Tuesday, May 19, 2015

This is what happens when you send girls to college.

I bought a ticket for the wrong movie...
Brought my wife along the way...
And I sure do wish we'd seen something else,
'Cause Mad Max was in theaters that day.

When I'm wrong...
When I'm wrong...
You're gonna know that I was wrong.
Even though I loved the first,
the plot was just the worst.
Oh, you're gonna know that I was wrong.


*clears throat*
I had a chance you guys, I did. But I totally blew it. The wife and I went to the movies last Saturday evening (that alone is cause for celebration because as parents, we've essentially become reverse vampires) and I steered us headlong into Pitch Perfect 2 instead of, well..."THE BEST ACTION MOVIE EVER!"

Under the terms of 'you decide - you know more about them' I dialed up angelic voices instead of flaming guitars, figuring the missus would prefer the former. A selfless act is there ever was one, right? Obviously. However, in full disclosure, as the chief owner and operator of a penis,  it's not like I dragged myself to something starring Anna Kendrick or anything. I mean...she's just...wow.

Which oddly enough, brings me to complaint #1 about Pitch Perfect #2. Forget that it's a less-amusing rehash of the first one, that's par for the course, but at least the original [review] dished up generous portions of Ms. Kendrick. Here? Crumbs. Tasty, tasty crumbs...

After an unfortunate vagina-related mishap, the Barden Bellas have hit rock bottom. In something reminiscent of a DTV Revenge of the Nerds sequel, the Bellas will not lose their title if they can - get this - win the World Championships of organized nerd singing. Cue the training montage!

Monday, May 18, 2015

You rise, only to fall.

Not that I'd personally know anything about it, but there's an inherent problem with doing something great. You either have to do it again, or live with the fact that you've peaked and we've seen the best you have to offer. Oh, and even if you actually can sustain greatness, guess what? People will either resent you for it, or grow bored with your consistency. Bottom line, if you've done something we all love...


...you're totally f--ked. 

It's not that I didn't like Avengers: Age of Ultron, but about half way through it, I just didn't care anymore. At least, not as much as I wanted to. While it's only technically the second Avengers movie, these actors, playing these characters, have been onscreen for damn near a decade.

Remember how fresh and exciting Guardians of the Galaxy [review] felt last August? Yeah, so do I. And while I can vividly remember a dozen scenes from that flick, most of Ultron has already faded into a mish-mash of random bits from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (and it hasn't even been a week). Again, it doesn't mean it was a terrible movie, just...familiar (this coming from someone who sets up every single post the same f--king way - I get it).

Not that I need to tell you, but Ultron finds the Avengers, once again, kicking ass and taking names. This time, with even more slo-motion! After successfully destroying what's left of Hyrda, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner take a minute to contemplate the future of the Avengers. It's clear to them that, in so many words, they're getting too old for this shit, and secretly craft something that will be able to protect Earth from all future attacks. No, not dogs with bees with their mouths, so when they bark they shoot bees at you, but instead a sophisticated artificial intelligence system. Nothing could go wrong with that, right?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Let's enjoy the time we have with her.

Imagine someone gives you a present and it is simply the best thing you have ever seen. You hold this thing in your hands and you realize, Yep, this is exactly what I have always wanted. And for the rest of your life, this thing that means everything to you? Well, as much as you'd like to keep it in your pocket - you can't. 

In fact, not only do you have to put it down, but you also have to trust other people with it - people you don't even really know. Oh, and there's a chance, every single moment of every single day, that you might lose this thing altogether, even if you do everything right and take the best possible care of it.

Sounds fun, right? Sign me up for that.

Probably two hours after I had heard something about it on Twitter, I happily devoured director Henry Hobson's feature-debut, Maggie. Set after a zombie apocalypse, the film tells the quietly devastating story of a father reuniting with his teenage daughter. Wade (played by a grizzled Arnold Scwarzenegger) is leaving the ravaged city with the recently-infected Maggie (an effective Abigail Breslin) and heading to their isolated, rural home. And while you can't necessarily blame Wade, you might not be able to trust him, either.

As a lifelong devotee of all-things Schwarzenegger, you're best to take my recommendation even lighter than you normally do. But, for what it's worth, I thought the big fella handled the nuances of a grieving father rather well. He doesn't say much, but when he does you can fully feel the weight of each word, as he is a man who not only has to watch his daughter die, but may possibly be the one to have to kill her. It's a quietly grueling journey, but one I was very eager to take. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hey, wait a minute. There's no birthday party for me here!

It's fitting that today is Mother's Day, as we celebrate those who not only brought us into this world, but those who have nurtured us along the way.

