Up a day early, for you, my peeps
A weekly editorial Grande with a double shot
With Clint Morris
Yes, that’s right. I had a week off. Why? Um, I dunno, take your pick. Was I, a) off, because I had to drink my coffee at the food court instead, because there were no lids available that day b) too caught up in the “making of Howard the Duck” special I was watching on BETA, c) Got my office key jammed in my belly button, removing lint d) Condoling Paul Walker, after he saw Vin Diesel’s cheque for the 5-minute-cameo he makes in “Tokyo Drift” e) Busy adding 2000 signatures to the “bring back Love Monkey” petition, f) in 1955, trying to hook up my parents g) too busy replying to emails from ‘Holden’ in the MailBag.
Quarter way through coffee
Bond Movies. You like ‘em? You hate ‘em? I like ‘em. My wife hates ‘em. That’s why I asked. Guess they are bloke movies – chauvinistic, sexist lead character, always put Pow! over plot, cheesy liners…. Whatever the case, I still get a kick out of them. Some of them, especially the classic ones, are absolute gold.
One of the most underrated aspects of the Bond movies, I think, are the title tracks. From Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does it Better”, to Shirley Bassey’s “Goldfinger”, to the awesome “A View to a Kill” by Duran Duran – they always managed to get you jazzed pre-film. What I’d do if a plastic gun and a slick tux were around every time that Duran classic spills from my Windows Media Player. (Notice I said ‘What I’d do’ and not ‘What I do’ – because then that, would be embarrassing).
Still don’t know what my favourite Bond movie is…. They’re all pretty good (yeah, OK, so the Timothy Dalton ones probably aren’t quite as good as the others, but you know what? After watching them again, I’ve gotta say, they’re not that bad. They’re entertaining, they’re just….well, not as good as the Connery or Brosnan ones. They definitely have their moments though. And again, love the title track to “The Living Daylights” by A-Ha). I actually like both Connery and Moore, and judge their films own their own merits. To me, they almost seem to be beasts belonging to different franchises. They played the character so differently that it feels wrong to play the comparison game with them. Granted, “Thunderball” does have a lot more going for it than, say, “Moonraker” – but I’d say a lot of it is a matter of opinion, too. Just depends what you like. Have had to watch the Bond films again because of the forthcoming ‘Ultimate Edition’ DVD releases. Great set. The extras on the discs are amazing – some vintage material that you’ll never have seen before, I’m guessing. Especially enjoyed the newly-recorded ‘retrospective documentaries’ on each film (well, most of the earlier ones, anyway) where we hear from anyone and everyone – well, Connery pops by for about 5 seconds in total – on the making of each respective film. Couldn’t recommend the set more.
You know what watching the Bond films again has done though? It’s made me more and more worried for the franchise…. Especially when it comes to “Casino Royale”. I don’t think the trailers have sold anyone, and if anything, the trailers have always been able to sell these movies, so that’s a big problem. Granted, it may surprise us and be a good film, but I still just don’t see Daniel Craig as 007. Change my mind Sony, change my mind (until the cheque clears, I remain sceptical).
Half-way through coffee
I tell you what; it has been an absolutely amazing couple of years for Aussie films. I’m not talking about frickin’ “You Can’t stop the Murders” or “Under the Radar”…..or no shit like that…..but the gems like “Wolf Creek”, “Look Both Ways” and “Little Fish”. They rocked more than a 19-year-old at an ecstasy-driven rave party.
There’s some more goodies due out later this year too, that are probably going to do well – or in the very least, rake up some great reviews – a couple of which I’ve been lucky enough to have seen already.
First up, “Jindabyne”. With so many great Aussie hits over the past couple of years, it’s no surprise that someone’s gone ahead and done a compilation. There are moments in Ray Lawrence’s (“Lantana”) new film that are riveting, powerful, level-headed and quite memorable, but most of them are samples from previous recordings. There’s the “Lantana” moment (not surprising, since it was Lawrence’s last film), there’s the “Somersault” remix, there’s a few bars of “Australian Rules”, and the overall rhythm plays a lot like “Look Both Ways”. (One element of the film may even remind some of “Wolf Creek”).
The film, set in the gorgeous mountains of Jindabyne (the southwest region of NSW), tells of four men, all locals, who head out to their local fishing spot to dip their rods in. It’s there, that the guys discover the dead body of a young aboriginal woman.
