Jurassic Park 3

“JP3” answers that question. Actually, “JP3” scares it into you. This film is scary. I shit you not, its frigging out and out SCARY. New director Joe Johnston has decided not to make this enjoyable, pop corn, kiddie summer fun, and thank Christ for small favors. Instead, he opts to pull out all the stops and jams the film with unrelenting action. ACTION. DINOSAURS. ATTACKS. This movie is not pussified. The camera does not cut away when a dino attacks, and we are left with only seeing water turning red. “JP3” does what “JP2” should have done. MAKE YOU AFRAID OF THE GODDAMN 8 TON DINOSAUR. I cannot stress it enough. I’m so pumped right now. The film is an utter rush. Its dark and gritty. It doesn’t stop. The effects are top notch…perhaps better than the previous 2 films for one reason… more dinosaurs. The new bad ass, Spinosaurus stands out… and when I say new bad ass, I mean it. Wait till you see this fucker… and his fight with a T Rex.

The stars of the film, I must say, go to the Ptredons… flying dinos. They kick ass. Nasty bastards. Best action sequences in the film belong to the birds… who were greatly ignored in the first two.

Of course, the raptors are back… and, well, they’re evolved. They’re smarter… bigger… more menacing. Very cool stuff is done with them. I’m sure by now, everyone has seen the previews and know what the premise is, so I wont waste time with plot details. What I will say is that once the group is OVER (Notice I didn’t say ON) the island, the action never stops. The group travels through JP, hoping to survive, all the while being stalked by the Spinosaurus (God, he is a BAD ASS).

The actors are top notch. Sam Neill is in top form as Dr. Grant, Bill Macy is terrific as always, playing a character your not sure to like… even Tea Leoni joins the fun and manages to out act her computer counterparts. I especially liked seeing Laura Dern return as Ellie Sattler… it kind of brought back alot of the first film… making “JP3” seem more like home. The thing I liked most though, was the tone. The first film, we got awe. Sure, we got intense suspense, but it mostly achieved by snagging our amazement. In “JP2,” we got mindless, summer movie shit. The tone of “JP3” is dark. The dinosaurs take on the role a dinosaur should… a nasty bastard. Big, nasty bastards. They’re unforgiving this time out.

Sure, “JP3” is a summer flick. But its a SMART summer flick. This is not mindless entertainment. I promise you, your eyes will be glued to the screen. Not because of what you see, but because of what your afraid to miss.

Rating: A
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Bully

After years of debating this issue with myself, I’m convinced that guys like Larry Clark and Harmony Korine (the writer of “Kids” and director of such elegant art as “Gummo”) aren’t out to make films, but emotional roadmaps. I can’t find a logistical thread of story through any of their work… it’s always about the characters, the moment, the mood, and the potentials. I’ll just have to accept this and move on with my life.

If I ignore the complete lack of script and point, “Kids” was an almost-great film with one fatal flaw: they were ghetto trash. Maybe it was realistic, I dunno, I don’t care. If rich kids can buy cocaine, so can poor kids, they can rob someone for it, okayr The worst drugs done in Kids were gangsta chronic and Special-K-deluxe or whatever the fuck Harmony Korine decided it was. Sorry, that killed the film for me, I can’t buy that the line stops there, not with this crowd.

What’s “Bully” aboutr In a nutshell, there’s this closeted asshole who rapes chicks and beats up the guys, particularly his best friend, whom he’s attracted to. He rapes chicks to gay porn and forces his buddy to dance on a stage at a local nightclub filled with trolls and shit like that. Whatever. The buddy’s girlfriend, she don’t play that, so she arranges this lazy, pot-inspired plot to whack the fucking bully. And they drag like 8 other teenagers into the ploy. And they whack the dude. And they feel the need to talk about it. I’m not spoiling shit, by the way, this is all a TRUE FUCKING STORY.

