Monday, April 06, 2009

10 films for the Aughts

Two of the film writers for the San Francisco Chronicle, Mick LaSalle and Peter Hartlaub, have published dueling "10 best films of the decade" lists.

To my way of thinking, it's a mite early for this. After all, the decade isn't over yet.

Then again, people get all squishy over lists, don't they? So, anytime is list time.

I use the word "dueling" above, not because Hartlaub and LaSalle hate each other (they may, but I don't think so — it's more an Ebert-Siskel rivalry), but because their lists have nothing in common. That's right: Two major film critics compiled lists of the best 10 films from the past decade, and not a single film appears on both lists.

(For your reference, here's Mick LaSalle's list, and then Peter Hartlaub's list.)

As a former professional film critic myself, I couldn't resist taking up this challenge, premature though it may be. I always preface these things with the caveat that "best" is a subjective and ultimately ridiculous concept when applied to the creative arts. So, let's call this...

My 10 Favorite Films from the "200x" Decade

1. Sideways

Funny, vulgar, touching, winsome, outrageous... I could keep stacking the adjectives, but none of them can completely express my affection for this film. Paul Giamatti's Miles is the person I would probably be if I drank. (Which is yet another good reason why I don't.) Virginia Madsen's soliloquy about the deeper meaning of wine may be the sexiest sequence in any film this decade — and she delivers it while vertical and fully dressed.

2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy

Peter Jackson's three-part cinematic thunderbolt may never be equaled, in terms of its sheer size, scope, and groundbreaking spectacle. As a longtime fan of Tolkien's magnum opus, I don't see how The Lord of the Rings could have been delivered to the screen any better or more faithfully — in spirit, if not in minute detail. (See: Bakshi, Ralph.) Perfect? Perhaps not. Seven levels of awesome? Heck, yeah.

3. Children of Men

No film I've seen in the past ten years moved me as powerfully as this darkly haunting slice of science fiction by Alfonso CuarĂ³n. Children of Men strikes some of the same notes as Minority Report (another film I liked very much; surprising, since I'm not a fan of either director Steven Spielberg or star Tom Cruise), but it strikes them with more genuine emotion, and less hyperslick flash.

4. Memento

The first truly great film of the decade, Memento is noteworthy both as a dazzling achievement in cinematic storytelling (often imitated, but never approached) and as the revelation of one of the period's signature filmmakers: Christopher Nolan, who went on to direct Insomnia (an underrated flick, spoiled only by too hefty a dose of Robin Williams), Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight.

5. Spirited Away

Not only the best animated feature of the decade, but one of the finest animated films of all time. Hayao Miyazaki is sometimes referred to as "the Walt Disney of Japan," but this astounding, heart-wrenching film demonstrates just how inadequate that label is. It's not as much fun as many of Miyazaki's other pictures (it's hard to top Castle in the Sky, Kiki's Delivery Service, or the masterful Princess Mononoke in that department), but not every animated film has to be fun.

6. Best in Show

The funniest comedy of the decade, hands down. Will Christopher Guest ever make another movie this good?

7. Lost in Translation

I fully expected to hate this movie. I detested Sofia Coppola's pathetic attempts at acting, and her previous directing turn (The Virgin Suicides) left me cold. Plus, Bill Murray wore out his welcome with me way back around Ghostbusters. But its existential charm won me over.

8. Pan's Labyrinth

Like Jackson's LOTR, Guillermo del Toro's film sets a new high-water mark for technical achievement. More than that, however, it's an engaging and compelling journey into a world unlike any other. Many filmmakers are content to simply repeat the tried and true. Instead, del Toro chose to reinvent the fantasy film. Pan's Labyrinth defines the word "unforgettable."

9. Inside Man

I had a choice between two Spike Lee films here, Inside Man and 25th Hour. When in doubt, choose the movie with Denzel Washington in it. Especially if Jodie Foster and Clive Owen are in it, too.

10. Ocean's Eleven

Okay, okay. I'm allowed one low-brow selection. The true testament to Ocean's Eleven's greatness is that I've watched it more frequently than any other movie on this list, with the possible exception of Best in Show. I wish Steven Soderbergh hadn't followed it with two lackluster sequels (the middle film in the trilogy flat-out reeks), but that doesn't make the first one any less cool. Vegas, baby.

