Hey, Paulington! Is a new Cinephile advice column that looks at life, love, and the movies. Anyone can send in a question, and Paulington will answer it. Sure, it's a really cryptic, cliched concept that has been around since the dawn of time. But we're going to spice it up a little bit. Topics can range from anything: Sex, violence, haints and taints, your favorite movie! Paulington doesn't care. He's basically doing it for a paycheck. He's not really an expert on anything. But he sure does know a lot about movies and human nature. You can send your questions to (as in, click on the giant red letters and you will automatically be sent to his email):
And he will be sure to answer all of them in a very timely manner. Here are this week's letters. Enjoy!
I saw you recently interviewed Christian Bale and he said he wanted to talk more after the interview. Did you guys really talk? And if so, what about? Also, does he have dentures? Is he intimidating in real life? I was scared for you. Signed, "Batfan"
Dear Batfan. After the cameras were off, we did talk for a minute about Mayan calendars and the impending 2012 apocalypse. It was a short conversation. He seemed rather intrigued by the whole idea, but laughed it off as nonsense. He wasn't intimidating in the least bit. Heck, he even smiled! I only got to chat with the guy for about ten minutes, but he was very friendly and gracious. As friendly and gracious as anyone that has to sit and answer the same five questions from seventy-six strangers over the course of eight hours could be. Junkets are grueling. It's like speed dating for a celebrity. And Bale is usually a pro. It's part of the job. Every actor has to do it. But sometimes, on an off day, they can get a little grumpy. During the junket for The Dark Knight, a lot of reporters and journalists complained that Bale was pensive and non-responsive to their questions. That he stared at the floor before the interviews began, making it an uncomfortable situation. This took place around the same time as his well-publicized tirade on the Terminator set. The guy was going through a rough patch, and he was definitely into his John Connor persona. Once you see that film, you will come to understand the amount of screaming required of the guy by both McG and the script. I can image that's an easy thing to fall into, and a little hard to break out of. He was still carrying that weight on his back during the Batman junket. Striving for the best as a professional, a bit of John Connor may have seeped into his mood around that time. And I understand the nature of the beast. He'd been stuck in the hot New Mexico desert, trapped in a sweltering post-apocalyptic bunker, yelling his face off for three weeks straight. Who's the man that wouldn't snap under those circumstances? Especially when they are engulfed in a land of make believe. It's sandbox etiquette. Anyone that's ever succumbed to heat sickness will know it's queas-inducing discomfort. Now imagine having to verbally repeat the same sound byte over and over again. On a loop. In a room. With a bunch of dumbasses like me. You, too, might brood in silence until you absolutely had to speak. The gen-pop audience doesn't take all of that into consideration when they hear Bale's tantrum. A piece of audio like that is bound to change your perception of a person. But he's still just a person. He's not a bully. And you shouldn't be scared of him. He's an actor. Actors are far from intimidating. In fact, they are quite insecure. Why do you think they go around pretending to be someone else most of the time? The only person I have ever encountered on the junket circuit that I would even consider intimidating would be Randy Couture, the three-time UFC Heavyweight champion. His piercing eyes went straight through me. I though he was going to Hulk Smash my face. Yet, he, too, is a gentle creature. Watching him count out one-dollar bills at the Wells Fargo, as I did one day, sort of zapped away his mystique. As for Bale's dentures (I shoe-horned this part of the question in from another inquiry posted by Err)? No. He doesn't have false teeth. He just has perfectly sculpted molars. I hear the dental insurance on Newsies was top notch. The guy didn't want to surrender to that age-old cliché about British people and their horrible, unsightly choppers. Kudos! I wouldn't want to look at Bale's messed up grill on an IMAX screen, and neither would you. If you're dying for some denture-fu, why not check out Sam Raimi's upcoming Drag Me to Hell. It's got plenty of disgusting false teeth swimming around its gruesome goo.
