Views & Reviews From Writer Steve Miller
Formerly Reviews and Stuff at Rotten Tomatoes, 2005 - 2009.

Currently Showing at Cinema Steve

Friday, August 31, 2007

'Halloween' is horrible, horrible, horrible!

Halloween (2007)
Starring: Malcom McDowell, Tyler Mane, Daeg Faerch, Brad Dourif, and Scout Taylor-Compton
Director: Rob Zombie
Rating: Three of Ten Stars

Michael Myers comes home for a "re-imagining" of his classic beginnings. Fans of the original film are going to wish he stayed away.


This sorry prequel/remake goes wrong almost immediately. It spends a great deal of time "humanizing" Michael Myers, showing us his awful childhood with an awfully cliched bad family with members who spout awfully bad dialogue. (In fact, there's barely a decent line of dialogue in the film, except perhaps those uttered by good old Dr. Loomis (played here by Malcolm McDowell, in the only performance that measures up to the original cast).

Why the filmmakers thought that Michael Myers needed to be given a reason to kill other than "he's an evil homicidal maniac" I'll never know. The first quarter of the movie is dedicated to undermining the otherworldly monstrousness that Michael Myers embodied in the original "Halloween" flicks, presenting him as a character that we should feel sympathy for. What's more, once the killing starts, we the viewers are put in the awkward position of feeling obligated to root for the bad guy because he's lashing out at those who made his life hell.

The filmmakers even decided they had to give a lame tie-in to Michael Myers childhood for his signature mask instead of the accidental origin that was presented in the original.

If you do go to see this film, don't make the mistake I did: It does NOT get better once the "he was just a poor widdle boy who lost his way" crap is behind us. There are a few "boo" scares, the splatter is well done, and the cinematography is impressive, but the awful dialogue gets even worse and several of the murders are so drawn out that they become boring. In balance, the last hour-and-a-half or so of the movie is even WORSE than the beginning.

I should have trusted my instincts. I KNEW this was going to be another crappy remake of a great John Carpenter film, and I was absolutely right.

I never imagined in my worst nightmares that it would make me wish I was watching "House of 1,000 Corpses", however.

I should have saved my time and money, and I strongly encourage you to not make the same mistake I did. The ONLY good thing about it is Malcolm McDowell... and he is simply not enough to make this a worthwhile movie.

For reviews of more horror movies, click here to visit Terror Titans.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

'Balls of Fury' exposes cluelessness of critics

Balls of Fury
Starring: Dan Fogler, George Lopez, Christopher Walken, Maggie Q, James Hong, and Thomas Lennon
Director: Ben Garant
Steve's Rating: Six of Ten Stars

A one-time child Ping-Pong star (Folger), who has been reduced to performing Ping-Pong tricks at a dinner theater--is recruited by the FBI to infiltrate the deadly underground table-tennis tournament hosted by reclusive Chinese crimelord and Ping-Pong effecianado Feng (Walken).



"Balls of Fury" is the best film I've seen on the big screen in several weeks. It's funny not only because it takes the harmless rec-room sport of table-tennis and turns it into a game of mortal combat, but also because it's a hilarious spoof of the 1970s-style martial arts movies, and even the Yellow Menace films from the 1930s and 1960s.

Contrary to what critics seem to think, this is more of a spoof of the traditional Chinese martial arts movie than it is a spoof of sports films. It's got all the cliches you'd expect from a Bruce Lee film, or a Shaw Bros. prodution from the 1970s, except instead of Kung Fu, we've got paddles and tiny white balls. (We get a little bit of Kung Fu, courtesy of the love interest played by Maggie Q. who also gives us a very attractive showing of skin.)


There's also some obvious nods to the Fu Manchu movies of the late 1960s, both through Christopher Walken's character and the location and nature of his stronghold.

Yet, most critics seem to have missed these fairly obvious cues.

