Category Archives: movies

Cinematic Outrage

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My dears, I return after far too long away to report on the movie San Andreas, a film that features the destruction (again) of California (mostly San Francisco) and Dwayne Johnson’s titty muscles in about equal parts.  Mr. Johnson’s chesticles are well worth spending the time with and the earthquake/tsunami destruction is most charming, although whenever the “actors” slowed down to deliver the “dialogue,” things really hit a rough patch.  The sight of Johnson effortlessly boating about in a debris flooded financial district was worth the price of admission all by itself.

Equally amusing was the lighthearted attitude the movie makers took towards San Francisco geography.  Characters start out on one side of downtown, emerge seconds later clear on the other side of town and then announce they have to go to Chinatown to casually loot an electronics store because, I don’t know, there weren’t any downtown?  I’ll never know why because they then decide to take a walking tour of the most inaccessible hills around here, part of which included a jaunt up Russian Hill, completely off any sensible route, but coincidentally right outside of a building I used to live in.  “Hey I used to live there!  Cool, huh?”  What better review could a film ask for?

Also Dwayne Johnson and his mantitties, in order to get to Coit Tower, parachute into the ball park, which is about as far from Coit Tower as you can get without leaving town.  Why?  Who knows?  I had stopped trying to figure that out by then and they hadn’t even wiped out Golden Gate Bridge yet, an absolute requirement in any San Francisco based disaster; you just sit there waiting for it to finally happen.  I have to say, having seen the bridge go down more times than a power bottom in a gay porn festival, this was a particularly satisfying collapse.

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Also, Dwayne Johnson in a series of tight shirts.

Crime Spree and a Movie

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Secret Agent Fred and I sailed off to go see Mad Max Fury Road the other afternoon and I am here to report that is one film that moves right along, apparently assuming, correctly, that no one in the audience is interested in thinking about what’s going on.  It nominally features the fabulous Charlize Theron and the always luscious Tom Hardy, but actually the stars are the almost constant explosions.  There is so much shit blowing up and the camera is tossed about with such carefree insouciance, it’s often difficult to tell who, or what is getting blown up this time.

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While I’m fond of sci-fi as a genre, the real pull was Mr. Hardy and his pouty lip beauty, but tragically, he’s off screen for lots of the running timing and for most of the first third of the show he’s dressed in what appears to be a gardening trowel strapped to his face.  So distracting.

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Plus, after the movie we got back to my car and found it had been broken in.  I had left it unlocked (which is most unlike me) so at least they didn’t bust out a window.  All they got for their troubles was a plastic bag of loose coins I kept for parking meters (Hoo hoo!  Must have been close to four bucks!  Score!) and a fabulous suede jacket from Coach, probably retailing at $400 or $500, but that I got at a thrift store for like $30 I think.  When I found it, I was swayed by the Coach label and the fact the sleeves were long enough for me, but honestly, it was always enormously too big for me.  It made me look like a well dressed refugee.

Much worse was the Levi jacket of Fred’s they made off with which was adorned with a collection of buttons, including one of Any Winehouse as the Madonna.  Fred is terribly distraught and who can blame him?

Now They’re All Gone

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Oh dear, Albert Maysles, the genius behind Grey Gardens, died Thursday.

Some, but not by any measure all of my favorite Gray Gardens quotes:

  • If you can’t get a man to propose to you, you might as well be dead.
  • …there’s anything worse than dealing with a staunch woman. S-T-A-U-N-C-H.
  • Edie!  Open a can of pate!
  • … this is the revolutionary costume!

Things That Lead from One to Another in mrpeenee’s Universe

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This is one of the driest winters in California history.  Finally, this evening a smallish storm has rolled in and I opened the windows to revel in the pattering, got distracted by the internet and just now realized the house is filed with the pungent aroma of skunk.  What the hell, skunk?  You don’t have anything better to do than wander around on the only rainy night this year stinking the place up?  Stupid dumb skunk.

While I was lost in the wonders of the world wide web, I stumbled across a series of references to what many authors claimed were the worst movies ever made, movies worse than the Lindsay Lohen oeuvre, a series by some schmoe named David DeCoteau. The series is called “1313.”  I have no idea why they’re considered a “series,” they seem to have no discernible relation to each other except that the main feature of each is a bunch of attractive young men running around in their underpants.  Sounds good to me.

Here’s the trailer from my favorite

Is that great or what?  Plus you know from the trailer that the movie is so bad that you don’t need to waste any time actually watching it.  The trailer is sufficient unto itself.

Amazingly, one of the panty bitches was Corey Monteith.  Perhaprs you remember this Monteith person, he’s the guy who OD’ed last year.  I only remember it because all the news outlets were slobbering so much about it at the time.  In researching semi-naked men of the 1313 world, I discovered I had completely mistaken just who Corey Monteith is.  Was.

