Tuesday, December 23, 2008

News & Stuff

This week’s DVD write-up has been posted over at CinefantastiqueOnline, and we’ve got an overpriced Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas Bluray, the latest paranoid-tech thriller Eagle Eye, and the latest from Ricky Gervais, Ghost Town.

We’ve also had word of several deaths in the last week from Arbogast’s blog (the Scribe’s one stop shop for the celebrity death roll), including Majel Barrett-Roddenberry at age 76. The Sci-Fi keen amongst us will fondly remember Barrett from Star Trek; not just from her reoccurring role as Nurse Christine Chapel (and as the voice of the Enterprise’s computer for just about every subsequent manifestation of the show) but as the nearly forgotten First Officer of the Enterprise under Capt. Pike in the original pilot. We’ll also be taking advantage of a much needed holiday break to catch up on several Christmas Day releases, including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Valkyrie, and prepare a best of the year list.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Argento News That You Can Use

Not sure if this has made the rounds, yet, but here’s the first trailer that we’ve seen for Dario Argento’s latest – Giallo. No word yet on a US release date, though hopefully with more bankable names than the typical Argento picture, this will get a decent theatrical go-around before hitting DVD. It’s easy to forget what a brilliantly visual director he is, and even an exceptionally well-transferred DVD cannot reproduce the experience of being enveloped by his images inside of a movie theater.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

New Column News - Plus 3 Words That Should Never Be In The Same Sentence

The Scribe is very pleased to be taking over the weekly DVD column over at CinefantastiqueOnline today. We’ll be going over each week’s major new releases in a format we hope to be both breezy and pithy – in other words, shorter and more concise than the undisciplined tone poems that you’ve come to tolerate here.

In this week’s column, we mention the Bluray release of the newest Uwe Boll epic to hit disc, the superbly titled In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale. For fans of the filmmaker (or those who bottleneck parkways by slowing down to gawk at traffic accidents) there will be a Uwe Boll film festival at the Downtown Independent Theater in Los Angeles beginning tomorrow, Dec 17th. In addition to past efforts like Bloodrayne and Alone in the Dark, the festival will premiere Boll’s Vietnam epic, Tunnelrats and his latest video game adaptation, Far Cry (a Scribe favorite that deserved a nobler fate). Both will feature a Q&A from Mr. Boll following the showings, which is guaranteed to be livelier than anything that happens onscreen.

Monday, December 8, 2008

More Than Just Angles & Chocolate...

For anyone with a taste for a more Euro-centric ghost story, head on over to Cinefantastique for my review of Room 205. The Danes don’t have the horror tradition of the Italian, Spanish, or Brits, but we found it to be a quiet, effective chiller with a really outstanding performance from Neel Ronholt as a Copenhagen college student with some very unusual roommate trouble.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Do Something Useful, Goddamit!

Just as Heath Ledger’s performance was guaranteed to be overhyped in the months before the release of The Dark Knight over the summer, it was inevitable that in the months following its release (leading up to its DVD/Bluray release this coming Tuesday) would see a backlash. In the last few weeks we’ve read at least two write-ups of the show that were dismissive of Ledger’s scalding, indelible performance and wound up praising Jack Nicholson’s take on the Joker in the 1989 version. Wrongheaded indeed, as Nicholson’s performance is nearly unbearable to watch - a shallow, mincing tour de farce that became a perfect example of the depths that the once estimable actor had reached. The Witches of Eastwick had helped create a bronze cast of the indulgences that began showing up in The Shining, and by the time Hoffa came around, Nicholson had stopped acting altogether to become an overpaid ham – a children’s party clown with an 8 figure paycheck.

And then I remember this

I don’t know if it’s the utter defeat in his reading of “You’re trying to kill me” or when his voice cracks with henpecked rage at the word “coffin”, but there’s magic here. The kind of very real magic that can happen when an actor and material hit a perfect stride. And then I think of all the really, really fine performances that he’s turned in since. Not just the Jake Gittes or the R.P. McMurphys, but his note-perfect supporting turn as Eugene O’Neil in Reds or his spectacular deadpan readings in About Schmidt. I can’t imagine that he wants to cap off his career with The Bucket List anymore than I want to see it (which ain’t much) so I’ll hold out hope that he’s got one more Carnal Knowledge in him