TORO! :: bull by the horns

an online compendium of culture and commentary

Archive for January, 2008

cloverfield: um, where was everyone else?

Posted by rollinsloane on 21 January 2008

No matter how scary the monster or how efficient the military, there’s absolutely no way even in CGI-ville that the entirety of Manhattan could successfully clear out in about two hours.  There’s no way.  None.  Period.  When Cloverfield‘s nubile 20-somethings scurry through the streets and subways and apartment buildings of one New York City without coming across so much as one other fleeing or cowering urbanite, the movie gives up the appealing cinema verite gimmick established by its handheld camcorder and pretty much goes into action movie-mode.  Its early setting touches worked beautifully — electronic store burglary, zombie-like dust-covered crowds, a Central Park carriage horse wandering without a rider.  Why not play a little more with the city and its famously hardened denizens and have the protags stumble across a pack of homeless in the subway (already armed with canned food and blankets), or an emptying club (mini-skirted girls clinging to frightened bouncers), or a gaggle of awed, camera-toting tourists?  If you must attack New York, for God’s sake, at least have fun with it.

–Ollie

And why attack New York at all?  Vulture has a list of other cities that could use a good monster thrashing.  My vote’s for Vegas.

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why juno’s best screenplay accolades are rather off-the-mark

Posted by rollinsloane on 21 January 2008

Sure, Juno‘s a cute movie, solid the whole way around and with characters so compelling you wish it ran more than 96 minutes.  But Best Screenplay?  Considering it’s about teenage pregnancy, Juno does incredibly little ruminating on either being a pregnant teenager or pregnant in general.  Obviously screenwriter Diablo Cody has never herself been preggers, or we might have been treated to Juno’s caustic take on swollen feet, constant bloat or seven-odd months of scandalized stares and awkward pauses.  Juno remains sweet, simple and audience-friendly because it never treads into that uncomfortable territory.  How else could Juno be so plucky all the time?

It’s a cute movie, yes, but not a fully written one.  Cody makes the first-screenplay mistake of being utterly linear and entirely relevant to the plot at hand, rather than expanding the story out into other directions.  Don’t get me wrong — Juno is terrific, and deserves its praise.  But shouldn’t Best Screenplay awards be reserved for a piece of work that challenges the form?   When a script’s innovations are just a handful of out-there lines like “Your eggo is preggo,” hailing it as Oscar bait is ludicrous.

— Sloane 

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the chinese barack obama

Posted by rollinsloane on 17 January 2008

I know that fat dude on SNL is slimming down in the hopes of snagging a four-year gig as resident Obama impersonator, but if I were Lorne Michaels I would hire a translator and cast this guy instead:

tony leung lust caution

Chinese actor Tony Leung, best known for anchoring Wong Kar-Wai’s gracefully melancholy films (In the Mood for Love, 2046) and currently starring in Ang Lee’s erotic spy thriller Lust, Caution.  He’s always been a bit boyish-looking — just like the Dem’s most cuddly candidate.

barack obama

— Sloane 

 

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worst review quite possibly ever — I’ll even take Ebert over Elaine

Posted by rollinsloane on 17 January 2008

Whoever Elaine is over at /film, she ought to be anticipating the hook. This chick couldn’t review the Bratz movie with any eye for nuance. Her review for There Will Be Blood depends so heavily on simple tenses that even spectacularly unspectacular points about basic film production seem subtle: “The first thing I noticed about There Will Be Blood was the sound design. It’s something that many filmmakers don’t focus on anymore, but can really make a film stand out.” Ms. Elaine goes on to compliment the film’s “ominous feel of every scene,” “superb filmmaking,” and the fact that “the psychology of the film is unique” without any need for elaboration.

— Sloane

PS — check out LA CityBeat‘s Andy Klein instead.

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four-letter feasts

Posted by rollinsloane on 15 January 2008

The fine folks over at Box Office Psychics have put together a list of the 53 most ‘fuck’-filled movies (thanks to The Wire‘s all-‘fuck’ murder investigation scene, I think we already know which TV show takes top honors).

