Your letters. My smartass replies.Winding down on the letters column here, but as long as there’s enough of them that are interesting to keep this little sucker going, I’ll have at it.

The Steady Leak is being reshaped and will be available at a new location in the coming weeks, but I think it’d still be wise to run the letters in this column, so feel free to write me about anything in this green world and I’ll do my best to answer.

Even if it’s not about movies.

ESPECIALLY if it’s not about movies.

Today’s Photo From Life:

Taken on the road to Helen, Georgia. Nothing I say can make this any funnier or scarier.

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The Fact This Exists Is Hilarious.

What exactly does that spoiler spoil, gas mileage? Does the immense coolness of this truck dare the Heavens to rip it from the Earth at every turn so they need an airfoil to hammer it back down to reality? Did the owner buy it from Miles Mayhem?

The Lying, the Mitch, and the Fjord Robe.

Mitch to the left!David writes:

Long time reader, bla bla bla…

So anywho, I went to see an advanced early screening out here at Minnesota’s "Mall of America" of "The Chronicles of Narnia, the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" thanks to some company called, "Motive Entertainment" who I am unsure how exactly they got my email, but I wont look a gift horse in the mouth.

In a nutshell, I would say the movie was… Just ok’ish. As a huge fan of "The Lord of the Rings" and the "Potter" films, an epic fantasy movie such as this should have blown my socks off, but it just didn’t seem to have any heart.

The movie starts in World War II England. Four kids are sent out in to the countryside to live away from the main brunt of the German bombing campaign. The children are quite bored, and they decide to play a game of hide and seek. When the youngest attempts to hide in an old wardrobe, she enters a mystic wintery world of Narnia. A land full of half animal, as well as fully animal creatures who can chat it up, as well as cyclops, and other various creatures we expect to find in such tales of fantasy.

Tilda Swinton does a quite competent job as the wicked white witch.

Well, lets face it, just watching her beautiful face would be enough entertainment to half carry a movie. In fact, all of the acting is quite solid in my opinion. Also, the effects of the show are quite masterful, a job well done by all on that front. Where the movie comes up missing is how it uses all of the wonderful attributes it has.

These are wonderful and magical images, yet we never really care that much about either the children or the entire world of Narnia. Sure, they seem nice enough, and the White Witch seems quite evil, but we never seem to get into the characters outside of rather shallow characterizations of good and bad. Its as if Disney tried to make a Lord of the Rings film. They kept all of the imagery and the structure, but they forgot the heart.

Now, I must confess. I nave never read the books myself, but even if they also never really let the reader get into the characters, I still blame the film makers, whose job it is to go beyond the source material and make a truly entertaining film for its viewers. I am unsure if the writers and directors were just not competent to this task, or if they truly felt like all they had to do is give us a few funny and cute lines of dialogue for us to understand why these human children decide to risk all to help them, or conversely why all of the "good" creatures of Narnia are willing to die in combat under the leadership of some seemingly random humans.

Another sadly missed opportunity was the final somewhat anti-climatic battle. While the first half of the movie is unforgivably slow to build towards some action scenes, the war itself involves a good idea of creatures running at each other, but rarely do we get to see any actual combat, or even contact between combatants! My mind was a wonder at the thought of a cheetah, rhino and centaur good guys duping it out with various half bull, cyclops or bat people. But, none of this is actually seen. Instead we get to see a lot of heroic poses and grunts from a multitude of admittedly wonderful looking mythical creatures. But, as I said, without gaining an investment in any of the actual beings we are watching, these poses come off as images some CGI technician thought would look good.

The ultimate realization of image over substance and hopefully not a hint of things to come in fantasy film. With that being said, I am sure it will make tons and tons of money considering the marketing megamachinery behind it connecting it to the recently very popular "Christianity in film" trend. But, it will never truly take the place of our beloved Lord of the Rings franchise.

Looking forward to "King Kong"!

