Sunday, December 23, 2007

Charlie Wilson's War

Tamar, the baby and I made it down to North Carolina a little earlier than usual for Christmas this year. We usually fly in a day before Christmas Eve and then fly out the next day or the day of. So it has been great just relaxing and seeing family and after a busy day of visiting with cousins we thought it would be nice to see movie. It was between National Treasure 2 and Charlie Wilson's War. My brother has come to completely despise Nicholas Cage mostly for the same reason that I have begun to hate him, for his retarded Elvis impressions in all of his films. I wanted to see Charlie Wilson especially since one of my favorite writers wrote the script, Aaron Sorkin, from West Wing, Sports Night, A Few Good Men and An American President.
Sorkin was at his best--he always does the political and military themed films so damn well. It's the 80's and Charlie Wilson, played by Tom Hanks, is a smooth womanizing Congressman from the 6th District of Texas. As he sits in a hot tub with two strippers and a Playboy model he seems to fit the bill as a over-indulgent representative living high off the American dollar. All of a sudden he ignores the hot models and focuses on Dan Rather in a turban talking about the fortitude of the Afghan rebels and their desire to rid themselves of the Russians forever. This is where the plan is put into motion when Charlie Wilson decides to help the rebels with heavy weaponry to stop the slaughter. This is the general plot but there is so much more. This is a guy who surrounds himself with gorgeous female assistants whom he lovingly calls Jailbait. He has a smart and sexy assistant played handily by Amy Adams. Yet there is something off about this snake oil salesman. Could he actually be a caring and thoughtful person underneath?I think in some ways the film attempts to show a man who opens his eyes for the first time as he decides to do something good but he discovers there are consequences to his noble actions. As always I enjoy Sorkin and his rat-a-tat-tat dialogue that just makes me smile throughout the entire film. It doesn't take itself too seriously and has a very bi-partisan message so you don't have any of that this is a liberal movie, garbage. Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts and especially Phillip Seymour Hoffman are at the top of their game here, so what are you waiting for go and see this now before it gets buried behind National Treasure and Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Grade 4 Buckets

Monday, December 17, 2007

I Am Legend

My brother came up from Maryland to see me this weekend. It was cold and nasty out so we thought we'd go see a movie. I've been tracking I Am Legend for quite a while and was pretty excited to see it. It's Will Smith in an event movie so you know it's got to be at least a little entertaining. The trailers were good and on Thursday I had heard that Legend will also show the first real Dark Knight trailer, so I was sold. Let me tell you the Dark Knight trailer was pretty bad ass. I almost didn't recognize Heath Ledger. His Joker was creepy and it definitely reminded me of the early Batman Comics version. The voice did feel like he was channeling Jack Nicholson a bit but not enough to be distracting or a direct copy. Anyway I thought it was great and it pumped me up seeing a few clips of Batman tussling with the Joker.
Oh, yeah forgot, supposed to be talking about the Will Smith movie. Mr. Smith, as we will call him, is quite the phenom, I mean here is a guy that has played in every kind of event/action movie blockbuster you can think of like, Independence Day - fighting a bunch of creepy aliens. Men In Black I & 2 - more creepy aliens. Bad Boys 1&2 - Creepy Drug Dealers. Enemy of the State - The Government spying program, or if we keep with the theme creepy Government spooks. Hitch - Romantic Comedy, creepy Kevin James. Then you have the one that baffles me the most as a box office powerhouse, The Pursuit of Happyness. This basic drama that could only be compared to films like Kramer Vs. Kramer or maybe the Champ from 1979. A film like this in it's entire run only makes, if they are lucky, about 60 million, it's a drama. Will Smith by himself and with the help of his cute kid made over 100 million bucks. This assures me that if Will Smith wanted to make a movie about him stuck in a bathroom stall for 2 and a half hours he could make it work and probably create a blockbuster hit. So this film is about Dr. Robert Neville, a brilliant scientist/military soldier. Kind of a cross between Colin Powell and Albert Einstein. A virus is airbourne in New York and it's up to Neville to find a cure. The only catch is that everyone is either infected or they left the island. So Neville is damned to live in an abandoned city by himself trying to find a cure for all of those vampire/zombie people who have been infected. There are no new themes here but again, Mr. Smith is such a capable actor that you are sucked into his world and mesmerized by his ability to carry the movie as he talks to mannequins, dogs and on occasion himself. It's half Castaway, half 28 Days Later with a smidge of the Omega Man at the end.

