Screen Junkies » Lee Keeler Movie Reviews & TV Show Reviews Sat, 13 Dec 2014 01:22:56 +0000 en hourly 1 The 7 Greatest Action Movie Enforcers Mon, 29 Jul 2013 21:30:55 +0000 Lee Keeler In honor of Elysium...

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Every great action story needs a villain, and every great action villain needs an enforcer. Going all the way back to the days of Beelzebub getting his hands dirty for the big man downstairs, right-hand men have been key to setting tremendous conflict into motion. Be it in District 9 or your classic Bond flick, these goons wreak varying degrees of havoc with motivations that range from personal vendettas to on-the-clock hooliganism.

In Neill Blomkamp’s forthcoming action-thriller Elysium, Matt Damon’s character Max will square off against one of the most cunning baddies to ever sleaze up the screen. So to commemorate the release of Columbia TriStar’s sci-fi/action smash-up Elysium, opening in theaters on August 9th, we’re stoked to present you with the seven greatest action movie enforcers.

Kruger, Elysium

What would happen if you had to deputize Patrick Bateman from American Psycho to get the job done? That is essentially the quandary posed and answered in Elysium when Jodie Foster’s Secretary Delacourt must let Kruger out of his cage. As the most sadistic post-apocalyptic baddie this side of The Road Warrior, Sharlto Copley goes against type in this role, delivering a sinewy psycho whose sense of duty is outweighed by an oddly playful bloodlust. Despite the high-tech noodlery of the year 2154, Kruger proves that sometimes a nice, rusty machete is all a fella needs to take the edge off of a bad day at work.

Jaws, Various James Bond Movies

You gotta be doing some serious henchman-ing to be considered the most ridiculous Bond villain. It just wasn’t enough to just have the durability to survive falling out of a plane, driving off of a cliff and fighting off a shark based on brute strength alone; this guy needed to have a grill that would make Lil’ Wayne blush on top of it! Pointlessly chewing his way out of situations and into our hearts, even Jaws could not survive Moonraker, which to this day serves as the apex of Bond franchise goofdickery next to that one with the voodoo and the chubby sheriff. It’s amazing, given the array of Bond villains spoofed in the Austin Powers franchise, that Jaws never quite made the cut.

Luca Brasi, The Godfather

That whole horse-head-in-a-bed thing? Luca’s handiwork. He may have been a towering, stuttering creep, but as Vito Corleone’s undercover muscle, Brasi was a terrific iceman because he didn’t require a crew to make a hit. Sadly, that whole lone wolf thing was precisely what lead to his downfall when three goons from the Sollozzo family saw to it that Luca slept with the fishes. Fun fact: On the low-key hired-killer tip, if you apply the lyrics of the Suzanne Vega song to this character, it kind of lines up: he doesn’t want you asking about some kind of trouble, some kind of fight. Just don’t ask him what it was.

Odd Job, Goldfinger

Caddy. Cheaffeur. Assassin. Odd Job wore many hats, but the most useful of them all would have to be the one with the razor-brim on it. When he wasn’t busy decapitating statues in Goldfinger’s front yard, the dapper merc could be found enjoying his favorite hobbies: tenaciously following 007 around, accepting pain from 007 with menacing smirks and tending to his derby cap with shocking aplomb. They just don’t make goons like this anymore; the guy helped his boss kill a woman by painting her to death. Sigh.

Karl, Die Hard

Karl, like most Germans, ist a herr who knows precisely what he wants. For example, in the great takeover of Nakatomi Plaza, after his brother Tony (?) has been brutally pwned by John McClane, Karl informs his compatriots “AAAAAARGH! I want blood!” While Karl, like most Germans, would likely have been extremely efficient at his job, he became that much more deft with a Steyr AUG rifle with the added incentive of avenging said mangled brother. But Karl, unlike most Germans, had a mullet so strong that it could resist getting lynched by industrial chains, only to have it blown clean off by Carl Winslow. Never work with family.