Is “Bully” shockingr If you’re a fucking Mormon, sure. There are plenty of crotch shots… I don’t mean like “Basic Instinct,” I mean, crotch shots that put every other crotch shot to shame… you’ll find yourself smiling in a strange way as Bijou Phillips climbs into the front seat of a car, based solely on the chosen camera angle. If you find yourself stunned by shots of chicks dripping hot candle wax onto a guy’s nipples while she straddles him… you need to get out more. I’ve seen a 14-year-old get done by a goddamn mule. I’ve seen footage of a crazy dude drop an 8 inch steel rod in his pisshole, and I don’t mean for an STD test. If hot candle wax shocks you, you are no longer allowed to visit this website. Fuck you.

Does “Bully” workr On some levels. The kids have money, but they’re still white trash. Clark has learned his lessons well. The moral of the story is sorta clear. The film is entertaining. Works for me.

Does “Bully” have flawsr Yeah, it’s completely stupid. Your jaw will drop at how fucking stupid these kids are. And believe me, it’s not only true, but it’s true to life. If you’ve ever been down in Tallahassee, you’ll know I’m right. There’s a scene where Brad Renfro gets to emulate Eminem. Need I elaborater

Does “Bully” have good sex scenes for being an unrated filmr No. Seeing a chick’s pubes and tits and panties and a guy’s pubes and ass are hardly what I’d call groundbreaking American cinema. Show me a vagina hooding up like a cobra and spitting at the camera and you’ll earn my respect, okayr

How are the performancesr Pretty decent. Renfro’s damn good, Nick Stahl is pretty convincing for a skinny little prick, and the chicks are just there to show their crotches. You see, chicks in this kinda film don’t have much to do… it’s guys who have all the major, violence-inspired emotional problems at this age. If you’re thinking I’m getting sexist, I am, against guys… let’s put it like this, chicks do not beat each other up because of a lesbian impulse. And if they did, and made a film outta it, I’m there.

Does “Bully” seem like a celebration of pedophiliar Uhhhh, the correct term is like ‘ebephophilia’ or something, I know I fucked up the spelling, okay, but pedophilia is ‘love of children’, whereas the latter word means ‘love of adolescents’. Sure it does. It’s a guy thing, and I commend Clark for not giving a shit. I don’t mind seeing pre-college titties, okayr And for you switch hitters and titty-blessed out there, you won’t mind a few smooth chests and whatnot. Who gives a fuckr If you don’t like seeing chicks gargle semen and smile at the camera, don’t see “In The Realm of the Senses.” If you’re uncomfortable with the concept of young people who don’t have all their body hair yet fuck and get nude and smoke mushrooms and viciously stab a motherfucker to death, don’t see “Bully.”

Do you recommend “Bullyr” Yeah. Go see it. I think it’s better than “Kids.” For an indie-drama, I sure laughed a lot during the film, moreso than most of the comedies I’ve seen in a while. Fuck it, go see it when it comes to a run-down indie shithole near you.

Peace.

Rating: B-
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Ocean’s 11

Hey you Filmjerk freakz, wassup. I saw Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s 11” the other night and lemme just say it fucking rocked. Rocked my ass, rocked the house, rocked everything in and out of sight. Clooney is too smooth, Pitt is deadly, and Julia (or The Mouth as my more-than-slightly effeminate editor so loves to call her) is, well, underused in my humble opinion. Now, let me state I am a bigger fan of Schizopolis and old Sods than this new “Erin Brockovich” director, but maybe he’s finally learned to fuse that ultrasmashfuckingcool energy of his into a more mainstream vibe. Must be, because I dug, I dug, I dug this film. So did the rest of the audience. You will dig it. Keep rockin you two and keep chipping away at that fat sellout….!!

Rating: A
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The Score

The basic plot is simple: Nick (Robert De Niro) is an aging thief who wants to get out of the business, but his longtime fence, Max (Marlon Brando), leans on him, convincing him to do one last job – steal a scepter worth $30 million dollars. The problemr Nick must work with Jack (Edward Norton), a young thief who’s “undercover” as a janitor in the building where the scepter is being stored. Complications ensue, and the characters clash. There’s not much in the way of surprises along the way – the thieves have to acquire computer codes, which turns into an elaborate exchange in a public place, and of course, there’s an obligatory and predictable double-cross at the end.