Nick’s Reply: If it’s for Narnia, you ought to not look a gift centaur in the mouth. I’m seeing this hulk of hell tonight and my expectations are somewhere in the Omega Code or Fairy Tale Theater nebula. I could care less about Narnia. I got to Prince Caspian in the book series as a kid and suffice it to say that the tomes did not knock me on my Aslan. Your comments seem sort of in tune with Devin’s, whose review will punch you all in the coming days. I know it’ll have some gorgeous work in it, because WETA and KNB are nothing less than stout. I just don’t find C.S. Lewis as exciting as Tolkien or Pullman or Judy Blume. Regarding Tilda Swinton’s beautiful face, um… enjoy. I’m not attracted to drowned boys.


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CHUD Screenings.

Mitch to the right.Joe writes:

What happened to the movie screenings, miss getting passes.

Nick’s Reply: If you read that a certain way it looks like I’m the chick who married Mr. Getting Passes, which I am not. I’m the guy who saved the honor of Miss Taking Beef Slabs to the Forehead. Nunziata just rolls off the tongue better, though no disrespect to my in-laws Hank and Ethel Taking Beef Slabs to the Forehead. The screenings are something I’ve decided to put the kibosh on. There are other websites who do them and though they lack the editorial attitude we have (which makes them infinitely more appealing to the local firms), the same handful of opportunists seem to get taken care of. As for the folks who are legit CHUD readers who miss the screenings, all I can say is that they really were a lot of work for very little real reward. I didn’t see those people emailing feedback a lot. I didn’t see those people active on our message boards. I didn’t see those people worshipping Kali with me at the Temple of Sorrow. When/if someone steps in to handle those kind of administrative duties in my stead and is willing to spend the time doing it, maybe they will once again return. In the meantime, CHUD has a trillion contests and mucho content and it’ll have to be enough.


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Torture Porn.

Mitch to the left!Blade writes:

While I expect Devin to ruffle some feathers because he’s a hardcore social NY lefty I find the comment below especially offensive.

"Gentleman Jim, star of the world’s best grossing torture porn.. "

Really the rest of the article what little there is about the film is tripe.
Frankly I expect more class and respect for those that are christian and catholic as well as those who enjoyed the film.

I’m not a conservative and haven’t gone to church in years however I respect Mel Gibson’s film and respect other films and filmmakers enough to not piss all over their art. Just as I would be pissed if someone said " Roger Spottiswood is directing the new Harry Potter expect to see Fags dying slowly and a hilarious tribute to those who have died of HIV and Aids at the end. ".

I appreciate your site and the people who contribute to it. I realize you don’t have as much to do with it these days and I thank you for CHUD.

Nick’s Reply: First of all, your name is Blade. The Daywalker, or as the Indians say, He Who Smokes Pot in Trailer. I just wanted to let you know in case you were out of the loop. It’d be a shame if you don’t become a transexual just so I can crack a switchblade joke at your expense.

I think that Devin’s choice to use the term ‘Torture Porn’ is brilliant. Seriously. It may not be his creation but it’s a very funny and apt description, heresy and crassness notwithstanding.

As for your Spottiswoode comment, it doesn’t make sense. There is no gay subtext to Harry Potter (and I think gays would make him eat that hideous scarf due to their impeccable fashion sense) and there’s no scene where one could say that those films feature moments that seem like the drawn out death of an AIDS patient. Now, that may change in the next book, Harry Potter and the Excruciating Chalice of Deathfaggot of Flaming Firefaggot.

Look, Devin’s take on The Passion of the Christ is well known. So is mine. So is Religion’s. He was playing an easy card, because, well, the film was about thirty minutes of Jesus being a swell guy and another hour and ten minutes of Jesus just swelling. From flesh trauma.

Sorry you were offended but I’m more sorry you didn’t find ‘Torture Porn’ to be kind of clever.


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Mr. Bold Type.

