Overlooked Awesomeness: Dolan’s Cadillac

Time for another installment of Overlooked Awesomeness, in which we examine a piece of pop culture that seems (to me, at least) to have been severely overlooked and/or underrated by fans. Today’s topic: Dolan’s Cadillac,an excellent movie based on a Stephen King short story of the same name, which is in turn based on an Edgar Allan Poe short called The Cask of Amontillado. It also starts Christian Slater. That info should be enough to make you want to seek out this overlooked gem on its own, but if you’re looking for more info (and more than a few–rather big–spoilers), read on!

If you know either the King or Poe story, then you already know the basic plot:a guy gets revenge on another other guy by (again, heavy spoilers here…) essentially burying him alive. Both are entertaining stories about very nasty bits of business, with Poe’s story easily taking the edge of the ‘horrible’ factor since the reveng-er really has little reason for the murder he commits (beyond a wounded ego and being homicidal insane). Robinson (Wes Bentley, who you probably remember from American Beauty), at least, has ample reason to want his mark dead–Dolan (played to absolute perfection by Christian Slater) is a mobster who had Robinson’s wife killed after she unwittingly witnessed a multiple-homicide that Dolan and his men committed in the Las Vegas desert. We can certainly forgive Robinson his single-minded dedication to revenge (and even his clearly-eroding grip on sanity) under those circumstances.

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Why I love District 9

Some of you may have noticed that District 9 was up for the Best Screenplay Golden Globe lat night. It (spoiler I suppose) didn’t win, which is a real shame (really, does anyone in their right mind honestly think Avatar is a better movie than D9? I certainly don’t.) In honor of of what I hope will be many major award wins, I thought I’d do a quick and personal retrospective on what I firmly believe was the best film of 2009, and quite possibly the entire 2000s decade. Let’s take this one point at a time. (And it should be noted I’m going to assume that you have already seen the movie and have a basic understanding 0f the plot and characters; if you don’t, stop reading now and go see the damn movie! Its fantastic, and really should be seen completely unspoiled.)

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Overlooked Awesomeness: Dead Ringers

Time for another installment of Overlooked Awesomeness, in which we examine a piece of pop culture that seems (to me, at least) to have been severely overlooked and/or underrated by fans. Today’s topic: Dead Ringers, an amazing, classic and severely fucked-up psychological horror movie from that much-beloved master of Nightmare Fuel, David Cronenberg. Very briefly, this is the story of two twin brothers (both played flawlessly by Jeremy Irons) who are both brilliant doctors, and not just any doctors–gynecologists. (See boys, I told you this was a horror story!)

Cronenberg, of course, is well known for such sci-fi/horror classics as The Fly (1986) with Jeff Golblum, or Videodrome (1983) starring James Woods and of course 1981’s Scanners. I won’t try to argue that Cronenberg is the most versitle director in the world (although I do think he’s got a wider range than most of his movies suggest–Dead Ringers is actually a good example of that. We’ll get there, I promise), but you have to give the guy credit: the man knows exactly what he does well, and he does that better than most who have come before or since. He is also very unique in his approach, and has a way of putting his vision up on the screen that makes it nearly impossible to mistake for the work of anyone else. Cronenberg is often imitated due to his popularity, but he is (and, I suspect, never will be) duplicated. I’m not a fan of gore (or horror, for that matter) as a rule, but I can sit through (and even enjoy) a Cronenberg movie for a couple of reasons: first, the gore is rarely TOO much, or too over the top and is NEVER unnecessary to the story, the stories themselves are always very good and quite compelling, the characterizations are always stellar, and the kind of acting talent he attracts is second to none.

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Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths preview

This isn’t a particularly new preview, but I just saw it for the first time (on the animated Batman/Superman: Public enemies movie) and had to share it:

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http://www.theblurayblog.com/2009/09/video-justice-league-crisis-on-two-earths-blu-ray-preview/
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Holy shit. Despite the fact that Billy Baldwin is voicing Batman (seriously guys, wtf?) this looks incredible. I’m not a huge Justice League fan, but I will be buying this the moment it comes out. Not only does the story look intriguing, but JAMES FUCKING WOODS is voicing Owlman, Batman’s evil counterpart from the parallel Earth. From what I see of his character here, and from what Woods says about him in the preview, I can’t think of a better person to pull this off. As a huge James Woods fan (especially when he’s well cast as he seems to be here) that alone is worth the price of admission. The bonus seems to be that the movie will be worth watching in and of itself as well. Here’s hoping!

Set to be released in Spring 2010.

Overlooked Awesomeness: Fortress (1993)

Fortress is an excellent, though oft-overlooked movie from 1993 starring Christoper Lambert (better known as the Highlander), and directed by Stuart Gordon. The premise is engaging, the performances are far better than any that a movie of this type has a right to, the script is strong and keeps the action rolling while keeping you interested in the characters, and the visuals are solid across the board with a few standout images (most of which involve the inside of the Fortress itself.) Although it has its moments where credibility is stretched, and although the ending it downright goofy (and, yes, touching too), Fortress manages to rise above these distractions to be a very decent and quite entertaining action story. (Warning: spoilers will be in effect from here on in. Go see the movie now if you want to see it fresh. Its worth it.)

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Spoony’s reaction to New Moon

As long as we’re busy analyzing the many ways in which Twilight sucks ass and needs to die, its worth noting that Spoony of The Spoony Experiment did an absolutely beautiful review of New Moon, along with a completely brilliant character analysis of Bella, and why she is a horrible person (and a horrible woman) even more than I originally mentioned in my original article. Check it out. Its awesome, funny, and dead-on accurate. I love that guy.

Before I bring this sorry saga to a close, though, I would just like to say I find it highly, highly amusing that so many guys find it so difficult to deal with the…how did one Spoony video commentator put it…the “man-meat” aspect of this movie. These are, for the most part, the same guys who drool over Slave Lea (or any number of scantily clad female characters–superhero and otherwise) aimed at the male-geek demographic. Not very easy to stomach when your gender is being disparaged, oogled, and jerked-off too (and when all this is being discussed ad-nauseum and in great and disgusting detail among fans) is it, gents? And because this is the internet, I’ll add that that wasn’t intended to be snarky (well okay maybe just a little), just a genuine comment on the way the shoe is on the other foot when it comes to this series. I don’t like it any more than I like staring at a fanservice  ‘superheroine’s’ G-cups, believe me, and am looking forward to the day when characters are just…characters, and are treated with equal respect regardless of gender or what people think will sell tickets/comics/games/what have you.

A She-Geek on the Twilight phenomenon and how it is killing my favorite genre

So MovieBob (aka Bob Chipman, who also writes the awesome Game Overthinker blog), just did a video review of the second movie in the Twilight series, New Moon.Its a very good review as always, and surprisingly balanced. (Not balanced in the sense that I expected Bob to be biased against the movie–on the contrary, one of his strengths is that his reviews are always, ALWAYS fair, and always heir on the side of giving the movie/creators the benefit of the doubt–but balanced in the sense of, ‘oh my god he actually found something kinda-sorta nice to say about it,’ which is more that that trash heap of a movie has any right to expect from anyone, if you ask me.) His video review can be found here, and is well worth a look.

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