Not surprisingly, a documentary on the word has the highest ‘fuck’ count. It will also shock no one that 24 of the 53 are from 1990 and on, and 26 are from 2000 and on — mainstream’fuck’ acceptance is a modern trend. Only Scarface, Born on the Fourth of July and Eddie Murphy: Raw represent the 80s (and how). Also featured: Quentin Tarantino (19, 20, 27), Martin Scorsese (3, 10, 25), Kevin Smith (22) and The Dude (1998), not to mention Eminem (42), 50 Cent (50) and, of course, Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen (53).

1. Fuck (2005) – 824
2. Nil by Mouth (1997) – 428
3. Casino (1995) – 398
4. Alpha Dog (2007) – 367
5. Twin Town (1997) – 318
6. Summer of Sam (1999) – 315
7. Running Scared (2006) – 315
8. Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat (2002) – 311
9. Menace II Society (1993) – 300
10. Goodfellas (1990) – 300
11. Narc (2002) – 297
12. Harsh Times (2006) 296
13. Another Day in Paradise (1998) – 291
14. Made (2001) – 291
15. Dirty (2005) – 280
16. Jarhead (2005) – 278
17. Bully (2001) – 274
18. State Property 2 (2005) – 271
19. Reservoir Dogs (1992) – 269
20. Pulp Fiction (1994) – 265
21. The Big Lebowski (1998) – 260
22. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001) – 248
23. Dead Presidents (1995) – 247
24. The Boondock Saints (1999) – 239
25. The Departed (2006) – 237
26. Empire (2002) – 236
27. True Romance (1993) – 234
28. State of Grace (1990) – 230
29. My Name Is Joe (1998) 230
30. Gridlock’d (1997) 227
31. The Devil’s Rejects (2005) – 224
32. Eddie Murphy Raw (1987) – 223
33. Suicide Kings (1997) – 222
34. Black and White (1999) – 215
35. American History X (1998) – 214
36. The Original Kings of Comedy (2000) 213
37. Layer Cake (2005) 210
38. Scarface (1983) 207
39. Spun (2002) 203
40. A Bronx Tale (1993) 200
41. Foolish (1999) 200
42. 8 Mile (2002) 200
43. DysFunktional Family (2003) 200
44. I Got the Hook Up (1998) 197
45. Born on the Fourth of July (1989) – 196
46. Overnight (2003) – 191
47. Magnolia (1999) – 190
48. Monster (2003) – 187
49. Hustle and Flow (2005) – 186
50. Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005) 185
51. Formula 51 (2001) – 180
52. Flawless (1999) – 178
53. Superbad (2007) – 176

Ollie

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‘teeth’ — a real man’s horror movie

Posted by rollinsloane on 14 January 2008

This shit just deserves a spotlight. Upcoming horror flick Teeth merits the following list of plot words on IMDB:

Yeesh. Nothing says scarefest like ‘vagina dentata.’ Teeth follows the coming-of-age hilarity of one Dana O’Keefe (best reference to vaginartiste Georgia O’Keefe ever) as she and Dylan Walsh’s Nip/Tuck son discover just what’s really inside her. Something tell me this is not going to be about follow-your-heart teenage belly aching. But is it uber-fem or merely camp? Since the official trailer is going with a Hollywood Reporter quote that it’s “the most alarming cautionary tale for men since ‘Fatal Attraction,'” I’m going to go ahead and guess the producers don’t really have any logical women’s lib in mind.

Official Trailer:


The tagline? “Every rose has its thorns.”

— Ollie

For more: The Movie Blog also has the film’s first five minutes, and let’s just say it’s a cautionary tale for horny step-brothers.

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because birthdays should be fun

Posted by rollinsloane on 14 January 2008

Why send a boring e-card? Even your grandmother will appreciate a step away from flowers and teddy bears. Next time you e-card, try someecards.com (“when you care enough to hit send”). These snarky little zingers will have you trolling their website looking for excuses to send cards.