Neville is not a typical hero though, at a certain point his true nature of arrogance, paranoia and the pain of lonliness have prompted him to be a little more layered then he usually is in these kind of event movies. It's not all fun and games with a quick pun to your opponent. It is sometimes frightening when he's stuck outside at night by himself and these thousands of vampire like humans attempting to stalk and kill him. The pacing is very good in these instances as they jack up the suspense and make you feel very uncomfortable for Mr. Smith as these creatures surround him looking for blood.

The creatures, unfortunately looked incredibly fake. I'm uncertain why they didn't just use makeup and some wire work or something because the CG they used for them was terrible. It really takes you out of it too because the drama and the setting are so great and affecting and then you get to those damn vampire/zombie creatures and it's kinda like in Jaws when you see the shark too often it becomes less scary.

Overall it was a tense and fun thriller and if you enjoy post-apocalyptic thrillers or if you enjoy Will Smith then I think you'll like this one. It's funny that this film was supposed to have been made years ago with then action star Arnold Swartzenegger as Robert Neville. Honestly I'm not sure how that would have worked especially with this script. I can see Arnold as a military guy but not so much as a scientist. Can you see Arnold trying to say lines like this? "Nothing happened the way it was supposed to happen. We are seeing mutations. Cannabalistic hunger. Typical human behavior is now entirely absent." With that accent it would sound--funny especially when he starts talking about Cannibals.

Grade: 3 Buckets

Saturday, December 08, 2007

CASTING CALL: G.I. Joe The Movie - THE JOES by GI Jeff

I'm sure you have heard all of the rumors swirling around, that Di Bonaventura productions and Paramount are working out the kinks to get a live action G.I. Joe movie sometime around 2009. They seem to have a director Stephen Sommers, the same guy who did Mummy, Deep Rising (silly fun) and the really terrible Van Helsing and Scorpion King. At least it's not McG but they could do a lot better. In this case, I actually think Michael Bay would be the best choice. I know what you may be thinking but the guy gets the military, he just does. Not to mention the U.S. Army loves him so much they let him play with their little toys. But I accept that the Bayster will just be doing another Tranformers flick and I just have to be content about that. Anyway, just today I saw a post on Aint it Cool News that Ray Park may have signed on as Snake Eyes. I also heard through the grapevine that the Production has signed Sienna Miller as the Baroness. Pretty crappy casting if you ask me, I think we, Cody and I, could do much better. Which is why Cody and I thought it would be fun to do our own little casting call for the G.I. Joe movie. I'm gonna do the Joes and Cody is taking care of Cobra.

I had to say I was pretty pumped at the notion. This means I get to cast Alpine, Bazooka, Dusty, Mutt and Junkyard, Airbourne, Gung Ho, Spirit and much more. I could go on for days!!! Cody stopped me in my tracks. He said, "Dude, you aren't gonna be casting Mainframe and Bazooka, okay. Nobody knows who they are." I tried to get huffy. He said, "If I see Stalker or Quick Kick or some shit like that I'm gonna kick your ass. Seven, you get seven and that's it and no more!" Well I showed him, I've got eight!! Only 'cause Snake Eyes doesn't talk so I get to add one more to the show. So anyway here is my list of the seven plus 1 G.I. Joes I would cast for a big budget movie extravaganza!! An added note: I think the great master thespian Sam Eliot should make an appearance as either General Hawk or General Flagg. No Joe film would be complete without throwing in that gravely voiced bad ass to the mix. ---Now on to the show!

