The Postman

Apparently next year's really gonna suck.
"It is 2013. War has crippled the Earth. Technology has been erased. Our only hope is an unlikely hero."

Happy Thursday everyone! As promised today I will talk about the post-apocalyptic epic The Postman, and in the process probably get really angry as I talk about the variety of stupid reasons people hated it.

The Postman is a nearly three hour long movie, based on a David Brin novel of the same name, about a man traversing the wasteland left behind by the collapse of modern society (It is implied that it is a combination of nuclear war, plague, and social unrest brought on by a sect of hypersurvivalists known as Holnists). This man (Kevin Costner) is just trying to survive, and in the process he sets about a course of events that change the world. He does this by posing as a postman, for a fictitious reformed government that he makes up. By doing this he gives the people of the scattered remaining settlements hope and a banner to flock to, in opposition of the army of General Bethlehem (the Holnists I mentioned above, named after their philosophy's founder, a writer named Nathan Holn).


Blank Man

Damon Wayans really jumped off a building
for this picture. He died after.
"Coming to save your butt!"

Happy Tuesday everyone! As promised, this week I resume reviewing my regular fare, and will start off with a movie which I watched almost enough to make up for the fact that basically no one else did. Starring Damon Wayans as Darryl Walker, a power nerd appliance repairman who's obsessed with being a superhero, because he watched way too many episodes of the 60s Batman tv show when he was little. Daryl invents a variety of really budget gadgets essentially made out of garbage, along with a special solution that makes clothing impervious to attacks. Special tools and a bullet proof costume don't change the fact that Darryl is a maladjusted, spastic dork, and so his initial attempts at fighting crime in a beleaguered city are... middling at best. However with the help of his washing machine robot J5 (I assume this is a Short Circuit reference?) and his brother Kevin (David Alan Grier) Darryl squares off against mob boss Michael Manelli in an attempt to bring him to justice.


Game Movies: A Retrospective (Part 1)

It's Saturday, and you know what that means! It's time for a special post, and as promised today I will be discussing movies based on games! I was originally going to do the top 7 worst movies based on video games, but there were just so many bad movies that I decided I would break it up by decade. There are so few examples of good video game movies that I will probably do a post devoted just to those at some point in the future. So here is in order, the top 5 worst video game movies of the 1990s.



Sunshine Cleaning

Pretend the title is a couch soaked in blood and you'll get the idea.
"Life's a messy business"

Welcome back to pretentious indie week, where I will now be discussing a movie in this category that actually had a 8 million dollar budget. I know when I set out to do things, I always come at it with at least 6 mil in cash up my sleeve! Sunshine Cleaning was originally released in March of 2009 with a limited release, but a month later was given a wider release, though that didn't do much for its grossing (bigger is not always better for budgets  I guess, and this movie only ended up taking home around 16 mil all together).


The Go-Getter

No one stands on a car in this movie.
"Life doesn't come with a roadmap."

As promised this week will be all about movies that are not considered big Hollywood. Don't be fooled though! That only means that they're small Hollywood! While it might be considered a minor project released at the Sundance Festival, let me put things into perspective. The Go-Getter stars Lou Taylor Pucci (I would guess he is best known for his performance in The Chumscrubber if you know him at all) opposite Zooey Deschanel (currently she stars on the TV show New Girl but she's appeared in a variety of other movies, including (500) Days of Summer and Elf to name a few) and Jena Malone (probably best remembered as Gretchin Ross in Donnie Darko). The movie ran for only 3 days and grossed over 11 million. That's not exactly mom and pop, and director Martin Hynes spent around 23,000 dollars just on establishing and location shots (large sections of the movie are actually shot on location, which is a pretty big deal because it is a road trip movie).


The Worst Animal Movies (Animated or Otherwise)

It's Saturday, and that means its time for another very special update from The Tagline. Today I give you, with a mild cringe and some regret:



The Craft

Prepare to travel back in time.
"Welcome to the witching hour."

The witching hour to be more specific, was early May, 1996. I promised to spend the whole week reviewing movies without explosions, and technically this follows that. Mostly. Shut up.

When I think about the '90s, no movie to me more embodies the very middle of the era than The Craft. The craft centers around the new girl coming to a catholic high school, where she falls in with three weirdos who practice witchcraft, they all start practicing witchcraft, and then they use it to do really petty, nasty things to all the people who they feel have wronged them in some way. They each represent their own archetype of 'disenfranchised high-schooler who wants to get even. Robin Tunney, following her performance the previous year in Empire Records (though you may better know her today as Special Agent Lisbon on TNT's The Mentalist) portrays Sarah Bailey, a 16 year old girl with suicidal tendencies in her past, along with a history of hallucinations. Neve Campbell, probably best remembered as Julia Salinger on Party of Five or Sidney from the Scream franchise, portrays Bonnie, a girl with severe burns that make her the subject of bullying. Rachel True, who honestly never went to do much of anything (she has since had a handful of bit parts on tv shows and tv movies) plays Rochelle, a girl picked on mercilessly by the popular crowd because they are great big racists, and Rochelle is the only African-American student in the whole school.


