Sherlock Gnomes

 

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Shhhhh, no one tell my kids that I watched this without them.

Will someone PLEASE explain to me what the concept behind this film is? I mean, I understand that the yard statues come to life and have little adventures and shit…but WHAT is Sherlock Gnomes? He doesn’t appear to be yard art, so is he an action figure? A leprechaun or something? I don’t understand why he is tasked with keeping track of London’s gnome population. I mean, I guess he is a gnome, too? But why?

I also don’t understand why Johnny Depp was cast as Sherlock Gnomes. Why do children need to be subjected to his lame fake British accent, when they could’ve just hired a British actor?

And what was the point of Mary J. Blige? Why?

The only part that truly made me smile was the scene in the Chinese knick knack shop, because I have most of the tchotchkes depicted there.

This was not a very good film, utterly lacking the heart of the original. The message was supposed to be about taking people for granted, but the message was too ham-handed for a child to really understand.

Tusk

This movie is so fucking weird and fucked up. Of course, it’s a horror movie….but it’s also a comedy…and it’s also a mindfuck. Tusk is like a new genre of movie – Mindfuck Fu.

The first Mindfuck is not so much the subject matter – it’s fucked up to be sure, but the real mindfuck is that it’s not sexual. Of course, we wanted the motivation to be sexual – but nope. The motivation was guilt.

The second Mindfuck is Justin Long’s mustache. That mustache is just appallingly gross. Even more than the fact that his character is an asshole, that mustache made me lose all sympathy for his character. He totally deserved what he got…because of that mustache. Even his ring tone was assholish – guess what my ring tone is right now…ANOTHER MARGARITA!

Johnny Depp…still fuckable, even with that nose.

And then there’s Michael Parks…if you thought he was scary in Red State , you will piss yourself in terror after watchiableng Tusk. He’s not so terrifying in real life…I was able to meet him at Texas Frightmare Weekend a few years ago. At first I thought him to to be lld muddled as to where he was, then I realized he was just shitfaced.

I’m looking forward to Smith’s new film, Yoga Hosers – the next film in his Great White North Trilogy. It will be interesting to see if Harley Quinn and Lily-Rose have enough charisma to carry the whole movie and become big Hollywood stars.

21 Jump Street

All the little teen girls can have Zac Efron. Robert Pattison and Taylor Lautner do nothing for me either. Ryan Gosling…again, not interested. But when it comes to Channing Tatum, I do understand…there’s something about him that makes me want to rip his picture out of magazines and plaster them all over my cubicle.

It’s funny, because all I know of him before seeing him in 21 Jump Street is seeing him host SNL last season. I haven’t seen his dance movies or vacuous romantic movies. (Despite all my talk, I never did get around to seeing Magic Mike in the theater.) Channing Tatum has great comic timing…and abs.

Luckily, I wasn’t subjected to a lot of shirtless Jonah Hill. Blah, blah, blah, weight loss – he is still a goober. I might have appreciated his role more, if I had seen Superbad before 21 Jump Street, if only to have a basis of comparison. He was funny, but not nearly as funny as Channing Tatum.

Don’t get me wrong, this was a funny, funny movie. I watched it on the plane after The Avengers and I was laughing so loud that I annoyed my son and husband sitting behind me…and probably anyone else with 5 or 6 rows. (My son had his revenge during the return trip by laughing his ass off watching The Three Stooges remake while I was trying to sleep. Touche.)

Yes, there’s a Johnny Depp cameo, as well as several other original cast members. I will say no more, as the cameos are so awesome that it would spoil the movie. I will confirm that Richard Grieco does not make an appearance…because he kind of fucking sucks.

Some of you might say that the only reason that I liked this film is because someone gets their junk shot off – I’m not going to deny it, a severed penis improves ANY film – but, 21 Jump Street stands on its own merit. Even without the penile carnage, this is a film worth watching.

  

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Seriously? THIS is the best they could come up with?

A bunch of pirates racing to find the fountain of youth? If pirates wanted to live forever, wouldn’t they take better care of their eyes and teeth? To be fair, it does pick up right after the third one left off, but still…

Was anyone surprised that losing Orlando Bloom and Keira Knightley had no effect on the franchise whatsoever? No one ever gave a shit about their characters anyway, they were just filler. It was odd that the filmmakers didn’t even bother to allude to them, then again, their lives in between conjugal visits would be pretty boring…

I don’t particularly care for Penelope Cruz, mostly because she is not Salma Hayek…but also because she always looks like she is smelling a fart. Honey, that look is not sultry…it’s stinky.

