March 2006

Bad Instincts

by Alan Rapp on March 31, 2006

in Movie Reviews 

How bad does a film have to be for Joe Eszterhas to refuse to make it?  How silly is it for a 50 year-old woman to strut around in skimpy outfits like a horny teenager?  How untitiliating is it to see a nude 50 year-old woman pretending to be a 20 year-old woman, and how sad is it to watch?  How unnecessary is this sequel?  What does Sharon Stone’s pet project really have to offer?  These questions and more can be answered if you’re willing to watch one of the most ridiculous films in recent memory.  Or you could just read my review.

Basic Instinct 2
1 Star

In 1992 Sharon Stone broke into the big time with the lurid sex-thriller Basic Instinct.  After years of struggle the hit allowed Stone to carve out a niche as the latest slutty tramp vixen (only latter to be dethrowned by the likes of Elizabeth Berkley and Krista Allen).  Finally her career broadened and she moved away from those roles into some fine performances in good films (such as last year’s Broken Flowers).  Sadly however she’s returned to the role that made her a star.  Now at the age of 48 Stone loses both her clothes and dignity and shows us quite plainly that the studios were right to try to abort this baby before it ever saw the light of day.

Author and serial killer Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone) is living it up in England seeking thrills, taking chances, and leaving bodies strewn in her wake.  After her bad choice of mixing sex and driving causes the death of her latest one-night stand Catherine is taken in by Scotland Yard Detective Roy Washburn (David Thewlis) who wants nothing more than to nail her to the wall.  He sends Cathrine to his friend Dr. Michael Glass (David Morrissey), who is hiding enough of his own skeletons for an entirely separate movie, for a full evaluation.  Glass of course falls for the femme fatale and his world slowly disolves into crazy-wacko-funland-time.

Stone was guaranteed the right to make a sequel to Basic Instinct (despite the fact no one else wanted one) and over the past few years went as far to sue for the studio to produce this film.  Problem is it took 14 years to get the film done and Stone is now 48 years-old and acting like no time has gone by.  It’s hard not to notice the age of the actress and the rather inappropriate (and unintentionally hilarious at times) storyline for one such as Granny Stone to be starring in.  Stone goes for all the same jokes: “arrest me for smoking?,” trashy outfits, spreading her legs (thankfully this time she straddles the back of a chair), performing various sexual acts in public for an audience, and seducing a troubled guy who actually has the power to stop her at any time but doesn’t because… she’s so sexy??  Problem is we’ve seen this before and the rehash never adds anything new to the stock formula nor works with an actress of Stone’s age.

From beginning to end the film is simply ridiculous.  Nothing believable happens and the officers at Scotland Yard are even more inept at their jobs than the San Francisco cops from the first film.  Seriously folks are you telling me the only competent cops are so mesmerized by her they just can’t stop her either?  Flimsy plot twists involving a tabloid reporter (Hugh Dancy) digging into Dr. Glass’s shady past involving a former patient and Glass’ appoinment to a new position are meant to add some much needed story elements to the film yet they never come together or amount to much.  And as for the sex and thriller aspects, they fail to obscure what is simply dreadful dialogue and writing; unlike the first film, this time when Granny Stone drops her clothes and writhes around it’s not sexy, it’s not titilating or erotic, it’s just plain icky and more than a little sad.

You into GILFs?  If not pass this ridiculous absurdly retarded film by.  It’s so lurid and seedy it makes softcore porn look respectable by comparision.  Miss Stone please keep your legs crossed and your clothes on from now on.  I’ve seen enough to know I’ve seen enough.  The first movie was forgettable enough but this one just oozes all types of badness.  Probles arise because director Michael Caton-Jones is no Paul Verhoven and writers Leora Barish and Henry Bean are no Joe Eszterhas (stop and think about that for a a second, realize I’m not saying this in a good way, and realize the imlications of this statement) and Stone simply isn’t the sexpot she was almost fifteen-years ago.  The film was obvioulsy an attempt by Stone to recapture the glory of her most profitable years but the actuality of it will make you yearn for The Specialist and Sliver.  The film is not entirely pointless as it reveals exactly how bad a film has to be for Joe Eszterhaus to refuse to make it – exactly this bad.

…and the Bad News

by Alan Rapp on March 30, 2006

in Uncategorized

Well that’s that.  Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz is no longer interested in continuing the series.  The show was in negotiations to move to Showtime under conditions that Hurwitz stayed attached to the project but because of the inability to come to terms on the finances and concerns over the quality of the show Hurwitz has pulled himself from the project.  “Of course, if there was enough money in it, I would have happily abandoned the fans’ need for quality. But as it turns out, there wasn’t.”  Although this doesn’t officially sound the end of the show and scrapping of the deal, Hurwitz did admit he’d be willing to stay on as a consultant, but it does add one more nail to the coffin.  The show’s exec-producer Jim Vallely isn’t interested in taking over “We couldn’t do the show without Mitch Hurwitz, and I wouldn’t want to be the guy who tried.”

