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Monday, 10 July
I Just Died In My Eyes Last Night

Ah, a long weekend of doing nothing. Well, that's not strictly true--we tried to do nothing, but we were helpless to passively do a series of little somethings. One of those was listening to the fevered screams of the people at the Summit Avenue Tavern who were watching the World Cup. SCREEEEEEEAAAM! I would flip over to ESPN to see guys running around like murder suspects. Then I would remember that I don't care and flip back to a baseball game. "Was that Italy or France?" asked the wife. "I don't care," I replied. "Why did you go look?" she asked. "I'm a fucking tool," I said. The wife then returned to her book, quietly happy that there were still a couple sports I don't give a damn about. I secretly noted, however, that the World Cup was, even in that moment of not-caringness, still infinitely more interesting to me than the NBA has ever been.

Other little somethings included maintaining our simmering resentment of the pool people as they marched past our glass sliding door. I was cheered, however, when our upstairs neighbor, an elderly Middle European widow, stalked downstairs to chastise the pool rats to stop slamming the metal gate all the fucking time. "Can't you shut eet qvietly?" she demanded. "Qvietly!" I kind of hoped that she'd start throwing ice cubes at the Trust Funds, like she did when our pool had visiting ducks, but no luck.

What else? Oh, of course! We watched movies. Terrible movies, for the most part, which my wife actually picked out herself, for she knows how much I enjoy rotten action movies. She also tempered the pain by actually renting one decent movie, but she was still really hitting for average pretty well. Here they are! Spoilers, blah blah blah. You know the drill. Again, I say, if you're actually watching these fucking things, there's nothing to spoil. It's like complaining that someone really ruined your future expectations by explaining that someday you're going to die. In fact, two of these movies really will make you want to die, and really? It's sort of unexpected that you don't!

Millions

This was a nice movie! It is genuinely charming, which in itself is surprising, given the large Charm Deficit that movieworld has been experiencing over the past ever. In this sorta-kid film, Danny Boyle moves from his last completely brilliant idea--"What if zombies were really fast?"--to another one: "What if we remade A Simple Plan, but instead of Bill Paxton, we use an adorable Scottish kid? And instead of Bridget Fonda, we use another great Scottish kid as the big brother?" It's a lovely film, and I'm not saying that just because of its chief virtue, which is the absence of Bridget Fonda.

Great line: "The French have said au revoir to the franc, the Germans have said auf wiedersehen to the mark, and the Portuguese have said... whatever to their thing."

Ultraviolet

This stylish action flick stars our new reigning nearly-straight-to-video queen Milla Jovovich! And her midriff! Mostly her midriff. It also stars Nick Chinlund as "Vicecardinum Ferdinand Daxus," but to me he is forever Donnie Faster from "The X-Files." For some reason, he wears mesh nose plugs throughout the entire movie, which, speaking as an actor, has to kind of cramp your style. "Do I have to wear these?" "Yes." "Am I a diving champion?" "Maybe!" "Sigh."

It also has William Fichtner, who is a terrific character actor (oh, look him up, you'll know who he is immediately), and who looks vaguely embarrassed, but not too embarrassed to pick up his check. It also has Digger Mesch! Whose name is Digger! Good enough for me!

Anyway, Ultraviolet is, weirdly enough, a future-dystopia thing where Milla and certain others are just trying to cope . . . as vampires--no, wait, "hemophages"--just trying to make their way in a society that for some reason don't like them much, and would like to exterminate them. Stupid humans! Always hassling the vampires! And so she must battle against the MAN--or rather, thousands of men--all of whom seem to have been luckless enough to draw the world's most incompetent armorer, for these soldiers all seem to be wearing battle suits made of highly shatterable plastic. All the grand battle scenes looked like Milla was taking out a highly mobile squad of snow globes.

Ultraviolet is, of course, bad and stupid, but it really commits the ultimate sin of any action movie: it saddles its heroine with that most pace-killing of all MacGuffins, the Kid Who Must Be Protected. So here's the Gumblety-Fifth iteration of MUST KICK ASS WHILE PROTECTING CHILD against the PVC army, and it all rests on Milla Jovovich's shoulders. And midriff. And carefully applied saline drops that allow her to dump copious tears all over her wet little charge, who is really too young to appreciate what a dreadful place he's been dropped down into.

