Friday, April 29, 2005

Sight Unseen: April 29, 2005

Continuing the Friday series of reviews of movies I haven't seen.

This week we have a treat. A rumble. A rap battle.
Two of the finest rappers-turned-actors have movies opening this weekend.
Damn! Pass me that 40.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
This movie is all literary and shit. It's a film based on a book based on a fictional futuristic book. Mos Def brings to acting the same smoothness he brought to Black Star.

XXX: State of the Union
Oh, the things you get when you run a Google search for this title.

Ice Cube. The man, the legend, "the Predator." I fuckin' knew Are We There Yet? couldn't keep Cube down...and neither can a load of poorly animated stunts. I've seen the trailers. Train wrecks and car chases that are faker than a video ho's hair. Even if XXX: State of the Union is terrible, it's possibly the best recasting of a title role ever. Ever.

Cube's brilliance over Vin Diesel aside, it's not hard to top these recasting missteps. Roger Moore over Sean Connery as 007? Val Kilmer replacing Michael Keaton for Batman Forever? Jason Bateman over Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf Too?

So, who's the best rapper-turned-actor?

Not Vanilla Ice (aka Robert Van Winkle), despite turns in Cool As Ice ("How do you melt a girl's heart? Just add Ice") and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze ("Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go!").

Mark Wahlberg was in the running for Boogie Nights, but c'mon...was he really a rapper? "Did you feel it, baby?...yeah, I did, too."

Ice T: Loved him in New Jack City and Trespass...and then what happened? Actually, he kicked some ass in Surviving the Game (that remake of The Most Dangerous Game)

Other rappers-turned-actors: TuPac, The Fat Boys (Disorderlies!), LL Cool J ("My hat is like a shark's fin!"), Will Smith, Snoop Dogg, DMX, Beanie Siegel (his movies are more akin to a reality show about prison than cinema), etc.

Nope, it's either Mos Def or Ice Cube...and I'm not voting against a man who keeps a 9mm in his jeep.

Verdict: Ice Cube is the greatest actor of all time.


Friday, April 22, 2005

Sight Unseen: April 22, 2005

Continuing the Friday series of reviews of movies I haven't seen.

Kung Fu Hustle
With little to go on but my own instincts, I predict Kung Fu Hustle is going to be an outstanding piece of cinema. The trailer features three can't miss ingredients: ass kicking, choreographed ass kicking, and prominent use of the song, "Ballroom Blitz". Remember when Tia Carrere covered "Ballroom Blitz" for the first Wayne's World movie? Didn't we all have her pegged for stardom? Her first misstep was playing a character named "Jingo" in the abysmal flick Rising Sun (the book, which I sadly read after Jurassic Park, relied even more heavily on xenophobia and stereotypes of the Japanese for plot development). From there it was a long slow slide into Relic Hunter.

The Interpreter
When a movie is boasting about where it was shot (at the real U.N.???!!! Oh! My! God!), you know there's something wrong with it.


Friday, April 15, 2005

Sight Unseen: April 15, 2005

Continuing the Friday series of reviews of movies I haven't seen.

The Amityville Horror

Remake Alert!
The Lutz family found their dream house...until it turned into a nightmare. If that (or some variation) isn't the tagline for this movie, someone in Marketing isn't doing their job. Land developers LOVE haunted house movies: why buy old and haunted when you can buy a brand new duplex on what was once beautiful country farmland or an Indian burial ground. We need Coach to make another Poltergeist movie to discourage any more suburban developments.


Friday, April 08, 2005

Sight Unseen: April 8, 2005

Continuing the Friday series of reviews of movies I haven't seen.

"Sahara, storms are brewing in your eyes"
The trailer for this movie makes me thirsty. Expect theater soft drink sales for Sahara to reach Gandhi and Ishtar levels.

Fever Pitch
Fuck Jimmy Fallon. The Farrelly Brothers could have done much, much better.
I can't believe my beloved St. Louis Cardinals became the losers in a baseball movie (and in the 2004 World Series). I would use the world "immortalized", but c'mon, it's doubtful this flick will have the lasting appeal of a Major League or Bull Durham (or even an Angels in the Outfield or Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch).

Since last October, I've seen more Red Sox hats in Philadelphia than Phillies hats. During the 2004 Series, every Phillies fan I know switched their allegiance to the BoSox and rooted against my Cardinals. Some pretended to love Curt Schilling and Francona (what, no love for Scott Rolen or Marlon Anderson), while others just wanted to see an end to "the Curse of the Bambino". Turncoats. The same people who wanted an end to the Red Sox World Series drought are the same jerks hoping the Cubs win the World Series.

And I hate the Cubs.

At what point is it OK to abandon your purported favorite team and root for another? April 1 (always a good time for Devil Ray fans, if there are any)? The All-Star break (probably a good time for Orioles fans with the division they're in)? August (about the time the Phillies start making their late-season run to nowhere)? October? Never?

Didn't this start out as a movie review? Fever Pitch: I'll see it on Comedy Central.


Friday, April 01, 2005

Sight Unseen: April 1, 2005

Continuing the Friday series of reviews of movies I haven't seen.

Sin City
This could be the first "Sight Unseen" movie that I'll actually see in the theaters (that bootleg DVD of Ice Princess while shot in a theater doesn't count).

Set in the imaginary blue-screen town of Basin City (can Las Vegas, the real-life "Sin City" according to Yahoo searches, sue for nickname violation), the Robert Rodriguez-Frank Miller collaboration boasts some pretty big Hollywood names (Bruce Willis, Benicio Del Toro, Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Nick Stahl, etc.). Shooting on a sound stage means that money normally spent on locations can be funneled into talent and a decent script: something George Lucas didn't think of when he made The Phantom Menace.

So, what sins are representing in Sin City? Well, judging from the trailers at least 5 of the 7 Deadly Sins make an appearance (pride, envy, wrath, greed, and lust). No word on gluttony's whereabouts, but sloth just couldn't make it out of bed.