Colonel Kobus Venter, District 9

The bulldog of Multi-National United, Kobus tromps through the ghettos of District 9, gleefully keeping the weak and disadvantaged underfoot while on the clock. His villainy reaches near-comical heights, akin to the treacherous cheese of an 80’s WWF antagonist, making him a perfect foil to the ebullient Wikus Van De Merwe. Despite keeping his cool in the line of duty, Koobus’ urge to bully Wikus is exactly what makes him lose his head.

Kobayashi, The Usual Suspects

Unlike many of the brutal hatchet men on this list, Kobayashi is adept at the hands-off approach in carrying out the misdoings of his benefactor, the notorious Keyser Söze. An evil precursor to the sharp-tongued Dr. King Schultz of Django Unchained, Kobayashi delivers unflinching speeches that intimidate hardasses into backing down and scratching their heads. Just try to pin down that accent: is he Pakistani? Japanese? Irish? As the man himself said, “one cannot be betrayed if one has no people.”

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A Long Day’s Porn Shoot: We Visit The Set Of ‘Homecoming’ Mon, 01 Apr 2013 15:00:12 +0000 Lee Keeler “These baby wipes are dry...”

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“These baby wipes are dry,” proclaims porn star Ralph Long, asking a crew member to fetch a fresh box. For the tenth time today, Director B. Skow takes the opportunity to tease his lead, “Wow, Ralphie’s really turning into a bitch, you guys!” The crew snickers. Everyone takes their positions and the shoot commences.

Skow’s not that far off the mark: Long is playing Jim, a cross-dressing-ex-military freak who has returned home to meet, and incidentally have sex with, members of his adopted family. Ralph is buried beneath a pound of drag make-up, cracking jokes about how he should be singing leads in a glam band. He’s invested in this part, and he ought to be: longtime colleague B. Skow loosely based the script on Long’s revelation to his family about his career in porn at their Thanksgiving meal a couple years ago.

“Yeah, up to that point, they thought I just worked in music videos,” Long recalls from the make-up chair. “My mom kicked me out.”

Fittingly, this film is entitled “Homecoming”, the newest hardcore piece from adult production house Girlfriends Films. Although Girlfriends specializes in lesbian fare, B. Skow has directed hundreds of straight titles for the company, garnering numerous AVN awards within their catalog.

Skow stands on the other side of an enormous kitchen of a rented Sherman Oaks house, detailing his process with veteran adult screenwriter David Stanley, “We just get story ideas, y’know, something like Ralph’s, I come up with the story, except we had this idea and just took it somewhere much freakier. David writes it out, and Ralph comes up with the budget.” Beyond the make-up, beyond his on-camera performance, beyond the distantly-biographical script, Long is also the Production Manager. He lined up the location, the equipment and the craft services for the kitchen. He’s on top of the ins and outs of the shoot in nearly every facet in front of and behind the camera. And now he is going to have sex with Casey Calvert.

Calvert, a spritely Jewess with a petite frame and cut-off shorts, bounds playfully into the kitchen, perusing the hot dogs on the craft services table. “I’m hungry,” she pouts. Fellow star Jenna J. Ross tells her to eat something. “I can’t eat. I’m doing anal,” she says, rather matter-of-factly. The two exchange diet secrets on the day of their back door shoots, like two pros talking shop, “I eat gummy bears on my anal day,” quips Ross. Calvert flashes a smile, “I eat granola!”

On this aforementioned day, Casey’s regimen sounds more like preparation for major surgery than the sexual fantasy that is being constructed. “Imodium in the morning,” she says, craning her neck to remember, “I have to have breakfast. Then I use this little guy.” She holds up a box for a Fleet enema. “I also have a set of dilators that I use to stretch out, but I forgot those today, so I’m gonna borrow Ralph to get ready.”

Calvert’s candidness emanates throughout the shoot. While there is overlap amongst crew duties, everyone is on top of their tasks with an eerily delightful attitude; it hardly seems like work. Jenna J. Ross finished her scenes yesterday, yet brought champagne to surprise everyone wrapping up. The kitchen is alive, a chatterbox of crappy shoots in Brazil and practical jokes played with Photoshop.

