Saturday, August 30, 2008

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Back on Track

Wow, have I been neglecting this thing or what? CCT didn't happen, I haven't posted reviews, the last update was a trailer - a week ago.

But you know what? It's my first week at the Film School, so I've been acclimating myself to everything. I'm getting used to everything: classes, parties, filming, the people. It's pretty intense. A lot to handle.

So, let me at least say a few short things about three films I saw weeks and weeks ago.


Hell Ride is an homage to that lost subgenre, the Biker B-movie. Larry Bishop writes, directs, and stars - as Pistolero - in this tale of revenge between rival gangs thirty years after the murder of Pistolero's girlfriend (Julia Jones). Now, I saw this at a drive-in, so I was pretty spoiled (the good way) as far as experiences go. You have to experience a grindhouse flick at a drive-in: it's the way it was meant to be seen. And Hell Ride fucking delivers. True, all the actresses appear to be bit players from cheap pornos, but they serve their purpose well...their sexy, sexy purpose. Everyone's having a good time, hitting the right notes, just being generally awesome. The only distraction, really, is Vinnie Jones' fluctuating accent. But whatever. It's an awesome ride (see what I did there). And, gosh darn it, Larry Bishop is actually a pretty fuckin' good director. ***


Stoner-comedy/buddy-action flick pits a stoner (Seth Rogen) and his dealer (James Franco) against a drug baron (Gary Cole) when one of them witnesses a murder. I'll go so far as to say this was the best comedy of the summer. It's one that you appreciate more and more with each reminiscence. The friendship is sincerely portrayed, and the comedy is HIGH-larious (people, I am giving you pearls here). As for the action. Holy shit. I did NOT expect it to be that violent. Damn. People get shot, stabbed, blown up; blood flows, skulls are crushed, and brains splatter against windows. It's pretty intense, but it never takes you out of the moment. Danny McBride and Craig Robinson are the real scene-stealers here, as a drug dealer and a fey hit man, respectively. Great stuff. ***1/2


Another great comedy that works on a number of levels. It's mega-violent and hilarious, so that works for fans of the action-comedy genre. But you'll get so much more out of this if you're in the know about studio politics in Hollywood. Robert Downey, Jr., is phenomenal as the Australian method actor playing black: sincere and hilarious, with a mastery of accents that calls to mind - for me, at least - Peter Sellers. Ben Stiller is doing his thing, which is great and all that. Danny McBride also appears in this one, and I can't wait for his career to really take off. The man is DYNAMITE. It takes a while for the story to get comfortable; I'd say it's not until the leads are actually "in the shit" that it begins to be worth the $8.00. And Jack Black and Steve Coogan just annoyed me here, a real shame since I'm a fan of both. You know who didn't annoy me, though? Tom Cruise, who absolutely OWNS as a sadistic Hollywood mogul. Sir, you were born to do comedy. And drama. And action. Fuck, is there anything Cruise can't do? Gah. So, yeah, well worth the watch. ***

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