed photographed is a self-absorbed vegetarian douchebag that everybody inexplicably wants to help out despite his lack of any discernible talent; I guess these things happen when you’re really, really good looking) to failed camp (Brooke Shields tries to play vampy bitch and just comes off as awkward and stiff) to utterly abominable (Leslie Bibb, in the supportive girlfriend role, is egregiously annoying and a reminder as to why I’ll never bother to dabble in bisexuality).  Even Vinnie Jones, whose stern face and hulking size at least lend him some sort of presence, is left to do nothing but look threatening when he’s not killing people.  Then again, The Midnight Meat Train isn’t worried so much about characterization or performance as it is with staging the most over-the-top (and certainly inappropriate for the faint of heart and my mother) death scenes I’ve seen in some time:

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What Do We Learn From Watching Frontier(s)? Horror is Not a Strong Suit of Contemporary French Cinema
May 18, 2009

I’m not entirely certain who’s trying to make French horror the next big thing, but I really hope they get it out of there system, ‘cos they need to quit it like a bad habit.  Don’t get me wrong.  The French have got an incredible cuisine and a rich film history, so they’ve done everything right in my book.  Hell, they even gave us the wonderfully creepy and surreal Eyes Without a Face, so it’s not that the French are simply incapable of making any decent entries in the genre.  That doesn’t stop Frontier(s), though, from being a near disgrace to both its genre and nation.  It’s seriously, totally stupid.

frontiers dumb

It should, of course, be noted that Frontier(s) isn’t even the first misstep the French have recently taken in trying to develop their own take on the horror genre.  High Tension was stupid and had the most shenanigansiest (and misogynistic and homophobic) ending of all time, and Inside had a preposterously ridiculous final act and an entirely different (yet nevertheless problematic) set of gender politics.  Now, having seen Frontier(s), I feel relatively confident in concluding that one of contemporary French horror’s defining traits is an obligation to plummet into the depths of absurdity in their final act.  Fortunately (?) for Frontier(s), director Xavier Gens is clearly an aspiring auteur, so he logically ups the ante by starting at ridiculous and then descending into batshit insanity and ham-fisted “political” commentary.  Or, in the simply words of the interwebs: HORROR MOVIE FAIL, Monsieur Gens.

The plot in Frontier(s) involves four Middle Eastern French youths fleeing Paris with a bunch of money they stole during riots that occurred over the election of a conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy.  They’re Middle Eastern because that’s how this movie discusses racial issues in France, which is by not actually saying anything at all beyond “Mon dieu, France has racial tension!”  In a similarly subtle political analysis, the backwoods family our protagonists come across are Nazis, because the fascist genocide of the Nazi party is precisely the same as Sarkozy’s politics.  But beyond Frontier(s) being the sort of hyperbolic and reactionary allegory that seems clever and insightful (if you’re taking your daily dose of idiot pills), it’s also pretty inept on the most basic of levels.

 Any movie that lackadaisically plagiarizes  a bevy of recent horror films for its middle act [The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (the remake!), The Descent, and Hostel] to mask its lack of originality pay homage to the genre is automatically setting itself up for failure, but you’ve never seen a movie so wildly derail itself until you’ve seen the ending of Frontier(s).   While most of the movie is your standard captured-by-sadistic-yokels-in-the-isolated-countryside, the ending is a karo-syrup-drenched action movie in which (among the insanities) one Nazi gets a table saw through the chest, and the  final girl conveys her “shock” by convulsing around like an epileptic crack-whore doing the shimmy shakes ‘cos she needs of a fix to convey her “shock.”  Seriously, if it wasn’t for the fact that so much lazy and laborious nothing came before it, I’d totally be behind the unhinged insanity of the finale, but it is, so I’m not.  

It also must be noted that this movie does contain cannibalistic cave children who’re the product of too much Nazi inbreeding.  And did I also mention that the final girl is in a blood-soaked wedding dress?  And that she BITES A CHUNK OUT OF NEO-NAZI’S NECK?  That’s not a spoiler, by the way, that’s just me saying that in the tradition of ridiculous endings that seems to define French horror, this is some truly epic bullshit.  It’s a finely aged Gruyère of totally trashy, over-the-top gore cinema.

It’s just a pity that the rest of the movie is so très horrible.

Let’s Build the Ultimate Netflix Queue of Insanity! I Need Netflix Suggestions, STAT!!!
April 30, 2009

netflix

A bit over a year ago I finally started making use of my Netflix account after I realized I had the same copy of In the Mood for Love for an embarrassingly long amount of time.  I sent it off, updated my account, and got to work on crafting a queue that’d constantly keep me excited about what was coming next in the mail.  No such freakin’ luck.

The first problem with Netflix, it should be noted, is that there’s just too much selection for a person like me.  I struggle making decisions at a Starbucks, let alone a Blockbuster, so Netflix is a bonafide nightmare.  My logical response?  Put everything in the queue.  

Movies I saw once at Virgin Megastore that piqued my interest for two seconds?  In the queue.  That one movie with that one actress from several years ago that got reasonably decent reviews?  In the queue.  Netflix’s suggestion on something I might like when I put another suggestion of theirs in my queue after I selected a movie with Julianne Moore?  You guessed it: in the queue.

Needless to say, I had a full queue–yes, 500 selections–within three days.  Because I’m ridiculous.  And, quite naturally, within a few months time I’d gone from voracious DVD consumption to my standard “Whoops, I still have that, don’t I?” mode.

