APOCALYPTO

Poffy The Cucumber

An Epic Fable in a Jugular Vein. MEL GIBSON’S APOCALYPTO is a bone axe to the cervical vertebrae at the base of the skull; jungle-wild beauty juxtaposed with bestial brutality, exceptionally well-executed. Emphasis on executed. Though an ominous quote by Will Durant opens the film (“A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within”), … Read More

ROCKY BALBOA

Poffy The Cucumber

Rocky LX: Grandpa’s Revenge. Something old (Stallone), something new (this film), something borrowed (the script from ROCKY), something blue (Talia Shire, excised from this story for dramatic impact and watching from the ropes as ROCKY BALBOA garners accolades as the best Rocky movie since ROCKY). Whilst working in one mediocre/forgotten/unseen film after another, Sylvester Stallone must have champed at the … Read More

THE PRESTIGE

Poffy The Cucumber

Nolan’s Real Magic. Godard’s Dictum: The cinema is truth 24 frames per second. Rejoinder: The cinema is illusion, is lying 24 frames per second. THE PRESTIGE is everything THE ILLUSIONIST wanted to be – and claimed to be in its trailers – an unholy tale of a magician seeking arcane Real Magic. Overarching the magic, a tale of two men … Read More

LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN

Poffy The Cucumber

Überhip Ünderworld. Embedded in the canon of hip street-thuggery, there is Scorcese’s GOODFELLAS, there is Tarantino’s PULP FICTION, there is Ritchie’s SNATCH – all periodically panned for their filmic stylings, yet garnering indirect accolades through their wealth of imitators – but if there is such a thing as “too hip,” Paul McGuigan‘s LUCKY NUMBER SLEVIN would be choking on its … Read More

FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS

Poffy The Cucumber

Raising Glory: the sham behind the glam. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. – Reporter, THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE (1962). Director Clint Eastwood‘s waving-flag film is, ironically and thankfully, the farthest from a Flag Waving maroon-necker as a post 9-11 American movie can be. When I learned of this film’s production last year, I admit to … Read More

THE DEPARTED

Poffy The Cucumber

Martin Scorsese’s Badfellas. Cops who are robbers. Robbers who are cops. And a hip hop star synonymous with exposed underpants who steals the show. A welcome return to form for the premier gangster movie-maker, Martin Scorsese, who bats one outa the park with THE DEPARTED. Ferociously funny, doggedly compelling, a tour de force of gritty production, tightly-wound storyline, sneeringly salty … Read More

HOLLYWOODLAND

Poffy The Cucumber

As Powerful as a Locomotive. The posters to HOLLYWOODLAND do nothing to alert us to the movie’s startling subject matter – Ben Affleck in red grandma-panties. Set in 1959, tracing the ripples in pop culture following the mysterious death of TV’s most famous Superman, George Reeves, writer Paul Bernbaum and director Allen Coulter (THE SOPRANOS, SEX AND THE CITY) embark … Read More

ALL THE KING’S MEN 2006

Poffy The Cucumber

…couldn’t put this movie together again. At least Sean Penn doesn’t use ALL THE KING’S MEN as another vehicle to showcase his talent for crying on cue. With a down-home accent that needs subtitles more desperately than Mel Gibson’s ocker in MAD MAX needed overdubbing, Penn plays Louisiana politician Willie Stark, a rambunctious gadfly who attempts to usurp power from … Read More

CRANK

Poffy The Cucumber

Crank-y. Super stylish. Super amped. Super shallow. Still, any movie that opens with Quiet Riot’s Bang Your Head scarring the soundtrack can’t be all that bad. And writer-directors Mark Neveldine’s and Brian Taylor’s CRANK isn’t all that bad. It isn’t all that good either. A hitman, Chev Chelios (Jason Statham), has been injected with The Beijing Cocktail, a substance that … Read More

