Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Amazing Amy has always been one step ahead of me.

Look around your house. If you're not home, it may be as simple as glancing at your phone. We surround ourselves with things that we love, things that define who we are, then as time passes, we replace them with something else. Or, simply forget about them all together and move on. Within an arm's reach I have at least a half dozen things I once completely adored, and now am relatively indifferent to. In fact, the laptop I'm using at this moment used to be immaculate and doted over. Now? It irritates me just thinking about it. If only I could trade it in for a newer model, you know?

I mean, it's not like it would get upset and try to f--king ruin my life..

Maybe it's a stretch, but the way we treat out things may in fact mirror the way we treat each other. We have long become a throwaway society with our stuff, and the argument could be made that we're doing the same with our people and our relationships. Fixing, it seems, is much harder than replacing. Especially if it was defective in the first place.

In David Fincher's Gone Girl, based on the novel by Gillian Flynn, married couple Nick and Amy appear to be broken. Well, they would look that way, if Amy wasn't missing (literally) of course.

Initially Nick, played with a solemn swagger by Ben Affleck, is upset about his wife's disappearance, but maybe not as much as he should be. Taking anything presented in this film at face value, however, is clearly a mistake, and careful consideration should be given to any living thing on the screen. Well, outside of the cat. You could trust that pussy.

And while I'm sure that you fully know what happened in the book (or movie) by now, I'm not going to say anything else, at least not up here. The Yays and Boos will probably ruin everything, but let's be honest. That's kind of what they do.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

I will dance with the Golden Toad.

Maybe this is a guy thing, but probably a dozen times in my life, I've found myself trapped in a certain conversation that makes me want to immediately scream and/or kill myself. It goes like this:

Guy 1: Would you __________________ for $__________ ?
Me: No.
Guy 1: How about for $ ___________?
Me: No.
Guy 2: Shit, I'd do it for free!
Guy 1 and Guy 2: (laugh hysterically)
Me: (cries inside)

For the record, Guy 1 is almost always talking about having sex with the most unattractive female at work. And yes, Guy 1 is almost always a dickhead. Same with Guy 2.

13 Sins, a remake of a Thai flick called 13: Game of Death, is the extreme version of this conversation. Maybe that's oversimplifying it (and replace all the sex talk with general mayhem), but the short version goes something like this:

A decidedly desperate man answers his cell phone one day, and is immediately thrust into some ancient game of f--kery. If he completes the task that the mysterious caller presents - he gets paid. But if he fails, quits, or - wait for it- mentions the game to anyone, he gets nothing. If only I could remember how many of these zany tasks he has to do...

13 Sins isn't particularly great, but as my first horror movie of the month, it was a nice way to get my feet wet. Mark Webber plays protagonist Elliot as a nice-enough guy, simply in over his head. While the performance feels honest enough at first, it's actually Elliot's motivation(s) that make the whole thing veer into lunacy. Remember, Elliot needs money, so of course he's going to press on, right? Right. But, it might be enough that his fiancee's pregnant, you know? That might be all the motivation we need to buy into his plight. Should we add the fact that tonight is his wedding reception? Or the fact that he just lost his job because he's a pussy (I'm not joking), and now can't afford for the care of his special needs younger brother? Oh, and that his dad is a complete asshole and now has to move in with the newlyweds? Because between you and me, this is sounding a little ridiculous. I can't believe a horror movie went overboard! Well, I never...

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Do you think I enjoy this?

When I was little, I was obsessed with ancient Ancient Greece. Obsessed. And that was before my dad took me to Athens. As I got older, I shirked such scholarly endeavors and became enamored with action movies - the more violent the better. That's all I wanted to watch. Then, as my voice got marginally deeper, and when my bloodlust was (momentarily) quenched, women became all I thought about. Beautiful, mysterious (and um, let's be honest - buxom) creatures that captured my attention and imagination to such a degree, it negated all my other interests entirely. Well, except for movies.

Because, with the cinema, I could have all three. At the same time. 

300: Rise of an Empire isn't a great movie by any stretch, but damned if it isn't a good time. While that good time comes mainly in the form of buckets full of red blood and cups full of Green Eva, I had a solid time with this unnecessary sequel. The original 300 may be a better film, but this one excels in its simplicity. From start to finish, it's one thing, and one thing only: f--king chaotic.

I don't really recall the first flick all that well, as the last time I saw it (all the way through) was eight years ago. Luckily, Rise provides enough explanation of the events to get everyone up to speed.

Apparently, Leonidas' death at the end of 300 has given the Persians the belief that they can take Athens now, too. Turns out, that whole conflict was started by a Greek hombre named Themistocles (some dude named Sullivan Stapleton), who just happened to kill the Persian king. Now, ten years later, the king's son is back and seeking further vengeance. The son is Xerxes, the prettiest man alive (and villain of the first flick), who already decimated the Spartans and is coming for Themistocles and his band of merry men. Did you get all that? Me neither.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Making bad decisions is nothing new to me.

Communication Arts. That's what the adults call the class I've spent my career teaching (I'm sure the kids have another way of putting it). For me, it's simply a class about words. Carefully chosen words, at that. And while it feels like I spend the majority of my time and effort on poorly chosen ones instead, there's a time of year where students genuinely make make me happy, no - ecstatic, halcyonic or perhaps even cock-a-hoop to be a teacher: The National Spelling Bee. While it doesn't hurt that the Bee is in the last two weeks of the school year (ah, the glory of late-May), what I really love is the fact that for a few days out of the year smart kids are celebrated. 

