Friday, May 26, 2006 

Thank God It's Over

Where it concerns the X-Men, and many of you will agree, I find there are generally two types of fans: the hardcore readers and the casual obeservers. In the week leading up to X-Men 3: The Last Stand's opening, I seemed to only encounter the latter. Their knowledge of the X-Men primarily comes from Bryan Singer's two previous movies, the Saturday morning cartoon and what they managed to overhear comic book geeks talk about on the school bus when they were growing up. These fans will likely be very entertained by Brett Ratner's take. The hardcore readers? You just may hear them screaming at the top of their lungs or audibly groaning during the course of the movie. Brett Ratner will soon stand in fanboy infamy alongside Joel Schumacher, the man Batman purists truly and genuinely disdain for destroying that franchise until Christopher Nolan's recent "Batman Begins" brought it back to prominence (with that script, that cast, how could he fail?).

While much has been made of Singer's absence (he and his writing team took off to do the upcoming "Superman Returns") the truth is, you'll barely notice he's gone if you're not truly paying attention. Gone is his subtlety, his knack for humanizing these characters and allegory (all the things that made the first two X-Men the more faithful Hollywood adaptations) but what remains is what the typical movie-goer comes to see: their favorite mutants duking it out on a grand scale...who cares about the why? When Wolverine finally lets his claws go and takes a run at Juggernaut, any improprieties will soon be forgotten, I'm sure...if they were even noticed.

But for those who ARE concerned: the "why" in X3 revolves around a cure for mutation. A young boy named Leech has the mutant power to dampen the abilities of mutants who even come near him and his DNA is somehow used to manufacture a "cure" that will rid mutants of their powers for good. This, of course, raises a plethora of moral and ethical questions that Ratner and his team don't really bother to trifle with -- they've got a slew of mutants to introduce. Hardcore readers won't need to be told who Callisto (Dania Ramirez) is when she and the Morlocks appear. They'll already know that it is a Sentinel chasing the students in a Danger Room exercise set in Genosha before you see its head topple to the ground in defeat. They'll point out that Olivia Williams is playing Dr. Moira MacTaggart in that hospital on Muir Island. But even the most avid and voracious reader of the X-Men mythos may have a hard time believing that that's supposed to be Omega Red that Logan fights in the woods or laugh at the ridiculous muscle suit that Vinnie Jones is swathed in as Juggernaut. Other characters are wasted completely. Cyclops? I hope James Marsden got compensated well for the one day he likely spent filming. I was lead to believe that Angel would be a major part of this installment but his "condition" (being born with wings) was only the impetus that spurred his rich father, Warren Worthington II (and a fave actress of mine, Shohreh Aghdashloo as Dr. Kavita Rao) to finding a cure for his son. The X-Men universe has a ton of unique characters to draw from (they totally renege on giving us Psylocke, Jubilee, Siryn and others) and it seems that Ratner's writing squad chose the ones that would make the movie the most visually appealling or do cutsie tricks (Multiple Man inexplicably shows up, all-too-easily joins Magneto's "Brotherhood" and only serves one specific purpose in a not-so-crucial point in the movie) as opposed to ones that would serve the story (what story?) So on and so forth...

Because this is the last stand, a lot of characters really do make their "last stand" and while X3 attempts to give us hope at its conclusion, there is no way there will be a sequel without completely forgetting this one exists or ret-conning it to the point that X4 begins with Patrick Duffy surprising us in one of the mansion's showers. Ratner and his team did just that much irreversible damage and purists are likely to be furious. To put it mildly. This completely and totally trumps Kevin Smith's run on Daredevil and might erase all memory of it.

The fact that this movie had the audacity to create a "cure" for mutants and one that seems to be irreversible and permanent just sat wrong with me. It was way too convenient an idea and an easy way to defeat many a powerful hero or villain. As the army started locking and loading the cure into their plastic rifles (with R. Lee Ermy shouting orders off-screen), gunning down mutants and making them "normal" with each shot, I started to wonder what X-Men's past creators thought of it. I'm sure they rolled their eyes just like I did.

