.The Set Up…

As
many of you are aware, my time here at CHUD.com is coming to a close,
though I’ve decided that I’ll still contribute things like this column
on a regular basis (in fact, more regular once I’m not dealing with
administrative and organizational stuff). The Steady Leak
is the one thing that I always hear about from folks when I meet them
as something they want me to continue. So I will, because even though
Film Hobbits try and do it, there’s only one Leak and it needs to continue.

In other news, catch Good Night, and Good Luck when
it hits your town. It’s the most unpretentious black & white art
film I’ve seen in a long time and features very sober and crystal clear
performances from all involved. There was this son of a bitch in front
of me in line buying tickets who, when asked by another line dweller
what he thought of the film, said "George Clooney ought to stick with
making movies instead of having causes". I wanted to punch this guy
right in the manbox, because this film is a good example of how to make
a point without the sledgehammer brutality of Michael Moore or the
like. It tells it like it is and allows for the less together viewers
to enjoy it as a chunk of history and the rest of us to enjoy it as
that as well as a eerie precursor to our own times today.

Clooney
is one of the more surprising talents we have, a guy with a good eye
for material, the tendency to work with the right people time and time
again, and actual gifts behind the word processor and lens. Fuckers
ought to keep their own squabbles against his politics in their car
when they go to the movies.

Anyway….

On with the Leak.

What is a star?

http://chud.com/nextraimages/staaa.jpgAsk
me to name a star outside of the obvious ones like Russell Crowe, Tom
Hanks, Tom Cruise, and the other handful of assured "names" and I come
to an odd crossroads.

What the fuck is a star, anyway?

Is
it box office? Is it charm and good looks? Is it the ability to swoon
the ladies AND the guys? Is it a body that belongs on the cover of Men’s Fitness
or is it a load of gossip column space about drunken orgies and public
unsheathing of the breasts or the manballs (depending on the sex of the
"star")?

Heck if I know, but I do know who I’d gladly put in a starring role in a movie I was making if given the choice.

Orlando
Bloom’s an example. He’s a good piece in a film but I’d never consider
him the star of my movie unless it was a really small flick or if it
was an existing property like Pirates of the Caribbean
(and we know who the real star of that is). I just don’t feel he’d
anchor a film, though he acquitted himself well in the last Ridley
Scott flick. I like him, just don’t consider him the leading man type.
Yet. That said, my odd logic would allow me to cast Liev Schreiber in a
leading man role without hesitation and he has far less box office
wattage than Mr. Bloom. Why? Because he can flat out ACT. In a big way.
In a way that box office dollars don’t really factor into play. Watch
his work in The Sum of All Fears
and tell me that he doesn’t totally own the film during the moments
he’s onscreen. There’s somethign about the guy that tells me I could
sleep well knowing he’s my star.

But is he a star? Nah. He’s a star to me, though.

Same
goes for Eric Bana. I’d put him in the lead of my film in a heartbeat.
Or Sean Bean. Or Dominic West. Or Viggo Mortensen. Or Paddy Considine.
Or Matt Damon. Hell, I’m of the mind right now that I want to drop
Jeremy Piven into a major leading role and if the stars ever align I
will.

There’s something about those people to me that is about
more than math and magazine covers that makes them stars in the same
way that folks like DeNiro and Pacino and Redford were stars a few
years before they were given the films to prove it so. These are all
established folks to be sure, but there’s a timeless aspect to them
that is about more than their current value or their value at the peak
of their game. Some would say Bana waste dhis chance, or that Damon’s
already at peak value. But think about it; Paul Walker’s presence can
greenlight a film. I actually don’t mind Walker, I kind of like him
despite his muscular blandness, but the point is that any studio in
town would rather have him than Liev Schreiber, unless it was Focus or
Fox Searchlight.

At the end of the day, Paul Walker’s a star. Deal with it.

Of course, I can counter any of Hollywood’s stars with my own choices. Go ahead, name a star and I’ll trump the bitch.

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My So-Called Box Office Slump.

http://chud.com/nextraimages/slump.jpgI
can’t help but yawn when I hear about declining box office reciepts and
the death of cinema, especially when the bullshit is so contagious that
remotely legitimate sources are jumping on the bandwagon.