Mitch to the right.Squirrel Master writes:

wtf?!!! hey! ok dude i don’t no exactly where ur going
with this but i dont like the insults bout DARKON i dont exactly remember
"shitty Ogre Costumes" people who do LARP are not nerds they just simply like
medieval warfare but cant exactly go back in time and try it out not to mention
even if they could im sure they wouldn’t wanna be killed for it so from one
wanna-be darkon player’s opinion u have got ur facts wrong and should get some
more facts about DARKON like go to which explains rules and stuff
basically is for forums and trailers if u want real info try

Nick’s Reply: Squirrel Master (real name Chipmunk Demigod) is referring to THIS, where Devin made some funnies about people who live action role-play, or LARP. I used to LARP. When I was 8. I called it going to down to Sean and Kevin’s place to play in the woods. Oh wait, that was called childhood. I wish I could defend you here and rail on Devin for his insolence. Instead I’ll stand next to him saying "You play Darkon? Fucking hi-larious!".


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Message Board Death Notice #76,394.

Mitch to the left!Alexis writes:

Hey! What the hell is happenning with the message
boards? Between the Top 10 shots of house plants in 80s movies and the
threads dedicated to the guy who always wears a mustache in John Carpenter
it’s getting harder to get film good conversations.

I finally saw Batman Begins and it was a big letdown. I
went on the message boards hoping to about the movie to see if maybe there were
some elements that I’d misssed or some things I did not understand that would
make me like it. Or maybe it would just confirm that it wasn’t really good. The
problem, there is no film discussion. It’s all about how Devin
It feels like the board community is really

Nick’s Reply: I agree that a lot of those threads are annoying, because I just don’t respect the opinion of anyone and everyone who can make it through the registration process on a message board. That said, all things considered (go read IMDB’s boards sometime), we’re still pretty solid. Especially considering that CHUD’s boards are in like their fourth generation of people. Baby Boomers like Jacob Singer, Micah Robinson, and Andre Dellamorte are old coots now sitting on rocker chairs and drinking Hot Toddies. I think it’s kind of neat. But, if you really think the boards need a burst of intelligence and vitality, make it so! You folks are the key, not me.


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Mitch to the writes:

You suck. You are a fucking asshole who should be kicked in the balls.

Nick’s Reply: I have a two-year old daughter. Getting kicked in the balls is as much a guarantee as the sun rising, death and taxes being inevitable, and your penis snapping to attention at a family gathering.


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The Embodiment of Sex.

Mitch to the left!Evie writes:

I greatly enjoyed reading your article THE STEADY LEAK #113, 10.25.05, "What is a star?". Thanks a lot for hitting the nail on the head!

As you might guess from my Email address – I’m a fan of SEAN BEAN. And thru all those years since "Caravaggio" I’ve never stopped wondering why such very talented, hot, drop dead gorgeous, scene stealing (no matter with whom he
plays) actor like him still is kept under the radar of the American audiences.

He has a devoted follower-ship in the UK and in most of the other European countries, me being one of them. I had the good fortune to meet him at the stage door a few times while he played "Macbeth" to a packed theatre every night (it turned out that this was the most successful stage production of "Macbeth" ever) in London, and found him such a nice, friendly, quiet man, who couldn’t believe that so many people from all over the world just came to see him.

Most of his work done in the UK over the years isn’t available in the US, so audiences there have no chance to experience the wide range of characters he has already portrayed to perfection, being them good guys or baddies, hereos or cowards.

Pretty much the same goes for VIGGO MORTENSEN. Only he is hardly known besides Aragorn, and now probably a bit better known thanks to David Cronenberg’s wonderful tight gripping "A History of Violence". Another actor who would deserve being a star, but I suppose he prefers to be a good actor, and a
terrific artist instead, and a devoted father in his other life.

Greetings from Munich, and good luck with your endeavours.

PS: Have I mentioned that both men are the embodyment of sex? Not like such youngsters who only have a body to present, but no brain to go with it …

Nick’s Reply: I’m with you. I’ve been planting little Sean Beans in my yard in hopes of one of them taking root and creating a Boromir.


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Knowles Head is Attacking!

Mitch to the right.Gilles writes:

I just noticed that the little icon next to in my
Bookmarks Sidebar in Firefox is the same as the Aintitcoolnews icon – Harry’s
stupid little head. What’s up with that? Does Chud have its own picture dealie
or am I the only person having this problem?
Peace out homeslice

Nick’s Reply: CHUD has not one, but two little ico files on the server. That you experience Harry Knowles’ head here is like seeing Satan’s head in a cloud of smoke or a weeping Virgin Mary in your stool. It’s to be rejoiced over!