First Sergeant Conrad S. Hauser -- codename: Duke

A G.I. Joe movie without the brass cajones of the Joes fearless leader would be about as fun and action packed as watching hair grow on a dog's ass. Duke is the complete embodiment of a soldier of G.I. Joe; confident, strong, and he can always crack wise when a billion and one Cobra troops have got him pinned down. So which Hollywood actor can we turn to that can convincingly shove a boot up Cobra's cornhole? There are the old greats like Kurt Russell, Bruce Wilis and even Viggo Mortison they would be awesome but unfortunately we need someone a bit younger. I have also thought about Gerard Butler from 300 and even Thomas Jane but I kept coming back to one person---Kevin McKidd. He's been great on Journeyman as a moral journalist trapped in a Quantum Leapish style paradox. But it's his rough and tough run for two seasons on Rome that defined his abilities as Duke for me. In Rome his Vorenus was a loyal soldier, a fierce warrior and an intense moralist. These are most definitely the qualities a live action Duke should project. On a final note McKidd is also the only actor I can think of that can possibly pull off the signature cry -- Yo, Joe!! -- without looking like a total buffoon.
Master Sergeant Shana M. O'Hara -- codename: Scarlett

She's the hot lady soldier with the kick ass crossbow. She's a southern belle who can whisper sweet nothings in your ear before she puts you in the hurt locker. Hell she even has her own tagline: "Beauty may be skin deep, but lethal is to the bone." She was the first female to join G.I. Joe and is technically a second in command to Duke. In the cartoon Scarlett had a thing for Duke, in the comic she liked Snake Eyes. I see a great love triangle between the three of them. Now who could we find to attract two of the most popular Joes? Jessica Biel would be awesome here and she already knows how to use the Crossbow after Blade III, but we always seem to put her in these roles so I'm going to move on. The same goes for Jennifer Garner, she would be great too but she's already played similar roles. There is Drew Barrymore, who I think wouldn't be a bad choice but I just don't totaly see her as Scarlett. The person that seems to be a perfect fit for me is Amy Adams (Junebug, Talledega Nights and Enchanted) I'm not quite sure how effective she would be in an action role but she definitely has the chops to pull of this beautiful dixie chick. She's smart and sexy and she's a natural red head. Works for me.

Warrant Officer Dashiell R. Faireborn -- codename: Flint

If you've watched the cartoon, especially the first season, you would think that Flint was the leader of the Joes, in fact I think if you add up all of the appearances over the first two years Flint would have a leg up on Duke almost five to one. He was always tough, self assured and ready to kick Cobra ass. Honestly it was tough to really tell Flint and Duke apart except for what they wear. This is where the comic is very helpful to show their very vast differences. In the comic Flint is stubborn and cocky and sometimes his ego is writing checks his body can't cash. He's not always levelheaded and he has a bit of a temper. I like this version of Flint, and for that reason I really think that Nathan Fillion (Serenity, Firefly, Waitress and Slither) would be excellent in the role. He can play cocky and if you've seen him on Buffy or even sometimes on Firefly he can play a loveable jerk too. I see him pairing up well with Michelle Monaghan who I think would be a great Lady Jaye. I also think that he could pull off the beret quite nicely.
Corporal Allison R. Hart-Burnett -- codename: Lady Jaye

When the cartoon first came out there were only two women on the show Scarlett and of course Lady Jaye. They were pretty interchangeable for a while, they just filled the hot chick quotient on the show. Although as time went on I felt that Lady Jaye became more individualized and they really liked to have fun with her relationship with Flint. She was always trying to one up him in the macho department. She was this hot chick with a spear who could pretty much whip your ass. In the comic I found her to be even more entertaining, she seemed to balance Flint out a lot. She was June Carter to Flint's Johnny Cash. She was always straighting out his messes. Now since I have Nathan Fillion as Flint I would be remiss not to suggest Morena Baccarin from Firefly and Serenity to be Lady Jaye. Her Inara had a great love hate thing going with Fillion's Captain Malcolm Reynolds and the chemistry was so good I would love to see that again on the big screen. But I think the best choice would be Michelle Monaghan from M.I. III, The Heartbreak Kid, Gone Baby Gone and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. She's hot, she's tough and funny and I think she matches up well with Nathan Fillion.