The
box office is fine. Granted, there’s been a dearth of really good
mainstream movies and that’s part of the reason people aren’t flocking
to theaters. Another reason is that Mother Nature has ordered a hit on
humanity and her goons are kicking the living shit out of us on four
corners of the planet. Another reason is that movies are being released
at the most awkward and lame times. Is it hard to believe that Into the Blue failed when it came out three months too late? Serenity should have hit in April. Doom
should have come out in August. How hard is it to pair material with
its audience? Not too freakin’ hard. Then there’s the spastic swapping
of release dates as if it’s couples night at the Alzheimer’s home.
There’s a certain schizophrenia in the film business right now and a
lot of chips ar ein their air or falling. At the end of the day, or in
this case, year… the box office numbers will be fine.

Look at the top ten movies of this year in terms of overall domestic box office:

1. Star Wars: Episode III.
Despite the fact it was severely disappointing (and shame on the DVD
folks for telling us the supplies were short so they couldn’t send us a
review copy. That’s Bush League), it’s no doubt a major film. A major
blockbuster. A legitimate sensation and its place in the list needs no
explanation.

2. War of the Worlds. Great flick. Totally makes sense that it’s here.

3. Wedding Crashers.
Great flick, kind of a surprise juggernaut and I don’t think it’d have
been this high most years, a testimony to a kind of "off" year and how
sometimes good guys finish first, in this case those good guys being
Vince and Owen. Of course, it’s New Line and New Line is the best
studio ever with the best taste in material and if I could hug a studio
I’d hug New Line.

4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
I’m surprised it did this well. It got great reviews and the
all-powerful kids demographic is not to be underestimated. I haven’t
seen this one nor do I plan too, but I can understand the appeal.

5. Batman Begins. No brainer.

6. Madagascar. Proof that if you build it they will come, regardless of what it is.

7. Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Huh? I liked it and I’m happy for Pitt and Liman, but this is not representative of what typically makes for a top ten flick.

8. Hitch. Date movie. Whatever…

9. The Longest Yard.
I knew this would crush the opposition. I knew it would suck. I knew
Rob Schneider would annoy. I’m like Nostrodamus, only without the
kickin’ beard.

10. Fantastic Four.
The movie was better than dying from a sucking chest wound, which
surprised me. Still, the fact it’s this high is more a testimony to
marketing onslaughts than word of mouth or actual love for these
characters.

The
bottom line is that 2005 is a rather piss poor year in terms of the
quality of blockbuster type movies we’re getting. Though the average
moviegoer (sorry folks) is about as discerning as a paroled inmate at a
low rent whorehouse, eventually the buyer bewares. It’s inevitable.

That said, the smaller films have been treated quite well. There’s a ton of great little movies.

This
bullshit slump is the result of a few factors, but none of them are
that people have seen through this transparent sham of moving pictures
on screens that’s been deceiving us for a century. Hollywood had an off
year. People voted that they did with their wallets.

Harry Potter and Jarhead and King Kong will help soothe the pain.

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The Fact This Exists is Hilarious.


I
got a pound of buxom redhead and two pounds of Latino hotness for under
ten bucks. I can’t believe I used to take chicks to the movies when
it’s so much easier to get them piecemeal.

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Go, Weinstein!

http://chud.com/nextraimages/weinss.jpgIt’s funny how things change.

A few dozen installments ago in this column I covered Peter Biskind’s Down and Dirty Pictures
and kind of revealed how my impression of Harvey Weinstein became
somewhat muddled and extremely negative. Since then, I’ve found myself
creeping back up as a fan of the legendarily vicious producer/magnate.
In small doses, you know? The big steps were when I saw how he handed
Troy Duffy his ass in Overnight
when the filmmaker got too big for his britches and when he took his
acute eye for material and horror loving brother and left the Disney
fold to create The Weinstein Company.

Even
though I know firsthand from some friends how Miramax/Dimension gave
them the shaft I have to admit that I’m excited for this new company.
They may be ruthless and they may have treated their talent (unless
their names be Quentin, Kevin, or Robert) like the poops, but they,
Harvey in particular, have a seriously good eye for creators and
projects.