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Land of the Great.

Mitch to the left!Sheilah writes:

Hey all.

As always, nice work on everything; I’m a fan.

Just wanted to say a few words with regard to Mr. Davis’ LOTD DVD
review. I appreciate a lot of the reservations that folks have had about the
film. Some seem disappointed by the supertight script, and I can understand
this; I too was more than ready to spend two plus hours in the new world of
Romero’s fourth. And, sure, as Dave says, Big Daddy’s dramatic roaring to the
heavens can seem a bit hackneyed.

All that said, I saw it twice in theatres and the total package
made me weep with joy; what a bold statement about our continued arrogance and
willful ignorance in a world on the brink. What is a zombie? War, disease,
environmental degredation. Take yer pic.

Land was brief but wasted nary a moment. With all respect to
Dave, Big Daddy and co. fall somewhere between my cat and three-year-old niece
in intelligence; should we realy expect him/them to have a lot of nuance in
their (newly emerging) emotional experiences?

I was also a little taken aback at Dave’s issues with Cholo’s
ambitions of upward mobility since, as he says, money has no value outside the
Green and area. Shit, man. Why does money have any value now? It’s an inherently
arbitrary concept; as is the value of the gold the economists say it’s based
on. So long as the tenants of the Green and the lower classes outside value a
dollar, it’s tender, legal green. Good to go.

Dave calls the subtextual commentary of Land obvious. It wasn’t
in Dawn? ‘They’re us’ says Peter(and, I should add, northern Canada is very
sparsely populated; you could do much worse for zombie contingency evacuation
locations. Riley’s got the right idea no matter what you say). It’s obvious that
the current U.S. administration are liars; it was obvious when they got
re-elected fer chrissake. These are stupid times and, if George’s commentary
seems obvious, well, maybe that says more about our modern world than his
failings as a writer.
Anyway, viva CHUD and all who dwell within. Thanks.

Nick’s Reply: I actually greatly disagree with both reviews of that flick. I think it’s the most! I cannot get enough of Land of the Dead and I can’t put my finger on it but rather only say that I love it like the morning sunrise. Great. Great. Great.


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Doom and Reality.

Mitch to the right.Michael writes:

I just wanted to say thanks for the pass
to Doom. I also wanted to let you in on a couple of revelations I had on the
human condition that I came up with during and after the movie. I realized that
I can sit through an hour and forty minutes of blood, gore and action and be
mildly entertained, but I can see something that happens in five seconds in the
real world and have the crap scared out of me. After the screening I was
sitting at the stop light at the intersection at Peachtree and Wieuca waiting
for the light to change. I sat pondering the dude who sat next to me during
the film and talked the entire way through it when there was a head on collision
right in front of me. I just about jumped out of my seat. Everyone seemed to
be ok, but one guys was obviously stunned by the force of the impact and having
the air bag go off in his face. Both cars were totaled. After the accident I
realized that the real world still has a much greater emotional impact on me
than any film. I think this is a good thing.

The second revelation I had is that
people suck. Here we are at a major intersection. There were probably seven or
eight other cars who were stopped and saw the accident. I was the only one who
checked to see if everyone was ok, call the police or hang around to give a
statement. What is the problem with people today? Where do they have to go
that is so important that they can’t take the time to give a statement or check
and see if someone is ok? What I saw last night made me feel pretty ashamed of
my fellow Atlantians.

Anyway, I just wanted to vent. Thanks
for the passes. I thought the movie was a little better than I figured it would
be, but I was troubled that I thought the closing credits were more novel than
anything else I saw in the film.

Nick’s Reply: I honestly get queasy at the sight of anything remotely violent in real life. When I was catching a softball game and our pitcher (who is on the message boards) had someone hit a line drive into his man sack, I couldn’t even go near the mound. Same goes for car crashes or when firemen arrive and hack men to pieces for fun and glory. So, I can’t say I’d have stopped and helped either, because the last thing a wounded person needs is my vomit complicating their shattered form. That said, I agree. Nothing on screen can match real life. Not even Klute.


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Mitch to the left!

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