Michelle Monaghan & Morena Baccarin

Real name Classified -- codename:
Snake Eyes

I always liked Snake Eyes but I thought that he was very much a secondary character. But he was always very popular with the kids so they always had to elevate his status a bit more. In the cartoon he was just the silent guy who gives hand gestures and on occasion does something cool, but it was the comics that made him the silent bad ass ninja that we all have come to love. Since his vocal chords were severed in battle it makes it tough to find some big Hollywood star to play him. So I think that Paramount's choice of Ray Park is a good one. I think he moves well and can be a total bad ass, the problem-- he sounds like a pussy. He's got a really meek voice not one you would want to associate with a tough Mother Fucker like Snake Eyes. So this becomes genius casting cause you get all the moves without the chatter. Now whether or not he can play a silent Romeo pining for Amy Adam's Scarlett is another matter altogether, but I guess we'll just have to see. I just hope they don't give him top billing he's the muscle for G.I. Joe not the brains like Flint or the heart like Duke, he's just gonna make everyone giddy when he whups up on Storm Shadow.Sergeant Marvin F. Hinton -- codename: Roadblock

Roadblock was always one of my favorites on the cartoon show. It was kind of goofy when he would rhyme all of the time but I thought it was endearing. On the show he was good natured and funny and he loved to cook. In the comic he dumped the rhymes and became an angry overly patriotic ass hole. When he got angry he would say things like "Flush 'em out with burst of fifty 'cal!" which means to force one's enemies out into the open with constant fire from his big ass 50 caliber machine gun and kill all the Mo' Fo's. Personally I think if you got a tough enough guy to push the macho element he could drop a few rhymes here and there just for the kids and still retain his bad assness. This is why we need a true wordsmith to take the reigns and I think the rapper/actor Common would do the trick nicely. He has played in Smokin' Aces and American Gangster and he has definitely got the Bad Attitude to play Roadblock.

Sailor Hector Delgado -- codename:

Shipwreck was always one of my personal favorites. The best episodes of the show ever, No Place Like Springfield pt. 1 and 2, where Shipwreck gets his mind scrambled by Cobra and you have those really creepy synthazoids. Shipwreck is crass, funny and unfortunately sometimes on the show the butt of everyone's jokes. Earlier on the show he's more like a Han Solo type, but later he gets an annoying parrot named Polly and well stupidity ensued. This guy is basically "Badass" Buddusky from the film Last Detail. An awesome flick with Jack Nicholson which actually was inspiration for Shipwreck's character and his signature voice. In the comics Shipwreck was a tough sailor who is a little more of a kick ass sailor man. But I do feel like the show did allow Shipwreck more than some of the others to flesh out his character into a well rounded flawed guy. This is the guy I would like to see in the movie and nobody can play a flawed, crass Han Solo type better than Josh Holloway from Lost. The more I think about it he actually is Shipwreck as a con artist on the show so I think he should be the one and only choice.

Chief Warrant Officer/Chopper Pilot William F. Hardy -- codename:
Wild Bill

So here is my extra one and it is a good one I assure you. Wild Bill is the fun country boy pilot of the Dragonfly. He's a wannabe country singer and he can keep you up telling tall tails till the cows come home. He also is an expert tracker and he's got the colorful banter. "Let's pack it in, fellers. We ain't got a big enough tail to swat all them horseflies!" (Cobra) or "Yee-hoo! Caught'em Catnappin'! Once they get across that bridge, we can tie their tails in a knot!"or here's one when Bill gets really mad at some Cobra bastard pointing a laser gun at him. "This here's a showdown, you scaly varmit!" Personally you need someone who can play a fun loving southern hick who can get away with talking like Yosemite Sam and I think the best person for the job is Steve Zahn (Rescue Dawn, Saving Silverman, Happy, Texas and Out of Sight) He's funny and kinda crazy and I think he'd be a great fit in Wild Bill's ten gallon hat.

CASTING CALL: G.I. Joe The Movie - COBRA! by Cody Dee Williams

To borrow a line from one of cinema's all-time great villains, "Evil will always triumph, because Good is dumb." - Dark Helmet, Spaceballs.

But besides having the dumbness of Good on their side, bad guys, like ruthless terror organization COBRA from the popular 80's toyline and subsequent cartoon series G.I. Joe: Real American Hero, have a lot more going for them when compared to their Fight-on-the-side-of-Righteousness counterparts - cooler gimmicks, cooler outfits, cooler foreign accents, and cooler names - like Destro. Go on, say it, try it, it's fun! And remember to roll the tongue on the long 'O'. Destro0O!!! For my money one of the most beautiful words in the English language, flat out. We're counting proper nouns, of course. Scrabble rules don't apply in the real world!

