director: Liam Lynch
starring: Jack Black, Kyle Gass, Lee, Dave Grohl
Jables and Rage Kage chronicle their rise to power in The Pick of Destiny, a movie that cements their status as the Greatest Band in the World. But they weren’t always such a band, as it took countless hours of rock squats, cock push-ups, bong hits, gig simulations and sleeping ’til the crack of noon to perfect their art. The Pick of Destiny documents the bandmates’ first meeting and the formation of their rock band, Tenacious D. Their search for the titular Pick of Destiny is fraught with all manner of peril and hardship, to the point that the band is almost broken up. Along the journey, they meet up with Sasquatch, get chased by cops, flee from a crazy old man with a limp and a blade, and draw down with Beelzebub himself. It’s a raucous, profane ride through rock & roll hilarity.
If the references in the above paragraph aren’t familiar to you, however, you’re going to have problems with the movie. It’s tailor-made for those audiences already familiar with Tenacious D and their work, a band that’s been around for close to 15 years now. A brief primer on their history: formed by two members of UCLA’s Actor’s Gang theater troupe, Tenacious D was a rock/comedy act that got their start in local clubs in the LA area, rapidly rising in prominence to the point they got a series of HBO shows before touring around the States and finally releasing a full-length album in 2001 (the fantastic, self-titled Tenacious D), along with a DVD. A bit of their work: Tribute | Explosivo | Wonderboy.
Continue reading “Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny | B+”
director: Christopher Nolan
starring: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie
Every great magic trick consists of three acts. The first act is called “The Pledge;” the magician shows you something ordinary, but of course…it probably isn’t. The second act is called “The Turn;” the magician makes his ordinary something do something extraordinary. Now if you’re looking for the secret…you won’t find it; that’s why there’s a third act called, “The Prestige.” This is the part with the twists and turns, where lives hang in the balance, and you see something shocking you’ve never seen before.
Real magic. It does exist. It exists in the smile of a woman you make laugh for the first time; it exists in a song that touches you on some deep, emotional level you never knew existed; it exists in the sunrise over the ocean on a still morning; it exists in movies that can transport you to another time and place, taking you on a ride through endless possibilities.
If you got past that whimsical introductory paragraph without closing your browser, thank you; let’s move on. For future reference, if I see a film ad with “Directed by Christopher Nolan” in the credits, sign me up. The director of Memento, Insomnia, and Batman Begins has worked his magic again with The Prestige.
Centering on a friendship-turned-rivalry between two up and coming magicians in London, The Prestige is structured much like the standard magician’s trick, as so wonderfully outlined by their mentor, Cutter (Michael Caine) in the quote opening this review. We open with two magicians yearning for something more than assisting what they view to be a second-rate magician and coming up with better tricks (The Pledge). One ill-fated and tragic trick ends up dividing the two early on in the flick, leaving them to pursue careers in magic their own way, which soon turns into a heated and often deadly competition between the two as the film progresses (through The Turn). I won’t go into too much detail about the movie’s Turn and Prestige, because that would spoil the “trick.”
Continue reading “The Prestige | A-“
director: Martin Campbell
starring: Daniel Craig, Eva Green, Mads Mikkelsen, Judi Dench
James Bond is back, albeit not quite in the way you’d expect. Gone is the debonair charm and wit that has been the British super-agent’s trademark; gone are the multitude of amazing gadgets produced by tech specialist Q; gone are the fancy cars that fire missiles out of engines and oil slicks out of tail pipes. Casino Royale introduces us to a Bond at the dawning of his development before he transforms that wise-cracking rogue. Unfortunately, the writers and producers don’t take the idea of a franchise “reboot” seriously enough, and I think the Bond movies will be right back to what they were before the next time around.
That isn’t to say the newest Bond, played by Daniel Craig, doesn’t have a good one-liner or two, but the focus this time around is more on his role as a “blunt instrument” of Her Majesty’s intelligence organization, MI6. This is a brutal, unrelenting Bond who shoots first and fires quips later, resulting in an altogether different tone from other Bond films of the past.
Beginning with his first two kills (and thus earning Bond his “double-oh” status), the filmmakers set that tone with atmospheric black and white, looking more film noir than action blockbuster. It serves as a sobering introduction to the British agent, and his stark brutality is a wholly appropriate reminder of just what his job is–it’s not to simply play cards and bed women across the globe–he’s a sanctioned killer, pure and simple. We’re reminded of this throughout the film, and it results in a very different-feeling Bond film, a change I welcome with open arms. The Bond films had begun to get stale in the past several outings, each one trying to top the previous in terms of explosions and chases and one-liners, and while they may have done well at the box office, they really were nothing more than forgettable popcorn flicks.
Continue reading “Casino Royale | A-“
Yeah, this is about as good as it gets…
I’m not going to give this a long, exhaustive analysis, because it’s worthy of neither analysis nor any degree of attention, but I implore the viewing public NOT to watch the scheduled Fox News interview with that scumbag-of-all-scumbags, O.J. Simpson. This is what passes for journalism these days–interviews with a murderer who got away with it and now trying to profit off it by writing a book DESCRIBING HOW HE DID IT! I’m sure Fox, dollar signs and ratings points in their glazed-over eyes, was only too eager to sign up for this travesty.
Don’t give them or Simpson the satisfaction of scoring huge ratings and profits off of this. How this guy can stand to look his kids in the face or himself in the mirror is beyond me. I’ve already wasted enough breath on this. If you watch this, you should buy two hammers, beat yourself in the face with them repeatedly, set fire to your hair, and then jump off a cliff.
The American “media” continues its descent into the gutters of oblivion. I can’t think of one, single television “journalist” that has any real integrity anymore. Name one in the comments below and I’ll send you twelve dollars.
The wait ’til February 7th is gonna be interminable.
But we have no choice but to wait until February 7th as tonight brought us the “Fall season finale” of Lost. Only Lost could give you a huge cliffhanger right in the middle of their season, as we close with a anesthetized Ben laying on the operating table with a bleeding kidney and his life in Jack’s hands. Jack finally turned the tables on his captors, and even on Juliet, by diverting from her plan to take out Ben. Jack seems to be holding all the cards at this point, but he shouldn’t get too comfortable.
Continue reading “"Everything will be very different."”
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Truly inspiring that such a vaunted bastion of journalistic integrity prides itself on focusing on nothing but the most thought-provoking and intelligent stories of the day.
Did I mention this was on Election Day?