Where I think the movie succeeds is that it creates tension effectively without an excess of danger or violence. No one dies in the film. A couple of folks get beaten up, and a gun is fired 2 or 3 times (as warning shots). There’s an explosion to blow a safe open, and that’s about it for “action.” The tension comes from the presence of the actors, and that’s an impressive feat. De Niro does his now well-worn “aging tough guy” shtick, but no one really does it better, and his chemistry drives the whole film. Norton’s character, unfortunately, is little more than a variation on his (admittedly excellent) work in “Primal Fear.” As part of his “undercover” work, he pretends to be mentally handicapped, and he shifts back and forth between that and his “true” personality effortlessly.

Although De Niro and Norton are strong performers, they dominate the movie to such a degree that other actors don’t make much of an impression. Brando has little more to do than sit there and nod as De Niro delivers his several “but the kid’s a loose cannon!” type speeches, although he gets some nice digs in. Truly wasted is Angela Bassett, as De Niro’s girlfriend, who wants him to get out of the “business.” She shows up in about 4 scenes in the entire film, and I kept waiting for something to happen with her, but nothing does. In fact, none of the supporting performers (except one actor who plays a computer hacker) make any permanent impression whatsoever.

Finally, I want to briefly address the thing that scared me most going in. The film is directed by Frank Oz, whose filmography consists mostly of very good, but very light comedies. As dark as he’s gotten is “Dark Crystal” and “Little Shop of Horrors.” He pulls the film off with admirable aplomb, especially considering how dark the film is (lots of it takes places in sewers, basements, and dark hallways.) I hope this is his first step toward branching out as a filmmaker.

To sum up: “The Score” is a decent flick – not a spectacular one, but it’s nonetheless worth seeing, and it’s certainly a pleasant respite from a movie season that’s (at least thus far) been far more about big movies with flashy explosions and cool special effects than it has been about smaller films with strong performances from great actors.

Rating: B
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Stanley Kubrick’s Napoleon

Having seen the masterpiece that is “AI,” I went inquiring for other un-produced works by my favorite Director Stanley Kubrick. I had heard some time ago that Mr. Kubrick had planned to make a film based on the life of Napoleon. The project, as many of his did, had consumed him for years on end before he was forced to abandon it. Contacting some friends with vast resources, I landed my nicotine stained hands on a copy of a screenplay of “Napoleon” authored by Stanley Kubrick. The script was once located on the Internet but is no longer available at the request of the Kubrick family.

The script, dated September 29, 1969, runs 148 pages and follows the life of General Napoleon Bonaparte. Kubrick credits nearly 500 books on the life of the general as his historical education. Kubrick’s touches are all over the script. It is certainly the grandest project he ever took on. The large production costs the film might have incurred are the main reason the studios shut it down. A number of large battle sequences are elegantly described and detailed. My film loving heart wonders what kind combat sequences he would have painted. Certainly, it would have looked nothing like “The Patriot,” coming from the same general period. The meat of the script is in the relationship between Napoleon and his wife Josephine. I felt a felting glance of the kind of interrelationship tangle Kubrick later wove into “Eyes Wide Shut.” The scenes involving the two are well written and reveal the heart of Napoleon’s character.

Kubrick’s artistic touch is seen throughout the scripts. Along with the grandiose battle scenes, Kubrick seems to be dreaming of great sets to shoot as he writes his script. There is an intoxicating bedroom design of Josephine’s that consists of a bedroom entirely covered in mirrors. Kubrick stages a number of love scenes in here and in one case adds a very Kubrickian note at the end of one: MAXIMUM EROTICA.

Kubrick’s talent was not in the writing department for most of his career. He often worked tirelessly with co-writers, exchanging drafts, rewrites and ideas. This script bears only his name and shows it in many places. The dialogue is often very weak and Napoleon’s rise to fame is accomplished too swiftly. This leads to a very slow and confusing start to the film as characters and quick set pieces dance in and out of the script. Yet, by the beginning of the films 2nd act I was engaged. Napoleon’s letters to his wife were the main cause of this. It is here that we really begin to learn about the man who is so successful on the battlefield.

However it is the strength of Kubrick’s visualizations that really caught my attention. His detail of battle strategies and there executions are flawless.