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Five questions

If you stop by here frequently, you may have noticed that I rarely do memes. In 1,600 posts over four and a half years, I think I've done maybe three.

Let's make it four.

Adam Avitable posted his version of "Five Questions" shortly before Thanksgiving. The idea of the meme is this: Someone asks you five questions of his or her choosing. As the participant, you agree to answer the five questions on your own blog (with a link back to your interviewer). In turn, you offer to create a unique five-part questionnaire for another volunteer or group of volunteers. Adam collected more than 50 willing interview subjects, of which I am one.

So, off we go.

1. Where did the name SwanShadow come from, and did anyone suggest that it's a bit of a feminine name?

That's really two questions, but in for a penny, in for a pound.

My official SwanShadow story goes like this: As a freelance copywriter and editor, I work in anonymity. When I write ad copy or sales letters or radio spots or any of the other folderol I'm paid to create, I rarely get a byline or credit. Indeed, I often work for clients who prefer that I don't acknowledge, even on my own site, that I'm the person who does their writing, or the writing for the companies they represent. Thus, I work in the shadows. It's my job to take other people's ugly-duckling brands, concepts, and sales prose, and transform them into beautiful swans.

The truth, however, is that I created the SwanShadow handle years before I hung out my freelance shingle. Its true significance is known only to me.

But the other thing's my official story, and as far as the public is concerned, I'm sticking to it.

As for the femininity angle, I get that on rare occasion — most often from other players at online poker tables. I must confess that it never occurred to me before I started using the name.

I don't think of swans as female, particularly, if I think of them in terms of gender at all. In Greek mythology, Zeus took the form of a swan when he impregnated Leda (whether by force or by seduction depends on whose version of the myth you believe). The title character in Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling — which inspired my "official" explanation — is also male. Then again, Odette in Swan Lake is a princess.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

2. Marvel or DC? Corollary: Who's your favorite artist?

Again with the two-fer! Curse you, Avitable!

When I was a comics-reading kid growing up, it was definitely Marvel. I read just about everything DC published, of course, when my friends weren't looking. But if I had to choose up sides, I was a Marvelite to the core. I belonged to both of Marvel's official fan clubs, the Merry Marvel Marching Society and its successor, FOOM (Friends of Ol' Marvel). Marvel's heroes were the ones I identified with most closely, and that I cared the most about.

These days, my reading list is much closer to 50-50. I think of it this way: I read Marvel for its connection to my history, and DC for its present reality.

My favorite artist depends on the period:
  • Golden Age: Matt Baker (Phantom Lady), Lou Fine (The Ray), Mac Raboy (Captain Marvel Jr.), and Lee Elias (The Black Cat).
  • Silver Age: John Buscema (Thor, Conan), John Romita Sr. (Amazing Spider-Man), and Jim Aparo (The Brave and the Bold).
  • Bronze Age: Barry Windsor-Smith (Conan) and Keith Pollard (pretty much everything at Marvel).
  • Modern Age: George Pérez (Wonder Woman), Adam Hughes (Wonder Woman, again), Mark Schultz (Xenozoic Tales, a.k.a. Cadillacs and Dinosaurs), and the recently departed Dave Stevens (The Rocketeer) and Mike Wieringo (Fantastic Four).
But if I had to pick one artist from all of comics history? That's easy — Will Eisner.

3. What's your favorite writing achievement?

I'm tempted to say this blog, because so much of my heart and soul lies bare on these virtual pages.

But instead, I'm going to point to the 146 film and television reviews I wrote for DVD Verdict during my five years as a staff member there. It was mentally and creatively challenging work, and I enjoyed it thoroughly — even when reviewing Steven Seagal and Jean-Claude Van Damme flicks that were so wretched, I could feel my brain cells decaying as I watched them.

If there were unlimited hours in the day and my body never required sleep, I'd still be writing for the Verdict.

4. Do you think that blogging is just lazy writing?

Perish the thought. No writing is lazy writing. Lazy writers don't write.

I will admit to being frustrated with writers — bloggers and otherwise — who don't take every opportunity to write as well as they can. If you're going to write at all, even if it's "just a blog," why not give it your best effort? Use and spell words correctly. Write coherently, and mostly in complete sentences. Share original thoughts, at least to the degree that any thought is "original," rather than simply parroting what you've read elsewhere.

Life's too short to write badly.

But it's especially too short not to write at all.

