Friday, July 28, 2023

Rebirth of Slick: May 2022

 I have been dreading this moment for over a year now. 

This site, whatever it currently is and whatever it ultimately will be, has always been based on two guiding ideas. It's not a memo, it's a mission statement. One, I will write about every single movie I see (in the order I see them). And two, these 'writings' will be painfully unfunny and suggest (both grammatically and thematically) that I didn't receive a formal education beyond late-elementary school. 

My wife is pretty strict about PDA.

For almost ten years, I banged out around 900 posts (you could call them reviews...but you shouldn't), and maintained the above standards. But then, after a year or two of fighting the good fight, I couldn't do it anymore. I got a new job (teaching two new subjects), my kids grew up (and needed to be in places that weren't my house [at all times]), bought a new house, got another dog, and perhaps most site-crushingly of all, I got old. And so did my wife. She couldn't make it through a late-night movie twenty years ago, so we took those f--kers off the table. TV shows (sigh) became our thing...and friends, that ain't cinema. (oh, they're f--king great, sure, but there was no way in Hell I was going to burden myself with writing about shows, too). 

Uh, hate to tell you this my guy, one gives a f--k about this site anymore. Fully aware of this Italics Friend, but that's okay. I just appreciate the fact that they once did. Even if just a little.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Whenever you come in here and interrupt me, you're breaking my concentration. You're distracting me, and it will then take me time to get back to where I was. Understand?

Outside of random e-mails kicking me in the nuts by alerting me that certain posts have been flagged and/or unpublished (what the Hell?), there hasn't been a whole lot of activity around Two Dollar Cinema in the last...two years? 

Maybe it's because I barely watch movies anymore, or maybe it's the host of other things vying for my time and attention (like our new-ish dog-ish, Leo (he's three-fifths demon. I swear), but whatever the Hell it is that's keeping me from doing this thing I once loved and nurtured like a human child, I'm tapping out. Or is that in?

Fine, tapping in sounds weird, so let's just put it this way: I'm coming back.

I don't know what it's going to look like when I do, I don't know if anyone is still here anymore, but motherf--ker, it's happening. Tonight the Oscars are on, and I've seen two things: jack and shit. Going to have to fix that...soon.

I've got almost a year worth of movies I'm sitting on (not reviews, just a list of the few things I've seen), so I'll start there. But after that...who the Hell knows. 

Can't wait.

- m.brown

Thursday, October 27, 2022

In & Out [post]: Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

I hope you understand. The greatest threat to our you.
Title: Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness    

Rating: PG-13        Runtime: 126 mins    With: My children. Without: My wife     Thank: God 

What's it about? With a decade-plus of Marvel movies behind us, not only are the stories folding in on themselves, but so is the universe- literally. Here, Dr. Strange finds himself not only dealing with the fallout of what happened in Spider-Man: No Way Home and WandaVision, but also the plight of newcomer America Chavez, aka Ms. America (but like fellow portal-opener Trish the Dish of a different cinematic universe, nobody calls her that). Turns out this young lady has a very coveted super-power: the ability to jump/star wipe herself from universe to universe. Fancy, right? Right. But it's also pretty effing dangerous, too.

What works: Though far from perfect, the multi-verse as presented here is pretty dope, with a blast through a bunch of them that was an absolute VFX highlight reel. The action is consistently thrilling, and the horror, for a mass-market Mouse House production is inspired, if not a bit...unsettling? Did I think there'd be multiple jump scares? No. No I did not. Did I bring my eight year-old daughter to this after Sonic 2 was (essentially) sold out? Yes. Yes, I did. Am I terrible father who inadvertently traumatizes his children with hardcore comic book movies? Also yes.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

In & Out [post]: The Founder

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.   

Title: The Founder    Rating:   PG-13     Runtime: 115 mins
With: three classes of bored sophomores

What's it about? Two pickles, diced onions and the got-damned United States of America. Well, that and the equally (and immorally) delicious tale of Ray Croc, the man who founded McDonald's in the same way Columbus discovered America. Part-time husband, full-time hustler, Croc turns what was a (not his) family burger business into a global empire. So global in fact, that according to the film, Mickey D's feeds 1% of the world's population every single day.

What works: Keaton is awesome as always, making Croc genuinely human...initially (by the end he's the T-1000 made out of special sauce). The rest of the cast are all charming as well, with Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch (as the McDonald brothers) deserving any and all praise (unless they got shafted, like their real-life counterparts). The film, set in the world of 50's old white-man business, moves along at a pleasantly brisk pace, routinely dropping factual nuggets of McDonald's lore along the way.   

What doesn't: I know it's a thankless role, but Dern is pretty much stuck on the moment the vet says that there's nothing that they can do for Mr. Whiskers. More pressing/hurtful, is the fact that some of the larger details seemed to be exaggerated for effect. It feels like we honestly have enough here, and any tweaks to the truth are just piling on.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

In & Out [post]: The Bad Guys

It's not a butt!