I’ve got to mention the evil mermaids – they freaked my four year old’s shit OUT. She’s going through a mermaid phase right now, between her Mermaid Barbie and some movie with Dora saving mermaids that she’s watched no less than 300 times. She kept asking if those mermaids were mean. I wanted to tell her that they’re pissed off that they have to be in this stupid, shitty movie, but I restrained myself. Being a good parent is hard.

My husband thinks that this one was slightly better than the second and third ones, but I’m not so sure about that. The plot was only slightly less confusing, or maybe I was just not paying attention while playing Words with Friends on my phone. I’m sure I will pay just as little attention to the fifth one when it comes out…

Honestly, I’ll watch and somewhat enjoy pretty much ANY movie that has Johnny Depp in a cool costume. On Stranger Tides was at least less tortuous than The Astronaut’s Wife or The Ninth Gate.

   

Alice in Wonderland (2010)

Oh, Tim Burton, you’re like a tampon…when you do your job well, I love you…but when you fuck up, I hate you and I swear I’ll never trust you again….

Visually stunning as Alice in Wonderland was, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was watching twenty pounds of shit in a ten pound bag. Tim Burton can’t stop taking stories we all know and love and cramming them with so much backstory that you sit there, annoyed as hell, hardly able to enjoy the ride. I’ve complained about this beforeI’ve complained about this and not known what I was complaining aboutSometimes it doesn’t bother me at all. I just need to come to terms with the fact that the days of Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands are gone and Tim Burton is just going to keep on remaking old films and TV shows, thinking that he’s doing us a favor by adding in all the parts that he thinks were missing before. Imagine how inflamed I would be if I had even read any of Lewis Carroll’s books or even particularly liked the boring Disney version…

One more complaint…I CANNOT stand it when a film uses the “was it all a dream?” thing. Even if it is my most beloved film of all time. If I wanted that shit, I’d watch reruns of Dallas or Roseanne or Newhart.

Anne Hathaway looked like shit. Was she supposed to look like shit?

I could have done WITHOUT having to hear Avril Lavigne during the end credits. That song fucking sucks.

Okay, enough venting – I don’t have only bile and hate for Alice in Wonderland. How often do I get to see Crispin Glover and Johnny Depp in a film together? It’s been a decade and a half since Dead Man, people! Even longer since Gilbert Grape. I’ll pretty much tolerate anything with either of them in it…but BOTH at the same time? Elation!

True confessions time…I liked last year’s SyFy mini-series version (Alice) better. So, sue me – it’s heresy, blah, blah, blah….Alice’s steampunk world is what Tim Burton should have made. Either that, or gone totally Blade Runner. THAT would have gotten me excited….

Rango

Drugs. Watching Rango made me feel like I was on a large quantity of psychedelic drugs.

I’m not just saying that because Raoul Duke and the Great Red Shark made a cameo…although it helped. The whole film had a dark and trippy feel. It’s like the plot was a peyote fever dream left over after Burning Man. I can’t remember the last time I saw a “kid” movie that was so dark…The Last Unicorn maybe? It’s been a while since I’ve seen characters actually die in a “kid” movie. Even odder were the scenes in which Rango is suicidally depressed. Depression isn’t something you often see presented to kids, although I assume most kids just interpret it as being sad. I don’t actually mind my kids seeing dark films. In fact, I get kind of paranoid that they’ll end up kind of retarded if I keep letting them watch stuff like The Squeakquel and G-Force. It’s not that I’m worried about them watching stupid shit, because I watched stupid shit as a kid and it didn’t make me retarded – it’s that they watch so much lowest common denominator stupid shit. I really am concerned that all those happy fucking rodents will turn them into Mouthbreathers…or even worse, Teabaggers.

As I write this – in my air-conditioned fortress – Texas is experiencing its most severe drought in recorded history, so I can commiserate with Rango and the townspeople of Dirt. In fact, my yard would look like Dirt, if it wasn’t for the sprinkler system. Like Dirt, the mayor of my backyard is a turtle. Also like the townspeople of Dirt, we live in constant fear of snake attacks. (No Rattlesnakes yet, but plenty of Copperheads and Water Moccasins.) We have also been visited by an unkillable armadillo, a bald eagle and an unidentified pooping bandit. I guess the one thing we’re missing is a quixotic chameleon?

Rango does get overly friendly with a naked Barbie torso. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…Rango also does a bit of Ed Wood-esque cross dressing. No pirates, chocolate or barbering, though. I’ll have watch again to look for any references I may have missed.