5. Is Alex Trebek really as obnoxious in person as he seems on TV?

If I had an FAQ on this blog, this question would be on it. Heck, if I had an FAQ for my life, this question would be on it.

Although I've played eleven games on Jeopardy! and its associated tournaments during the past 20 years, I don't really know Alex Trebek. With a single exception I will address in a moment, all of my interaction with Alex has been on the set of Jeopardy! during the course of game play or the post-program chat that takes place while the show's credits roll. Alex has always been polite and personable toward me in those circumstances. (Though he did call me by another contestant's name when I won my quarter-final game in the 1988 Tournament of Champions. I've long since forgiven him for that faux pas. Sort of.)

When I was first on the show in '88, Alex was not only the host of Jeopardy!, but was also the show's producer. Back then, he had numerous other responsibilities on taping days besides just running the game on camera. In the years since he gave up the producer's job (which has been assayed ever since by the guy who used to be Alex's assistant, a model of level-headed efficiency named Rocky Schmidt), Alex has appeared more relaxed, and less harried and abrupt, when I've been on the set.

Or maybe he's just matured as he's aged.

The one occasion I've been around Alex off-camera was in 1997, when I participated in a special one-game Jeopardy! event called Battle of the Bay Area Brains. My wife, daughter, and I were invited to a reception following the taping. Alex took time to be both congenial and kind to my then-eight-year-old daughter, and signed several autographs for her.

I guess the short answer (if it's not already too late for that) is that Alex has always been fine with me. Mrs. Trebek may tell an entirely different tale.

Those are my five questions. If you're a regular here — or even if you're just a-passin' through — and would like me to interview you, here's the official "Five Questions" boilerplate:
Want to be part of it? Follow these instructions:
1. Leave me a comment saying, "Interview me."
2. I will respond by e-mailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.
In the spirit of Mr. Avitable, I'll interview as many of you as volunteer. (I can make that commitment safely, knowing that I'm nowhere near as popular as Adam is.)

Thanks to Avitable for the excellent questions!

Even if there really were seven.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

The Verdict Is In: Memron

One of my favorite subgenres of film is the mockumentary, the comedy-as-faux-documentary style pioneered by director Rob Reiner in the perennial classic, This Is Spinal Tap, and perfected by Tap cowriter and star Christopher Guest in such works as Waiting For Guffman, Best In Show, and A Mighty Wind. The format has even been used to decent effect by a few folks not named Reiner or Guest, as evidenced by a decent little flick entitled ...And God Spoke.

If you're a fan of any of the aforementioned films, you will want to avoid — at all costs — a newly released mockumentary called Memron.

Indeed, if you value your sanity and sense of humor, you'll dash right over to DVD Verdict and check out my just-published review of this embarrassing travesty. After reading my scathing commentary, you will pity me. But you'll be glad that it was I who endured this experience, instead of you.

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Friday, January 05, 2007

The Verdict Is In: Step Up

It's another Crappy Movie Friday at DVD Verdict, and although I didn't exactly think Step Up was all that awful, my review of the latest hip-hop dance teen romance is available at the Verdict today.

To summarize briefly:
  • If you long for the days of Flashdance, but don't need to see Jennifer Beals wielding a welding torch or shimmying out of her undergarments beneath a bulky sweatshirt...
  • If you wish that Julia Stiles would Save the Last Dance for you...
  • If your six degrees of Kevin Bacon come from having seen Footloose that many times...
  • If you know that The Forbidden Dance means "lambada"...
  • If you felt the Electric Boogaloo during Breakin' 2...
Step Up might just be your plate of oysters.

The only way you'll know for sure is if you read my review.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

The Verdict Is In: The Bedroom Window

Just like every Friday is Comic Art Friday here at SSTOL, over at DVD Verdict, every Friday is Crappy Movie Friday. The Verdict's dedicated staff watches this trash so you don't have to, but can instead have fun reading as we dissect Hollywood's mistakes and missteps.

This week, I endured a preposterous, credulity-straining plot, Isabelle Huppert's indecipherable mangling of the English language, and Steve Guttenberg's naked white butt in The Bedroom Window, director Curtis Hanson's hit-and-miss 1987 foray into film noir, made ten years before he finally got it right with L.A. Confidential.