But there is still much to enjoy. Mystique is always a hoot and this might be Rebecca Romijn's most fun and smarmiest portrayal of her yet. You'll fall in love. Pity her perf is so short. Hardcore fans will smile when Collossus (a decidedly un-Russian and returning Daniel Cudmore) and Wolverine team up a few times for the "fastball special." I know they will get a kick out of Beast quoting famous authors in the heat of battle as he pounces around and fights with a ferocity very much unlike his normal everyday calm and cool demeanor but befitting his feral, albeit blue and furry, appearance. Logan even calls him "furball" a few times. I personally got into the rivalry between Iceman and Pryo and Pryo's ascension to Magneto's right-hand acolyte (and the neat hand devices he now wears rather than constantly carrying around a Zippo). Iceman even gets a kiddie version of the Logan/Cyclops/Jean love triangle when it seems he takes a liking to Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat portrayed by probably one of the best young new actresses to emerge in recent years, Ellen Page (Hard Candy). Remember her name. You WILL be seeing it again. Rogue becomes jealous of Kitty and Bobby's budding friendship and curses the fact that she can't touch Bobby. The cure seems a tempting and attractive option for her. I think more than a few people in the theater were surprised at her final decision. Hugh Jackman gets the best one-liner of the movie after battling a mutant who keep regenerating limbs as fast as Wolvie can cut them off. At the risk of spoiling X3 more than I probably already have, there are actually more "holy shit" moments than you can shake a stick at but with so many unexpected surprises and deaths, one would think this movie would move its audience more and for some reason it doesn't. And the moments all do the franchise more harm than good. Why kill this virtual cash cow this way?

I'm sure Halle Berry was pleased with her character's so-called elevation; she constantly complained on past press junkets that Storm wasn't central enough to the stories (i.e. she wanted more lines and screen time). She got her wish this go 'round (perhaps she paid Marsden to take a powder) but it didn't seem to matter. And as much as was made about Jean Grey's return as Dark Phoenix, she wasn't exactly essential to the story, either. Phoenix's inclusion seemed to take place simply to please the fans who figured it was all but a forgone conclusion that she would be back given the ending of X2. Done correctly, her arc would've been beautiful and of course, Shakespearean-ly tragic. In the hands of Ratner and his writers (Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn were also scribes on The Fantastic Four and Elektra), it's an overplayed afterthought and corny, no depth to her character whatsover which shows me that Ratner misses the point about the X-Men entirely and I'd be surprised if he even glanced at one page of source material. The entire movie suffers because of it. It's all CGI, explosions, expensive set pieces and mutants we don't know and don't care about showing off their powers in rapid succession. No angst, no pathos, no real emotion. See it out of curiosity but if you're a hardcore fan, not just a guy who THINKS he is, your head will be spinning in disbelief at the decisions made about MOST of the characters and the way this once-great franchise "ends."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006 

Delayed Satisfaction

Late-night softcore skin flicks are as American as promiscuity and fake tits. Who knew that adding three loose law enforcement agents would create such a classic guilty pleasure?

Move over Andy Sidaris.

Busty Cops is a rare find. It's a movie that's smart enough to know what it is and lampoon the conventions of other B-movies that might take themselves a bit too seriously. The cast includes not retired Playboy Playmates or Penthouse Pets past their prime but genuine hardcore porno stars. Among them: Sharon Wild, Maya Devine lookalike Angel Cassidy, Allysin Chaynes, Sunny Leone, Ashley Fires, Deanna Merryman, Kelli Summers and Seanna Ryan. And of course, while they are not the best actresses, they manage to accurately portray characters with names as absurd and humorous as Licka Lottapuss and Taluca Lake as realistically as one would expect.

One of the most telling and easily enjoyable parts of the movie isn't even included in the feature itself. During the end credits, an unseen female interviews two of the stars: hot and busty (duh!) brunette Nikki Nova and syrupy-voiced country bumpkin Katie James. Throughout, the girls give "serious" answers, mocking the cast, crew and the "high-end production values" of the "Oscar-worthy" free cable stroke flick they've just wrapped with their tongues planted firmly in cheek. I'm afraid the printed word may not do it justice but I had to transcribe it for prosperity's sake. I'd find it hard to believe that they scripted this interview but it's almost even more impossible to entertain the thought that these girls we think are airheads actually ad libbed their off-the-cuff, highly entertaining and witty answers. Enjoy.

