Banana's & Feces! A Space Monkey's Guide to the Modern American Cinema
(or Stupid Conclusions You Should've Already Arrived at on your own.)
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Directed by: Paul Greengrass Written by: Tony Gilroy Starring: Matt Damon, Brian Cox, Joan Allen, Julia Stiles, Karl Urban and Franka Potente Based on the Novel by Robert Ludlum In theaters now.

There was a time a few years ago, when the name that most often followed Ben Affleck’s was Matt Damon.  After Good Will Hunting, the two were a hot ticket.  What would happen next?  Who would be bigger?  Certainly, Affleck got a good lead going with the bigger box office blockbuster-type lead offerings.  On paper Affleck comes in at 6’1” vs. Damon’s just under 5’9”. Affleck has that square jaw like the comic book Batman, Damon looks a little like Ron Howard circa Happy Days season one. 

Why then does Damon make such a more compelling action hero?  Maybe because his resume doesn’t include a supporting role as “Bitch Lap Dog to Jennifer Lopez.”  I guess it doesn’t matter, just food for thought. 

But it does take me back a couple years when
The Bourne Identity debuted and I was skeptical.  Matt Damon as a mini-cooper driving action hero?  WTF?  As it turned out TBI was a fun, frenetic couple of hours, a street car video game with a decent storyline and not bad acting. 

For fans of the first film,
The Bourne Supremacy offers up more of the same.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It’s a solid couple of hours.  The truth is, it doesn’t really give you much that’s different. Jason Bourne still doesn’t remember much and spends most of the movie trying to remember what he did, who he was and why people are trying to kill him.  This time he’s a little angry about his girlfriend though, so he’s a little more in control.  This time there is still a monster car chase of “French Connection” proportions.  This time Jason Bourne still manages to find the sh!ttiest car possible to do the chasing in. 

I mean, seriously people! Can’t we find Jason Bourne a decent freakin’ car?  Sure, it underscores what a good driver he must be to pull that off but where do you go from here?  An olive green
station wagon with faux wood paneling on the side?  A Ford Aspire? A 1984 Mercury Lynx? 

I dunno.  I give TBS three bananas.  For a cheaper evening stay home and rent “Die Another Day” while you’re at the video store pick up “Gigli” and see how an action star loses any semblance of street cred. I could be wrong. I am only a monkey

I think a Laura Bush
sock puppet would
be a gift anybody
could love..
-Duke B. Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
ANCHORMAN: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Directed by:
Adam McKay Written by: MAdam McKay and Will Ferrell Starring: Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, David Koechner, and Fred Willard In theaters now.

Will Ferrell is so funny. Will Ferrell is sooo funny.  Will Ferrell is SOOO VERY funny. He can make anything funny.  All he has to do is show up.  No matter what it is, if you put Will Ferrell behind it…. Where the hell was Will Ferrell that time my dog died because the veterinarian killed him with the wrong anesthesia during a routine ear surgery? Huh? I sure could’ve used Will Ferrell then.  Will Ferrell would’ve been a welcome respite from dog death and salt laden tears. 

Oh well, some things weren’t meant to be that funny.  Such is the way of the world, Will Ferrell or not. 
Will Ferrell has made a career of taking moderately funny character ideas and making them hilarious through the sheer will of his goofy persona. Whether it’s Mugatu, Mustafa, Frank the Tank or Marty Culp that old guy who sings with Ana Gasteyer, make no mistake about it, in the hands of anyone else, they probably wouldn’t be very funny at all.

This is kind of the problem with Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.  It’s just kind of funny but you want it be funnier and by extension give it credit for being funnier than it is BECAUSE of Will Ferrell.  Don’t get me wrong A:TLORB is funny and makes great fun of a time not so long ago when putting a hot a blonde chick on tv was a victory for “diversity” BUT much of the time you keep waiting for Ferrell to “really let go.”  Although he comes close, it doesn’t really happen.  Still, with Ferrell’s mug taking up the screen it’s impossible not to laugh, whether he’s failing at being a quick-witted name caller or acting out his uncomfortable devotion to his dog. 

A:TLORB is pretty standard SNL alum fare plot wise.  Goofy main character (Anchorman) oblivious to normal human etiquette, falls in love with girl (Christina Applegate) and must barely change something about his outlook in order to redeem himself and gain love of girl.  (See The Animal, The Ladies Man, Austin Powers, Deuce Bigelow …).  There’s a cast of similarly dense buddies, cameos galore (see review of Dodgeball to fill in the blanks) and the occasional fart or erection joke. 

A:TLORB is funny, but not as funny as it could’ve been.  I’ll give it two bananas b/c really the humor comes mainly from Farrell and not much else.  The second he leaves the screen for a couple of seconds, he takes the funny with him.   For a cheaper evening, stay home and rent “Old School” as long as your home, check out the news on the WB or UPN outlet.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey

I can't think in
a space this tight.
-Duke B. Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Written and Directed by
Michael Moore In theaters now.

There’s a brief instance in Fahrenheit 9/11 that I found very comforting.  It happens in the first few minutes of the movie, I think.  Bush’s Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz is prettying himself up for network cameras.  In a few beautiful moments devoid of self-consciousness, he spits and licks his comb before running it through his hair. In a show of hygiene defying thoughtfulness, his aide begins licking his own hand and tending to P.W.’s fly aways.  Hands pat and smooth, spit is mingled.  Viewing with a monkeys perspective, it is a beautiful sight.  Then it was gone and I never felt that comfortable again for the next 100 minutes or so.

For those who’ve been living under a rock or in a cave in Afghanistan, F9/11 is the latest in a long line of
liberal pseudo-documentaries.  Before you freak out about that assessment, relax.  Michael Moore, has a stated agenda and we all know it’s not conservative, so there.  We also know that Moore doesn’t make “documentaries” per se.  He has a bias.  He admits it.  There is nothing wrong with that.  He’s far more honest and forthright than FOX News.  Unlike FOX, Moore doesn’t have to be fair and balanced.  He doesn’t present you with news. He shows you stuff you probably haven’t seen before and he tells you what he thinks it means. 

In the process, he
entertains.  Because the reality of this is, F9/11 is meant to be entertaining.  If it’s not, you probably won’t really care what Moore shows you and you probably won’t consider it come November.  F9/11 is funny, shocking, heart-wrenching/gut-wrenching and horrifying.  The worst part of it is, even without Moore’s sarcastic narration this movie these clips would’ve been almost just as effective on their own. 

There is a scene in Moore’s debut docu-tainment piece
Roger & Me, where a local woman, in order to stay alive, kills and skins a rabbit.  F9/11 is pretty much the act of Moore skinning and killing his own ideological rabbit. Make no mistake about it, F9/11 isn’t just a documentary, it’s a crusade.  To wit, Moore plans on releasing the DVD in September, just in time to keep people talking for the election. 

In any case, most of the reviews I’ve seen at some point reference the world Moore depicts against
1984.  I dunno.  I’ve listened to 1984 countless times and the closest mention I’ve found was when David Lee Roth says “Model citizen, zero discipline.”  I guess maybe that’s got something to do with the Bush administration.  Who knows? All in all, I give Fahrenheit 9/11 3 banana’s.  For a cheaper evening, stay home at rent Roger and Me while you’re at it watch something other than the network news to see what’s happening in the world.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey

Right now,
a single girl
is sad over
the demise of
Sex & the City."

I, myself,
am thinking
-Duke B. Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by
Rawson Marshall Thurber Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor, Rip Torn, Stephen Root  Written by Roland Emmerich  & Jeffery Nachmanoff In theaters now.

What to write? What to write?

I can’t help but wonder what kind of footnote Christine Taylor would be if she wasn’t married to Ben Stiller.  “Chick that looks like Marcia Brady,” comes to mind.  Because she is married to Stiller, she’s allowed two points of reference. 

Here’s an actual conversation about Christine Taylor.
Me: I want to see Dodgeball
Other Conversant: Who’s in that?
Me: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Christine Taylor.
Other Conversant: Who’s that?
Me: Ben Stiller’s wife. (<-- point of reference #1)
Other Conversant: Don’t know her.
Me: The chick who looks like Marcia Brady. (<-- point of reference #2)
Other Conversant: Oh, her. Right.

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story is this summers entry into the mix and match canon of Stiller/Vaughn/Wilson Brother cinema.  Every four months or so it seems we get a combination based on 2 or three of these elements.

Examples include:
Starsky and Hutch: Stiller, Vaughn, Owen Wilson. Old School: Vaughn, Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell. Royal Tenenbaums: Luke & Owen Wilson, Stiller. Zoolander: Stiller, Owen Wilson, Vaughn. Meet the Parents: Stiller, Owen Wilson  

Was there ever a time when other actors got work? Dunno.

But I digress, I don’t really have much, good or bad, to say about D:ATUS.  It filled a couple of hours of my day.  There were some funny jokes.  Stephen Root played the same guy he played in
Office Space.  Rip Torn was cool.  Still, D:ATUS seemed a little under-ambitious.  It made you feel like maybe it was something Stiller and Vaughn did to kill time until one of the Wilsons could come and play

There’s a line in the movie where Gary Cole, doing a send up of
Al Michael’s famous “Do you believe in miracles line, roars “DO YOU BELIEVE IN UNLIKELYHOOD?!!!”   It pretty much sums up the movie.  There will be no miracles.  No gut busting shrieks of fevered laughter BUT if you lower your expectations you may like it more than you thought you would (Although, after a while you may find yourself distracted by the weird shape of Christine Taylors forehead wrinkles).  I’ll give D:ATUS two bananas. For a cheaper evening stay home and watch Extreme Dodgeball on the Game Show Network.  As long as you’re home flip over to TV Land and look for reruns of the Brady Bunch. I could be wrong. I am only monkey

Sometimes, at night,
I stare off into space
and think that
maybe there are
planets around one
of those billions of stars.
Then I think maybe
there are people
on one of those
Then I think
maybe someone among
those people has
an ingrown
toenail... because
you know, not
everyone gets to be
-Duke B. Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by
Roland Emmerich Starring: Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhall, Ian Holm, Emmy Rossum, Kenneth Walsh, The Homeless Guys Dog Written by Roland Emmerich  & Jeffery Nachmanoff In theaters now.

I don’t really get weather movies.  You know, the ones where people spend millions of dollars to show you stuff you can see on Discovery Channel.  I didn’t cheer at the BIG WAVE in The Perfect Storm or do the wave for the flying cow in Twister.  The closest I ever mustered was an incredulous “Huh?” when a rain of frogs crapped down on the San Fernando Valley in Magnolia.  A rain of frogs, people! THAT is something you don’t see every day. 

Haven’t I seen Manhattan attacked before? Haven’t I seen
The Hollywood Sign destroyed before?  The answer on both counts is YES!  But Manhattan’s demise was cooler at the end of Planet of the Apes and Hollywood took a more imaginative hit when the got the box office back from Gigli.

Oh well, apparently there are plenty of weather freaks out there because somebody is paying for this stuff.  For those of you who don’t know, DAT is the story of a drastic and sudden climate change.  Yes. Somehow global warming brings about a new ice age.  I’d explain how BUT that would minimize the already minimal stuff of interest in the movie.

More so, DAT is the story of what happens when you get a hundred million or so bucks to
criticize the Bush administration.  Build some special effects around shots of a dim-witted President asking others what he should do and maybe you get a Dick Cheney look-alike to defend burning fossil fuels, as you cut to his “Saudi Friends” nodding in agreement, and you have DAT in a nutshell.  All this is perfectly fine with me, as long as you make it entertaining.  For my money, if you’re gonna spend the millions, why not go all the way and give us That’s My Bush: The Movie?  You wouldn’t get Hurricanes on Ice, mind you.  But you might get some intentional laughs. 

DAT plays on the most clichéd of emotions all the way around.  You get a young love story that only makes sense because the peripheral characters continually point out that you’re supposed to be seeing two people in love.  You also get an earnest
Father-reconnecting-with-his-Son story.  At no additional cost, you get the Mother-who-loves-them-both-and-still-finds-time-to-care-for-abandoned-Cancer-victims story.  AND you also get to find yourself rooting for the homeless guys dog to live while simultaneously not caring if the President turns into a SnoCone. 

I won’t even really mention the actors because most of the time, although the cast is good, you’ll forget they even exist. What DAT comes down to, is cinematic small talk.  If you don’t know what to say, you talk about the weather. If you don’t know what to film, you cgi the weather on the big screen. 

If you don’t have anything else you want to see this weekend, fine go watch the rain, sleet and snow.  I’ll give DAT 2 bananas. I really only wanted to give it one and a half but they get an extra star for letting the dog live.  For a cheaper evening, stay home and watch
The Weather Channel.  If you're hell bent on seeing  Manhattan destroyed, I think TNT begins reruns of Sex and the City in a few weeks.  I could be wrong. I am only monkey

It makes me sad
that no one uses
a Mr. Microphone
-Duke B. Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by Jess Terrero Starring: Kevin Hart, Monique, Tom Arnold, Snoop Dog, D.L. Hughley, Method Man, Sofia Vergara  Written by BO Zenga & Chuck Wilson In theaters now.

I haven't actually seen Soul Plane but the woman behind me in line at Fuddrucker’s in Burbank saw it.  Her words were.  “It wasn’t too good.  You know, ghetto movie.  I could’ve just saved my $8 for when it comes out on video but you know how it is.  You gotta be supportive.” 

She seemed really nice and since she showed an appreciation for a good burger, I took  her word for it.  I’ll just leave it at that.  I could be wrong. I am only monkey
Directed by
Andrew Adamson, Kelly Asbury and  Conrad Vernon Starring: Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, John Cleese, Julie Andrews and Jennifer Saunders Written by David N. Weiss, Joe Stillman and  J. David Stem Based on Shrek by William Steig  In theaters now.

I don’t really know what to say about this one.  I will admit I went in with prejudice. I didn’t like the first Shrek.  I honestly didn’t.  I couldn’t understand the space and time in pop culture when Shrek could win and Academy Award over an infinitely superior Monsters, Inc.  Shrek for all it’s “subversiveness” was really nothing more than a well animated Hot Shots or Scary Movie.  It even used some of the same visual gags as Scary Movie.  The laughs couldn’t have felt more forced if they’d been pushed on me in a Colorado hotel room, late at night, by Kobe Bryant

But I digress, I didn’t really go into
Shrek 2 with a warm fuzzy of good will.  I actually sat with my arms crossed for a while, angry that they let SOO many chattering kids in the theater.  THEN there was a brief V/O cameo by Tom Waits as a dive bar piano player followed by the introduction of Puss in Boots and the movie took off. 

Shrek 2 is basically Meet the Parents set in a land of Far, Far Away that is equal parts Disney jab and franchise fever satire.  The inadvertent statement on our cultures current Make-Over Madness, though is what gives Shrek it’s most biting commentary.  In a way, you have to give a “crystal ball” award to the writers for this.  Who knew when they were typing this out a couple of years ago that cosmetic cut up trash like Extreme Make Over and The Swan would be the stuff of Prime Time tv?  It would’ve been beautiful to have Plastic Surgeon Fairy God People, analyzing Shrek and Fiona’s imperfections and offering their Dr. Strangelove-esque ideas as to how to achieve their Happily Ever After Ideals.  Oh well, that’s probably grist for the next sequel.

The weak spots in the movie are still the performances of Diaz and Myers.  Neither seem to have the true expressiveness necessary to pull you into their characters BUT luckily their screen time is generally shared with more engaging vocal talent.
Donkey (Murphy) and Puss' (Banderas’) back and forth competition for sidekick superiority provides some of the best laughs.  In all, I’ll go ahead and give Shrek 2 three bananas.  It really deserves two and a half BUT I’m adding a banana for the Tom Waits thing AND subtracting half a banana for the God Awful voice of that chick singing the crappy “Changes” cover.  (If there were really a happy ending, my ears would be put out of their misery and Butterfly Boucher would be drowned in a shallow bowl of lukewarm porridge.)  For a cheaper evening stay home and rent Monsters, Inc.  While you’re at the video store pick up Heavy Metal because chances are strong that one will be in stock.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey
I've never known a
Sea Monkey who didn't
have a bad attitude.
-Duke B. Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by Wolfgang Petersen Starring: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Brian Cox, Peter O'Toole, Diane Kruger and Sean Bean Written by David Benioff  Based on The Iliad by Homer  In theaters now.