Instead of calling the cops, or going back into town for help, they make an impulsive decision to leave the girl put, and continue on with their weekend.
This is a good film. Actually, it’s a very good film. It just didn’t feel as fresh as it could have. Thankfully, the acting (with includes Gabriel Byrne and Laura Linney) make up for any of the scripts injustices.
Should also mention, “2:37”. Wow. This is a stirring one, this one.
If you couldn’t get your breath after witnessing the frightening final few moments of “Seven”, all those years ago, or still have nightmares about the skinless freaks in “Hellrasier II : Hellbound” (for lack of a better example), then best to steer clear of “2:37” – it features one of the most harrowing, and most disturbing, scenes in a film in a long time.
Worst of all, it plays real. If you plan on seeing it, you’ll probably need to mix a few of those Stilnox tablets in with your Vodka tonight, otherwise you won’t be sleeping a wink.
But don’t let a little thing like an in-your-face suicide scene from putting you off seeing one of the best Australian films of the year. If anything, writer/director Murali K Thalluri has simply succeeded, if the sequence is hard to watch. He wants it like that. That way, it’ll stay with you. It’ll make you think. Importantly, it’ll make everyone either think twice, or at least consider, the effects of suicide. I’ll be interested to see how this does here – because it won’t be the type of film that’ll have people ‘dashing’ to the cinema to see it.
Three quarters the way through coffee
Some of our friends (there’s only a couple I wanna thrash in the Golden Gloves, most are our sweet lil’ buddies) at a couple of studios, have asked me ever so kindly – that usually means, they’ll let me take a picture of me and Kim Basinger, under the doona, for the guys back home, if ever the opportunity arises – to plug some competitions of theirs. Since you guys would actually get something out of these comps, should you win, I thought they were worth a while.
First up, there’s a competition happening for the DVD release of “Dave Chappelle’s Block Party”. Right now, the contest has three entries, which means unless more people enter, all three will win! Anyone can upload their video to the contest, and if it’s good, they’ll probably win the trip to New York.
On top of just the trip to New York, anyone can make money with their video on Revver. Heck, just go here and enter, it sounds pretty cool.
The next one I wanted to tip you off to is a very cool contest that Sony are doing for this year’s Comic-Con convention in San Diego. Sony Pictures & You Tube, are joining forces to select an official Sony Pictures Comic-Con blogger . Create a video :30 seconds or less in length telling us why YOU should be the official Sony Pictures blogger at Comic-Con, and you could be on your way to San Diego from July 19-23, 2006 (winner must be able to travel on these dates). Use your webcam, cell phone, video camera or any other device to capture your video!
After July 7th, a panel of judges from Sony Pictures Entertainment will select one lucky winner who will receive roundtrip airfare for two to San Diego, CA, four nights standard hotel accommodations, two tickets to Comic-Con and a Cyber-shot® DSC-S600 Digital Camera. Total ARV of Grand Prize: $2,829.99. So get your ass here now.
Thirdly, a note from Tim Sullivan that Snoop Dogg’s “Hood of Horror” – Part comedy, part fright fest – is having a special screening next Tuesday. The film finds Snoop playing host to a trio of blood-soaked terror tales involving the residents of an inner city neighborhood whose actions in this life determine their destination in the next. Directed by Stacy Title from a script by Jacob Hair, Chris Kobin, Jonathan McHugh and 2001 MANIACS’ Tim Sullivan (who, along with McHugh, created and co-produced), this comic book influenced anthology boasts eye-popping anime-style sequences, plenty of goo and gore, an eclectic ensemble cast (Ernie Hudson, Danny Trejo, Method Man, Anson Mount, Brande Roderick, Lin Shaye, Diamond Dallas Page, Jason Alexander, Billy Dee Williams) and even a few down and dirty bootie breaks! CLICK THE BELOW LINK FOR TICKETS
While I’m at it, we’ve got some nifty competitions going on too at the moment – we’re giving up some cool-ass prizes including “Superman Returns” tickets, “Hard Candy” tickets, and a competition for someone to clean the bottom of my office bin once the liner is removed every Friday. (Joke…. But it’s a good idea).
