Stink Review: The Great Wall

What is it with white A-listers hijacking films about revered Japanese or Chinese warriors engaged in epic battles to save their way of life?

First, Tom Cruise (playing a drunk Army Captain who ruthlessly slaughters indigenous people in his spare time) decided it was his duty to hop a charter to Japan to learn the way of the samurai in four easy lessons, then lead the very samurai who trained him to defeat ninjas and gun-toting soldiers in The Last Samurai.

Next, Keanu Reeves saddled himself with the selfless responsibility of leading 47 disgraced ronin warriors against ghosts, witches and really shitty 3-D animation in 47 Ronin.

Now, with The Great Wall, Matt Damon has thrown his hat in the ring as a lily white dude with a fake beard and destined to lead tens of thousands of Chinese warriors in a battle against giant, man-eating salamanders (called Tao Tei) at the foot of, you guessed it, the Great Wall of China.

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Gods and Turds: The Best and Worst of the Big Screen in 2016

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When the world gives you lemons, you make lemonade. When the world gives you brown bananas, you make banana bread. When the world gives you fermented lactose, you make yogurt. These are phrases you’ve most likely heard ad nauseam.

But what about when the world gives you a horrendous year of film? What then? Well, you make a list of the best and worst of them and share with a world that could care less that you even exist, let alone spend inordinate amounts of time sitting in a dark move theater like a creepy pale-skinned loser.

So, here it is. The annual Stink Whispers list of best* and worst films of the year (mixed in with the first-ever Whispy Awards).

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Top Big Screen Flicks of 2015: It’s a Fact, Jack!

2015 Flicks

The year 2015 was a mixed bag. Donald Trump was Donald Trump (ugh). The New England Patriots won another Super Bowl (yawn). Employment rates went up (yay!). Adele remained the most overrated thing since the Sleep Number bed (just stop!).

Equally mixed was the year in film. Filled with some stunning highs and some diarrhea-inducing lows, it was difficult to define it as an up or down year in the ol’ cinema.

As always, I’m tempted to dismantle the shit storm of terrible films that passed through our sacred cinemas in 2015 (“Furious 7,” “Aloha,” “Hitman: Agent 47,” “Inherent Vice,” Taken 3,”  “Hot Tub Time Machine 2” and “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” for example). Alas, this is the sole exercise for which I try to look at the brighter side of what is put in front of my eyes.

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Rinse, Repeat, Rip Off…Oh, and Hooray!

star-wars-force-awakens-official-posterThere may be a spoiler or two here, folks. Read at your own risk.

Like so many, I grew up infatuated with anything and everything even remotely attached to the Star Wars universe. It’s hardly a unique badge to wear, but I wear it proudly.

The original “Star Wars” was, without a doubt, the movie that got me hooked on the movie-going experience. The opening battle on Hoth in “Empire Strikes Back” remains, to this day, one of my favorite movie sequences ever. And when “Return of the Jedi” came to the Isle Theatre in Cumberland, WI in 1983, I attended the 7 p.m. showing every evening during its two-week run, going as far as picking up yard work around town each day to earn the $1.75 ticket cost each night.

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Suede Jackets, Wine Stains And A Heart Still Broken

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Merlot may have stained Cindy Mancini’s suede outfit in Can’t Buy Me Love, but it was her beauty that stained my heart.

1987. The year I began to truly understand the world and all of its wonders. The year I awoke from an adolescent slumber to understand that nothing but possibilities await the hopeful spirit. The year I discovered my heart’s expansive, never-ending capacity for love. The year I found Cindy Mancini.

To most, Cindy Mancini was simply a fictional character from the film Can’t Buy Me Love. They would be wrong. In truth, she was irrefutable proof that hopeless dorks had a chance to win the love of the head cheerleader—as long as they could afford to buy her a $1,000 suede outfit after a classmate spilled red wine on her mother’s outfit at a super lame high school party. As an awkward 135-pound eighth grader with tinted prescription glasses and a proclivity for wearing leather ties to junior high dances, even the smallest bit of hope can buoy you for years to come.

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I Saw "Furious 7" And I Hate Myself For It

30a16-imagesFor the sake of full disclosure, I’m a bit of a hypocrite on this one. Just one week ago, I promised I would never give a single cent to this film franchise again. The complete lack of worthy movie choices this weekend, however, left me with no other option but to swallow my pride, hand over a few bucks, and try my best to hold my lunch. It was either this or clean my bathroom. So, yes, I’m a bit of a fraud on that front. With that said, here we go…

Close, But No Cigar
Three years ago, I walked into a theater to see a movie I had been anticipating for months: “Red Tails.” The previews had made it look amazing, and I was a WWII history buff, so the story intrigued me. I made it 30 minutes in before walking out. I had never walked out of a movie before, and it hurt my heart to do it. If I hadn’t, though, there is a better-than-average chance that I would’ve been forced to commit ritual suicide due to absolute horseshit fest I was being exposed to. “Furious 7” is no “Red Tails,” but I still was tempted to adios it at several points. Truth is, it is what a popcorn movie is supposed to be in some ways. Plenty of action, lots of close-up shots of female asses, and even a few instances where the action intersected with close-up shots of female asses. Beyond that, though, this blockbuster (and it is raking in the dough, to be sure) is a shining example of the direction Hollywood needs to go if it wants to ruin itself. So, it’s not the worst film I’ve ever seen in a theater, but it is awful. Shitty and awful. Shitty, stupid and awful.

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Mark Wahlberg Still Attempting to Break Into Reese Witherspoon’s House 19 Years After "Fear" Release

18d99-wahlberg-in-fear-mark-wahlberg-15082225-853-480-copyLos Angeles, CA — Actor Mark Wahlberg has been charged with trespassing and attempted breaking and entering for the 39th time since 1996 after security officers in the exclusive gated-community of Brentwood Circle discovered the actor screaming terroristic threats outside Reese Witherspoon’s $3.4 million dollar mansion.

Witnesses reported that Wahlberg approached Witherspoon’s homewhich was unoccupied at the time of the incidentat 10 p.m. on Tuesday evening and proceeded to pound his fist on the door and scream “Let me in!” for approximately thirty minutes. Following several failed attempts to break into the home through a second story window, Wahlberg was seen starting the four-car garage on fire with a lit cigarette and a can of gas he retrieved from the trunk of his car. Damage to the home is estimated to total more than $400,000.

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