THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS

Poffy The Cucumber

The Distractionarium of Heath Ledger. Color-screaming and wonder-dreaming, Terry Gilliam’s adventure fantasy THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS might have been one of his better characteristically surreal dark comedies had his star Heath Ledger not been claimed by that darkest of comedies – death. We watch this MUNCHAUSEN-like parable unfold with the constant distraction in the back of our heads that … Read More

CLASH OF THE TITANS 2010

Poffy The Cucumber

Hash of the Titans. Liam Neeson and Sam Worthington try to out-act special effects. Fail. 16-year-old boys rejoice. Mankind tries to live without deities. Fail. Churches rejoice. CLASH OF THE TITANS is written for 16-year-old boys, to be enjoyed exclusively by 16-year-old boys. Hell, I loved the 1981 original film starring Harry Hamlin and Burgess Meredith. When I was 16. … Read More

RIVERWORLD 2010

Poffy The Cucumber

Cry me a river… Poor Philip José Farmer. Look what they did to his Hugo Award-winning story. To Your Scattered Bodies Go is the first of the Riverworld series of novels and winner of the award, which obviously meant nothing to the morons who crushed Farmer’s ideas under flatfooted filmic heel in RIVERWORLD. Stuart Gillard has the audacity to call … Read More

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN

Poffy The Cucumber

The Chronic Kills of Narnia: Prince Hasbeen. Has stupider become the new darker? Everyone thrills at describing how PRINCE CASPIAN, the second movie in THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA series, is “darker” than its predecessor, THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE (2005). But they lost me at pasty, delicate, British kids playing pretend “warriors.” I’m just not buying any of … Read More

9

Poffy The Cucumber

Sock It To Me. Sock puppet apocalypse! First, allow me to register a complaint: Tim Burton’s name is bandied about this production like it was his to bandy. Even the intriguing trailers stank of advertising Burton. Tim Burton is one of the producers and his name is for marquee strength only. “9” is solely the vision of animator-writer-director genius Shane … Read More

THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS

Poffy The Cucumber

When Wizards Collide. Gandalf is SUCH a badass! Wizard against Balrog in a film opening so power-hammering it is astonishing that writer-director Peter Jackson didn’t score a cross-promotion rollercoaster ride at Universal Studios called The Falling Balrog. THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS opens at the middle of the last film, THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (2001), as … Read More

PAN’S LABYRINTH

Poffy The Cucumber

A wondrously grim fairy tale. PAN’S LABYRINTH is a fairy tale, but it’s not for kids. Ironically, the fairy tales that are for kids are as dark as this tale. Set in the lush woodlands of 1944 Spain, during the waning of WWII, young bookworm Ofelia (Ivana Baquero) and her pregnant mother (Ariadna Gil) move into an army barracks with … Read More

THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE

Poffy The Cucumber

The Lyin,’ the Snitch and the Whored Road. Four bloodless, pasty-white British kids on an adventure in a magical wardrobe. When I was 13, I loved the C.S. Lewis book so madly that I forced my mother to read it on the train on her way to work every day. Fast forward thirty years, I knew the film version of … Read More

STAR WARS: EPISODE VI – RETURN OF THE JEDI

Poffy The Cucumber

The Jedi Mind(less) Trick. Another day. Another Death Star. In the last of the STAR WARS hexology, the Galactic Empire has returned with another planet-sized space station to terrorize the galaxy. And the Rebel Alliance has returned to break it. The Jedi Knights have returned as well, with Luke Skywalker continuing the legacy of the humorless old farts by dressing … Read More

STAR WARS: EPISODE I – THE PHANTOM MENACE

Poffy The Cucumber

A Legend Unravels… Twenty years ago, I liked Michael Jackson. Everyone did. Twenty years ago, I liked STAR WARS. Everyone did. Look what happened to Michael Jackson. Look what happened to STAR WARS. Both these entities were done in NOT by lack of funding, backstabbing competitors or unbalanced advisors. Ironically, they brought their downfalls on themselves through a surfeit of … Read More

WATCHMEN

Poffy The Cucumber

Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair! And the fanboys whine like bitches. The “unfilmable” graphic novel, WATCHMEN – has been filmed! Cry the beloved comicbook and let slip the dogs of nihilism. WATCHMEN is epic and sexy and bloody; sensual and visceral and brutal; more than a comicbook, more than a messianic cry of madness; flamboyant costumed heroes, … Read More

HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY

Poffy The Cucumber

Hell-Tilt With The Wheels Comin’ Off. PAN’S LABYRINTH smashed up against the Cantina Sequence from STAR WARS and Guillermo del Toro rode that bad boy all the way to a town called HELLBOY. In HELLBOY II: THE GOLDEN ARMY, writer-director del Toro has concreted his gleaming vision, found his devil stride, piling spectacle upon wonder upon bombastic fantastic. From Mike … Read More

TRANSFORMERS

Poffy The Cucumber

More Than Meets The Eye-Strain. The CGI prowess in the movie TRANSFORMERS almost makes us forget that this film is for people who still play with action figures.Directed by Michael Bay and his motion-sickness cameras, this overwrought production revolves around the All Spark, a mechanical-mystical cube that has knotted the steel knickers of two races of giant robots engaged in … Read More

THE FOUNTAIN

Poffy The Cucumber

Doubtin’ The Fountain. Raving beauty, rabid camera angling and startlingly somber performances almost save this movie from its own convoluted and ambitious storyline spiraling down the artsy-fartsy toilet. The trailers for THE FOUNTAIN were extremely well done and conveyed the hero (Hugh Jackman) as traveling through time, pursuing his true love across the ages (Rachel Weisz) – then I watched … Read More

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END

Poffy The Cucumber

Jack-ing the Sparrow. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END: a whole lotta something that ends up a whole lotta nothing. Director Gore Verbinski puts so much effort into this summer blockbuster that it boggles the rational part of the brain – look at that cinematography, look at that set dressing, look at that costuming and attention to detail on … 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

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST

Poffy The Cucumber

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

BEING JOHN MALKOVICH

Poffy The Cucumber

The Importance of Being Malkovich. It’s about a puppeteer who finds a portal into the head of a real-life actor… No, it’s about an over-sexed, 105-year-old pirate who runs a company on the 7 ½ floor of a building who has found a way to live forever… No, it’s about a woman who realizes she is transsexual after having sex … Read More

CONSTANTINE

Poffy The Cucumber

Inconstantine. Beautifully shot in ochre tinge, evoking a mythopoeic superstructure, creative camera bespeaking thoughtful setups and engaging angles, striking cinematography accentuating iconic imagery and mellifluous art direction, it’s a pity CONSTANTINE is such an insensate, half-headed dog of a film. This movie was better when it was called THE MATRIX. Traversing between two parallel dimensions, Neo – I mean, John … Read More

HIGHLANDER

Poffy The Cucumber

Sharp as a Katana, Breezy as a Kilt. There is an important scene missing in the American cut of HIGHLANDER: During World War II, MacLeod (Christopher Lambert) finds an orphaned little girl hiding amongst ruins. When a Nazi guns them down, his body shields hers, absorbing the bullets, and they both fall. In answer to her amazed, “You’re still alive?”, … Read More