How come nobody has a Greek accent?  Think about it people, where were Nia Vardalos and her loud assed family when they were casting this thing?  As long as they’re not going for accuracy in the accent department, why not have some good ol’ American in there? Why does everyone have to affect a Brit twang? Just food for thought.

Troy is this summers BIG MOVIE adaptation of Homer’s The Iliad. By "adaptation", I mean this is what happens to The Iliad in order for it to survive in Hollywood.  For starters:
   • It takes a ten year war and condenses it to about two and a half weeks.  (Shorter than the War to "Liberate the
      Iraqi people.")
   • It writes out the gods. 
   • It assumes all the ten year-old
girls who are really going to see Orlando Bloom know all about Achilles heel. 
   • It kills off some too soon, others too late and some not at all.
   • AND once again

Troy tells the story of the war fought for the
Face That Launched A Thousand Ships.  Having said that, I didn’t really feel this Helen really warranted a grand.  Don’t get me wrong, Diane Kruger is good looking. Still, I would give her face a couple of dozen ships at best.  Depending on my mood, I might toss in another bakers dozen on the strength of her a$$ BUT half of those would be smallish ships, yachts maybe.  I’m sure in the world of Troy The Movie she gets quite a bit more because apparently she’s the only blonde in all of Troy or Achea. Well, there’re Achilles and his girly-looking cousin but they’re dudes (although, Achilles girly-looking cousin does look a lot like The Hanson kids girlier-looking lost brother).  As they say, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes but if you're going to the theater expecting some mega hot chick who's worth a thousand ships save your cash.  In all honesty, there are more ship-worthy faces working behind the counter at your your average Starbucks. 

But I digress, it’s basically just a boy-meets-girl, girl-leaves-old-fat-husband, old-fat-husbands-megalomaniacal-brother-murders-boys-wiser-braver-stronger-brother-then-stuffs-people-in-a-wooden-animal-and-kills-boys-dad-after-destroying-boys-kingdom-and-murdering-tens-of-thousands-of-innocent-bystanders-some-of-whom-never-even-got-a-chance-to-check-out-girls-ass.  You know, it’s that story.  Well, it’s that story with Brad Pitt in a black leather mini-skirt.

Troy is problematic for today’s film world.  It wants to be what Gladiator and Braveheart (it even cribs a lot of the cast) were but it can’t be.  The forbidden love that sets this a-rollin’ centers on a prissy, girly-boy who can’t fight his own battles and a girl whose only virtue is her mild hotness.  The real hero of the film dies (we all know that going in). So, writer Benioff tries to soften up the villain (one of them anyway), that way audiences can walk away without feeling bad about themselves for cheering him on by default. It doesn’t really work. It’s a little contrived. Additionally, Troy’s battle sequences lack the intensity of Gladiator or Braveheart or the Lord of the Rings trilogy. This is mainly because they are set in the midday hours, under burning hot sun.  There is no suspense or confusion or cinematic dread when everything looks like a warm, sunny day.  I've seen more intimidating blood spilled at Senor Frogs.

Still, it all comes back to the fact that we’re forced to care about two people we would hate in real life.  It's like watching T
he Real World, when they force that episode on you where the obnoxious girl who drinks all the time and sleeps with people who aren't her boyfriend, breaks down and admits she's an alcoholic because her dog ran away when she was six.  Yes! These people are idiots and Yes! they do the stupidest stuff ever without thinking of the consequences and Yes! you really only watch because you hope bad things will happen to them. You want REALLY BAD THINGS to happen to them and you want them to happen often. 

Same deal with
Troy. You keep wish Hector (Bana)  will throw Paris and Helen overboard when he finds them on the ship. You wish Hector will let Menelaus kill Paris. You wish Hector's wife will throw Helen in a pool and catfight it out like Alexis and Crystal from Dynasty. You wish Achilles will tell Agamemnon  how bad he looks in a mini-skirt. You wish Patroclus will break into a couple of choruses of "Mmm-Bop".  You wish Priam (O'Toole) would blink, just once. Blink, dammit! Blink! Look at all that sand around you! How can you keep your eyes that wide open for sooo long without blinking?!! What are you trying to do? Hypnotize me??!!! For the love of Sweet Zeus, just blink once! 

It's all stuff that will never happen.  Oh well. 

All in all I’ll give Troy two and a half bananas.  For a cheaper evening, stay home and rent
Gladiator. While you’re at the video store pick up Revenge of the Nerds, it’s got a bunch of Greeks with the wrong accents, too.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey

That which doesn't
kill you
really makes
you feel raw.

It does for me,

-Duke B. Monkey (MonkeyNaut)

Written & Directed by Stephen Sommers Starring: Hugh Jackman, Kate Beckinsale, Richard Roxburgh, David Wenham In theaters now.

Am I the only person who finds the name Frankenstein bothersome?  Maybe I’ve gotten it wrong all these years but isn’t Frankenstein the doctor?  Isn’t Frankenstein’s Monster the beast?  Does it bother anyone else that we just call him Frankenstein and NOT Frankenstein’s Monster?  Maybe Frankenstein the Second? Or Frank Jr.? Young Frankenstein, maybe?

It doesn’t really matter. Frankenstein’s Monster,
The Wolfman and Dracula are all here in Van Helsing.  Universal’s big summer action extravaganza.  Why did they pack all three in? Because they needed to have plenty of fodder for theme park rides, video games and maybe a TV spin off. Because they needed more excuses for action/cgi sequence after action/cgi sequence after action/cgi sequence.  Because writer/director Stephen Sommers wanted to shift our focus often enough to distract us from the lack of a story.  Yep. That’s why.

I don’t know where to start.  I mean, I was really excited about this one.  Much, much
promise in them thar hills.  A fresh take on a character that’s usually been a bit stodgy and boring, Hugh Jackman driving the vehicle, chicks with big teeth… this could’ve/should’ve been gold, baby! Fool’s gold, at the very least. 

Then , when the movie started and the first character I saw looked just like
Riff Raff from Rocky Horror Picture Show, I thought, “Hmm. Maybe I’d better lower my expectations fast and hard.”  Then when I saw  a Mr. Hyde that looked about as realistic as Pete’s Dragon, I lowered harder and faster.  By the they went and killed the hottest Vampire Bride first I was lowering so hard and fast G-Forces were pulling UP at my cheeks. 

Obviously, going in with the realization that these are the people who brought us
The Mummy and The Mummy Returns, I figured I wasn’t in for high art.  Hell, I knew I wasn’t in for Middling Art but I would’ve been happy with even that.  The truth is, I don’t remember much about this movie -- not a word of dialogue, although I remember there are strangely disconnected expository sequences scattered here and there to clue us into the story that really doesn’t exist but is supposed to.  I don’t really remember the villains, either.  Like I said, they killed the really hot vampire bride first (Damn them!).  After that, there’s Dracula and he isn’t scary at all. He’s just kind of a B-grade Bond nemesis.  The accent is on the “B-grade.”

Don’t get me wrong.
VH isn’t really a BAD BAD movie. It’s just a bad movie made worse by the fact that it could have been SOOO good.  It’s as bad as Kate Beckinsale’s Transylvanian accent and not as good as her corset. It makes you feel like your waiting for Jackman to morph into his X-Men alter-ego, Wolverine.  I give Van Helsing two banana’s by the skin of its teeth, mainly because if you just concentrate on the action, it’s visually really competent.  For a cheaper evening, stay home and rent “X-Men.”  While you’re at the video store pick up “Van Wilder,” just for the hell of it.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey

I'll bet Buddha could
be really mean
when he wanted to be.
-Duke B. Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by Mark Waters Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lizzie Caplan, Lacey Chabert, Tina Fey, Tim Meadows   Written by Tina Fey  Based on Novel by Rosalind Wiseman In theaters now.

The words “
A Lorne Michaels Production” and “Written by Saturday Night Live regular…,” do very little to instill confidence once the theater lights have gone down.  In fact, it really begs the question, “How much is this going to suck?”  Because, we’ve been conditioned to accept “suck” in these circumstances, it’s the degree of sucktitude that leaves anything to the imagination.  This was the thought that weighed heavily on my mind as I sat down with my hotdog, popcorn and medium drink for the matinee of Mean Girls.

Honestly, I normally wouldn’t have gone this route BUT I wanted to give
geek/hottie Tina Fey the benefit of the doubt.  Sure, SNL alums have given us Stuart Saves His Family, It’s Pat The Movie, A Night at the Roxbury, and The Coneheads BUT Fey has in the past few years made Weekend Update one of the few (okay, The Only) consistently funny segments on Saturday Night, so why not have a look at her first big screen sketch?

The cool thing about
Mean Girls, is you know what you’re gonna get on the way in.  (Unlike Man on Fire, which I can’t stress enough, turned out to not be a comedy.)  Basically, MG is Heathers for a generation raised believing that A) Perrier consumption doesn’t denote homosexuality and B) that even the mention of blowing up your high shool is a prosecutable offense.  It's like Heathers Light..   

In this incarnation, Lindsay Lohan plays Cady, a kid home
schooled in Africa by zoologist parents who must now learn to survive in the jungles of High School.  Yep. You can see the comparison’s coming a mile away.  I could anyway, what with my being a monkey and all. 

Being a space monkey though, it reminds me of ST:TNG, you know
when Picard becomes a Borg.  You’re watching and you’re thinking, “NO! He’s human. He’s cool. It’s all an act!”  But then, sure as monkey shite, he’s a Borg alright.  Locutus of Borg, to be exact.  Just like Jean-Luc, Cady becomes a "Mean Girl" and yadda yadda yadda.  Stuff happens, there’re boys, there’s cliques, feelings are hurt, there’s revenge.  There’s a happy ending.  

Right! There’s a happy ending.  Isn’t this movie supposed to be about high school?  Shouldn’t it end with big zit break outs and kids losing their arms for hanging them out of a school bus window?  Who wrote this anyway? Oh, right. Tina Fey.  Cool.

Anyway, the good news is MG doesn’t suck.  Not really at all.  It’s got a decent balance of adult humor and high school fashion.  Although, I’m not sure I really know the difference between Lindsay Lohan and Hillary Duff (who, it turns out, wasn't in this film), it didn’t really bother me. I know the difference between Tim Meadows and Tina Fey and their thankfully underplayed moments kept me grounded.  All in all, I’ll give Mean Girls 2.5 bananas.  For a cheaper evening, stay home and rent
Heathers, while you’re at the video store pick up The Ladies Man. I could be wrong. I am only a monkey

Unlike, say five
years ago, you
don't hear many
really funny Crack
Whore jokes anymore. 

-Duke B. Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by Tony Scott Starring: Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Christopher Walken, Marc Anthony, Radha Mitchell  Written by Brian Helgeland  Based on Novel by A.J. Quinnell In theaters now.

On the way to the multiplex, I was remembering the
past work of Denzel Washington.  In particular, Carbon Copy came to mind.  What a wacky film that was! Whew!  Denzel stars as the illegitimate black son to corporate big whig George Segal.  Hi-jinks ensue!  Especially, when we learn that Denzel is the only black child born who cannot play basketball.  Well, come to think of it, it wasn’t really that funny.  I guess sometimes stereotypical, racial humor doesn’t age well.  Crazy how that happens sometimes.

Anyway, when I saw Denzel was paired with
Dakota Fanning (recently of The Cat in the Hat) playing a bodyguard to her rich child, I was pretty excited.  I was hoping there would be some kind of sequel to Uptown Girls but I didn’t think it would come this fast and I didn’t think it would feature a casting coup like Denzel over Brittany Murphy.

Imagine my
surprise when it turned out this wasn’t a comedy after all!  Yes, there was a funny little scene involving Denzel and a parrot he doesn’t like but WHOA does it get drastically unfunny from there on.  Turns out this is a revenge film.  So, unless you think watching a guys fingers get blown off with a shotgun brings on the yucks, maybe you should catch 13 Going on 30 (I’ve seen Big so I didn’t need to).

Washington stars as John Creasy a washed up drunk of an ex-commando.  Creasy head to
Mexico City to visit another old marine buddy (Walken) and winds up getting a job protecting Fanning from would be kidnappers.  It doesn’t take long to realize there wouldn’t be a movie if the kid didn’t kidnapped. From there you kind of figure there would only be half a movie if Creasy didn’t drop everything and go after the bad guys.  Toss in some corrupt officials, some dismemberments and an exploding butt hole and BANG! You’ve got Man on Fire

This movie has been done time and time again (“Dead Family/Friend/etc Now Comes the Shooting”), what makes it interesting is that it gives you a good hour of build up and relationship time to justify the end.  And as always, there’s some quality Christopher Walken. MOF is a
revenge flick for an older crowd.  There’s no comic book characters or kung fu violence or slo-mo high kicks… just the dismemberment and quite a bit of that. 

All in all, I’ll give Man on Fire 2 and 1/2 bananas for showing just how vicious and scary a few weeks in Mexico City can be, then following it with a title card describing it as a “
very special place.”  For a cheaper evening stay home and rent Death Wish. While you’re at the video store avoid “Carbon Copy” at all costs.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey
Um, is anybody reading this?
-Duke B. Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by Quentin Tarantino Starring: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Michael Madsen, Darryl Hannah, Gordon Liu  Written by Quentin Tarantino In theaters now.

I don’t know whether to be
happy or relieved or angry or disappointed. I really don’t.  The good news is Kill Bill: Volume 2 is better than the Kill Bill: Volume 1.  The bad news is, I don’t know what this means.  It was supposed to be the same movie, right? So, does this mean, that if I hated the first one and liked the second one that if it were one movie I would’ve liked the whole thing? Or hated the whole thing?  Should I like the first one now, instead of not liking it because the second gave sense and proportion to the first one, after the fact?  Should I be pissed at Miramax for splitting the movie in two, giving us a weaker narrative in the first in an effort to maximize profits by making twice the cash on what was supposed to be a single viewing? 

It’s a
vicious cycle.  It really, really is.  Oh well. 

I think I'll focus on my joy that
KB:V2 didn't suck.  And when I say it didn't suck, I mean it in the regular way. The way that means I could appreciate it without having my hand forced by my need to establish my fanboy street cred.  Although there are plenty of allusions and homages to blaxpoitation films, spaghetti westerns and Hong Kong action chop sockey stuff, UNLIKE KB:V1, you don't need to constantly reference those in order to appreciate KB:V2.  In short, KB:V2 is good on its on merit.

So, Uma’s back.  Back for Revenge… again.  This time it’s a gentler, kinder revenge.  There are
100% less beheadings this time.  This time the characters remind you that any revenge had, is revenge justified.  Which is good, otherwise we might find ourselves wondering why we’re rooting for her.  Honestly, I wasn’t rooting for her.  I mean, obviously I knew she had to win. The movie after all is titled Kill Bill, not Almost Kill Bill or Die Right Before You Finally Get to Bill.  Still, there were times I was really hoping Michael Madsen would beat the sh!t out of her.  Just for kicks. Having said that, I don’t think it’s possible for Uma to beat the sh!t out of Darryl Hannah enough.  I mean really, with the exception of Blade Runner and Splash, DH has unleashed so much mediocrity on pop culture that I could sit in a theater and watch her head being flushed down a toilet for a good 20-30 minutes before it grew old. 

I had some specific fears about the final showdown between
Bill and “The Bride.”  The biggest one being that Carradine is old and looks kind of slow.  Based on the whup ass Thurman unleashes on the other assassins, you kind of know that there’s no way he can be fast enough to take her.  In the back of my mind, I could picture Yoda the hunchbacked Jedi, unable to walk without a cane but seemingly able to fly through the magic of cgi.  There’s an unsettling precedent for these kinds of showdowns.  Very unsettling.  Luckily, Tarantino keeps it simple and short and as realistic as can be expected. 

This is one of the things that will separate the masses on
KB:V2 vs KB:V1.  V1 was an orgy of blood and violence.  V2 is slower, more contemplative, it’s the half of the movie that had all the dialogue.  It may also seem anti-climactic.  Who knows maybe it is. Still, it’s more of the movie I wanted Kill Bill to be.  Still, I can’t help but wonder what will happen after the DVD release of KB:V2… you know a year later. When they release the Directors Cut on DVD, the one with both movies cut together as one.  The one that will show us what we were supposed to see originally.  The one that will make even more money for Miramax/Tarantino.  I can’t help but wonder what I’ll really think of Kill Bill then.  Whatever, in the meantime, I’ll give KB:V2 three bananas.  For a cheaper evening, stay home and rent Kill Bill: Volume One.  While you’re at the video store pick up a “My Dinner With Andre,” you know, just to balance things out. I could be wrong. I am only a monkey

No matter how long I dream about it,
I don't remember
the last time I
woke up
feeling sexy. 