This is another film that is getting bad reviews from a number of critics who simply don't have enough of a context to understand it. They are comparing it to movies like "Blades of Glory" when they should be considering it in the light of "Enter the Dragon". These same critics also missed the boat on "Nacho Libre" for much the same reasons--they simply aren't well-versed enough in genre pictures to properly judge a film that's primarily directed at lovers of B-movies.

What's amazing about these critics missing the foundation of this film is that not only do they have numerous scenes mirroring "Enter the Dragon", not to mention much of the storyline, but they have a supporting cast of actors who have appeared in numerous Kung Fu action films over the years. There's also the fact that the main Chinese bad guy is being played by a white man, like Fu Manchu has been in every scrreen appearance--Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, Peter Sellers, and Nicolas Cage are all as non-Asian as Christopher Walken.
"
While the film is more chuckle than laugh-inducing, it's nowhere near as bad as the "professionals" would have you believe. They simply do not understand what they are watching, and they are completely missing all but the most obvious slapstick and "Naked Gun"-esque jokes. It's rather sad to watch them revealed to be utterly clueless about genre films and therefore totally miss the essense of "Balls of Fury".

I suppose it can be said that this is a film with humor that's too low for the "real" critics to get, because it's poking fun at films that many of them haven't bothered to see.

Even allowing for cluelessness, I think many critics are dumping on this movie unfairly. The actors all show great comedic talent and timing. Even Maggie Q. (who is having a really good year, since this is the second quality film she's appeared in this summer, the first being "Live Free or Die Hard") who I suspect is mostly in the film for her hot body gets in some funny moments by playing off the martial arts film stereotypes. Fogler is hilarious as he bumbles his way through the storyline, ultimately ending up in a Ping-Pong battle to the death against Christopher Walken's unpredictable, wakcy-yet-menacing evil Chinese villian. James Hong is also very funny as he applies martial arts cliches to the "ancient art of Ping-Pong" and delivers motivational speeches full of similies that are anything but expected. (In fact, it's a toss-up as to who's funnier in the film, Walken or Hong. Both really earned their paychecks for this one.)

If you have a sense of humor and a love for class martial arts movies, I think you'll enjoy "Balls of Fury" immensely. Trust me. You don't want to take the word of the "experts" on this one. They truly don't know what they're talking about. (I recommend taking in a matinee, as it's cute but not exactly roof-raising. It's just not as bad as the critics would have you believe.)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Accident on 'Valkyrie set'; Thetans at fault?

I wonder if the Scientologists will turn this into a recruiting drive? Maybe their Machines That Go Ping can prove that Thetans were involved!

(Or maybe the Germans will borrow some Machines That Go Ping and show that Tom Cruise needs some more auditing because the Xenu-created poltergeists are harming innocent people!)

From the BBC...

Eleven injured on Cruise film set

Eleven extras have been injured after falling off a truck on the German set of Tom Cruise's latest movie, "Valkyrie."

One man was seriously injured in the accident, which happened when the side of the vehicle burst open as it drove around a corner, Berlin police said.

The other 10 of were treated in hospital but later released. Police said there were "no findings to suggest anyone famous was involved".

Cruise stars in the real-life story of a plot to kill Adolf Hitler in 1944.

The truck, which was made to look like a Wehrmacht military vehicle, is now being inspected for technical defects as part of a police investigation.

"Valkyrie" has faced criticism in Germany, where crew were banned from filming at the former staff quarters where Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who led the plot, was executed.

Rumours circulated that the ban was imposed because of Germany's hostility towards Cruise's Scientologist beliefs.

A government spokesman later said the restriction was put in place to preserve the building's "dignity".

The building, known as the Bendler Block, is now a memorial for Third Reich resistance fighters.

"Valkyrie" - named after Operation Valkyrie, the codename of the failed 1944 plot to kill Hitler - is being directed by Bryan Singer and will co-star British actor Kenneth Branagh.

Filming, which began last month, was called off following the accident on Sunday night. Police said they did not know whether there would be further delays as a result.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Maybe these 'holy men' should shut up

When terroristic rantings backfire....


