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

Currently Showing at Cinema Steve

Friday, December 30, 2011

Falco and Fred are 'Puttin on the Ritz'

Tips on how to party like it's 1929 as you celebrate New Years.

First up... Taco (and this is apparently the controversial original edit of the video.)

Fred Astaire, master of the debonaire.

And then there's this guy....

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Why Santa may not have been to your house (yet)

I hope everyone had a Happy Christmas or possibly even a Joyous Chrismakwanzaka. If there are those out there who Santa hasn't visited yet (like me... sigh), he was delayed in California.

Santa was arrested after allegedly insulting a female police officer when he said "Ho, Ho, Ho!" after she stopped him over to make sure he had the proper licenses and business permits to operate an aircraft powered by flying raindeer in California air-space.

Santa, however, was not going to be kept from his Christmas Eve rounds, even by the people in the Land of Fruits and Nuts.... and he soon made his escape from jail and was back on the job!

to transport flying raindeer over California

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Kim-Jong Il dead at 69

Kim Jong Il, North Korea's mercurial dictator has died. He was 69.

Kim has checked out.
A tearful television announcer reported the news on North Korean television. According to that report, the cause of the dead was "overwork" from his dedication to his people (and keeping them on the brink of starvation while neighboring countries enjoyed economic boom times).

According to sources who wish to remain anonymous. Lil' Kim breathed a sigh of relief upon hearing the news. She had reportedly been living in fear that Kim would take to rapping professionally and sue her for the name that by all rights should be his.

South Korean television reported that Kim had died during a train trip. They did not conform if he had died from overwork or not.

In honor of Kim's memory, we here at Cinema Steve suggests everyone buy a copy of "ROLF!: The Breast Hope for Peace" which details his heroic struggle against terrorists and Martians along side Barack Obama, Chuck Norris, and Huda the Bikini-clad Wonder of World Peace.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Students Occupy Boston (Students)!

Students Occupy Boston Yes, yes they do.

Occupy Boston Students. I wouldn't recommend it. Such activities got Roman Polanski, Jerry Sandusky, and who knows how many members of the Catholic Clergy in trouble.

But to be as smart and informed as the members of (Students) Occupy Boston (Students), get your 2011 Year in Review ala ROLF! collection for just $3.00! All proceeds go to making my Christmas a little merrier!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Eduardo Barreto dead at 57

Eduardo Barreto, an artist whose work graced a range of DC Comics titles in the 1980s and 1990s has passed away. He was 57.

The cause of death has yet to be announced, but Barreto stepped back from the comic strip work he'd been doing for King Features syndicate last year after contracting meningitis, but in July of this year he started work on "The Phantom" comic strip.

I've been a big fan of Barreto since first encountering his work in "Atari Force." I had one of his drawings slated to appear in the Wonder Woman tribute series at Shades of Gray (and it will; next Wednesday). I will have to assemble a greater "exhibit" of his work.

Joe Simon dead at 98

Joe Simon, co-creator of such characters as Captain America, the Golden Age Sandman AND Silver Age Sandman, the Fly, Fighting American, and hundreds more, has died at age 98, according to his son’s posting on Facebook. He was 98, having just celebrated his birthday this past October.

The two Sandman characters and Fighting American rank among my favorite comics characters, and many of Simon's one-offs are also favorites. Heck, there are probably comics stories I love that he did and I'm just not aware of or remembering.

Together with his partner Jack Kirby, Simon revolutionized the superhero, horror, and romance genres — there pretty much wouldn’t be comics as we know them without the work of these two.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Completed Collection: Savage Sickos

With the advent of cheap home video cameras, filmmaking became cheaper and easier than ever before. With the arrival even digital home video cameras, filmmaking became even cheaper and easier than ever before.... one didn't even need real editing equipment to assemble a movie!

Starting in the late 1990s and continuing through the 2000s, horror and thriller fans were "treated" to a tsunami of cheap and badly made movies as everyone with some spare time and a few friends tried their hands at filmmaking.

The six-movie set "Savage Sickos" offers a sampling of such amateur films, a sampling that ranges from so-so to absolutely awful. It's a set for aspiring filmmakers to check out so they can see what NOT to do when making their movies. (Half of the films in the set are from Ryan Cavalline, a writer/director who made an earnest go at making real movies... between the years of 2002 and 2008, he wrote, produced and/or directed eight horror films.)

Savage Sickos Collection: 3/10 Overall Rating

Dead Body Man (3/10)

Demon Slaughter (3/10)

Disk Jockey (4/10)

Skyggen (1/10)

Slaughtered (0/10)

When Heaven Comes Down (3/10)

(Click on the titles to read reviews on the various Cinema Steve blogs.)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

What part of 'all-American' don't they get?

I think the ninnies who are up in arms over this latest bit of gunk from the "reality show" sewage treatment plant are missing the point, which is expressed, up front, in the show's title "All-American Muslim."

Deputy Chief Mike Jaafar, shown here in uniform. All-American Muslim.

According to Deadline Hollywood -- ‘All-American Muslim’ Loses Advertiser: The docu reality series has lost a major advertiser, Lowe’s, after a campaign by conservative watchdog the Florida Family Association. “The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish," the group posted on its website.