I
really think that they are on the path towards not only helping put us
in front of some great movies we normally might not have seen (though
the stuff they carried over in the separation might not be a fair
representation), but also creators we might not have seen.

So, good luck Harvey and Bob. My hat’s off to ya.

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Whither Baz?

It’ll be five years since Moulin Rouge
almost singlehandedly kicked the ass of the world into remembering how
great musicals can be and in that time Baz Luhrmann’s been mentioned in
regards to a few projects (the Alexander the Great one being at the fore) though nothing has come out of it.

I
for one miss Baz. I want him back in the fold. Rob Marshall’s been
carrying the torch fine, but Baz has the theatrics and spectacle down
to a science that no one can touch. Seeing Chris Columbus on Rent makes sense I guess, but it’s like seeing a bunch of suspense films coming out while Hitchcock was on holiday.

Baz
is something else, a man I really enjoying interviewing in early 2001
and a guy whose name on a film pretty much assures us that it’s going
to at least be aggressively stylish and of its own mind. We’ve seen
five Woody Allen films, a Terence Malick film, and TWO FUCKING TERRY GILLIAM FILMS in that span.

Yeah, you’re due Mr. Luhrmann.

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The Mock of Zorro.

http://chud.com/nextraimages/zor.jpgAre you guys as excited for The Legend of Zorro as I am?

By
that I mean not in the slightest. It’s been seven long years since the
first film was a surprisingly sexy and low tech romp that helped ignite
the wattage of Catherine Zeta-Reticulan Jones and Antonio "Thank you
Robert Rodriguez for the lovely jobs" Banderas and propel Martin
Campbell from the trappings of James Bond into the spotlight, where he
promptly made a few flicks that flickered and is now safely back in the
trappings of James Bond.

This kind of film should be after my
own heart. Swashbuckling. Very little CGI. A sense of adventure. Whips!
Nick Chinlund! Whips!

But it has no grab. The trailer is
seemingly in front of every film I see and still myself and the rest of
the audience sit there glassy eyed as if saying in unison "has this
phenomenon long since passed?". There’s a reason we aren’t seeing
trailers for 48 More Hours or why Carlito’s Way has gone to the browner pastures of direct to video.

Sadly,
the time of Zorro has come and gone for the time being. As much as I
liked the first one, this seems like a film out of time. Devin’s going
to give it a failing grade in his review (or already has by the time
you read this), so it’s not like a surprise weapon that defies our
expectations.

No, it’s Shanghai Knights. Once was nice. Twice was a punch in the kisser.

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Today’s Photo(s) from Life.


Yeah, real tough to tell she’s my kid…

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If CHUD.com Ran the Movies


Bastardization by Nick Nunziata. All apologies to the makers of The Weather Man.


News Attack #23

Give
me a hand. What’s more depressing, seeing everyone you love eaten by
insects or watching the nightly news? For me it depends on if the
insects are arboreal. To save you the heartache, I browsed the US news
section of CNN. Here’s a quick rundown…

1. The Headline: Sitter Sentenced To 23 Years For Molesting Children

Nick’s
Take: Imagine how long the sentence would be if the person wasn’t so
lazy and stood up for a while. Also, where the heck did they get 23
years? Is 24 years too many years of punishment for raping little kids?
I think not. In fact, they left a digit off the term. I just would love
to see the little chart they have. Dick Fondle = 4 years. Mouth to Ass
= 6 years. Screw math and screw that insane legal logic. Math Screwing
= 9 years.

2. The Headline: Police: Cyclist Dies After Failing To Yield

Nick’s
Take: Oh, he yielded all right. To the laws of physics, gravity, and pain.


3. The Headline: CPSC Announces Blower, Christmas Tree Recalls

Nick’s
Take: I can give a shit about the Christmas Trees, but I simply cannot wait to meet the blower. I hope she’s a brunette!

4. The Headline: Police Arrest 2 Connected To Restaurant Slaying

Nick’s
Take: Thank God for that, too. It’s one thing to hate your food and
another thing altogether to send an eatery to an early grave. My one
hope is that it didn’t suffer.

