Halloween falls on a Saturday and Sunday is the official return of Standard Time ("fall back"), so what could be a better time for a horror film marathon? A couple of weeks ago, Joel and I talked scary movies with Christian Toto, Matt Prigge and Jason Snell. (If you didn't hear the podcast, go listen to it now. It's just under an hour, but it really flies by. Go ahead. Don't worry, we'll still be here when you get back.)
Anyway, among the five of us, we came up with 15 horror movies, plus a handful of bonus films, that are guaranteed to thrill and chill this Halloween. All told, they add up to just under 40 hours of filmmaking. So if you get started around dusk on Friday, the final credits should roll near dawn on All Saints Day.
To see the Halloween List, click "read more" below.
Jennifer Anniston says: "I take a three-minute shower.” And she's so green, she even finds time to brush her teeth in that quickie shower, as well.
Either she's lying to one-up her Hollywood green-weenie friends, she's joking, or she has super-human speed going from shampoo to soap to toothbrush. Me? I spend at least 5 minutes just enjoying the hot spray of water on my skin. But since I don't travel on private jets, I can do that every day if I live to be 328 years old and have a smaller carbon footprint than the private-jetting Jen. Continuing ...
"Entourage” star Adrian Grenier has lived in an apartment insulated with old pants.
Not only is that weird in the extreme, it's lame. I insulate my house with live homeless guys standing shoulder to shoulder between my drywall and the stucco. Once they are too thin to be effective, I let them out for a couple of weeks to fatten them up ... then the pattern continues. Beat that, Adrian! I practice the ultimate in recycling!
Vegetarian and planetary crusader Tobey Maguire reportedly has banned all leather products from his house. He also “makes everyone take off their leather belts and shoes and leave them by the door!”
Got him beat, too. Inspired by one of Hollywood's greatest productions, why not make human skin into leather ... which I can then make into clothing and put on animals to raise their self esteem? Hey Toby: "Now it places the lotion in the basket. ... PUT THE F*&^ING LOTION IN THE BASKET!!!!
Leonardo DiCaprio “stays green at home, too—with his $3,200 eco-friendly toilet!”
And how much carbon did it take to make that stinky-ass toilet of yours, Leo? Oh, never mind ...
To read the whole green-weenie Hollywood story, go here.
No angst-ridden meditation on childhood or twee indie soundtrack here, I can tell you...
(Hat tip: Kathy Shaidle on Twitter)
With Halloween a couple of weeks away, we decided to take a break from horrifying politics and terrifying public policies to talk about merely scary movies. In this edition of the podcast, Christian Toto (WhatWouldTotoWatch), Matt Prigge (Philadelphia Weekly), and Jason Snell (Macworld) join Ben and Joel to talk about what's awfully good entertainment and compile a list of 15 fine and frightening flicks for October 31.
Among the Burning Questions we discuss:
• Can a non-horror fan enjoy horror movies?
• What makes a real horror fan?
• Are the best horror movies the least explicit?
• Who is the target audience for scary movies nowadays? (Hint: It isn't young men ages 18-35 anymore.)
• Why do we like George Romero so much?
Music heard in this podcast:
• The Horror - RJD2
• Roar! (from Cloverfield) - Michael Giacchino
• The Crawlers Attack (from The Descent) - David Julyan
• I Walked with a Zombie - Roky Erickson and the Aliens
• Partytime (from Return of the Living Dead) - 45 Grave
• The Shining (Main Theme) - City of Prague Philharmonic
• Psycho Suite - Bernard Herrmann/Elmer Bernstein
• The Gonk (from Dawn of the Dead) - Herbert Chappell
• Monster - Peter Thomas Sound Orchester
So much for my get out of debt plan.
Jackie Earle Haley
Joel Osment almost had me. But no.
Hat tip: io9
Via FilmDrunk (whence I stole yet another headline) comes news of the Norwegian formerly known as Andreas Jankov:
"I wanted to show that it is possible to be serious and at the same time take the name you like," said Julius Andreas Gimli Arn MacGyver Chewbacka Highlander Elessar-Jankov. The movie enthusiast decided to change his name three years ago after radio host and comedian Espen Thoresen changed his name to Espen Thoresen-Hværsaagod-Takkskalduha.