One sip to go
Finally, some bad news. Coffee went up this week at my local. Thirty Cents a Cup. May have to consider opening up a ‘PayPal’ account for this section, so that we can get me fuelled-up and rant-ready from here on, what do you think? Better still, instead of giving out in-season passes and DVDs, what I might do, is run a competition where someone gets to come over to the office, crank up the ‘still unopened’ coffee machine and brings me my joe whenever I do the Fonzie click. (Maybe it’s just easier to get a coffee chain to sponsor this section? Hmmm… yeah, I like it. Anyone out there who works for a coffee chain and wants to sponsor this section, give us a holler!).
Oh, and I will be away in LaLaWood for the most part of July and August for work – - but that only means, I’ll be drinking coffee from a different trough. Will update you with some of the events I’ll be covering, shortly…… (Just waiting on my media pass to clear for the annual porn convention).
DVD of the week
21 Jump Street : Seasons 3 & 4 – Available separately. You’ll remember me gushing over the first two seasons of “21 Jump Street” in my Caffeinated Clint column, a couple of months back. I never watched the show on television, so if only for that reason, gave the series a whirl when the review discs arrived – so that I could actually, well, write the review. It was like cocaine. You know it’s bad for, but you can’t just get enough. Wait, why am I projecting? I couldn’t get enough. Me. Guy on the other end of the computer. I became a sucker for “Jump Street” over the course of a weekend. The performances weren’t that much, the storylines weren’t even that well plotted out…. But the show had charm, spunk, and a lively pace that kept you interested. Same bag with this newly-released 3rd season. In fact, this season might even have a bit more spark in it than the previous two – the finale, in which Hanson goes up against the guys that shot his friend is pretty good stuff. Richard Grieco (remember him?) enters this season, too. I actually kinda like Grieco, it’s a pity his career dried up, because he’s got a ‘certain something’ here. Anyway, Entertaining stuff.
The fourth season opens with Tommy Hansen in jail (the result of his actions at the end of the previous season), while Booker (Richard Grieco was actually doing his spin-off series, “Booker”, by this stage, so he’s essentially only a guest-star on “Jump Street” now) and Penhall form an unlikely new partnership. This was Johnny Depp’s last season on “Jump Street”, and it was probably for the best – it’s clear from his increasingly lackadaisical performances that his heart wasn’t in it anymore. Funnily enough, the final episode of the season – which was Depp’s final episode ever – isn’t included on the DVD. Assumingly, they’ll whack this on the fifth season, so that they can still put ‘Depp’ on the cover. After all, who’d by a “Jump Street” box set that doesn’t star Johnny Depp?
Theatrical release of the week
Superman Returns – You’ll all probably have read my review, so no need to go into detail, just important to remind people to go in with ‘an open mind’ and ‘without any recollections of Nuclear Man, Richard Pryor, Mariel Hemingway or the Super Clone’. It really works as a continuation of the “Superman” series. Brandon Routh is terrific, Kate Bosworth is sweet, and Kevin Spacey is at his maniacal best. The scene-stealer though, might be Sam Huntington, who’s hilarious as young Jimmy Olsen. Look forward to your opinions.
Clint’s Review : Click
Stars : Adam Sandler, Kate Beckinsale, Henry Winkler, Julie Kavner, David Hasselhoff, Sean Astin
In his new film, Adam Sandler plays a man who gets his mitts on a universal remote control, in which he can rewind, fast forward and pause either pivotal or, what he assumes, are the last exciting moments of his life. Watching “Click”, I couldn’t help but wish for a turn at the remote myself – so I could flick back to the days when you knew exactly what you were getting with an Adam Sandler comedy. Though they never offer many surprises, you always know what to expect from the former SNL star’s big-screen endeavours. The movie on hand is as indecisive as a year 12 student in February – it just doesn’t know what it wants to be.
Michael Newman (Sandler) is married to a beautiful skimpy-shorts wearing woman (Kate Beckinsale) and has two lovely kids. He doesn’t seem satisfied though – if only because he’s been waiting for a promotion from his narcissistic boss (David Hasselhoff) that doesn’t look like it’ll ever come.
When he heads into Bed, Bath & Beyond looking for a new remote control, Michael gets more than just a remote control – out the back (the ‘Beyond’ section) he’s serviced with a nifty device – by none other than Christopher Walken, doing what he does best – that ultimately enables him to fast forward through the boring bits, arguments, wearisome family dinners, or rewind to the earlier days. Eventually though, the remote conditions itself to Michael’s behaviour, and suddenly, he discovers that life is literally passing him by.