Despite being condemned by radical clerics, who issued a fatwa against it, the film "Khuda Kay Liye" ("In the Name of God") has become an unqualified hit in Pakistan, "Newsweek" is reporting on its website.

Produced by the Pakistani media conglomerate GEO TV Network, the film not only unfavorably depicts Muslim radicals but also the U.S. military, and takes on such issues as marital rape, forced marriage and jihad, the magazine says.

Concerned by the attacks on the film by local mullahs, theater owners are requiring ticket buyers to pass through metal-detection devices as they enter.

"It's heroic for the population to want to see this film," GEO TV chief Mir Ibrahim Rehman told "Newsweek" "We didn't want to make a popcorn film. We wanted this film to prompt a dialogue and discussion."



(Quoted from www.IMBD.com.)

One would think these psychotic freaks posing as learned holy men would have learned the lessons tought by the success of "The Satanic Verses." The sure-fire way to make something a commercial hit is for them to come out against it. Then again, one definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.



Wednesday, August 15, 2007

When idiots run the propaganda department....

Here's a photo laying bare the facts of a terrible, terrible war atrocity in Iraq:

An elderly Iraqi woman shows two bullets that she says hit her house following an early morning coalition forces raid in the predominantly Shiite Baghdad suburb of Sadr City.

(Photo Credit: AFP/Wissam al-Okaili) 

DAMN THOSE AMERICAN BASTARDS! NOW THEY'RE SHOOTING AT LITTLE OLD LADIES! JUST LOOK AT THOSE BULLETS!!!!

JUST LOOK AT HOW... um... how pristine and brand-new and (more importantly) UNFIRED those bullets are.

What the hell?!

If those bullets "hit her house", they couldn't possibly have been shot from anything more deadly than a slingshot.

What kind of MORON is the editor who let this photo go by? What kind of MORON is the photographer who believed this bitch's lies about her house being shot at? (Actually, I'm sure "Wissam al-Okaili" is one of those closet-cases who work for al-Queerda and al-Jizzera and do their best to spread pro-Islamist propadanda at every opportunity. It's just our luck that so many of them are retards who can barely dress themselves.)

I don't know what excuse the wire service could possibly have for publishing this photo and trying to pass it off as a little old lady showing off bullets fired by eeeeeeevil Americans at her house.

Maybe they've hired Dan Rather as their editor?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Dan Rather Reports: More Made Up Stuff?


This Tuesday (August 14, 2007), "Dan Rather Reports: The Trouble with Touch Screens" claims to present conclusive evidence of the failure of touch screen voting machines across the United States of America.

According to a press release from the network airing the show--HDNet--the episode, “The Trouble with Touch Screens”, will present new information showing that defective machines may have altered the outcome of multiple elections.

If it had been anyone but Dan "I don't care if my reporting is based on facts or not" Rather, I might think this could be an interesting bit of journalism. However, given that Rather has been shown to be an op-ed writer posing as a reporter, and has been unmasked as a tool of the Democrat Party's political machine (and just a tool in general), I wonder if it'll be worth the time to even bother downloading the teaser for the "controversial" report.

I'll predict right now: Rather's "investigation" will reveal that Democrats would have won each and every election held if not for the faulty voting machines. His "investigation" will further show that the machines were comissioned to be faulty, because the Vast Rightwing Conspiracy is everywhere!

If you're interested, a screener clip from the episode can be viewed here.

"Dan Rather Reports: The Trouble with Touch Screens” will air Tuesday, August 14 at 8:00 p.m. ET. The program also airs at 11:00 p.m. ET to accommodate west coast prime time.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Rush Hour 3
Starring: Jackie Chan, Chris Tucker, Hiroyuki Sanada, Max von Sydow, NoƩmie Lenoir, Yvan Attaln, Jingchu Zhang, and Youki Kudoh
Director: Brett Ratner
Rating: Four of Ten Stars


Inspector Lee (Chan) and Detective Carter (Tucker) travel to Paris to unmask the secretive leadership of the powerful Chinese criminal organization, the Triads.


