The Movie Binge

May 2006

Introducing Latin Snake

My subconscious wants this adventure to turn out like a season of the Real World. We'll all be gung-ho and happy-go-lucky at the beginning, but about 3 minutes into the second episode there will be lots of bleeps and blurs and someone will get their face smashed in. Or, it'll be smooth sailing the whole way and we'll be lauded across the land as yet another group of kooky kids who did something ridiculous to impress their peers. Then we'll find out they've created a new Nobel Prize because nothing else fit our accomplishment. Thankfully, there is a realist in me somewhere and I know the highs and lows won't be quite so, uh, ridiculous.

Looking at the empty counter of consumption in the navigation bar gives me hope, though. I know that they'll be a great story behind one of those bags of popcorns or boxes of Junior Mints. Maybe we won't have a group orgy while watching Strangers with Candy or be carried out on the shoulders of movie patrons after surviving Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, but someone else might and we'll be there to witness it.

I'm confident we'll make it out the other side and live to tell about it. Seeing nearly a hundred movies appears daunting, but I'm keeping the faith. Just promise me I won't have to see the Fast and the Furious 3: Tokyo Drift by myself.

Welcome to the Movie Binge

Today marks the grand opening of the Movie Binge. Starting this Friday and ending in September, we plan to watch all 85 commercially released films. As we journey through both the inane and brilliant films of the summer, we'll be sure to share every semi-worthwhile thought that crosses our mind.

At this point, you're probably asking yourself, "Why?" Because we're bloggers and as bloggers we have an obligation to do ridiculous things and share them with the world.

This week you'll hear a little bit from each of our Bingers and get a preview of this weekend's films. Next week the reviews will start coming, and they won't stop until we've seen everything.

For more on the team and for contact info, check out the about page. Wish us luck!

Introducing Brontoburger

Hello, this is Brontoburger aka Zerk Turdner signing on for duty. OK, now that you know my fake and double fake name I can relax...

They say summer is a great time for movies. Of course, the 'they' in this case are people who roll their eyes at movies about incest and love Kurt Russell.

OK, I don't mean 'people,' I meant myself. Kurt Russell has been my personal Jesus since Big Trouble in Little China. I love the summer movie gems, and I'm not at all disappointed when the gem turns out to be cubic zirconium. Shiny things are still entertaining. Here's my goal for the summer binge. I want to find the sublime, the shiny if you will, in each summer flick and pass it on, and to stop sweating.

Introducing Cinecultist

Usually when Matty recommends one of his hair-brained and ill advised schemes to me ("Let's walk against the light, diagonally across this intersection!"), I try to ignore him. However, the challenge of going to see every movie released during the summer season and cataloguing it was too brilliant a scheme to pass up. Besides, with my usual intense movie going regime I'd probably end up seeing most of these things on my own anyhow.

Most people assume, before they get to know me that is, that spending two years in graduate school studying film plus writing about pop culture for a living would make my taste pretty high falutin' and rarified. Happily for a lot of Hollywood dreck, that is not the case. As much as I love a good subtitled costume drama or an obscure 3 hour Swedish comedy, I live for the spectacle that is the summer blockbuster. The buzz in the theater at a well-hyped star fest or high concept picture can be palatable. There's also that glee over seeing a really terrible movie be even worse than you expected. Plus, there are times in mid-July through August that the weather in Manhattan necessitates spending much of the day deeply air conditioned. A movie binge is perfect for all of that.

My biggest personal fear for this whole endeavor? Butt fatigue. Though it may be hard to believe, sometimes there can be such a thing as too many movies. Malaise can set in, plus the derriere can get too tired from sitting in those fold down seats. However, I have high hopes for the variety unspooling at a cineplex near me. Particularly if it involves either a talking cat going to London or Johnny Depp wearing an eye patch. Bring on the binge!

Allow myself to introduce...myself.

Mmm...sweet delicious movie binging. Summer movie binging has been a part of my DNA for some time--perhaps as far back as that glorious summer of 1985 when that adorable rapscallion of a nine-year-old Josh Horowitz returned from a hellish eight weeks of sleepaway camp (are you listening, mother?) to take in a triple feature of Back to the Future, Teen Wolf, and Real Genius in the dog days of August.

The poor youth of today...

What triple feature awaits them in the last days of August '06? If it involves Beerfest I weep for our future.

Ladies and gents I proudly donate my mind, body, and soul (or what's left of it since I saw Keeping Up with the Steins) to this glorious experiement. Let the games begin. I'll have the nachos and that seat on the aisle. No not the one next to the guy eating General Tso's chicken...the other aisle.

Preview: X-Men: The Last Stand


Do you think Ratner's shaking in his boots after the colossal opening for Da Vinci Code? He probably is, but he shouldn't be. I'm guessing every fan boy and his mother (literally, in this case) will be seeing X-Men: The Last Stand this weekend. Gene Parmesean hears that the early reports from fanboys are positive, but metacritic and rotten tomatoes aren't as optimistic.

For those who are unaware, this installment of X-Men centers around a cure found for mutants, which forces the X-People to take sides. Personally, I would stick with my mutant powers. Of course my mutant powers would include the ability to create Shake Shack burgers...with my mind.

The movie opens this Friday the 26th, although tons of theaters have midnight showings here in New York. If you saw it already, spill your thoughts out in the comments.

EW's Summer Movie Body Count


Wow, we're going to see a lot of death this summer. Entertainment Weekly has been keeping track of every on-screen death since May 5th of this year. Thus far over four thousand fake peope have died. And it's not even June!

They'll be keeping track until September 8th and I'm hoping (*fingers crossed*) for over 20,000 deaths. That would give me that warm, oozing feeling I've always longed for.