-Duke B. Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by Guillermo Del Toro Starring: Ron Perlman, John Hurt, Selma Blair, Karel Roden, and Rupert Evans  Written by:  Guillermo Del Toro & Peter Briggs Based on the Comic Book by Mike Mignola  In theaters now.

There is a scene in
Hellboy, wherein Ron Perlman stops fighting a hound/beast/reptile (think of the frog looking things that attack Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters) to save a box full of kittens and hands them safely to their frantic owner-lady.  He then pets them softly with his big hammerfist fingers.  It’s a gentle moment.  One that begs the questions, “JUST HOW F*@KING POWERFUL IS THE NEFARIOUS CAT LOBBY THAT HAS INFILTRATED HOLLYWOOD?”  Huh? How powerful indeed?

Don’t think I didn’t notice,
catpeople! Same time last year, we were forced to watch Wolverine snkkt his adamantium claws at a big fuzzy one, in X-Men United.  Yep.  There it was followed by the forced “Awwww…” in the theater as the little feline cutely, gently licked at said claws. 

Twice in the last year, I have been played.  I ain’t playing no more.  I refuse to have the
feline agenda shoved down my throat at every turn.

For the unitiated, back in the day,
Hitler was into the occult (for details see Raiders of the Lost Ark).  He tapped Rasputin (yeah, the guy who was supposed to die back in the Russian teens) and some other Nazi villains (a blonde chick and a half man/ half wind-up-clock guy) to open up Hell and rock in the Armageddon, Third Reich style.  The plan all went awry when some scrappy Americans shot up the operation, but not before a spawn of Satan got let out of the bag.  He was named Hellboy and, in a triumph of nurture over nature, he now fights for good and likes Baby Ruth candy bars AND KITTENS!!!!!

Sadly, the cat thing was the most compelling element for me in
Hellboy.  It was a decent set up but ultimately anything that could be brought down but a box of cats, isn’t really on good footing to start with.  Visually it looks cool-- lots of effects, explosions,  beasties, fire, etc.  Director Del Toro loads up the frames nicely and the story is okay.  But it doesn’t really know what it wants to be.  It’s kind of campy/cheesy but not enough so to make it great popcorn fodder.  The script is all over the place.  The villains bored the hell out of me.  (No pun intended).  Near the end, I just kept waiting for it to end.  Then when it did, I thought, “Huh? That was the end?” 

I mean, Ron Perlman is great in it.  Good presence, the humor is there, but there was no real connection with his nemesis.  It was all kind of thrown together.  I found myself thinking, “Hey, where’d that
Nazi chick go?” Then later I found myself thinking, “Hey, where’d that Nazi chick come from?”  Then I really didn’t care.

I dunno.  This weekend, like last there wasn’t much that was appealing to me.  It was this or
Walking Tall (Home on the Range looked like a B-grade Loony Tune and The Prince and Me was not an option)  and I’ve already seen The Rock on the big screen once in the past twelve months.  Hellboy it was.  That said, I give Hellboy two half hearted  bananas.  For a cheaper evening, stay home and rent “X-Men,” while you’re at the video store pick up “The Omen,” that kid was from Hell.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey

No matter how
hard I fixate,
I've yet to develop
a fetish of any
real consequence. 

-Duke B. Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by Joel & Ethan Coen Starring: Tom Hanks, Shawn Wayans, JK Simmons, Irma P. Hall, Tzi Ma  Written by:  Joel & Ethan Coen Based on the Screenplay by William Rose  In theaters now.

There are people out there who will love this movie. They will love it because they’ve been conditioned to love it.  They’ll take the goodwill set up by
Raising Arizona, The Big Lebowski,  Forrest Gump and Turner & Hooch and they’ll automatically assume that this movie was just as good because it’s the Coen’s with Tom Hanks.  They will be wrong.  Tom Hanks. The Coen Brothers.  Soundtrack by T Bone Burnett. Sounds like a sure fire winner.  It really does.  The big question then is: Why did this movie make me wish I’d see Scooby Doo 2 instead?

Why? Why did I walk out of the theater thinking I would’ve been just as well off seeing a
Freddie Prinze Jr. movie? 

Right off the bat would be my long held contention that
anything Shawn Wayans touches turns to shite.  (This contention generally holds true for any project associated with the lesser Wayans’: Shawn and Marlon.) That would be the surface analysis.  That would be wrong this time though.  As far as I can tell, you can only screw up something that could’ve gone right in the first place. 

Wayans’  Gawain, along with J.K. Simmons Irritable Bowel Syndrome afflicted Pancake, and Ryan Hurst’s Lump all rank up (or down) with the least inspired/engaging characters in the Coen cannon.  This is a huge accomplishment, after all the Coen brothers made Catherine Zeta-Jones seem heartless and condescending (<-- irony).  We all know the brothers’ characters/caricatures are generally broad and require deft exaggeration to come to life, but for lack of a better phrase, these people suck.  I’ve seen
better character development on the UPN network

There’s a small contingent of people who have seen the original English version of The Ladykillers with Alec "Obi-Wan Kenobi" Guiness.   These people tend to  have chips on their shoulders about the new version.  Me? Didn’t see it. 
Didn’t care.  I looked forward to seeing Hanks spread his wings and return to a more devilish style of comedy.  I mean, really ever since Philadelphia, he’s been kind of neutered.  Let’s not forget, this was the guy who starred in Bachelor Party and the pseudo-bestial Splash.  It’s a shame the Coen Brother picked this dud to match up in.  It’s a real shame.   A real shame.

There’s not much left to say about this.  I guess it wasn’t bad enough to make me wish I’d sat through Ben Affleck in Jersey Girl. That doesn’t say much though, I'm still on the fence with Freddie Prinze, Jr.  I give this one and a half banana’s.  For a cheaper evening stay home and rent “Hudsucker Proxy.”  While you’re at the video store pick up “Toy Story 2.”  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey

With each passing
day, I trust people
who pee loudly
less and less. 

-Duke B. Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by Zack Snyder Starring: Sarah Polley, Ving Rhames, Jake Weber, Mekhi Phifern.  Written by:  James Gunn Based on the Screenplay by George Romero  In theaters now.

“There are a few
big questions this weekend.  The first is box office.  Which movie about the dead coming back and walking the earth will hit biggerDawn of the Dead or The Passion of the Christ?  Both are stories that have been told before.  The source material for both has a rabid religious following.  TPOTC has more merchandising tie-ins.  (Anyone else find those “Jesus Nail Necklaces” offensive?) TPOTC is also gorier and more violent than DOTD.  I guess it depends on which congregation heads to the theater faster; church goers or food courters. 

The other big questions are: “Since when do
zombies run so fast?  I mean, I know they’re dead but don’t they get winded?  Where’d all this strength come from?  Shouldn't  it be fairly easy to kick the deads asses?  Why are these zombies so hell bent on biting when they’re not doing any eating?"  and "Do you really need to kill a zombie baby?"  I mean, even if it tries to bite, it has no teeth."

It’s just some stuff to
chew on, although  I have heard some really violent reactions to the notion of running zombies.  Eh.  If running zombies is a deal breaker for you, then avoid this movie.  These zombies are fast.  Like Jesse Owens fast.  It’s crazy shite.  They’re ugly too.  But we all knew that. 

Last year, there was a terribly weak remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, so my expectations on this one were low.  I was intrigued by the notion of Sarah Polley making a big budget horror flick, but outside of that stunt casting… eh.   I figured it would bite.  Not in a cool zombie bite way but bite as in "suck."

Then the movie got off to a
fast start. So fast I didn’t even notice the credits hadn’t run until about ten minutes in.  Then when the opening theme was Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” I got really into it.  (The ending song is The Jim Carroll Band’s “People Who Died.”  Ha ha ha ha! Get it!).  As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t generally like compare remakes (re-envisionings) with their originals. So I won’t do it here.  I mean, they both have zombies. They both use the mall as a consumerist haven metaphor. Both are scary and funny.  But that’s pretty much it. 

The fact is, this is a fun movie.  It’s not fun in the played out “
We’re-self-consciously-deconstructing-the-genre-and-winking-at-you!-What-fun?!” way that hit so big and was endlessly replicated after the Scream Trilogy took off.  It’s fun in the cool "blood-guts-and-screams” way that has been missing from the multiplexes for years.  I could go on but why bother?  It’s a zombie movie.  Zombies kill. Zombies get killed. It's a better zombie movie  than “28 Days Later," in case you're handicapping your interest against that piece of shite.  All in all I’ve give DOTD three bananas.  For a cheaper evening stay home and rent the “Night of the Living Dead” while you’re at the video store pick up “Army of Darkness.”  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey

There is no
lonelier feeing
than the one you get
when eating ice cream and watching reality gameshows
by yourself.

Honestly, try it sometime.

-Duke B. Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Directed by Michel Gondy Starring: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Tom Wilkinson, Elijah Wood, Kirsten Dunst, Mark Ruffalo  Written by:  Charlie Kaufman   In theaters now.

This movie could’ve been an Earth Shattering, Heart-Breaking Work of Unsurpassed Intellectual Spectacle.  It could’ve been.

I mean, sure
Jim Carrey finally really acts (not mugs, not over emotes a la “The Majestic”).  Sure, Kate Winslet nails a dead on accent AND creates a character so captivatingly f*@ked up that it’s impossible not to understand on a whimsically romantic level how a person could fall in love with her.  Sure, Michel Gondry creates a visually seamless dream world and maintains the urgency and intimacy necessary to make this compelling.  Sure, Charlie Kaufman turns out what is (in)arguably his most emotionally connected, fully realized work so far….

But here’s the problem.  If the whole thing is based on the idea of memory being so fragile and so precious, shouldn’t they have made “ESOTSM” utterly forgettable?  THAT MY FRIENDS would’ve been really funny.  Or better yet maybe they should’ve left out the beginning or the end, then people would think they forgot something big and maybe they would have to pay to go see it again just to make sure.  You know, give it a M. Knight Shymalan-esque twist.  They could’ve played this whole memory loss thing to the hilt and milked it for every freakin’ box office dollar possible. 

If they’d done that then it would’ve been an unqualified “Earth Shattering, Heart-Breaking Work of Unsurpassed Intellectual Spectacle.”  BUT they didn’t. 
As it is, it’s just Genius.  Better luck next time.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey
Directed by Todd Phillips Starring: Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Snoop Dogg, Vince Vaugh, Fred Williamson, Chris Penn, Juliette Lewis (an Uncredited Will Ferrell).  Written by:  John O'Brien, Todd Phillips, Scot Armstrong, Based on characters by William Blinn  In theaters now.

Will Ferrell should be in everything. Period.  I have spoken.  That’s all you have to know.  You can stop reading right now.  That’s it. Stop reading.  Read no more.  The end.

I vaguely remember the old
Starsky and Hutch series.  Mainly due to reruns on various UHF stations. I think it was channel 26 in Houston, TX.  I don’t remember the call letters.  There was a little 13” TV in the Johnson Space center break room, it was empty on the weekends.  Not a bad set up.  Free coffee.  Off limits to tourists.  The reception sucked.  But what are you going to do? 

Anyway, it really doesn’t matter if you remember the show or not.  The NEW “Starsky and Hutch” movie doesn’t have much to do with it.  There’s a red
Gran Torino that speeds and jumps.  There’s a Huggy Bear and funks and informs.  A blonde. A brunette.  That’s pretty much it. 

If you saw
Old School--  almost all the Todd Phillips principles are here again,   Vaughn, Ferrel, Lewis, Snoop, a Wilson brother—the jokes are pretty similar.  New developments, Stiller is uptight.  Wilson is laidback.  Okay.  Cool. 

This should’ve been funnier.  Really.  It should’ve.  Don’t get me wrong.  I
laughed. I laughed out loud.  But I didn’t laugh like I did for Old School. I didn’t laugh like I did for Zoolander.

I mean, I get it.  I understand the joke… It’s a spoof of “Starsky and Hutch.”  It’s like the Old Starsky and Hutch only funnier (New Coke is like Old Coke but sweeter).  Ha ha ha ha ha.  It takes the conventions of the shows and makes them funny.  Ha ha ha ha ha.  WAIT! Didn’t I already see that?  WAIT! Didn’t I see that for free?  WAIT! Wasn’t that a Beastie Boy’s video????

I mean, I love Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller as a comedy duo BUT this could’ve been so much better AND the way it would’ve been better was to just put them in a cop buddy movie.  They don’t need the names Starsky and Hutch.  Then, maybe they wouldn’t I wouldn’t be waiting in the theater for the cavalry (Ferrell) to come in and make the whole thing funny again. 

I give Starsky and Hutch two and a half banana’s.  The got the half for Ferrell’s cameo.  For a cheaper evening rent Old School and check MTV2 for replays of the Beastie’s “Sabotage” video.  I could be wrong.  I am only a monkey.

The more I think
about it,
the more I realize...
I don't think
I've ever had
a really good bowl
of cottage cheese.

None springs to mind.

-Duke B. Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
The Passion of the Christ
Directed by Mel Gibson Starring: James Caviezel, Monica Bellucci, Maia Morgenstern, Rosalinda Celentano Written:. Benedict Fitzgerald & Mel Gibson  Based on the The Bible and stuff. In Theaters Now

Okay, first things first. 
I haven't seen the movie.  Nope.  Just a couple of clips on tv and some vid on the internet.  I haven't even read the screenplay.  Nor have I talked to anyone who's done either.  BUT I have read a bunch of articles by people who have or have not seen it, or have or have not read the screen play, or have or have not gotten other peoples opinions on either.  Which given the current climate makes me fully qualified to post something here.

Seeing as all the reviews I’ve read about
The Passion of the Christ have mostly been about the social implications of the film, I figured I’d just write about that and skip the review.  It made sense to me anyway.  Unless, you’ve been living under a rock you know there is a big controversy about blah, blah, blah, the violence, blah, blah, blah, radical Catholic sect, blah, blah, blah, anti-Semitism

The prevailing sentiment seems to be that the film might spur those who are prone to violence to be
violent?  Well, if someone is prone to violence, wouldn’t ANYTHING spur them?  I mean, how do we know they wouldn’t be spurred by deformed rats singing about Quiznos?  I grab violently for the remote when I see that.  I guess it doesn’t really matter though. I haven’t been to Quiznos since the time that old guy sneezed right into his hands and then asked me what I wanted on my sub, without washing them.  Mind you, that was an isolated incident.  I’m not out to bash Quiznos or incite others to bash Quiznos.

Secondly, the Anti-Semitism thing.  I’m not jumping on either bandwagon BUT (here’s the BUT) say we have a worst case scenario thing.  Worst case scenario.  Say someone does play the “
You killed Jesus” card.  Worse things have happened right?  I mean, somebody had to do it.  People don’t just nail themselves to stuff.  Once again, this is Worst Case Scenario. BUT (another BUT) even if someone were to make this a bone of contention if someone hadn’t “killed Jesus” there wouldn’t be any Christianity, would there?

Nope. Not a whit.  I mean, Jesus would’ve had a nice message but in the end people would be like, “Well, he said some nice things but he really didn’t DO much, did he?”  So, really if someone were responsible for say “killing Jesus,” then that person or those persons would have actually done a wonderful
service for all of Christiandom, right? 

Not that this matters.  I mean, apparently (from what I’ve heard, I still haven’t seen the movie) the
Romans do most of the abusing.  For some reason, no one blames the Romans. Ironic, that the Vatican is located in Rome, huh?

Regardless, I still haven’t seen
The Passion of the Christ. I may do so this weekend.  If I do, I will make it a point not to update my review or add a banana rating.  Everyone seems to have their minds made up about it going in.  So, go see it if you want.  You either are or you aren’t. I’ll leave the bananas in God’s hands.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey
Directed by Jeff Schaffer Starring: Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts, Michelle Trachtenberg , Travis Wester, Fred Armisen.  Written by:  Alec Berg, David Mandel &  Jeff Schaffer  In theaters now.