I know I saw "Rush Hour 2", but I can't remember a single thing about it. And I suspect it's going to be the same thing with "Rush Hour 3" in a few weeks, as there is nothing memorable about this film.

The acting is lackluster, although this is partly due to the weak script. Tucker's character is annoying rather than funny, Chan seems old and tired for most of the film (something that made me feel even more sorry for seeing this movie), and virtually none of the interplay between characters seemed to take place for any reason other than the script dictates they must do so. (The formula-dictated "falling out" of the two buddies in the film's second act is particularly pathetic and badly motivated.)

This misfired sequel only gets a rating as high as a 4 because it does have a couple of bright spots, and even an improvement over the original "Rush Hour" film.

When Ratner did "Rush Hour" ten years ago, it was dissapointed by the way he failed to take advantage of Chan's presense. It was shot like a standard action film, with Chan's fight scenes being filmed mostly in two-shots--with him and his opponent framed in the shot and most of his acrobatics and Prop-Fu happening at the edge of the screen. It was clear that Ratner had no idea how to make a film that took advantage of Chan's talents. That is not the case anymore, and the camera is pulled back far enough in all the fight scenes that we get the full effect of Chan's acrobatics--as well as Tucker's foray into comedic prop-fighting. Every action scene and fight scene are extremely well-staged and well-filmed, and they are the only truly excellent thing about the film. It's too bad they're surrounded by such garbage.

On the acting front, only Max von Sydow (as the Chief Justice of the World Court, who couldn't suck even if he tried) and Jingchu Zhang (as Soo Yung--the little kidnap victim that Lee and Carter rescued in the first film, now a teenager) give the only really good performances in the film, althogh in fairness to Chan and Tucker, von Sydow and Zhang weren't hampered by badly written scenes.

But, there has to have been more that went wrong here than just the script, because I remember having a sense of a real friendship developing between the Lee and Carter characters in the first film, but here I didn't get the impression of any sort of relationship between the two characters.

In fact, while watching "Rush Hour 3", I found myself constantly wondering why Lee would put up with such an annoying and dimwitted person as Carter. Not to mention creepy... the reunion scene between Soo Yung and Carter when he hugs her and mutters "sooo young" made my skin crawl. (Although, given that child rapist Roman Polanski appears in a small part as a corrupt French police detecive, maybe the filmmakers thought it was funny to have a 30-something character hug an underage girl and make sexual comments about her.)

Despite some very well-done fight scenes, "Rush Hour 3" is a movie that's not worth your time. For once, the Chinese are fortunate that they are ruled by iron-fisted dictators. The film won't officially be imported to China, so no one will be wasting their hard-earned Yuans on it.



Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Man-Baby Speaks!

A sensitive soul in Belgium is seeking to get the 1932 graphic novel "Tintin in the Congo" banned. I spoke my main piece on this in Man-baby files suit over 'Tintin in the Congo'. Reuters carried a version of the article I quoted in that post that featured a quote from the Man-Baby himself, along with a sensible reaction from the company that holds the rights to the Tintin property:



"I want to put an end to sales of this cartoon book in shops, both for children and for adults. It's racist and it is filled with colonial-era propaganda," said Mbutu Mondondo Bienvenu, who lives in Brussels.

Bienvenu is also seeking symbolic damages of one euro ($1.38) from Moulinsart, the publisher that owns the rights to Tintin.

Belgian prosecutors said a motion had been filed at the beginning of August. A judge will examine the case, probably not before September, but a decision on whether to proceed could take six months, they said.

Belgium controlled the country that is now called the Democratic Republic of Congo until 1960.

Moulinsart said it was only aware of the action through the media. A spokesman argued the company was not in a position to remove the book from shelves as it controlled Tintin rights, but did not publish the novels.

"The book dates back to 1931 and has to be seen in the context of the time. We are surprised to see this complaint after so many years," the spokesman said.



