Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wolverine Reviewer Attacked by Scientologists?

Roger Friedman Files $5.2 Million Lawsuit Against Fox News

You might not remember Roger Friedman by name. He's the jackass that was fired for reviewing a downloaded workprint of the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine that had made the news a week or two before the film premiered in theaters. Apparently, he didn't

X-Men Origins: Wolverine_ teaser posterImage by marthouli via Flickr

think that his employer's parent company, 2oth Century Fox, would have a problem with one of their journalists legitimizing online pirating of their blockbuster theatrical releases by watching and reviewing one.

Well, Roger's got a surprise for them. He's suing them to the tune of $5.2 Million dollars, nearly enough money for him to produce his own version of The Room. That's a big chunk of change for a film reviewer to demand for a Wrongful Termination suit. There must be an angle.

The angle, of course, is that Friedman decided that he hadn't quite pissed off enough Hollywood elites yet. So, he's upped the ante by claiming that he wasn't let go because of his poor decision-making skills, but because of the Church of Scientology. It seems that Roger has written some articles in the past that are a tad critical of the L. Ron Hubbard founded religion. His lawsuit states that Scientologists and those sympathetic to the cause within News Corp weren't happy with him, and were just looking for an excuse to get rid of him.

Roger Friedman might not care who he pisses off, but he might want to tread lightly when throwing around accusations that include the Church of Scientology, one of the most litigious religious groups in existence that has been known to sue news organizations for defamation at the drop of a hat. His new employers over at the Hollywood Reporter must be thrilled.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Oscars Eliminate Presentations and Awards in order to "Broaden Options"

I'm sure we weren't the first ones to do it, and we certainly weren't the only ones, but the minute the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announce the doubling of the Best Picture

Silhouette of the Oscar award statueImage via Wikipedia

category, we quickly predicted that other awards and presentations would soon be cut to make room for all of those Best Pictures in the televised award ceremony.

Well, the news came out today, and we heartily say "I told you so!"

The Academy announced that the rules would be changed involving the selection of Best Song so that, if the board decides that there aren't any exceptional songs that year, the category can actually be dropped. This means that if only two or three really great songs are released in films in a given year, the board can arbitrarily decide not to honor any of them. How much do you want to bet that the first Ten Best Pictures ceremony sees the first inaction of this rule. Any takers?

The other big announcement, and even a bigger blow, is that the 'testimonial' awards won't be performed live during the ceremony, but instead be awarded during an non-televised black tie event prior to the main event. Among these are the Honorary Oscars for Career Excellence, also known as the We-Screwed-Up awards that they always end up giving to exceptional actors and directors who aren't recognized for their brilliance until they are either dead or retired. This half-assed way of apologizing for ignoring major talent until after the fact has always been a bit suspect, but now that they aren't even including it in the big show, its even more of an insult as well.

More cheesiness from the Academy as it occurs...

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Weekend Box Office Estimates 6/26 - 6/28

1 Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen P/DW $112,000,000
2 The Proposal BV $18,466,000
3 The Hangover WB $17,215,000
4 Up BV $13,046,000
5 My Sister's Keeper WB $12,030,000
6 Year One Sony $5,800,000
7 The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 Sony $5,400,000
8 Star Trek Par. $3,606,000
9 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Fox $3,500,000
10 Away We Go Focus $1,678,000
11 Land of the Lost Uni. $1,143,000
12 Terminator Salvation WB $1,085,000

Let it also be known that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen made $201 million in its 5 day tally. This is only second to The Dark Knight, which made $204 million in the same 5 day span.

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Oscars DOUBLING Number Of Best-Picture Nominees To 10

Oscars DOUBLING Number Of Best-Picture Nominees To 10

The image of the Academy Award Oscar presented...Image via Wikipedia

I swear, the left side of my body went numb when I saw this.

What is the rational behind this? The Oscars' televised award show wasn't long enough? Did somebody decide to make sure that no one on the East Coast would get to bed until three in the morning on Oscar night?