Tonight, well, what's left of it anyway, I'd like to celebrate a different kind of mother: Me.

Four years ago this evening, I started the shit show currently in front of you. Initially, it was 2 Dollar Cinema (with the bland, red-curtain background Blogger has at the ready). I thought I would actually say something with this forum, but quickly it turned into me making as many lame jokes as possible. Ah, how (wasted) time flies...

Anyway, as is the tradition around here [years three, two and one], I'd like to look back on the fourth year of Two Dollar Cinema. It's been a long, strange journey, that even though feels like a lifetime's worth of bullshit work, oddly also seems as if it's just getting started. 

Yikes.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Thanks, Blaire. That must have been hard.

With the new kid that showed up weeks before we graduated (I think his name was Ivan), my graduating class was thirty three kids strong. And while I think that's generally considered a small senior class, I feel that it was typical in every other way. We had the attractive people, the locals, the nerds (back when that was sadly frowned upon), the drama kids, the jocks, the stoners and any other group you can dream up.

And when people didn't like each other, or had some major drama to deal with, we all handled it the same honrable way: we found some third-party, and we said some horrible shit. 

Maybe it would get back to them, maybe it wouldn't. It all kind of floated away after awhile, you know? I mean, it's not like we took our (likely temporary) hate, attached a picture of our own face...

...and made a f--king billboard out of it, for everyone to see. 

Unfriended, like many a horror movie before it, is a pretty straightforward revenge story. But instead of negligent camp counselors, kidnappers, or home-invading rapists, cool kids are the ones due for some bloody comeuppance. We've all seen the movie where the popular kids are going to get it, we've just never seen it like this.

While it's not quite first-person POV, Unfriended is presented in an impossibly straightforward style. The audience is shown one computer screen the entire duration of the film. No cuts, no thinly-veiled edits. Just the screen of a young girl's computer as she attempts a normal group chat with her friends. Or should I say...para...normal?

As you likely know, these pretty young things are in for it, as the ghost of a girl who recently committed suicide has returned to exact revenge. Initially, everyone thinks the mysterious comments and messages are someone playing a joke, but it doesn't take long before shit gets real.

Honestly, I had zero intention of ever seeing this movie, but after the projector broke during Avengers: Age of Ultron, my hand was forced. While I would have preferred seeing Hulk smash, I was super stoked to be in a theater where everything actually worked as it should (consider this when weighing my joy). Though it was a bit of kick in the nuts when the last trailer before Unfriended started was for motherf--king Age of Ultron...

Monday, May 4, 2015

Don't thank me till you've seen it.

When you close your eyes and think of your father, is he always wearing the same thing? Mine is. For the better part of two decades, I only ever saw my dad in the same clothes, seemingly without regard to the time of day or season. Black pants and a white, long-sleeved jacket. Oh, and let's not forget the best part: the overly tall paper hat.

Growing up in and around kitchens, it was hard for me to do anything other than adore 2014's Chef. Throw on top of that my healthy appetite for all things Jon Favreau and this becomes a truly conflict-free experience. That's a good thing, right? Well...

If you had just finished a tasty meal at a nice restaurant, you'd likely only be concerned with getting the check and getting on with your evening. You hardly give a damn about the highly orchestrated Hell (and slight debauchery) of the kitchen. On the surface, a nice time was had by all, but in the back of the house, fires were started and wars were waged. For me, that's idea perfectly encapsulates Chef. As much as I enjoyed nearly everything about it, I did, it's just oddly problem free. It's not all-good all the time, but it's pretty damn close.

Carl Casper is a good chef. He works at a good restaurant, has a good crew working with him. But after a scathing review labels him as safe, his career becomes anything but. After a public meltdown goes viral, not to mention a cock fight with the restaurant's owner, Carl's out of a job, maybe even out of touch.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Blogathon: White Swan, Black Swan

For her latest blogathon, Sati over at the fantastic cinematic corner. has asked participants to consider their favorite movie nutcases. But not just batshit crazy wackos, no, she's interested in exploring those characters that show two distinct sides to their personality. Here is my entry into the White Swan, Black Swan blogathon.

For many, many movies (at least the kind I watch), it seems to me that a stark contrast between two sides of the same character can be broken down into three simple categories: the Possessed, the Cheater, and the Reluctant Ass Kicker. Each of these character types present themselves as one thing, perhaps the White Swan, while secretly harboring an inner Black Swan. Ultimately we're not sure which version is the real version, but that's not where the fun is. The real joy is the struggle between the two. I just need to find one of these, right? Not all three. That would be absurd.