I guess that's cooler than Julius Andreas Gimli Donknotts MacGyver Chewbacka Highlander Elessar-Jankov. But not by much.
By the way, you should really click through to the FilmDrunk link for a picture of Jankov. The new name is somehow fitting.
From the crime blotter of Dayton, Ohio comes word of an important arrest:
A murder suspect at the center of an intense U.S. Marshal’s manhunt was arrested.
Dayton police and task force arrested 21-year-old D’Alcapone Alpacino Morris. He was found hiding in the attic insulation of a home on Nicholas Road in Dayton.
I spotted the story via Filmdrunk (whence I stole the headline for this post), where Vince Mancini is relieved that Morris is behind bars but laments that Alpa Chino from "Tropic Thunder" is still free to sell his Booty Sweat.
Update: A friend e-mails: "That's more threatening, I suppose, than D'Alcapone Donknotts Morris."
Police nationwide are on the lookout for attractive teen girls wandering by themselves, according to this report.
(Via Geek Tyrant.)
"The trouble with geeks," Poulos writes, "is that for them, a human love story isn’t cool enough — is simply boring."
That may be the trouble with geeks. I'm not so certain. But what's the trouble with the Avatar teaser trailer? I liked the comment I read somewhere -- I can't find it now -- that it looks like "Halo meets Ferngully." Of course, everybody wrote off "Titanic," too. (Rightly so. Terrible film...)
The invaluable anti-climate-alarmist site Globalwarming.org alerts us to how far Val Kilmer's star has fallen. Not even "gratuitous nudity" can save his stinker of a global warming film, The Chaos Experiment. (And, no — Thank God! — the gratuitous nudity did not involve Kilmer.)
According to William Yeatman:
I saw Val Kilmer’s new feature the other day. It’s called “The Chaos Experiment,” and it’s about a deranged scientist (Kilmer) who traps “six sexy strangers” (according to the plot synopsis on the back of the DVD) in a room and slowly turns up the heat to demonstrate the deleterious effects of global warming on the human condition. In a nutshell, the “six sexy strangers” get naked before they go crazy and start killing one another.
And you want a bad review? Here's a bad review from Yeatman:
My girlfriend thought it was awful — she was put off by the nudity. That was the only part I enjoyed, in what was otherwise a real snoozer.
Ouch. The film, apparently once titled "The Steam Experiment," was (shockingly) released in two theaters before quickly heading for the discount bin at your local video store. And, according to IMBD, the plot is even worse than Yeatman describes. Kilmer plays, essentially, a slightly better looking Ted Kaczynski:
A former professor concocts a brutal experiment in order to get the word out on the effects of global warming. By trapping six people in an urban Turkish bathhouse, he vows to overheat his hostages unless his global-warming hypothesis is published on the front page of his local paper.
Sorry, Val. No room in the paper for your screed. But no worries. Life imitates art. A UN apparatchik is out there saying we have but four months to save the planet ... then we're all DOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMMMED! No matter that the global warming scare is a fraud, and the useless bill the House passed this summer will cost at least 2 million jobs. I'm sure taxpayers will soon be subsidizing your glorious sequel, The Jaccuzi Experiment, in which you put six comely underwear models in a hot tub and slowly turn up the heat until ... well ... things really start heating up (wink, wink ... nudge, nudge).
Instead of going straight to Skinemax, we'll be required to watch your
propaganda blockbuster to collect our carbon ration cards. Ticket-takers, organic popcorn vendors and movie ushers leading drones patrons to their seats by candlelight will be some of the "green jobs" our government will soon create.
I'm sure Henry Waxman already has the Leave No Hollywood Hack Behind Act printed up and ready to go.
Hard to top this one. Nice going YouTube's barringer82.
A little something for everyone.
(HT: Mrs. Zaius)
Sadly, this is probably the only way California's Democrats will listen to reason and cut the budget.
The Stoning of Soraya M. is a "Schindler's List" for a new generation — a film that starkly exposes the brutality of a regime that is almost impossible for the modern Western mind to comprehend, but is true nonetheless. It won't be seen as that, I fear, by the elites in modern American culture.
