Sunday, April 24, 2016

Just tell 'em I wasn't here.

Stick to what you're good at.

That's something people say, right? Sure it is. I usually hear it when I'm dancing, or singing, doing anything remotely athletic, or even when I'm trying to make a valid point. While it's decent enough advice, most of the time, if you want to last, or at least be considered interesting...it's not really enough.

Say your strength is punching people in the face, slamming them to the ground, just before repeatedly stabbing them to death. Awesome. Good on you.

Or say, you write long-winded 'reviews' of movies on one's ever going to watch. That's...nice. I guess.

No matter what your trick is, eventually it's going to get old. Even if you've only been doing it for a few years.

Shit, even if you've only been doing it for eighty-three minutes.

Close Range, yet another entry in my new favorite genre, What Can I Start at Ten and Still Get Up for Work on Time? (or WCIS@10&SGUFWOT?, for short), exists somewhere between unrelentingly terrible and absolutely brilliant. Somehow earning 4 and a half stars in my Netflix queue, this action/revenge tale manages to keep the bullets to punches to spoken words ratio damn near even for the duration of its brief run time. It's starts fast and stays fast, allowing for little time to breathe. Or think.

Or, frankly, give a f--k one way or another.

Since they didn't use many words, let me keep this brief: Mexican Bad Guy has taken Girl hostage. Uncle to Girl is not a fan of such actions. Uncle former Special Ops. Uncle mad. Uncle kill. Everyone.

Yes (former) friends, you've seen this movie before, countless times if you're a thirty-six year old d-bag like me, just never quite like this. Every single aspect of this film is oddly aggressive. The fighting obviously, but the rest of the production, too. Like, I imagine the editor, after cobbling together the twenty-third slow-motion chest kick scene, backs away from his computer and f--king roundhouses it, firing off celebratory shots from an assault rifle, directly into the tire fire behind him. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Yeah, I never would have won that fight.

Whenever the (stupid) question would come up, I'd always be quick to say, without a doubt, deaf. I need to be able to see, so if I had to, I'd much rather be unable to hear (shit, at work? this would be a luxury).

But Monday night, after watching yet another home-invasion movie, this time featuring a victim that can't hear? Well, ask me again: Would you rather be deaf or blind?

Go ahead. Ask me.

Would you - Stop. You're going to have to write it down. Or sign it. *points to ear* I can't hear you.

Seriously, f--k being blind. That shit is terrifying.

Hush, recommended to me by my super-knowledgeable best friend (forever, rate-hikes be damned) Netflix, is a f--king blast. Coming in at a boner-inducing 79 minutes, director Mike Flanagan's flick takes a familiar plot line and knocks it on its (non-functioning) ear.

Entirely eliminating sound from the equation drastically elevates the tension of a fairly typical home-invasion movie to a level previously unheard of (Okay...I think that's the last of them).

On paper Hush should have been just awful, and on that poster it might be even worse, but on film it's so good. Bloody good, in fact.

Maybe it's the 79 minutes talking, but, uh, hear me out (okay, now I'm done), okay? Up-and-coming mystery author Maddie isolates herself in her beautiful home...in the woods, in order to complete her latest novel. With her cat Bitch (ugh) by her side, not to mention a slew of the finest devices Apple has ever produced, Maggie attempts to narrow down one of the seven endings she's cooked up for her latest novel. And after a visit from Sarah Next Door (again, ugh), she begins to do just that.

Until a masked freak shows up, threatening to kill her face. Well, and the rest of her too.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

On your bike, bitch.

1971 and 1973. Two years apart.

My older brothers grew up with each other. Had bunk beds, shared clothes, almost burnt down the house and even went to the same school.

1987 and 1990. Three years apart.

My younger brother and sister also grew up with each other, but they didn't share anything. Separate rooms, different clothes (uh..for the most part...damn kids), and again, went to the same school.

1979. Me. Right in the middle.

Alone.

I don't really know what it's like to be close to a sibling (chronologically, or otherwise), but if it's anything like the relationship Tina Fey and Amy Poehler share in Sisters, well, I missed out. Though, frankly, between you and me, it was kinda nice being too young/old to have to share with anyone. Own room. Own friends. And own car. Okay, fine. Own access to car.

Fey plays older sister Kate, the trouble-maker, who, shocking no one, never really got her shit together. Poehler on the other hand, is the baby, an ultra-attentive and compassionate nurse named Maura, seemingly doing just fine. While they don't seem all that far apart to begin with, the girls are forced to come together after their free-spirited (and rather horny) parents decide to suddenly sell the girls' beloved childhood home. Aww.

Cue the trip down memory lane for the girls, as returning home has its fair share of dramatic confrontations with the past and sudden realizations about the future. Yeah, turns out you can learn a lot about yourself...when you don't have a job to worry about. Or anything resembling an adult life.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

To the last breath.

