THE CRAZIES 2010

Poffy The Cucumber

Crazy like a pox. Remake of the 1973 George A. Romero movie of the same name, THE CRAZIES is a simple, shallow, well-made thriller. A virus drives the people of a bucolic Midwestern town crazy and they start killing people. I don’t mean to nitpick, but killing is kinda natural for a species that kills to eat, to mate, to … Read More

ROBIN HOOD 2010

Poffy The Cucumber

Everything’s Archy. GLADIATOR and BRAVEHEART had a baby and they called it Russell Crowe. This ain’t Errol Flynn, this ain’t Adam Ant, and it’s certainly not Dennis Moore, Dennis Moore, riding through the woods… This ain’t your daddy’s ROBIN HOOD; no swinging from vines in the forest, no star-crossed lovers, no archery competition, no “splitting his competitor’s arrow in twain,” … Read More

DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS

Poffy The Cucumber

Movie For Schmucks. Steve Carell is a schmuck. And in DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS, Steve Carell is a schmuck, a bothersome new friend of Paul Rudd, who is not exactly a schmuck, but can’t seem to break into that comedy leading man status that he deserves. We presume his agent and manager and reader must be schmucks. Carell and Rudd do … Read More

TRUE GRIT 2010

Poffy The Cucumber

From Duke to Dude. They went and done it! Remade TRUE GRIT (1969). I can understand how John Wayne purists would blanch at any actor attempting his legendary dirt-talkin’, eye-patched, whiskey-guzzlin’, six-shootin’ role as Marshal Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn. It’s like remaking DIRTY HARRY without Clint Eastwood. But they went and done it anyways! And like one of those rare … Read More

THE WOLFMAN 2010

Poffy The Cucumber

Loopy Lupine. THE WOLFMAN starts as a remake of the classic 1941 Lon Chaney Jr. film THE WOLF MAN, and ends somewhere between BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA and AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON. That ain’t so bad, but not what it was aiming for. Director Joe Johnston (JURASSIC PARK III, HIDALGO) pays homage to the horror pioneers by including all the … Read More

BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA

Poffy The Cucumber

Delicious, with a hint of sour Keanu. In BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA, Gary Oldman shows us what acting IS and Keanu Reeves shows us what acting ISN’T. We all know the concept of Dracula; it is in our – ahem – bloodstreams, but in cinema, we rarely see Dracula’s origins. Director Francis Ford Coppolla opens the movie with the event that … Read More

THE A-TEAM

Poffy The Cucumber

There’s no ‘A’ in TEAM. I wrote in ANY WHICH WAY YOU CAN, “There’s nothing deep here; crack a beer, strip down to your wife-beater and just enjoy it.” Ditto THE A-TEAM. More like the C+ team. The only ‘A’ in this movie is for Audacity. Or Ass – Jessica Biel’s. From the 80’s TV series of the same name, … Read More

ASTRO BOY 2009

Poffy The Cucumber

When the cute robots take over the skyways… The points in his hair are as iconic as Mickey Mouse’s ears; they exist in their own reality, where they are always seen, no matter the angle of his head! It’s ASTRO BOY, Osamu Tezuka’s manga creation from the 1950s. Cartooned in the 1960s in Japan, then re-cartooned in the ’80s (remember … Read More

BROTHERS

Poffy The Cucumber

Broham Interruptus. Don’t you just hate it when your brother goes off to war and he supposedly gets killed, and you start putting the moves on his wife, and then he comes back? Don’t you just hate that?! What separates Jim Sheridan‘s BROTHERS from Michael Bay’s PEARL HARBOR (same plot, different war) is that BROTHERS is watchable. Starring Tobey Maguire … 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

THE LADYKILLERS 2004

Poffy The Cucumber

Killer me saucy. A farcical heist movie, with quirky characters, sharp, dark storyline and dialogue so delicious you can feed your cat with it. It’s not describing a suave Bond-type; the title of this movie is literal – but easier said than done. THE LADYKILLERS follows confidence man Professor G.H. Dorr (Tom Hanks in the sauciest, most enunciated performance of … Read More