Obviously, little ones aren’t going to get the references to Hunter S. Thompson or Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns or High Noon…come to think of it, I don’t know if my kids have ever even seen a western? I may need to rectify that soon…I remember being traumatized by The Searchers at about my son’s age…anyway, there’s a lot of stuff for adults to enjoy that will fly right over the kids’ heads. This is the kind of film that is so un-annoying that you actually buy it and hide the rest of the DVDs, just to get a break…but it’s not quite so good that you won’t get sick of it after 500 or so viewings.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

About halfway through, I found myself wondering if they would ever stop singing, craving a cigarette madly.

I’ve never been much into Broadway Musicals, even as a self-professed Drama Fag throughout High School and College. I can pinpoint my rapid loss of interest to exactly the moment that I wasn’t cast as Rizzo in my High School’s production of ‘Grease.’ My complete lack of singing ability was as much to blame as my Amazonian height, hence I was cast in the only non-singing role as the Principal, Mrs. Whatshername. I still watch Grease every time it’s on TV, but the more singing in a Musical, the quicker I get bored. The Wizard of Oz and Grease have about the right amount of music for me – less than 50%. Both Willy Wonka and Charlie & The Chocolate Factory are borderline. Pretty much all other musicals (except, of course, Poultrygeist) annoy the shit out of me. Hold on a sec, I actually have to take some brownies to a girl scout meeting.

…Now that I’m back, I’ve got to admit that the Sweeney Todd songs are catchy. ‘Mrs. Lovett’s Meat Pies’ has been stuck in my head all morning, intermingled with “Pretty Women.” Johnny Depp, probably the most versatile actor on the planet, did an admirable singing job. While obviously not a classically trained singer, he did a good job. Not good enough to warrant an attempt at a music career, but good. Good singing is not always a good thing. Every time that Johanna sang, I wanted to stick cigarette butts in my ears to drown out the noise. I know that’s how professional singing is supposed to sound, but it doesn’t mean I want to listen to it.

Notwithstanding all the singing, it seemed more like Tim Burton was adapting a comic book or graphic novel, rather than a Broadway Musical. My husband said it reminded him of Sin City. Sweeney Todd + comic book = an imaginary lightbulb going on over my head. As much as I would have liked to block this memory, it just jumped out of my memory holder. (Props to my four year old son for coming up with a much better phrase for ‘brain.’) I spent about five years sleeping underneath a massive Sweeney Todd comic book poster at my ex’s apartment. I hadn’t thought about that poster in over a decade, but I’m seeing it now, every single detail. How many times did I stare into the eyes of Michael Zulli’s artwork, bored to tears, waiting for the assault on my nether regions to be over? How many conversations did I have with Sweeney Todd while I was under the influence? How many times did I wish that Mr. Todd could tell me how many strange women (and men) had been through there when I wasn’t around? I digress…Neil Gaiman never actually finished the comic, but if he did, it would have been very, very close to Tim Burton’s vision.

Except for all the singing and the fact that the film accidentally reminded me of sex with my ex – say it with me, “Ew!” – I enjoyed the film. Johnny Depp is always fun to watch and I am one of the few people I know that can stand Helena Bonham Carter. (Maybe because I went through a phase where I dressed and acted like Marla Singer?) Sacha Baron Cohen’s manbulge makes an appearance, as it does in every film he does. Alan Rickman was also fun to watch as a dirty sex offender – I wonder if my best friend got turned on? She’s got a serious Snape fixation. I definitely recommend Sweeney Todd as a Musical for people annoyed by Musicals, such as myself.

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End

Three hours of my life that I will never get back. At least I broke it up into an hour apiece on three different days.

It’s like they decided what special effects they wanted to do and then pieced together a plot to string the special effects together. Compounding that, it’s been so long since I saw the second one, that I could barely remember what the hell was going on anyway. Every one kept double-crossing each other to the point that I couldn’t figure out what the fuck was going on. That’s the point I realized that it didn’t matter what each pirate’s personal motivations are – my job as the viewer is to sit there and look at the pretty pictures.

I had an uncomfortable “Don’t be THAT guy” moment last week. At a party, friend (Justin, late of the legendary 8 nevers was considering watching At World’s End, based on the appearance of Chow Yun-Fat. My response was, “Don’t bother, he dies.” Oh my God, I’m an asshole! In my defense, I was fairly drunk off my ass – but still no excuse for revealing plot points to the unwilling. I can’t feel too bad though, maybe I did him a favor if he never has to waste three hours of his life watching this dumb pirate movie. In any case, karma got me back yesterday. My cousin accidentally told me that it was a computer doing it in Eagle Eye. [EDITED TO SPOILORIZE – SORRY SCOTTICUS]

By the end of the film, every time Johnny Depp was on screen, my son would point at the screen and say, “Mommy, there’s my favorite pirate!” I guess I should be proud – I’d be worried about him if his favorite pirate was Orlando Bloom.