The obvious choice is Gladiator. Always has been, likely always will be. And before that, at least chronologically anyway, Zack Snyder's 300. But while I'm able to teach about the greatest ancient civilizations, I'm very much unable to show the correlating (and ADHD-proof) big-budgeted Hollywood films that illustrate these cultures so well. It's not the historical inaccuracies to blame, either (in the films, silly, not...my teaching, for example). Actually, it's the stuff that (probably) really happened that's the real problem.

Chiefly, the violence. And the sex.

If only there was a movie so absurdly watered down it would be borderline offensive in its inoffensiveness.
If only...

I'm not sure if this is fan-made or not.
(applies to both movie and poster, oddly enough)
Not only written and directed for sixth graders, The Last Legion might also have been written and directed by sixth graders. Set during the fall of Rome in 460 A.D., director Doug Lefler's 2007 flick approaches history with the subtlety of a note that says 'Do you like me? [circle yes or no]

And that's what makes it so friggin' awesome.

Seemingly minutes after being crowned Emperor of Rome, young Romulus Augustus (the kid from The Maze Runner, apparently, if I could decipher the shrieks), last of the Caesar bloodline, sees his parents butchered before him. Aww. And in the ensuing chaos, the kid is chased down and captured by a goon of Odoacer (a brilliantly over-the-top Peter Mullan), leader of the Goths. The Goths have taken Rome after being slighted by the previous regime...uh, earlier that afternoon. 

Clearly, this whole mystery of 'Where in the World is Romulus Augustus Gloop?' must be solved, and it's up to Colin Firth's Aurelius, the leader of what's left of the Imperial Guard handle it. And he does. About seven minutes later.

Monday, April 11, 2016

You didn't make history, Henry. You helped end it.

Honestly, I'm probably the least hardcore guy you've (n)ever met.

No tattoos, no piercings. No rad facial hair, or gnarly scarring of any of kind. I don't drink (never have), I don't do any drugs (and damn near refuse to take even over-the-counter stuff while I'm at it). Hell, I don't even gamble, outside of going to my awful job every day (I'm assuming this eventually be the death of me)..

Shit, and other than getting beat up my older brothers when I was kid, I haven't even been in a real fight. But the probably least hardcore thing about me?

I get motion sickness.

Very, very easily. 


While watching someone else spin around in circles isn't nearly as fun, it would sadly have the same nauseating effect that seeing Hardcore Henry had on me. Equal parts insane action movie and ballsy experimental film, writer/director Ilya Naishuller's first feature length film is truly a punch to the stomach. And while someone certainly smacked my bitch up, I gotta say...it was one Hell of a ride.

Imagine the guy from Doom got his dick stuck in a Playstation 11 while watching Crank on the way home from a parkour expo, and you might have a sense of what it's like to experience something as f--ked up as Hardcore Henry. While there's an attempt at a story, and some sort of weird mythology, basically this film is a ninety-six minute ride from Action Movie Hell straight through to Video Game Heaven. The story is serviceable, sure, but mostly serves as an excuse for Henry to kick ass and blow shit up. Lots of ass, and lots of shit.

Apparently Henry is some sort of experiment gone wrong (or right, depending), and there's a group of Generic Euro-Trash trying to kill him. Sort of. Henry may have just been a guy once, but after a few upgrades to his abilities, uh...and a broken voice-function, he has essentially become an ass-kicking machine.

Literally.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

How many good guys are left?

Two weeks ago, I took my son Matthew to an opening-night movie with me. I was a little nervous about the whole thing, only because he's six, and what we were seeing certainly wasn't a kid's movie. It wasn't even animated. Sure, half the toy section at Target (and a quarter of the grocery store) had something related to the flick, but early word suggested keep the kiddos at home. But, wasn't this based on a comic book? And didn't we have waffles with the logo on it in the freezer?

How serious could it be? 

I mean, when I saw my first big-time comic book movie in 1989, Jack Nicholson danced around an art museum armed with pastels and a boombox. 

Uh, Blogger Guy, hate to break it to you...but that was almost thirty years ago. You know, before the entire world had gone to Hell. 

It was also before Christopher Nolan. 

Please, don't think I'm blaming Nolan or anything, but clearly somewhere along the way, things simply got way too serious in a world where guys wear their underwear on top of their pants. 

Luckily for me, sort of, I had a little kid with me when I saw Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and that totally put me in the right mood. We were two dudes watching two other dudes fight a bigger, greener dude. And at the end of the day, there's nothing wrong with that. 

Sure, even though I thought half the movie will be the main topic of therapy sessions when he's older, a brief conversation we had on the car ride home confirmed the soft spot this flick will forever have within me. Even if the rest of the world f--king hated it. 

