Third party videos:
The Groomsmen (2006):
Ed Burns doesn't attract a lot of fanfare as a
writer/director/producer, but he has slowly and steadily carved
out a solid career as one of America's distinctive independent
voices. If Woody Allen was the voice of Manhattan's
droopy-shouldered neurotics, Burns is the voice of the outer
boroughs: plain-spoken , barbed, ball-busting, coarse and
masculine. You can't imagine a Woody Allen character saying "don't
bullshit me, man," but that classic New Yorkism symbolizes
what goes in in Burns's films: a got of guys trying to strip away
their own and each other's facades and just trying to talk to one
another about what's really on their minds.
He has written and directed seven films in the
past eleven years, fitting his career in the interstices of
a respectable career as an actor in other people's movies. He
doesn't have a major triumph in his filmography, but he doesn't
have any crap in there either, and his production is as consistent
and reliable as his IMDb scores.
- (6.49) -
Sidewalks of New York (2001)
- (6.39) -
The Brothers McMullen (1995)
- (6.08) -
The Groomsmen (2006)
- (6.00) -
She's the One (1996)
- (5.81) -
Ash Wednesday (2002)
- (5.76) -
Looking for Kitty (2004)
- (5.72) -
No Looking Back (1998
I haven't always liked his movies or found them
entertaining, but I always like what he tries to accomplish. He
creates real people and gets them interacting over real matters.
His characters may or may not draw me into their lives, but I
always get the feeling that I'm watching real life. That's the
sort of thing that independent film is quite good at, and maybe
it's something that studio films should do better instead of
cranking out formulaic and adolescent fantasies.
The Groomsman has a rather familiar premise. A
guy's wedding is about a week away, and his best friends are
re-uniting in preparation for their roles as the groomsmen. They
each have issues to deal with, and to share with the others. The
groom (Burns) is experiencing some pre-wedding doubts and jitters.
His older brother has been acting like a complete prick recently,
and nobody can figure out why. He has a dark secret. One
friend hasn't been seen in eight years, after having left down
without saying good-bye to anyone. He had an even darker secret.
One guy has never grown up at all. One guy is living a sensible
life as a husband and father. Some of them need to work out issues
with their significant others, while others have to reconcile with
parents. About the only thing that makes this different from any
other treatment you have seen of these themes is that it is seen
through the eyes of regular, everyday "don't bullshit me" guys.
In other words, it's a soap opera for men.
It's a solid effort, as Burns's films generally
are, but the key question for discussion is why a pretty good
flick like this ended up in no more than 73 theaters, and grossed
only $125,000. I guess the answer to that lies in understanding
the answer to this one, "How many people actually want to watch a
soap opera for men?" Some indy filmmakers find an arthouse
audience, but those audiences don't generally go for Burn's kind
of rugged, down-to-earth masculine camaraderie. Women who enjoy
emotional dramas are probably going to gravitate to the
kind of soap operas they like, ones told from a woman's point of
view. Men generally go to movies for
escapist entertainment rather than to watch people express mature
emotions. Net audience for this film: very small.
I mentioned earlier that I don't always get
involved in Burns's films, but I got hooked into this one. Jay
Mohr (as the "emotional retard") and John Leguizamo (as the guy who
disappeared for eight years) are talented comics, and their gift
for street-savvy repartee brought a bit of needed light to a film
that might have gotten too dark without them. The rest of the cast
is solid, the characters are drawn with a great deal of care, and
I felt that actual events were transpiring before my eyes. What the script
lacks in pizzazz it makes up in heart.
Frankly, I don't know how Burns continues to
finance these films, or whether he makes a profit on them,
but I'm glad somebody does, and I hope he keeps at it.
I do wish he'd get some nudity into these flicks.
In this one, the only nudity is a brief bit of background
stripping, Sopranos style.
Dr King had his dream, and I have mine -
Toys for Tots rejects talking Jesus dolls
Headline of the day:
"Giant penis sculpture stirs up controversy
at Taipei airport"
The HD trailer for Smokin’ Aces
- "In these interlocking tales of high
stakes and low lifes, Mob boss Primo
Sparazza has taken out a hefty contract on
Buddy “Aces” Israel (Piven) - a sleazy
magician who has agreed to turn state’s
evidence against the Vegas mob. The FBI,
sensing a chance to use this small-time
con to bring down big-target Sparazza,
places Aces into protective custody."