Terrorist Jihadi assholes like Nidal Hassan, Samir Khan, Anwar al-Awlaki, Zachary Chesser, Jose Padilla, Adam "Goat Fucker" Gadahn, and Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki can hardly be described as "all-American." Fortunately, most on that list can be described as "dead" and others as "Bubba's Prison Bitch", but that doesn't change my point: Those assholes are only Americans because their passports say so. They devoted themselves to the destruction of all Americans, so they can hardly be described as "all-American."

Psychopathic Jihadists and those who fantasize about making sweet, sweet love to them are not the subject of "All-American Muslim", as the very title of the show makes clear.

Chief al-Qaeda Zoophile Adam Gadahn,
shown with a table cloth from Gino's Restaurante Italiano on his head.
NOT an All-American Muslim.

Maybe instead of calling for boycotts and trying to stifle free expression the Florida Family Association could direct their energies toward making their own crappy reality show about the self-destructive deviants committed to Jihad?

Then again... real thought and real work would have to go into such a project. I doubt active members of the Florida Family Association spend much time doing either.

Not that I necessarily recommend this or any other reality show (although this is a "docu series" wink-wink), but "All-American Muslim" airs Sundays on TLC. Click here to visit the official site for previews and broadcast times.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Music Video Greats: Walking on Broken Glass

I'm in an 18th century/Mozart kinda mood tonight, as I finish the cover for "ROLF!: Sonata for Sirens in G Major", NUELOW Games' little celebration of Mozart's upcoming birthday. That made me think of one of the great music videos of all time.

Walking on Broken Glass (1992)
Starring: Annie Lennox, Hugh Laurie, and John Malkovich
Director: Sophie Muller

Made to promote Lennox's "Diva" album in 1992, this video for "Walking on Broken Glass" is set during a party for nobles in the 18th century. It features John Malkovich (who starred in "Dangerous Liaisons"), Hugh Laurie (who played Prince George in the "Blackadder" series, and he seems to be playing the same character here), and, of course, Annie Lennox, as Laurie's date for the event who is far more interested in winning back the affections of Malkovich's character, much to Laurie's embarrassment.

A great song with a great video that tells a story AND fits perfectly with the music.

Friday, December 2, 2011

'Dummy' is a feel-good flick

Dummy (2002)
Starring: Adrian Brody, Milla Jovovich, Illeana Douglas, Vera Farmiga, and Jared Harris
Director: Greg Pritikin
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars

Pushing 30 and still living at home with his parents, Steven (Brody) finds inspiration to give direction to his so-far aimless life in an old movie and sets out to become a professional ventriloquist. Along the way, the lives of his best friend (Jovovich), his sister (Douglas), and unemployment adviser (Farmiga) are transformed and improved as well.

"Dummy" is one of those smart, arty comedies that in my experience are either completely miss the mark and become either boring or depressing, or are very, very entertaining; I don't recall ever seeing one of these films fall into a middleground... although given the number of films I see, it's possible that one was just so mediocre it has faded from mind.

"Dummy" is neither boring, nor depressing, or mediocre. It's an excellent film is every possible way, with quirky characters that never feel artificial or forced, even when each and every one of their lives turn around from miserable states of loserhood to successes. In just about every way, this film feels like a modern version of some of those 1930s and 1940s comedies where everyone is struggling or is miserable in one way or another, but by the end everyone is happy. It's a great fantasy flick that way, a very uplifting, feel-good picture.

Everyone of the stars is excellent in the film. Adrien Brody in particular is remarkable in the way he manages to play a weak and milquetoast character and still commands the center of the picture at all times. And this is no small feat, because he's competing for our attention with a flamboyant and hilarious character portrayed by Milla Jovovich--Fangora, his life-long, socially maladjusted best friend who hasn't progressed much emotionally or socially since high school and is even still trying to make a go at being a rock star with an awful garage band.

As a character, Fangora is far more interesting than Steven, her character arc has a lot more comedy to it, and Jovovich is great in the part; if you've only ever seen her in "Resident Evil" and similar recent action films, you don't know what she's capable of as an actress until you see one of her more offbeat pictures like this one. But, despite everything pointing to the audience wanting her to be the center of the film--and wanting to get back to her story thread whenever were dealing with Steven and his romantic struggles with his single-mother employment adviser, or his attempts to shield his sister from her abusive ex--Brody is equally great in his part... infusing the whole movie with such humanity that his character remains the focus of our attention, despite it all. (Although I must say that when it came to the film's climax, it was Jovovich's Fangora and her band that I found myself more interested in, just because their path to possible success was so fun and outrageous. And to say any more would be a major spoiler and would ruin some of the film's funniest jokes.)

Much credit for this, of course, goes to writer/director Greg Pitikin for crafting the movie so perfectly, and for the excellent cast supporting Brody and Jovovich were surrounded by. Every right note is hit at the right moment, and everything is constantly clicking.

Except for the very last moment of the film. Literally, those final few seconds cost "Dummy" a full star, knocking it down from a high Nine rating to an Eight.

Earlier, I mentioned that this film a great piece of fantasy, and I meant that in the sense that it's one of those stories that makes one wish real life worked like this... where everything works out in the end for everyone, even the bad guys. Unfortunately, Pitikin took the fantasy aspect just one step too far at the very end, appearing to imbue Steven's dummy with some sort of magical quality. It's a move that seems out of step with everything that has gone before.

Despite one stumble at the end, this is a film that's well worth seeking out and checking out.

The Jovovich fans out there may be interested in taking a look at the Milla Jovovich Quarterly series at Shades of Gray.