PCR past banners Now in our fifth calendar year
PCR #212  (Vol. 5, No. 16)  This edition is for the week of April 12--18, 2004.

"The Alamo"
 by Mike Smith
Cinematic Cover Tunes, Sequels, and "Inspired-by's": No End in Sight!
 by Andy Lalino
D-Rice, Ache-ins Diet, and Absolutely Nothing About “The Passion of Christ”
 by Vinnie Blesi
Four Movies in Three Days, the Screening Nazi, The Alamo, The Clone Wars, Scooby Doo 2, Jersey Girl, Hellboy, Dawn of the Dead
 by Brandon Jones
Midnite Terrors .... Hellboy .... Marvel Trading Cards
 by John Lewis
Bush--The Amazing Hypnotist....Happy Horror-Days
 by Matt Drinnenberg
It Was 25 Years Ago Today....Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid....Passing On....Meet The Beatles, Part 12
 by Mike Smith
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Four movies in three days, the screening Nazi, “The Alamo”, “Clone Wars”, and more...

“Jersey Girl”
Forget “snoochie boochies” and references to your “little brown eye”. This is a different Kevin Smith movie from a different Kevin Smith. Sensibility and emotions are the focus, not dick and fart jokes. Ben Affleck struggles with raising a daughter by himself (it’s no secret that J. Lo dies giving birth) leaving his fast paced career in ruins. Liv Tyler is great at the quirky video clerk, sex researcher and George Carlin turns in his best acting performance to date. So, what are your intentions? Go check it out. 3 stars.

“Scooby Doo 2: Monster’s Unleashed”
This is a mediocre effort to a mediocre movie. I’m a HUGE fan of Scoobert and the gang and this delivers the nostalgic references absent from the first “Doo.” Fred, Velma, Daphne, Shags and Scoob all have to deal with their own identity crisis while solving the mystery to unmask the baddie. It’s fun for kids and I got to see the 10,000 Volt Ghost, Niner 49er and the Tar Monster. 1 ½ stars, 2 ½ for the kids or Scooby fanatics. Sorry, no Don Knotts or Jonathan Winters cameos.

A CGI Slugfest overshadows a great performance by Ron Perlman. Performance? No, a transformation. He was awesome and the tale was pretty true to the “Seeds of Destruction” storyline from the Mike Mignola comic. Hellboy’s blue-collar attitude and humor is appealing, but this is a comic book flick lean on plot. 2 ½ stars.

“Dawn of the Dead”
Whew. There’s no reason to regurgitate to the previous comments, so let start with this:

I didn’t think the re-make did any injustice to the Romero classic, in fact, hopefully, the exposure will introduce the grease painted zombies to new fans of this generation. This was no “Planet of the Apes” that was mangled reflection of its predecessor.

“Hell is full and the dead walks the earth.” Classic Romero.

Okay, “DOTD” and “28 Days Later” have given zombies a huge makeover. But really, undead with chaotic movements and super speed are much more intimidating than their catatonic, stumbling grandparents. That brings the next point of debate: Nolan’s Stephen King versus David Cronenberg argument – supernatural vs. science. I disagree with the Black Dog and like the virus theory of “28 Days Later” – it fuels the conspiracy theories and the fears of an Ebola-type epidemic.

Lastly, I want to state how much I disagree with the sentiment that these efforts taint the classic horror movies that were the foundation of the genre. As unoriginal as the recent “Halloween” movies were, they generated a ton of interest in John Carpenter’s works. It’s an ongoing battle to motivate and instill the respect that the Godfathers of Horror deserve, but it’s not disrespectful. I don’t watch “House of 1,000 Corpses” and “Filthy” and criticize their homage to Carpenter – a fine line, yes.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. 2 ½ stars.

“The Alamo”
Historical movies are such a pet peeve of mine, because there’s no real good solution for the filmmaker. Reality is often boring and sometimes mundane; however, deviation from the facts results in criticisms. In this case, the mythology of Davy Crockett was so muddled that he was terribly conflicted.

I’ll paraphrase the best I can: “If it was just David from Tennessee, I’d just that wall and take my chances. But all these fellas are watching Davy Crockett.” Wow. Okay, actually pretty compelling.

The tyranny of Alamo was overlooked by our rudimentary history classes. The United States accepted Florida from Spain with the understanding of leaving Texas to Mexico. Of course, Texas was nesting ground for castoffs and miscreants of the States. Jim Bowie (yes the knife joke is prevalent) was a land swindler, William Travis was womanizer and a racist. But these were patriots!

So, in a time when the U.S. is accused of oppression and misusing its power, our history haunts us. Stealing the Alamo from Mexico and its somewhat psychotic dictator does bare parallels to the current situations overseas. The Alamo was key to the economy of the time, but it’s not about the oil – I mean, oh nevermind.

The movie was moved away from the heavy hitters of the Oscar push to find itself alone and abandoned. Bad timing will spell a poor box office for “The Alamo”. The brightest spot in the film is local talent Patrick Wilson as Travis. The growth and maturity of the character shine through as Travis earns the respect of “his” men.

I’m not a big fan of “history” movies and “The Alamo” is no “Private Ryan” – 2 stars.

So, finally I’m caught up on the latest films pending the insane Friday release of “Kill Bill Vol. 2” and “The Punisher” – on the same day?!?!?!

The advance screening that I was privy to nearly went horribly awry. An MGM sponsored event dictates different rules that the standard movie going experience – no trailers, get there early to get a seat and don’t try to save a seat for your late arriving friends. If you do, head the wrath of the “Screening Seat Nazi” who cannot hear you explain that they are in the lobby getting popcorn as she scorns you for not moving over to fill in the spaces. “There are to be no empty seats.” Yep, she’s on a power trip. I just screamed back: “No soup for you!” Someone in the back got it.

“Clone Wars”
The twenty five-minute chapters replayed on Saturday, interwoven with episodes of the popular “Teen Titans.” Animated warfare hardly leaves much to brag about. Most of the early episodes are lean on dialogue and just an animated version of the CGI battle scene from “ATOTC”.

Anakin has developed into an amazing pilot while continuing his defiance towards Obi-Wan. The cartoon portrays the dominant powers that the Jedi Knights possess much better than their live action counterparts. The elaborate skills of Kenobi, for instance, would be almost absurd. Mace Windu is quite the bad mother – single-handedly destroying a fleet of more robots than cornered the Jedi in Clones.

Speaking of the Clones, the Clonetroopers are superior to their Stormtrooper descendants, offering superior battle skills and organized into coordinated squadrons. The Clones are more like the soldiers from “Predator” than the dominos that filled the Death Star.

The Clone War extends across the galaxy and the short segments go by quickly offering little substance. Kit Fisto leads the battle on Kalamari and my son pointed out the really only interesting thing: “The lightsaber works in the water?” “I guess.” There you have it.

Yoda reveals more of his fighting techniques during a rescue mission and a female cyborg Sith instigates Anakin into another murderous rage.

To say the series is weak would be a compliment. While the fanboy and love of “Star Wars” kept me watching, this is little more than an animated version of the CGI battles scenes. Expect a DVD package just prior to the film next May. 1 ½ stars.

"Splash Page" is ©2004 by Brandon Jones.   Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.