Any guess on the goriest movie to be released this summer? Poseidon has a commanding lead right now with 3,994 deaths. I'm praying the final winner will be Snakes on a Plane.

Preview: An Inconvenient Truth


Never in my day did I think a 100 minute Powerpoint presentation by the once quasi-robotic Al Gore would be a highly anticipated film. What's more, people are calling for Al to run again in 2008! I guess that's what a 29% approval rating and $3.50 a gallon gas will do to a country.

The team behind An Inconvenient Truth is obviously pushing this movie on the 16-25 set, as they've been keeping a blog and they've announced a MySpace tie-in. The blog is mostly filled with self-congratulationary posts, but it also has a couple real posts, like this one on an article in Scientific American Magazine. Personally, I hope they keep up with the content-filled posts, because it'll only add value for moviegoers.

The movie is already open in New York and LA and will open in San Francisco next weekend. As far as I know, there's no plan for anything after that, but I have a feeling most of the blue states will see it come there way soon.

Introducing Gene Parmesan

Sliding in stylishly under the wire before our first review, it's time to introduce myself: I'm Gene Parmesan. (AH! GENE!) Unfortunately, I will not be writing all of my posts in the idiom of the best private investigator ever -- (ed. note: Gene was far from the best) -- but I'm not above shamelessly stealing his moniker for a bit of pop-referential cred.

In my civilian identity, I work in what I refer to as "the chapbook industry" -- we publish richly illustrated fictional periodicals, a business model which most reasonable people might have expected to have died with Dickens. But no, the industry is alive and thriving, thank you very much, and in point of fact a "moving-picture" adaptation of a certain industry favorite is debuting tonight! (Yes, that's X-Men, if you're not following my tortured quasi-metaphor.) The whole Movie Binge gang is trekking out together to take in that particular film, but I'm pretty sure they won't save me a seat once they see the t-shirt I'll be wearing. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, your humble Gene Parmesan is a dork. A dorkity-dork dork-dork-dork. Somebody had to counterbalance all of these glamorous and sexy socialites whose cinematic (mis)adventures you'll be reading over the course of the next few months, and I'm afraid the task fell to me. But we can have fun together anyway! Here on this blog, we can be the best of friends. But if you see me in the hall and are afraid to be seen looking my way... I'll understand. I'll have my chapbooks to console me.

In any event, I'm looking forward to the massive Twizzler consumption that this summer will no doubt afford (hey mister Latin Snake sir, you said they count as tax write-offs, correct?), and although the whole sordid affair is probably going to bankrupt me, I can honestly say that I'm going to have a lot of fun. As long as I don't get assigned Little Man. Please, please, please do not make me see Little Man. Seriously. It's the only trailer I've ever seen that made me feel like I had actually just been molested. I didn't know that it was possible for a movie to touch you dirty, but I think that one did. Cinecultist may fear butt fatigue, but I'll gladly undergo a butt amputation before I'll submit to another breastfeeding joke...

Review: X-Men: The Last Stand

Above: Cyclops (James Marsden) and Phoenix (Famke Janssen), about to "enjoy" the worst reunion ever.

As promised, the entire Movie Binge crew schlepped out to the AMC/Loews on 34th Street (the top-secret NYC "bargain" movie theatre, where tickets are only $9.75 -- a savings of one entire dollar!) to take in the official kick-start of summer, X-Men: The Last Stand. Our thoughts follow, in convenient paragraph form. And we even managed to avoid spoilers!

Also -- we've got our very first fabulous The Movie Binge Prize Giveaway! At the end of this review, you'll find five X-Men trivia questions, ranging from the quite reasonable to the insanely pedantic (and yes, they're about the comics, so you can't get away with only having seen the movies). Send your answers (and your name and address -- obviously it will not be redistributed to anyone) in to, and we'll randomly select one person with all five correct responses to receive a free copy of the X-Men: The Last Stand video game for the XBox 360! It's got Nightcrawler in it! You know you're down with Nightcrawler. He was in ze Munich Circus, where ze boys are byoo-teeful, ze girls are byoo-teeful, even ze orchestra is... oh, somebody please stop me right there.

Continue reading "Review: X-Men: The Last Stand" »

Preview: Coastlines


It looks like Coastlines is the type of movie we dread here at the Binge. Oh, it's not supposed to awful, if that's what you're thinking. Instead, it's supposed to be completely mediocre. What can I do with that?

The film is third and final installment of Victor Nunez's panhandle triology (Ulee's Gold and Ruby in Paradise were the others) and stars Timothy Olyphant, Josh Brolin and Sarah Wynter (i.e. Jack Bauer's lusty lady in Day 2 of 24). The plot centers around Sonny's (Olyphant) release from jail and his attempt to retrieve money owed to him by the local mob boss. He ends up needing the help of his innocent friends from a previous life (Brolin and Wynter). The intial reviews are pretty wishy-washy.

New York Times

Enough of the ingredients for a sultry downscale noir are in place in "Coastlines," that once the film turns perversely goody-good, it leaves you feeling vaguely disgruntled, as if after consuming a rich, greasy meal, you were handed a single sugarless mint for dessert.

Onion A.V. Club tempting as it is to make Coastlines an example of what's wrong with the indie market, it must be noted that this is the least successful entry in Nunez's Panhandle films. It keeps many of the expected Nunez virtues—understated and absorbing performances, a strong sense of place, unhurried direction—but dilutes them with clunky dialogue and relationships that seem forced.

Keith Phipps of the Onion is referring to the faults of the indie market because this film was originally shown at Sundance four years ago and is only now making its theatrical debut. Well, at least it's playing at the IFC Center, which is one of the better theaters in the city.