The Interview

I mean they ARE kind of ignorant.
"Please do not believe these ignorant dishonorable Americans!"

Hi folks, welcome back to The Tagline. Today I want to close out the year by reviewing the Interview, which as you may or may not know is a dire threat to North Korea. Despite all the wacky hemming and hawing, Sony eventually gave us all the chance to watch this no doubt silly and inconsequential movie, despite the threats of vague entities on the internet. I mean, the president said we should keep going to the movies, so I guess that makes it essential right? DO YOUR AMERICAN DUTY AND WATCH THIS GOOFY SETH ROGEN/JAMES FRANCO MOVIE. The Interview if you somehow don't know, is a movie co-directed and written by Seth Rogen, and starring him and James Franco (this is the same full team responsible for This is the End) as a TV host, David Skylark (Franco) and his producer, Aaron Rapaport (Rogen). Skylark's show is a garbage program that does stupid things, like most "entertainment news" programs on real television. After some douche Aaron graduated with takes a cheap shot at his show, He urges Dave to do something more serious. This is when he gets the idea to interview Kim Jong-Un (the supreme leader of North Korea), who is a big fan of his show according to his Wikipedia page. This request to conduct an interview is approved, after Aaron takes a trip into the mountains of China and gets accosted by men who jump out of a helicopter. Around this time, Dave and Aaron are approached by Agent Lacey (Lizzie Caplan) who wants them to help the CIA assassinate Kim, in order to facilitate a coup d'etat. They agree, mainly because they have no choice, but also because Dave makes decisions with his penis.


The Santa Clause

hoo ho hooo.
"You've Never Seen Santa Quite Like This Before."

I wish I STILL hadn't seen Santa like this, but alas, no such luck. Welcome to the Tagline everyone, and Merry Christmas. If you don't celebrate Christmas, well don't worry, by the time I'm finished with this review no one will be celebrating. Grinch that I am, I thought I'd spread my holiday cheer by reviewing this ridiculous Kirk Cameron movie about how we need to all buy into the holy godliness of like hot cocoa or something, but my dreams for the world's misery were dashed because the stupid movie is still in a theater somewhere, and therefore not available on DVD. Bitter as this disappointment was to me, Christmas wasn't quite ruined yet. No there was still hope, as I channel surfed and fell right into a movie from Christmas past. This is 1994's The Santa Clause, a movie concept based almost entirely around a pun about contract law. If that sounds offensive, well I haven't even gotten to the part where it stars Tim Allen yet. That's right, fresh off the set of Home Improvement, and ready to ham it up in a Santa suit.  Merry Christmas folks.


Team America: World Police

Here to save the motherfuckin' day.
"Putting the F Back in Freedom."

Hi gang, and welcome back to The Tagline. Originally I had intended to review a different movie tonight, but the recent withdrawal from theaters of The Interview, followed by the withdrawal by Paramount of Team America: World police, prompted me to change my plans, and instead review Team America, which I realized I had not done. If you find that offensive somehow, the idea of me reviewing a movie where a team of American puppets attempt to thwart the plans of terrorists and Kim Jong Il to blow up the world, well fuck you, too bad. Here at the Tagline we don't respond to threats, only generous bribes. Since Paramount and Sony have refused my generous offers to be bribed, I will instead review the greatest masterpiece in puppet existence, TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE. From the genius duo that brought us South Park, Orgazmo, and who starred in BASEketball, the thing my girlfriend always gets mixed up with actual basketball, Team America is the movie that Matt and Trey said they weren't going to make. After the South Park movie, the guys were pretty disdainful about doing another movie. Despite this, they were inspired apparently by how stupid the idea of The Day After Tomorrow was, and originally planned to re-shoot the whole movie only in puppet form. They were informed that this could have legal difficulties, so instead they opted to just make a puppet movie that was a send up of all manner of big action movies. Team America is about a stage actor named Gary who is recruited to be part of Team America, an elite Thunderbirds-esque team that fights terrorists around the world, by shooting them and blowing them up and stuff. Awesome right?


Batman Returns

Those poor penguins.
"The Bat, the Cat, the Penguin"

Hello everyone, welcome back to The Tagline! Tonight I thought I would warm up for the big day by doing a Christmasy movie, and what says 'tis the season more than an army of subterranean penguins rising to the surface to murder all the firstborn children? Nothing, that's what, so I'm going to be following up on my earlier post covering Batman and talking tonight about Batman Returns (which for all you folks wondering, IS also on Netflix, for your viewing pleasure). This movie was the tumultuously produced sequel to the 1989 film, and was very nearly nothing at all like it ended up being, for a variety of reasons. For starters, Tim Burton, cinematic genious and master of the new and inventive (I'm being sarcastic!) was very hesitant to make another Batman, having been dissatisfied with the results of his first outing. He said he would only return if the movie offered something "new and exciting", though that didn't seem to be an issue when he made the Corpse Bride. OTHERWISE he said it was "a most dumbfounded idea." which is funny because that's not what that word means. There's a Princess Bride joke in there but I can't be bothered to make it, I'm sure you can all do it for yourselves. Anyway, despite his lukewarm feelings on the matter, after directing Edward Scissorhands, Burton came around, once he was given more creative control, which allowed him to make this movie feel a lot like Edward Scissorhands. As much as I think Tim Burton is a tool who basically hasn't made a movie OTHER than Edward Scissorhands since like 1993 (when he made The Nightmare Before Christmas) Batman Returns is probably one of the most original and excellent things he has ever done. Maybe not as profound as he might like to think (wow really the real villains are corporations?) but still great. It almost wasn't great though. It was almost about Penguin and Catwoman searching for a buried treasure or some bullshit like that. That sounds like some Adam West-era garbage. Also they considered the Penguin trying to make Gotham colder (a thing they actually DID in Batman & Robin god help us) but Tim Burton correctly demanded a rewrite with a plot that was less stupid, so I am at least grateful for that.