At the script’s conclusion Kubrick has provided seven pages of detailed production notes. They include some interesting tidbits: his intention to shoot 1.3 minutes of film per day, over a half a year in five different countries. Kubrick’s attention to detail can be seen as he takes extra care to describe the various uniforms of the many armies in the film. He apparently went as far as to meet with representatives from Romania and Italy to discuss using their military as extras. He also details firms in New York that can produce uniforms for the movie at a reduced price, since he does not see the logic in renting uniforms for such an extended shoot. (The studio must have loved this).

As for the all-important casting of the title role, Kubrick plainly states he would not like to see a leading Hollywood star play the role. He states:, “I want an actor between 20-35 who has the good looks of the younger Napoleon and who can be aged and made up to look like the older Napoleon. He should be able to convey the restless energy, the callousness, the inflexible will… also (his) tremendous charm.”

All this reveals the extreme care Kubrick took to this project. At the end of the script is detailed a number of steps he took in pre-production. It appears the film was very close to actually going to the full production stage. Everything from the lenses he needed to the films Art Director seem to be in place according to the Production Notes. So what happenedr

Since Kubrick led a very withdrawn life not much is known about him and his projects. We do know however that he went on to film “A Clockwork Orange” in 1970 and release the acclaimed film in 1971. So somewhere in-between the dating of the screenplay, September 1969, and soon there after his interests changed. What he did produce consequently can certainly raise few objections. (Editor’s note: Michel Ciment’s long out of print 1980 book Kubrick goes into some detail about a number of aborted Kubrick projects, including details from several interviews Ciment had with Kubrick which are printed in the book. I had to spend a pretty penny to acquire a copy for my own collection.)

The details that are available make the case plain; the vast production which Napoleon would have become simply hobbled the project. Yet, Kubrick never gave it up, continuing on planning to make the film until the time of his death. Napoleon was Kubrick’s hero and he never let die his desire to produce the film. He was one who could not live with failure and the non-production of “Napoleon” has gone down as one of the great tragedies of cinematic history.

I have learned however that Warner Brothers is planning to produce the film based on Kubrick’s script. Details are sketchy and no director has been announced yet. However the Internet is a vast and wonderful place and I have learned of rumors that Ridley Scott is interested in the script. Almost no details exist yet to confirm or deny this rumor, but it certainly is an interesting one.

It is apparent however that Warner Brothers is moving ahead with production on Napoleon and a number of other Kubrick projects including “The Aryan Papers” and Foucault’s “Pendulum.” The success of “AI” and the intense interest in Kubrick are obvious reasons for this. However part of me wishes to see Kubrick’s work remain as is, a piece of tragic forgotten majesty scrawled on paper. Then again if there anything as chilling and marvelous as “AI,” I might give that a second thought.

Ridley Scott doing Kubrick… oh, man. I don’t know if the masses would be able to handle that. I know it’s something I would rush out to see. “Napoleon” needs a fearless filmmaker, and in my humble opinion, Ridley Scott is the only current filmmaker who could pull it off with any modicum of success.

The ever elusive Mr. X wanted to add something into the mix about the Napoleon story. How hot has this project becomer Ridley Scott isn’t the only one taking a long hard look. Seems none other than Brian DePalma sees this to be the one film which can get his moribund career back on track after twenty years of crap, and may be trying to buy the rights to the screenplay directly from the Kubrick family.

That is just so wrong.

Rating: A
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Scary Movie 2

With seven writers attached to this screenplay, you would seriously hope they could come up with something funny… and they did. From ripping off movies to TV shows and commercials, to just about everything else, you’d think they would eventually run out of material; nope. Okay, so I admit there were some parts I didn’t understand. Then there were also parts that simply weren’t funny at all. Either because they tried too hard for the joke, or the bit was just played out.

For example: Chris Elliott’s character proceeds to screw a turkey. Now, we all obviously know where that’s from. In another part, two characters race around in wheelchairs similar to the motorcycle scene from “MI:2.” Boring. On a happier note, rip offs which I thought were great were the Nike basketball commercial and the whole intro to the movie using “The Exorcist.” James Woods is just brilliant.

All in all, you want some laughs, you want to have a good time, you want to see most of the world made fun of, check out “Scary Movie 2.” Even being the poor white boy I am I still laughed throughout the whole thing.

Rating: A-
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