“Click” starts out like any other Adam Sandler comedy – big belly laughs, welcome cameo appearances, awesome music, and Sandler’s trademark deadpan humour – but then, half way through, it gets off the usual road and takes a less conformist route. Suddenly, it decides it wants to be “It’s a wonderful life” – though much more reminiscent of “Scrooged” (1988), I thought – decides to bench the humour, and puts the touchy-feeling chick-flick element into play.
The game switches gears big time, and many will be left wondering whether two singular scripts – one and out and out Adam Sandler comedy, the other, a weepie that wears it’s heart on it’s sleeve – were moulded in development (maybe it was originally intended for Robin Williams? – it’s shift in tone reminded me a lot of “Bicentennial Man”, for instance).
You see, “Click” will win many over that probably didn’t believe they could be won over with such a film – particularly, the females, who probably walked into the theatre expecting to see no more than a mildly funny fart comedy, that their boyfriend/hubby has forced them to come to, and got much more.
The ladies will love – I know mine did – the shift in gear that the film makes. They’ll lap the sweet stuff up, and by golly, if they’re not rummaging through their handbags for that loose sachet of Kleenex they’d seen in there earlier, by film’s end. The guys though, they’ll probably wish the film hadn’t turned off the humour hammer half-way through, and continued with some of the funnies – because there’s some absolute beauties in the film’s first act – as that’s what they probably paid to see, right?
If you don’t mind being ‘surprised’ – the marketing campaign is as off for this one, as it is “The Break-Up” – then most should genuinely enjoy this film. The performances, particularly by the always-likeable Sandler and the still-underrated Henry Winkler (playing his on-screen father) are a treat. But, if it had been able to sustain a more constant tone – probably needed to pull back on the gags at the start, if it was going to go the more serious route in the second half for the duration – “Click” would’ve been a film that probably would’ve appealed to a much wider crowd.
Sandler will probably never be able to surpass his terrific “The Wedding Singer” (1998) – but he still manages to be able to entertain us, without trying too hard. “Click” is funny, sweet and well performed, it just could’ve done with a visit to the [script] doctor before heading out into the field.
This Week’s Useless bit of Advice
When carrying a fluffy cat, be sure that you’re not wearing black – especially a black suit.
Missing Career Alert
Anson Williams – We all know what Ron Howard’s doing, and we all know that Henry Winkler is still in work (he’s currently appearing in “Click”, playing Adam Sandler’s dad), but whatever happened to Postie from “Happy Days”? Unless you’ve caught one of the various “Happy Days” reunion specials over the years, you’re probably unaware that he’s actually one of today’s busiest directors – usually, of TV.
Sure, he acts now and then too (I remember he was in an episode of “Sabrina, the Teenage Witch” and had a guest-spot on “Baywatch”) but for the most part, he makes his crust behind-the-scenes.
He’s directed many episodes of “Beverly Hills 90210”, a couple of episodes of “Star Trek : Deep Space Nine” & “Star Trek : Voyager”, as well as more recent series’ like “Sons & Daughters” and “Charmed”. He hasn’t done a lot of films, but I do recall that he directed a good little telemovie back in the early 90s, starring Charlie Schlatter, called “All-American Murder”. If you’ve never seen it, just check it out – it was pretty entertaining. (You get to see Josie Bissett’s, um, fleshy bits, from memory – obviously, before her Jane/Melrose days).
5 things you didn’t know about…… “Dragnet” (1987)
1. Links to the original TV series are a) a photo of Jack Webb b) a cameo appearance by original series star, Harry Morgan.
2. The photograph of Captain Gannon’s wife behind his desk is the same photograph as Colonel Potter’s wife in “M*A*S*H” (1972). Both parts were played by Harry Morgan.
3. The director, Tom Mankiewicz, actually wrote a couple of James Bond films – including “Diamonds are Forever” and “Live and Let Die”.
4. Shannon Tweed has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it role in the film.
5. There is a “Superman” link to the film. Jack O’Halloran, who played Emil Muzz in the film, played Non in the “Superman” films, whilst the abovementioned Tom Mankiewicz did some [uncredited] writing work on “Superman” and “Superman II”.
Please Note : “This Week in TV” now has it’s own section, HERE