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Archive for February, 2009

Funny People might live up to its name

I know, I know. We’re all getting slightly sick of the Apatow Gang and The Never-Ending Flow of Wackiness featuring Seth Rogen and that fat, ugly obnoxious kid who likes to swear. Forty Year Old Virgins Nick & Miri Make a Porno and Get Knocked Up. Let me guess — it’s going to be slightly raunchy, though ultimately sweet & redemptive.

But after watching the new trailer for Apatow’s latest, I’m inclined to give it a shot. It takes balls for a comedy starring Adam Sandler and Rogen to call itself Funny People, but what we’ve seen so far is promising. Take a look yourself: (Update: There are possible spoilers in the trailer, so don’t click if you want nothing revealed)

This looks like it might be Sandler’s most earnest role since the exquisite Punch-Drunk Love. And Leslie Mann is, as always, hot & hilarious. How is she not more famous? Equally hot Eric Bana as her husband lets the Aussie accent fly, and it looks like he’ll get a couple of great scenes as well.

So what do you think? Should we be excited for Funny People?



DVD Report – February 24th

Not a single one of the films new to DVD this week was seen by more than 100 Criticker users… so, it’s not exactly a week full of blockbusters. I’d hardly heard of any of these movies. But one, at least, was much loved by those few souls who saw it — Protege: a Hong Kong undercover cops & drugs flick starring Andy Lau. Besides that, though, it’s slim pickings!

Sex Drive74 Rankings – Average Tier 5.24
A horny teenager brings his friends along on a road trip from Chicago to Knoxville to lose his virginity with a girl he met online. Sex Drive @ Amazon

What Just Happened20 Rankings – Average Tier 4.85
Two weeks in the life of a fading Hollywood producer (De Niro) who’s having a rough time trying to get his new picture made. What Just Happened @ Amazon

Criticker Pick!Protégé10 Rankings – Average Tier 7.20
Special agent Nick (Daniel Wu) is deep undercover in the heart of Asia’s lucrative crime trade as he plays protégé to one of the key players in the game, “Banker” (Andy Lau). In the eight years he has been infiltrating the underworld industry, Nick has amassed enough evidence to indict Banker, but has been ordered to remain undercover and expose the identity of the man behind Banker in order to bring down the entire organisation… Protégé @ Amazon

Haunting of Molly Hartley, The8 Rankings – Average Tier 2.38
Molly Hartley (Bennett) looks to put her troubled past behind her with a fresh start at a new school, where she sparks with one of the most popular students (Crawford). But can her secrets stay buried, especially as she learns more about the horrific truth that awaits her once she turns 18? Haunting of Molly Hartley, The @ Amazon

Extreme Movie6 Rankings – Average Tier 1.50
A sketch comedy movie about the joys and embarrassments of teen sex. But mostly the embarrassments. Extreme Movie @ Amazon

Other New Releases This Week
Librarian: The Curse of the Judas Chalice, The
Take
Badland
Chris & Don. A Love Story

Neglected Gems: Love Streams

Considered by diehards to be John Cassavetes‘ final film*, Love Streams was released to acclaim, winning that year’s Golden Bear, and then quickly fell into obscurity. The film, a complex drama about a pair of siblings who have to rely on each other, wasn’t even available on DVD until 2003.

Gena Rowlands stars alongside Cassavetes as a recently divorced wild woman who’s behavior has estranged her from her family. Her performance is wonderful, and matched by that of Cassavetes as a hard-living author, who drinks, loves and smokes with reckless abandon.

“John Cassavetes’ final film, the all too rarely screened and still underappreciated Love Streams, is a movie that gets better with each viewing. Unavailable on DVD, Love Streams is at once a culmination of the director’s obsessions and his most atypical film. It’s a movie that gives up its mysteries slowly—flirting with theatricality, inserting dream sequences, concluding on a brazenly surreal enigma.” Dennis Lim, The Village Voice


Gena Rowlands, considering something weighty

Cassavetes knew he was dying when he was directing Love Streams, making the work — and particularly the closing scene — all the more poignant. The few users at Criticker who’ve seen this agree that it’s a classic… which is why it’s one of our Neglected Gems.

(*Mainstream flick Big Trouble was released later, but was just an attempt to secure financing)

Merchandise: Hannibal Hero – Kubrick Alien – Timmy Wacky Wobbler

Time for another blast of crazy movie merchandise! That Hannibal figure is going to haunt our dreams…

Giant Alien Kubrick

giant Kubrick Alien

What happens when you take a deadly extraterrestrial with chest-bursting parasitic offspring and acid for blood then turn it into a cute plastic figurine? Well you get these Giant Alien Kubricks of course. Made by toy master MediCom of Japan this 400% Kubrick stands almost 11" tall and features a lever to extend and retract it’s teeth. Use it to discipline your Lego minifigs.