I almost wish I could join in.

Bad Words, the directorial debut of Jason Bateman, tells the story of a 40 year-old man doing just that - competing in the National Spelling Bee. While my adoration of the Bee comes from smart kids doing smart things (the exception in these parts), Bateman's Guy Trilby is motivated by something far less noble. He wants to f--king win it. F--k kids. All of them.

While the blunt, obscenity-laden tirades provide much of the comedy early on, this aspect of the film seems a little derivative, honestly. It's not to say that it doesn't work (I might have shed a tear or two laughing), it just felt like Bateman was more often than not channeling his inner Melissa McCarthy (his co-star from the vastly inferior Identity Thief [review]).And judging by how her last film fared, mentioning her shtick may be quite the deal-breaker.

Fear not, as any missteps in the naughty bits are completely forgivable due to the relationship Guy develops with one his competitors, Bee-favorite Chaitanya Chopra (played by the adorably badass Rohan Chand). The chemistry between the free-wheeling a-hole Guy and the infinitely curious kid, was easily my favorite part of the film.Guy, by being the worst adult on the planet, ends up teaching the kid there's more to life than studying and doing what Dad says (part of this lesson involves a big-tittied hooker, naturally). And in return, Chaitanya shows Guy that being a rotten f--ker isn't his only option. Wait, what?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

You and I are like rain-proofing on a wooden deck. Finished.

I don't know if love is the right word anymore, but I really, really like Saturday Night Live. Maybe even, you know, more than a friend. The nineties were when it really started for me, as Sandler, Farley, Myers, Hartman and the rest solidified my long-term commitment to the show, for better or worse, till death do us part. And if you've watched as much SNL as I have, you know that something happens at about the forty-minute mark (maybe after Weekend Update) of the show. Things generally get pretty f--king weird.

They Came Together, starring SNL alum Amy Poehler and show-regular Paul Rudd, is the film embodiment of that stretch where SNL transitions from somewhat straightforward comedy to batshit absurdity. Being that this one comes to us from director David Wain that may not surprise you, but it also may not interest you, either.

From the outset, They Came Together looks to take the piss out of the entire romantic comedy genre. Loosely based on You've Got Mail, this flick tells the familiar tale of two seemingly opposite New Yorkers (of course), who, despite their overwhelming (-ly cliched) differences, end up falling in love. Aww. While that setup would be a kick in the sack of originality in any other movie, here it's the perfect setup for satire. Very bizarre satire.

If you often find that an endless amount of thoroughly random jokes (delivered by an endless amount of thoroughly random actors) is your cup of tea, trust me, you'll have a blast with this one. But if you're looking for something a little more straightforward to watch with your better half, best to keep it moving.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

This one shows spirit.

I'm sure you've heard what they've been saying now that it's over: it was a huge gamble! It shouldn't have worked out as well as it did. And while they were talking about the movie we saw, in fact, they might as well have been talking about my wife and I seeing it. Together. Because, let me tell you, for the first fifteen minutes? I thought I made a terrible, terrible decision.

My wife loathes sci-fi, and isn't even borderline interested in the Marvel Universe, but she loved Guardians of the Galaxy. And even though I'm three weeks out from having seen it (new job = imminent death of Two Dollar Cinema), I still consider it one of the most entertaining movies of 2014, and (tiny, adorable raccoon) hands down the best movie of the summer. There isn't a doubt in my mind.

Back in the begnining of August, I thought the early word/fanboy boners would steer me wrong, or at least make it impossible for Marvel's latest to live up to the hype, but that word (and those um, boners) was/were spot on. While the easy answer to Guardians success is to say that everything just works, I think what I loved most about it was the fact that it didn't take itself too seriously. And by that I mean that it's f--king hysterical. 

Most of the laughs come from the brilliantly-cast Chris Pratt as Starlord/Peter, but Riley Cooper's work as Rocket Raccoon consistently killed me. Rocket is such a dick in the best possible way that it still makes me smile. His insistence on various body parts being essential to the plan still cracks me up. I need his prosthetic leg.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

I'm a hard guy to impress.

He loves the show. Absolutely loves it.
Loves the toys, too. Just got a bunch for his fifth birthday, in fact.

So I couldn't believe it when he said, rather emphatically, he didn't want to see the movie. There are few things I can recall him ever being so passionate about. It even got to the point where he said, You can go, Dad. I'll wait in the car, okay? Eventually he copped to being scared of them, but you know what? Maybe he just knew that the movie wasn't for him. Or me.

Or anyone?

Thanks for the offer, but my hands aren't going anywhere near your staff.
That might be a bit harsh, but seeing the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, without my son, was a bit of a letdown. Even with fairly low expectations. That actually should be considered shocking, though, as just about every single thing in the movie works for the most part. Except for one thing: the turtles.

Yeah, it's not so much Megan Fox being miscast as April O'Neil, the fact that Foot Clan aren't even ninjas (more like volunteer terrorists), or even that Splinter is impossibly horrifying to look at. No, the main problem with this film lies squarely on the shoulders on the man or woman who decided that the turtles should look like deformed pirates on steroids. Green deformed pirates on steroids.

Anyway, if you can manage to look beyond the creepy character design, everything else is serviceable enough. When the turtles actually show up, they kick just enough PG-13 butt to entertain boys (and probably not girls) under the age of ten. Unfortunately, I have the mentality of someone at least three years older than that, so I was left wanting more. More of what, I'm unsure. Though, a little Casey Jones would've been appreciated.