Sunday, August 31, 2008

Biting your @$$ on October 1st.

Here's a glimpse of the flyer I made for the Reservoir Dogs screening on October 1st.


As was the case with our flyer for Wednesday's The Big Lebowski event, all the characters were drawn by Greensboro comic book artist Thomas Boatwright, who co-creates "Cemetery Blues" for Image Comics. Needless to say, I enjoy his work a great deal. So much, that I might have to buy one of the signed limited prints he'll be selling at the Lebowski screening this week.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

[PODCAST] Turning five with The Movie Show

In the fall of 2004, there was only one radio station in the entire world that had the guts to broadcast a radio program that offered real movie news and reviews program, without the unconfirmed celebrity gossip that gluts TV, radio, and magazines. That station was was WUAG 103.1 FM. That radio program, which has continued to run for five years now, is “The Movie Show,” which you can listen to if you click the link below.

This week, Joe and Mike complain about National Lampoon’s attempt to spoof 300 for the second time, glorify Warner Bros. and DC Comics for not dumping all their superheroes into the same movie, and mull over the possibilities of a Vernonica Mars movie.

And if that wasn’t reason enough to check out our podcast, you can also groove out to a trio of songs from the best soundtracks from last summer.

This week’s reviews: Death Race and The Rocker.

Stream it! Or subscribe!

Or check out our page at the iTunes Store.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Film Journal: Death Race

(Note: The following is a new experiment I am working on wherein I post a quick film journal entry for all of the films I watch in theaters and on video)

Where:Regal Greensboro Grande Stadium 16
When:1:15p.m. on Saturday, August 23, 2008

No doubt, Death Race is probably the best film Paul W.S. Anderson has made since Event Horizon. That's said, it's still a fairly bad movie. Based off the schlock-y Roger Corman classic, Death Race 2000, Anderson's movie is not so much a remake of that film as it is an adaptation of the video games "Twisted Metal" and, in an odd way, "Super Mario Kart."

Jason Statham plays Jensen Ames, a guy who was named after a car, which is to say in a Paul W.S. Anderson screenplay that he is a good driver. He gets framed for killing his wife, incarcerated in a prison facility named Terminal Island (?!), and manipulated into competing in a automobile bloodsport that's televised on the internet in exchange for his freedom. Basically, the prisoners race around a track circling the prison facility with armor-plated cars that have dual mounted machine guns, napalm, smoke launchers, and, sometimes, RPG missile launchers. Why don't these prisoners, many of whom are deadly murderers, simply use these mobile tanks to shoot up the guards and escape off the island? The film goes to great lengths to offer up a bunch of explanations and excuses, none of which help the logic of the film and do nothing more than bore the crap out of me.

The reason I say the film is like "Super Mario Kart" is because of one of the movie's more silly ideas. Located around the track are a series of illuminated manhole covers. The ones with shields on them equip the cars to spay napalm and smoke; the ones with swords on them enable the machine guns, but if a car drives over a shield with a skull on it, spikes pop out of the ground. These icons are first come first serve, and so completely ridiculous that it's obvious Anderson simply needed a way for the characters to be either armed or helpless whenever it served the purpose of his script.

And since I am talking about the movie's script, Al Gore should probably give Anderson an award. I say this because the entire screenplay Anderson wrote for Death Race is recycled from other movies. While the movie has very little to do with the original Corman production, it does ape lines, sequences, and scenarios from other movies pretty much throughout. The movie's plot is basically The Shawshank Redemption with a violent auto racing core.

That's a minus for me.

Price of admission includes:

-Several inexcusably homophobic lines directed at Tyrese Gibson's character, who may or may not have been gay. The movie never says one way or the other, and maybe Gibson fought hard to keep his character 'allegedly gay' as opposed to 'obviously gay' or even 'actually gay'. But still.

-A ridiculously jarring 'fly girls' sequence wherein they bus in a group hot babe convicts from a women's prison to be the navigators for the contestants. For some reason, Anderson thought it would be a great idea to play booty music in the background, while these women bounced and jiggled in slow-motion to their vehicles. This shift from 'crap movie' to MTV music video was rather abrupt.


