This is your home for Movie Reviews, Television Reviews and Film Criticism — all with a Twist.
Friday, June 30, 2006
The staff at Needtovent.com is surprised that CARS has received mixed reviews from many of the nation's top cinematic critics. Seems to us that most of these Typo Marxists don't have a clue as to who put the "pun" in pundit. Here are just two examples:
"The makers of DOC HOLLYWOOD called. They want their movie back." Christy Lemire, Associated Press
"Is there a script mechanic in the pits? I've heard of funny cars, but CARS just isn't funny." Thomas Delapa, Boulder Weekly
O.K. -- I did stretch it a bit to quote Boulder Weekly. This Colorado rag certainly doesn't possess any more right to exist than the ubiquitous bikey boys in Spandex who populate that part of the Rocky Mountain West. But I digress...
Approximately 60% of all reviewers have praised CARS and the creative team behind this spectacular animated offering. Terry Larson of the Detroit Free Press wrote, "It's characters may be made of steel, but this movie is made of sturdier stuff: heart and art." And John Venable of Supercala.com agrees: "Pixar is the Ferrari of animation studios...another winner!"
So which is it? To paraphrase two famous films --
Is CARS what Strother Martin declared in COOL HAND LUKE: "What we have here is...failure to carburate."
Or does Bette Davis best describe CARS with her memorable line in ALL ABOUT EVE: "Fasten your seat belts, its going to be a Humpy Wheeler night!" (This is for the NASCAR fans out there in cyberspace. Yes, one can log on to the internet at most trailer parks these days...)
The answer is undeniable; we side with Ms. Davis. CARS is as good as a panoply of Panhards.
Boogity! Boogity! Boggity!
Monday, June 12, 2006
Pictured above is ex-Formula 1 race car driver David Purley. On July 13, 1977, David experienced a horrific crash at the Silverstone Raceway while on a practice run in preparation for the English Grand Prix. Veering off track his race car went from 108 mph to zero in an astonishing 22 inches.
Listed in the Guinness Book of World's Records -- David Purley survived an unbelievable g-force of 179.8. He sustained 29 fractures, three dislocations and six heart stoppages, yet he ultimately made a full recovery.
One hundred eight miles per hour to a dead stop (figuratively) in a total distance of only twenty-two inches...
Experiencing one hundred seventy-nine point eight times his body weight...
Without benefit of a HANS Device or a SAFER Barrier...
Impossible -- and yet it is true.
David's "luck" (for lack of a better word) came to an end in 1985 when he crashed his Pitts Special aerobatic biplane into the sea off Bognor Regis, West Sussex, England. Bognor Regis, by the way, was accorded 28th place in THE IDLER Magazine's "Crap Towns" list of UK municipalities.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
TOY STORY 2
Earlier today history was made when the Needtovent Headquarters received a disturbing dispatch from Tulsa, Oklahoma. We admit that anything to do with Tulsa is automatically disturbing, but this communication went way beyond the norm. In fact, it was so shocking, so scathing, so salacious that Ann Coulter wishes she had sent it. We will keep the identity of the sender secret for fear of Pixar Police retaliation, especially since three cots at Camp Gitmo became available yesterday thanks to a trio of hanging chad jihadists.
You might ask: What could be even more upsetting than another POSEIDON remake?
Not much, except maybe this: "Last night I watched TOY STORY 2 on ABC. It's Winnie the Pooh taken too far. Anything that makes you feel so guilty about a toy really sucks."
To pooh-pooh TOY STORY 2 is beyond comprehension. Almost. After all, what in the name of Toya Ulrich is going on here?
This got us to thinking -- does anyone else share the same opinion?
In trying to find a negative review of TOY STORY 2 we had to dig deeper than a Bulverde soccer mom's belly button. Alas, one reviewer out of the thirty-six we checked agreed with our Tulsa Troubadour -- the ever surprising Mr. Cranky. Here's what Mr. Cranky wrote. We couldn't have said it better...
"I'm sure that you are familiar with the confusing practice of translating the title of American movies into Japanese. For example, TERMINATOR 2 becomes MAN WHO SHOOT BIG GUN and FIGHT CLUB becomes BOYS WHO DO NOT WASH. This is how I felt watching TOY STORY 2 -- as if the movie I was sitting through had two entirely different meanings to two entirely different segments of the population.
For instance, about an hour into the film, after Woody (Tom Hanks) is taken by an evil toy store owner (Wayne Knight), he finds out that he was once part of a television show with Jessie (Joan Cusack), Prospector (Kelsey Grammer) and Bullseye the Horse. Woody wants to leave and return to his owner and somewhere during his explanation Jessie reminisces about how she once had an owner and breaks into a song about it.
If you're a kid, the title of this segment is "Jessie Breaks Into A Song About Loneliness." If you're an adult, the title of this segment is "Randy Newman And Filmmakers Conspire To Win An Oscar For Best Original Song." The only way it could have been more obvious would have been if an academy ballot shot out of my chair after it was all over.
Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) and the gang attempt to rescue Woody and naturally end up in a toy store. The kids see "Toys In A Toy Store," I see "Capitalism Enema." I mean, why not just sell the damn dolls at the theater? Given how much people are willing to pay for popcorn, Disney could easily suck the weekly paycheck out of most poor losers just so their kid has the latest thing. One has to wonder whether the reality of millions of kids clamoring for a Woody isn't some sinister conspiracy between Disney and the porn industry."
Thank you, Mr. Cranky. And thank you, Tulsa, for giving us something to ponder beyond Oral's Opulent Oratorium.
Wednesday, June 7, 2006
Just about the time you think you've seen it all along comes a movie that redefines everything.
RESERVOIR DOGS, THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, NATURAL BORN KILLERS, THE LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, STRAW DOGS, PULP FICTION -- none of these films compare to the astonishingly disturbing FUNNY GAMES, the 1997 Austrian film written and directed by Michael Haneke.
There are lots of descriptive words that leap to the forefront: harrowing, distressing, uncomfortable, chilling, compelling, unbearable and gut-wrenching are just a few.
The acting is outstanding, especially Susanne Lothar as the mother of a family terrorized by two sadistic but-ever-so-polite young killers. And Haneke knows how to clinically ratchet up the inexorable tension while, at the same time, irritating the viewer beyond what I thought possible from a screening experience. Yes, I said irritating -- in the same vein as Ms. Fundis streaking chalk across the blackboard in seventh grade -- where every nerve ending imaginable is zapped to the fullest extent.
FUNNY GAMES is also infuriating because Haneke tries something incredibly stupid at the 90-minute mark. Some ersatz film critics have applauded the director for his decision to break the fourth wall -- as if this hasn't been done before. One example is MR. SARDONICUS from beloved schlockmeister William Castle. For Mr. Castle it was a gimmick that worked, at least to a degree. Unfortunately, the same can not be said for Mr. Haneke -- even Film 101 students at the University of Texas know better (although I'm not so certain that's true about the over-rated faculty).
In closing, let me assure you that should you chose to see FUNNY GAMES you will hate it for what it does to you. But, I also can assure you that you will not be able to turn away.
An aside --
I've tried to think of something that could equal the incessant, inflammable, visceral irritability of FUNNY GAMES. About the only thing I've come up with is to have Topo Gigio do a Bowflex commercial narrated by Fran Dresher with Ms. Fundis providing the sound effects. On second thought, that doesn't even come close...
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