Monthly Archives: February 2010



There is a method employed by veteran whodunit fans trying to guess, well, who done it.  First, eliminate any obvious bad guys or, as one character in A Perfect Getaway dubs them, the “red snappers” (herrings).  Then, concentrate on whomever is least likely to have committed the crime.  If the author is skilled enough, he or she will still manage to fool you.  Sometimes, the butler really does do it.

I was able to guess whodunit in A Perfect Getaway, but not too early in the game. The movie is skillfully done, its Hawaiian scenery is breathtaking, and the actors are also easy on the eyes, so surprise endings didn’t matter all that much.

And yet, the brains behind A Perfect Getaway violate a cardinal rule of the “big reveal” school of filmmaking:  After the clever twist is unveiled, the film goes on … and on … and on.  It’s as if Agatha Christie had Hercule Poirot reveal the killer’s identity, and then devoted the next 25 pages to anticlimactic backstory.    Grade:  C+


Director:  David Twohy  Cast:  Timothy Olyphant, Milla Jovovich, Kiele Sanchez, Chris Hemsworth, Marley Shelton, Steve Zahn   Release:  2009

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Ozzie and Harriet    OK, we’re all a little tired of this melodrama, but there are no “victims” in this soap opera.  Certainly not golf fans, who were foolish enough to put Tiger on his pedestal.  Not Woods’s wife, who had to know what she was getting into when she married the lunkhead.  Not the mistresses, who will rake in big bucks from porn films, talk shows, and Gloria Allred lawsuits.  As for Tiger himself, he will finish his “rehab” and go back to his enchanted golf career.






Roger Ebert    The esteemed film critic says he doesn’t want pity, but I feel I might owe him an apology.  In the past, I have occasionally befouled the comments section of his Web site.  Ebert would usually reply to my (sometimes drunken) rants, and he always did so in a civil tone.  He’s a class act who really is a victim, unlike that boneheaded golfer pictured at top.






Shutter Island    There is just one thing missing from Martin Scorsese’s Shutter Island:  fun.  The movie is gloomy, which is not the same as scary.  On just a fraction of Scorsese’s budget, the makers of Paranormal Activity at least managed to produce a few chills.






Kevin Smith     No sympathy for this guy, who got booted off a Southwest Airlines flight because his booty was too big for one seat.  I am a smoker, and I don’t recall the Kevin Smiths of the world standing up for us when we got the boot.


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Going for the Gold    They tell us that the Olympics are all about team spirit and patriotism, but are they really?  I think that, at least for the Americans, they’re more about self-promotion.  When I hear a report about Lindsey Vonn, I’m not thinking about sports, I’m wondering how long before she follows up Sports Illustrated with an appearance in Playboy.






Cheap Thrills    Ten years ago I made the mistake of believing the buzz about The Blair Witch Project, a low-budget horror flick that failed to horrify me.  Now we have Paranormal Activity, another cheap chiller, and … surprise!  It ain’t half bad.





Down Home     This is Willie Nelson in a coffin, I have no idea why.


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Taylor Swift    I’m sorry, but when she performed live at the Grammys, I thought I was listening to Mercedes McCambridge doing her devil voice from The Exorcist.  And people complain that the poor girl is being attacked?




Avatar    Stop the talk about James Cameron’s Avatar setting box-office records.  When you account for inflation, Avatar isn’t in the top five all-time earners — and neither is Titanic.  What’s atop the list?  Gone With the Wind.




Kathryn Bigelow    Unlike Avatar, I’ve actually seen The Hurt Locker, which was … OK.  It will be amusing to see which movie comes out on top at the Oscars, Bigelow’s overrated Western or ex-husband Cameron’s latest comic book.


Lost Supper


Lost    Yet another show I haven’t seen.  Everyone is wondering how it will end.  I am reminded of The X Files, and I believe it’s a lot easier to come up with bizarre plot threads than it is to actually resolve them.




J.D. Salinger    For my money, one of the great intrigues of the 20th Century was the story of an author who, after penning a single literary masterpiece, pretty much dropped off the face of the media-hungry earth.  But enough about Harper Lee.




Survivor    Jeff Probst and his gang of half-naked idiots are once again gracing the CBS schedule, and some of us couldn’t be happier.  There is nothing quite like pixelated breasts.


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