This will RULE YOUR FACE off….

No, seriously…it will.


You’re welcome internets.


DAILY stuff

  • Even though the internet wants to thwart Charlie Kaufman‘s Frank or Francis, Edward Davis at Playlist says the project is being postponed. Come on Hollywood, we’ve seen ENOUGH comic book movies, you owe us more of  The Master and ANYTHING Charlie wants to film. SM has read the script for Frank or Francis, this movie NEEDS to be made, and hey, America loves them some singing and dancing these days, right??
  • Did any Denver area cinephiles get a chance a few weeks back to catch a preview screening of Sundance hit Beasts of the Southern Wild? If not, then head over to the DFS on Friday night and catch another advance screening. Members Only like a jacket though so go and sign up if you’re not a member. The current FILM COMMENT cover story looks intriguing, unlike most of the twee, wacky family/romcom crud that has seeped outta Sundance the last few years. There are some great exceptions such as Take Shelter, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Bellflower, Terri, Blue Valentine, Skateland, Hesher and Winter’s Bone to name a few from the past few years. Jeez, looking at that list makes me realize that since they switched directors of the fest back in 2009, things are moving in the right direction.
  • Finished the excellent book Brutal Intimacy: Analyzing Contemporary French Cinema recently – great read if you’re into French flicks – and in the appendix was a list of 156 films by Alain Bergala from French film school La Femis. The list has since been updated to 208 films you have to see. Now this is not a complete canon by any stretch, it’s Bergala’s list for future filmmakers to learn and understand how to utilize all of the tools of cinema. Check it out, see how many you’ve seen.

DENVER – We’ve Got Five Days…UPDATE – It’s on….

That’s right Mile High Movie Nuts – the fine folks at Mile High Cinema and Gordon and the Whale are working the TUGG to get a one-night screening of Nacho Vigalondo‘s latest flick EXTRATERRESTRIAL to Denver next Thursday – June 28th at the Denver Film Center.

If you don’t know Nacho – go find a copy of his brilliant time-travel movie TIMECRIMES, watch it, check out the trailer for EXTRATERRESTRIAL and now go to TUGG and reserve your tix so we can all enjoy this on the big screen next Thursday.

Come on Denver, let’s do this thing….I heard even Peyton Manning might be there*, so tell all of your Bronco Fans.

Tell all of your friends to their faces, on your mobile COM units or social media outlets. Go HERE and be a cool kid.

* – This fact may or may not be true but last time we here at Smokin Monkey HQ heard this we were at a Rockies game on a warm Sunday afternoon and what did you know, he was there.

h/t – A/V Club at the Onion

Review: ‘Moonrise Kingdom’


I give Wes Anderson’s new comedy a solid 8 score. 8? On a scale of ten? Not on a scale of 10, it’s on an unlimited scale. Huh? I’ve long thought that the scale for comedy movie reviews should be predicated on the amount of LOLs the reviewer has while enjoying or not enjoying the film. Another example –  Hangover 2 scores a 0, possibly a negative number although I’ve undergone massive amounts of hypno-therapy to erase all memories of that “movie.” Now you can see why theoretically it’s an unlimited scale as to how many LOLs can you really get in a movie. Now theses are genuine LOLs, full-throated, headback laughing. If one wanted to get very specific you could count chuckles, snorts and smiles where you are laughing on the inside just not on the outside. That’s too much to keep track of while trying to enjoy a movie so I just focused on the big ones. For the record – “Moonrise Kingdom”had plenty of chuckles, snorts and quite a few smiles.

I will be the first to admit that “Moonrise Kingdom” had me a little less than enthusiastic to see it due to Trailer Fatigue. What is that? You ask. Trailer Fatigue occurs when one goes to a certain theater or theater chain (For SM our home theater is the majestic Mayan Theater in the Landmark Theatres chain) several times in a few weeks causing said moviegoer to see the same. Trailers. Every. Single. Time. Nothing good can come out of this and usually something bad occurs like a few months ago when being subjected to the Albert Knobshine (the Glenn Close cross-dressing period piece – seriously who market-tested that film?) trailer which had the EXCRUCIATING song from that Bald Lady from Ireland. When you get Trailer Fatigue on a film you get the feeling the trailer is showing all of the best moments which you will already know by heart as you’ve seen the the trailer too much. A great example of this was the unfunny JUNO.  Sadly the trailer for that movie was 10 times better than the LOL-less full-length film.

Now this brings me to “Moonrise”, having attend quite a few movies at the Mayan in the last few weeks I was starting to get Trailer Fatigue and I really wanted to go into this movie as FRESH as possible so needless to say we were nervous that we were gonna get Junoed.