While two weeks ago feels more like two months ago, here's the old news in a nutshell: After driving the half-mile to Metropolis, Bruce Wayne gets knee deep in the destruction Superman is inadvertently raining down on the city. Yeah, Supes is saving the day, but from where the hulking Master Wayne sits, this shit is all kinds of ridiculous. Apparently one city's hero, is another's nuisance, and Wayne thinks this different caped crusader needs to be put in check. 

Sounds reasonable, I suppose. And a lot like what I imagine Civil War to be about, but whatever.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

This is not crazy. It's all very logical.

Somehow, in high school, I missed it. I'm pretty sure it was an elective, but I've never been really good with decision making. Or money. Or both..

But when I finally took economics in college, I f--king loved it. Learning about money and all the factors that influence and impact the financial world was completely enthralling. Fine, maybe it was the fact that it was the only class I had with my roommate (a Vietnamese dude named Phong, or 'Charlie', if you were his good friend/total dick). Hell, maybe it was solely because my professor, the caveman version of George Clooney, never ever actually laughed. Instead, he just said HA! the way you or I might say Boo!

Or, and there's a distinct possibility about this one, just maybe, it was the second row of the classroom (on the left, from the door) that had me hooked, as it was entirely comprised of four consecutive smoking hot juniors (commonly referred to as the A Team). Oh, if only I could have supplied their demands.

Whatever it was, all I could think every Tuesday and Thursday was, why doesn't everybody study economics? Why isn't it mandated that we learn about finances and the world of money?

I mean...is there something they don't want us to know about?

Turns out, there is. Tons of shit, actually. But thanks to the kickass cleverness of director Adam McKay and his band of Merry Men, a film like The Big Short crams years of mind-numbing economics and makes it not only digestible, but impossibly entertaining. This is a three credit class that stays packed all semester (versus those classes where fifty random f--kers would show up out of nowhere during Finals week). And it's an easy A...as long as your paying attention.

Which apparently, no one was doing.

Set primarily in the shitstorm known as the, uh, oughts (the ones? the oh-somethings? f--k), The Big Short is all about those faceless d-bags on Wall Street and their rampant quest to choke the last dollar out of the real-estate market. See, these greedy f--kers had realized that you can only sell so many houses, and basically began handing anyone with a pulse a perfect credit score, affording droves of people to super-size it, and buy their f--king dream home. Five bedrooms and an infinity pool? No problem. A fenced-in acre in Miami? Sure, sign here. You want one made out of f--king Legos? Done.

But old Cloud Cuckoo Land was propped up by two things: jack and shit, and eventually those homeowners were destined to lose everything. Okay, sucks for them, but....uh, Proffessor...how could anyone actually make money from people NOT paying their mortgage?

Good question.

Monday, March 28, 2016

I was supposed to be happy.

A couple of years back, I was walking my dog, Dodger, and not all that far from my house...we encountered a woman. Have you ever seen someone coming toward you, and just known, like for certain, they have something to say to you? Well, my spider-sense was certainly tingling, and as this possibly seventy-year-old woman addressed me, I knew something wasn't right.

Do you know where North York is? Is this the road to North York?

Look, I really wasn't sure what the f--k direction either of us were walking in, but I was pretty sure, either way, she wasn't headed in the right one. As we stood there, uncomfortably close, ol' Dodger (though he was Young Dodger back then) started to get antsy. Whether he wanted to keep on keeping on, or continue his familiar sniff-pee ultimate combo, I started to worry somebody was going to get upset (or bitten). Quickly, I apologized, and yanked my dog away from this old woman.

And as I walked away, instantly I knew I'd f--ked up. I should have helped her (even though, no lie, I imagined taking her into my house and she absolutely goes Reverse Underwater Spider and screams and crawls up the walls backwards). I turned to call to her, and yeah, you guessed it...

...she was totally f--king gone. 


At first glance, the soul-crushing film Room, from director Lenny Abrahamson, has little do with my pointless anecdote, outside of one very intense moment. While I'd rather not spoil it for you, for the thirty seconds I could actually function as a person during this film, it was all I could think about. That was, of course, when I wasn't holding back an endless stream of guttural sobs.

Winning an Oscar for the role, Brie Larson plays Ma, a woman confined to a very small room... somewhere. Always at an arms-length away is her son Jack, masterfully realized by the tiny force of Jacob Tremblay. Together they are utterly alone, with a tiny skylight hinting at the season, and bad TV hinting at everything else. It's just about the worst situation imaginable, but Ma and Jack are making the best of it.

That is until Old Nick shows up, a night-time visitor to Room interested in only one thing: having sex with Ma. Apparently he provides for our downtrodden pair, but just enough to keep them alive. He blames layoffs at work, but it's all too apparent that Old Nick ain't right in the head. In fact, this whole situation is beyond f--ked up, and after five years of it, Ma decides it's time to get the Hell out of there. Her plan is fairly straightforward, but entirely awful.