I still think Lil' Mondondo is a crybaby, but I don't have the same level of contempt for him that I do for certain others who file suits like this. At least he's not trying to claim he's owed any financial compensation for mental anguish or any-such nonsense.

(Not that it matters for someone with my level of journalistic integrity, but I'm now wondering who got his name right, though. The order is different in the two sources. "Man-Baby" suffices, however.)

An overlooked sci-fi classic involving
time-traveling without pants

Idaho Transfer (1973)
Starring: Kelly Bohanon, Kevin Hearst, Caroline Hildebrand, and Keith Carradine
Director: Peter Fonda
Rating: Seven of Ten Stars


Time travel is a reality, but only if you don't wear pants.

Such is the case in "Idaho Transfer" where half a dozen young scientists partaking in an illicit time-travel experiment are stranded 57 years in the future after a mysterious disaster has wiped civilization (and possibly even human life) from the world.


Despite my amusement at the fact that the time machine only works if those using it take off their pants--the movie gives a rationale for the need to do so, but it's so laughable that the real reason had to have been the director liked to see young women in their panties--this is a dark, bleak film that ultimately conveys the message that there is no hope for humanity, no matter what we try. However, unlike many other movies of this kind, it's a message delivered by decent actors, with interesting visuals, and a script that although nearly devoid of action is never boring.

This is one of those films that doesn't deserve the obscurity it has been consigned to. Its fate was sealed the week of its release in 1973 when its distributor went bankrupt. It was released briefly to home video some 15 years later, but soon vanished again. It took nearly two additional decades for it to see a true wide release, and it is now available in a couple of different DVD editions that are easy to come by.

And this is a good thing, because not only is this a quality movie that deserves an audience... and one might even be able to assert that it's a true classic that's fallen through the cracks of the movie business.

"Idaho Transfer" carries a message that's just as timely now as it was in 1973. It will even speak to more people than it did back then, as there are even greater numbers of those are convinced that the world will come to an end the day after tomorrow, due to pollution, over-population, and sinister government plots that there were some 35 years ago.

If only the similarly-themed "An Inconvenient Truth" could have delivered its message with the same level of class as "Idaho Transfer", it might have been tolerable to sit through. Yes, one is a supposed documentary and the other is pure fiction, but the makers of "An Inconvenient Truth" could have taken a lesson or two from the 35 year old film "Idaho Transfer" in regards to delivering a message about the dangers of excessive exploitation of the planet. The chilling, quiet ending to "Idaho Transfer" and the pall that hangs over the entire film stays with you far longer than the with a megaphone-and- and-sledgehammer approach of "An Inconvenient Truth".

I highly recommend "Idaho Transfer" to those who like well-done but downbeat sci-fi films in the "end of the world" mold. I recommend the film even more highly if you're a member of the Cult of Al Gore and only wipe your ass with one piece of toilet paper at a time, and if you've stopped washing your hair to save energy. This is a movie that will speak volumes to you (pants or no pants).

"Idaho Transfer" is included in Mill Creek's 50-movie pack "Nightmare Worlds", and it's one of several reason why that set is a very worthwhile purchase.

(The film can also be had as a stand-alone DVD, but you'll be paying almost the same to get it that way as you will if you get "Nightmare Worlds" (at least if you order the set set from Amazon.com.) The smart money says you shoud get the Big Box with the 49 bonus movies--some of which are actually pretty darn good.)



Monday, August 6, 2007

Man-Baby files suit over 'Tintin in the Congo'

I love the Tintin graphic novels. Even now, I reread them every so often. My favorite ones are "The Broken Ear", "The Calculus Affair", "The Land of Black Gold" and "King Ottokar's Scepter".

In the past, I've said I think "Tintin in the Congo" is the worst of the lot and that even as a kid, I thought it was badly done. As an adult, I'll agree it's racist in its portrayal of blacks. Hell, even creator Herge was embarrassed by it in later years, sort of the same way Will Eisner was embarrased by his early portrayal of Ebony in "The Spirit" comics.

