Friday, August 25, 2006


First there was KILL BILL Vol 1. Then there was KILL BILL Vol 2. What's next -- KILL QUENTIN?

Quentin, as in Tarantino, is the director of both these films and a man glaringly in need of some editing skills. At two hours and sixteen minutes KILL BILL Vol 2 is at least ninety minutes too long. It's o.k. for a filmmaker to indulge himself a little, but Quentin has abused the privilege. To make matters worse, most scenes develop so slowly it is like experiencing a 45-rpm record being played back at 33 rpms. To be honest, I cannot recall any other motion picture that even comes close to being so painfully s-l-o-w.

Rather than kill the guy my suggestion is to incarcerate him -- yes, let's lock him up with all of the editing manuals ever printed, let's allow Thelma Schoonmaker non-conjugal visits on a weekly basis and let's keep Quentin imprisoned until he is certifiably reformed. The final step is to provide a rehabilitated Mr. T the opportunity to repay society with a new film that reflects his new-found understanding of an important concept commonly called "pacing." This seems like a win-win situation all the way around.

Quentin incarcerated in Editing 101 prison? Why not? Movie audiences can surely get by "Sans Quentin" for awhile and this might just save a career whose feature film debut was the explosive and sensationally savvy RESERVOIR DOGS which broke new ground in contemporary, cutting edge, cutthroat cinema. Throw in PULP FICTION and you obviously have a filmmaker with inherent talent; yet over the years there has been a decline and fall, not only of western civilization, but of this once promising darling of film critics everywhere. Early, well deserved success has obviously led to bigger budgets, bigger disappointments and a baleful, ballooning hat size. With an ever-growing ego rapidly approaching the magnitude of the Hindenburg, I truly fear Quentin's head may explode sometime soon.

(Out of respect this recent "head shot" was downsized using state-of-the-art computing technology provided by the Krell technicians at Altair IV. It was the only way we could successfully reduce Mr. Tarantino's super nova noggin to a dimension that would fit on the internet)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


C.S.A. -- A Haiku Review
by Robert A. Nowotny

Willmott and Weinstein
Ignoramos and Dandy
Blackface barbs backfire

Once again an old saying proves true: "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."

Kevin Willmott is an Associate Professor of Theater and Film at Kansas University. His premise for this film is brilliant -- what would things be like now if the South had won the Civil War?

"Holy Mackeral, Kingfish!"

This is more than an intriguing concept given the on-going racial disparity and unresolved tensions which continue to exist in America. In the hands of someone competent, i.e. Dave Chappelle or Carlos Mencia, this would clearly be a can't miss hypothesis unless, of course, the filmmaker in question is totally inept. Take a bow, Kevin, you have singlehandly managed to mangle this endeavor beyond belief. Your application to be admitted to the Mystic Knights of the Sea Lodge is hereby rejected. Hopefully the same will occur if you ever surface again with another idea for a film.

And as for you, Mr. Weinstein, what on earth were you thinking? Eighty-nine minutes comprising sophomoric, sophistic "slice of life as it could be cinema" certainly tests the stamina of anyone I know -- white or black. What have you to say for yourself, Harvey? Katrina got your tongue?

Sunday, August 20, 2006


"SNAKES ON A PLANE is a cheese crust pizza with double cheese topping. It's so bad it's gouda!" Jim Slotek, Jam! Movies

Replete with green-tinted ViperVision and some good old fashioned "hissssteria", SNAKES ON A PLANE is a throwback to the glorious days of the highly entertaining Hollywood exploitation pictures that dominated the release schedule of a number of smaller studios in the 1950s and 1960s. Think American International and Cannon Films. Think Roger Corman, even Russ Meyer (God rest his soul), and you will understand why SNAKES ON A PLANE possesses such strong appeal. If only they had shot this in 3-D! If only I had seen this at a drive-in theater! My, oh, my, wouldn't that be something?

Of course, the first thing you should know is that prior to boarding Pacific Air Flight 121 you will need to not only check your baggage, but your disbelief needs to be safely stowed in the overhead compartment as well since continuity problems could diminish some of the fun. Simply stated, several scenes don't make any sense, and the not-so-climatic landing of this big old Boeing 747 at LAX lacks not only plausibility, it may very well be the worst directed non-pilot landing of a commercial airliner in movie history. But guess what, I didn't care and you won't either because now that the aircraft is safely on the ground all you will want to do is paraphrase Herve Villechaize's immortal line, "De Plane! De Plane!"

Within twenty-three minutes the ophidian orgy begins, and a mere four minutes later a poor schmuck meets with an especially humiliating, dehumanizing demise.

Gamboling Gaboon Viper -- 1
Dangling Trouser Snake -- 0

A big part of the fun is to guess which of the passengers will survive and which will not. There are few surprises, although I will admit that I was wrong concerning several of the characters. That's good; it keeps things interesting. And the body count is staggering -- not even a gaggle of circus geeks could have thwarted the hundred or so venomously voracious reptiles from wreaking havoc.

The bottom line: One of the greatest movie titles in cinema history delivers exactly what it promises. As the film's tagline says, "Sit back. Relax. Enjoy the fright."

An aside: I was thrilled to see that one of the primary casting directors for SNAKES ON A PLANE was Coreen Mayrs. Several years ago Coreen won the Bob Award at the Crested Butte Reel Fest for her short film, THE REMEMBERER. Since then Coreen has become one of the most successful, sought-after casting directors in Canada. Way to go Coreen...

Thursday, August 17, 2006


The worldwide staff at is pleased to announce the winner of the inaugural SCHIAVO AWARD for the most pathetic, lifeless and brain dead movie of the past twelve months.

The hermetically sealed envelope was delivered earlier in the day by a representative of the prestigious accounting firm of Ernst & Whinney. (Yes, Whinney the Pooh actually helped oversee the tabulations given the immense importance of this award). The results were unprecedented, with THE WEATHER MAN winning the SCHIAVO AWARD in a veritable landslide over runner-up THE DUKES OF HAZZARD.

If you are among the lucky ones to have not seen THE WEATHER MAN and thus have not had to reach for a bottle of Pepto Abysmal (a necessary elixir for anyone who has the stomach to actually try and watch this cinematic calamity), the film stars Nicolas Cage as a self-centered, insecure yet oddly narcissistic weatherman who has a troublesome relationship with his father, with his wife, with his two kids and an even more troubling relationship with himself. Michael Caine plays the father in what is surely his most embarrassing screen appearance ever. Perhaps he somehow wandered onto the wrong set -- that's as good an explanation as any to why Mr. Caine would agree to participate in this fiasco.

Director Gore Verbinski has his troubles as well, failing to elicit the least bit of sympathy for anyone appearing before the camera. It is behind the camera, however, where the real problem lies -- Steve Conrad's angst-ridden, lugubrious screenplay holds less appeal, less raison d'etre and even less sustenance than you'll find in an Ethiopian dingleberry. A rhesus monkey with an IBM Selectric can do better...