This is Corey Monteith.  He’s dead.

This is not Corey Monteith.  He’s not dead, but he is who I’ve been thinking was Monteith all this time. What do you know?

But then I also ran across this, which actually looks funny.

It’s on my list.

Caperless

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I like heist movies, like The Thomas Crowne Affair, or The Italian Job, or Rififi, or Inception, any complicated caper that involves split second timing and completely unbelievable coincidences and high speed car chases through a mid-town Manhattan with amazingly light traffic.  Or a naked Jason Statham.  Especially a naked Jason Statham.

So I settled in to watch Now You See Me happily enough and after it was over thought “What the fuck was that?  Can I have my ninety minutes back, please?”  Turns out, no.

I understand all of this genre requires a certain willing suspension of disbelief (again, Manhattan car chases with no traffic.  Yep.  Okay.) but Now You See Me takes this to another plane, sort of a willing assumption of simple mindedness.  The obligatory car chase turns out to have absolutely no purpose in the movie.  There is no reason the crooks indulge in it, it does nothing for the plot (or “plot”) and the reveal of how the crooks structured it is just ludicrous.  It involves Woody Harrelson driving a city bus full of commuters who apparently don’t notice there is a car attached to the bus.  With a convenient dead guy in it.

It’s all very slick and the cast is nice looking

Dave Franco, James Franco’s little brother, who simply disappears for a big chunk of the movie.  Maybe he found something better to do.

Mark Ruffalo, who was cute, in a fresh-out-of-rehab sort of way.

but let me emphasize the main adjective here is “ludicrous.”

One of minor points I found the most irritating turns on the cops being able to find a hotel room in New Orleans at Mardi Gras because they have an Interpol chick who speaks French and, naturlement, being able to do so is a big plus in the Big Easy.  I lived there a long time and ran into plenty of natives who apparently could not speak English, but not because they were Francophones.  I know it was a French colonial town, but so were St. Louis and Detroit and nobody expects them to roll out fluency in French.

And no naked Jason Statham.  I mean, really, what’s the point?

mrpeenee Has Fallen

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You know how there are movies which you can actually feel removing points from your I.Q. as you watch them?  Which brings us to Olympus Has Fallen, a ripe piece of tripe that rolled out onto an unsuspecting mrpeenee this evening because once it started I was too lazy to change the channel to something better, something like Are You Being Served?

I had initially thought anything with Gerard Butler in it had to have something going for it.

I was wrong.  Plus he plays the whole thing wearing a long sleeve shirt which makes me suspect there was Spanx involved under it all.  And Angela Bassett, for god’s sake, who certainly deserves better.  As do I.

Sunday Night at the Movies

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As I mentioned, the New York Times groused that Liz and Dick was “not terrible enough,” but I don’t know what they were whining about, it seemed plenty awful to me.  Puh-lenty.  Diane von Austinburg kept asking what I had expected.  It was pretty much just as bad as I had been led to think, but that was what kept me cringing and moaning loudly throughout.

We debated who might have been better cast in the leads.  I was undecided between William Shatner and Courtney Love as Richard Burton, but absolutely convinced that Liz should have been Lypsynka.

Then we stumbled on a French silent movie that made no sense, possibly because we were all loaded by then, possibly because we missed the first hour and had to refer to all the characters by labels like “Baby Teeth” and “Crazy Wig”.  There was a seance in the Magic Room where Crazy Wig’s brother climbed under the table, apparently to orally satisfy the guests.  As you can imagine, the whole thing was a great improvement over Liz and Dick.

We Give Thanks for So Many Things

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In case you missed it, Thursday was Thanksgiving.

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Let’s just move on, but not before offering up sincere and deep thanks to Diane von Austinburg (who blew in town just for the cooking) and Secret Agent Fred, both of whom were great help.

In more up-to-the-moment news, we are sharing in the general slavering over tonight’s trainwreck that is the Liz and Dick movie starring Lindsay Lohan.  A great many reports confirm that it seems destined to challenge Plan 9 from Outer Space‘s long held title as the worst movie ever made.  The New York Time’s review actually said that it wasn’t “terrible enough.”  That’s right, they were complaining it was insufficiently crappy.  Wow.  That’s just greedy.  Anyway, come 9:00 PM West Coast time, count on the inhabitants of Chez Peenee to be in our jim jams, thrilling to this epic.

Lifesaving bitches at attention in case the Virginia Woolfe scenes overcome mrpeenee.

A Night at the Theatuh

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Jon over at Give ‘em the Old Razzle Dazzle recently posted about the charming Yvonne De Carlo on her Sept. 1 birthday which  brought to mind the  magical evening some friends and I saw her in a bizarre live show in New Orleans in 1986 or ’87.

