The Best Movie Critic + review

What's New in the World of Awesome?

There seem to be a lot of awesomeness afoot in the world of movies and media lately. Here's a bunch of it all together in one place for easy consumption. What, you thought Justin had the corner on the random shit market? I'm full of shit!

THE SCOTT PILGRIM TRAILER

I love love love the Scott Pilgrim comic, and I adore pretty much everything Edgar Wright touches. However, I'm still pretty scared for this, and whether these guys can pull off the transition from comic to movie successfully. Now that I've seen the trailer, I totally get what Wright was going for when he cast George Michael Bluth as Scott. There is going to be so much over the top action and comic book whizz-bang-pow in this movie, we need the protagonist to be as 'mumblecore' as possible to anchor the movie and keep it from being, like, 300 with kids or something. So somehow my favorite part of the trailer ended up being Michael Cera, and my least favorite all the comic book 'high concept' stuff, which is exactly the opposite of how I thought I would react. I'm still very excited, and still worried. I want this to be great...

JOHN CARPENTER'S ELVIS

Back in 1979 John Carpenter made a made-for-TV biopic movie about the life of Elvis starring Kurt Russell as Elvis. Did your brain just explode? It was released for the first time ever on DVD last month, and I checked it out last week. Is it amazing? No. Is it worth your time? Damn straight. For starters, Kurt Russell is hyperbolically badass as Elvis. It is a creepily perfect performance. There is never a second of screen time where you feel like you're watching Kurt Russell play Elvis; he just is Elvis. Shelly Winters nails it as Gladys Presley, Elvis' 'Mama.' It makes perfect sense to cast a Hollywood oddball to play one of the legendary oddballs of the ages, and she seems like she had a great time chewing the scenery with this role. This rendition of Elvis' storied life is at its best when focusing on Elvis' early exploits and his creepy, creepy, almost incestuous interdependence with his mama (and don't forget his long deceased twin, Bobby Garon, now Elvis' imaginary friend who he consults with in times of need). It's not so good once it delves into the more troubled 'Priscilla' years. Maybe because the movie wants so badly to portray Elvis as a nice guy, and maybe because the three hour run time was taking its toll at this point. Either way, John Carpenter's Elvis paints the man as a good-hearted, genuinely talented idiot savant, more ambitious than bright. His inability to understand and handle his fame was his downfall. It is a genuinely loving portrait of this bizarre figure, and at the very least got me really pumped about 'Blue Suede Shoes' again.

THE EXPENDABLES TRAILER

I wish they wouldn't have given away the Arnold/Sly/Bruce trifecta this early, but this movie looks to continue the wickedly monstrous comeback Stallone has made in the past few years with the pretty good Rocky and the mind-blowingly awesome Rambo. Also, have you seen this new Expendables poster? Hot damn!

TREME

This isn't movie news, but it is just about the most important TV news to hit this year. The Wire is hands down the best TV series ever, for reasons I don't have the time or energy to even start going into. But don't try to argue with me. It's just incredible. Treme is the new series from David Simon and Eric Overmyer, the dudes responsible for the Wire. It's set in New Orleans in the months following Hurricane Katrina, and follows diverse members of the community and their struggles trying to piece their lives back together in the wake of the disaster. I just wrapped up watching Spike Lee's moving Katrina documentary, When the Levees Broke, which looks like it will be the perfect springboard for jumping into this sure to be dense, involving, compelling slice of long-form fiction. Here's hoping the new show captures even a sliver of the brilliance of their previous effort. Of course, I won't know until this hits DVD, as I am cable-impaired. ... unless some kind soul with HBO wants to adopt me...

VERN'S NEW BOOK

Do you read Vern's website (or as he would say, 'websight')? Why the hell not? It's only the most consistently entertaining movie review websight on the internet. Vern's reviews waffle between shoot-milk-out-of-your-nose funny, surprisingly profound and poignant, and sounding like a high school book report. The genius part is, I still can't tell if that last point is on purpose or not. His first book, Seagalogy, is the best ever book that never needed to be written – a movie by movie breakdown of everything Steven Seagal has ever done, and his contributions to film as a 'bad ass auteur.' If you're having trouble figuring out where to start digging into Vern's 10+ years of movie reviews, I would highly recommend you pick up his new book, Yippee Ki-Yay, Moviegoer!, a collection of his best and most infamous reviews over the years. Lordy, just wait until you read what he has to say about Transformers and Transformers 2.

-Ben

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What's New in the World of Awesome? + review