Bush's Dad Asks For Keys to White House Back
... Air Force One, President Grounded For
ROTTEN TOMATOES: Opening Movies
- Casino Royale, 3000+ theaters, 91%
- Happy Feet. 3000+ theaters, 82%
- Let's Go to Prison, about 1400
theaters, not pre-screened
- For Your Consideration, arthouse, 68%
- Fast Food Nation, 300 theaters, 47%
The Weekend Warrior's predictions for the
box office upcoming weekend
- An animated film and James Bond will
go toe-to-toe, and are expected to gross
about forty million each.
The international trailer for Ghost Rider
Heath Ledger as The Joker? (Well, not
really, but a cool hoax.)
In honor of Louise Brooks's 100th birthday,
here's a brief clip of an interview with her
as an older woman
- This is what she looked like when I
knew her. I was a regular at the film
shows at the Eastman House in Rochester.
The curator of that collection, Dr James
Card, was LuLu's significant other. She
occasionally hung out at screenings. I was
17 at the time, I think, she about 60. She
went on to live another 20 years in
Rochester. I was impressed that the two of
them always referred to one another in the
third person, as well as in direct
address, as "Miss Brooks" and "Doctor
Card." If I remember correctly, she spent
all of her time thinking and writing about
the films of G.W. Pabst. I certainly
didn't impress her since I didn't really
know who she was, and the only Pabst I
cared about was
the Blue Ribbon Beer guy.
New Ed McMahon Autobiography Reveals He
Slept With 7 Women
The Top 10 Moments in "Sweeps Week"
Quiz ... test your Bond knowledge
"No one likes to remind others of their
greatest failures. Well, except us. That's
why Blender has uncovered the stories behind
the most career-crippling albums of all
The 2006 Weblog Awards are now open for
The Colbert Report, Tuesday, November
The Daily Show for Tuesday, November
The webmaster at bumpshack sent this one
over - a pictorial he is especially proud
"Mia Troche is a Puerto Rican Firecracker!"
Entertainment Weekly's 10 Worst Bond Girls
KFC brings back the word "fried"
From our "cojones" department:
"Regan Books is publishing a book O.J.
Simpson wrote with the working title 'If I
Did It, Here's How It Happened.'"
Britney Spears Sex Tape is Going to Be Sold
for 50 million dollars!
- Britney's fortune is now estimated at
$35 million, so if this is true Fed-Ex
will actually end up as the richer of the
Lining up the semi-finals for 2008, it looks
like the Final Four will be Obama vs Clinton
and McCain vs Guilani, although Clinton
and Obama are both in the same bracket as
An interesting look at the real face of a
beautiful star in the course of life:
"Jennifer Lopez extreme candid megapost"
International pictographs and toilet
instructions from around the world.
Now and Then - "Ghost" Photographs
- "The idea is to revisit the location
of old photographs and take identical
photographs, as if the camera never moved
and the world changed around it."
- Don't forget to use the "slider" to
fade the top photo.
Hollywood's new fun couple: Michelle
Rodriguez and Kristanna Loken (Rodriguez
has come out. Loken is still being coy.)
Here is a scientist's reponse to the
Christopher Monckton article debunking
- "There is scarcely a line in Lord
Monckton's paper which is not wildly
Here is a spirited discussion of the
matter at Slashdot.
Babylon 5 franchise to continue with
Yellow asterisk: funny (maybe). White asterisk: expanded format.
Blue asterisk: not mine. No asterisk: it probably sucks.
Chikan Waisetsu Nozoki (1992)
Kazuhiro Sana and his girlfriend Kanako Kishi decide to steal a car and go
to visit her relatives at a country resort. The two are the epitome of
westernized Japanese youth. They visit a hot tub resort in the off season.
Kishi's sister and her husband live there with their son, who has never
matured past the day when he fell off the roof, where he now spends all of his
time waiving a carp banner. The brother-in-law is impotent, and has decided
that he is a water spirit, and speaks only in a made up language. His wife
devotedly has learned this language. Our two heroes decide to show Tokyo to
the carp boy, which proves to be a big mistake.