First things first, did anybody here know a
freakin’ medium drink cost $4.03?!?!?! When the f*@k did that happen?   All this time I’ve gotten my popcorn and what not and when they added up I never really thought about it.  Today, I figured I’d save a few bucks, sneak in a snack and just pay for a medium drink.  Then chk-chk BOOM! $4.03! FOR A MEDIUM!!!!!

Boy, did I need something to make me laugh and get my mind off lobby robberyUnfortunately, I was sitting in front of a screen showing me EuroTrip.

Last year at this time when Donald Rumsfeld was using denigrating terms like “
Old Europe” it became very easy for Europeans to hate Americans.  Hate Us!  We were the symbol for all that was vile, violent, loud, and fat in the world.  Thus, the stage was set and the market was created for EuroTrip, a would-be cathartic opportunity for us stateside to thumb our noses at those who live with theirs turned up.  Unfortunately, once again what we got was EuroTrip.

Remember, when the words “
From the people who brought you Road Trip…” meant something? Neither do I.  Oh well, you get what you deserve. 

Long story short.  Nice “predictable” guy gets dumped by girl. To prove he’s not “predictable” he goes on a trip to Europe and find the girl of his dreams.  They do “crazy” stuff.  Blah blah blah….

Euro Trip, starring a “
who’s that?” roster of young Hollywood players, is the kind of movie where hungover people use the phrase “I’m never drinking again,” for laughs. Ba-dum-bum! It establishes it’s Euro-cred by tossing in some Guy Ritchie players in cameos.  It shows a bunch of fat wrinkly naked Euro-ass running on the beach for comic effect.   It’s really, very… boring.

Don’t get me wrong.  I wanted to laugh. I knew the attempts would be low-brow.  I figured it would only
kind of suck.  I was let down.  I’d go into more detail on the movie but I completely forgot everything about it the minute I left.  Fred Arminsen was kind of funny as the sleazy Italian guy. Matt Damon makes the funniest appearance in the movie in a cast-against-type cameo.   That’s pretty much it.  Save your cash.  You can think of funnier things sitting on your couch.  All in all, I give EuroTrip one banana. For a cheaper evening, stay home and rent National Lampoon’s Vacation. While you’re at the video store pick up Porky’s.  They’re old movies and should be cheap rentals.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey
Today, I remembered
my Superman

I felt sad afterward.

-Duke B. Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by: Peter Segal Starring: EAdam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Rob Scheider, Brian Doyle Murray, Sean Astin, a penguin and a walrus.  Written by: George Wing In theaters now.

SPOILER: Adam Sandler gets the Girl.

There, I said it.  Be angry if you want.  Yes. I
ruined your movie experience. I took away all the suspense.  There’s almost no reason to spend your money.  After all, why would you want to sit through all the build up and emotional investment if you already know how it’s going to end? Right?  Right?!  Wrong. 

Even the memory challenged female lead in this film has seen enough of these movies to know that “love” will prevail in the end… once wacky hi-jinks have ensued.

In their first pairing since
The Wedding Singer, Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore cute things up in Hawaii.  Sandler plays Henry Roth a love 'em and leave 'em at the airport tourist ho.  Roth specializes in creating memorable weeks for Hawaiian vacationers, secure in the knowledge that these travelers can never nail him down for a post vacation commitment.  All that changes when he meets a girl who can never remember him. 

For some reason this has a profound effect on Sandler, who decides
AGAINST ALL ODDS that this is the girl for him.  What to do? What to do? Wacky hi-jinks ensue

Alright, brass tacks time.  50FD,
isn’t bad.  It isn’t great.  Actually, it takes a while to warm up.  You may find yourself squirming in your seat earlier on, waiting for it to get solidly funny.  Eh.  Eventually, the chuckles form.  That’s not really the point though.  The point is this is supposed to be a comedy for all at Valentines Day.  Eh. Okay. Sure thing. 

The truth is, I wasn’t particularly moved by 50FD.  It wasn’t really, really funny.  It wasn’t really, really romantic.  Not that I’d notice.  It was just kind of there.  Ironically, or rather fittingly, 50FD is half cute and half completely
forgettable. Including the soundtrack, which consists of really cool eighties hits lamely remade by current artists.  Seriously, who in Karaoke hell could possibly think those renditions of "Lips Like Sugar" and "Every Breath You Take" were soundtrack worthy?  What were the losers of American Idol unavailable for studio time?  Think people!   

All in all, I’ll give it a couple of banana’s because the walrus and the penguin were coo..  For a cheaper evening, stay at home and rent “Groundhogs Day” (because everyone else will be renting The Wedding Singer), while you’re at the video store pick up “Memento.”  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey
If you foward this page to 23 people Microsoft will pay you $100 each.  Really, it's not a lie. A friend of mine swear it's true.

-Duke B. Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by: Gavin O'Connor Starring: Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Noah Emmerich, A bunch of guys who play hockey
Written By: Eric Guggenheim   In Theatres Now

I miss the Soviet UnionBabushka wearing, straight-faced, no toilet paper having, Vodka swilling, evil empire.  Where have you gone Konstantin Chernenko? Our nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you.  Woo hoo hoo.  It’s nice to have a fully embodied enemy.  Sure, there was a constant fear of The Bomb BUT at least we knew where to focus our ire and suspicion. We don’t have that anymore. Miracle makes you wish Al-Qaeda had a hockey team.  Really.  Terrorists don’t look like particularly strong athletes.    In fact, I defy Osama Bin-Laden to well pretty much anything except beard growing.  Let’s settle this on the court/field/rink.  (I’ll be releasing this challenge to Al-Jazeera later in the week. Stay tuned.)

But I digress, The Miracle at Lake Placid (listed by SI as the Greatest Moment of the 20th Century), was the anti-dote this country needed.  It was a sip from the Holy Grail.  Anyone who believes we are in
dark times now simply need sit through the opening credits of Miracle for a little perspective (Mind you this was back in the days when we were still regarded by much of the world as The Good Guys).  This is what makes Miracle great.  One of the things Gavin O’Connor does is recreate the mood and the desire for these kids to win.  It establishes the weight of the event as being greater than the sum of its points, as more than just a game.

Kurt Russell gives a great performance as
Herb Brooks.  He even does the accent without seeming like a parody (Despite the wardrobe.  This guy could be the worst dressed of all time.  Really kids. People looked that ridiculous back then.  Check out the real footage of Al Michaels.).  The play works too.  It’s good to have real skaters in there.  Nice editing work brings the whole thing together in building the tension. 

I didn’t think my first foray back into the the movie theater would be for what I originally figured would be Disney fluff.  But I am satisfied.  Really. 
After weeks of “Torque,” “Butterfly Effect,” “You Got Served”….  I didn’t know whether to gouge my eyes out or slash my wrists. On the plus side I did save a few bucks and got to catch up on my porn surfing.  But I digress, thank you Disney for giving me something to root for.

This was a
great sports movie.  This is not a sports movie for people who think “Summer Catch” or “The Program” were great sports movies.  It’s not the sports movie for people who think “Varsity Blues” is a great sports movie.  This is a movie for people who think “Rudy” was great, for people who think “Hoosiers” was great. 

After a week of great sports moments over-shadowed by a
middle aged woman’s right boobie, I was in the mood for the depiction of a time when the event was The Event.  I give Miracle four bananas.  For a cheaper evening, stay at home and watch “Hoosiers”  while you’re at the video store pick up “Slap Shot” the definitive hockey movie. I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.

Is this thing on?

-Duke Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by: Tim Burton  Starring:  Ewen McGregor, Albert Finney, Jessica Lange, Allison Lohman, Steve Buscemi, Helena Bonham Carter
Written By: Daniel Wallace & John August   In Theatres Now

Tim Burton is a
visual genius.  No matter how hard I looked at the screen, I couldn’t figure out how he did it.  I actually turned to the person next to me and asked, “Isn’t Robert Guillaume supposed to be dead?  How come he’s alive here?”  Sure enough, the person sitting next to me was befuddled.  Burton is a GENIUS! (Okay, after I wrote that I did a little research.  Turns out Robert Guillaume is not dead.  Strange how many people think that. Still, even if he can’t re-animate the dead, Burton can turn out a good flick. )

Big Fish tells a
tall tale life story of Edward Bloom (Young Ewan McGregor/Old Albert Finney).  Edward’s a master storyteller who recounts every instance with unashamed hyperbole.  His son William (Billy Crudup) has fallen out with Dad because he doesn’t really feel like he knows the old man and is disillusioned by the stories. 

This is really the main weak point of the story.  What?  Oooh. You’re

But I digress, the beauty of the movie is in the stories.  Whether it’s the gentle giant, a
slimy baby sliding across the hall, a time frozen cat, or the crazy re-animation of a once dead Robert Guillaume.  Burton gives you plenty to look at but, once again, that’s all in the creation of the story world.  When it gets back to Crudup’s misguided whining…(audible thud).

Still, though Burton impresses with his visual flair,  I
wasn’t really WOWED by this movie.  Not totally.  Don’t get me wrong. I liked it. Liked it a lot more than much of what I’ve seen lately.  January to March is usually the shite storm of crap the studios like to unload because they know none of it is remotely Oscar worthy (Torque, My Baby’s Daddy, Butterfly Effect are either here already or coming soon).  So, the fact that Big Fish lured me out of my nook and into the theater was a huge achievement in itself.  Having said that, I couldn’t help but feel it should’ve been better.

It’s kind of like the
Pearl Jam song at the end.  Ten years ago, I loved Pearl Jam.  Ten years ago they would have had a kick ass song.  Now it’s just a song that’s pleasant.  Not too bad BUT not something I’m going to look at in ten years and go, " Dude that rocked!"  Not like “Jeremy” or “Porch” or “Black” or “Rearview  Mirror.”  “Big Fish” is nice. It’s good.  It’s very good.  But not like “Edward Scissorhands” or “Beetlejuice” or “Batman.”  All are very different movies and it’s really not fair to compare the works against each other BUT you know how it is.

All in all I’ll give it two and a half  bananas.  For a cheaper evening rent “Edward Scissorhands.” While you’re at the video store pick up “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” maybe.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.

Much thanks to everyone
who sent their
best wishes,
while I was laid up
at the Pet Hospital
over the holiday.

To everyone else,
screw you,
you self absorbed

-Duke Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Starring: Ian McKellan, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen, Liv Tyler, Hugo Weaving, Sean Astin  
Screenplay by: Frances Walsh, Philippa Boyenss & Peter Jackson
Based on: The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King  In theaters now.

Ends of trilogies scare me.  Not in the way, that scratchy  June Bug legs scare me.  Not in the way that Paris Hiltons skeleton scares me.  Not in the way that people who believe in Angels scare me.  But they scare me nevertheless.  I guess in my own irrational way, I am always afraid they will end with Ewoks dancing and chanting something that sounds like “Yah wah eee chop yah wah…”.   It’s an irrational fear but it’s my fear.  I own it. Fine.

So, it’s nice to report there are no dancing Ewoks at any of the ends of Return of the King.  That’s pretty much all you need to know. 

Unless you’ve been
living under a rock for the last three years, you know that Frodo and Sam along with Gollum (the CGI embodiment of Andy Serkis’ raspy growling) are heading to Mount Doom to destroy The Ring (not to be confused with the one that kills you seven days after you see it).  You also know that the Big Flaming Eye called Sauron (which some people think looks like a big Flaming Womans Thingie) wants to kill them and get the ring back.  Because it’s his and all. 

You also know that men and elves, a wizard, a dwarf and a few hobbits are fighting Saurons Evil Forces to buy some time for Sam and Frodo and Gollum. 

You also know that
no matter what I say you’re either going to see this movie or you’re not.  You’re most likely reading this just to see if I thought the same thing you did or not.  I fully understand. So, I’ll keep this short and sweet.

CHICKS STILL REALLY DIG ORLANDO BLOOM! Those same chicks will love the movie but complain later on that he wasn’t in it much.

THE BATTLE SEQUENCES ARE COOL! But really the Battle of Helms Deep in The Two Towers was better.  There was more fear and emotion attached to it.  While the Ghost Army is kind of cool looking, it’s also a little bit of a let down because ultimately an army really should leave some blood and guts on the field. 

THE CGI KICKS ASS and it’s not like George Lucas style cgi.  I mean you realize that the spider has to be an effect BUT the stuff looks as real as it can.  Jackson still has that nice touch of not letting the effects overrun the story.

IT REALLY IS THREE HOURS AND TWENTY ONE MINUTES LONG. People say you won’t notice it. BUT you will.  Just pace yourself on the large drink and go to the bathroom at least twice before it starts, just to make sure.  Also, don’t get up the first time you think it’s over.  It’s not over.  Also, don’t get up the second time you think it’s over.  It’s not over.  Also, don’t get up the third time you think it’s over.  It’s not over.  Also, don’t get up the fourth time you think it’s over.  It’s not over…

POINTS OF REFERENCE It’s more satisfying resolution than Return of the Jedi and not a cop out like Matrix Reloaded.  Those are the big questions on your mind.  Jackson does not pull a Lucas.  Anything else I say is just going to waste your time.  Four Bananas.  For a cheaper evening stay at home and read the books.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.

Does anyone
read these

-Duke Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by: Peter and Bobby Farrelly
Starring: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Eva Mendes, Cher, Seymour Cassel, Wen Yann Shih
Written By: Peter and Bobby Farrelly    In  Theatres Now

I’m as  big a
Lionel Richie fan as the next guy.  “Truly,” “Endless Love,” and “Hello” are all skating rink couples skate classics.  I know lately his idiot daughter Nicole has been getting all the press for acting like a slutty, skank airhead with her buddy Paris Hilton, so it was good to see the old man get his due.  Opening the same weekend was “Love Don’t Cost Thing” (titled after a song by J-Lo but really a remake of “Can’t Buy Me Love” titled after a Beatles song) and of the two, I figured I would much prefer a movie based on Lionel Richies “Stuck on You.” (<-- From his classic “Can’t Slow Down Album”).


Okay, here we are with another
Farrelly Brothers movie.  It was the cause of great excitement for me.  Dumb and Dumber, Something About Mary, and KingPin (BILL MURRAY RULES!) are huge favorites of mine.  So, I’m sad to say Stuck On You, ain’t that great.  Don’t get me wrong. It’s funny in parts. There are some good chuckles, but no laugh you’re a$$ off  moments.  It’s a bit tame.  It’s a gentler, kinder Farrelly Brothers movie.  WHY? WHY?!!!

We don’t need this.  We don’t need a
family film.  Bad Santa raised the bar.  I mean, all their movies have a feel good quality.  There are fond relationships between their characters buried underneath the diarrhea jokes and the ear semen.   We don’t need to be beat on the head with the “We mean well” sentiment.  It’s a cop out. 

Once again, this isn’t a bad movie.  Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear are likeable in their
sublime cluelessness,  Seymour Cassel is typically awesome as the dated sleazy agent guy and Eva Mendes boobs light up the screen.  BUT it’s just a little empty inside.  There’s no kick. No bite. It’s a Farrelly Brothers movie you can take Grandma to see.   I dunno what to say.  I give it 2 Bananas.  For a cheaper evening stay home and rent “Something About Mary” while you’re at the video store pick up conjoined twin classic “Twin Falls Idaho.”  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.
I am staring you down with my words.

-Duke B. Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
The Last Samurai
Directed by: Edward Zwuck
Starring: Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Koyuki, Tony Goldwyn, Timothy Spall
Written By: John Logan, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskowitz In  Theatres Now

Dances with Braveheart?  I dunno.  For the first 30 minutes of this movie, it’s very difficult to shake the BIG  question; Who would be much better in this movie than Tom Cruise? Or maybe, who wouldn’t have?  Russell Crowe? Mel Gibson?  Brad Pitt?  Viggo Mortensen?  Hugh Jackman?  Johnny Depp?  At least it wasn’t Ben Affleck

I mean, don’t get me wrong.  I am not averse to Tom Cruise, it’s just that he’s not right for a
period piece.  He is very “of the times.”  Whether it’s sliding across the living room floor in his underwear, flying across the skies in an F-16 with his buddy Goose or screaming “Show me the money….”  That’s who he is.  So, you spend the beginning of the movie wondering “What if?

There’s a lot of
disbelief to suspend. Yes sir, a lot of disbelief.  Still, even though we’ve really seen this movie before (Gladiator. Braveheart. Dances with Wolves.  Shogun, etc.) , The Last Samurai does deliver.  That's mainly because it’s all about making the star look really, really, really, heroic, which it does.

