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[COLOR=White][b]Rundown:[/b] Naomi Armitage is a robot that lives with her husband and daughter (yes, daughter) on a Martian colony. But their lives get turned upside down as Armitage gets involved with a conspiracy targeted towards the termination of robots. To make matters worse, her husband Ross Sylibus has been selected as a delegate to champion the cause of robot rights.
[b]Review:[/b] This flick has been airing constantly on Showtime recently, so I decided to check it out. Upon viewing it, I had no idea that this was a sequel to a film called Armitage III (Armitage: Poly-Matrix). It is apparently in this movie that the nature of a 3rd generation robot such as Armitage developing the ability to conceive human life is revealed.
Plot-wise, I feel this movie missed its mark. Armitage is the title character, and naturally the film revolves around her point-of-view; but the truth of the matter is ? her life isn?t all that interesting. I found myself more engrossed in the background story surrounding the politics of the robot rights activists. If this movie had centered more on that angle, I think I would have enjoyed it more.
One of the more amusing elements of Armitage: Dual Matrix is the voiceover talents. As the opening credits begin, large bold words flash on the screen announcing, ?Featuring the voice of JULIETTE LEWIS!" At which point I found myself squealing like a little bitch, ?OMG!!!!!!1 JULIETTE LEWIS! Not [b]THE[/b] JULIETTE LEWIS!!!!111!!!? Yeah, whatever. :rollseyes: I guess Juliette Lewis is a big super-star over in Japan. Here in the States she barely rates as a 4th tier actress and her biggest claim to fame is being one of several hostesses on ?I Love The 80?s Strikes Back?. But aside from the Oscar-worthy performances by Juliette Lewis, we also have a robotics engineer named Mouse who is voiced over by Jar-Jar Binks. And yes, Jar-Jar Mouse is just as irritating in this as he was in Star Wars.
All told, this is a halfway decent flick. It?s not overly cerebral and there?s enough action peppered throughout it to hold your interest. Unfortunately, they never tell you how in the sweet-name-of-fuck a robot managed to have a human child. I guess I?m going to have to go rent Armitage: Poly-Matrix to get the inside scoop on that one. Expect a review soon.
[COLOR=White]With the opening narration, this film gives you the entire meat-n-potatoes of what is to follow. Basically, whenever a great tragedy occurs, the ambient rage and intensity of the incident concentrates together to form a malevolent spirit that will destroy anything that comes into contact with the place where they died. Here in the States, we call that a ?Haunting?, but in Japan I guess they call it a Ju-On.
To be honest, I have no idea what a fucking Ju-On is. It sounds like a Hebrew rap artist on his way to Synagogue. ?Yo man, I?m gonna down to Temple to get my Ju-on!? Sue me, I?m a little rusty on my Japanese. But I digress.
For the most part, a less-than-happy homeowner in Japan went stark-raving bugfuck five years back and killed his family. He was so pissed off in fact, that he even aced the family cat. I don?t consider this a spoiler really as it is detailed within the first five minutes of the film. As it happens, every person who enters the house from that point on becomes a victim of the various ghosts trapped within it. But the angle that I dig the most is that you don?t have to live in the house, or even stay in it to become a victim. The ghosts will actually follow you outside the house to your place of business (or what have you) and take care of you right good and proper.
That?s the element that primarily differentiates this from the standard American haunted house movies. In the US, if you discover that your house is haunted, all you really need to do is sashay your skinny ass out the door and the ghost will usually quit fucking with you (Unless you?re George Lutz, in which case, you dream up this elaborate lie, convince your wife to go along with it, sell the movie rights and make as much bank as you possibly fucking can).
Now the story of Ju-On is pretty threadbare. It follows a very formulaic paint-by-numbers process. Victim A walks into House B and gets ass-hammered by Ghost C. Victim D, inquiring as to the strange disappearance of Victim A, follows suit and enters into the house where Ghosts E through J respectively take turns giving Victim D an ectoplasmic facial. The rest of the alphabet characters fall in step and go through the same procedure until a proper and hopefully gruesome death is achieved. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Where Ju-On fails, is the fact that director Takashi Shimizu keeps throwing these excruciatingly insipid and banal characters at you ? most of whom possess only a tangential link to the story at large. In the third act, he introduces this trio of high school girls (naturally adorned in the ubiquitous, hentai-inspiring. Britney Spears video inducing, private school uniforms that lonely over aged men love to drool over). I half expected one of them to pull a Gogo Yubari and start swinging a metal flail at people. These chicks have virtually nothing to do with the house beyond the fact that one of them knew some other students who disappeared shortly after entering it. I would?ve been more impressed by their presence if one of them flashed their tits at the camera ? but alas, no such boobage is to be found.
There?s also the issue of continuity. The transition of scenes between the past and the present are done so seamlessly as to be practically indiscernible from one another. This is not a compliment by the way. Despite the fact that the producers pare the scenes in the form of self-contained vignettes, it is nearly impossible to keep track of what?s taking place in the present, and what took place a week ago. There?s a scene where one of the giggling high school girls reads about the disappearance of a character named Riki in the newspaper, despite the fact that Riki is alive and well and having lunch with her friend Mariko in a trendy Japanese diner. In fact, she pops up in the very next scene! Now I?ve watched films like Memento and Pulp Fiction ? movies known for playing footloose and fancy free with their continuity, but this one had me scratching my head more than once.
