It’s time for midweek movie news

I used to be disgusted, now I try to stay bemused…

* Yes, they weren’t kidding. Ben Stiller and Tom Cruise are teaming up to make a Les Grossman movie, declares Nikki Finke. I try never to prejudge films, and I really did think Cruise was hilarious in “Tropic Thunder.” However, I think writer Michael Bacall, Ben Stiller, and whoever winds up directing really have their work cut out for them in terms of this not turning into some kind of inverted ego-fest (“look at me — I’m willing to act all crazy!”) like what we saw on MTV a few nights back.

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* A new James L. Brooks romantic comedy by any name will probably be worth a look, and maybe better than that.

* It’s always seemed to me that the best part of the guilty pleasure appeal of “Entourage” — aside from Ari, Lloyd, and Johnny Drama, anyway — is the lightning fast pacing that nearly always leaves fans wanting more. Now, producer Mark Wahlberg is determined to give us more in the form of a movie to follow up from the conclusion of the television show. I’m concerned about whether he gets the concept of why you want to always leave an audience wanting more. If not, “Entourage”  could become the male equivalent of “Sex and the City” in theaters as well as the small screen.

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It’s your post MTV Movie Awards debacle movie news

Yes, isn’t it?

* Okay, so as I wrote in the post below, I felt slightly ill-used by the MTV Movie Awards PR apparatus. However, the question they asked Mrs. Lincoln remains: what did I think of the show? Well, when I finally watched it at home after a long drive home and an only-at-Universal-City-Walk possibility of following up a Pink’s chili dog w/sauerkruat with a Tommy’s Chili burger, I found it…okay. It was loud, vulgar — and not always in a good way — and it had excellent production values that the Oscars could learn from. I think I was as moved as everyone else by Dr. Ken Jeong’s speech about his wife’s former illness.

On the other hand, I could have done with less of the Tom Cruise dancing with Jennifer Lopez thing. The Les Grossman character was very funny, and definitely reminiscent of some real Hollywood characters, in the context of “Tropic Thunder,” but now it seems to have taken on an unneeded life of its own that is starting to creep me out and not in a funny way. But, once again, no one is listening to me and Cruise is talking about, Lord helps us, a Grossman movie. I’m starting to think he should talk more about Scientology.

Tom Cruise,Jennifer Lopez

As far as I what I felt about the actual awards and the movies and performances that were recognized…is there even the slightest point in complaining? I don’t think there’s any pretense that these awards are intended to honor good movies. Of course the “Twilight” movie was going to win. And I guess it’s somehow appropriate to know there’s at least one award Christoph Waltz just can’t get for playing Col. Hans Landa.

One thing that irked me slightly and then later amused me greatly, but not for the reason the MTV producers would have liked, was the much remarked upon proliferation of swear words. I use relatively few curse words for a modern-day American, but I’m not particularly opposed to them, especially when used in a clever or entertaining fashion. In the context of a show where the curses are to go out bleeped, however, more than one or two in a sentence can be a real problem for the audience at home that doesn’t hear it, and it really did bury many of the jokes in a volley of random silence.

Still, one comic highlight was Peter Facinelli’s acceptance speech on behalf of the rest of the “Twilight: New Moon” cast in which he apparently simply overwhelmed the person on the kill-switch with his deliberate carpet F-bombing, and several fuck-words made it through. It was a really funny moment that did not go on unnoticed by society’s killjoys who, just this once, weren’t completely in the wrong, I suppose.  I nevertheless believe that the religious fundamentalist-driven PTC should get a fucking life.

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Mouse reshuffles, Leo the lion on the block, and other tales

* In the real world Obama appears to be rethinking Afghanistan; in the cable TV world Lou Dobbs is relieving CNN of his xenophobia and is threatening to go into politics while The Onion has the real scoop. Meanwhile in the movie world, Disney’s new chairman, Rich Ross, is reorganizing. It sounds as if technology will be leading the way in the new regime. Also, the structure of the organization will resemble more a television network, we’re told, than a movie studio. Once upon a time that might have worried me, but these days TV is hardly any worse than movies. I’m not sure if that’s good news about TV or bad news about movies. (A little of both?)