The big excuse behind this decision appears to be that by broadening the Nominee list to ten, the Acadamy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be able to ensure that more great works of cinematic artistry will get the exposure they deserve. This, of course, is a big steaming pile of crap.

The Academy has never had a problem with fitting in films for acknowledgment. Their problem has always been their inability to select really great films for what has become perceived as an honor, an Oscar Nomination. Too many good movies for just five Best Picture nominations? Some of the recent winners haven't even been Oscar worthy. Gladiator wins best picture? Titanic sweeps, SWEEPS the Oscars? You can like these films, but you really can't defend the praise that was senselessly heaped upon them as supposed works of genius.

Now for the real reason why this idea has been shot through: Studio Advertising. Five more Best

This is an image of an Academy Award (Image via Wikipedia

Picture nominations a year means five more big-budget Hollywood investments that the studios can slap a "Oscar Nominee" label on, guaranteeing them extended box office runs and higher DVD sales. Anybody who doesn't think that the Oscars are nothing more than an annual advertising drive for the film industry probably thought Gladiator truly was the Best Picture that year. And don't give me the Slumdog Millionaire argument, either. They do that once every for or five years so they have proof that they aren't in the pockets of the major production companies.

So, who is going to lose out to this Best Picture expansion? The little guys. Oh, they'll still get nominations, but whoever produces the Oscars this year is going to have to trim some award presentations down if the want to keep the whole dog and pony show under seventeen hours. They sure as hell aren't going to trim the extravagant dance numbers and musical presentations. Where else are these big name performers going to display their talents? Besides their own movies, Broadway shows and music videos, of course.

Nope, there will be cuts, and they will effect people who might never get a chance to experience this kind of limelight again. Best Short Foreign Film? Best Wardrobe Design? Maybe they'll just
combine Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay. Hell, they could probably do away with the Screenplay category altogether. Or just lose Editing. So many of those Oscar presentations just give appreciation and respect to the people behind the scenes, the professional craftsmen without whom the films would never get finished.

I think that's my real problem with this decision. The Academy isn't doubling the nominations for all of the categories, just Best Picture. Their excuse is that there are just too many good films out there. The implication is that they need more space to show their regard fro the films, but not for the people behind the scenes that lay the foundation and framework for the films. Of course, I shouldn't blame them for this myopic view; they're just looking at the Big Picture. Too bad the Big Picture seems to be less and less about the people who make it.

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bad Movie Showcase: Troll 2

Troll 2 is a foul little gem that succeeds in the impossible task of making the first Troll film look like a great film. Apparently the need to confront all of those nagging questions left unanswered in the first Troll film was great enough that someone passed the hat around and raised enough money to cover craft service and a week's rental on the camera.

Troll (film)Image via Wikipedia

Shot with a film crew that only spoke Italian, and directed by a tyrannical screenwriter who forced his actors to perform all dialogue exactly as written, Troll 2 is probably worse than it would have been if it had not been subjected to such a chaotic yet rigid production. Then again, the script is pretty rancid on its own, so maybe that is just wishful thinking.

The tagline for the movie is "One Was Not Enough!" Sadly, it really was. It might not have been an exceptionally good movie, but it had Sonny Bono. So, you know, it had that going for it. Troll 2 doesn't have Sonny Bono going for it. Troll 2 is the type of film that wishes it has Sonny Bono, which is a sad state of affairs indeed.

Troll 2 isn't just a bad movie. It is a bad movie that must be experienced in order to be fully understood. Luckily, the fine people at Hulu have made it available for free public consumption. Because they truly know what the public wants.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Stoning Jack Black

NEW YORK - JUNE 15:  Actors Michael Cera and J...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

With the weekend estimates in, I think it should be noted that Year One, with a budget of $60 Million, only managed a $20 Million opening weekend, while The Hangover has already managed to rack up over four times its $35 Million budget in only three weeks.