If you read my review — which is more of a commentary on the larger issues the film raises than a critique — you'll see that my fears have largely been validated. I have some real problems with Roger Ebert's morally vapid review. Anyway, more excerpts:
If The Stoning of Soraya M. has one enduring message, it is that Iran under Sharia Law is as savage, brutal and unfree as any society in modern memory. And the fact that this is happening to women (and men) in Iran, even today, should be an international shame. These atrocities have to end. And it is perhaps divine providence that this film debuts in the same month that young Iranians are taking to the streets and enduring the bullets of their oppressors to topple their barbaric regime. ...
This movie is the most profoundly feminist film I've ever seen. Iranian-born actress Shohreh Aghdashloo, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her work in The House of Sand and Fog and gave an unforgettable turn in Season 4 of 24, should be nominated again for her performance in this film. The moral center of the film — expressing the shock, fear, outrage and heartbreak of the audience — she landed and delivered the performance of a lifetime for an actress. (She has also been an activist for women in Iran and defeating the Islamofascist regime, having escaped the country during the revolution).
Kindly read the whole thing, and feel free to leave comments both at The American Culture and here at Infinite Monkeys. Reading what Monkey friend Christian Toto has to say about this film is also highly recommended.
National Review Online features a symposium on the life and legacy of John Wayne, who died 30 years ago today. Included among the experts are novelist Andrew Klavan, Big Hollywood editor John Nolte, S.T. Karnick, and our own Dr. Zaius.
"The fact that the words 'John Wayne' are a slur of the Left, even today, is proof enough that he was a great American," Zaius writes. "Squinting across the plain, The Duke would surely drawl that a man’s character is defined as much by who chooses to be his enemy as by who chooses to be his friend."
Elsewhere in the same symposium comes this bit of provocation from Bill Kauffman, the self-described "front-porch anarchist" and "Little American," whose writings I always look forward to reading in the American Conservative:
His favorite actress, Maureen O’Hara, said as he lay dying, “John Wayne is not just an actor and a very fine actor. John Wayne is the United States of America.” Wrong. John Wayne was California: always moving, never stopping, drunk on booze and possibilities, a chickenhawk though a boon companion, unfaithful to his wives, and neglectful of his children but sincerely regretting it — yet at the same time Wayne created and inhabited the single most enduring and resonant screen presence in the history of American film. I love The Searchers, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and The Shootist, but my favorite is True Grit, perhaps because of its source: the great novel of the same title by Charles Portis of Arkansas, one of America’s most underrated writers.
I wouldn't call myself a rabid Wayne fan, but I love "Liberty Valance," which includes one of the finest explanations of America's founding ever put on film.
Joel Mathis and I take a break from politics to have a wide-ranging discussion about movies and film music with Washington Times critic/Denver film maven Christian Toto and Fistful of Soundtracks host, blogger and fledgling comics writer Jimmy J. Aquino.
Among the vexing subjects we tackle with our guests in this edition:
• Whether Drag Me to Hell is suitable for toddlers and why Sam Raimi should be admitted the Overrated Artiste Club.
• How the symphonic tradition up and moved to Hollywood and whether soundtracks deserve more respect than they get
• Why Ed Asner should be made into an action figure and Walter Matthau was a great if unlikely action hero
• Who deserved to get the Matthau role in the Taking of Pelham One Two Three remake
• Christian Toto's childhood in a Turkish prison
• Remedies for Joel's summer snobbery
• Why comic books may hold more promise as a story telling medium than film or TV
• "And much, much more!"
Alas, none of us had seen UP when we recorded this episode, but if we had, I might have confessed to bawling through half the movie. Because I'm a sap.
After you've listened to the podcast, visit What Would Toto Watch and A Fistful of Soundtracks. And graphic novel fans may want to check out Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology, which feature's Aquino's story, "Sampler."
Jim writes on his blog of the experience:
Ben and I are from opposite ends of the political spectrum, but there's one thing we agree on: the awesomeness of the scores of Yoko Kanno, Michael Giacchino, Jerry Goldsmith and Basil Poledouris. Many of the scores Ben and I like are ones that are listenable outside of the movie or TV show. During the chat, I admitted that some of the scores I enjoy and have chosen for airplay on A Fistful of Soundtracks are from movies I've never even seen, like the 1999 cannibal horror flick Ravenous. It's an interesting discussion about music in movies, and I got to talk about aspects of film music and AFOS I haven't even addressed on this blog yet!