Go check out my review of The Bedroom Window. Meanwhile, I'll attempt to scour the image of Guttenberg's pasty glutes out of my mind's eye.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Verdict Is In: Tracks

I haven't written any new reviews for DVD Verdict in a while — how does the time get away? Today I'm rectifying this lapse with a fresh look at Tracks, director Henry Jaglom's symbol-laden experiment in psychodrama.

In Tracks, a Vietnam veteran (played by Dennis Hopper) escorts the remains of a slain comrade on a cross-country railroad odyssey. The subject matter is rife with opportunity for gripping cinema. Do Jaglom and Hopper deliver? You'll have to check out my review to uncover the answer.

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Monday, July 17, 2006

Judge George Hatch, R.I.P.

This afternoon, the staff of DVD Verdict was deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of one of our colleagues, George Hatch.

During my tenure on the Verdict editorial team, George was, for a short time, one of the writers whose reviews I edited. I found him passionate and conscientious about his work, intensely thoughtful about his wordcraft, and knowledgeable to a fault in the subjects about which he wrote.

A New York native, George was a man of diverse — and often surprising — experience, charming wit, and eclectic talents. DVD Verdict will feel his loss greatly. Although I never met George in person, and knew him only through occasional correspondence and his body of writing, I suspect that the world he inhabited will miss him greatly also.

If you'd like to get a sense for the kind of writer George was, please take a moment to stop over to the Verdict and peruse a few of his reviews. You'll find the time well spent. Probably even enlightening.

My sincerest condolences to George's family, coworkers, loved ones, and friends.

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Friday, June 09, 2006

The Verdict Is In: Bye Bye Havana

DVD Verdict's editoral staff has had me on a bit of a Cuban kick recently.

My most recent review for the site covered a film set at the time of the Castro revolution, Cuban Blood, also known as Dreaming of Julia. My latest contribution, published today, is a review of Bye Bye Havana, a documentary examining everyday life in Cuba 45 years into the socialist experiment. It's an interesting piece of filmmaking, directed by former advertising executive J. Michael Seyfert.

Enjoy the review. If you eat a Cuban sandwich as you read it, you'll enjoy it even more.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The Verdict Is In: Cuban Blood (Dreaming of Julia)

One of the entertainment marketing tricks that really burns my bacon is the random retitling of a film for its DVD release. Take, for example, the charming little picture Dreaming of Julia. The title refers to the fantasies of the main character, a young Cuban boy coming of age during the time of the Castro rebellion. Our hero is befriended by — and develops a crush on — a beautiful American woman named Julia, who reminds him of the heroine of the Doris Day thriller Julie. The film is a gentle, warm-hearted slice of life, told in semiautobiographical fashion by first-time director Juan Gerard.

Some nudnik at Velocity Home Entertainment decided that more people would be likely to purchase Dreaming of Julia on DVD if the title were changed to Cuban Blood — a title that would be fine for a Miami gangster picture, but is wholly inappropriate for this film.

You'll get more of this rant in my review of Dreaming of Julia... I mean, Cuban Blood. But you'll also learn more about an unheralded cinematic treasure you just might enjoy. Please check it out if you're so inclined.

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Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Verdict Is In: I Love Your Work

There's a classic Steely Dan song that includes the line:
Show business kids makin' movies 'bout themselves
You know they don't give a [expletive deleted] about anybody else...
I Love Your Work is the movie those kids made.

If you're into Hollywood angst melded with arthouse pretension, I Love Your Work may be your cup of cappucino. My review will help you decide.

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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Verdict Is In: Rumor Has It...

You've gotta admit, Rumor Has It... is a clever idea for a movie.

Suppose you (you being Jennifer Aniston, in this case) found out that a famous novel and Hollywood film (the novel and film being The Graduate, in this case) were based on events that occurred in the lives of your mother and grandmother (your grandmother being Shirley MacLaine, in this case) before you were born?

As I said, clever idea. Is the movie itself as intriguing as its premise? Go check out my review of Rumor Has It... at DVD Verdict and you'll find out.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Verdict Is In: Fun With Dick And Jane

As a general rule...

I'm not fond of remakes, and I'm not fond of films starring Jim Carrey.

Neither of these is the reason I was not fond of Fun With Dick And Jane.

I was not fond of Fun With Dick And Jane because Fun With Dick And Jane is not funny.

Neither is the review, particularly. But at least it will help you avoid wasting your time and hard-earned cash on the DVD of a dreadfully mirthless comedy.