No such thing happened. Wes Anderson and the marketing team for the film managed to create a snappy trailer that left the whole second half of the film out of it. Can you believe it?

The movie was a delightful romp, absolutely perfect for a 95 degree Saturday in Denver. There was some other trepidation as the last few live action Wes Anderson films (“Fantasitc Mr. Fox” was fantastic) seemed to be adhering to the law of diminishing returns. The film is a simple story of young love in the summer of 1965 being thwarted at every step of the way by adults, meddling other kids and weather. Really bad weather. It handles most of the usual Anderson-themes which revolve around people trying to find love and to not be so damn lonely. Really the less you know about the plot, the better. Just know if you see the trailer there’s a lot more. Which is a good thing.

Everyone in “Moonrise” is pretty damn good as they dropped into AndersonLand. The newcomers – all of the young actors, John McLane, Ed Norton and Mrs. Coen and permanent residents Bill Effing Murray and That Guy from Phantom Planet. Only complaint on the case would be the film needed more Tilda. Bob Balaban was an especially inspired choice as the deadpan narrator.

The humor is top-notch too. Most of the comedy manages to come from humorous situations created organically in the film that were NOT at the expense of exploiting heteronormative fears, bodily functions, pointing out weirdo people who don’t seem to be completely average or crass stereotypes. All of the tropes that Hollywood loves to stuff their comedies with these days. Another sign it was a pretty good movie? The desire to want to see it again. Several times. Anderson and his co-wroter Roman Coppola deserve big credit for crafting a fantastic script. Go see it, you will be glad you did.

Prometheus Review

Prometheus was an entertaining movie visually and had plenty of cool moments, especially the stunning opening which brings highly-discredited Erich von Daniken’s ancient astronaut theory right into the mix. Let’s not go quite crazy and say that it is Matrix-level HQ sci-fi but it’s head and shoulders above most 21st century sci-fi cranked out of Hollywood. I know that is sorta damning with faint praise but it’s a worthwhile movie.

Sure there was some on-the-nose moments in the script and we could’ve used with some more Charlize Theron (when can’t we? Try this clip for some more of her) and even more of Michael Fassbender’s David – whose character elicits the most emotion for me and he’s an android! I can tell when we get the sequel we will see a lot more of David as he seemed to be keeping ALL KINDS OF INFO to himself about the aliens.

Overall? Good movie, entertaining, scary at times (not at the same level as Alien), interesting, great sets & sci-fi elements and passable to decent acting. It had a good enough pace to keep me entertained but I have to admit I would like to see the longer cut (which we know Ridley has, like almost all of his films, lol) to fully explore more of the alien world. Just how did the big white men get tangled up with the H.R.Giger aliens?

Check it out. You should be entertained.

A few other thoughts about it…

  • Why is there such weirdly anachronistic elements in most modern sci-fi? By this I mean things like the 4-wheeler carts the explorers use – why? If we’ve advanced our science to be able to fly though space have we not been able to create mini-ships which can move quickly and, you know, fly? I guess it would’ve eliminated the scene of them racing ahead of the storm on the ground. Or how about carrying bags and briefcases? Where’s some simple mag-lev technology to carry things? And how about some new ideas on the spacesuit? It has been the same bubble-headed one for, oh, what 75, 100 years? OK, these are minor gripes but we can easily think up some new stuff, right? The immortal mind of PKD even said a good sci-fi story doesn’t need to go out of its way to explain how the things work or were invented, just put them in a cupboard and go.
  • Not sure The Original Tattoo Girl was quite up to Sigourney Weaver‘s iconic portrayal of Ripley, but that being said she had her moments, what with the self-performed c-section a nice twist on one of Alien‘s set pieces. Hey, I don’t need some big emotinal connection to our protagonist in a film to enjoy it but Noomi and most of the other actors didn’t really provoke any emotions from me, aside from the obligatory Angry Contractor guy Fifeld portrayed by Sean Harris (who was creepy great in the Red Riding trilogy a few years back from the UK).
  • We need MORE from Stringer Bell – and from the looks of Idris’s imdb page we should be getting more, with Pacific Rim looking like the film that makes him a more household name than The Wire has already done.
  • Was it just me or did the opening 30 minutes or so seem like some great hangout movie time? I could spend a season’s worth of a tv show just hanging out with the characters in he ship…and maybe this bit of news will give us some more.

WEEKEND items…



  • Fandor is THE place to check for daily film updates. The great David Hudson digs up links from all over the world. He recently setup shop at Fandor – we will follow him, follow him wherever he may go….

Photo John Lennon with a kitty. Shown just because it’s awesome. Check out this great site for more of the same.