Is this a testament to good comedies winning over bad comedies? Hardly. Just look at how much Paul Blart: Mall Cop raked in. Big money at the box office does not immediately equal quality of content. Just look at the overwhelming success of Titanic. I rest my case.

What this hopefully signals, however, is the eventual decline of Jack Black's career. Ever since his lukewarm appearance in High Fidelity somehow garnered him endless praise from moviegoers and critics alike (all of whom were probably just reacting to watching John Cusack play such an unlikeable character), Black has been spreading across the big screen like a bad case of flesh eating virus. Not only scoring leading rolls in countless mediocre comedies, but even earning big paychecks in overly hyped near misses like Peter Jackson's King Kong remake (may they both burn for that one) and Tropic Thunder (which owes nearly every laugh to Robert Downey). To make matters worse, he has used this unreasonable fame to push his half-assed and still fairly obscure parody band Tenacious D, which is sort of a rock and roll version of Spinal Tap, minus the humor.

Could this be the beginning of the end? The public does seem to be making a shift away from these overpaid comedians coasting their way through one feature film after another. Just

Jack Black in Image via Wikipedia

recently, the much more talented yet increasingly annoying Will Ferrell just saw a dismal opening weekend for the highly anticipated Land of the Lost film, after a dozen or so hits featuring his patented "obnoxious dumb guy" routine. Maybe audiences are finally getting fed up of seeing the same four or five goofy faces telling the same jokes over and over again.

Of course, it could simply be the subject matter. After all, Ben Stiller still managed to make back the $150 Million budget of the Night at the Museum sequel with his tiring sad sack routine. But I shall still cross my fingers and hope that this signals the eventual decline and ruination of the Jack Black gravy train. Although, to be perfectly honest, I fear that the upcoming Kung Fu Panda sequel shall crush my dreams beneath its untalented furry paw.

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Weekend Box Office Estimates 6/19 - 6/21

1 The Proposal BV $34,114,000
2 The Hangover WB $26,855,000
3 Up BV $21,336,000
4 Year One Sony $20,200,000
5 The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 Sony $11,300,000
6 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Fox $7,300,000
7 Star Trek Par. $4,700,000
8 Land of the Lost Uni. $3,976,000
9 Imagine That Par. $3,100,000
10 Terminator Salvation WB $3,070,000

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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Deep Throat: The FBI and the Porn Crusade

Deep Throat (film)Image via Wikipedia

That's right, people. There's nothing to worry about when your country's powerful investigative branch is devoting all of its resources and manpower to keeping American citizens from seeing blowjobs.

Deep Throat: FBI Tried To Stop Film

Just recently, the Associated Press was given nearly five hundred pages of redacted FBI files documenting the bureau's frantic attempt to put a stop to the moral decay threatening to rot the foundation right out from underneath this great nation. Of course, that argument seems a little paranoid when it is a reference to Communism, or the "Red Scare." It sounds even sillier when its about skin flicks.

No stone was left unturned by this mighty organization. Interviews (Linda Lovelace's interview appears to be redacted in its entirety), background checks, and even several synopses of the film as reported by agents who were apparently sent to watch the film and report on its contents. I'm guessing that several viewings were necessary in order to get all of the facts straight. One document even suggests that director Gerard Damiano might have been eligible for immunity from prosecution, which begs the question of what exactly he was willing to offer them in exchange. You would think mob intel would be the obvious choice, but there seems to be no mentions among any of the documents of the Mafia, or even investigations into possible links between the Mafia and the film. Which is odd, if you consider that Mafia ties were always near the top of the list with Deep Throat opponents.

Maybe somewhere in these reams of documents there is an explanation as to exactly why the FBI was so afraid of New York City grindhouses showing such felonious features of fictional fellatio fiends to friendly film fans. Maybe it was the final attempt of a government still predominantly run by aging white men who were considered ultra-conservative even back in the 1950's, before the freak flags started battling it out with Old Glory.