I look forward to the upcoming Dale Chihuly movie where, when he's not piratically crying one-eyed tears over a little lost moppet, he's totally kicking ass against the Army of the Future, represented by little unposeable green plastic army men controlled by the Eely Glass Hive Mind. Go, Dale, go!

Great line: "Hello. My name is Violet and I was born into a world you may not understand." YOU THINK?

BloodRayne

Oh my. This gem of unobservable luster was of course served up by the uncontested heavyweight of unspeakable filmmaking, Uwe Boll. The most incomprehensibly awful pile of noisome spittle ever to be penned by a woman named "Guinevere," BloodRayne stands tall indeed in the pantheon of cinematic embarrassments. "If I have stood on the shoulders of giants," this film proclaims, "I don't remember it at all. I think I stood on the shoulders of midgets drowning in backyard pools. God bless those thrashing blue-faced midgets."

There isn't anything about this movie that doesn't inspire cthonic feelings of deep unease and anxiety. There is the cast: Kristanna Loken, Michelle Rodriguez, Michael Madsen, Michael Pare, Billy Zane, Meat Loaf and . . . Ben Kingsley? It's like some entry from the Book of Lists where John Updike names all the people he desperately never wants to have dinner with.

It's hard to even know what to say. Michael Madsen, legendarily arrogant and hilariously unemployed Hollywood prick, slouches through the movie as if he might avoid actually being caught on camera. Hey, maybe you should have been a vampire, Mike! They don't show up on film! Sadly, Ben Kingsley does, and his performance could possibly be described as "phoning it in," except that there are no phones in the Castles 'N Hassles world of BloodRayne, so Sir Ben is forced to send his performance via wheezing, consumptive falcon.

Meat Loaf (billed here as "Meat Loaf Aday"--really? Each day? Will it keep the doctor away?)--seems to have some brief fun, mainly thanks to the bare-breasted whores surrounding him, but this movie really belongs to Kristanna Loken, and by "belongs" I of course mean, "should return immediately for a refund." Apart from a really back-tingling sex scene where she fucks some guy with a truly funereal haircut against prison cell bars--comfy!--Kristanna is stuck with series after series of unchoreographed fight scenes where her opponents were evidently advised to ram their heads directly into her swords. It's probably not a good sign when the fight choreography on your film makes the Michael Jackson video for "Bad" relatively terrifying.

BloodRayne, we desperately hoped, would be so wrenchingly awful as to be fun. It was not. It was simply ghastly and dreary and Michael Madsen-y. It was more boring than a penetrating documentary about stairs.

Here's the last word on this movie. This is the entirety of IMDB's "memorable quotes" for BloodRayne. All two of them.

Elrich: Would you stop throwing things at me?!
. . .
Darius the Kid: Can I see your teeth?

You know, I don't think I'll ever forget those lines. No matter how hard I try.


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Comments

Rent Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. You might actually enjoy it.

Comment number: 007753   Posted by: judy on July 11, 2006 06:21 AM from IP: 70.22.106.19

memorable quotes that we can't shake from ultraviolet: "you got hemo blood on me, it is on."
"bring it."
so bad that we can never forget.

Comment number: 007757   Posted by: on July 11, 2006 11:18 AM from IP: 66.82.9.82

Please excuse my humble ignorance, but WTF is "cthonic" and how did you arrive at such a word. By golly I must look it up.

Comment number: 007758   Posted by: Todd on July 11, 2006 06:49 PM from IP: 24.22.108.67

you are the only person i've ever encountered besides myself (is it possible to encounter yourself? nevermind) that knows who nick chinlund is. i saw him on gilmore girls once, and i was all "don't go out with him, lorelai! he'll take your hair and fingernails!"

Comment number: 007764   Posted by: alison on July 12, 2006 10:43 AM from IP: 66.90.164.30

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