CINELATION | Movie Reviews by Christopher Beaubien
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Archive for June 2008

Woe, Originality, Woe!

by Christopher Beaubien • June 26, 2008 • 3 Comments


June 23, 2009: This article works best when regarded as a contingent whole from a distance rather than one meant for scrutinizing. By recognizing the existence and length of “Woe, Originality, Woe!”, the point is made as sharp as a slashing celluloid projector — fingers and palms are cautioned.

Have you recently felt waist-deep in the remakes that Hollywood is churning out at us? Those suits are approving them faster than a greasy teenager can wrap up and deliver an equally greasy feces-spotted burger. Now you have to understand, the execs are timid and frightened of green-lighting anything new and original. After all, anything untried could fail and cost them their job.

So far this year we’ve seen Peter Segal helmed Get Smart, The Eye, Shutter, Prom Night, One Missed Call, Funny Games, etc. With the exception of the Steve Carell flick, they all sucked, but that didn’t stop future Idiocracy members from making them profitable, which ensure more and more remakes…

Get ready to duck and cover because here they come!

TRAIN (2008) by Gideon Raff < Terror Train (1980) by Roger Spottiswoode.

The Echo (2008) by Yam Laranas < Sigaw (2004) by, you guessed it, Yam Laranas. It will be like George Sluizer remaking his chilling masterpiece Spoorloos (1988) into the Americanized (re: shitty) The Vanishing (1993).

The Valet (2008) by Bobby and Peter Farrelly < La Doublure (2006) by Francis Veber.

Star Blazers (2008) by producer Josh C. Kline < The Japanese anime series Star Blazers (1979). The upcoming movie will be live-action; just think Thunderbirds (2004) — question: did that hurt?


Obituary: George Carlin (1937-2008)

by Christopher Beaubien • June 23, 2008 • Start the Discussion!


Comedian. Teacher. Bullshit-detector.

The Irish-American who tried the FCC by delivering the Seven Dirty Words You Can’t Say on Radio or Television on broadcast radio is gone. At 71 years of age, George Carlin, one of the very best and radical stand-ups, died of a heart failure on Sunday the 22nd in Santa Monica, California.

“Seven Dirty Words You Can’t Say on Radio or Television”

Carlin was extremely influential. I am reminded of Lewis Black, one of his descendants who decreed that “there is no such thing as bad language” because we need those words to convey all the shit we go through. Through his comedy, Carlin channeled important issues like women’s rights, race, religion, and sports.


Viral Marketing on “The Dark Knight”: “Half!”

by Christopher Beaubien • June 22, 2008 • Start the Discussion!


Last time Commissioner Gordon called you up. Then District Attorney Harvey Dent sent you his Call to Action as part of his re-election campaign via e-mail. I admit it. Come election day, I voted for Dent online because I believed in him. I’m glad HE WON! – you can also watch Dent’s Assistant Rachael Dawes endorse her support for him.

Just days after the Gotham Election Board closed on June 12th, we get THIS.

I only believe in him partially now.

Say, does anyone else think this map of Gotham City looks like a face?

July 18th is just a month away.


by Christopher Beaubien • June 18, 2008 • Start the Discussion!


Nearly a month ago, the trailer for the next highly anticipated film David Fincher film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button debuted before the fourth Indiana Jones movie on May 23rd. Now Fincher and Paramount Pictures have officially launched the teaser trailer today. For contemporary movie marketing, this is as good as it gets.


My first viewing of the trailer on the big screen was kind of a transcendent experience. Maybe greater than the one for The Dark Knight coming July 18th. Hell, it’s on par with There Will Be Blood from last year.

THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) Trailer

THERE WILL BE BLOOD (2007) Trailer

The angelic and somber score accompanying the teaser of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button comes from Saint-Saens’ Carnival of the Animals – Aquarium sans the choir. It has been used in Terrance Malick’s Days of Heaven (1978) and a few Ren and Stimpy cartoons. Except for the odd line of dialogue that bookends the teaser, the music is dominant like a silent picture. It reminds me of the eerie, dialogue-free trailer for Dark City.

DARK CITY (1998) Trailer

Best of all, the David Fincher teaser doesn’t overstay its welcome clocking in at one minute and forty-six seconds. Too many trailers go to the trouble of cramming in every cool visual along with the final confrontation into two minutes and forty seconds. Over-eagerness does not suit a seducer.

button2The F. Scott Fitzgerald short story makes for a compelling hour’s read. It draws parallels to Daniel Keyes’ Flowers For Algernon. A baby is born wrinkled, decrepit and frighteningly able to talk candidly about the indignity of being given a milk bottle. As the time passes, Benjamin Button (nearly named Methuselah, referring to the son of Noah who reached the age of 969 years old) must contend with living a unique life of regressing to youth both psychically and mentally. He is always withheld from the conventional human experience, but strives for it anyways.

Within Fincher’s command after Zodiac (2007), his most successful feature, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button could become an instant classic. So long as Benjamin Button himself is a tragic character. It would be terrible if the filmmakers screwed it up with playing safe and happy with such a volatile and melancholy premise.

The film stars Brad Pitt (12 Monkeys, 1995), Cate Blanchett (The Talented Mr. Ripley, 1999), Tilda Swinton (Young Adam, 2003), Julia Ormond (The Baby of Macon, 1993), Elias Koteas (The Thin Red Line, 1998), Jason Flemyng (From Hell, 2001), and Taraji P. Henson (Hustle and Flow, 2005)

Christmas is looking very promising this year.

Flickering Thought: THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989)

by Christopher Beaubien • June 18, 2008 • Start the Discussion!

I was just mulling over the Ron Clements and John Musker film The Little Mermaid (1989) and this popped in my head: Since Ursula (voiced by Pat Caroll – Songcatcher, 2000) has duped so many mermaids and mermen, poor unfortunate souls, into breaking their contract in exchange for physical beauty or whatever and then having transformed them into hideous seaweeds held prisoner in her garden, wouldn’t anyone in the Kingdom realize a sudden depletion in mermaid population? Where are missing mermaid notices and search parties?

Some ruler King Tritan turned out to be; he’s doesn’t even give a damn about his subjects’ whereabouts! Must be too busy arranging for the few mermaids left to attend another musical starring his daughters and obsessing over Ariel, the youngest one. What a tool!