With the various reissues that are coming up toward the end of the year in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Herge's birth, I was going to pick up "Tintin in the Land of Soviets" (the one Tintin book I've never read), but I was going to ignore "Tintin in the Congo" (the only other Tintin book I've never owned).

But now, a thin-skinned man-baby is filing lawsuits to ease his sense of personal inadequacy. I hope hysterical, censorship-advocating retards like Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo manage to make "Tintin in the Congo" appear on best-seller lists around the world.

I wasn't going buy a copy--like I said, this is NOT a good Tintin book... it's worse than "Tintin in America"--but people like Little Miss Mondondo make me feel obligated to support Tintin's English-language publishers Little, Brown. I just pre-ordered the upcoming paperback edition of "Tintin in the Congo" from Amazon.com. (I'm not going to pay for a hardcover of a book that if it's as weak as memory tells me would get a 3 or 4 rating in a review here, but Mondondo and likeminded reprobates are obligating me to buy a copy of the book in one format or another.)

I encourage the rest of you reading this to the same by clicking here, or by heading down to your local bookstore and pre-ordering a copy of the paperback due for release in the United States Sept. 1. (Or, if you're elsewhere in the world, to buy a copy whereever you would.) I'd love to see this effort blow up in the faces of these jackasses and to see "Tintin in the Congo" to start selling like mad.

(And when I get my copy in early September, I'll do an actual review. Heck. I might as well do my own 100th anniversary celebration and do reviews of all the Tintin books.)

From AFP wire service... the tale of a "man" who blames a comic book for the sand in his vagina.


Tintin in trouble: Congolese man seek court ban on 'racist' graphic novel

A Congolese student has launched a court case denouncing the cartoon book "Tintin in the Congo" as racist, calling for its withdrawal from sale, the Brussels prosecutor's office said Tuesday.

It is not the first time that the book, featuring late Belgian author and illustrator Herge's popular red-headed boy journalist Tintin and his faithful dog Snowy, has raised hackles over its content.

The bookselling chain Borders announced last month that it was pulling copies of the 1930s book from the children's shelves in its US and British stores after Britain's Commission for Racial Equality described the book as containing "imagery and words of hideous racial prejudice."

In the latest case, Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, a political science student in Brussels, brought a complaint against publishers Moulinsart and persons unknown late last month, accusing them of breaching Belgium's racism laws, said Jos Colpin, spokesman for the public prosecutors.

"Tintin in the Congo", which first appeared in Belgian newspaper Le Vingtieme Siecle as a comic strip in 1930-1931, is part of the popular series "The Adventures of Tintin" by the Herge.

But its tale of boy reporter Tintin's trip with Snowy to what was then the Belgian Congo is seen as controversial because of its depiction of colonialism and racism, as well as casual violence towards animals.

On the official Tintin website the controversy is acknowledged.

"In his portrayal of the Belgian Congo, the young Herge reflects the colonial attitudes of the time," a website statement reads, under the headline "Shocking".

"He depicted the African people according to the bourgeois, paternalistic stereotypes of the period - an interpretation that some of todays readers may find offensive."

Herge, real name Georges Remi 1907-1983, justified the book by saying it was merely a reflection of the naive views of the time. Some of the scenes were revised for later editions.

Britain's Campaign for Racial Equality described the book as containing "imagery and words of hideous racial prejudice, where the 'savage natives' look like monkeys and talk like imbeciles,".

However sales of the comic book rocketed in Britain after the complaint.

'Delivery Boy Chronicles' is fun but flawed

Delivery Boy Chronicles (2007)
Starring: Ralph Price, Shawn Mullins, Kelly Hobbs, and Chet Dixon
Director: Stacey Childers
Rating: Five of Ten Stars


A group of slackers working as food delivery drivers struggle with the challenges of their dead-end job while looking for ways to make their dreams and aspirations come true... at least when they're not busy getting high.