Get it, they're balls.
"Two guys invented a game... and turned the sports world upside down!"

Welcome to Friday gang, welcome back to the Tagline, where now ball jokes are king until the end of this post at least. As part of my spectacular series on films you can stream on the Netflix garbage superhighway, today I will be taking us back to 1998, to talk about one of the great late 90s oddities, BASEketball (yeah it's really spelled like that just look at the cover, but I'm not going to spell it like that again). Before I go into the movie, let's study a little history. Like I just mentioned, this movie was released in 1998, in the end of July to be more precise. This would mean that it was released approximately one yeah after Trey Parker and Matt Stone began work on South Park. South Park was an immediate success, though at that point it was still a new thing and not the culturally immovable point it has no become, and so this I guess opened up some new opportunities for these... fine gentlemen. BASEketball is notable as being the only production Stone and Parker have been involved in to date that they did not write, direct, or produce in some way. They apparently did have some creative input with the director David Zucker (noted for such jewels as Airplane!, The Naked Gun movies and several of the latter-day Scary Movies unfortunately) so I guess there IS that. This movie's core concept was actually centered around a game Zucker had actually made up, which is sort of like a combination of Horse, Around the World, and being an asshole to the other players. The movie focuses on loser best buddies Coop (Parker) and Remer (Stone) inventing the game to occupy themselves during unemployment, which presumably is ongoing. The game has rules that allow them to level the playing field between themselves and more athletic individuals, and it becomes popular rapidly. Eventually a rich old guy, Ted Denslow (our second Ernest Borgnine performance this week how about that), offers to make the sport a major league of its own, and to keep it from becoming a corporate shit show like other sports.


The Black Hole

I think the black hole has an infection.
"You can't escape the most powerful force in the universe."

Except when you can, and everyone literally spends the entire movie doing that, but I guess in this circumstance that's sort of splitting hairs. Anyway welcome to a new week at the Tagline, and today I'll be launching into the deepest, most boring portions of space, to talk about the 1979 Disney film The Black Hole, a movie which actually has very little to do with a black hole, it just sort of takes place near one, and I guess they go into it at some point or whatever. For the most part the black hole serves as backdrop for crazy scientist theater (and not the funny Mystery Science Theater kind). This will hopefully become a monthly tradition here at the Tagline (shitty ass movies on Tuesday) but for now let's just enjoy this really execrable instance of vintage science fiction. Released shortly after Star Wars made a big splash and brought science fiction to the forefront of popularity, the Disney goons decided it was high time to try and get a slice of that pie. This movie is significant (especially in light of Disney's mighty empire today) in that it represented the first Disney production that didn't receive an all ages rating, due to some mild portrayals of death, and some profanity. I find it rather hilarious that now, over 30 years later, Disney actually OWNS Star Wars. Anyway, let's go back in time to when Disney kind of sucked, and talk about this real piece of work. 


Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

Turtle power!
"Heroes in a half shell!"

Hello friends, welcome back, to the Thursday edition of The Tagline, where movies are things that dominate most of your waking hours. Today I once again peer into the maelstrom of streaming media, and pluck out a gem from 1990, which if anyone was wondering is now about 25 years ago. I'm talking about those totally radical dudes, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In particular I am talking about the first live action outing, not the one with that totally fresh Vanilla Ice song (haha I made a funny). This film was an interesting attempt to capitalize on the success of the TMNT in the mid to late 80s, first as a comic book and then later as a tv cartoon/merchandise and toys fuckstorm. This film acts as an origin story for the turtles, and also chronicles their first battle with the Foot and Shredder. An interesting thing to think about before I talk about the movie in greater detail, is that you are in somewhat perilous waters when you are trying to market a series that is about ninjas to children, because ninjas as a rule are assassins, in other words their job is murdering people. The original comic wasn't really intended for the kiddie audience, and so as it became mainstream concessions were made. At the end of the day though, they are still "ninjas" and that can cause problems. For instance censorship is apparently pretty wacky in the UK, and they changed the name to Teenage Mutant Hero turtles for the 1987 cartoon, and also in all of the original movie releases (the original trilogy) they censored out in particular Michelangelo's nunchaku, because I don't know. Maybe in the past the UK had a serious issue with ninjas that we just didn't hear about in the US. The point is, the movies were stuck toeing a fine line between boring and too violent, with varying degrees of success depending on the movie.


Mockingjay: Part 1

Get ready for more dead children.
"The courage of one will change the world."

Hello all, welcome back to the Tagline! Today is finally that magic day, the day I will be reviewing the Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part 1:The Almost End: Subtitles Forever. No but seriously what the fuck we get it, maybe consider a bit more of concise of a title? At any rate, Mockingjay picks up right after the conclusion of Catching Fire (check out my thoughts on that one over here) with Katniss coming around inside a bunker beneath the bombed out ruins of District 13. Naturally the first thing she does is freak out, because she recalls that during the final fateful moments of the Quarter Quell, Peeta was left behind, as the District 13 rebels extracted Katniss, who is valuable to them above all others as a symbol and inciter of revolution. Katniss of course is a wreck of human being, having been now in not one but two hunger games, and separated from the only person that allowed her to hold herself together through it all. That said, the leader of District 13, President Alma Coin (Julianne Moore in one of her less insane recent roles, I mean compared to Carrie's crazy mom for instance) doesn't have time for any of that nonsense, and so together with Plutarch Heavensbee (Philip Seymour Hoffman, this movie together with its part 2 were his final performances) and so go to considerable lengths to motivate Katniss.
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