Arrested Development

The Good News…

by Alan Rapp on March 30, 2006

in Film News & Trailers

Well fans of Ocean’s Eleven and Ocean’s Twelve have at least one more film to look forward to.  Warner Bros. announced plans to go ahead with another sequel that should reunite the original cast and director Steven Soderbergh for one more great heist adventure.  So who’s the newcomer to make it 13?  Ellen Barkin.  Ellen Barkin????  I thought she was dead!  What, was Patricia Arquette too expensive?  The plot of the film is still sketchy but it will take place in Las Vegas and Los Angeles and is scheduled to begin shooting in July and should be out next year.

Ocean’s Thirteen

Justice League – Season One

by Alan Rapp on March 29, 2006

in Home Video

  • Title: Justice League – Season One
  • link

justice-league-season-one-dvdThe greatest heroes of the planet band together to stop criminals…wait I remember this show, it had a monkey named Gleek right?  Wrong.  Unlike SuperFriends, Justice League takes the characters and situations they encounter seriously and does a pretty good job of adapting the comic version to the TV screen.

When aliens who have already destroyed Mars thousands of years ago attack the Earth the Martian Manhunter (Carl Lumbly) gathers together the world’s best heroes to make a stand.  Superman (George Newbern), Batman (Kevin Conroy), John Stewart the Green Lantern (Phil Lamar), the fastest man alive – the Flash (Michael Rosenbaum), a warrior from the planet Thanagar – Hawgirl (Maria Canals), and an amazon princess – Wonder Woman (Susan Eisenberg) team to make Earth’s last stand.

[click to continue…]

Chicken Never Tasted So Good

by Alan Rapp on March 28, 2006

in Uncategorized

Adult Swim has had its share of highs and lows but out of everything on its current lineup there is one show that stands out above the rest.  The brainchild of Seth Green and Matthew Seinreich, Robot Chicken is a bloody brilliant masterpiece of mayhem and fun.  The stop-motion animation show uses vintage toys and crafted sets for some of the funniest sketches you’ll ever see.  The entire first season is available today on DVD; let’s take a look…

Robot Chicken – Volume 1
4 & 1/2 Stars

Seth Green is da’ man!  Robot Chicken was created by Green and Matthew Senreich to be something quite unique, insanely funny, and thoroughly enjoyable.  The show’s episodes are only 15 minutes a piece (about 10 without commercials) and air late at night on Cartoon Network’s “Adult Swim” lineup.  Because of the shortness of the episodes and the odd timeslots (often something like 11:45 pm) I haven’t caught many of ‘em so it was a real treat to sit down and watch the season crammed onto two discs (this is definately the way to view the show).

The show is set-up to be various stop-motion animation skits (some as long as four or five minutes, some as short as 5 seconds) structured together in a switching channel framework as if you, the viewer, are seeing what’s showing on different channels.  The voices are provided by cast regulars Seth Green, Chad Morgan, Dan Milano, Seth MacFarlane, Breckin Meyer, Jamie Kaler, and guests like Mila KunisScarlett Johannsson, Sarah Michelle Geller, Jon Heder, Macaulay Culkin, Dean Cain, the entire cast of That 70’s Show and others.

So what might you see?  Well how about an A-Team episode, a Scooby Doo spoof, CSI bloopers, a Canonball Run sketch with the voices of Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise, an episode of “Zombie Idol” (with judges Count Chocula and Boo-Berry), a Se7en themed Smurf sketch, the most brutal one-sided fist fights, a sketch pointing out several problems with King Kong, “Behind the Music with The Electic Mayhem”, what would really happen to Billy Batson if he said his magic word, a bird teaching it’s young how to poop on strangers, “Ass-Pirates of the Carribean,” the unintentional effect Sailor Moon would have on her foes, a Hillary Duff version of The Diary of Anne Frank, Voltron getting served, and an Empire Strikes Back parody (with Mark Hamill providing his own voice) where Darth Vader reveals all.

The show uses current and vintage toys (you’ll recognize G.I. Joe and He-Man figures, among many, many others) to act out the various skits and also comissions a company to make custom made celebrity heads for their figures allowing them to do anything from an N’Sync to a Harrison Ford sketch.  The quality of the show is quite good considering how much time is taken to create the sets and then film it frame by frame going back to add effects and dialogue.  The shooting is first rate and the range of movements from the various props and figures is often quite amazing.

This is a collection I can’t recommend highly enough.  Yes it’s brutal and violent, yes it’s offensive, yes it’s incredibly not politically correct, and yes not every skit is a winner (though it does have a higher percent of good ones than most sketch shows).  You know what it is though?  Really #*%@ funny!  20 extremely funny episodes, great commentary, and tons of extras packaged in this nice two-disc DVD set.

Keep your remote handy to pause and take a look at the spinning newspapers and credits which contain several jokes you’ll miss the first time around and be prepared to hum that theme song for the next day and a half.  Simply put folks this is an awesome show well packaged here in this set and it’s a must have for fans of the show, Seth Green, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, or just really fun sketch comedy done with puppets.  Go get yours now!