My friend Abby was house manager of the theater and had called to beg me to scrape up as many of my friends to come for free to the show because ticket sales had been so anemic she needed to paper the house.  A bunch of us agreed, which may have been a mixed blessing for Abby since we wound up laughing so hard we had the audience around us, composed almost entirely of Old Dears, glaring at us viciously.

I think the show was called something like “Legends of the Silver Screen,” but it lives on in memory as “Has Beens on Parade.”   I guess it might charitably called a “cabaret act.”  Besides Yvonne, it also trotted out Howard Keel, Katherine Grayson, Jane Russell, Mamie Van Doren (!) and Dorothy Lamour.

Each one would creak out on stage, fumble through a couple of songs and what they must have thought was patter and then shuffle off.  The whole evening carried with it a thrilling frisson that any one of them might actually die right there before us, onstage.  Surely that’s how troopers like this would want to go.

Mamie van Doren was tarted out (and I mean that in the most literal sense of the term) in a gown that looked a lot like it had been run up from a shower curtain.  As the designated chicken of the group, she flashed most of her still substantial cleavage in a manner that was awe inspiring.  Possibly a little scary, too.

Howard Keel came out with an oxygen tank and thanked Jesus for something or the other.  It wasn’t clear exactly what.

Howard was followed up by his old co-star Katherine Grayson who reminisced about her role in Show Boat (in her review of it, Pauline Kael referred to Ms Grayson as “the singing valentine”, a reference to the saccharine soprano she typically belted out.)  We all settled in expecting her to take a crack at “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” or maybe even “After the Ball ” (man, would that have been appropriate.)  Instead she launched into an astonishing cover of “Ole Man River.”  Apparently, her range had dropped into something approaching basso and she wasn’t about to raise her sights any higher.

We ran into Abby at the  intermission which everyone (including, apparently, the cast) spent getting as loaded as possible.  She apologized for getting us into what was rapidly turning into a theatrical disaster. We laughed, made some jokes about Madame Tussard and got more glares from the people around us.

Then we were back for Jane Russell.  All I recall about her was that she had some trouble with her props when she tried “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” (the nerve!) and that she looked a lot like a mean lesbian gym teacher.

Yvonne was up next and really was the most successful of the whole lot, mostly because she didn’t seem to be taking any of it too seriously.  She sang “Before the Parade Passes Me By” and got so tangled up in the last chorus, she finished a bar behind the band.  She just laughed and said “I guess that’s a parade that passed me by!”  Yukyukyuk.  What a gal.

Dorothy Lamour, who was born in New Orleans, was last and came out to a very warm hand.  There were people in the audience who obviously knew her from their long gone youth and she worked it, recalling watching vaudeville in the theater we were in.  By that point in the evening, she could have pulled out a reminiscence about seeing John Wilkes Boothe there and I doubt anyone would have batted an eye.   She sang something or the other, but so many people in the audience had fallen asleep, she could have gotten away with shadow puppets.

There was something like a curtain call when they all came back out.  I have never seen a cast taking their bows with so many of the audience determinedly making their way up the aisles.  My friends and I were probably some of the only faces they could have seen, and we were still laughing.

So hahahaha, and now I am slightly mortified to realize that even though they seemed so terribly ancient, I am now closer in age to these dinosaurs than the stoned and giggling smartypants I was then.   Wait, is that a parade I see passing by?
To put this in pespective, a similar show today might very well be composed of Neil Young, Micky Dolenz, Bette Midler, Henry Winkler, and Adrienne Barbeau.  Singing “Ole Man River.”  Actually, I would line up for that show. 

Clint, Clint, Clint

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OK, I haven’t watched the entire lunacy that is Clint Eastwood’s remarks (one would be hard pressed to call it a “speech”) at the Republican convention, but not because I haven’t tried.  I just can’t sit through more than a few seconds of the stammering, wandering,”I left my tinfoil hat at home” wackiness of it.

And then, in reading about it, I stumbled across the slightly astounding fact that he’s scheduled to direct Beyonce in a remake of the movie A Star Is Born.  Wow.  On so many levels, wow.

Wow number 1: Clint Eastwood is a proven good director (Million Dollar Baby.)  He is also a proven crazy old man (Republican National Committee convention.)

Wow number 2:  Beyonce is making a movie career out of resurrecting gay singing icons gone-by, either dead (Etta James in Cadillac Records,) from one of their past heydays (Diana Ross in Dreamgirls.  Sort of.) or fictional/past/dead (Esther/Judy Garland in A Star is Born.)   A mrpeenee prediction: before the next presidential election, we will see Beyonce in a remake of Yentl.  You heard it here first.

Wow number 3.  Clint Eastwood used to be really cute.