"Under the Carp Banner" is a Pinku, or Japanese Pink film made specifically for the porno
houses. It was written, directed by, and starred Kazuhiro Sano, one of four
prominent Pinku directors for Kokuei Company Ltd. These films were shot in
three days with a minuscule budget, and were made in two weeks. They were
typically around an hour long, and had a sex scene every ten minutes. Don't
confuse these with the Pinky Violence films, which were more elaborate
productions and part of the earlier "Roman Porn" movement.
A certain type of critic invariably finds some deep meaning in these,
and this was no exception. From the back of the case:
"Under the Carp Banner interweaves stories, comic, bizarre and tragic,
concerning the sexual alienation, violence and social disintegration, whose
relevance has never been greater than it is today."
I agree completely with the above statement -- in other words, I didn't
understand it either. Expert Jasper Sharp in his commentary cautions against
people who find deep meaning in these, pointing out that they are porn films,
not profound art films. He goes on to explain that this one does does have
many homages to Japanese literature and culture, and does compare modern,
urban, westernized Japanese youth to the more traditional people who live in
understood more of the literary allusions, and not been struggling with
subtitles, I might have liked it better. As it was, I admired some of the
visuals, but admit to being glad when it was over. Still, it gets credit for being the
first of the Pinku films to be released in the US. Now that this film is
enjoying a US DVD release, we may start seeing more of them.
The genre is obscure Japanese erotica, and this is a C-.
IMDb barely lists this one. It has no votes, no reviews and no comments.
The Hills Have Eyes
Notes and collages
The Celebrity Stripper series continues
Jennifer Tilly in Dancing at the Blue Iguana
....if anyone is wondering why she appears to be screaming: that is her
Her sister Meg is actually the better actress but Jennifer has the
bazooms in the family and as she is happy to show them off ... Hollywood
casts her in a lot more parts ...
Demi Moore in Striptease
...the sexiest scene is when she is dancing with a towel in her
apartment; she had a seriously buff caboose...
Dann reports on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde:
Modern day versions of the Robert Lewis Stevenson classic Dr. Jekyll
and Mr. Hyde have been done before, so if you're going to do another,
you sure better bring something new to the party. Unfortunately, the
producers of this 2005 version left everything at home.
A brilliant medical student decides to create a new illicit drug
derived from ecstasy, but better. It will enhance and change the
personality of the person taking it.
Well, it certainly does, and young Jekyll gets very addicted to his
new creation, but in his video diary, he does note one nasty little side
effect: it turns it's users into sex-crazed killers.
The cast earns an "E" for effort, but with nothing more to work with,
what we wind up with is a predictable and mediocre horror flick. It's
better than watching reruns, but only slightly.
Tyra Banks strips
down on her show.
Pat's comments in yellow...
Last night, former Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith was voted the winner
of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." With his nimble footwork and sunny
personality, he became a surprise phenomenon, inspiring screams from women and
show-watching parties nationwide. Pre-show online polls showed him leading the
more experienced Mario Lopez by 2 to 1. One judge summed up Smith's appeal by
saying he was "the everyday man who became a dancer" in ten weeks.
* In retrospect, the producers are very glad they picked him over William
Wednesday, Nevada's Democratic Sen. Harry Reid and Republican Sen. John Ensign
were both elected to party leadership posts. But Reid said they like each other
and wish other people had the same non-aggressive relationship the two
Westerners have, although "it's not a 'Brokeback Mountain' situation."
* Senators just screw us, not each other.
In Wichita, Kansas, a 23-year-old male with two younger accomplices allegedly
tried to kidnap a teenager at gunpoint, but it didn't go according to plan. The
ringleader had just stuck his gun back into his pants waistband when it went off
and shot him in the left testicle. He flinched sharply, which caused it to go
off again and shoot him in the left calf. He somehow managed to walk to a
hospital. Police arrested all three. They say the teen was targeted due to a
dispute over some stereo speakers.
* Some people would give their left nut for a good pair
of stereo speakers.