THE ILLUSIONIST

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The Distractionist. In a movie about misdirection, the opulent production design, set decoration and sumptuous cinematography of THE ILLUSIONIST serves to misdirect the audience into believing that there is something more profound at stake than the Getting of Panty.I can pinpoint exactly where THE ILLUSIONIST loses its footing: during afterglow, Eisenheim the Illusionist tells Duchess Sophie, “The only mystery I … Read More

MATCH POINT

Poffy The Cucumber

Unmatched. There is such a brilliant hook in Woody Allen‘s MATCH POINT that to say anything about it would ruin its impact. So I’m going to anyway. It’s the woman in me. Writer-director Allen leans so heavily on the tennis idiom (from opening the film with a tennis analogy dependent on luck – a ball nicking the top edge of … Read More

WORLD TRADE CENTER

Poffy The Cucumber

A Date With Density. The pitch: Two men get trapped in a mine shaft. Nothing happens. Then they get rescued. The end. The suits harrumph: where’s the drama? The screenwriter and her agent scramble: well, we flash back to generic good times with families and watch the trapped guys banally discuss heroism and loyalty and STARSKY AND HUTCH. The suits … Read More

LADY IN THE WATER

Poffy The Cucumber

Part real. Part fable. All Night. In his book, On Directing Film, David Mamet says of movies, “it’s all make-believe. The question is, how good is the make-believe going to be?” M. Night Shyamalan‘s LADY IN THE WATER is truly what it sells itself as – a bedtime story; make-believe of the highest order, taken with a generous pinch of … Read More

NACHO LIBRE

Poffy The Cucumber

Lotsa Lucha, Lessa Libre. Apparently, wrestling IS real. A body-shaved Jack Black, squeezing his scrote into a sky-blue leotard and wrestling as a Mexican luchador by night whilst tending orphans during the day as a monk, must have sounded good on paper… Greenlighting the writers and director of quirky hit NAPOLEON DYNAMITE (Jared and Jerusha Hess) would have also been … Read More

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST

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Captain Jack will get you high tonight… PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST is pure ham and cheese. Lots of sauce. Lots of dressing. Hold the onions. Director Gore Verbinski‘s sequel to his PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: THE CURSE OF THE BLACK PEARL (2003) is a spectacle to behold, a hedonistic bombast of swashbuckling high-sea hijinks, sun-seared tropical environs, … Read More

FLIGHT 93

Poffy The Cucumber

Flight of Fancy. Note to director Peter Markle: if you’re going to create a tribute to nobodies who become somebodies due to an airline tragedy, if you’re going to grease the wheels of racism and jingoism with agitprop, if you’re hoping to effectively manipulate and exploit the charged emotions of a nation’s populace – don’t use a toy plane for … Read More

SUPERMAN RETURNS

Poffy The Cucumber

Ol’ Blue Eyes Is Back. So much strength, so little underpant. Superman is back. With his underpants hiked low enough to make George Reeves blush the color of cape. In SUPERMAN RETURNS, the blue-clad avenger sports a decidedly European bikini, giving a low-slung nod to the thong-exposed sluts we call modern teenagers. And the color of cape is no longer … Read More

X-MEN: THE LAST STAND

Poffy The Cucumber

X-eunt in X-asperation. Action without heart. Spectacle without logic. Brawn without brains. Director Brett Ratner balances on Bryan Singer’s shoulders, attempting to hold up the mutant world Singer so reverently rendered in X-MEN (2000) and X-MEN UNITED (2003). But he falls off – and helms X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, the third in the x-franchise, with as much reverence and talent … Read More

AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH

Poffy The Cucumber

Sunshine Superman. We’re gonna die. That seems to be the main thrust of Al Gore‘s symposium on sunshine and line graphs. Woiking that Power Point mean machine like a Marketing Manager Gone Wild, the man who used to be “the next President of the United States” assails us with facts, figures and forecasts in AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, outlining possibly the … Read More