-If you were unlucky as I was, the horrible and overplayed trailer for Quarantine, which is supposed to be the newest in 'found horror' a la Cloverfield and The Blair Witch Project. The only problem with this is that in the two minutes we've seen of Quarantine, the set-up already looks hokey and the acting looks devoid of any attempt at realism.

See for yourself:

Now compare that to this:

If all other actresses were Jennifer Carpenter (Quarantine), then Heather Donahue (The Blair Witch Project) would have so won an Oscar by now.

American Teen article.


'American Teen' (Not a pretty picture)

A high school senior from Warsaw, Ind., uses her camera phone to snap a topless photo of herself and send it to her quasi-boyfriend.

The boyfriend responds by forwarding the photo to one of his buddies.

By the end of the week, the senior's entire school has seen her photo, her friends won't speak to her, and she gets harassing cell-phone calls from complete strangers during the middle of the night.This act of cyber-bullying, which would have been technologically impossible even 10 years ago, is but one of the minor stories in American Teen, the newest documentary from director Nanette Burstein (The Kid Stays in the Picture, On the Ropes).

The movie had its N.C. debut in April at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, and Burstein was on hand to speak with festival attendees and the local press.

"It's not uncommon, and I think it's because of that age, you're not thinking about their futures and the consequences of their actions," Burstein says of the camera-phone incident. "They don't think about the future.

"I think in five or 10 years from now that might be different, but the Internet hasn't been around that long, especially with the speed that it's at with the texting and being able to send jpegs and videos."

(Click here to read the rest of the story....)


In other news, American Teen is tanking at the box-office, which is funny because the film was supposed to trigger this big movement towards the visibility of 'real kids' in the media (i.e., not The Hills). So what happened? Was the public simply not ready or willing to receive the 'real-core' movement?


However, a friend of mine from Hollywood had another explanation. He said that the film's TV ads did a poor job of defining the project as a documentary. And he's right. The trailers would give anyone who hasn't seen the film the impression that it was a narrative feature, albeit with insanely low production values. Also, the audiences that have made documentaries like No End in Sight and Why We Fight moderate successes would be turned off completely. Sure both of those movies made about $1.5 million each, but that's much better than the $722,594 American Teen has made so far with an exponentially higher marketing budget.

It's a real shame, too, because American Teen is a really good film. Sure, some people have called the movie a fake, but it is still compelling to watch, and the antidote for this current wave of crappy late August releases like Death Race. So do what I am going to do tonight, and check the film out.

And if you're still not convinced that you should see the film, my friend Glen Baity liked the film a great deal, too.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

[PODCAST] Yesterday's show.

Did you miss yesterday's episode of "The Movie Show"? If so, you missed a good one. Joe calls Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan a blank white sheet of a character while Mike maintains that Ryan is no different from any other action hero. They also discuss the schedule delay for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, the un-punishing of Lexi Alexander's Punisher: War Zone, Tom Cruise potentially cooking up a comedy for his next starring role, and the growing legal woes of Warner Bros. Watchmen film.

This week's reviews: Tropic Thunder, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and Mirrors.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

"The Big Lebowski" @ 7:30 & 9:30 on Wednesday, September 3rd.


On Wednesday, September 3, you better dust off your bowling shoes because WUAG 103.1 FM and The Carousel Luxury Cinemas will be presenting "The Big Lebowski" at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Best part is while the film will be projected in 35mm, you won't have to pay a whole lot to attend. Admission is $3, or $1 if you have a current college i.d. Plus we'll be offering $1.25 boxes of popcorn, $1 sodas, and for audiences 21 & up, $1 beers.

So come on out to the Carousel Cinemas on 1305 Battleground Avenue. The movie is great, the admission is cheap, and we'll be throwing a few contests before both screenings as well.

And if you would like to do us a favor and keep the admission cheap on future Mixed Tape events, make sure to invite a bunch of friends to come along with you should you decide to attend. I couldn't think of a better way to spend time with my buddies than to sit in a movie theater while sharing a bucket of beers.


