‎”Dogville” sure is a lot of whimpering!

My question is:

  1. Did this have to be 3 hours long?
  2. Nicole Kidman as Jesus?!

My review:

A Brechtian telling of a theater-pretentious “Last Temptation of Christ” by way of “They Call Her One Eye,” if Jesus was a slutty mob heiress.

At least I finished it, which is more than I can say for “Dancer In The Dark“…  it felt really similar.

Maybe Lars von Trier is not for me?  Should I attempt Manderlay?!


Neolithic edutainment

BRAIN: watching a steady stream of edutainment about the Neolithic
VINEET: iowa?

Maybe my obsession was related to the Republican caucuses — after all, these documentaries are about human progress.

The one I liked best was “Stories from the Stone Age,” an Australian production which follows the birth of agriculture through the beginning of the copper age.

More Paleolithic but good was “Ice World,” which was American and therefore shorter and less informative but more dramatic.

The Exorcist and “girl-fear”

All of this is typical girl-fear. Once you realize that The Exorcist is, essentially, the story of a 12-year-old who starts cussing, masturbating, and disobeying her mother—in other words, going through puberty—it becomes apparent to the feminist-minded viewer why two adult men are called in to slap her around for much of the third act. People are convinced that something spooky is going on with girls; that, once they reach a certain age, they lose their adorable innocence and start tapping into something powerful and forbidden. Little girls are sugar and spice, but women are just plain scary. And the moment a girl becomes a woman is the moment you fear her most.

Watching The Exorcist now, and I have to regretfully conclude this reading is a bit of a stretch, which is a bummer because it’s really entertaining. The 12 year old Regan “masturbates” by stabbing her vagina with a crucifix, she “disobeys her mother” by peeing on the floor. This is a kind of liberation that is not very desirable!

A much stronger theme is the modern secular American culture is ultimately unfulfilling, leaving the upper-middle class characters feeling out of control of their children and their own destiny. They look for salvation and faith mainly in Christianity, but also other cultures (the priest is an immigrant, the demon is Pazuzu).

Interesting trivia: back at the school or whatever, there’s a banner in Latin letters that says “TASKUKETE!” – which is Japanese for “Help!” (“助けて!”)
Arguably: the deleted spider-walk scene inverts the little girl’s top and bottom, and she drools blood from her mouth, which could be interpreted as a perverted menstruation… however, again, not very desirable for would-be liberated women! Yuck.

Rewrite “Cutthroat Island”

I’m watching Cutthroat Island. It’s about as bad as I’ve heard.

I was thinking though, it would be an interesting writing challenge to do a rewrite of the script and story as if you were on the production. The movie looks really great! But as it was made, the story and characters suck. The acting wasn’t great either, but let’s be charitable and say this is due to the writing. The scenario:

You find yourself in an alternate universe where Carolco is failing earlier than it did, this time just BEFORE Cutthroat Island is shot but after the production design is completed. Just as it came to pass in our universe, production design is underway even before the draft script is completed! Also as in our history, the script is in trouble – it’s been through six different screenwriters, and is a hackneyed mess. This time, however, the buyers of Carolco come to their senses and realize they have the opportunity to make a completely different movie with the same pieces.

  • You have been hired to rewrite Cutthroat Island. Production is already underway.
  • The casting has already been finalized. You must use the Geena Davis and Matthew Modine as the two leads, and Frank Langella as the villain.
  • Geena Davis is “involved” with the director. You can alter her character, but you cannot diminish her screen time. She must remain the lead.
  • The sets, design, effects, etc have all been set. You must use all the same locations. Bonus points for the same costumes.
  • Action sequences must remain intact!

Evil Chinese Man

There’s a character actor whose name I can never remember – he plays the Evil Chinese Man. Whatever the movie, he’s the older, usually rich, powerful villain who represents the scary part of Chinatown.

Oooh scary Chinatown. The racism implicit in the mere existence of this role is so extreme that I always thought it was pretty funny.

Anyway, the actor is actually James Hong. Skinny as a rail, with a natural expression that makes him look like he disapproves of that thing you are doing there.

Hong played the Evil Chinese Man who is running the lottery in the X-Files, where if you lose they cut off a body part, no doubt to use in some exotic Chinese delicacy (scary Chinatown!). In Big Trouble in Little China, he’s the Evil Chinese Man who actually has sorcerous powers.

Slightly less iconic but still very memorable: Victor Wong. Wong tended to play the Wise (albiet slightly batty) Chinese Man, with a droppy expression and a slightly zany cockeyed look. He played this character in Big Trouble in Little China, and again in The Golden Child.

Check out the rosters of both these guys and you’ll find a bunch of movies you remember. Unfortunately Wong passed away at the turn of this century, but Hong is still pluggin’ away at movies!


I’m really into this XCOM trailer. I know this rebooted game is nothing like the original X-COM, but since I never played it this isn’t such a big deal for me.

It’s the 1950s, and the entire world is going insane – there’s a housewife who has been possessed by the staticky tar aliens, there’s a dude getting his insides eaten out as he screams through the bubbling tar, and best of all, there’s this flying obelisk gong thing, apparently an extradimensional alien tank equivalent, which looks like Leviathan from Hellraiser.


I WORK FOR NEMESIS is by far the most ambitious film I’ve ever produced. Literally my every waking moment is filled with calling people and sending emails… it seems like every five minutes I think of something we haven’t covered yet. I carry a clipboard everywhere covered in categorized notes, even to bed.

All the mayhem is largely because of the script and our schedule – the weekend of the 17th/18th we have to have nearly every featured actor in costume somewhere in the scene for this final mission, OPERATION MAGIC JAR.

But it is ultimately positive. Things are ka-rayzay, but we have an awesome team. Our new Assistant Casting Director is helping us cast extras and one of our featured parts to replace an actress that couldn’t make it on the shoot day at the last minute. And the madness of OPERATION MAGIC JAR means that everyone will already be cast, costumed etc for future shoots.