It also makes a really neat travelers brochure for the
Japanese tourist bureau. Everything is beautiful in the movie.  The countryside, the mountains, the training, the fighting, the quiet widow (Koyuki).  Pretty, pretty, pretty.  That’s pretty much it. 

Cruise plays a
tortured American soldier, who wrestles with the demons of his past as an Indian (Native American) slaughterer.  He goes to Japan to train them in the soulless ways of  American-style combat.  He get’s captured by the Samurai.  He learns their ways and then can’t go back to his old ones.  That’s pretty much it.  He holds his breath. He tears up.  He says the right things in the end.  He lives happily ever after.  Blah blah blah.  (At least Mel and Russell had the courage to die in the end.) 

Really, there’s not much to say about this movie.  It’s good. But IT SHOULD BE because the whole point of these three hours  is to get Tom Cruise the same Oscar that Russell Crowe, Mel Gibson and Kevin Costner have already gotten for the same role.  What makes it’s good though is the supporting cast, mostly Japanese actors unfamiliar to American audiences,  particularly Ken Watanabe as Katsumoto (not to be confused with Gedde Watanabe “
Long Dux Dong” in Sixteen Candles.) 

All in all, I’ll give this three bananas and what not even if it is miscast in the lead.   For a cheaper evening stay home and rent
“Gladiator” “BraveHeart” or “Dances with Wolves” while you’re at the video store pick up “Cocktail” for a look at Cruise in his natural element.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.

The Lollipop
gives me the

-Duke Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by: Terry Zwigoffo Welch
Starring: Billy Bob Thornton, Tony Cox, Brett Kelly, Bernie Mac, Lauren Graham & John Ritter
Written By: John Requa & Glenn Ficarra In  Theatres Now

“I’ve seen some pretty s#!%%y things in my life but nothing has ever sucked a$$ like this.” If you’re a
parent who stupidly brought your kid to “Bad Santa” thinking they were in for “Santa Clause 3,” then Billy Bob Thornton has given you your last warning in the first 60 seconds of the movie.  GET THE HELL OUT! GET THE HELL OUT, NOW!  DO NOT FUMBLE FOR YOUR KEYS! DO NOT COLLECT YOUR POPCORN! JUST GO.


Seriously, I haven’t done an official internet search yet, BUT I think Bad Santa may set the record for most cuss words in a major film released in the last ten years.  The script makes “Reservoir Dogs” read like “Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day.”   The film is disgusting, visually and verbally.  It is tasteless on every front.  Its characters are unappealing.  On the whole, it is profane…. So what?  I laughed anyway.  This is just what I needed.

Last week, I sat in a dark theater watching
Cat in the Hat.  It ruined Dr. Seuss and tried to fool me into thinking it was family entertainment.  It gave me supposed “innuendo for the adults” and crass commercialism for the kids.  It faked its way along with bad direction and witless scripting and passed itself off as a “holiday movie.” I can still taste my own bile thanks to CitH.  Bad Santa is the antidote.  Yes.  It is everything a holiday movie isn’t supposed to be.  Yes.  It is unapologetic.  Yes. There are people who will disagree violently about whether it’s good or not, funny or not.  BUT BS is just what it claims to be.  I respect that.  There will be no merchandise tie ins for it.  There will be no Happy Meals.  There will be no Billy Bob Thornton Dolls (that puke liquor scented vomit when you squeeze his tummy) filling the bins of the 99¢ Store this February.  Strangely enough, in it’s own virulent way, BS does wind up leaving you with a shot of the Christmas Spirit.  The shot does taste like crap and will require a chaser but it’s a shot never-the-less.

Why Not.
This week the LA Times published the following letter about BS.  “After
war, genocide and ethnic cleansing, we should all know this – good things are finite; bad things are infinite.  Santa Claus is a good thing.  Why should any artist deconstruct one of the few good things for the sake of a few randy jokes? Gerald Mackey, Marina Del Rey.

While I think Gerald Mackey of Marina Del Rey, is an
overdramatic a$$, I realize there are plenty of people out there who must use images of genocide to qualify their opinions of tasteless movies they haven’t seen.  If you’re one of these people, DO NOT SEE BAD SANTA.  If you aren’t one of these people, go.  Enjoy yourself. BUT don’t say you weren’t warned. Everyone who sees a commercial for BS will know before they plop down their money if they’re going to like it or not.  How much you do or don’t is what’s up for grabs. That’s the beauty of it.  I give BS three booze soaked eff-ing bananas.  For a cheaper evening, stay home and rent “Christmas Story”. While you’re at the video store pick up a copy of “South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut.” I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.

Send me money
for Christmas.

Thanks in advance.

-Duke Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by: Bo Welch
Starring: Mike Myers, Alec Baldwin, Sean Hayes, Dakota Fanning, Spencer Breslin, Kelly Preston
Written By: Alec Berg, David Mandel  &  Jeff Schaffer Based on Dr. Seuss. In  Theatres Now

There should be a reference point – a quick sound bite that explains the
cinematic horror that is “Cat in the Hat” – the words “WORSE THAN ‘THE HULK,’” come to mind.  Not since The Zapruder Film has something  this patently unfunny been unleashed into our shared cultural experience.  If Mike Myers and Bo Welch had knocked me down, gouged out my eyes, sodomized me with a Smash Mouth cd and forcibly stolen my $9...after severing my Achilles tendon to make sure I couldn’t chase them down and avenge myself, THEY STILL would’ve gotten away with far less than what they’ve done to the Legacy of the Late Dr. Seuss.

Yes. It’s just that
bad.  First things first.  I am a Mike Myers fan.  Waynes World, So I Married an Axe Murderer, the first Austin Powers, that kid Simon who does “drawerings”… all good stuff.  I would pay to see a Simon the Movie.  I wish I had.  Myers' CitH, however isn’t even good enough for the last half hour of SNL.  Who was that guy that did Goat Boy? That guy was funnier than this.  

The biggest almost laugh in the movie was brief cameo by socialite/sex video heiress
Paris Hilton.  And that made me realize I could’ve just stayed home and downloaded her cell phone coitus for free.  If you only see one sample of Paris Hilton entertainment this holiday season DON’T make it CitH.

I don’t even know where to start.  Was there a script to this movie? Did someone really write this?  Did they even read Dr. Seuss? Who knows?  Watching this, you get the idea that nobody on the screen thought it was funny, either.  Myers even goes through the trouble of laughing at his own “jokes” just so we know when we're supposed to.  By the way, when did Seuss write all the
inappropriate sex jokes or trick kids into saying “S#!t?”  I don’t remember any of that.  

Also, when did
SmashMouth become the official band to do crappy soundtrack covers? For all the SmashMouth I hear, I don’t know anybody who actually owns or would buy one of their albums.   Their cover of The Beatles “Getting Better” did nothing to win me over either.  Honestly, if for nothing else, Michael Jackson deserves brutal jail time for selling out the catalog for this kind of thing.

I really can’t go on.  The Cat in the Hat has forced a new rating for me.  I fling
two angry fists full of feces at this shite.  For a better evening, DO ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING ELSE.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.

that's it. just
-Duke Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by: Lauren Lazin
Starring: Tupac Shakur, Afeni Shakur
Written By: N/A In  Theatres Now

I like the occasional
Elvis in a KFC story as much as the next guy.  I don’t believe them.  Doesn’t really matter.  Dead musicians are great fodder for entertainment.  One of my favorite crap documentaries of all time is “Kurt and Courtney.”  It spends two hours telling you less than nothing. It’s a thing of beauty.  Listening to femmy nobody threaten Courtney Love via third party video from his basement is the closest I've gotten to zen in years. 

Sadly, that kind of moment won't be found in
Tupac: Resurrection. Resurrection!  C’mon people! Let Tupac rest in peace.  He wasn't Hip Hop Christ!  What’s next? The commemorative coin? 

In all honesty, I was never a
huge fan of Tupac.  He scared me.  Remember that movie where he was the guy who walked around with a razor blade in his mouth?  I didn't like that.  Forever after, I would be afraid to piss off the person in front of me at Starbucks.  I mean just because a girl can't decide on a non-fat latte, that doesn't mean she won't slash me with her tongue razor if I say to hurry up.  Yes. That is an irrational fear.  But Yes, it's still there.  Thanks Tupac. You did that to me.

Then there was the whole geography thing. East Coast?  West Coast? Why you gotta pick a side?  Why can't you be
bi-coastal?  Hip hop took the words of the great Mr. Miyagi from the Karate Kid to brutal extreme.  “Walk on left side of the road.  Okay. Walk on right side of the road. Okay. Walk in middle…. Cccrrrcckk like twig." 

I mean don’t get me wrong. When I say I wasn't a fan, that doesn't mean I lack admiration.  Nobody could take a
bullet like Tupac.  Nobody.  This was before it was fashionable.  I mean, 50 Cent’s got about 7 but Tupac set the standard.  I’m not sure I could take one but Tupac, he got shot in the head. IN THE HEAD! I remember once I got thumped in the head and it hurt really, really bad.  I felt sluggish afterward.  But Tupac, he got SHOT IN THE HEAD!  That's pretty crazy.

Anyway, countless of articles and what not have been printed.  Books, MTV specials, documentaries.  Which brings us to Tupac: Resurrection.  It's not one of those things where people talk about the hidden messages in
Don Killuminati: The Seven Day Theory, you know, the messages that prove Tupac is alive.  It's mostly a celebration of his life.  Cool.  Okay.  That's pretty much it.  How do you review a "Celebration of a Life?"  You don't.  Tupac Resurrection is playing in limited release.  If you want to pay your respects feel free.  For a cheaper evening stay home and watch something about Tupac on tv.  Those things run all the time.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.

Off the top
of my head,
I can't think of
anyone I know
who looks
really, really, really,
good in

--Duke Monkey
Directed by: Larry & Andy Wachowski
Starring: Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving, Carrie-Anne Moss, Laurence Fishburne, Jada Pinkett, Monica Bellucci, Lambert Wilson
Written By: Larry & Andy Wachowski In  Theatres Now

millennium a funny thing happened to sci-fi.  While every geek in the world was waiting for George Lucas to give them their childhood back, a little movie called The Matrix slipped under the wire and changed the aesthetic of sci-fi/action.  It had flash. It had style.  It had velocity.  It had a hint of substance and a modicum of maturity.  All of this would have been enough to make it a phenomenon on its own right. But a couple of months later when something named Jar Jar Binks came along, took our money and bitch slapped our intelligence, The Matrix Trilogy officially became The One we put our money on to save sci-fi blockbusters forever.

That’s a lot of pressure.  A lot of pressure.

This pressure explains why everyone seems so intent on jumping on the “This-Movie-Sucks-Matrix-Hating-Bandwagon” right now.

Seriously people, what do you expect from the movie?  We all know that ever since the
original, people have been doing Yeun Wo Ping wire work in 360° Bullet Time, while wearing leather and shades.   It’s not the Wachowski Brothers fault you saw Ben Affleck and Cameron Diaz cop their moves in lesser movies.  Nevertheless, people expect earth shattering effects beyond anything that was ever conceived, much less comprehensible. Nothing less will do.  HERE’S THE COLD HARD TRUTH: It’s gonna take a while.  Remember how long it took for Star Wars to give you the Death Star battle, for Terminator 2 to give you morphing and for The Matrix to give you something you hadn’t seen before.  Technological breakthroughs don’t happen everyday.  Now take a deep breath and get on with your life. 
Everyone is back.  Keanu, Lawrence, Carrie, Hugo, a
facsimile of the Oracle.  Everything picks up where it left off.  The battle is waging.  The future of the human race is at stake.  Yadda yadda yadda.  Explosions. Chases.  Fight scenes. Bullets.  Bigger than life stuff.  Monica Bellucci.  Whew

Along the way,
Neo and Smith fight in a couple of dimensions – visually and narratively.  Along the way, part of you will want Agent Smith to win.  It’s only natural.  Weaving cuts a far more interesting figure as the program/virus Smith than the others do as Humans.  The weird thing about The Matrix Revolutions IS THE FACT THAT THE INHUMAN VILLAINS ARE SO MUCH MORE INTERESTING.  Really.  Smith, Merovingian, Monica Bellucci. Whew.  Still, we know since this is the end, there can only be one outcome.

As the tagline goes, “Everything that has a beginning has an end.”  So be it for The Matrix Revolutions.  What the end exactly means, I’ll leave for you to figure out.  My original fear was that it would all turn out to be a dream and Keanu would wake up still in Johnny Mnemonic.  Luckily, I was wrong.  Still, much like The Matrix Reloaded, The Matrix Revolutions ends not with a bang.  Not with a whimper. But with a “Huh?”  Seriously, take a stop watch and see how long you spend going “Did I miss something?”  Then time how long it takes you to rationalize what you thought you missed but really didn’t.  One Mississippi. Two Mississippi.  Three Mississippi.

Actually, break out the stop watch a little early and time what may be
The Longest Death Scene Ever Committed to Celluloid.  If you don’t agree, you’re wrong.  (History Buffs may claim William Holden in Sunset Boulevard a on technicality.  You’re still wrong. He was already dead at the beginning and just narrated from beyond the grave.)

Anyway, does The Matrix Revolutions
suck? No.  Will it save your childhood? No.  Could it have been better? Yes.  Is it still better than 90 percent of the crap that rips off its visual style? Yes. Is it better overall than the original? No. Should you go see it? By all means.  All in all I give it two and a half bananas.  For a cheaper evening, stay home and rent “The Matrix” while your at the video store pick up “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” Then wonder what ever happened to Alex Winter. I could be wrong.  I am only a monkey.

Don't yawn.

--Duke Monkey
                  The Waiting is the Hardest Part
The normal review, which should be appearing in this space has been postponed.  MonkeyNaut is currently, simultaneously standing in line for a good seat to "Matrix Revolutions" and "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King."  It's a really, really tough life.  These things better be good. 

We did take the time to catch the Directors Cut re-release of "ALIEN."  That was pretty cool.  It was good to see someone clean up their movie without killing it.  THIS MEANS YOU, GEORGE LUCAS!  YEAH!  You single handedly slayed American Cinema when you went bad and re-did "Star Wars."  We didn't need Jabba in it.  Why did you have Greedo shoot first? Huh?  Why couldn't  you leave Han Solo alone?  I fling my feces at you George Lucas.

Anyway, ALIEN was cool.  My how young Sigourney Weaver was then.  Crazy.  That was back before all action chicks had biceps.  She was kind of post hippie waif.  Although, I found it disturbing that you could see her booty crack near the end. It wasn't sexy.  I guess it wasn't supposed to be.  There was something very strange about the whole plumber look on her. I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.
Directed by: David Zucker
Starring: Anna Faris, Charlie Sheen, Simon Rex, Anthony Anderson, Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Leslie Nielsen
Written By: Craig Mozin and Pat Proft  In  Theatres Now

I WAS LIED TO! I bought into the hype.  I bought my ticket and popcorn.  I WAS PLAYED!  There is Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING SCARY ABOUT SCARY MOVIE 3.  Not a scream. Not an eek! Not a flinch.  Not a nada. 

The first two Scary Movies were at least a little scary.  Seriously, watch them and tell me it’s not frightening – the thought that somebody, somewhere thinks the
Lesser Wayans Brothers (Marlon and Shawn) are funny.  That’s pretty creepy.  I mean Damon and Keenan Ivory haven’t been funny in about nine years but the LWB’s make Jim Belushi look Donald Rumsfeld.  (Because really Donald Rumsfeld is funnier than any of them.)

The best thing that happened to Scary Movie 3 was the genius move of putting the movie in the hands of David Zucker (Airplane, Naked Gun, Hot Shots)  and non-Wayans writers Craig Mazin and Pat Proft   (
Star Wars Holiday Special 1978).  The jokes are tighter, the gags are funnier and the tone scatological without going too far overboard.  SM3 ties The Ring, Signs, 8 Mile, Sixth Sense and The Matrix Reloaded into one big mess.  It ain’t a bad mess though.  It has its moments.

Once again Anna Faris is back as Cindy, who is now a semi-dimwitted tv news anchor investigating the strange events that tie all this together.  She is joined by Zucker veterans Charlie Sheen and Leslie Nielsen, along with SM2 alum Regina Hall.  There’s a bunch of cameos too many to name.  Mainly, I just mentioned these to recommend people check out Faris in “
Lost in Translation.”  (If you see “Lost in Translation” be sure to go back and check out Bill Murray in “Rushmore”… but I digress.)