P.S. If you frequent a resturaunt, coffee shop, or bar where they let people post flyers of community events, print this one out and hang it up. If you hang up a flyer for the screening, and snap a digital photo of yourself doing so, your first drink is on me.

PODCAST: "This week's show, listen to, you must!!!"


Joe hacks the newest Star Wars film to pieces with his lightsaber while Mike picks up the pieces and shares his opinion on David Gordon Green’s Pineapple Express. Then on the news front, QT’s Inglorious Bastards gets several cast members, the Special Olympics boycott’s Tropic Thunder, plus Joe and Mike remember the lives of Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes.

This week’s Soundtrack Selections:

Theme from "Shaft," by Isaac Hayes from Shaft;
"Don’t Look Around," by Mountain from Pineapple Express;
"You Only Live Twice," by Nancy Sinatra from 007: You Only Live Twice;
"I’d Love to Change the World," by Ten Years Later from Tropic Thunder.

Stream it! Or subscribe!

Or check out our page at the iTunes Store.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Is it a 'Mixed Tape' or 'Mixtape'?

So a few days after I posted my article about "The Mixed-Tape Film Series," I get a call from Movie Show friend and frequent guest host Craig D. Lindsey. He called for several reasons, but one of them was to say, "You do know it's a 'mixtape' and not a 'mixed tape' don't you?"

Making matters worse, when I got home and saw where News and Record pop culture blogger Joe Killian posted an article on the film series, I noticed that he called it "Mixtape" and "Mix Tape," but still not a "Mixed-Tape."

For a moment, I was taken aback. I have loved many a woman in my lifetime (regardless of whether they requited my feelings or not), and expressed these amorous feelings via the creation of a 'mixed' compilation of fave and peculiar songs on a TDK. Was I just calling it the wrong thing the whole time? Sure, the main character in Nick Hornby's High Fidelity called it a 'mix tape,' but I just chalked that up to the way we spell 'color' and they (meaning Brits) spell 'colour.' That kind of thing, y'know?

So I checked the nets. The dictionary was no help whatsoever. Then I saw that Wikipedia had backed up Lindsey and Killian's 'mixtape'. However, right before I folded and decided to change all the festival materials, the Urban Dictionary had a post that set me at ease. Here's their definition of a 'mixed tape':

mixed tape
A compilation of songs (traditionally on a cassette tape, though CDs are acceptable) that one makes for oneself or another, normally a boy or girl they like. Fine examples of mixed tapes have liner notes and a snappy title. Some fools say: mix tape or mixtape but this is clearly wrong as you have mixed a tape for your or another's enjoyment.
"Here Nate, I made you this mixed tape over Christmas break."
"Oh you mean you made me a mix tape?"
"Never mind, I don't like you anymore."

That settles it. "The Mixed Tape Film Series" it will be.

P.S. Here's the general logo we hope to put on all festival festival materials and t-shirts:


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Who reads the Watchmen? Everyone, apparently.


So I hit up Acme Comics here in Greensboro yesterday to grab some books for my after school class, and while I was there, I noticed that they had stocked over twenty copies of Alan Moore's Watchmen. The manager there is a buddy of mine, so I told him, "Man, you guys really got a lot of copies of Watchmen," to which he replied, "Yeah, but we still don't have enough."

Apparently, after the trailer for Zack Snyder's upcoming adaptation was released, the book has been flying off the shelves to the point where they can't even keep it in stock. They also told me that the deluxe hardcover, Absolute Watchmen, which came out last year and has since been out of print, is now selling on Ebay for way above its cover price. When I got home, I checked it out for myself and sure enough, some people have gotten bids over $100.00 for a book that retailed at 75 bucks.

(Note: Before you go and try to make a fortune buying and selling a bunch of Absolute Watchmen copies, you should probably know that DC Comics is getting ready to print a whole new batch to capitalize on the demand.)