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Monday, May 01, 2006

The Verdict Is In: Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story

What could be better than a movie about a girl, her dad, and the horse they both love? If you ask my daughter, not much.

As movies of this sort go, Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story makes for two hours of fine family entertainment, with all the stuff you want and nothing you don't. The review I published today at DVD Verdict will give you all the skinny.

As I noted in the review, it's rare that a film can be described as predictable, derivative, simplistic, and saccharine, and also be described as a good movie. Dreamer is, however, one such film. My review of Dreamer isn't predictable, derivative, simplistic, or saccharine, but it's still a good article. Take a peek when you have a moment.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

This Judge is a real Payne

In case you don't get your fill of pop culture snark right here at SSTOL — and Lord knows, we try — there's a new Judge in town dishing the dirt on all things Hollywood. If you like what we do here, you'll doubtless appreciate the work of the merciless Judge Payne at Cinematic Justice.

You can tell him your Uncle Swan sent you.

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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The Verdict Is In: Aeon Flux

Tuesday is New DVD Release Day, the day each week when fresh DVD product hits the shelves at a fine retailer (or a Wal-Mart) near you. One of the hot properties on today's release slate is Aeon Flux, a science fiction adventure starring Academy Award winner Charlize Theron in the title role.

Aeon Flux generated a firestorm of controversy in the fan community, as the live-action motion picture takes wholesale liberties with the animated series on which it is based. Peter Chung, the animator who created the original Aeon Flux short films and subsequent series for MTV back in the 1990s, has been vocal in his condemnation of the movie version. (Although, as I noted in my review, Chung's hostility toward the film project apparently didn't prevent him from accepting the royalty checks.)

Whether you are or aren't a fan of Aeon Flux the animated series, my review of Aeon Flux the motion picture should help you determine whether the film might appeal to you. Hey, it's Charlize Theron in spandex — what's not to like?

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Verdict Is In: Faith

No, my latest review for DVD Verdict doesn't have anything to do with the classic 1987 pop album by George Michael. Considering the trouble old George has gotten himself into of late, that's probably a good thing. (That was a pretty decent album, though, even if what we've learned about Mr. Michael's predilections in the intervening years does cast songs like "Father Figure" and "I Want Your Sex" in a wholly different light.)

Not a particularly good thing is the veddy British political intrigue miniseries Faith. Although a few of the characters do have something in common with George Michael, if you know what I mean, and I think you do. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Please check out the review anyway. The staff of DVD Verdict thanks you.

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Friday, April 14, 2006

The Verdict Is In: Extreme Dating

Over at DVD Verdict, we usually review the truly awful films every Friday. My latest review examines a film so sucky that it was the featured review on today's Crappy Movie Friday. (Not to be confused with Comic Art Friday, which is never sucky.)

You'll enjoy reading about Extreme Dating a lot more than you'd enjoy watching it. I did, so you didn't have to. Go feel my pain.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Verdicts Are In: G and How to Lose Your Lover

Today I have two new reviews posted at DVD Verdict. Why? Because it's Twosday, that's why.

G is a modern-day take on F.Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel The Great Gatsby, with a predominantly African American cast. Everyone in this film is way too good-looking.

How to Lose Your Lover was originally titled 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover. I'm guessing that Paul Simon wanted beaucoup bucks for the use of his trademark. Kind of like Kodak did when Simon wrote his hit song "Kodachrome." What goes around comes around, eh, Paul?

Head on over to the Verdict and grab yourself a double shot of my ever-popular DVD reviews, as well as great stuff by the rest of our talented team of critics. You can tell the bailiff I sent you.

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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Verdict Is In: Stay

Today's new review at DVD Verdict takes a look at Stay, which didn't stay long in your local theater despite the presence of some heavyweight acting talent — including Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, and Bob Hoskins — and the director of the Oscar-winning Monster's Ball.

When a $50 million film languishes in the studio archives for a year before release, that generally means the marketing department has no idea of how to sell the picture to the moviegoing public. In the case of Stay, the final solution was to market it as a horror movie, which it isn't. The result? People who saw the film thinking it was a fright flick were disappointed, and people who might have enjoyed the dark psychological thriller it is stayed away in droves. That's how you turn $50 million into $4 million in six weeks.

Maybe Stay just isn't a good title for a movie. You'll enjoy the review, though.