Title: The Bad Guys    Rating: PG    Runtime: 100 mins 

With: Violet (8), Kim (43)  And: Guy Who Sat in Our Seats

What's it about? A group of criminals, who also happen to be anthropomorphic animals, are caught during yet another Ocean's Eleven-style heist (elaborate robberies are kind of their thing) and sentenced to hard time. In an effort to further his impeccable image and standing in town, some little hamster dude named Professor Marmalade vows to rehabilitate the motley crew and make the Bad Guys, you guessed it, good.

What works: From the jump, the vibe is fantastic, with Sam Rockwell channeling peak George Clooney rivaling the breath-taking animation for the coolest thing ever. While my daughter was moderately miffed about some key changes from the book, the story is engaging, goofy and rocket-paced. If anything, it might move a bit too quickly (we've got a some sort of record for double and triple crosses), but overall it's a crowd-pleaser.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

In & Out [post]: Just Mercy

Whatever you did, your life is still meaningful.

Title: Just Mercy    Rating: PG-13    

Runtime: 137 mins    With: HS kids     

Did they read the book? No. No they did not.

What's it about? Hate. Love? Honestly, I'm not sure. Either way Just Mercy tells the incredibly inspirational (and real-life) tale of young lawyer Bryan Stevenson, a recent Harvard graduate who moves to the south in an attempt to overturn wrongful convictions for inmates on death row. Though Stevenson will have many clients throughout his career, the film focuses primarily on the case of Walter McMillan, a black man set to be executed for murdering a young white woman in Monroeville, Alabama (home of Harper Lee, of all people).

Sunday, May 8, 2022

In & Out [post]: The Northman

Remember for whom you shed your last teardrop.

Title: The Northman Rating: R             Runtime: 137 mins

With: my sister, my father (my king?)

Could I actually feel him hating the movie? Fully

What's it about? A seemingly docile Viking boy grows into a laser-focused monster of a man, with the singular goal of avenging the murder of his father. Along the way, he joins some sort of mercenary death squad, aiding in the killing of countless innocents, which should make his quest decidedly unsympathetic. Can we really root for a guy to avenge a senseless murder of someone close to him, if he himself is slaughtering families along the way? Turns out we least for awhile.

What works: Outside of some fantastical elements and famous faces, at times this mfer feels like the most badass Viking documentary ever. Hardcore rituals where the line between man and beast is eviscerated by light angriest campfire in the history of time? Yes, please. Skarsgard disappears into the void (that is Amleth, honestly) and it's, initially, pretty f--king thrilling. Throw in an absolutely manic Willem Dafoe (whose long-rotted severed head still belongs to, rather obviously, Willem Dafoe), an eyeless Bjork (I blame that giant teddy bear back in 1993) and one of the dopest scores in recent times, and good times should be had by all.

What doesn't: While the curveball thrown into the Amleth's quest was definitely appreciated (and likely obvious to you non-morons), it didn't make make his journey any more satisfying, frankly. Ultimately, after all we've been through together, what we're left with amounts to damn near zero, and even if that's the point, it felt kind of...fruitless? Even when we get to the final boss at the Lava Level, which should be the story's climax, I honestly just wanted to get the Hell outta there already (it didn't help that I thought the movie had already ended thrice). I was tired of...everything.

Saturday, April 16, 2022

In & Out [post]: Morbius

We shouldn't be here when it gets dark. 

Title: Morbius Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 104 mins

With: Matthew, 12        Did I fall asleep? Probably

Year this should have been released: 1996

What's it about? Did you see the second Venom flick? It's that. Again. With different CGI creatures throttling each other endlessly. Basically, there's something kinda bad (symbiote/needing to drink fresh blood) in a guy that's mostly good (Eddie Brock/the guy from My So Called Life). Ultimately, he wants to use his powers to help protect the less fortunate, but sometimes things go awry (people are swallowed/people are sucked). Oh, and there's this other guy with the power, who is an out-of-control dick (Cletus the murderous a-hole/a guy who reminds me of Eddie Redmayne in Jupiter Ascending).

What works: Even if he is remotely off-putting for a variety of reasons (none of which I can really put a finger on), Leto at least seems moderately interested in bringing the half-dead Dr. Morbius to life. I thought I would hate Nerd Blade from the jump, but it turns out his mission is noble and his assistant is, in that regard? *awkward thumbs up*

Monday, March 28, 2022

In & Out [post]: Uncharted

Fell out of a car that fell out of a plane.

Title: Uncharted Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 116 mins

With: My older brother     Is Mark Wahlberg still alive? Maybe

What's it about? If you've played the video games or have the ability to imagine Indiana Jones minus a charismatic lead and mostly void of joy, you're halfway there. Add in something about a map and a lost treasure (and gold, sweet sweet golddd), and just like've got everything you need to know about Uncharted.

What works: Three things: two gigantic action sequences and the infinite charm of Tom Holland. The action, the notable stuff, unfortunately pretty much bookends the film, with tons of silly exposition to slog our way through in between. But when things get crazy, it's inspired, and it's hard to not to be impressed with the spectacle of things that aren't supposed to be flying through the air doing just that. And yes, Holland is essentially playing Peter Parker as if Aunt May had been murdered, too, but I'm going to allow it. For now.