Like all
great cinema (in spite of it’s jokes), SM3 leaves you with a lot of big questions to ponder.  Are those really Pam Anderson’s breasts? Or are they prosthetic exaggerations for comic effect?  Can we rest now, knowing that Jenny McCarthy won’t be claiming a big screen comeback for at least five more years? How many White Boy Rapper comedies can Anthony Anderson and Regina Hall add to their resumes (See Malibu’s Most Wanted)?  What’s up with the Coors Light twins? Where’s that Queen Latifah/Eddie Griffin scene from the commercial? 

Seriously, what happened to that scene? I wanted
more Queen Latifah and Eddie Griffin, at least 3 more minutes worth.  See the movie and tell me it couldn’t of benefited from more Queen and Eddie.  If you disagree, you are wrong.

Anyway, was it funny? Yeah. Was it scary? No.  Did I really expect it to be scary? No.  So don’t write me and tell me I missed the point.  Having said that, there is a movie opening this weekend that looks funny and scary.  Really, what’s up with Cuba Gooding’s teeth in “Radio?”  Anyway, I’ll give SM3 two bananas.  Knock yourself out.  For a cheaper evening stay home and rent “Airplane” while you’re at the video store pick up “Naked Gun.” It’s got O.J. in it. That makes it funny and scary.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.

I am alone
in thinking a
hip hop/polka
hybrid sound
would rule

That makes
me sad.
--Duke Monkey
Directed by: Marcus Nispel
Starring: Jessica Biel, Eric Balfour, R Lee Ermey, Andrew Bryniarski, John Larroquette
Written By: Kim Hhenkel, Tobe Hooper, Scott Kosar  In  Theatres Now

big question on the tip of every viewer’s tongue about the remake of Texas Chainsaw Massacre is, “What is SOOO wrong with gruesomely dismembering a van full of good looking hippy kids who just want to make it to a Lynyrd Skynyrd show?”  Really, what’s wrong with that?  If you’re gonna murder a bunch of pretty hippy kids, WHY NOT pick Skynyrd fans?  If you’re gonna chop up a group of people, why not make it a group who support segregationist Gov. George Wallace in song (see Sweet Home Alabama)?  Why not bloody up those who really mean it when they scream “Play Freebird?” By all means, gas up the chainsaw and get to hacking.

Every review you read will undoubtedly go through the motions of
A) Why this movie is inferior to the low budget gore/horror of the original.  B) The travesty of, high concept/lowest common denominator wunderkind, Michael Bay (Bad Boys II, Armageddon) producing it and C) Pitting This Leatherface against That Leatherface in an Icon Domination Deathmatch. 

Eh, who cares?  The fact of the matter is, M. Bay has done a new generation of movie goers a service.  He and director Marcus Nispel (who?) along with the help of original TCM cinematographer Daniel C. Pearl have reinvented and reinvigorated TCM for all the young uns who never saw the original.  Sure. Thanks.

Like all slasher flicks, The NEW TCM is scary for the first 15 minutes.  Yep.  When you’re just settling in with your popcorn and they find the doomed hitchhiker. You’re like “No, don’t pick her up! Just keep driving to Dallas. You’ve got a concert to get to!” Then when you’re sipping your soft drink,  you flinch when a dark figure sneaks across the screen prompting the slasher cliché, “I think just saw something move.”

After that it’s pretty much down hill. I mean don’t get me
wrong, the movie is creepy and gross. It goes out of its way to be creepy and gross.  Eww. There’s a finger.  Oooh. There’s a … what is that, an eye? I dunno.  Ewwww.  There’s  a jar full of urine.  Ooooh. A side of beef.  Mmm-mmm. 

Then, there’s the standard quick explanations. Leatherface had a
skin disease and kids poked fun at him.  Now he kills people and cuts off their faces to wear as a mask BECAUSE THAT IS SO MUCH MORE ATTRACTIVE.  Moral of the story: Don’t tease kids with zits.

In this movie people are either
creepy inbred types or they look like Jessica Biel.  They either wear the chopped off faces of others or they wear tight white tank tops tied up so as to show off Jessica Biel’s belly button and draw attention to her breasts.  It’s a good ploy. Nobody ever wants a hot chick to die, especially at the hands of a guy with a skin condition.  Oh, and it rains at the end. Yep. Free of motivation, it ends with the dark stormy night setting because IT HAS TO.

So, do you go
see this movie or not? Up to you.  The new TCM will not be an institution.  It will not be an iconic piece of cinema. It will have a couple of unmemorable sequels but then again, so did Jeepers Creepers.  So, see it if you want.  I’ll give it a couple of bananas just because I like to see bloody hot chicks hide from psycho acne guys in sides of beef. That, my friends, is entertainment.  For a cheaper evening stay home and rent “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” While you’re at the video store pick up “Silence of the Lambs.” I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.

Outside of,
say the protective
environment of a
I don't  like to see
bubbles when I sit in a pool of water
with others.

--Duke Monkey
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Starring: Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Vivica A. Fox, Michael Madsen, Darryl Hannah, David Carradine, Sonny Chiba
Written By: Quentin Tarantino  In  Theatres Now

Okay, just for the record.
I wanted to love Kill Bill.  WANTED TO LOVE IT.  I wanted to love it like I wanted to tell you what Like a Virgin was about.  Like I wanted to go medieval on your a$$

I wanted to love it so people who think they love it wouldn’t think I didn’t love it because I wasn’t
hip enough to get its ultra-violence or that I didn’t catch the references to much cooler films.  (Note to film freaks: Just because a movie references other movies does not make it great. Otherwise, the Scary Movie series would be the greatest of all time and The Wayans Brothers would be revered like Orson Freakin’ Welles!) I wanted to love it so I could say “I can’t wait for Kill Bill Volume 2.”  I wanted to love it so I wouldn’t hate Quentin Tarantino for never giving us that much-salivated-over prequel movie featuring the Vega Brothers (Vick “Mr. Blue” Vega = Michael Madsen and Vincent Vega= John Travolta).

By now you’ve gathered that I didn’t love it. Sorry.  Didn’t even really like it.  In my monkey mind, I’m putting Tarantino next to
George Lucas on a mantle for directors doing their utmost to destroy the good esteem fans of their previous films still hold them in. 

The beauty of QT’s good stuff wasn’t so much in the blood and bullets. It was in the excruciating
minutia of the everyday conversations his characters had in between their acts of moral depravity and violence.  It was in the CHARACTERS.  It was in the realism and consequence of the blood and guts.  ALL THAT IS MISSING IN KB:V1. 

Here’s the
plot.  Girl gets shot. Girl seeks revenge. Devoid of much outside of the fighting to maintain the interest, KB:V1 delivers just that six word plot. 

People will go on about the “
stylized violence and almost baroque presentation of the blood.” So what?  Blood doesn’t matter anymore. It really doesn’t.  Ever since Stanley Kubrick flooded a grand hallway with it in The Shining, nobody cares.  Actually, QT’s presentation of the blood is more annoying than shocking or funny.  It’s distracting.  It doesn’t splatter or spew, it sprays like the nozzle you use to wash your dishes.  You watch it and wish it was more realistic.  Some people will find humor in it.  That’s a cop out; the “humor” diminishes what could’ve been beautiful violence.  So what?!!

Having said all that, I must take a moment to commend
The Great Sonny Chiba.  For a brief time (calculated precisely as all his screen time), Kill Bill does take a moment to make you care about somebody on screen and gives you an interesting character who says interesting things.  Sadly, this makes you mostly just wish you were watching a movie with more Sonny Chiba (see Street Fighter, Sister Street Fighter or Street Fighter’s Last Revenge). 

Here’s the thing. 
IF you feel like you HAVE to go see this movie so you can discuss QT with your friends THEN go. IF you DON’T believe the people who say “this movie is great” won’t flip flop on that opinion in six months, THEN go.  There is a cool, hip novelty in watching hot chicks (Thurman, Fox and very hot Liu) fight each to the death. If that’s enough to make you pay ten bucks, fine.  For me, I give KB:V1 one and a decapitated bananas.  For a cheaper evening stay home and rent True Romance, or better yet, don’t stay home- go out and get a really good Bloody Mary.  This movie made me thirsty.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.

Outside of
I can't really
think of any
other "fritters."

I don't think
that's an
exclusively monkey

--Duke Monkey
Directed by: Richard Linklater
Starring: Jack Black, Joan Cusack, Mike White, Sarah Silverman, and a bunch of kids
Written By: Mike White In  Theatres Now

It only takes about two minutes before
“School of Rock” devolves into the same cheesecake, sex sells marketing it’s screenplay is supposed to rail against.  TWO MINUTES!!  Just when you think it’s all about the music, MTV style whoredom rears it’s ugly exposed skin.  Jack Black as Dewey Finn tears off his shirt and slithers seductively around a club stage, taunting the film’s audience with his prodigious flesh.  Think Christina Aguliera  in “Dirty”.  But more titillating.  What has Rock N’ Roll come to?

Okay, there’s nothing sexy about that.  That was a
lie.  Sorry.  But the part about the shirt coming off is true. 

School of Rock is finally the showcase we’ve wanted for Jack Black.  Ever since the first
Tenacious D special on HBO, I’ve thought the guy was hilarious.   There’s something to him that I haven’t seen since Belushi.  JOHN BELUSHI NOT JIM.   (Seriously, after 20 years I’m still waiting for Jim Belushi to do something, ANYTHING to make me laugh. So far, nada.  Unless you count his belief that people are actually entertained by his appearances with Dan Akroyd as the “Blues Brothers.”  But that’s more “laughable.”) 

SOR teams Black up with writer
Mike White (Ha ha ha ha! A Black and White film. Ha ha ha ha ha! I crack me up. Whew.) and Director Richard Linklater (Slackers, Dazed and Confused) and tells the story of a down on his luck man with a true belief in Rock N’ Roll.   Not the stuff you hear now but the real Rock 'n Roll.  AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Sabbath, Sex Pistols, Jimi Hendrix, The Clash etc.  

Black’s Dewey
masquerades as a substitute teacher to get rent money after his roommate’s girlfriend threatens him with eviction.  Dewey is put in charge of a group of uptight subjugated, overachievers and upon learning they can play decides to mold them into a rock band.  It’s not all self-sacrifice though.  Dewey needs them so he can win a “Battle of the Bands” contest. 

Normally this is the part where
“wacky hi-jinks ensue." But NO!  White’s (who also wrote The Good Girl and co-stars as Dewey’s Roommate Ned) screenplay doesn’t assault you with the easy gags.  It’s all good character stuff between balancing Dewey’s duplicity with his actual concern for who the kids are and who those around him want to be.

There’s a line in Led Zeppelin’s concert film “
The Song Remains the Same,” where, while ad libbing on “Stairway to Heaven,” Robert Plant shrieks “Does anybody remember laughter?!”  That doesn’t really mean anything here. I just threw it in to show I have Rock street cred.  There was supposed to be a line about Black, White and Linklater refreshing our memories but when I re-read it I felt stupid.  Oh well. 

If you’ve ever played
air guitar. If you can identify John Bonham’s drumming after just three beats.  If you’ve ever bought a black concert shirt.  If you believe music doesn’t need 20 back up dancers then go see “School of Rock” and savor the irony of preteen kids playing AC/DC’s “It's A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock 'N' Roll).”  I give SOR three bananas.  For a cheaper evening, go to the video store and rent “This is Spinal Tap” or see if anybody has any tapes of “Tenacious D.”  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.

Of all the
that I find sexy,
I think
"Ouch! Quit it!"
is probably
my least favorite.

--Duke Monkey
The Rundown
Directed by: Peter Berg
Starring: The Rock, Seann William Scott, Christopher Walken, Rosario Dawson
Written By: RJ Stewart and James Vanderbilt In  Theatres Now

The Rundown has a very, very, very serious credibility problem

I can accept that
The Rock is really a guy who wants to be a chef.  I can accept that said Rock and Seann William Scott can fall a few hundred feet off a jungle cliff in a jeep and survive. I can accept the cgi mining town of “El Dorado.” I can accept the tiny guys with American accents faking like they speak Portuguese. I can accept that said tiny guys could kick said Rock’s ass.  I can accept Stifler making the biggest archaeological find since Indiana Jones found the Ark of the Covenant and subsequently, the Holy Grail. I can accept that the archeological find is named “Gato del Diablo (The Devil’s Cat).” I can even accept that said Rock can march into a small South American town and take out most of a small army “Rambo-style” without firing a shot. 

What I can’t accept, what bugs me the most, what strains the limits of

Okay, by now you know the drill. If not, see every other review I’ve done this summer. [Insert Name] is a tough as nails [cop, bounty hunter, enforcer, soldier, thief] who is tired of his [job, life, wicked ways]. [Insert Name] desperately wants out but is conned into doing one last [job, score, con, trick, shift].  [Insert Name] is forced to come through against all odds with the [help, hindrance] of [Insert Other Name], a wise cracking, [rebel, criminal, clown].  The two form an unlikely alliance.  Wacky hi-jinks ensue

I like The Rock.  Not a lot, but he’s a good enough screen presence to fill the void left by the
Stallone, Schwarzenegger-era actioners.  He seems to be a better actor too. (Really. Outside of “Rocky I” what else was Stallone really good in? Don’t say “Copland.”  Don’t say “Copland.” Don’t you dare say “Copland.” Overrated crap.)  There’s a tongue in cheek quality to The Rock's presentation that is missing from most of our current angsty “biceps and bazookas” boyz.  R plants the TIC  without going way overboard, too. That's a tough thing to pull off, judging from what I've seen lately. (Will Smith this means you!)

It’s this likeable quality that keeps The Rundown running.  Because let’s face it, Sean William Scott, funny as he is,
gets old after so many films playing the same character.  That likeable quality is even more important when balancing the fact that director Peter Berg doesn’t really know when to stop pushing.  The gunshots get louder, the actors get dirtier, baboons hump things… You get the idea Berg stood behind the camera saying things like “Can you be MORE Christopher Walken-y?”  Anyone who saw his last major outing “Very Bad Things,” knows exactly what I’m talking about.

Rounding out the cast is
Rosario Dawson.  I’ve never not liked Rosario Dawson in anything she’s done. This, “MIB:II,” “Kids,” “The 25th Hour”…. Sadly, most of her work is cursed with the praise “Rosario Dawson is wasted in the role of….”   Same goes here.  She deserves better.  Actually most of the cast in the Rundown does.

Still, at
105 minutes it’s packed tight with some laughs and action and what not. There’s nothing really memorable here but nothing that will put you to sleep.  All in all, I’ll give it two bananas. It was good for a matinee.  For a cheaper evening, stay home and rent “Lethal Weapon 4” and “Dude, Where’s my Car?”  Everyone else will tell you to rent “48 Hours.” But seriously, how many times you gonna rent that thing?  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.

Brass Tacks:
The Lion King,
in all it's forms,
was an
overrated piece
of shite. 

feels less
alone for
reading those
--Duke Monkey
Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Starring: Antonio Banderas, Johnny Depp, Salma Hayek, Eva Mendes, Willem DaFoe, Mickey Rourke, Enrique Iglesias, Cheech Marin
Written By: Robert Rodriguez     In  Theatres Now

This summer,
Johnny Depp was the reason to go see "Pirates of the Caribbean." He staggered, he juked, he distracted you from the "I'm-not-repressed,-I'm-sensitive" stylings of Orlando Bloom.  This fall, Johnny Depp is the reason to go see "Once Upon a Time in Mexico."  He's edgy, he's obsessive compulsive, he distracts you from the "I'm-not-posing,-I'm-smoldering" stylings of Antonio Banderas.  By the end of the movie, you have no idea if you were supposed to ever be rooting for him but it doesn't matter. 

For those who don't know, "Once Upon a Time in Mexico" is the third installment of
Robert Rodriguez' (Spy Kids) El Mariachi series. The first, "El Mariachi," was famous for it's $7,000 budget. The second, "Desperado," was famous for introducing Salma Hayek to America. (Give me a second to make purring sounds and think of "Spank the Monkey" jokes.... Okay, maybe you should give me a minute.)  Rodriguez writes, directs, edits and scores his movies.  He's a quadrifecta of cinematic threats, if you will. His unchecked, overzealous, control freak, glee shows in every frame. It's a good thing.