:en:Harry Reems, Pornoactor from the movie Dee...Image via Wikipedia

Of course, why the FBI got so interested in Deep Throat isn't really the issue. The issue is that the government, throughout the history of cinema, has always recognized the power of the flickering image, and has always sought to control it or suppress it in one form or another. Whether it is open and flagrant like the Hayes Code and Red Scare Blacklistings, or more covert and manipulative like this present example, the government has always wanted in on the action, one way or another.

A lot of the reports on these documents find amusement in remarking on how odd and obsolete an investigation such as this looks from the distance of decades. What almost none of them are going to ask is, if this was the kind of thing that secretive branches of the United States government were willing to persue, can you imagine what they must be up to now?

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend Box Office Estimates 6/12 - 6/14

1 The Hangover WB $33,415,000
2 Up BV $30,515,000
3 The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 Sony $25,000,000
4 Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian Fox $9,600,000
5 Land of the Lost Uni. $9,153,000
6 Imagine That Par. $5,700,000
7 Star Trek Par. $5,600,000
8 Terminator Salvation WB $4,695,000
9 Angels & Demons Sony $4,200,000
10 Drag Me to Hell Uni. $3,864,000

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Official: David Carradine NOT a Suicide!

framelessImage via Wikipedia

I hate to come right out and say "I told you so," but no one in the offices of This Movie Sucks! were ever convinced that David Carradine had committed suicide. We implied as much in our initial post reporting the actor's death.

Granted, when we first heard simply that he was found hanged, it was just a gut reaction. It would be like hearing that James Woods was caught taking ballet lessons. Some things are just too inconceivable to comprehend. The contradictory reports coming from Singapore, with police saying 'suicide' and managers saying 'natural causes', it was obvious that something weird was going on. Then, the phrase "found hanging in closet" hit the news cycle, and our minds were made up. No of David Carradine's stature hangs himself in a hotel room closet. That's just plain nonsense.

Well, the official word is out, and forensics expert Dr. Michael Baden has declared that, unless contradictory evidence is supplied with materials requested from Singapore, David Carradine's death was in no way a suicide.

So, now that the cat is out of the bag, I think there is an important question that must be asked here and now.

Exactly where was Chuck Norris at the time of David Carradine's death?

Granted, it is just speculation that Mr. Norris was responsible for the mysterious death of Bruce Lee, and there is no real evidence to connect him to the accidental death of Lee's son, Brandon. But now that yet another Martial Arts practicing actor with ties to Chuck Norris has met with a sudden and unexplained demise, I think it is time that we start keeping an eye on old Chuck.

We'll keep you posted as the evidence unfolds.

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Taking Bad Movies on the road - The Guerrilla Drive-in!

A poster advertising a double feature of Die M...Image via Wikipedia

I stumbled upon this the other day, and this could quite possible change the face of Bad Movie Night for us cinema trash freaks over here at This Movie Sucks! Just imagine pulling into any parking lot with a big blank wall and firing up Treasure of the Four Crowns for anyone who cars to pull over and watch. I get a tear in my eye just thinking about it.

Just imagine your typically urban highway, cutting through a sea of strip malls and mega-stores. Cars passing on the way to or from somwhere else, dusk settling over the landscape. Suddenly, one of the car's passengers notices something flashing across the side wall of a vacant Circuit City. The driver slows down long enough to recognize an old Italian zombie film being projected against the building's dingy white wall. Curious, the car pulls into the lot, where half a dozen people are enjoying the show. The newly arrived audience members are instructed on which channel to tune their radio into, and they settle in for the rest of the first half of that night's double feature, Demons 2 and Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things.

You see? Bad movies may rot the brain and bruise the soul, but they can still bring people together. I'm sorry, I have to stop. If I keep going, I'm going to start crying again...

Start a Guerrilla Drive-in (aka MobMov) - More DIY How To Projects

The set-up seems fairly simple, with the only major cost being that of a decent projector. We'll keep you guys posted, but I am already looking into the possibility of converting my 2000 VW Jetta into a traveling Bad Movie Drive-In. Maybe we can even get the Phillipsburg/Easton area on the MobMov region map.

