Scarface: Scarred For Life #3 (IDW Publishing) Really -- this needs to be a video game. Tony Montana dodges betrayal and bullets while brutally killing his way back to prominence and dodging the scrutiny of the authorities. Using nothing more than sheer force of will, he intimidates and impresses his way back into operation, stepping over the corpses of any who stand in his way and always reminding people "I don't f*** with anybody who don' f*** me first!" The blood, the gallows humor, the ruthlessness -- John Layman and Dave Crosland were born to make this comic, and the vibrant colors of Len O'Grady only help things along (how wonderful is that bright reunion scene in front of the hotel?).
Man, I really enjoyed this movie. Of course, I think the great majority of the enjoyment sprang from the fact we got that big-ass HDTV, and that the PS3 plays Blu-Ray, so we were able to watch the blu-ray version of the movie. And I have to say, I was pretty fricking amazed. I kept pressing pause, to count the blades of grass on a field, or the nose hairs on Jean Reno, or try to calculate the balefulness in James Franco's eyes.
It seems like a really old-fashioned popcorn movie, the type you could watch with your parents and not get embarrassed (in fact, because Alzheimer's turned my dad's brain to mush, this is exactly the sort of movie I would rent to watch with him when I visited home-- maybe that's another reason I gave this movie some latitude.)
Yeah, it was sort of predictable, in the way that old-time war movies are. You know the jackass will see the error of his ways. The black guy outcast will be accepted (and live). The rebel will break the rules and still be a hero. And the croward will rise to the occasion and sacrifice himself. I was okay with that, because the ariel dogfights kicked so much ass, and I sat there thinking, "they should really make more WWI dogfighting movies."
Anyway, I got through it and barely went at double speed at all. And I was prepared to give this movie FOUR Jennies.
But an odd epilogue came after I saw the movie, when my Tivo picked up Ebert & Roeper's "worst movies of the year" edition. Dumb old Roeper had this on his top ten list, as if this movie was actually as bad as "RV," or "Lady in the Water," or about a billion other movies that are churned out of the Hollywood shit machine.
And making this even more outrageous was the guest-host (since Roger is recovering from a stroke or something,) a guy named Michael Phillips who is part of a rotating stable of guest hosts while Ebert recovers. Phillips agreed.
Here's the weird thing: I know Michael Phillips.
He used to work with me at the San Diego Union-Tribune, a lifetime ago, where I was a lowly news-assistant and he was an arts writer. We weren't exactly friends, but we were friendLY, and we used to talk music and movies, and even comics to a lesser extent. He was a good guy, and I thought of all the guest hosts filling in for Ebert, Phillips is the best of them.
But he didn't have to agree that Flyboys sucked. I liked it. Maybe they should have watched it on Blu-Ray.
Anyway, just out of spite, I'm now giving this movie three Jennies and two Phillips. Take that, Hollywood!
So, if there is one thing I've learned about parenthood (other than it sucks), it's that you watch a lot of TV. You can't really read when you are holding a squirming, squealing baby, or play video games, or write --but you can sure as hell watch TV, and so we've been giving the old Netflix service a hearty workout. Not only that, me and the babymama splurged and bought ourselves a 32 inch flat HDTV, to enhance the kick-assedness of our newly embraced life of couch-potato-ousity. Anyway, as a public service to you, I thought I'd offer my opinion on some of the movies I've either enjoyed or suffered through.
First up, the absolute antithesis of couch-potato-ousity kick-assedness: SHOPGIRL
This is the short of shit that happens when I am not vigilant about maintaining the Netflix que. Somebody comes in and orders very lame movies that am tortured by, and most of the time they sit for several weeks before we work up the courage to watch them.
It's yet another LA-Centric Steve Martin movie, about a nice girl from Vermont who sorted has to choose between a rich old fucker and a young uber-eccentric weirdo. It drags in places, but that's what captions and the double-speed button are for, so it went at a breezy pace for Ol' Layman. And by-in-large the entire movie just seems like creepy old man wish fulfillment on behalf of Steve Martin, who wrote himself as a completely bland insanely rich dude who has enough money to get any young hottie he wants --assuming Claire Danes is your definition of a "hottie."
Remember when Steve Martin was actually funny? Man, that was a long damn time ago.
Anyway, the strangest part of this movie was Martin's nose, which I could have sworn has some sort of Roxanne-style phoney prostesis attached to it. The whole time I was watching the movie, and, since it was set in LA, I was waiting for some subplot where Martin went in for plastic surgery and got a new nose. But that never happened. So, mostly, I walked away from the movie wondering why the hell Steve Martin was wearing that fake nose-- or if the resolution on my new TV was so good I never noticed how weird and screwed up Steve Martin's nose actually is.
So, yeah, it was watched pretty consistently on double speed. Quadruple speed when gross-ass old-fart Steve Martin got kissy-face with Claire Daines. Nonetheless, it was reasonably watchable. I'll give it two and a half Jennies.