I forgot about Mothers day this year and my mom is really upset with me. What should i do to make it up to her? Signed, "Mamma's Boy 2009"
Dear Mamma's Boy. What a dick. You Prick. After all this woman's done for you, you can't even remember to pick up a card or pick a single flower from your neighbor's yard? Moms know what louses their sons can be, so it doesn't take much to make them smile on this very special Hallmark occasion. The fact you forgot will stay with her until her dying day. She might act unaffected by it. She may grin and pretend that it doesn't matter. But, oh, son, believe me, it does! Sadly, she'll wait for your deathbed visit to make you feel the shame. The only way to rectify this debacle right now, right this instant, is to take her to a nice lunch (none of this Taco Bell fast food bullshit), followed by an afternoon matinee of her choice. Maybe she's been dying to see Obsessed, and your dad wouldn't take her. Ghosts of Girlfriends Past might be right up her alley. Sacrifice your day, and make her feel special. Tell her you wanted to wait. That you didn't want to buy into the corporate bullshit feel of the holiday. She might buy that. But do it soon. Otherwise, you will be pelted with disgrace the moment she attempts to leave this world for heaven. Always remember: A mother never forgets! And neither should you.
Why was S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale so bad? Signed, "The Rabbit"
Dear Rabbit. Objectively speaking, most fans consider S. Darko a bad movie because it has none of the heart of its predecessor. It's looked at as a cheap direct-to-video cash in made solely for profit. Richard Kelly, writer and director of the original Donnie Darko, had nothing to do with this so-called sequel. And Jake Gyllenhaal, originator of Donnie's character, is not present. Though Donnie is. Kind of. His ghost lingers in the background offering a sense of the original film. But it's an empty conceit. It's easy to understand why most people, Kelly and yourself included, would balk at the idea of turning this stand-alone cult sensation into a series of cheapo films. That said, removed from the chasm of fandom that surrounds a beloved flick like Donnie Darko, this new incarnation of the mythos isn't horrible by any stretch of the word. It is beautifully shot by cinematographer Marvin V. Rush. And it exists within its own contained landscape. Director Chris Fisher doesn't merely present a carbon copy of the original. He strives to make something beyond the expectations of shelf garbage, and succeeds in turning this rip-off into his own thing. Nathan Atkins script relies on Kelly's core concept a little too much. But Daveigh Chase, reprising her role as Samantha Darko, turns his hackneyed pages into a meditation on time travel that is unique and provocative. It survives on its own merits, urged away from the shore we remember so very well. If you are not a Darko fan, or have never seen the original, you'll be more willing to accept this on its own terms. And view it as something of a cult oddity in its own right. Its artsy-fartsy, but in a subtle way. If I had to compare Donnie Darko and its companion piece S. Darko: A Donnie Darko Tale to another pair of films in the video knock-off realm, it would be Freeway [WS] and Freeway 2: Confessions of a Trickbaby. They are only slightly similar, yet both are oddly fascinatingly. And fans of the first aren't going to like the second one simply by default.
What the heck is this Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus that everybody is suddenly talking about? When does it come out? Who made it? And why is it suddenly being touted as the "real film of the summer"? Signed, "Bored in Philomath"
Dear Bored in FullofMeth. Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus is a new colossal monster movie that is being released next week, on May 19th, only on DVD. The trailer was released just days ago, and its sheer audacity has captured the hearts of Drive-In lovers across the country. It was directed by Jack Perez (here taking a directorial credit under Ace Hannah). It was shot in just twelve days, and stars Debbie Gibson and Lorenzo Lamas. It was meant to be presented in 3D, but it looks like producers may have run out of money (which I am sure they will make back the way this thing is shooting across the Internet). The "hotter than pig shit on a Texas tin roof in July" trailer features a great white shark munching on the Golden Gate Bridge and biting 747s out of the sky, while his octopus friend flicks away Navy bombers with its tentacles. It's massively entertaining, unexpected, and smells of sweet beach breezes. I know I want to see it as much as anything else being released theatrically this month. Here is the trailer, watch it and revel in the sheer madness:
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