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MOVIE REVIEW: Bunraku

Not every cool idea is necessarily a great idea, and that’s never more apparent than in director Guy Moshe’s genre mash-up, “Bunraku.” Set during a post-nuclear future where guns have been banned but swords, knives and pretty much anything else with a sharp edge is still fair game, the film takes place in a neon-drenched city controlled by a warrior named Nicola (Ron Perlman) and his gang of killers. When two drifters (Josh Hartnett and Japanese pop star Gackt) arrive in town with their own reasons for wanting to take down the tyrannical crime boss, they serendipitously cross paths at a local bar and decide to team up to increase their chances. But before they can get their shot at Nicola, the warriors must first face off against all nine of his elite assassins.

The first thing you’ll notice about “Bunraku” is that it has a very distinct visual style that falls somewhere between the graphic novel aesthetic of “Sin City” and a children’s pop-up book; not all that surprising considering the film’s title is a reference to a form of Japanese puppet theater. The action sequences are also fun to watch and benefit from the film’s unique look, but unfortunately, they never amount to more than a series of flashy distractions to hide the fact that there isn’t much of a story. And when Moshe does try to slow things down in order to develop his characters, he’s forced to rely on some dreadful dialogue that not even reliable actors like Woody Harrelson, Kevin McKidd and Demi Moore can improve. The best you could say about “Bunraku” is that it would make for an entertaining late night movie when nothing else is on TV, because this self-serving piece of fanboy drivel is not even close to being as good as it pretends to be.

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BLU-RAY REVIEW: Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop

When Conan O’Brien was unexpectedly removed as host of “The Tonight Show” after less than a year on the job, the comedian’s much-publicized departure led to a number of protests across the country organized by his army of supporters. Legally prohibited to appear on television, radio or the internet for six months following his final show on NBC, O’Brien hit the road on a 32-city music-and-comedy tour to keep himself busy in the interim. But after watching this revealing documentary by director Rodman Flender about O’Brien’s time on the road, any sympathy you might have had for him is quickly erased upon learning that he’s actually kind of a dick.

Though O’Brien deserves a lot of credit for allowing this version of himself to even be shown, the documentary is a pretty eye-opening experience that showcases the attention-hungry performer at his absolute worst. He may not have been in the right head space at the time, but that’s no excuse for mistreating your personal assistant, your writing staff, and perhaps most importantly, your fans. Throughout the film’s 89-minute runtime, O’Brien complains incessantly about having to schmooze at after parties and attend meet and greets with VIP fans that paid extra for the opportunity, and yet despite all the whining, he continues to do more than he’s asked because he’s so addicted to performing. In that respect, Flender’s doc is a success, but while most people will be expecting the funny man-child they see on TV, the Conan O’Brien represented here is little more than a broken man desperate to be the center of attention. And no matter how refreshing that honesty may be, it’s not very entertaining.

Click to buy “Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop”

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100 Greatest Shut Ups in Movies

This mashup has some great “shut up” scenes from some of your favorite films.

Hat tip: The Dish

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Trend Alert: Vintage Accessories

Style is a strange, unique entity. While new styles are introduced to the mainstream on a regular basis, many old styles continuously cycle in and out of popularity with each generation. Currently, vintage clothing and accessories are making a comeback, and celebrities are not afraid to show off their unique take on this fashion. Since celebrities play such a strong role in dictating what is popular and what is not, vintage fashion has caught on like wildfire among the masses.

There are many ways in which people find vintage clothing that their favorite celebrities are wearing. Below are a few of the most popular methods that people go through to find vintage clothing and accessories:
-Purchasing vintage clothing on eBay from various private sellers and retailers.
-Purchasing directly from vintage clothing designers.
-Locating vintage clothing at thrift stores and other second-hand sources.

If you are unsure about exactly how good the vintage style can look, keep an eye on the following celebrities to see them rock vintage clothing and accessories.

1. Zooey Deschanel

Zooey.

Zooey Deschanel is an actress who has a cult-like following. She generally plays supporting roles in the various movies she appears in. Her seemingly eccentric array of character portrayals is reflected in her fashion. She enjoys sporting various implementations of vintage style in the form of dresses and skirts that exhibit a kind of hippie theme. Additionally, she will occasionally add in a bandana or headband that assists in tying everything together.