5. The Headline: Student Has Trouble Studying After Dad Wins Powerball

Nick’s
Take: You know what he doesn’t have trouble doing? Fucking owning
everything in the world. I’d like this headline better if it had read "Man has trouble walking after Murderball".

6. The Headline: Bodies Found In Home May Be Murder-Suicide

Nick’s Take: After all, Ken Suicide and Judy Murder have been missing since Saturday.

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You Trust Me? Trust These!

Here’s
some flat-out recommendations for you. Stuff I’ve already seen, read,
heard, or clicked on and found to be utterly lovely. I’m going to try
not to choose obvious things like The Watchmen or Fight Club or Faith No More’s Angel Dust, ’cause you ought to know by now! Have at. If you like this, it’ll continue:

DVD: American Gothic: The Series. So good. So creepy. If you haven’t seen this show, just pick this DVD up and thank a white man in the morning.

Book: Demons – John Shirley. Vicious, brutal stuff. Well written and cinematic as heck. Provided of course, a studio didn’t mind alienating everyone.

Album: Too Trapped to Care – PKG. Shit yes, I’m a shill. Plus, this album’s grand!

Website: Browncoats! The best site ever to hate Devin with a passion.

Video Game: FarCry – XBOX.
So damn good. The one-player can be infuriating at times, but the
online element is brilliant and the level creator is second to none. If
you’re on LIVE, add CHUDCOM to your friends list and check out my
levels. I’m a brilliant FarCry level designer, as it turns out. BRILLIANT.

Trade Paperback: X-MEN: The Age of Apocalypse Vol. 2.
This is the meat, where the GOOD stuff happened. Disregard the horrid
new one they did. This was a special series and the great stuff before
the comics went to shit, only saved recently by the likes of Morrison,
Allred, and Whedon.

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The Speed Round, #14

Here’s how it works. Ask me ANYTHING. Do it either through THIS EMAIL LINK or on THIS MESSAGE BOARD THREAD. That’s the complex nature of this section.

Q: Whatever happened to Big Dick’s?

A:
It’s sort of dead, honestly. I have a few projects that take precedence
and the manic and scattershot nature of this one is something I’d
rather do when I have a little clout. It’s still a great idea for an
Adult Swim type of cartoon, and I think Justin and I will eventually do
it but it just makes sense to save it when I have a little more of a
name to where someone’s willing to entrust me with a totally fucked
idea like this.

Q: What’s the ETA on a new Podcast?

A: Fingers crossed, this coming Monday.

Q: Isn’t a Kraken a bird, as opposed to a squid thing?

A:
It’s a squid. It’s also one of the most prominent figures in mythology,
right behind the guy on the message boards who reads the main site and
doesn’t use a pop-up blocker.

Q: I had a dream that Albert Pujols got traded but I didn’t find out where…where’d he go?

A: Hopefully to the American league, where he doesn’t steal MVP votes from people I want to win.

Q: What are you going to be for Halloween?

A: Aggressively Caucasian.

Q: What does your beard do on its day off?

A: Writes Jeffrey Wells’ columns for him.

Q: Why don’t you ever call anymore?

A: Never did. Calls are overrated.

Q: Who are you and why are you looking at me like that?

A: Rock Hudson. You’re my undead lunch.

Q: Who would win in a fight between Red Ronja and Captain America?

A: A Reb Brown trumps a Bridgette Neilsen every day of the week.

Q: Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

A: In the 80’s where she belongs.

Q: Savage Dragon or Powerhouse?

A: Powerhouse would make for a rather poultry adversary, don’t you think?

Q: You just updated the website around 3:15AM… why are you still up this
late/early?

A: It’s tough to catch me when I’m not awake.

Q: There were once rumblings of CHUD cooperating with Colleges and
Universities but nothing ever happened. If something does happen will I
still be in college to enjoy it? Or will I be the creepy guy that
graduated a while ago but still shows up to the events?

A:
Too much work.

Q: Why has the DVD Rack review format become more popular than the old standard CHUD DVD review format? Length? Ease? Penis?

A:
Because unlike some…ahem… OTHER SITES, we review pretty much
everything we’re sent and we do it on a fairly steady basis. Some stuff
doesn’t really warrant a full review, especially when…ahem… SOME
READERS don’t make the effort to let our reviewers know what they think
either through email or on the many message board threads created for those films. The shorter format allows us to be concise and get more content done for you lovely folks.