"Delivery Boy Chronicles" is a loosely structured comedy that is more of a collection of sketches than a proper movie. The characters move from situation to situation as the film progresses, and while some of them tie together most do not. There is also little or no consequences to anything the characters get involved with, including the inadvertent abduction of a Dahli Lama-type character known as the Enlightened One.

The acting in "Delivery Boy Chronicles" is better than many low-budget films, and the dialogue is well written with each character having a distinct voice. Ralph Price (as would-be business magnate and inventor Mike) and Shawn Mullins (as the ever-sarcastic and bitter pothead drop-out) are the best of a fairly decent cast, showing excellent comic timing and delivering each line as if they really believe what they're saying. They also seem to be comfortable as screen actors, where I get the sense that co-stars Hobbs and Dixon might be more at home on stage. (Dixon's delivery in particular seems more like coming from a stage actor than someone who's used to film, despite the fact that he has numerous film credits to his name.)

However, actors can only do so much if they're dealing with a bad script. And, unfortunately, aside from some wellcrafted dialogue and a some funny situations, the script for "Delivery Boy Chronicles" is one that could have benefit ted from another full draft or two... and perhaps an additional rewriting of specific scenes once the shooting budget was set.

As it stands, the flaws with the film are such that they cause it to fall short of being a satisfying viewing experience.

First, there's the problem that the film's plot is very, very weak. Ostensibly, the plot is about Mike (Price) finally finding the hook he needs to get out of the food delivery business and into the ground floor of the business world. As a result, most of the other characters also have happy endings. But this story thread is hard to follow among all the other things going on, and the characters are poorly developed--none ever move beyond the broad stereotypes they represent (neo-hippie, capitalist, artist, anarchist)--so the audience can't share in Mike's satisfaction of finally building a "real life" because we just don't know enough about him. Further, it's not quite clear why Mike's ability to forge a path out of the delivery business gives the rest of the gang a chance to do the same. It also doesn't help matters than neither Mike nor any of the other characters ever seem to be totally down and out at any point in the film; since there are never any great lows for our "heroes," we can't muster great joy for them when everything works out.

Second, there are three times when the filmmakers attempt scenes that are beyond their means, something which can do great harm to a movie.

First, and least damaging, there's a scene where Mike is attacked by emus (or ostriches). Whether the filmmakers didn't want to expose the actor to actual bird-bites, whether a stunt person was unavailable/out of budget-reach, or whether the complete lack of long-shots can be explained by a reason I'm not quite grasping, the fact that Mike (or any actor) is never shown in the same frame as one of the birds make for very clumsy filmmaking. It's a minor problem, and it's one that could probably have been solved with a little more time and money. But, it keeps what should have been a gut-buster of a scene (and I've no doubt it was hilarious from beginning to end) from being little more than amusing.

There's also an outdoor music/counterculture festival that appears to be a big flop for the organizers, because of the tiny stage a band is performing on and the very few extras near it and around the "festival" area in general. I've seen the same mistake made on TV series and in other low budget films... if a scene calls for crowds, you're not going to be able to fake it with just a dozen or so people. You're going to need a hundred or more, and you're going to need the time and money to direct the extras properly and to get numerous shots to make sure your crowd appears much larger than it is. None of these were possible with "Deli every Boy Chronicles", either due to time or budget constraints. (And I'm certain the filmmakers weren't trying to make the festival look like a flop, because Tigg complains about the smell of incense wafting over the crowd, just before he notices the dreaded "mud people".)

The other scene that should have been scrapped and rewritten when the budget was known is the film's Big Finish where Magoo (Dixon) displays his giant "mouse-trap" game and Mike's career in business is launched. Since engineering and constructing a very elaborate construct was beyond the film's budget, the viewer gets to hear the sounds Magoo's device makes as it operates, while we see the reactions of the audience in attendance. The cartoony sound effects are amusing, but the scene is far from effective as far as the climax for a movie goes. (It would have been far better if the filmmakers had redone the scene in such a way that had Mike and Magoo preparing for the big exhibit, making their success evident but sparing themselves the embarrassment of trying to execute a scene they didn't have the money or crew for.)