As a wise philosopher might have said if plied with enough cheap liqueur, "If we can't bring the people to the bad movies, than we shall bring the bad movies to the people!"

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Friday, June 5, 2009

Remembering David Carradine - The Warrior And The Sorceress 1984

When I was a kid, I was a video junkie. I would always go to my local video store, called Palmer Video, in my then hometown of Belleville, NJ. This store was a bad movie fan's dream! They had everything. Even though Palmer Video was a commercial chain, it was still a mom-and-pop-shop operation, in every sense of the term. I guess everything was like that back then. They had one wall dedicated to just all new releases, and only one copy was ever available for everything, always. The first time I ever heard the word "reservation" was at a video store. I remember waiting days (and often weeks) to get my hands on a movie we had on "reserve."

They also had what I still consider, even to this day, one of the BEST horror sections ever. It was blocked off so the little kiddies wouldn't have nightmares from looking at the wonderfully grousome boxes. I would always wander in there before I went anywhere else. I still vividly remember browsing over titles like Make Them Die Slowly, Eaten Alive and Cannibal Holocaust in these HUGE porno sized VHS boxes. The boxes would proudly scream warnings like "RATED X FOR GRAPHIC VIOLENCE," and "BANNED IN 31 Countries!!!" They also had saloon doors sectioning off the ADULT area that you could easily see around, especially if you were an 8 year old boy just hoping to get a glimpse of "the good stuff". I even remember the animatronic props they would display for films, such as a cleaver chopped down on the wrist of a hand while the fingers were still moving for Motel Hell. Surely we could never display something like that today, "Mothers Against" groups would never allow it.

This brings me to this little Italian film called The Warrior and the Sorceress. One day I walked into my local Palmer Video only to see this HUGE stand up cardboard cutout of the picture you see above. I HAD TO SEE THIS MOVIE! Look how cool that poster is! I grew up in the 80's, when wizards and warriors ruled the bad movie scene. They pumped out these types of flicks like Octomom pumps out kids. This movie had it all; overdubbed acting, sorceress enhanced swords that can slice through stone, and even a four-breasted dancer! Beat that Total Recall! (and 6 years earlier i might add.)

To this day, I still own this movie on VHS. I don't even own a VCR anymore, but I still own this movie. Every once in a while I get nostalgic and want to watch it, but then I sulk as I remember that I can't. It did receive the DVD treatment in 2002, but I missed the boat, and it is now discontinued. As much as I loved this film when I was a kid, I refuse to pay for a bootleg VHS to DVD copy, or buy the DVD from some schmuck who thinks his copy is worth $44 before shipping at Amazon.

I will, however, keep an eye out for it. On this note, I leave you with a few snippets of what is one of my earliest and fondest memories of David Carradine, 1984's The Warrior and The Sorceress! Enjoy these small but cool moments as I have over the years. Unfortunately, I could only find one English speaking clip, but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying Carradine's performance.

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

David Carradine Dead In Bangkok: Found Hanged, Claims Report

David Carradine as Caine in the original Kung FuImage via Wikipedia
Some sad news reaching us from Bangkok, the sudden and as of yet unexplained death of film star David Carradine

David Carradine Dead In Bangkok: Found Hanged, Claims Report

Reports are still coming in mixed: original reports have him found hanging in his hotel room by a maid Thursday morning after not showing up for dinner with his fellow actors the night before. Official spokespersons for Carradine, however, have gone on record originally as believing it was natural causes, and later holding back any details out of respect for the family. Of course, this kind of behavior is perfectly understandable for friends and associates of Carradine, who no doubt would like to avoid a media circus surrounded the tragic death of such an esteemed colleague.

David Carridine is a personal favorite of the crew here at TMS!, and we will no doubt post an update this weekend, along with a look at our movie rememberances of an iconic actor and screen legend.

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