Saturday, June 30, 2007

Drama Prairie Dog

I know that you Wortmaniacs are clamoring for new content, so here's a gem from Youtube of a very dramatic prairie dog. Is he up to something? You bet he is.

Look out for my review of "Live Free or Die Hard." The short version? I liked it. Go see it.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Feast Your Eyes on...A New Simpsons Trailer!

James here. The Simpsons Movie is due next month, so expect its advertising to ramp up for the next few weeks leading up to its July 27th release.

To tide us all over (because honestly, who doesn't like The Simpsons?), Fox has released yet another trailer to ensure that we'll fork over our $10 to watch something that we've enjoyed for free for two decades.

I kid. The animation for the flick looks superb (it looks like they mixed a lot of 3D in there, and the coloring is phenomenal).

Plot? Looks to be firmly anti-conservative, especially with the whole President Schwarzenegger thing and the seemingly environmental slant (Schwarzenegger? Hasn't he been parodied on the show for years as Rainier Wolfcastle?). Oh and Homer gets a pig. Shenanigans ensue.

Yippee Ki Yay, Melon Farmer!


Like most people who grew up in the 80's, I'm really looking forward to this Wednesday's Live Free or Die Hard, the fourth installment of the Bruce Willis action series. A lot of people, particularly the talkbackers over at Ain't It Cool News, have been pissing and moaning about the film's PG-13 rating, a move by the studio to ensure a bigger opening in a summer movie season clogged with blockbuster sequels and remakes.

Now, one of the things that has endeared moviegoers to the Die Hard franchise in the past is its R-rated depiction of brutal desperation. John McClane, the series' protagonist, is a flawed New York (and occasional LA) police officer who gets placed in these really unfortunate situations which force him to be a hero. And part of what made the character (and the situations) believable was the language and the violence.

Now, I don't need gallons of blood or a smattering of F-bombs to enjoy a movie, but toning down the film's rating is also taming John McClane as a character. The word "motherf*cker" MUST follow his "yippee ki yay" catchphrase. While the final two movies used it as more of a "witty thing to say when he blows up the bad guys at the end," the phrase was the ultimate "screw you" to the first film's villain, Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). He was a villain who had planned out every concievable obstacle in his scheme to rob the Nakatomi corporation dry, and here was this American who "watched too many movies as a child," running around like John Wayne and systematically killing his men. He's a foul-mouthed fly in the ointment, a tradition carried on in both Die Harder and Die Hard With A Vengeance.

According to some early reviews, the film may be in danger of becoming the typical big-budget action film: tame and overblown, with the kind of unrealistic set pieces reserved these days for superheroes. Perhaps an R-rated cut will be released on DVD in a few months, but we may be stuck with "McClane lite" until then.

Nevertheless, I have faith in Bruce Willis, and am anxiously awaiting its June 27th release date.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Don't Stop Believin'

It was a pretty normal night at Greenwich's Sundown Saloon on Friday, drinking with my friends at a small table next to a jukebox that I never noticed before. Naturally, in between swigs of Magic Hat, I wandered over and shuffled through the songs. Then I saw it, a song that, up until a week ago, was merely another 80s staple and karaoke favorite. I threw in a dollar, made my pick, and leaned against the wall as Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" began pouring out of the speakers. I then got plenty of "you bastard" looks from my friends and strangers alike for the next few minutes or so.

The song is now forever tied to that final scene of The Sopranos, as the family sits down for onion rings in a small diner as Meadow proceeds to suck at parallel parking outside. There's tension (and Journey) in the air as we, the audience, become wary of everyone else in the diner, knowing full well that something is about to happen. The scene cuts to black as Meadow, presumably, is coming through the door. What happens? Did that guy come out of the bathroom and cap Tony? Were we the ones who were whacked? Did Meadow enjoy the onion rings? We'll never truly know what happened, but I guess that's the point. People will be talking about this ambiguous ending for years, that is, until the inevitable Sopranos film comes out. Oh, Hollywood.

On another note, I made my second-ever trip to Foxwoods with two of my friends the following day, and actually ended up winning by the end of the night.It was less than $200, but it was pretty much all from a slot machine, so I really can't complain.

Which reminds me...if one fails to clean a slot machine, does that make it a dirty slot? ::rim shot::

Sunday, June 10, 2007

And It's Not a Sequel!


Most of you have probably seen Judd Apatow's Knocked Up, but for the five of you living under the proverbial rock, it's definitely worth seeing. It's non-stop hilarity, and I'm not just saying that in a "cheesy sound byte commercial voice-over" way. It's really good, and I daresay it's even better than The 40-Year-Old Virgin, and that's saying a lot.

You see, Apatow is not out to make the over-the-top frat comedies that were so commonplace in the late 90's. Knocked Up, like Virgin before it, is a refreshing take on the "rite of passage" film, complete with ::gasp:: heart. Here, with Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl as the leading mismatched couple, there's a sense that these characters truly want to make this relationship work, and the situations that they end up in arise organically within the context of their journey and don't necessarily feel tacked on for the sake of a comedy set-piece.

Of course, this film is full of comedy set-pieces, largely thanks to the strong supporting cast including Paul Rudd, Leslie Mann, Jonah Hill and even Harold Ramis. Anything I say would spoil the movie for the handful of people who, in all honesty, have no real reason not to have seen this already. Like I said, it's that good. Audiences would be wise to keep their eye on Seth Rogen. We're gonna be seeing a lot of him after his uproarious star-turn here.

So I'd like to thank Judd Apatow, not only for providing the best non-sequel of the summer, but for creating one of the best comedies we've seen in years.