Monday, May 30, 2011

Great moments come from great opportunities.

I almost went to the movies tonight. I have a free pass that expires tomorrow and I was going to go by myself. I was going to either see Kung Fu Panda 2 or The Hangover Part II. But... wife was awake (Matty went down early), and neither of us have to go to work in the morning. That said, I decided to use an about-to-be-expired PPV certificate to rent The Dilemma. We have Black Swan on the DVR, but she thought it looked "frightening." (see second post for the rules, which were in full force tonight)

Shockingly, this movie was directed by Ron Howard, whom I consider pretty solid (Backdraft, Far and Away, Ransom). Can you be letdown when you're not really expecting much? Yes. Yes, you can.

The premise is irrelevant. Vince Vaughn does his thing and I hate to say it...but I might be all set. That sounds borderline blasphemous. I will forever worship Trent in Swingers. That movie, and specifically his character, seared into my then 16-year-old mind the idea that loving and torturing your friends was the same thing. I honestly felt that those guys were a cooler reflection of me and my friends (and those guys weren't even that cool). The scene where they play NHL '95 (or whatever year it was) is pure magic. Seriously.

Which makes movies like The Dilemma all the more disappointing. It's like seeing your favorite band 20 years later and they just aren't as cool as you remember. There might be a flash of the old magic, but that's it. That's this movie in a nutshell. This movie was soooo uneven. I think it was supposed to be funny, but it ends up being more of a bad drama than anything. Even the ladies weren't their usual hot selves (Jennifer Connelly and Winona Ryder)! Oh well. The price was right. Probably should've went to the dirt mall though and checked out The Hangover, 'cause she fell asleep about 45 minutes in.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I need a horse.

I'm not a comic-book guy. I used to read Spider-Man and Daredevil when I was a kid, but never got hooked. Oh, I did buy Marvel cards like I hated the money I used to purchase them. And I played the crap out of Marvel Ultimate Alliance on my 360. Outside of those events, the only exposure to the Marvel Universe has been the recent explosion of movies. In a poorly chosen word...

1998       Blade                                                           Astonishing
2000       X-Men                                                         Excellent
2002       Blade II                                                        BADASS
   Spider-Man                                                  Great
2003       Daredevil                                                      Occurred
   X2                                                                Solid
   Hulk                                                             Ang
2004       The Punisher                                                 unseen
   Spider-Man 2                                               Stellar
   Blade: Trinity                                                 Lame
2005       Elektra                                                          unknown (but really, someone greenlighted this?)
   Man-Thing                                                    What?
   Fantastic Four                                               Alba
2006       X-Men: The Last Stand                                 If I hyphenate that one word?
2007       Ghost Rider                                                  Ugh (or the sound of being kicked in the crotch/face)
   Spider-Man 3                                               Shrug
   Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer      Non-existent
2008       Iron Man                                                       Resurgence/Favs
   The Incredible Hulk                                       Okay
   Punisher: War Zone                                    Curious (I friggin' own this and haven't seen it)
2009       X-Men Origins: Wolverine                           unfinished (I've seen parts)
2010       Iron Man 2                                                    Letdown
2011       Thor                                                              Mjolnir!

I saw ‘Thor’ last night and was very impressed. I thought that Kenneth Branagh + Thor was an equation that should never be solved, but I was surprised by how much I liked it. The dude who played Thor, Chris Hemsworth, was awesome. Natalie Portman continued her reign as ultra-hot goddess of fanboy-cinema (completely factual). And the action was very cool (initial ice-battle was pretty kickass). I also loved the big dude who played the guardian/teleport operator of Asgard. Intense.
Only minuses were the lame crew that Thor rolled with (Xena, Jackie Chan and Robin Hood) and the post-credits scene was not as boner-inducing as I would have preferred. Nitpickery aside, check this one out. It's the best Marvel flick since Iron Man, hands down. Oh, and any film featuring Anthony Hopkins gets a B+ out of the gate (unless it’s Hannibal).

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Death is a disease, it's like any other. And there's a cure. A cure - and I will find it.

Wow. So I just finished 2006's The Fountain. Pretty heavy least for wrapping up at 12:20am on a school night.