For Valentine’s Day:

be my valentine someecards

For MLK Day: “Happy Martin Luther King Day to a borderline racist.”

For a crestfallen superfan: “Sorry I can’t empathize with the pain over your team losing.”

For new parents: “I hope your baby doesn’t hate you later in life” (or, even better, option #2: “Congratulations on not being sterile”)

For a true friend (and/or Deadwood fan): “If I were to shoot you, it would just be in the leg.”

— Ollie

Courtesy of: AdFreak.

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will all you tv critics just give the wire’s last season a little time to get off the ground?

Posted by rollinsloane on 14 January 2008

Two episodes in and they’re all already doubting. Here’s a little reminder of how The Wire turns police-procedural TV into brain candy: videosift — The-All-Fuck-Murder-Investigation-Scene-from-The-Wire. McNulty and Bunk investigate an old crime scene and quickly discover new evidence with only four-letter commentary.

— Sloane

Related: hey, TV critics — david simon has internet, too

Posted in dude check it out | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

cover shoots: W’s ‘atonement’

Posted by rollinsloane on 14 January 2008

I thought the reason fashion magazines featured photo shoots with actors was so we could get away from the angry/vapid model gaze every now and then.  W says: why let models have all the fun?  Here’s the February 2008 issue featuring Atonement‘s Keira Knightley and James McAvoy looking irritable in leather.

keira knightley and james mcavoy w 2008

Hey, they just won the increasingly irrelevant Golden Globe for Best Picture (Drama)!  Why so cranky?  More constipated scowls at W.com.

— Sloane 

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The furrowed brow (high- vs. low-): Vanity Fair and the National Enquirer Vol. 3 — Drew Barrymore

Posted by rollinsloane on 13 January 2008

The coffee-table photo tomes of the National Enquirer and Vanity Fair offer humorously different versions of Hollywood’s lates and greats, and we here at TORO! are dedicated to bringing you the best of the lopsided portraits.

Drew Barrymore:

“And it goes on: in 1984 Vanity Fair asked Grorge Hurrell, who photographed on the set of Grand Hotel, to shoot John Barrymore’s granddaughter, Drew, who was nine at the time. By then she had already knocked ‘em dead a Gertie in E.T. From cherub to nymph – or brat to tart, if you count Firecracker [note from Sloane – or Poison Ivy] – she fast-forwarded too soon (Steven Spielberg is her godfather; kurt Cobain’s kid is her goddaughter), but rebounded in a string of films, including the improbably named Never Been Kissed.”

 

Vanity Fair (1984 George Hurrell portrait in old-Hollywood dress-up; copy by Christopher Hitchens)

— reference to old Hollywood lineage; Never Been Kissed (and a sly joke on that choice of title, eh, Hitch?)

“The 7-year-old E.T. pixie may have become famous phoning home, but child stardom would soon have her dialing 911. The pigtailed heiress to the Barrymore dynasty of acting – and acting out – nightclubbed at 7, drank at 9, smoked pot at 10, snorted cocaine at 12, and check into rehab at 13. AT 14, forlorn Drew survived a suicide attempt – then purged it all in her tell-all autobiography, Little Girl Lost. A year later she “divorced” her unconventional parents, got breast-reduction surgery, dropped out of school, and hopped on the wagon. “No kid should have to go through what I did,” said Drew at 26. “Maybe it was all a blessing, because today, life couldn’t be better.”

National Enquirer (1982 shot of her impishly holding a pay-phone)

– cornball ‘dialing’ reference to accompanying photo; nighclubs, booze, coke, rebab, suicide; tell-all autobiography; child emancipation

Round goes to: NE. Even without the Hollywood ancestry, their take is waaaaaay more interesting.

— Sloane

Vanity Fair and the National Enquirer Vol 1; Vol 2

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