If the kitchen is the heart of “Homecoming”, then the adjoining room acts as the brain. Skow has commandeered the opulent dining room as his editing suite where dailies are checked. Cameraman Mike Towers, a being of pure positive energy, smiles over his shoulder. They sit beneath enormous crystal chandeliers and towering paintings, like a Notorious B.I.G. video, only way more boring.

When pressed about Measure B, the law that will require condoms to be worn in porn shoots within LA County, Skow tosses a palm in the air. “It doesn’t really change anything. Everybody’s just going to be shooting outside of town. It’s going to court.” He sighs, leaning back from his MacBook with a roll of the eyes, “A lot of people don’t know the specifics of these measures. They’re ridiculous. They want (the crew) wearing safety goggles. They want us wearing masks. The crew has to wear gloves.” He concludes, chuckling, “We’re supposed to professionally disinfect the clothing the talent arrives in.”

Back in the upstairs bedroom, the talent’s clothing is no longer an issue. The newly shemaled Ralph Long is stripped down, the only hair on his body in the form of a gaudy blonde wig. “Ralph Naired himself this week,” grins Mike Towers. The director chimes in, “Most guys in this industry have less hair than the women.” Trying to get an optimal angle for his choreography with Casey, Ralph wrestles with his artificial coif. “It’s hard with all this hair n’shit,” he grunts, maintaining composure in his netherparts. Casey grins from the mattress, “Now you know how the girls feel.”

Indeed, the hard-lined establishment of male dominance in the industry seems to be turned on its ear here, with the male lead emasculated both on and off camera. “B. Skow has to leave for ‘the pop’”, Ralph playfully laments to the crew. “He gets inside of my head, man…like a Jedi voice, I can’t finish in front of him.” In terms of the pre-shoot photos, the “pop” is actually just Cetaphil, a moisturizer that shemps for semen on numerous porn sets. Mike Towers applies it to Casey’s belly with a clinical splurt, “They should give us an endorsement, we’ve made these guys tons of money.”

While a partnership with the likes of Johnson & Johnson seems dubious, a Girlfriends production goes through its fair share of bathroom products. Casey, absent during Ralph’s earlier rant about set hygiene, reaches for them and sneers, “Hey, these baby wipes are dry!” The entire crew bursts into laughter. Ralph Long just smiles and gets back into position on the bed. He has proven, once again, that he’s on top of the situation.

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The 7 Greatest Undercover Badasses in Movie History Fri, 01 Feb 2013 02:04:32 +0000 Lee Keeler In honor of the crime thriller Snitch...

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Back-stabbing revenge, gut-wrenching suspense and putting a bullet in a trusted confidant: all in a day’s work for an undercover badass. From Serpico to Donnie Brasco, the hallmarks of the covert hero require deep emotional commitment, a versatile wardrobe and the ability to blend in with questionable fortitude. That ability will come in handy for Dwayne Johnson’s character in the upcoming action-thriller Snitch. In the film, Johnson plays a father who is forced to infiltrate a drug cartel in order to clear the name of his wrongly convicted son. And as with the other undercover badasses on this list, one wrong move could cost him his life.

In celebration of the release of Summit Entertainment’s crime thriller Snitch, opening in theaters February 22nd, we’re proud to bring you seven of the greatest undercover badasses in movie history.

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Departed

By the time the American remake of Infernal Affairs rolled around, DiCaprio was already widely-celebrated for his skills; but it wasn’t until audiences saw him doing push-ups between prison bunks that he carved out his first proper badass. Given the circumstances, it could have been easy for any actor to overplay the role of William Costigan, but DiCaprio brings a level of grace and sadness to level off the character’s grit and ferocity. Even more badass: DiCaprio actively declined campaigning for any awards for Best Supporting Actor that year as to avoid stepping on the toes of his co-stars.