More info: Giant Alien Kubrick

Star Trek TNG Plate Covers

star trek plate covers

You’ve landed on this page because you’re either a really big Star Trek fan, or you’re morbidly curious about what kind of nerd would want these items. I would like to speak, for a moment, to that first group. Ignore the haters, guys – they don’t understand Trek. They don’t get how cool it is to travel at Warp 9.975 through the Delta Quadrant, or snapping around a singularity at faster-than-light whipping you into the past, or applying two annular confinement beams slightly out of phase onto a Starfleet officer just as an atmospheric window closed causing a duplicate to materialize on the planet’s surface… The shows were epic, and those poor souls will just have to live in the sad technologically-vapid world they’ve created for themselves

More info: Star Trek TNG Plate Covers

Super Friends Batcave

batman-cave-play-set

The playset features a working draw bridge with spinning feature to make sure the bat cycle is always ready for action, elevator, and a jail with escape hatch. It has a shooting grappling hook, loading door that opens and closes, loading hook that raises and lowers, and a side door that can also be used with the bat cycle. This includes batman, robin, batcycle, console, satellite dish, antenna, two batarangs, bathook, and can be folded for easy play and storage.

More info: Super Friends Batcave

Talking Timmy Wacky Wobbler

talking wacky timmy

Take a trip down to South Park with these 6′ talking bobbleheads of characters from the long-running Comedy Central series! Cartman utters two phrases – ‘Sweet’ and ‘Screw you, guys!’ Butters says ‘Son of a biscuit,’ and his friend Timmy utters the immortal phrase, ‘Timmy!’

More info: Talking Timmy Wacky Wobbler

Silence of the Lambs Hannibal 7-Inch Action Figure

hannibal figure

He’d like to meet you for dinner. Are you free tonight? This grotesque version of Hannibal the cannibal arrives sculpted in his prison whites, nightstick in hand, and ready to strike. (Sorry, no flowers or wine this evening.) Complete with holding-cell base and jail bars, this makes for a gruesome recreation of Hannibal’s attack on the guards just before his escape in Silence of the Lambs. Figure stands 7-inches tall.

More info: Silence of the Lambs Hannibal 7-Inch Action Figure

The Golden Bear Goes to …

Germany’s most prestigious film festival, The Berlinale, has come to a close. The winner of the Golden Bear prize for best film was a small film from Peru, called “The Milk of Sorrow (La Teta Asustada)”.

The Milk of Sorrow is an unlikely winner — a slow-paced drama about the attempts of a daughter to bury her recently-deceased mother in her home village. The film is set against Peru’s violent 1980s; a decade in which the Shining Path was fully operational and guerrilla attempts to bring about a turn to communism were met with deadly force by an overzealous government.

The daughter suffers from an affliction known popularly as La Teta Asustada — an imaginary (?) illness which is passed through the breast milk of mothers who have been raped. Check out the (Spanish-only) trailer:

Did any of our Berlin-based users get a chance to see this film? Is the praise well-placed?

DVD Report – February 17th

A strong set of films new on DVD give you plenty of excuses this week to avoid the cold, and plop down in front of the TV. The most popular film at Criticker, Changeling, was also the most highly thought of. An on form Angelina Jolie meets Clint Eastwood with heart-wrenching results. Oscar Bait, but of a good sort! A surprise to me was how many Criticker users had seen Religulous — comedian Bill Maher’s take on contemporary religion. It had more rankings than box-office champ Quarantine!

(Oh yeah. High School Musical 3 is new this week, too. Try to care: I dare you)

Criticker Pick!
Changeling240 Rankings – Average Tier 7.03
A mother’s prayer for her kidnapped son to return home is answered, though it doesn’t take long for her to suspect the boy who comes back is not hers. Changeling @ Amazon

Body of Lies190 Rankings – Average Tier 5.58
A former journalist injured in the Iraq war is hired by the CIA to track down an Al Qaeda leader in Jordan. Based on the novel “Body of Lies” by David Ignatius Body of Lies @ Amazon

Religulous126 Rankings – Average Tier 6.03
Bill Maher’s take on the current state of world religion. Religulous @ Amazon

How to Lose Friends & Alienate People120 Rankings – Average Tier 4.08
A British writer struggles to fit in at a high-profile magazine in New York. Based on Toby Young’s memoir “How to Lose Friends & Alienate People”. How to Lose Friends & Alienate People @ Amazon

Choke93 Rankings – Average Tier 5.00
A sex-addicted con-man pays for his mother’s hospital bills by playing on the sympathies of those who rescue him from choking to death. Choke @ Amazon

Other New Releases This Week
The Midnight Meat Train
Quarantine
High School Musical 3: Senior Year
I Served the King of England
Flash of Genius
Alien Raiders
Hounddog
Palo Alto
Islander

New Widget: Your Collections

 
Criticker now makes it easy to share your public or private collections on your webpage or blog, with a handy new widget.

This is available from our resources page, and allows you to choose up to 5 collections to share with the world. It’s similar in look and function to the Recently Ranked Films widget.

The only things you need are an account at Criticker, and to have created one or two collections. Hope you enjoy this widget. If there are other widgets you’d like to see, by all means, let us know!