So, yes, back to business. They are coming out with a live action feature film of G.I. Joe (finally!!! - thank you Transformers!). And occasionally we here at The Bucket like to pretend that we're important, that our opinions matter, and play casting God. As Jeff said above, I took the main players from COBRA. Had a good time with this one, some fun ideas below. So please, to enjoy:

Cobra Commander:

Peter Sarsgaard: I usually find Mr. Sarsgaard's blase, laid back acting style routinely insipid. However, he does have an asexual, effete quality that I think really works for Cobra Commander, who was always a bit of a fop. Clearly insane, definitely dangerous, but kind of a priss at the same time. Think Joaquin Phoenix's character from Gladiator in a royal blue executioner's mask. Also, Sarsgaard already has a natural reptilian lisp in his normal speaking voice, so no need for any vocal enhancement!


Ray Stevenson: Destro, COBRA's chief weapons supplier and Cobra Commander's prima facie number two, is big, bad, and wears a metal mask to cover up a facial disfigurement. Check out Ray Stevenson (HBO's Rome). The man is 6'4"! Dude could kick your ass by just looking at you. Destro is Scottish. Stevenson is Irish. It's been awhile since I've looked at a map of Great Britain, but I say they're close enough!

The Baroness:

Kathleen Robertson or Diane Kruger: Something about the Baroness always did it for me when I was a kid. And this was before I hit puberty. I don't know if it was the glasses, or the German accent, or the raven colored hair, or the killer body underneath that form fitting black outfit. Probably all of the above. She was like a dirty, slutty librarian who could kill you seventeen different ways with only her legs. Robertson (pictured above) looks almost exactly like what I picture the Baroness looking like in real life (and I have). She's beautiful, plus, I think she can act - after an impressive supporting turn in last year's Hollywoodland. Kruger (pictured below), while also gorgeous, is a honest-to-goodness Deutsch Frau, which means no lame fake accent. The Powers-That-Be tried to make her a movie star about four years ago. It didn't work. But with the help of a little black hair dye and an acting coach, no reason she couldn't work for the Baroness. They would both be better choices than the impish Sienna Miller (who has been known to blow away in a strong wind).

Storm Shadow:

Yusuke Iseya: Storm Shadow, COBRA's chief bodyguard and assassin, has always been a fan favorite. He's a bad-ass ninja who isn't all bad. The actor who plays him needs to have mad martial arts skillz (check!), he needs to be Japanese (check!), and most importantly, because Storm Shadow is usually wearing a mask, he needs to have a soulful pair of eyes (check!). Look at those baby blues!. Plus, Yusuke (Japanese film Casshern) is hella popular in Japan, which translates into boffo B.O. (no, not body odor) in the Asian markets!

Major Bludd:

Richard Roxburgh: Roxburgh was practically born to play Major Bludd. For one thing, Roxburgh is Australian, Bludd is Australian. And in addition to being COBRA's primary field commander, Bludd is also a really bad amateur poet. Roxburgh has proven his ability to infuse villainous roles with great comedic moments (e.g. Moulin Rouge - and Van Helsing, although that was less intentional).

Dr. Mindbender:

Christopher Eccleston: Dr. Mindbender, COBRA's chief of science, is a creepy, bald, German guy. Eccleston (BBC's Doctor Who) is a creepy, bald, British guy. And as Meatloaf so aptly put it, two outta three ain't bad!


Tommy Flanagan: Zartan, another fan favorite from the cartoon, is the leader of COBRA mercenary group The Dreadnoks. He's an Australian biker dude whose skin turns blue in sunlight (not exactly sure why?) and he's also a master of disguise. Scottish character actor Tommy Flanagan (Smokin' Aces) looks just like him, plus he's got a bunch of cool, fucked up scars on his face. Bonus!

Tomax & Xamot:

David Anders & David Anders: Originally, I wasn't going to do a pick for Tomax & Xamot, COBRA Crimson Guard co-commanders. Mostly because the idea of one actor playing twins is almost ALWAYS a bad idea (the obvious exception being Jean Claude Van Damme who did it in both Knocked Off and Maximum Risk). But, if there was one other actor on the planet who was capable of pulling it off, I believe David Anders might be that actor. He's such a clever and charismatic actor. Plus he's great at playing British bad guys, as fans of Alias (and more recently Heroes) can attest. And he's not too shabby on the ole peepers. Am I right ladies? I'm married, btw... to a woman.


Cobra Commander's Day Off:


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