Johnny Depp, Donnie Brasco

Getting in “too deep” is a common theme in many undercover films. After all, putting yourself at risk is what going undercover is all about. But what happens when you form a legitimate friendship with the men you’re supposed to be infiltrating. Things quickly get complicated for Donnie Brasco when he realizes that doing his job will most likely result in his friend’s death.

Toshiro Mifune, The Bad Sleep Well

Mifune’s performance as Koichi Nishi is a rarity in that it doesn’t employ the slam-bang tactics of many of his cohorts seen on this list. His stoic nerd slowly unveils the vengeance of a son scorned by one of the most powerful corporations in Japan through tactics of seduction, espionage and psychological torture. Mifune played numerous lively punkers in his lifetime, particularly in the realm of samurai lore, but this character seethes in his rage, striking only after his prey is at the brink of madness. Case in point: Nishi corners one of his targets on the window ledge from which his father died, calming the man down by offering whiskey that he later reveals is “poisoned”. The mark collapses, driven insane by the ordeal. Nasty!

Keanu Reeves, Point Break

This is simple story about a former Ohio State quarterback named Johnny Utah. For an F-!B-!I!-Agent!, Johnny maintains the most suspicious bromance with Patrick Swayze’s Bodhi this side of “Brokeback Mountain”. He allows his bleach-blonde nemesis to escape an aqueduct face-off, jump out of an airplane and eventually surf himself to death. At various points in the film, Bodhi’s potency in performing extreme sports counteracts the hobbling ethics of Reeves’ lawman. Johnny, like, totally buries his heart at wounded knee.

Kevin Spacey, The Usual Suspects

Have you ever seen Kevin Spacey try to act like a badass? It doesn’t work. But Spacey as a schlepp? That’s Oscar gold. The writing/directing on “Suspects” lay formidable groundwork for Spacey to perform as the keystone for an impeccably oddball cast. His bumbling Verbal Kint acts as a tender foil to a constant stream of roughneck freakouts. With little more than his wits, this badass knows that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing Chazz Palmenteri that he didn’t exist.

Chevy Chase, Fletch

Light years ahead of the Twitter-quip generation, Chase is at the peak of his powers, dishing out maximum smarm before turding up his career with JTT movies. What makes this role fairly badass is that it is one of the last of a dying breed: that of the snoopy, investigative newspaper reporter. What makes it particularly badass is that Chase has a ball conjuring up characters with names like Dr. Rosenpenis, Dr. Babar and Mr. Poon. The actor has gone on record as saying this was his favorite role, given that director Michael Ritchie often took multiple takes and allowed Chase to riff with whatever came off the top of his dome.

Nicolas Cage, Face/Off

“Castor Troy” is a pretty distinct – if not altogether awful – name. Despite this and other cringe-worthy moments that face-swipe to show affection, Nic Cage keeps John Woo’s ‘97 hit from teetering into cornball territory. Cage’s Castor Troy is the kind of guy who can talk an undercover agent into sucking his tongue. He poses as a priest so he can plant a dirty bomb and goose choir members. He switches sunglasses for no reason. And he delivers a more badass John Travolta impersonation than Dana Carvey.

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The 7 Most “Shameless” Moments On ‘Shameless’ Thu, 10 Jan 2013 20:00:55 +0000 Lee Keeler 'Shameless' Season 3 begins this Sunday, January 13th at 9:00 PM ET/PT

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“Shameless” stands as Showtime’s brilliant corruption of the token family sitcom, festering with deeper themes of dysfunctional family Americana. Picture, if you will, the classic Thurber family living in a crackhouse, with the morbid wonkiness of the original Addams Family strips. The intertwining and lovably sketchy twists of The Gallagher family tend to veer out of control to heights that evoke Shakespeare with a malt liquor habit. Hide your valuables and say your prayers, because season three begins this Sunday, January 13th at 9:00 PM ET/PT.

With that in mind, it’s time to recall The seven most “Shameless” moments with toppers entirely unique to the series.

