Knee-jerk review: "Disturbia"

1. You can just hear the Diet-Coke-fueled pitch meeting: "It's Rear Window, see, but for teenagers!" Even so, the movie's smarter than you might expect.
2. Part of the reason is the considerable scruffy charisma of lead
Shia LaBeouf.
3. The violent prologue may not be explicit, but it's definitely intense and scary. That's a pretty hard PG-13 scene.
4. David Morse is always good, isn't he?
5. How did Shia LeBeouf's character get his hands on the blueprints for the house next door? LocalBlueprints.com? There's hard to believe and then there's something laughable like this.
6. It's one thing to buy that a serial killer might build an extra room onto his house for grisly deeds, but what's with the creepy giant basement and then the cave-like sub-basement? When would he have time to build all of that? Why would he try to find the time to build all of that?
7. The garage door opener bit is clever.
8. The climax gets a little ridiculous, but that's unfortunately just the way these kinds of things usually end.
9. Sarah Roemer's bikini scenes add, shall we say, extra value.
10. That's a pretty cool title, isn't it?
11. Always fun to see local
Los Angeles news anchors pimping themselves out for fake newscasts in movies.
12. Seriously, if you hit someone in the head with an aluminum baseball bat, you're probably going to kill them.

Hollywoodus celebritanius

Carlos Santana, in the waiting lounge at the Burbank airport (The Cheese Fry can't bring itself to call it the Bob Hope Airport), strolling over to the bathroom before taking a seat in the far corner facing the wall.


Knee-jerk review: "Grindhouse"

1. Kurt Russell is the man. No doubt about it. The guy oozes effortless cool, even as a psycho bad guy. Especially as a psycho bad guy.
2. Yes yes, Quentin Tarantino has an ear for clever, poetic dialogue. We get it. Can we all just move on now? Especially Tarantino.
3. Was Rose McGowan always this gorgeous? Whoa.
4. The head-on car crash may be one of the more horrific sequences put to film. Very violent. And not in a check-it-out-cool way, but an eww-gross-did-we-need-to-see-that way.
5. Everyone's attacking Robert Rodriguez's film "Planet Terror" and praising Tarantino's film "Death Proof." Truth is, they're pretty equal in terms of what works and what doesn't. They both have lots of fun with the drive-in-style exploitation films they're mimicking, but they're both way too long and self-indulgent. You get the feeling that in making this film Rodriquez and Tarantino were mostly interested in amusing one another - whether or not audiences like it is sort of beside the point.
6. Bottom line: they're not nearly as clever and brilliant as they seem to think they are.
7. Before the film, one of the genuine coming attraction trailers was for Rob Zombie's needless remake of Halloween. It was a skeezy, loud, nasty little trailer... and almost completely indistisguishable from the "fake" trailers that ran in Grindhouse.
8. You know who else is really good in this? Josh Brolin. Seriously.
9. There's no need for this to run over three hours. No need at all.
10. Edgar Wright's fake trailer for a British horror film called Don't is genius.
11. The last 15 minutes or so of "Death Proof" are pretty exciting, especially that final freeze frame.
12. The first 15 minutes or so of "Death Proof" are incredibly boring.


"Don't you forget about me... Don't, don't, don't, don't..."

Here's a clever analysis of the John Hughes films, surely the most impactful 1980s pop culture force for Generation X that doesn't involve R2D2 or MTV.