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Monday, March 20, 2006

The Verdict Is In: Separate Lies

What better way to celebrate the first day of spring than with a new film review by yours truly at DVD Verdict?

Okay, so you're thinking: A winning Powerball ticket would be better. So would a hot date with a sexy movie star. Or a letter from the Internal Revenue Service permanently exempting you from federal income tax.

In comparison with these things, my review of Separate Lies, a film written and directed by Julian Fellowes, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Gosford Park, and featuring the exceptional acting talents of noted British thespians Emily Watson, Tom Wilkinson, and Rupert Everett, doesn't seem like all that much.

But since you don't have that Powerball ticket, or that hot date, or that tax exemption letter, perhaps this review will be a tiny blossom of brightness in your otherwise mundane Monday.

You'll never know unless you go read it.

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Friday, March 17, 2006

The Verdict Is In: You Stupid Man

When I tell you that my latest review for DVD Verdict covers a film entitled You Stupid Man, you might wonder whether the editorial team at the Verdict was trying to insinuate something about yours truly.

Not to worry. I requested the assignment. Mostly because I just had to see what kind of bizarre marketing strategy would name a romantic comedy You Stupid Man, which has to set some kind of record for the most off-putting title in the history of cinema. Next to I Spit On Your Grave, that is.

Besides, Denise Richards is in it. Who plays stupid better than Denise Richards? Or makes men act more stupid?

Anyway, check out the review, you stupid man. Or woman. Or whatever.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Verdicts Are In: Blood and Wine and Irish Jam

Today at DVD Verdict, I'm premiering two — count 'em, two — new reviews.

The first examines a tasty modern noir thriller, Blood and Wine, which features three superlative cinematic talents: Jack Nicholson, Michael Caine, and Jennifer Lopez's rear end.

The second takes a critical view of a genuinely lousy comedy called Irish Jam, which stars Eddie Griffin in a film he'll be pleased to have omitted from future filmographies. It'll remind you of rear end, but not in a good way.

In life, you've gotta take the bitter along with the sweet. Today at DVD Verdict, you can have both. Lucky for you, the reviews are succulent even when the films are nasty.

Why are you still here? Go check 'em out, already.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

The Verdict Is In: The Boy In Blue

With the Winter Olympics about to wind down, I think it's appropriate that the new review I've published at DVD Verdict today should cover a film about a world-class athlete. The Boy In Blue stars a young Nicolas Cage as Canadian rowing champion Ned Hanlan.

Okay, so rowing isn't a Winter Olympic sport.

Just go check out the review, and quit your grousing. (Please?)

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Friday, February 17, 2006

The Verdict Is In: American Women

If you've dropped around for Comic Art Friday, hang loose — I'm preparing a report on my excursion last week to WonderCon, the big, boffo comic book convention in San Francisco. It'll be worth the wait, trust me. (And you know that anytime someone says, "Trust me," you can take that to the bank.)

Meanwhile, I've published a new review over at DVD Verdict. The film is entitled American Women. Actually, no, it isn't. Its true title is The Closer You Get. But apparently the marketing department at Fox Home Video didn't think that was juicy enough, so they saddled this sweet-natured (if not especially entertaining) film with a new, sexier title, and corresponding keep case artwork that makes it look like a low-grade, low-class sequel to Porky's. If that isn't redundant.

So go scope my American Women review, then hie yourself back here later this evening for your weekly dose of Comic Art Friday. You'll be thanking yourself all weekend.

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Friday, February 03, 2006

The Verdict Is In: Asylum

Comic Art Friday is on its way, but while you're waiting, you could pop over to DVD Verdict and enjoy my review of Asylum.

No, this isn't the classic 1972 Amicus Pictures horror flick starring Peter Cushing. It's last year's creepy romance-slash-thriller set in a British hospital for the criminally insane. It features good performances by Natasha Richardson and Ian McKellen, and...


Just go read the review, will ya?

You'd be crazy not to.

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Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Verdict Is In: My Date With Drew

My breakdown of the comic documentary My Date With Drew is today's featured review at DVD Verdict.

It's the story of an ordinary guy who decides to invest 30 days and $1,100 (he won the cash on a game show) trying to get a date with Drew Barrymore. Trust me — it's more fun than Punxsutawney Phil trying to locate his shadow.

Drew says you should totally check it out.

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