THE BLUE LAGOON 1980

Poffy The Cucumber

Tarzan II: Electric Boogaloo. The very plot of THE BLUE LAGOON makes it a movie that can never be fully realized as entertainment or as the thought experiment it was conceived to be in the 1903 novel by Henry De Vere Stacpoole: two young kids stranded on a desert island must learn to live with nature, each other, and avoid … Read More

LAND OF THE LOST 2009

Poffy The Cucumber

Bland of the Lost. I’ve pretty much had it waiting for Will Ferrell to make another funny movie. The last one was ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY (2004), although I admit I have not seen his TV special, YOU’RE WELCOME AMERICA: A FINAL NIGHT WITH GEORGE W. BUSH (I’ve always liked his Dubya). LAND OF THE LOST, a movie … Read More

BANGKOK DANGEROUS 2008

Poffy The Cucumber

Bangkok Mildly Threatening. We just have to accept it for what it is. Comparing BANGKOK DANGEROUS 2008 to its original 1999 version is like comparing AMERICAN IDOL karaoke wannabes to real vocalists in hardworking rock bands. The original BANGKOK DANGEROUS (1999) – with its unassailable hook of the deaf mute teenage Bangkok hitman – wipes the floor with 2008’s version. … Read More

FAME 2009

Poffy The Cucumber

Lame. At the time of its release, the original FAME (1980) was out of my demographic – I was too young to appreciate the tribulations of 70’s high schoolers balancing schoolwork and performing arts and aiming for their fifteen minutes. In this tepid remake – now I’m too old to care. Kevin Tancharoen helms this rushed production that flits through … Read More

THE LOST WORLD 1960

Poffy The Cucumber

Stay Lost. Dinosaurs! Uh, no, just komodos and iguanas with horns and spikes duct-taped to them…. Didn’t matter when you were ten. And THE LOST WORLD (the second film adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1912 novel) is definitely FOR ten-year-olds, seemingly made BY ten-year-olds. Been decades since I read the book, but screenwriter-director Irwin Allen takes Conan Doyle’s exciting meat … Read More

THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123 2009

Poffy The Cucumber

Rocking the remake rails. An organized gang of criminals led by Ryder (John Travolta) takes hostage a New York subway train, and train dispatcher Walter Garber (Denzel Washington) must talk them down. Brian Helgeland screenwrites and Tony Scott (TOP GUN, TRUE ROMANCE, MAN ON FIRE) directs this remake of the 1974 film of the same name, THE TAKING OF PELHAM … Read More

THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT 2009

Poffy The Cucumber

Ingmar Bergman is spinning in the last grave on the left… What pisses me off about THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT is that nowhere do the filmmakers mention – not in advertising, not in screen credits and not even in the Special Features on the DVD – that this movie is ripped straight from Ingmar Bergman’s THE VIRGIN SPRING … Read More

INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS 1978

Poffy The Cucumber

Communist Plants in Skeletal Pants. Not the original movie, but probably the best. Director Philip Kaufman’s 1978 INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS remakes Don Siegel’s 1956 movie of the same name, from the 1955 book by Jack Finney. And it is terrifying: Jeff Goldblum’s scarecrow-skinny xylophone ribcage, Donald Sutherland’s style-less white-fro, Veronica Cartwright’s pre-ALIEN whining – oh, and some spores … Read More

3:10 TO YUMA 2007

Poffy The Cucumber

Black hat, White hat, Gray souls… Every way of man is right in his own eyes. – Wade quoting the Book of Proverbs, 3:10 TO YUMA. Every modern Western released after Eastwood’s mighty 1992 elegy has laid hollow claim to “The best western since UNFORGIVEN.” 3:10 TO YUMA is. That’s because – like UNFORGIVEN – YUMA is not a “Western,” … Read More