Debbie Steals a Baby – Season 1, Episode 4: “Casey Casden”

On top of the ordinary madness of the Gallagher household, Debbie responds to the absence of her Aunt Ginger by stealing baby Casey Casden from a front yard birthday party. Fiona struggles to rally the family to tactfully return the baby while a storm of SWAT teams, news flashes and amber alerts amasses around them.

“Pure Shameless” Topper: Unsatisfied with the sex of her new playmate, Debbie dresses Casey as a girl and shrinks his Superman costume in the dryer.

Frank Hooks Up with His Son’s Girlfriend – Season 1, Episode 12: “Father Frank Full of Grace”

Frank, having shacked-up with Sheila in the Jackson house, finally succumbs to urges that have been gnawing at him for the better part of the first season and shtups Sheila’s daughter Karen. Did we mention that the teen, goth, nympho neighbor is also the girlfriend of his son Lip?

“Pure Shameless” Topper: Karen makes sure to film her dalliance with Frank, using it to break the heart of her puritan father and driving him to commit cartoonish suicide.

Lip Takes the Piss – Season 1, Episode 12: “Father Frank Full of Grace”

Rounding out an incredible season finale, a second infamous moment from this same episode occurred as a result of the aforementioned pedophelia. When a battered Frank stands below his son’s room, begging for Lip to open the window, his eldest son obliges him. What follows is a moment of unparalleled television history, right up there with Sam and Diane’s first kiss: William H. Macy gets pissed on.

“Pure Shameless” Topper: Frank’s character not only takes what’s coming to him, but does so with a chuckle of pride for his eldest son and walks away.

Lip’s Weed/Beer Ice Cream Truck – Season 2, Episode 1: “Summertime”

Alibi bartender and family pal Kev grows so much weed that the electric bill is over $9k, prompting Lip to hatch a scheme in which they attempt to make a dent by peddling weed, beer and buck-a-piece cigarettes from an old ice cream truck. When a playground tween asks Lip for a couple of joints, he playfully quips, “You 14, got I.D.?”

“Pure Shameless” Topper: Lip shows off a “cop-finder” GPS that he has modded to a professor, who offers him a spot on a research team, only to turn it down to use the gizmo for his ice cream truck operation.

Dottie Goes Out with a Bang – Episode 3, Season 2: “I’ll Light a Candle for You Every Day”

Frank has weaseled his way into Dottie’s life, having learned that she has a terminal heart condition. While she agrees to marry the soused hamclown, she later confronts him on his deception, stating that her daughter will inherit her house. Frank, heartbroken for the wrong reasons, settles for $2,000 and a flat screen television to boink Dottie to death.

“Pure Shameless” Topper: after slithering from atop her naked body, Frank shimmies Dottie’s wedding ring off of her finger before amscraying from the scene of the crime. Classy.

Grammy Goes Into the Light – Episode 8, Season 2: “Parenthood”

Grammy Deb epitomizes the essence of a lifetime commitment to shadiness in the Gallagher clan: she sports a neck chain tattoo, sets up a meth lab in the basement of the house and fires a handgun at Sheila. The family learns that she is dying of cancer and excuses some of her O.G. tendencies. Despite their differences, Sheila and Grammy share a tender moment in which the eldest Gallagher tells her former enemy to “(not) pussy out on me”, giving her permission to suffocate her with a pillow.

“Pure Shameless” Topper: Sheila composes herself while still perched atop the pillow that killed his mother to break the news to Frank, “Your mother has passed.”

Gone Baby Gone – Episode 11, Season 2: “Just Like the Pilgrims Intended”

By the end of season two, Sheila’s accepted living with her husband’s ghost and sparks up an affair with Jody, the inept biker husband of her daughter Karen. In one of the strangest and most twisted birth scenes on TV, Karen’s child is revealed to be an Asian baby with Down’s Syndrome. Karen is wickedly detached, simply wanting rid of the baby despite the fact that she’s strung Lip along into believing that he is the father.

“Pure Shameless” Topper: Sheila is a massive agoraphobic and is horrified to leave the safety of her own house and traverse out into the world. The farthest she has ever ventured has been to steal a baby from a hospital.

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