Friday, January 04, 2008

Groovy Movie Friday

Okay, maybe not groovy, but what else rhymes with movie? Exactly. So, we have a couple opening today, so let's take a look. As always, I have not seen these fine cinematic achievements, and I almost certainly never will. But if an uniformed public can choose a president, I see no reason not to talk about movies I'll never see.

One Missed Call
Japanese horror film remake, a tactic I am generally against as American studios usually glam the interesting originality right out, but the success of films like "The Grudge" and "The Ring" means Hollywood will keep churning these out like greasy imitation popcorn butter. Shannyn Sossamon stars and she was pretty spooky as the ghost in "Dirt" on F/X, so this could be okay except that we also get Edward Burns, whose smug mug has to rank at the top of most guys' list of actors they'd like to slap silly. The credit line he generated with "The Brothers McMullen" was overdrawn about a decade ago. Also featured is Azura Skye who was born named Azura Dawn Storozynski. I understand why she wanted a name change, but why not just go with Azura Dawn? Surely she can't hope to displace Ione Skye, femme fatale of the indy 90s. Also, Margaret Cho fulfills the "Asian in a Japanese remake" role required by the Japanese Ministry of Culture; just guessing here, but her character probably provides exposition, explaining to the ignorant Americans the ancient Eastern origins of whatever horror is terrorizing them. Or she plays a comedian. It's a tossup.

The Killing of John Lennon
So, we go from nasty suspense thriller to a character study of the man who shot to death one of the iconic figures of rock music and modern pop culture. Wow, I think I'll go rent "The House of Sand and Fog" to cheer myself up. Press materials from the official website for this movie insist that it is "entirely factual," which is a welcome change from the "based on a true story" explanation that allows filmmakers to propagandize to their bleeding hearts' content. Jonas Ball makes his feature film debut as Mark David Chapman; his previous credits are all in television, including voice work for the Japanese cartoon series translated by IMDB as "I My Me! Strawberry Eggs." Could be worse. He could have worked on a Japanese game show. I am surprised to say that I might actually want to see "The Killing of John Lennon," although I think I'd rather see "The Assassination of Richard Nixon" or, even better, "The Taking of Pelham One Two Three."

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