Katie James: Hi, I'm Katie James and I'm playing Ashley, a Busty Cop.

Nikki Nova: I'm Nikki Nova and I'm playing Max, also I think at some point it's Maxie Overdrive, also a Busty Cop.

NN: Katie...she really...very, very just cute personality -- made everything so much fun. Great tits -- feel so natural. Not saying that they aren't, I'm just saying, you never know.

KJ: Well, I'm trying hard not to tear up but I've become really close to all the day players and everything in such a short time. The casting was of such quality that I'm at a loss for words. *Nikki leans over to comfort Katie* And I'm usually quite eloquent, aren't I? I really don't want this movie to end.

Interviewer: Now I know I didn't tell you what our budget was but what would you suspect the budget is based upon the huge production value of this movie?

KJ: Well, I heard rumors that it was more than WATERWORLD, the Kevin Costner movie. *Nikki busts out laughing off-camera* But that was hear-tell, you know whatever that word is...

I: Hearsay.

KJ: That's hearsay! I hear'd it, now I'm tellin' it! See, you can tell I'm from Alabama. *wistfully* Ah, you can take the girl outta the trailer...

NN: Chloe. Don't know her real name (she's referring to the third Busty Cop, Digital Playground exclusive contract performer, Jesse Jane). Booty for days. Really. You just wanna fuckin' slap it and bite it and rub it... Yeah, Jesse. Mmmm.

I: How did you feel about your director?

NN: He's brilliant. I really don't know how else to sum it up. Very intense. Husky. Very husky. A real husky fellow.

KJ: Renaissance man. Very nuturing, I have to say. His mind is so fertile...

NN: Fertilizes a lot of things. Manure. A lot of manure.

I: Nikki, I noticed you really know how to handle a gun. Why is that?

NN: Umm...I thought we weren't going to bring up my past?

I: Well, I know I promised but...

NN: That's a touchy subject because I would just like to say at this point, too, that nothing was ever proven. And I just think it's good for a lady to have some protection.

I: Do you expect to win an Oscar for your performance in Busty Cops?

KJ: *covers her mouth, embarrassed* Oh! Ha ha. Oh, stop! I really shouldn't -- well, yes.

I: Who is your favorite person on the crew?

NN: *thinks* Hmm...I'm gonna have to say my boy, Langston [the boom operator]. Yeah.

I: What about Langston turns you on?

NN: Love the chocolate. He works that boom like - like no man.

I: I bet you could work that boom like no woman.

NN: You know it, baby.

I: What was your favorite location to shoot in on this film?

KJ: The Fortress of Bustitude, absolutely! The money that went into that, just constructing it from the ground up...just to make things more real. The director and the producer said, "Money isn't an issue."

I: Anybody on the set that you'd like to fuck that you haven't?

NN: Maybe just Langston. *Nova seductively eyes Langston who is off-camera, holding the boom. She sucks her finger, licks her lips slowly, winks and blows him a kiss. We see the boom come into frame towards her open mouth as she leans her head back*

NN: And Hawaii! We had such a beautiful location in Hawaii. Got a helicopter ride there, too!

KJ: Yeah, I didn't even mind giving that pilot a blowjob.

NN: And that was awesome of you, by the way. Thank you.

KJ: You know, I did it for the team. Because we all wanted to see the island -- *whispers* it wasn't that big. (not sure if she's referring to the island or the pilot here)

I: Nothing but the best on our productions, I have to say. Helicopter rides...

KJ: I'm spoiled, I'm totally spoiled!

NN: No, honey, don't sell yourself short - you swallowed.

KJ: Well, okay, like I said, there's no "I" in "team."

I: What about our fantastic cinematographer, Herbie Bueno? What'd you feel about him?

NN: I think he's brilliant. But I don't know if he's legal.

I: Did you have sex with anybody on the crew?

KJ: *bashful* Pretty much everybody, that's why it's gonna be so hard to leave.

I: Who was your favorite?

KJ: *looks off-camera at someone* Uh...*embarrassed* What's your name again? *voice off-camera says "April"* April, by far!

I: What was it about April?

KJ: Cunnilingus: redefined!

I: So you think you and Langston are gonna hook up after the movie?