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As a Fellow Theatergoer Was Overheard to Observe, I Can Attest to the Following: Obsessed is Definitely NOT Whack
April 28, 2009

If anything, Obsessed is something of a small miracle.  Hollywood seems to love producing mirthless crap on a daily basis, so much so to the point where you point where one might think that Hollywood’s only business is producing joyless cinematic equivalents to pond scum.  But such is most certainly not the case with Obsessed.  Is it bad?  No doubt.  Terrible?  Quite possibly.  But I liked it, nay, loved it:

obsessed-ring-on-it

Obsessed is, to be certain, a terrible movie.  The acting is at very best vampy sexpot camp (Ali Larter) and the inimitable brand of steely faced, bitch-please crazy that Beyonce has elevated to a minor art, yet it’s in other places rather tepid (Idris Elba’s performance seems rather befuddled, almost as though he hired by simply wandering onto the set) or head-scratchingly absurd (Jerry O’Connell’s horndog schtick seems to have been beamed in from another planet).  

The screenplay is an impressive black hole for logic and character motivation.  Beyonce’s the dream wife because the movie says so.  Ali Larter gets obsessed because the movie says so.  The cop doesn’t believe that Ali Larter’s wearing the least seductive pair of business casual crazy pants because the movie says so.  Showgirls infamously asked that you leave your inhibitions at the door.  Obsessed demands you to do the same with you deductive reasoning skills.

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What Sort of Insanity Will Obsessed Be?
April 23, 2009

Well, if the content of this clip allows us in any way to preemptively make a call on it, I’m going to qualify Obsessed in the category of “insaniest insanity”:

This is obviously the tip of the iceberg, but it’s already quite clear that catfight climax of Obsessed is going to be one for the ages.  If a lamp is part of the makeshift weaponry this early in the game, you know it’s going to get more absurd (and therefore incredible) as the scene goes on. 

I’m also glad to see that Beyonce’s performance is more Sasha Fierce than Foxxy Cleopatra.  She really has quite a wonderful plethora of I’m-gonna-cutta-bitchfaces.  I hope she explains the nuanced differences in a commentary track or special feature on the dvd!  

And, judging from the next clip, it’s nice to know that Ali Larter is really quite consistent when delivering her balls-to-walls ridiculous performance.  A particularly magical moment starts at 1:28:

“Make it filthy” needs to become my new cellphone ring.  I’m pretty convinced that Ali Larter needs to be my best friend, provided that she stays in character whenever we hang out.  Every new clip is like a different Pokemon of batshit insanity, and I’ve just got this overwhelming urge telling me I’ve gotta catch them all.  And, oh, shall I ever.

An instant camp classic is soon among us!  Obsessed is out tomorrow, y’all!

PS: I tingle as the waves of profundity wash over me when he pontificates about Ali Larters character by suggesting, “In a way, she’s monstrous.”  Can we please give this movie’s director an honorary PhD in Film Studies from Le Duh University?

This Viral Marketing Campaign Seals the Deal: I Absolutely Must See Obsessed on Opening Night
April 2, 2009

It’s no secret that I can’t wait to see Obsessed.  I’ve long enjoyed watching Ali Larter since her days in The House on Haunted Hill and Final Destination, and I’m quite serious that I believe this movie will make her a camp icon for a generation of the gays.  She’s like the Gina Gershon to Beyonce’s Elizabeth Berkley.  Now theres a new viral marketing campaign for the movie, Get Obsessed With Ali, and it’s totally set my camp sensors off.

All you do is upload a photo, answer a few simple questions from a list of preselected answers, and then the site generates a personal message from Ali’s totally crazy stalker character, Lisa.  It’s so simple, I can even do it:

obsessed-with-ali1

Ruh-roh!  Looks like Ali Larter’s my batshit insane stalkerriffic fag hag!  I hate it when that happens (I’m totally lying when I say that).

Beyond simply being a total pleasure to watch Ali’s eyes burn like a the flaming pyre of a warehouse of Levi’s bootcut crazy jeans burning to the ground, the ending is an absolute LOL-bomb, y’all.  Make sure you’ve just peed before you you make your own Get Obsessed With Ali video; you might otherwise wet yourself.

If this site is any indication, then Obsessed is well aware of the trashopalooza that it is.  April 24th will clearly be the campiest day of this month, and I’m painfully giddy in anticipation.  You should be too.

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.

I Don’t Get It. Is Inglourious Basterds a Bad Comedy?
February 12, 2009

Apparently this is what all the kids are talking about, so I guess I need to talk about it?  Inglourious Basterds is a movie, after all.  I’d rather not. This trailer does speak for itself, after all.

Really?  I haven’t seen war until I’ve seen it through Quentin Tarantino’s eyes?  ‘Cos his eyes look terrible.  It’s all bad Brad Pitt southern accents and exploitation levels of violence against Nazis because, as the trailer reminds us, “Nazis ain’t got no humanity.”  So much truth, Mr. Tarantino. You should write the definitive history book on the rise and fall of Nazi Germany.  After all, black-and-white conceptualizations of a complex historical moment are infinitely more accurate than the complicated moral ambiguity of having to sacrifice your humanity in order to safely live under a fascist regime.  Awful is the new shades of grey.  Duh.

Oh yeah, and Adolph Hitler was nothing more than a silly clown.  I forgot!

Admittedly, I’m not the biggest Tarantino person.  I find his personality, whenever he’s placed in front of a camera, to be as irritating as a diaper rash.  I’ve never seen Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction, and I get that his whole schtick is a post-modern pastiche of various high- and low-genre film tropes.  That’s just fine.  The Kill Bill movies are an enjoyable and interesting kung-fu/western/women’s film mash-up anchored by an excellent Uma Thurman, a smartly self-aware script, and some wickedly violent black comedy.    Maybe it’s just a poorly constructed trailer, but Inglourious Basterds looks like it’s missing the mark in a RUH-ROH! sort of way.  

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