When I got a chance to see the trailer for Watchmen that was attached to The Dark Knight, I was non-plussed. Alan Moore had made one of the greatest comic book stories ever told, and it didn't seem appropriate for Snyder to lens a bunch of glamor scenes with excessive, masturbatory slow-motion. Sure that worked for Frank Miller's 300 (sorta), but the superheroes in Watchmen are far more human and vulnerable than King Leonidas and his army of 300 Spartans. Then adding insult to injury, Snyder also incorporated the reprise to "The End is the Beginning is the End," which The Smashing Pumpkins wrote for Batman & Robin, a song choice that doesn't bode well considering it was created for the worst comic book film ever made.

About the only good thing you can say for the Watchmen trailer is that it does not reveal any plot details. A good thing, too, since most of them will probably be butchered by the finished product. Instead, all the trailer really says is the movie was based on "THE MOST CELEBRATED GRAPHIC NOVEL OF ALL TIME." I guess the trailer convinced a lot of people of this fact, and now they are going to give the book a read. And even if the Watchmen movie is a big steaming turd, my belief is that it will almost be worth it so long as all the hoopla surrounding the film will get a lot of people to read the novel.

Speaking about reading Watchmen, DC Comics and iTunes just released an semi-animated version of the book's first chapter. It's basically the closest thing we comic book geeks will have to a audiobook for sequential storytelling. You can download the chapter for free here.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Lessons from The Dark Knight: Good things can happen to movies that are great.


There is a belief in Hollywood and even among film critics that blockbusters and 'great' films are two separate things. That the former is supposed to be a saccharine, 'leave your brain at the door' kind of experience, while the latter is genuine with an exclusive claim on reverence. The entire filmgoing calendar is pretty much organized around this principle: So forgetful are the voters for the Oscars and Golden Globes, that the usually awful 'popcorn munchers' hit theaters between the months of May and August, giving what can ultimately be referred as the 'awards whores' (i.e., movies released between September and early January) free reign at both ceremonies.

This system is extremely flawed because it leaves some movie producers with the bent logic that if the movies that hit theaters around the fall are supposed to be 'intelligent,' then apparently, the movies that come out during the summer months should be thoughtless. It's almost like some of these executives say, 'Who cares if this film has no ideas and barely makes sense, it's a blockbuster - go make a kick-ass marketing campaign and sell the crap out of this turkey!' That had to have been what the people at Sony said with every step of production on Spider-Man 3. There's no excuse for that film to have been as bad as it was otherwise.

But then Chris Nolan made The Dark Knight and proved everybody wrong. In the guise of a $180 million-budgeted blockbuster, the director and his brother Jonathan crafted a brilliant film fraught with ideas about human morality. Between the explosions, fight scenes, and the intense moment when Batman uses his motorcycle to flip the Joker's semi, the movie has the audacity to ask, "As a species, are humans inherently good or evil?"

He may state otherwise in the film, but the particular version of the Joker (played up to icon status by Heath Ledger) cooked up an elaborate plan. He wants to turn so-called normal and decent people into killers so that their souls will reflect the twisted ugliness of his mysteriously scarred face. He's even ready to die for this principle. The Joker's most defining moment takes place during the part where he slides out of his wrecked truck, and while he's holding a machine gun, he lowers it as Batman charges at him on the Batpod. "Come on, I want you do it, I want you to do it," The Joker says. "Come on, hit me. Hit me!"

Of course, the Batman conquers this temptation by swerving at the very last second, an act that defines him ultimately as well. Considering that the villain in most summer blockbusters exist only to be killed by the good guy, it's a miracle this sequence managed to pass through the committee of people pumping money into this flick. It certainly didn't go down the same way as the first time Batman and the Joker faced off in Tim Burton's Batman. While Jack Nicholson's Joker was originally supposed to be apprehended and locked up in Arkham in the original screenplay by Sam Hamm, the studio brass wanted something more conventional. The Batman had to murder the Joker by yanking him off a helicopter with one of his silly gadgets, and the Joker had to scream while clinging for his life even though that was something neither character would have done.