I'm sure there's more than one thing we agree on. But he's right!
Music heard in this podcast:
• "High Anxiety Main Title," by Mel Brooks and John Morris (from "High Anxiety: Mel Brook's Greatest Hits Featuring The Fabulous Film Scores of John Morris")
• "Up with Titles," by Michael Giacchino (from "UP")
• "Enterprising Young Men," by Michael Giacchino (from "Star Trek")
• "Chase," by Giorgio Moroder (from "Midnight Express")
• "Making Time," by Creation (from "Rushmore")
• "Main Title," by David Shire (from "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three")
• "The Great Migration," by James Horner (from "The Land Before Time")
• "Brock Graveside," by J.G. Thirlwell (from "The Venture Brothers")
• "End Titles," by Vangelis (from "Blade Runner")
Craig T. Nelson, an affable fellow and great sit-com actor — as proven from his time on the underrated classic "Coach" — was a guest on Glenn Beck's Fox program the other day. He's had it with the way California has been run. It's not a state anymore, he said, but a hedge fund. He doesn't want to be a part-owner of GM. He also doesn't want to pay income taxes to California anymore. And he's not moving. He's just refusing to pay.
Beck asked Nelson when was the last time he read "Common Sense" by Thomas Paine. "Two years ago," was Nelson's reply. Not bad, for a Hollywood actor.
He even pulled out a copy of the Declaration of Independence that he had in his pocket and read a bit from it. Again. Not bad. Kind of impressive, actually.
Here's an actor who is thinking about these issues seriously — and is willing to take the consequences of his actions (at least he says he is) by going to jail for not paying his state income tax.
Nice to see that all the radical thought in Hollywood isn't chasing lefty dreams. Maybe all that subversive anti-left stuff in "The Incredibles" sunk in.
(HT: Big Hollywood)
Monkey friend and movie critic Christian Toto was a guest on the Dennis Miller show this week to preview the summer movie season.
Wolverine: Will do blockbuster business. Good action, wish the story wasn't as complicated as it was.
Star Trek: Trekkies need to have a bit of an open mind.
Angels and Demons: Not a fan of the books, so the movies have left Christian a bit cold.
Terminator: Anything with Christian Bale is worth watching, and the trailer looks awesome.
Night at the Museum: Kids will drag parents to see it, but great cast is on hand to entertain adults. "If there's one can't-miss film, this is probably it."
Transformers: Megan Fox will be in it. So no worries. Predicts $100-plus in the first weekend.
Harry Potter: The movies have been getting darker and more complex as they go along. Eager to see Jim Broadbent do another classic character actor turn.
Risky Summer films: The new Borat film, "Brüno." We also may see this summer that Judd Apatow has running out of creative gas.
Be sure to listen to the whole thing. The funny and smart banter is not to be missed.
Ramesh Ponurru at the Corner wonders how it's possible that lawyers who wrote memos offering legal advice about interrogation could be prosecuted, and what they could be prosecuted for.
"It seems hard to believe that you would ever be able to prove that they knowingly misdescribed the law," writes Ponurru. "And if they sincerely believed the law to say what they said it said, then of what offense could they be guilty?"
I'm no lawyer, but I do know my David Mamet plays...
(Click "read more" below the icons for the rest of this post)
Ed Harris plays John Yoo in the film adaptation David Mamet's "Glen bin Laden, Glen Bush," a gritty drama about Justice Department lawyers struggling to please their bosses after 9/11.
... and they are positive. At least from the British Press (despite the gratuitous hit on Bush and the equally gratuitous Obama love in the review).
A lot of the fun for those of us that remember the original TV show is spotting just what’s been changed. For everyone else the fun will consist if watching one of the most unashamedly entertaining science fiction movies in quite some time. Take plenty of popcorn. It’s that kind of film.
See, Joel? I'm a kind monkey who puts down the poo at times to appreciate pop culture.
