24 February 2008

OLR: The Cannonball Run (1981)

Vintage Burt Reynolds: hangover cure. (8/10)

d. Hal Needham

23 February 2008

OLR: Beerfest (2006)

Watch this while drinking beer and sitting in the middle of a freshly-constructed balloon room and you'll be good to go. (8/10)

d. Jay Chandrasekhar

OLR: Black Roses (1988)

An utterly disappointing follow-up to Rock 'n' Roll Nightmare whose first flaw was far too much time spent with the boring teacher sporting the porn star mustache. (4/10)

d. John Fasano

22 February 2008

OLR: Masters of Horror: "The Damned Thing" (2006)

Chaotic and interestingly shot, though I'm not exactly sure what the hell was going on. (7/10)

d. Tobe Hooper

21 February 2008

Guest OLR: No Country for Old Men (2007)

McCarthy’s material is beautifully accommodated and expertly expanded upon, and it feels like this union should have happened a long time ago. (8/10)

d. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Guest OLR: Tuileries (2006)

One of the few 7-minute perspectives of Paris that isn’t blindingly sentimental or ridiculously pretentious. (6/10)

d. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

20 February 2008

OLR: Stargate: Atlantis: "Rising" (2004)

I've decided I'm sick of seeing actors do the vampire hiss thing just because they happen to have some fake sharp teeth as a part of their alien make-up. (6/10)

d. Martin Wood

19 February 2008

Guest OLR: The Ladykillers (2004)

The Coens’ Uneven Comedy Comeback Special, assuring us all before we leave the room that, yes, they are still who they are. (7/10)

d. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Guest OLR: Intolerable Cruelty (2003)

Who would have thought that the two most talented brothers working in Hollywood, responsible for getting me so worked up over a pair of adults battling a mythic motorcycle-riding bounty hunter, would involve themselves with such poorly written dreck and lend very little of their comic genius to the material, in the end producing a film so devoid of humor that it takes me seven shots of vodka to get through. (4/10)

d. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

17 February 2008

OLR: Stargate SG-1: "Lost City" (2004)

Neato spaceship battles and such, though you can see some of their confusion in the final product (cancellation, feature film, season 8?) as the titular lost city doesn't even show up. (7/10)

d. Martin Wood

Guest OLR: The Man Who Wasn't There (2001)

Like Blood Simple, I seem to remember a time when I was much more interested in it. (6/10)

d. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Guest OLR: O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

Frustratingly close to perfection, the story and characters upstaged by music and mood, and ultimately marred by numerous tiny flaws that keep it inches from being an utter masterpiece. (8/10)

d. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

16 February 2008

Guest OLR: The Big Lebowski (1998)

My favorite comedy of all time. (9/10)

d. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Guest OLR: Fargo (1996)

Twenty viewings later and it still keeps me on the edge of my seat. (8/10)

d. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

15 February 2008

OLR: Super Troopers (2001)

Nothing like some hearty laughter to erase a couple of stressful weeks from the mind. (7/10)

d. Jay Chandrasekhar

14 February 2008

Guest OLR: The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)

The enjoyable, punchy dialogue is sadly bogged down by incongruous film tributes that mostly distract rather than amuse, and I would really liked to have seen Bruce Campbell in the lead role. (7/10)

d. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

Guest OLR: Barton Fink (1991)

A sometimes brilliant postcard from Writer’s Block Hell, though I’m sure the Coens had little idea as to what they were creating. (6/10)

d. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

12 February 2008

Guest OLR: Miller's Crossing (1990)

Contains constant, consecutive examples of why hard-boiled fiction is kickass. (7/10)

d. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen

11 February 2008

Guest: Bond, James Bond (2006)

2006 - Casino Royale - I imagine the Bond series flat-lining on a slab, Barbara Brocolli holding two smoking defibrillators above its chest, screaming “Don’t you dare die on me!” Richard Maibaum pulling her back and pleading “It’s too late. There’s nothing we can do.” Just before the doctor calls the time of death, Martin Campbell walks in, apparently lost. He is about to ask for directions when sees the Bond series bein all dead. He nonchalantly walks over, applies one strike to the chest, gets the heart beating again, and struts out of there like he owns the place.

So maybe it didn’t happen exactly like that. The Bond series wasn’t exactly flat-lining, per se, but I would definitely call it brain dead. So, if nothing else, Campbell has returned to show us that 1) his genitals must be huge, and 2) if anybody does it better than Bond, it’s him.

Get over the blonde Bond thing quick (and remind yourself that Roger Moore was also blonde) and get ready for the movie to break about twenty-seven conventions that have been set in stone for the past 40+ years. First, there’s the pre-credits sequence, in black and & white, only teasing you with shades of 007’s suave attitude while he kicks you in the chest with his boot because all he wants to do is kill you hard. After some brief glimpses of the sinister-as-hell asthmatic-villain-with-a-bleeding-eye and what will later be the setup for the plot (not the plot itself, mind), the movie decides to top itself a foot chase that would normally be spread across the entire film but gets crammed into one quick-paced dash across four locations, subsequently followed by an investigation sequence which culminates in a fight at an airport. And you might be thinking ‘Wow, that was a good movie,’ but then I’d have to inform you that this occurs within the first thirty minutes and shit hasn’t even begun to get real.

Speaking of which, at some point, the movie’s like ‘You love poker? Cuz it’s time for some fuckin poker’ and doesn’t stop for most of the film. If you’re worried this won’t be suspenseful, you’re wrong, dead fucking wrong. It shoved those irritating explosions out of the way for the spine of the film: espionage w/ cards, and it gets your blood pumping at 200 mph.

Watching this go down is an utter delight. Here, Bond is called a blunt instrument yet again, but only now is it apparent to the naked eye. Daniel Craig is the perfect casting choice for a secret agent fresh into his 00 status, balancing a youthful brashness with a weathered demeanor. Nothing refined at this point, he is just extremely pissed and will off you for looking at him wrong. But by no means is he not cool. Slightly psychopathic, yes, and he loses sometimes. WHO IS THIS NEW CHARACTER YOU’RE PRESENTING TO ME, MOVIE?!

Casino Royale is the best entry. I’ll stand by that statement and defend it to the death. Others come close, but this is it, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And it’s worth it. Campbell, you have saved the series twice, and you made an entry that will likely be the closest the series will get to making me cry. I love you, you’re great, come back again.

“Will you yield… in time?” (7.5/10)
d. Martin Campbell

[this is kinda neat]

03 February 2008

Guest OLR: Raising Arizona (1987)

I'm not sure if it is a family film, but if it is, it should be the blueprint from which all others are drawn. (7/10)

d. Joel Coen & Ethan Coen