For the past few months, as is the norm for Summer, the movies I've seen have been really light on
plot. Not the case here.  "OUATIM" has so much plot, I didn't know who was coming or going.  Supposedly, Rodriguez wrote the script in two weeks.  Basically, it was two weeks of "Hey, here's a twist! Here's another! Here's another! Where the f*@k am I?"  Seriously, I got lost twice. It didn't matter though because this movie is all about shoot outs

Bang Bang.  Twist.  Boom Boom. Twist.  Pow Pow. Twist. Bang Bang Pow Pow Boom Boom Kapoooossssshhh. Reload.

That's all you gotta know.  Each one is bigger, longer, louder, stranger.  "OUATIM" is male overcompensation at its best.  If you don't believe me, watch Depps "blind" shoot out and tell me I'm wrong. If you think this review is Depp-heavy, watch the movie and tell me I'm wrong. 

Everyone in this movie is
beautiful (Depp, Hayek, Banderas, Eva Mendes, Enrique Igleias?), everyone is dirty, everything is tied together yet disjointed and nothing really happens for a reason.  Bang Boom Pow Reload.  Sweet. Bang Boom Pow Reload.  Badass.  Bang Boom Pow Reload.  Eww. Bang Boom Pow Reload.  Is that Mickey RourkeBang Boom Pow Reload. Is he holding a chihuahua? Bang Boom Pow Reload.  Mmmm, Salma Hayek.  Bang Boom Pow Reload.  Where'd Johnny get that arm?  Bang Boom Pow Reload....

Here's the deal. If you want to see people and things get shot up, if you don't want "slo-mo bullet time" in the process, if you're in the mood for something that makes "The Wild Bunch" look like "Remains of the Day", and think it would be funny to hear Depp threaten Cheech Marin with murder by "skull f*@k", then RUN don't walk to see "Once Upon a Time in Mexico." BUT be sure to  bring something to keep your good clothes from getting bloody.  I'll give this one two and a half bloody shot to hell bananas for delivering everything you think it will.  For a cheaper evening stay home and rent "Desperado" and "Ed Wood."  While you're at the video store pick up "High Plains Drifter" just because. I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.

If you spend
enough time
without distraction
it's pretty darned
easy to find
a lump
that you don't
having before.

The same goes
for hair.
--Duke Monkey
Dickey Roberts: Former Child Star
Directed by: Sam Weisman
Starring: David Spade, Mary McCormack, Jon Lovitz, Rob Reiner, Leif Garrett, Craig Bierko
Written By: David Spade & Fred Wolf     In  Theatres Now

Exactly who was
Rodney Allen Rippy? How did former Teen Beat Coverboy Cory Haim morph into a soft, bloated lesbian woman?  Was it possible for Butch Patrick to grow up stranger looking than Eddie Munster? When did David Spade clone David Lee Roth’s hair and graft it onto his own head?  Why doesn’t Dickey Roberts notice Rob Reiner is sitting the same restaurant he parks cars for, before embarking on an epic journey to find said Reiner? Would a guy really turn down a mile high three-way with a couple of stewardesses in exchange for a newly divorced mother of two preteens?  Why does every SNL alum insist his movies have a “heart?” Why have I never noticed how hot Alyssa Milano is and why is that still not hot enough to make me wanna sit through a full episode of “Charmed?”

These are a few of the important questions raised by
Dickey Roberts: Former Child Star.

Really, for every Elijah Wood or Jody Foster, there are ten
Corey Feldmans or Tina Yothers’ (Hell even the Show Biz Kids that achieved success as adults can get freaky as all get out.) David Spades early success was measured by the length of Chris Farley’s shadow and his solo efforts since have been met with luke warm success at best but DR:FCS is perfectly suited for him. 

If, somehow the
title doesn’t give you the plot, here it is. Dickey Roberts is a Former Child Star. E True Hollywood Story has taught us that he must therefore be A) down on his luck, B) unable to transcend the curse of ‘faded’ cuteness and C) is incapable of translating past fame into adult success.  Dickie places all his future dreams on landing a comeback role in a Rob Reiner film called “Mr. Blakes Backyard” (note to Rob Reiner: Backyard is a better idea than "Alex and Emma" was.  What’s up with that?). Rob Reiner tells Dickie the role is beyond his grasp because he didn’t grow up like a normal person.  Poof! Dickey hires a family to provide the childhood he never had.  Wacky hi-jinks ensue

As a side novelty, you get real life
Former Child Stars ostensibly playing themselves.  On this front, Leif Garrett makes you wonder how come Rick Schroeder got a career and he didn’t.  Give Leif Garrett some work people! He was sooo good in Behind the Music.

Speaking of people who need more work,
Jon Lovitz is hilarious.  Can you really think of a movie that wasn’t made better by a side of Lovitz?  If you disagree, I refer you to the "Wedding Singer."  Rent that and tell me the scene where he slowly covers his face with the curtain isn’t Genius. It’s Gold people! PURE GOLD!

In a nutshell, if you like “Just Shoot Me”-era David Spade, then you’ll like Dickey.  If you don’t, you won’t.  It’s just that simple.  Spade, wisecracks, he mugs, he dances “The Robot,” he listens to Christopher Cross music, he cries on the inside. Yep, he still denies you full frontal.

There’s also a “We Are the World”-style sing along featuring
real life FCS’s.  It’s amusing but as you’re watching it, you’ll find yourself distracted by the words “This should be funnier.”

Getting down to brass tacks, Dickey Roberts is
good for a few yucks.  I’ll give it a 2 point 5  Banana’s.  There are worse ways to spend a Saturday afternoon from 2 to3:55 pm.  For a cheaper evening stay home and rent “Tommy Boy” and “WaterBoy” while you’re at the video store pick up “LOTR: The Two Towers” because apparently that’s the thing to do.  I could be wrong.  I am only a monkey.

I can't remember
the last time someone I knew contracted

That bums me out because
I think it would be impossible
for a story that started with
the phrase
"Guess who contracted syphillis?"
to be boring.
--Duke Monkey
Nothing good came out this week. Seriously, If you don't believe me, here are the stats. 
The Medallion opened at #5.  When I found out that Jackie Chan isn't doing all his own stunts anymore, I figure what's the point?  Marci X opened at no 17 with $825,000. 
So in place of my review, as a service to the voters and for the entertainment of all others. I give you
1.  California has long been regarded as 'Party State of the US' as Governor what will you do to preserve and strengthen that reputation?
Absolutely nothing.  I think the party attitude and mentality is lazy, uninspiring and completely unmotivating to anyone as far as the moving toward the betterment of this state.

2.  Which other state do you hate the most?

There’s only been 15-20 states I’ve been to.  Umm, I guess every state can use some improvement.

3.  You are required to choose five other Gubernatorial candidates to help you jump Schwarzennegger in a dark alley. Which five do you pick?
because she doesn’t allow anyone to look at her or photograph her except from 20 feet away.  She would be good in the dark. 
Mary Carey because she’s good at jumping on things. 
Peter Uberroth because he would probably bring a baseball bat. 
Gallagher because I remember from his show there was a character that would stick his head up his butt.  Maybe he could shove Arnolds head up his butt.  Hmmm. Let me see, I can’t think of anyone else running. 
Gary Condit running?  If he is, I would pick Gary Condit because he would know how to dispose of a body.

4. In your opinion, what’s the stupidest thing our tax dollars subsidize?
I know it’s federal but I would say the Adopt A Highway program.  Adopt a Highway? C’mon, I would think we could have enough money to just pay someone to go to the highway and just CUT THE GRASS.

5. Truth or Dare?

6. Would you do full frontal if the money your raised could help stimulate the states economy?

7. Do you think a man who committed to "Jingle All the Way" is competent to make the important decisions facing this state?
You can’t hang that on him. That was contractual obligation.  I believe anyone who successfully orchestrates and completes his Own rise to fame, is competent to make important decisions.

8. Worst case scenario, you must alienate a one specific, ethnic/political/religious group in order to firm up relations with all others, who do you alienate and why?
In this day and age, I would say the Catholic church. I would tell everyone to run far and fast from the Catholic Church.  Besides, there’s enough people of Jewish, and other Christian faiths to make up for it.

9. What makes you so special? Why should I just vote for Gallagher?
That’s tough because Gallagher and I are both for the common man.  I’m going to fight for the guy who’s making $24,000 a year.  That is my core belief.  I’m for that guy keeping more of his money.  I won’t be balancing the budget on his back.  I’m for reducing that guys tax burden.

10. You’ve mentioned in interviews that you probably wouldn’t vote for yourself in this election, where would you like to see Gary Coleman’s votes go?
If I don’t get enough to be a serious contender.  I would want my votes to go to Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Even though he has political issues and issues within his own camp, I think he has the heart, the passion and the desire to do great things for California.  I would vote for him but only if he gets rid of Warren Buffet.

For more coverage
and to see what other
candidates said,
click here.
We're still waiting on
Arianna Huffington
Gray Davis
Mary Carey
and some
Screw em
Don't vote for them.
Freddy vs. Jason
Directed by: Johnny Yu
Starring: Robert Englund, Kelly Rowland, Ken Kirzinger, Monica Keena, Jason Ritter, Kyle Labine
Written By: Damian Shannon & Mark Swift   Based on Characters by Wes Craven & Victor Miller.  In  Theatres Now

Ali vs. Frazier?  Alien vs. Predator?  Kirk vs. Picard? Elvis vs. The Beatles?  Backstreet vs. N’Sync?  East Coast vs. West Coast?  Puffy vs. Ben?  My Dad vs. Your Dad?

When I was in
monkey third grade, there was a kid down the street named John. Everyday he would go on about how his dad could kick My Dad’s ass.  “My dad can beat up your dad! My dad can beat up your dad!”  John was convinced of this because his dad (who bore a striking resemblance to country music anthemist Johnny Paycheck) was supposedly a Hell’s Angel

One day after school, I caught John trying to steal my
Hoth Planet Han Solo action figure.  I beat the hell out of him in his own front yard and took it back.  His dad came out and cussed me up and down for doing it, regardless of the cause.  I looked John’s dad in the eye, took three steps back and flipped him the awkward third grade bird, then walked home proudly with Hoth Planet Han Solo firmly planted in pocket.

John’s Dad never came out to avenge his son and beat up My Father. So, by default it was widely regarded, from then on, that my Dad could beat up his dad.  Screw you, John.

The Match Up
It’s thousands of millennia of this kind of speculation that is the set up for
Jason vs. Freddy.  This match up has been a long time coming.  There have been many stoned discussions over it.  (Strangely, no one has ever considered Michael Meyers a threat because Michael Meyers is a pu$$y.  How many times did he fail to kill Jamie Lee Curtis?)

Though I won’t give any spoilers, I will go on record as saying, I’ve always been in Freddy’s corner. He has the (in)decency to at least show his face, and seriously, Jason has to sleep sometime.

The Set Up
True to form, FVJ takes less than five minutes to show you its first
girl stripping down to go skinny dipping.  You know what happens next.  Throughout the whole movie, you know what’s going to happen next.  There’s really no point to seeing the movie because sitting at home reading this, you know what’s going to happen next.

The Cast

Robert Englund is back as Freddy. Some anonymous guy fills Jason’s Hulking dumb-eyed frame. Destiny’s Child’s Kelly Rowland has a featured role.  The cast doesn’t matter though. Everyone who is not a killer is either “stock character who dies or stock character who doesn’t.”

The Rest
Wes Craven, who created Freddy Krueger, made his creation irrelevant with his post-modern 90’s era Scream series.  In doing so, he brought down all other slasher hero/villains as well.  FVJ is too campy to be scary. Too routine to be chilling. Too recycled to be funny.  There is a line in Boogie Nights where upon reviewing their first post-Diggler work, Ricky Jay turns to Burt Reynolds says simply, “It is what it is.”

Freddy vs. Jason is what it is -- A movie that is less movie than
obligatory event for anyone who’s ever seen any entry in either slasher series. Ticket stubs should be redeemable for Black XL “I SURVIVED FREDDY VS JASON” T-shirts.  Still, what for what it is, it’s modestly entertaining.  I’ll give it two leery bananas and let you make your own judgments.  For a cheaper evening, go rent Friday the 13th (I) and Nightmare on Elm Street (I). While you’re there, pick up “Frankenstein vs the Wolfman” and check for the straight to video release date of “Saddam vs. Osama.” I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.
enter and die. ha ha. just kidding. no really, enter and die.

There was
something witty
But I forgot to feed
it and give it sunlight.
So, it died.
I feel bad..
-Duke Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by: Clarke Johnson
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, LL Cool J, Olivier Martinez
Written By: David Ayer & David McKenna  Based on The TV Show, Characters Robert Hamner.  In  Theatres Now

Who knew there were
French mobsters? I didn’t. I don’t remember any instances of French street toughs in modern times. Vicious gangbangers strutting around with extra baggy berets to hide their pieces. Nope. BUT in a world where American jingoism has turned the skunk eye to the frog princes, it was inevitable there would be a nasty, snooty, snotty Pierre sneering at one of us and using the word “Cowboy”  as a pejorative. It’s in that moment where you firm up in your seat and cry out, “Francois, you French F*@K! (or whatever your name is!) You’re goin’ down! S.W.A.T. mutherf*@ker! S.W.A.T!”

I vaguely remember there was a show, thanks to an old four record set of TV Show theme music.  The S.W.A.T. theme fell on disc three, somewhere in between CHIP’s and Three’s Company.  So, unlike Charlie’s Angels, I-Spy or The Hulk (comic book first), I didn’t go into S.W.A.T. with any preconceived notions of what it should be like. I’ll save that for
Perfect Strangers: The Movie (Balki on the Big Screen! Balki on the Big Screen!).  S.W.A.T was a nice surprise, an action movie that doesn’t beat you to death with the action.  Actually, the best parts of the movie take place before the Action parts really begin.

If you don’t know what this means, you are most likely completely surprised by the dynamics of every group of ragtag, misfit, mavericks in every movie where a crack team of expert, rebel, badasses must be assembled by an unconventional, genius leader designated to save a department/country/company/franchise at its wit’s end.

I had been going through a
Samuel L. Jackson backlash ever since his first appearance in Phantom Menace.  I began to wonder why I liked him so much. In Pulp Fiction, he was freakin’ awesome, but since then, he’s kind of been phoning it in, often “playing” at being a “Bad MutherF*@ker.”  As Hondo, he’s back in stride in S.W.A.T.  Though I could’ve done without the minor character chorus/cliff notes: “He’s OLD SCHOOL S.W.A.T. The gold standard of asskicking.” 

Colin Farrell is so bad. He’s a bad boy. A real bad boy. Men want to be him. Women want to be with him.  He’s bad. Oooh, yeah. Tattoos, dark eyes.  BUT he’s a good guy. Yeah! Do you remember a year ago when you didn’t know who Colin Farrell was? Strange how this stuff sneaks up on you.

Farrell and Jackson form the focus of S.W.A.T. They are backed up by
LL Cool J and Michelle Rodriguez.  Both are in good form. Rodriguez as a single mom, first woman ever on the team,etc.  LL didn’t have much to do, though.  What’s up with that? He shows his abs and chases people, but Dammit, GIVE LL something to do!

As I mentioned before there is a villain in
Olivier Martinez.  The ladies who aren’t in the theater to see Colin Farrell will remember Oh Martinez as the guy who seduced Diane Lane in last year’s Unfaithful.  He’s a very dangerous arms dealer, etc, who gets nabbed on a routine traffic stop (?) and then offers up $100 million to anyone who busts him out. It’s not a realistic plot point, but who’s keeping track?  Having said that, there should be a moratorium against evil villains using the phrase “WON HAHNDRID MEELLEEYUN DAHLURS!” It reminds me too much of Dr. Evil. It’s distracting.

By this point in the summer, I’m usually pretty beat down by the actioners. Each one is more and more over the top. S.W.A.T’s comparative restraint was refreshing.  Sure, it had a lot of
stock characters, stock set ups, stock lines and what not.  Cops go bad. Gangbangers somehow band together in an ambush gone awry.  People say things like “I’m too old for games” or “When it was good, it was great…” There are 15 variations of the S.W.A.T. theme played over and over.  But the stars push it over and make it watchable (I paid matinee though).  Still, I give S.W.A.T. two and a half enthusiastic bananas. For a cheaper evening stay home and rent The Dirty Dozen, and while you’re at the video store pick up Pulp Fiction and The Recruit. I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.