Hollywood has so much contempt for audiences, that whenever they make make a movie with a large budget, they try to do so without challenging the people who might view their movies. And yet here we are with The Dark Knight, a movie that asks us to think and care about what's happening on the screen. How have we responded to the movie's challenge? We've made it into the biggest movie of the year. Not because a lot of people are going to see it once, but because many of them are going to see it twice, thrice, or more. Even with my busy filmgoing schedule, I've managed to see the film three times already, and plan on finally seeing it again in IMAX, something I would not even consider doing had the film not been as great as it is.

The Dark Knight even stands a chance at being the greatest box-office draw of all time, but even if this never happens, Hollywood has no excuses from now on. The public has spoken, and it's clear we demand quality from our summer blockbusters. After this summer, there's no valid reason for shoddily made glop like Fantastic Four or Spider-Man 3. Just because a film is based on a comic book, video game, TV show, or another movie is not enough. Sure that might catch the attention of the waning filmgoing public, but if someone actually tries to make a good movie like they did with The Dark Knight, they might actually stand a chance of keeping it.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

The Mixed Tape Film Series


Created as a way to get Triad residents excited about the great cinematic viewing alternatives taking place in North Carolina, The Mixed Tape Film Series is a love letter to people who enjoy great movies.

Like a mixed tape, the series will feature an eclectic line-up of films, carefully selected by Mike and me. We spent hours drafting and editing this list down to a core of films we think everyone should enjoy a great deal. The best part is that many of these titles are ones that few have had the chance to see on the big screen in 35mm.

So if you're looking for cheap admission, drink specials, and a film retrospective that will never rip you off with crude digital projections of DVDs, check us out. All of our regular screenings take place at the Carousel Luxury Cinemas (1305 Battleground Ave.) on the first Wednesday of every month, plus a special Halloween Double Feature on October 30.

Update: Our screening of The Big Lebowski on September 3rd was a huge success. So much in fact that we had t turn a lot of people away. We're working on an encore screening so stay tuned!


(There are no advanced tickets available at this time.)



Join the cool crowd and attract the opposite sex by purchasing this groovy Mixed Tape Film Series t-shirt. Available in sizes youth small to adult XXL, this tee can be purchased for $10 at the Carousel Luxury Cinemas' Bistro Lounge. And if you wear it to future Mix Tape events will make you eligible for exclusive door prizes.

Here's the film schedule with trailers for all of the films:

1) September 3rd, College Required Viewing

The Big Lebowski - 7:30 & 9:30 p.m.

An encore of this film is on the way - more details here as they become available.
2) October 1st, Tarantino Night

Reservior Dogs" - 7:30 & 10 p.m.

3) October 30th, Halloween Double Feature & COSTUME CONTEST!!!!

The Monster Squad - 7:30 p.m.


Friday the 13th Part 3 in 3-D

BONUS!!!!: We'll also be playing the World Premier of the locally produced 3-D horror short Day of the Living:

4) November 5th, Wes Anderson Nigh


5) December 3rd, Forgotten Christmas Classics

Edward Scissorhands

6) January 7th, Family Night

The Labyrinth

7) February 5th, Awesome Eighties

Fast Times at Ridgemont High

8) March 4th, Asian Night Part 1


9) April 1st, Asian Night Part 2

Riki-oh: The Story of Ricky

10) May 6th, Carolina Classics

Blue Velvet

(Please note that all titles are subject to change.)

PODCAST: Chasing The Dark Knight

After the explosive success of“The Dark Knight at the box office, Hollywood seems ready to scrape the bottom of the comic book barrel. Speaking of comics, the director of Punisher: War Zone has supposedly disappeared, so has Tony Jaa, and if that wasn’t news enough for ya, MTV is working on a remake of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

This week’s reviews: Step Brothers and X-Files: I Want to Believe

Soundtrack Selections:

“Lack of View” by Sunny Day Sets Fire from American Teen;
“North American Scum” by LCD Soundsystem from Step Brothers;
“Can’t Smile Without You” by Barry Manilow from Hellboy 2: The Golden Army;
“Science Fiction/Double Feature” by Richard O’ Brien from The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

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Or check out our page at the iTunes Store.