NN: I don't know, I don't think he has a car. But I have always fantasized about doing it on the bus. I love public places. Maybe Herbie Bueno can give us a ride in his Chevelle.

I: What're you gonna do when you leave this set today?

NN: I wanted to try to score some drugs maybe and make a little extra money while I'm in town. I heard you could make a lot of money on Santa Monica.

I: You need a penis there, though.

NN: *disappointed* Oh.

KJ: *whispers* You've got a strap-on...

NN: Strap-on? Yeah, a purple strap-on.

KJ: *still whispering* Maybe you shouldn't share that with everyone.

I: Try Sunset.

NN: Sunset? Yeah? Okay.

I: So you're just gonna go cop some drugs and go hook out?

NN: Yeah. And I st- took one of the badges off the set so if I do get pulled over, I'll pretend that I'm like, undercover, ya know?

KJ: She is SO in character. They'll believe her.

I: So is the badge the only thing you've stolen from this multi-million dollar production?

NN: *pause* What're you trying to say?

I: Tell me about those guns. Why do you have so many guns?

NN: I didn't say I had many, I said I had some. I have...*thinks* ...three registered. And eighteen that aren't.

I: So you have a bunch of illegal weapons, is that what you're saying?

NN: *annoyed* No, that's not what I'm saying. That's what you're trying to imply.

I: You don't happen to know anything about the six wallets that were stolen out of the Talent Room, do you?

NN: No, why? Did somebody say something?

I: One of the girls said that her entire makeup bag was missing. Are you sure you had nothing to do with that?

NN: *stands* No, you know what? This is fucking bullshit, okay? This interview is over as far as I'm concerned. Langston, honey, let's go find Herbie and get the hell outta here. *Nova walks off, leading Langston along by his belt, boom mic and all*

I: Katie, thank you so much. We really appreciate all your fine efforts on this film.

KJ: Thank you and I hope you enjoy the film. I know you haven't seen the final cut, I heard it's amazing.
*whispers* Are we finished? *stands and checks back pockets* Anybody seen my wallet? Nikki's gone? *runs out of the room* Hey Nikki! Wait! Herbie! Herbie wait!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006 

The Buddy Picture

Van Styles Brings Summer-Level Heat Early & Sativa Rose Gets Anal About Her Future.

Scorsese has DeNiro. John Woo has Chow Yun-Fat. Quentin Tarantino cites Uma Thurman as his muse. Jules Jordan recently centered an entire movie around his girlfriend, Jenna Haze.

Then you have Van Styles and Sativa Rose.

Styles shrugs it off when I make the comparison. "Our personalities just clicked. It probably has more to do with us being closer in age than her and other directors."

Regardless of why he and Rose go together like cookies and milk, their collaborations can't be denied. Sativa has worked with Styles more than any other single director and is without question Van's go-to girl, regardless of what he's shooting. Latinas? She's in Mamacitas 4 (Video Team) (where they first met and worked together) and Chicas Caliente (Hustler). Cream pies? Check out Crema Latina. Interracial is something Sativa has done sparingly and only with Mr. Marcus in Evil Angel's Once You Go Black 4 and for Van in his Take It Black 2 (and Lascivious Latinas 2 for Anabolic). Van was the first to pair her with her regular partner-in-crime, Nadia Styles in Barel Legal: Boot Camp. He even managed to make Sativa the lead-off hitter in his foot-fetish movie, Toe 2 Toe.

"She's the perfect combination of exotic looks and pure sexual energy, so any time I'm able to put Sativa in a project, I'm more than willing," Van continues. "Being friends and having such a good relationship helps."

Their close bond is what has allowed Styles to document an event that many a Sativa Rose fan has been anxiously awaiting since her debut: her decision to regularly make herself available for anal sex. "She actually got in touch with me to let me know and said that she wanted to shoot an anal scene for me. After she planted that seed, the wheels just started turning. I'd had a discussion prior with Jenaveve Jolie and she mentioned Sativa as a girl she liked to work with so it all sort of just fell into place. They had done relatively few scenes together before mine and I can say that none of them had the heat that this one has."

But what can we expect from someone so new to anal? Styles assures, "Trust me, Sativa is totally comfortable with it and she looked like a pro!"

Look for Sativa's hot new anal scene in Hustler's upcoming Young Latin Ass 3.