And finally, the ghosts really aren?t that scary. Sure, they may make you jump a few times, but the absence of shadow and decent lighting makes them look like nothing more than some pasty-faced kid standing in a doorway. And who the fuck is afraid of a pasty-faced kid standing in a doorway these day? If you?re looking to get a good creep factor, I would recommend seeing the American remake The Grudge with Sarah Michelle Gellar. It?s not that great a film, but it delivers on suspense much more effectively than Ju-On: The Grudge.
Oh, by the way?this is actually the first part of a separate series of Ju-On movies. The first series consists of: Ju-On, then Ju-On 2. And then they go into the Grudge spin-offs which is Ju-On: The Grudge, Ju-On: The Grudge 2, Ju-On: The Grudge 3. And of course there?s the American version, which is simply called The Grudge ? soon to be followed by The Grudge 2 in 2006. Whew!
[COLOR=White]Unless you?ve been living under a giant, rubber poop monster for the last couple of years, you all should know that Kevin Smith is the director of the popular cult comedies, Clerks, Mall Rats, Chasing Amy, Dogma, Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back and Jersey Girl (as well as the Clerks animated series).
An Evening With Kevin Smith is merely just a Q&A session hosted by Smith that took place across several college campuses across the US. The beauty of this DVD is that anyone can enjoy Smith?s anecdotal wit and self-deprecating humor. Possessing knowledge of the entire Kevin Smith catalog isn?t really necessary for enjoying this four-hour doc, but it helps.
Kevin goes deep behind the scenes of many of the elements that came into the creation of his films. He talks at length about his hetero life-mate Jason Mewes, as well as producer Scott Mosier. He talks about the time that he was tapped to write the script for Superman Lives (a nightmarish experience involving the insane Warner Brothers producer, Jon Peters). He talks about the first intimate moments shared between his wife and he. He speaks at length about working on a documentary for pop-icon, Prince. And of course, he takes some time to crack off with copious amounts of dick & fart jokes.
If you are even a fair-weather fan of Kevin Smith, then you HAVE to rent this DVD! It?s been a long time since I have laughed this hard. I enjoy Smith?s talent, because he comes to the industry with absolutely ZERO ego (a nice change from most of the Hollywood elite).
The only bad side to this DVD is that a lot of the students asking questions can be truly annoying. Most of them are just drunk retards, whose sole function is to cull desperate, approval-seeking behavior from their peers. One kid even offers to suck Kevin?s dick for five bucks. Fortunately though, these uncomfortable areas are quickly drowned out by Smith?s quick-witted come backs and engaging nuance.
[COLOR=White]The warning signs began flashing before my eyes when I first saw that Jackie Chan was attached to this flick. I avoided it in the theaters, I avoided it on rental, and for a long time I even avoided it on cable. It eventually came to pass, that I decided to observe this cultural butchery just to see how ?bad? it could really be. As predicted, my worst fears became a reality.
Now I can?t claim familiarity with the more-famous 1956 version of the film, but I am however, quite familiar with the perennial Jules Verne novel. It should be noted however, that I have no real emotional attachment to the Verne story. In truth, it is rather quite boring, and could certainly use a bit of spicing up if it is to serve as a source of entertainment beyond that of being a stylized global travel guide. But it always rankles me when Hollywood goes out of its way to ?modernize? classic stories to make them more accessible to the audience. A little fluffing can go a long way, but the 2004 remake takes the concept of ?fluffing? and expands it to include outright bastardizing.
Around the World in 80 Days serves no other purpose than to give Jackie Chan another paycheck and allow various top-star celebrities to mug for the camera in a series of needless cameos. These moments would include appearances by: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rob Schneider, Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Kathy Bates and several others.
The only real common ground that this movie shares with the Verne story is its ability to get the main character?s name right ? a feat that I personally feel is nothing short of miraculous. Beyond that, nearly everything else is completely alien to anyone who has read the novel. Passepartout is French, not Chinese. There was no Jade Buddha or Mongol warriors. There was no hot-air balloon, and there was no custom made airplane. The list goes on.
Around the World in 80 Days is for Jackie Chan fans only, and even they would probably find more bang for their cinematic buck in projects like Supercop or Rumble In The Bronx. Chalk this one up as a big fat splat.
[COLOR=White]Despite its overt homo-erotic overtones, I still find this to be one of my all-time favorite musicals. A lot of the songs are fairly corny, but there are about four or five that will stick in your head for days on end, specifically Hair, Sodomy, Manchester England, I?m Black, Age of Aquarius and I Got Life.
Treat Williams plays the leader of a hippie gang who finds a young Kansas farmer named Claude and decides to give him the night of his life before he is shipped out to serve in Vietnam. Despite his horrid Lou Ferigno-inspired hairdo, Treat dominates every aspect of this movie. He?s the guy that everybody wants to be. He?s cool, he?s smarmy, he?s rebellious and he can DANCE! Hell, Treat Williams is so damn suave in this flick, he even manages to get some dirty dancin? time with Mrs. Garrett from The Facts of Life!
For such a goofy flick, it takes a decidedly dark turn in the last five minutes of the movie. This is not to say that it is unsatisfying however, as we are witness to what is arguably one of the most selfless acts of heroism and loyalty I have ever seen in a movie before or since.
Plus, we get to see Beverly D?Angelo nekkid. What?s not to love?
[CENTER]Let it fly in the breeze
And get caught in the trees
Give a home to the fleas in my hair
A home for fleas
A hive for the buzzin? bees
A nest for birds
There ain't no words
For the beauty, the splendor, the wonder