2. Emma Watson

Emma Watson.

Emma Watson is among one of the most sought after actresses since her role as a main character in the Harry Potter films. She has since moved on to appear in various films that have kept her career steadily moving forward. When she is not working on her career or school, she can often be seen at various award shows showcasing her elegant take on the vintage style. Emma enjoys wearing dazzling vintage style dresses that many people relate to the glamorous attire of 1950s Hollywood.

3. Drew Barrymore

Drew Barrymore.

Drew Barrymore has been a Hollywood starlet for well over 20 years. When she is not lighting up the silver screen with her contagious smile, she enjoys showing off her taste in vintage fashion. Drew generally focuses more on vintage accessories over outfits. However, she has been known to sport the occasional eye-popping vintage dress through her various public appearances. One particular instance consisted of her wearing a $25 vintage dress from a thrift store that many people assumed was a designer style.

Celebrities have always influenced what is popular and what is not due to how often they are in the limelight. As more celebrities continue to sport vintage styling elements with their outfits, we can expect to see an even sharper increase of vintage clothing making a move into the mainstream fashion industry over the coming years.

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A short chat with Ryan Gosling of “Drive”

No disrespect to Keri Russell or Justin Timberlake, but Ryan Gosling is easily the most powerfully versatile actor to emerge from that thespian crucible we call the Mickey Mouse Club. He’s done very well playing relatively straightforward leads in “Fracture” and the chick-flick phenom, “The Notebook,” but the 30-year-old Canadian with an oddly urban accent has specialized in playing a wide variety of oddballs and doing it better than anyone of his generation. Right now, he can be seen going way into the violent dark side of life with the rather remarkable thriller, “Drive.” From Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn, it’s a fascinating blend of 70s/80s aesthetics, true romance and deliberately ugly brutality. Describing his attraction to the film, Gosling says, “I’ve always wanted to be in a violent John Hughes movie. I always thought that if ‘Pretty in Pink’ had a head smashing, it’d be perfect.”

He was more serious than you might think when he said that. And so it went as a very interesting Mr. Gosling spoke with Bullz-Eye and other journos about his latest film. Check out a sample of the roundtable discussion below and then head over to Bullz-Eye to read the full interview.

On his unusual relationship with violent cinema and on being a head-smashing “superhero.”

When I was a little kid, when I first saw “First Blood,” it put a spell on me. I thought I was Rambo; I even thought my face felt like Sylvester Stallone’s face when I touched it. I went to school the next day. I put steak knives in my Fisher Price Houdini kit, and I took ‘em, and I threw them at all the kids at recess. I got suspended, rightfully so, and I’m sorry and I learned my lesson and I never did anything like that again. But my parents said, “This guy can’t watch movies, or violent movies anyways.” They put me on a leash and I could only watch Bible. National Geographic movies, and black and white comedies, Abbott and Costello…

I understand the effect that movies can have on you, and the kind of spell that they can cast on you. When I first read this script, I felt like this is a guy who’s just seen too many movies. He’s going around acting like he’s the hero of his own action movie. I wanted to play a superhero, but all the good ones are taken. I thought, “Well, I can create my own, potentially.”

On working with “Drive” director Nicolas Winding Refn, best known previously for such hyperviolent slices of cinema as the acclaimed “Bronson” starring Tom Hardy and the Danish “Pusher” trilogy.

Look, ever since Nicolas was a little boy, his mother has been telling him he’s a genius and everything he did was genius. Even when he was watching “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” while he ate his cereal before he went to elementary school in the morning. Obsessively, she believed he was a genius. I think that, you get told that enough, eventually it becomes true. I’m not sure that he really started out as one, but I do believe he’s become one.

He is a very unfiltered filmmaker. He just makes what he wants to see. If it’s boring to him, he won’t shoot it. He fetishizes things, in a way… He sexualizes things because he can’t maybe be as sexual as he’d want to be [because he's married]. He talks about filmmaking a lot like having sex. It has to arouse him and has to be sexually interesting to him, even if it’s a pair of gloves or where you hand is in the frame. It has to literally turn him on.

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