Lisa Schmeiser of Filthy Commerce joins Ben and Joel in this edition of the podcast to discuss:
• Why tax hikes are inevitable -- and not just for the "rich";
• How America's days of enjoying cheap, Chinese-made imports are likely numbered;
• Americans' unhealthy obsession with "stuff"... lots and lots of stuff;
• What Joel really thinks about Glenn Beck;
• What Ben really thinks about Disney's shareholders;
• How Pixar has broken the tension between art and commerce.
Music heard in this podcast:
• "Innit for the Money," by James Mathus and His Knockdown Society (from National Antiseptic)
• "The World Is Gone," by the Peter Thomas Sound Orchester (from The In-Kraut, Vol. 3)
• "Don't Let Money Be Your God," by the James Taylor Quartet (from Creation)
• "I'm Payin' Taxes, What am I Buyin'," by Fred Wesley and the J.B.s (from Funky Good Time: The Anthology)
What the heck is The Incomparable? It's a new Web site brought to you by the jackasses who published TeeVee.net for about 12 years until everyone got tired of it and could barely summon the energy to click on the bookmark link in their browsers.
Instead of being limited to just television, The Incomparable will discuss all kinds of pop culture crap -- movies, music, TV, books, comics, whatever.
• Meghan McCain and the pros and cons of "sickening bipartisanship";
• How Dungeons & Dragons may be an apt metaphor for political polarization in these crazy times;
• Whether President Obama's new Afghanistan policy really advances America's strategic interests;
• Why the Battlestar Galactica series finale still disappoints Joel a week later and why Jason thinks Joel is all wet;
• And what's in everybody's Netflix queues.
Music heard in this podcast:
• "Taxi Driver: A Night Piece for Orchestra-Prelude," by the Los Angeles Philharmonic (from Bernard Herrmann: The Film Scores)
• "H.T.," by Tsuneo Imahori (from the Trigun: The First Donuts OST)
• "Starman," by John C. Reilly (from the Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story OST)
• "Meet The Flintstones," by the Monty Alexander Trio (from Triple Treat, Vol. 1)
Monkey Robb tipped me to a post featuring the awesome trailer below. It's for a new Japanese CGI-animation series called (forgive me) "Cat Shit One," which evidently has something to do with an elite military unit of cute, furry animals. Believe me, Hollywood could not possibly do this better. I don't know what most of it means, but after seeing this, I guarantee that the next animal we adopt in the Boychuk household will be named "Botasky."
Here are the first few paragraphs of Paul LaRocco's story in the Press-Enterprise:
San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Kyle Brodie matter-of-factly read the name Wednesday in a roll call of small-time suspects: the unlicensed driver; the work-release probationer.
"No answer," yelled the bailiff.
With that, the mobster-turned-FBI informant -- whose life inspired the movie epic "Goodfellas" -- was facing two $25,000 arrest warrants.
Once linked to an NCAA point-shaving scandal and a $5 million airport heist, Hill at age 65 is wanted for failing to appear on tickets alleging that he was drunk in public in San Bernardino.
"I would have been asking for his autograph," said Desiree Gallegos, 27, who was in the courtroom for a suspension of house arrest terms.
Reached by phone later in the day, Hill said he was unaware he needed to be present. He said he had visited the downtown court on Monday to advise the clerks that he would be having hernia surgery later this week and wanted a new date.
"I was hoping the court would understand," Hill said from his San Fernando Valley home. "I did a few days in jail already."
Looks like he's going to do a few more. Hill has lived quite a life since he testified against his old Luchese crime family pals and went into witness protection. He was booted from the Witness Protection Program not long after GoodFellas came out because he was caught up in the drug trade... again. In fact, Hill has been arrested several times over the years on narcotics charges, including as recently as 2005. (Jimmy Conway was right!) Hill is a consultant and frequent caller to the Howard Stern show -- or so I've read.
Liotta's last lines in the picture sound awfully prescient: "Today everything is different; there's no action... have to wait around like everyone else. Can't even get decent food. Right after I got here, I ordered some spaghetti with marinara sauce, and I got egg noodles and ketchup. I'm an average nobody... get to live the rest of my life like a schnook." A schnook and a drunk.
By the way, Hill looks nothing like Liotta. Or, rather, Liotta looks nothing like Hill. If I had to cast the role of Henry Hill in the GoodFellas sequel, I'd want Harvey Keitel or Zombie Jonathan Harris.