Wicker Park

The classic tale of boy meets some crazy
chick who pretends to be her roomate.
"Passion never dies."

There was a period of time where I only watched movies that were morose and about the lives of maladjusted people, especially if it was about their completely messed up love lives. During that time the Blockbuster by my house was going out of business, and so, instead of engaging other people or doing something constructive with my life I would go next door around 11pm and sift through their marked down movies, picking out ones that seemed sort of interesting. So it was that I acquired Wicker Park, a movie with Josh Hartnett of all people in it. Most recently you might remember him in 30 Days of Night, but he has a pretty good track record that goes all the way back to The Faculty in '98 (which was a fantastic movie by the way). He stars as an advertising executive named Matthew who arrives in Chicago with his fiance, where he sees a woman that he was previously deeply, sexily in love with, like in the picture to the left. (That's Diane Kruger, who you may remember from Inglorious Bastards, or if you watch bad movies, the National Treasure movies. Yes I've seen them, I have FX and USA.) Her name is Lisa.


Comic Book Movies: Then and Now

As promised, today I will take a moment to look back at comic movies of the past, and where we are now. I was originally just going to sort of compare and contrast, but don't you think it would be more fun if I instead  reviewed the history of unsuccessful comic book movies along the way? I promise it will be fun.

The best movie ever made.


Total Recall

What's keeping those buildings floating there?
"What is real?"

As promised, today I will report my experiences with the 2012 remake of Total Recall, a 1990 film  starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Being a big, Hollywood, science fiction film, it is naturally based on a short story written by Philip K. Dick. This re-hash swaps Arnold for Colin Ferrell (In his second movie based on a Philip K. Dick story, the first being Minority Report), backed up by Kate Beckinsale as his fake wife/cop trying to kill him, and Jessica Biel as his actual love interest. The supporting cast includes Bryan Cranston (who you know either from Malcolm in the Middle as Malcolm's dad, or more recently as a high school teacher turned meth dealer in Breaking Bad), John Cho (of Harold and Kumar fame), Bill Nighy (appearing in a movie with Kate Beckinsale not for the first time, the other being Underworld) and Bokeem Woodbine who honestly gets his first important role in a major film (being a pimp who rapes Jennifer Lawrence in The Poker House doesn't count).


Conan The Barbarian

All those skulls are people who died of
"Enter an Age Undreamed of."

This is very true. I don't spend a lot of time dreaming about really vague generic fantasy settings, where no one does anything that I find even remotely interesting. That is the magical land of the Hyborian Age in the 2011 reinterpretation of  Robert E. Howard's fantasy universe (From what I recall the Hyborian Age is the fantasy equivalent of George Lucas' 'a long time ago in a galaxy far far away.'). After floating around in development limbo for the better part of a decade, changing production companies several times in the process, the studio system finally shat out this cinematic disaster. For those late to this particular subject, Conan the Barbarian, or Conan the Cimmerian was a character created by the aforementioned Mr. Howard, in fantasy stories serialized in the Weird Tales periodical  in the 1930s . In the early '80s several films were made based around this character starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, and these films would garner him recognition worldwide as an action hero. Despite mixed reactions from critics they were also notably some of the first films based on comics and pulp fiction to actually turn a profit, cracking the door open for what would eventually become our comic-book infested free-for-all present. But this review isn't about those films. This review is about a much worse film.


Jack Black: A Retrospective

So I'd been trying to come up with some ideas for posts to make on Saturday. I didn't want to just do a third review a week, I wanted it to be something different, while keeping it entertaining, and relevant. I couldn't come up with anything like that, but I did notice that Jack Black appears in the background of a lot of movies, or as some relatively minor character and so instead of something less stupid I give you:


Wild Wild West

What's not to like?
"It's a whole new west."

As promised, today I will be standing in defense of what is more or less an indefensible movie. I am not going to sit here and try and tell you that WWW should have won awards because it is an example of the art at its finest, what I'm going to suggest to you is that the failure of this movie, and the dislike that people express for it, are both somewhat mystical to me. Again this isn't because it is such a great movie. It's because as near as I can tell, it is practically the same movie as Men In Black, only in the...well the wild wild west. Now before you explode in outrage at this generalization consider a moment! A movie with Will Smith, as a smart-allecky law enforcement agent, along with his partner (Tommy Lee Jones deadpan Agent K or Kevin Kline's goofy-ass Artemis Gordon), a lady they pick up along the way (Salma Hayek as Rita Escobar in WWW and Linda Fiorentino as the morgue lady in MIB). They attempt to uncover a mysterious threat against the Earth/the United States, as directed by their gruff bearded boss (Kevin Kline again as Ulysses S Grant/ Rip Torn as Zed). This threat ends up being insectoid and could destroy the whole world/country (a giant cockroach/giant robot spider). In addition both movies feature a theme song set to the hook of an old pop song that is performed by Will Smith.
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