"Delivery Boy Chronicles" is a well acted film with some very well-written dialogue. It's a truly charming movie that I want to like more than I do. Unfortunately, the end product is weighed down by a script that's a little too loose and by a couple of key scenes that don't come off right because the filmmakers had a vision that overreached their budget. The result is a funny film that is too flawed to rise above the low end of average. I had fun watching it, and I hope to see its stars--particularly Ralph Price and Shawn Mullins--in other films. This one might be a good addition to a Bad Move Night line-up, but it's not one I'd recommend for any other purpose, despite the fact it had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Elton John doesn't want you reading this!

Sir Elton John... grade-A jackass. Or maybe just a cranky old queen who'd be screaming at kids to get off his lawn if he didn't live behind tall walls.

From the Sun, a British newspaper which Sir Elton doesn't want anyone outside of Britain to read, either... because it's only accessible to the likes of me via the web, comes the following article. It illustrates that Sir Elton as as big a hypocrite as every other asshole who wants to control and censor what you and I can do on the 'net: He's all in favor of you buying HIS songs and paying for HIS concernts online--or you paying $40 to access forums on www.eltonjohn.com--but God Forbid that someone should do something that Sir Elton doesn't approve of or understand....

It's so nice that a member of the flamboyantly homosexual community can find common ground with radical Islamists and extremist Christian groups.

(For the record, I don't own an iPod and only reluctantly got a cellphone. I also share other things in common with Sir Elton. My latest commercial project also didn't sell all that well. However, I'm not going to blame the damn Internet for that, nor would I demand it be shut down!)

-- From "The Sun" --

Elton John says, "Shut down the internet!"

Pop legend Sir Elton John wants the internet CLOSED DOWN.

Never one to keep his opinions to himself, the Rocket Man has waded into cyberspace with all guns blazing.

He claims it is destroying good music, saying: “The internet has stopped people from going out and being with each other, creating stuff.

“Instead they sit at home and make their own records, which is sometimes OK but it doesn’t bode well for long-term artistic vision.

“It’s just a means to an end.

“We’re talking about things that are going to change the world and change the way people listen to music and that’s not going to happen with people blogging on the internet.

“I mean, get out there — communicate.

“Hopefully the next movement in music will tear down the internet.

“Let’s get out in the streets and march and protest instead of sitting at home and blogging.

“I do think it would be an incredible experiment to shut down the whole internet for five years and see what sort of art is produced over that span.

“There’s too much technology available.

“I’m sure, as far as music goes, it would be much more interesting than it is today.”

Multi-millionaire Elton, who turned 60 earlier this year, has admitted in the past that he is a bit behind the times. The Grammy award-winner was once quoted as saying: “I am the biggest technophobe of all time.

“I don’t have a mobile phone or an iPod or anything.

“I am such a Luddite when it comes to making music. All I can do is write at the piano.”

Sales of Elton’s last album The Captain & The Kid were disappointing — it barely shifted 100,000 copies. And in the past Sir Elt has opposed illegal downloading of his music from the net.

But the flamboyant singer has embraced the web in other ways.

The 60th birthday concert Sir Elton played to a 20,000-strong crowd at New York’s Madison Square Garden was streamed live over the internet.

The singer also announced earlier this year that his entire back catalogue of albums would be made available for digital download.

The internet has played a huge role in kick-starting the careers of some of Britain’s best new talent.

Sandi Thom shot to fame after broadcasting webcam concerts from her London basement flat, while both the Arctic Monkeys and Lily Allen acknowledge the part played by the web in their success.

But Elton also complained about the quality of music being released.

He said: “In the early Seventies there were at least ten albums released every week that were fantastic. Now you’re lucky to find ten albums a year of that quality, and there are more albums released each week now than there were then.”

I guess that’s what Sir Elton would call a net loss . . .

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