I finally realized why Keira Knightley is in these films – she looks like she has scurvy!

The good news is that it’s not any worse than the second one. The bad news is that it isn’t any better either. So I guess they’re making a 4th movie about the Fountain of Youth? Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.


Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest

This is a stinky movie, full of stinky pirates, stinky villains and a stinky plot to boot.

The first one wasn’t a bad film. Making a movie out of a Disneyland attraction was a novel concept back then…before Haunted Mansion and The Country Bears. Johnny Depp was still best known for his role as Edward Scissorhands and did not have an Oscar nomination, Orlando Bloom was typecast as an elf and no one cared how skinny Keira Knightley was. The success of the first film irrevocably mandated that not one, but two sequels be made simultaneously and as quickly as possible. Pirate mania struck the nation and Disney had to cash in on it…well fuck Disney right in their ass. This movie made me unhappy and angry. It’s not that I can’t follow a convoluted plot – I understood Lost Highway, dammit – but it was just convoluted for the sake of making the movie longer. I could have done without the whole Captain Jack is King of the Natives part. It was just an excuse to put silly makeup on Johnny Depp – it didn’t add anything but the same tired cannibal jokes that haven’t been funny since Bugs Bunny did them.

Halfway through film, Elizabeth forgets that she is in love with Will and starts getting all horny for Captain Jack. This was basically the point in the film where I said, “Fuck it, this is stupid.” Of course, I would pick Johnny Depp over Orlando Bloom any day of the week – but in terms of character development – it didn’t make sense at all. I understand that she only made out with him to save the rest of the crew – but honestly, that would have worked just fine without her doubting herself with the compass.

Why is Davey Jones a squid? In fact, I assumed that the undead monkey’s name WAS Davey Jones – because really, isn’t a monkey named Davey Jones funnier than a squid named Davey Jones?

Soooooo long and soooooo boring, this movie could not end quickly enough. I will watch the sequel only for Keith Richards’ performance – not because I think I will enjoy it.

 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I never saw Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory as a child. I was a 19 year old college student – and it definitely fucked with my head. (There’s a time and place for everything, children. It’s called college.) Consequently, I’m missing all those warm and fuzzy feelings that made so many die hard fans rabidly hate the new Tim Burton version.

I also never read the book as a child. I read it in college during a Roald Dahl kick associated with James and the Giant Peach and showing several Dahl flicks during the No Elvis Film Series (Willy Wonka and The Witches.) Again, Tim Burton isn’t trampling any warm and fuzzy memories – although he did take a shit all over my love for Planet of the Apes, which is another story entirely.

So first off – Johnny Depp always gets a pass from me…although he shouldn’t after the craptastical Ninth Gate. I stand by my assertion that he’s the most interesting actor of the last 20 years, but his portrayal of Willy Wonka isn’t very interesting. Sure, there was plenty of malevolence bubbling underneath the surface – but I just didn’t get excited by the character. Although lots of people have pointed out a resemblance between Depp’s characterization and Michael Jackson, I’m not quite buying it. White skin and a bad haircut do not a celebrity pedophile make. Basing his portrayal off of Wacko Jacko WOULD have been an interesting choice – and I think it would have made the movie more interesting, if not X rated.

I am torn by the Oompa Loompas. I liked the fractal-like computer repetitions of Deep Roy – very geometric and tidy…but there’s something so aesthetically pleasing about a couple of dwarves in green wigs and orange body paint. The heavy metal Oompa Loompas made up for the lack of green wigs…almost.

Veruca Salt was better in the 70s movie, but the rest of the kids were on par or better than their 70s counterparts. The parents were about on par with their 70s counterparts as well…except for Helena Bonham Carter. I could not stop staring at her fake teeth. But she gets bonus points for NOT SINGING. That horrid “Cheer Up, Charlie” song from the first movie is the SOUNDTRACK IN HELL. I mute the damn TV every time that song comes on.

The only thing that I absolutely did not understand about this movie was the need to add Willy Wonka’s backstory. Who gives a fuck about his “daddy issues”? I’m always ready for some Christopher Lee – but really? Was showing that Willy loves candy because his daddy was a mean dentist really necessary?