Q: I don’t have an ipod. How
do I listen to the Archived CHUD radio shows ?

A: Details are right here, baby. You don’t need an IPOD, though Itunes is a free download that’ll help.

Q: Is this a
sign of the Apocalypse, or just of the decline of civilization?

A: It’s Asian!

Q: Do I have to come eat with you?

A: I so don’t get this one, but most certainly not. I don’t need to eat with you.

Q: How do I close those ads that pop up over the CHUD menu and won’t go away?

A: It affects me too. Hit REFRESH. It fixes the problem and gives us one extra pageview!

Q: Why do people die?

A: Honestly? Maggots gotta eat too, Skippo.

Q: The Iron Giant vs. Any pixar film

A: Not really a question, but Iron Giant.

Q: Are you a fan of Lawrence Block? You should be, he’s a brilliant crime fiction
writer.

A: Love the man. Have since high school. I once performed a Lawrence Block when I kept Mr. Fishburne from hitting on my wife.

Q: Robot Chicken- funniest 11 minutes on TV or utter waste of time?

A: Never seen it, but the title is too gimmicky foir my liking.


Q: Have you seen www.uweboll.com ? Genious.

A: Yeah, but it doesn’t make the intentional misspelling of genius any less annoying.

Q: If you could be played by any actor (or actress, if you prefer), whom
would you like it to be?

A: I have no idea. I think I’m best if rendered as CGI, like the Balrog.

Q: If Superman were around today and he wore the "Superman Returns"
costume, what would you think?

A: "Man, they’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of a boring character".

Q: What movie defines you as a person?

A: None. I define myself as a person. Movies are, after all, just movies.

Q: What Atlanta radio station(s), if any, do you listen to?

A:
During baseball season, 790 The Zone and the one in the 1000’s where
Dan Patrick is on. During the rest of time, either XM Radio or my IPOD.

Q: Is Toshiro
Mifune one of the greatest actors of all time?

A: Hey fanboys? Come closer. NOPE.

Q: a/s/l?

A: I’m old. I had to look this up on the web. To answer your query, Mongols and Lizards!

Q: What your favourite joke porn movie title; ie. In Diana Jones, Sex-Men,
Womb Raider, etc.

A: Someone to Crotch Over Me.

Today’s Chewer Obituary.

Barcelona, Spain -
The partially eaten remains of Mr. Matthieu Galley of France were
discovered inside a creature once believed to be a myth, authorities
reported this morning. Galley, the first "Football Poet" and author of
the novel How To Cook With Only a Leaf Blower and a Block of Obsidian, was apparently attacked and devoured (partially) by the Barcelona Bugbear, a beast
with
claws like a mole cricket, teeth like a jackal, musculature like a
kodiak, and a stomach like little pieces of Matthieu Galley of France.
Police are checking the animal’s stool (which also bore a striking
resemblance to the Frenchman) for clues as to where it makes its home
as well as the local guilds on the chance someone rolled for wandering
monsters. Galley first achieved fame when as the goalie for the Paris
Parisians football team (that’s soccer to you Americans and Pointless
Sport #1 to Nick Nunziata) he would spout the prose of Ogden Nash and
Eugene Field while deflecting balls and the occasional Longfellow.
After Longfellows and balls became boring, he turned first to a career
as the programmer of Jumping Flash 3
for the Sony PSP and then struck paydirt with his offbeat cooking tome.
After being sued by the parents of children who choked on black hunks of polished rock, he retired to Spain to enjoy a quiet, peaceful life.
His quiet peace included chess, reading, and being eaten apart by
mythological beings. He is survived by the Barcelona Bugbear and in an
odd bit of irony, the quite dead Nell Carter.

Read the Obituary discussion here.

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Today’s CHUD Fact

I had more fun watching my Land of the Dead DVD last week than when I finally caught up and saw season five of Angel.

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The Movies I Watched While Writing This.

None.

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And that is the end of Steady Leak #113.

Discuss this column on our message boards.

The Old Steady Leak Discussion.