The worst thing you can tell a child is
"Santa Claus
finds you
Because then,
if they don't get
what they want
for Christmas,
it will affect their
for the rest of their

Really. It's true.
Experts agree.
-Duke Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Damn you bastards! Damn your greedy asses to hell!  Again!
Gigli.  Gigli. Gigli. Gigli.  WHAT THE F*@K WERE YOU THINKING?! I HATE YOU! 
I hate you more than I’ve ever hated anyone in my life.  And when I say that, I’m counting the dirty p&!ck that decided there was a need in this world for a thing called The Rectal Thermometer.

Let’s break this thing down. 
Jennifer Lopez is famous because she has a big a$$.  That’s it.  Big a$$. So what?  Walk into any corporate customer service call center and you’ll find hundreds upon hundreds of big asses.  We don’t pay these people millions of dollars, do we? We don’t shove them in every magazine, newspaper, special edition of Access Hollywood or music video we can, do we? THE ANSWER IS NO! In all fairness, J-Lo was good in “Out of Sight.”  But outside of that, let’s be frank, her strongest showing was in “Money Train.” “MONEY TRAIN!”

Ben Affleck.  How many times in the past three years have I found myself asking myself this question, “Do I really want to see this movie SO BAD that I can sit through two hours of Ben Affleck?” The Answers: Daredevil. No. Sum of All Fears. No.  Pearl Harbor. No.  Armageddon. Yes, What the F*@k was I thinking?  Ben’s greatest accomplishments: Playing Fred the paddle wielding a$$#ole in Dazed and Confused and playing Matt Damon’s not so bright best friend in Good Will Hunting.  It has been argued these don’t count because he was playing himself.  I don't know the guy, so I can't say.  I am only a monkey.

The fact is, if I wanted to see Ben try and
turn a lesbian I would watch “Chasing Amy.”  No wait, I wouldn’t.  Because Chasing Amy was some of the most overrated shite I’ve seen in the past ten years (having said that, Jason Lee was hilarious in Chasing Amy.  If you rent it, fast forward past everything that doesn’t have Jason Lee).  I’m getting agitated.  I fling my feces at you, Mr. The Movie Industry.  You too Jen and Ben.  Leave me alone. 

I could be wrong. I am only a monkey. Which is better than being the
dumba$$ who thought Gigli was gonna make it’s money back.

Gimme a second.
I'll get back to you.
-Duke Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by: Jan De Bont  Starring:  Angelina Jolie, Djimon Ansou, Gerard Butler, Ciaran Hinds
Written By: Dean Georgaris  Based on The Video Game In Theatres Now

There are
three types of people who will go see Lara Croft Tomb Raider The Cradle of Life.

Group 1:  Obsessive Lara Croft fans who've spent years of their lives playing Tomb Raider and openly wish Lara Croft was a real chick, so maybe they could hook up because you know, she'd probably be into guys who play video games.

Group 2:  Obsessive Angelina Jolie fans
who've spent years carrying a vial of their blood to spare just in case they get a chance to hook up because you know, she's obviously shown bad judgment in the past and that always bodes well.

Group 3: People who go see any summer movie because they've gone every weekend so far, why stop now?

Review for Groups 1 &2: OH MY GOD! Angelina Jolie is so hot as Lara Croft. When she comes out in the jet ski and stuff.  You know, I kept watching to see if maybe something would slip or there would be brief nipple action.  It would be so cool if when this comes out on DVD if maybe there's a code you can enter and it would show her do the whole movie NAKED!  Cause I had this friend and he had this code and he would enter it and you could play Tomb Raider with Lara Croft naked. It rocked. We would just get stoned and stuff and there would be guns and boobs. Life was good. YOU MUST GO SEE THIS MOVIE!

Review for Everyone Else: Angelina Jolie is hot. We all know that.  I remember the  "Oooh. Who's this young cutie?" question that sprung to mind the first time I caught GIA on HBO one late, lonely night.  So, we know that LCTRTCOL is going to have plenty of eyecandy.  Check! It does. 

There's a guy (
Gerard Butler)  in it too. He's a bad boy, love interest from the past. We know nothing will get too steamy on the screen though because that would alienate the fan boys.

There's an

Speaking of doing something,
Jan De Bont (Twister, Speed) reminds me why I haven't seen a Jan DeBont movie in forever.  Seriously dude, did you not look at what you were putting together?  Why does everything look and feel like a set? I've seen more authentic episodes of Days of Our Lives.  It's a step up from Speed II but you gotta give me more for my summer flick money.

I had to give this one a lot of thought. It's
cheesy and not really very good. But IF these scenes were done by a man named James Bond or Indiana Jones, would I be more forgiving?  Am I sexist for not jumping onto this one more wholeheartedly?  OR am I giving it more credit than it deserves because Angelina Jolie looks good in everything she wears?  Tough call. Tough, tough call.  I'll have to wait for the DVD version and see if there's a code where Lara Croft is naked throughout the movie.  In the meantime, I'll give it two half hearted banana's.  If you want to save some cash, go to the video store and rent GIA so you can see AJ look hot AND act. While you're there, pick up Raiders of the Lost Ark or Goldeneye.  You may have a better evening.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.
If I knew more about you I would make you a mix cd and it would have these songs on it. You would look at it and think, "I didn't ask for this." But you would smile and say "Thanks" anyway, because otherwise you would be rude.

-Duke Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
I am listening to:
White Stripes

Hot Hot Heat
Bad Boys II   
Will Smith, Martin Lawrence, Gabrielle Union, Joe Pantoliano Directed by: Michael Bay 
Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer  Based on Pretty much the same movie you saw 8 years ago. In Theatres Now
Bad Boys, Bad Boys whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do? Dammit, they made a Bad Boys II.

I like
Will Smith as much as the average insulated middle-American.  To me, “Parents Just Don’t Understand” rang as true as anything Biggie ever did.  I’m also mostly sure no one but no one has ever been shot to death to a soundtrack of Jazzy Jeff beats.  Still, I can’t shake the feeling that the very existence of Bad Boys II is tantamount to a savage bitch slapping from the former Fresh Prince.

Why Will? Why you gotta do me wrong like this? I know it beats hitting me with Wild Wild West II. But why? I ain’t mad at you.

When I mentally listed the 90’s movies that I wanted a sequel to,
Bad Boys fell somewhere in the vicinity of EdTV and Bride of Chucky.  Not that there was anything wrong with Bad Boys. There were chases, explosions, odd couple banter, a bathroom shootout scene that was shamelessly lifted from James Cameron’s True Lies, but nothing about Bad Boys made me really care if I ever saw it again even on cable.

Enter Bad Boys II.

In my
Life’s List of Fundamental Fallacies, The Law of Sequels states “If ONE was good, then TWO must be twice as good. Bad Boys II cements that rules place on the list.  Here’s the deal.  Mike (Smith) and Marcus (Martin Lawrence) are still mismatched partners. Mike is still daring and fearless/reckless. Marcus is still a family man who is continually surprised and freaked by his partners behavior.  They still get in (and incredibly, out of) crazy Butch and Sundance type shoot outs.  They still quip.  BUT in BB2, they used twice as many bullets, drive twice as fast, have twice as many villains/henchmen and have explosions in twice as many countries.  There you go.

The Players
Smith is Smith. No more, no less.
Smart mouth. Smart clothes. Smart-aleck.  Lawrence is less annoying than usual but that’s not saying much. Take a look at his resume since BB1 (National Security, Black Night, What’s the Worst that Could Happen, Life) and it’s easy to figure out at least one person who’s been pining for BB2.  The Hot Chick part goes to Gabrielle Union, who has little to do but look good, which she does.  Nothing to write home about.  As always Joe Pantoliano provides much relief with a stock character. 

Once this summer I addressed the issue of producer
Jerry Bruckheimer.  Looking back on the 80’s and 90’s, you have to wonder if maybe the late Don Simpson was the one with the restraint and tact during their famous partnership (Top Gun, Beverly Hills Cop, Flashdance).  Michael Bay is a serviceable action director.  He make good boom.  That’s all folks.  Look at his movies and you’ll never get, what do you call it? Character Development! So, it’s stupid to expect it here. 

The Bottom Line
There are some cool sequences.  The freeway scene, with cars falling everywhere like the frogs from
Magnolia, is some high adrenaline, asskicking celluloid.  So what? I can get that playing Grand Theft Auto, at least then I’d have a modicum of emotional attachment.  Still, you gotta admit that this was a fun 160 minutes. Even if they could’ve ended it like three times and still been fine (160 minutes is a long time).  BB2 gives you what you deserve for coming. If you go, you’ll have some fun for your buck.  Whether it’s worth spending more than it would cost to just rent Bad Boys and watch it twice, is up to you.  If it is, start saving now for Blue Streak 2.  Two action packed Bananas. I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.

"I ate the best hamburger
I've ever had
in my life
at 3am
the morning after
St Patricks Day
in 1995. 
I got it
at some little shack
on Greenville Ave
in Dallas, TX.
After I ate it,
I passed out
in a hotel
that was shaped
like big cigar. 
I think it's important
to keep those
kinds of memories alive."
- Duke Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
Starring: Johnny Depp, Orlando Bloom, Kiera Knightly, Geoffrey Rush
Directed by: Gore Verbinski Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer Based on That Ride In Theaters Now
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl is the best movie based on an amusement park ride to hit theaters this  millennium. And that's not just because "Splash Mountain" was only a bunch of independent porn scenes edited together for video. Pirates has all the makings of good summer entertainment.

The Makers
Gore Verbinski (The Ring, The Mexican, Mouse Hunt) has a sketchy record. Of his work, the stuff I liked, I only liked half of.  BUT we all know what to expect from Producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Top Gun, Bad Boys, Armageddon, The Rock, Coyote Ugly). There's a 70% chance that anything bearing the Brucks stamp will be insipid shite, however there's also a 90% chance that the insipid shite will still be a fun spectacle in one way or another.  So, the minute we see the movie poster we all know what we're gonna get and POTC:TCOTBP (not a catchy abbreviation) gives it to you.

The Movie

There is swashing. There is buckling. There is swashbuckling (whatever that is). There is swordplay (which I think is an essential element to swashbuckling). There is swinging (I'm positive that's part of swashbuckling). There's rescuing of maidens fair (the possible effect of good swashbuckling).  There's evil skeleton bad guys (nothing swashy there).  There's the curse. There's an evil villain.  What have you. What more do you want?

The Cast
Is it me or does
Johnny Depp remind you of Rob Zombie in this costume? Seriously, I spent two hours waiting for him to break into "Thunder Kiss '65," a tune you can never hear often enough.  Rob Zombie rules! And Depp is cool too. Depp is one of the great maverick actors of his generation. There's not many people who could make a good go of Edwards -- Scissorhands & Wood, Don Juan, Ichabod Crane, Raoul Duke etc. So there's nothing here to disappoint. JD has a fun time and brings you along.

Making up the other half of the mismatched buddy pirate team is
Orlando Bloom. One thing I learned from the Lord of the Rings movies is, Chicks dig Orlando Bloom. It's true. There's a boat load of them out there who will go see this flick specifically to see his deep eyes and flowing locks. Cool. Fine. They're deep. It flows. You'll be happy you came.

Keira Knightley is also easy on the eyes, in that if-I-can't-have-Natalie-Portman-this-chick-will-do way.  Her heroine is more modern than period, a governors daughter who will take the distress only so far before busting some chops. So, if you ever got high and watched Xena or Buffy and said to youself, "What this world needs is more ass-kicking broads!"  Then KK has you covered.

Geoffrey Rush, as the dread Captain Barbossa is menacing in typically Disney villain style. You know what that means.  This is Geoffrey's second seabound movie of the summer season, if you're keeping score he voiced a little bit in Finding Nemo (4 bananas).

The Rest
Here's the thing. If you go to see a pirate movie. You know what you're going to get. So, if you go to see
this pirate movie, you'll know before you even walk in if your going to like it or not. If you're reading this review, you're just killing time until you go see a pirate movie. I was in a mood for a pirate movie. So, I give this 2 and a half bananas.It might've gotten more but I didn't think the monkey got enough props in the closing credits. I could be wrong. I'm only a monkey.

Rent this
space cheap.
Just kidding.
You can't afford it.
I dunno.
a  few bucks.
Let's talk.
T3: Rise of the Machines
Directed by: Johnathan Mostow Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, NickStahl, Claire Danes, Kristanna Loken   Screenplay by: John D. Brancato, Michael Ferris & Tedi Sarafian Based on: The Terminator: James Cameron, Harlan Ellison, Gale Anne Hurd In theaters now.

No Cameron. No Linda Hamilton. An aging Arnie. Nick Stahl? I really wanted to hate this one. But I didn't. Call me crazy or maybe the cinematic trainwreck that was The Hulk made me need to appreciate anything other than Alex and Emma (Sorry. I WILL NOT see that). Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines was some good, chase-em-up-shoot-em-up-blow-em-up fun.

First things first, in my mind there hasn't been a "summer movie" that has so completely delivered on it's own hype since
T2.   Seriously, that was a masterpiece. A jaw dropping, eye-popping masterpiece. (No, The first Matrix doesn't count because although that was great, did you really expect it to be any good when you saw Keanu's name attached to it? The answer you're looking for is "no"). That being said, there was never the possibility that this would live up to that. It's a great movie but it really doesn't live up. The cool thing is, it does enough stuff right so it doesn't have to.

Arnie isn't like todays action heros. Too stiff. Too slow on the witty delivery. Aerodynamically challenged. So it's good to see him in a role where he plays to his strengths.  It's very good. Great even.  There are times you forget it's been twenty years since he first donned the uniform. 
Arnold makes you appreciate that he didn't stoop to wirework and CGI to make him kick ass.  Ever since I saw Drew Barrymore do Matrix-style combat in Charlies Angels, I've been been jaded about that stuff anyway.  So, welcome back Schwarzenegger.  Now go retire and run for Governor.

But I digress, by now you've read countless reviews, and since monkeys have
short attention spans, I'll keep it short.  The chase scenes are classics. Lots of fun shooting. Good story. Good direction from Mostow.   A happy ending that isn't a happy ending. Nick Stahl grows on you almost but I could've used more Claire Danes (I've got a thing for veterinarians).

The one thing I didn't really dig on was
Kristanna Loken.  She never really had me as the bad ass.  Off hand I can think of 5 other actresses who I would've rather seen as the Her-minator. Gimme a minute and I'll name you ten. She looked like a sorority girl doing a bad Robert Patrick T-1000 impression. Maybe that's the point. Maybe I was supposed to know in my heart of hearts she wouldn't be the last T standing.  Still, I'd give it 3 1/2 bananas.  I could be wrong. I am only a monkey

"When I was a child my mother told me
I could grow up
to be
anything I wanted...
except cool
and tall
and good-looking
and not so hairy."
--- Duke Monkey (MonkeyNaut)
Directed by Ang Lee Starring: Eric Bana, Jennifer Connelly, Nick Nolte, Sam Elliot.  In theaters now.
Based on the comic by
Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Something has to be a pretty God awful mess to make me look up at a marquee and think, "Dammit. I should've seen From Justin to Kelly," but I'll be damned if Ang Lee and company didn't do that.  Screw you, Ang Lee! You robbed me of ten hard earned bucks! Screw you to hell!

I haven't seen anything this bad since my historic three day bender of August '95.  I was looking into the can, convinced I had
booze induced internal bleeding. At least, that sick feeling had a good few days of good times to lighten the blow.

Yes. The Hulk
looks fake. I can live with that. What I can't live with is the bloated, "Oooh,-I'm-so-tortured-with-my-inner-demons-daddy-didn't-love-me-so-I-can't-be-happy-with-Jennifer-Connelly," crappy script. Eric Bana is the least charismatic comic book hero to take to screen since Matt Salinger (who? exactly!) turned in a "So bad my eyes bled" performance as Captain America.

I can't go on. I am angry.  This movie agitated me. The killing a monkey scene didn't help either. Save your cash and go see X-Men 2 again.   I could be wrong. I am only a monkey.

No bananas. I fling my feces at this shite
(Insert Mental Image of faceless corporate logo here) Then go practice being disgusted with me for selling out.  Really, because someday it will happen and we should prepare for the emotional fallout.  Thanks much -- Duke Monkey (MonkeyNaut)

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