* The lion of Hollywood has been a bit mangy for a long time now. Peter Bart reports that MGM is about to be sold and the whole thing, 4,000 titles and all, is worth about $1.5 billion, which would be a lot of money to you and me but to a once mighty film studio sure sounds paltray. One factor, even the older titles in the library ain’t what they used to be, either. The studio’s signature titles: “The Wizard of Oz,” “Gone With the Wind,” and “Singin’ in the Rain” are now available on Warner Brother’s DVD along with a good chunk of their best known classics.  The ghosts of Culver City’s glory days are restless tonight.

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* Apparently being a movie critic these days is such an unstable, lousy position that some of the best known reviewers are jumping ship and becoming film festival programmers. Yesterday, it was Newsweek’s David Ansen. Today, it’s the L.A. Weekly/Village Voice’s Scott Foundas. Anne Thompson has the depressing news that might nevertheless be creating more opportunities for some of the better known online folks.

* The fruits of my compatriot Will Harris’s London sojourn are appearing in the form of some extremely worth-your-time interviews. First with writer/director Richard Curtis of the criticially underrated “Love, Actually” and the soon to be released “Pirate Radio.” Also roly-poly movie superstud and general all around good guy Nick Frost of “Shaun of the Dead,” etc., as well as “Pirate” newcomers Tom Sturridge and Talulah Riley gets the Harris treatment as well. Bob says collect ’em all.

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“Laugh? I Thought I’d Die!” 15 Funny (?) Vampire Films

Vampires are often painted as dark, sinister characters with a penchant for gothic fashion and a taste for blood that can never be fully quenched. Granted, their nature doesn’t necessarily lend itself to being a laugh riot, but once in a while, we’re gifted with bloodsuckers who can see the funny side of their affliction…or if they can’t, then at least the viewers can. (For instance, “True Blood” sure as hell isn’t a comedy, but if you caught the Season 2 premiere, you saw a truly hilarious scene where a new vampire took a blood taste test to determine which type she prefers.) Bullz-Eye decided to take a trip back through the mists of time to reinvestigate some of the more comedic explorations into the curse of vampirism, skipping over a couple of ostensible classics – neither “The Lost Boys” nor “From Dusk ‘Til Dawn” are here – in favor of some interesting obscurities that may not have crossed your radar.

Here’s a taste:

“Vampires Anonymous” (2003) – A few years ago, Bullz-Eye chatted with Michael Madsen about how many of his films end up going to DVD, and he explained the situation thusly: “People will promise you the fucking world, they’ll promise you anything to get you in the movie…and then, seven times out of ten, it’s not that way.” Although Madsen only has a small role in “Vampires Anonymous,” we like to think that he’s at least relatively pleased with this small obscurity from his resume. Vic Weller (Paul Popowich) is a vampire who’s found himself unable to curb his urges, so he calls up the organization known as Vampires Anonymous, which quickly finds him a new location in a small North Carolina town, where he can feel free to gorge himself on sheep until he gets into the habit of staying clean of human blood. Predictably, he falls in love with a local girl (Carolyn Lawrence) and has to keep his murderous nature in check around her, even though he has feelings for her. A bearded Madsen plays Geno, Vic’s sponsor in VampAnon, who’s never more than a phone call away, even though he’s usually pretty grumpy with his charge. (“I was not aware that I was wearing my Mr. Know-It-All hat today.”) It’s not a consistently hilarious flick, and the recurring gag about redneck “sheep shaggers” may make you feel queasy, but Madsen’s always good for a laugh, and the VampAnon meetings and 12-step title cards are funny enough to make you imagine the possibilities of a sitcom based around the organization.

Surely this one bite hasn’t fully sated your appetite for vampiric comedy, so why not head over to Bullz-Eye and check out the full piece by clicking either here or on the image below?

Oh, and just as a bonus, here’s a trailer for one of the films that didn’t make the cut. Believe us, with Dean Cameron – best known as Chainsaw in “Summer School” – playing the titular character and a supporting cast which includes Toni Basil, Bo Diddley, and Thomas Dolby, we really, really wanted to include it, but we just couldn’t get our hands on a copy in time to do so…and after watching this trailer, we just can’t imagine we could do the film justice without seeing every last second of it.

  

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