Bijou Graffiti | Film reviews and interviews by Rob Blackwelder
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 WHAT'S THAT WIDGET OVER THERE? ----------->  

Oh, that thing? That's my new Kachingle Medallion.

Kachingle is an effortless way to support your favorite sites through automated micropayments based on your web surfing, and a way for these sites to monetize their online content without resorting to paywalls, manual micropayments or other easily-bypassed (and traffic-killing) revenue collection methods.

As a Kachingler, you choose the sites you want to support — your favorite blog or your local newspaper, for example.

Each month, you make an automatic deposit in your Kachingle account. Kachingle counts the days you visit your favorite sites and, at the end of each month, distributes your deposit among those sites based on the frequency of your visits.

Kachingle is also building a social-networking system — so you can share the sites you love with colleagues, friends, family, Twitter followers and others, building an online persona around your Kachingle contributions.

Most importantly, Kachingle is user-centric. You, the Kachingler — the consumer of online content — determine the sites you want to support.

(Kachingle FAQ)

  14 Jan REVIEWS INTERVIEWS RANTS UPCOMING VIDEO/DVD   About Email More...
 TRITE TERRORIST  by Rob Blackwelder
A scene from 'V for Vendetta'
"V for Vendetta"
 Grade: D (drivel) (132m | R)  

A ham-fisted mash-up of "1984" and "Phantom of the Opera," with all the political nuance of a three-ring circus, "V for Vendetta" attempts to show the action-movie masses what the world might be like in 20 or 30 years if fear-mongering, religion-bating right-wing propagandists keep their choke-hold on governmental power. But it's so absurdly rococo and overly simplistic that the end result is nothing short of laughable.

The setting is a totalitarian London in the years after the collapse of the United States. The villain (John Hurt) is a wrinkly, vein-popping, vitriol-spewing, all-powerful chancellor of Great Britain who is every bit as overwrought and ridiculous as the Anti-Christ United Nations president in the "Left Behind" movies (horribly-acted, low-budget, Revelations-based thrillers made for the fundamentalist Christian market).

The movie's anti-hero is a disfigured, psychologically scarred vigilante in a theatrical black cape and Snidely-Whiplash-meets-harlequin-doll mask...

(continue...)

  14 Jan REVIEWS INTERVIEWS RANTS UPCOMING VIDEO/DVD   About Email More...
 TWO FOR THE FUNNY  by Rob Blackwelder
A scene from 'Ray'
"Scrubs" Season 2
 Grade: B+ (sublimely silly)

Continuing the snarky snickers and wild imagination that has made this show both a cult hit and a ratings winner from the get-go, Season Two of "Scrubs" dives right into the narrative audacity in the opening scene of Episode One. It's long sequence in which Zach Braff's JD, the now-second-year doctor around whom the show revolves, is inexplicably haunted by the former lead singer of Men At Work, who annoyingly croons their 1983 song "Overkill" to lament JD's troubles, with highly conceptual, gut-punch funny results.

This second 22-episode outing begets well-written character evolution as the young doctors -- including JD's charmingly cocky surgeon buddy Chris Turk (Donald Faison) and neurotic gal-pal Dr. Elliott Reed (Sarah Chalke) -- gain confidence, ease, courage and knowledge. Although series creator Bill Lawrence pushes these developments a little too hard in the first few half-hours, the overall arc accomplishes everything necessary to grow the show and tap into subplots of genuine emotion without losing sight of the stinging wit for even a minute.

Season Two is not without it's faults. The comedic timing is a little off in places, with jokes here and there being dragged out way beyond the punchline...

(continue...)


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 'KING KONG' THE CARNIVAL RIDE  by Rob Blackwelder
A scene from 'King Kong'
"King Kong"
 Grade: C (superfluous) (187m | PG-13)  

Peter Jackson's "King Kong" is way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way too long.

A good half of the movie consists of mastrubatory action sequences that soon become ridiculous because Jackson just doesn't know when to stop. Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) hanging onto a T-Rex's NOSTRILS and getting tossed around? Jack Driscoll (Adrien Brody) hanging on to a bat's wing to fly to safety? Bats attacking Kong for no reason when two juicy, defenseless humans are right there for the easy pickin'?

Couple this with a never-ending parade of never-ending sequences transparently designed for the tie-in video game, and it's no wonder this "Kong" is a full 90 minutes longer than the 1933 original.

Could this movie, which Jackson has been dreaming about since he was a kid, have been a great? Remove the dinosaur stampede, trim the fight scene between Kong and three T-Rexes...

(continue...)

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 "Corpse Bride" ***
 "Dear Wendy" **1/2
 "Flightplan" **
 "A History of Violence" **
 "Roll Bounce" **1/2
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