At school today, a few of us were watching movie trailers and Hugh Jackman's name came up. From there, the discussion veered to Rachel Weisz and inevitably, to Darren Aronofsky's aforementioned film.
I was the only person in the room who hadn't seen it, and Flem and Hannah were fans. Normally, this would have been the end of it. But since I've started this silly blog, I have decided to watch more movies. Yep. Not lose weight, not be a better husband, not read more books (although thanks to the Kindle, I am), not anything of true merit. I went with watch more movies. So, of my almost four hundred blu-rays, I went with one that I bought in January of 2008 (for a whopping $7.58...don't ask) and quite honestly, never thought I'd get around to.

All that said...I really liked it. I'm not sure I comprehended 100% of it, but I thought it was very interesting. The life-out-of-death concept was very intriguing. I particularly connected with the modern-day story. So much so that I paused the movie and ran upstairs to lay next to my sleeping wife.

Having recently lost my grandmother, I've found myself considering the inevitable deaths we will all face (moreso the death of others) . Hugh Jackman's does all he can to prevent the death of his wife. It's very moving stuff. The other characters face this as well, but in slightly a more abstract way.

Oh, if you know me, the scene where he begins to tatoo his missing wedding band on his finger - that really resonated as well. I'm fairly certain I'm going to lose mine some day. Probably not in a badass way, like post-monkey surgery, either.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Since I've started this blog, I've been on a movie-buying frenzy. I think I've bought six blu-rays in the last three or four days. Yeah, I know Netflix is smarter and more economical - but I love owning the flick. My dad once said to me, "You'd be using these a lot if you watched them twice." Good point, old man, but your logic eludes me.

This particular rant  leads me to my first completed film (and one of those six), Robert Rodriguez's Machete. I've been a fan of his stuff for a long time. I rate Desperado, Sin City and Planet Terror in my top 100 or so movies. I even saw Spy Kids 3-D in the theater with my cousin, Patrick. I only mention that because my cousin Patrick loves to bring up how stupid we were for paying money to see that disaster. Whatever. I love Stallone. He was worth our Norton's Deli tip money without question.

Back to Machete. While I thought it was pretty badass, it seemed a bit on the long side. Seems to me most movies in the last few years hover right around the two-hour mark. That's cool sometimes, but this sucker would have been all kinds of nuts had it been about twenty-minutes shorter. As long as they left in the intestine-aided escape scene, Lohan's (sweet?) boobage and Cheech's double-shotgun-cross-head-obliteration festival intact...good would have been great.

Danny Trejo really is a scary-looking dude. He gets a lot of play in this one in spite of this.
Oh, and he ruled in Con Air. "They'd call me Johnny 600 if they knew the truth."

Not only do I own 'Machete,' but I saw Con Air in the theaters...twice.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Can't even finish them...

In my youth I would never, ever leave a movie unfinished. My philosophy was that any film - no matter how terrible, could be redeemed in the last frame or two.
Anyway, as an adult, and more specifically - a father, I have fallen into the nasty habit of not finishing movies. My wife is frequently a co-conspirator in this dilemma.
It goes like this:
She wants to watch a movie, but not a "boy-movie" (which should read as all genres other than rom-coms and dramas with lead female characters). Basic requirements:
  • Something funny. 
  • Can't..absolutely can't have subtitles.
  • Can't have robots. 
  • Or be in space. 
  • Scary? No. Don't even ask.
  • Can't be part of a trilogy.
I make the pick, and fairly soon - she's out cold.
What do you do? Finish the movie and then have to watch the second half again? Or stop and play Xbox or watch Sportscenter? I usually just call it.
Now, don't get me wrong - it's not all her. Lately, I fall asleep. My son wakes up. Something happens and the whole train is derailed. Here are some one or both of us are working on for various reasons...

I keep falling asleep.

100% solo mission.
She went out quickly.
We both fell asleep.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Why bother?

I'm not sure myself, but on a whim I've decided to start a small blog. I figure you should blog about what you know, and to some extent - I know movies. Now, I'm not really in the loop right now, but there was a time in my life when I went to the movies at least twice a week (for the better part of a decade). I'm thinking 1994 - 2004 was the prime movie going era. This Golden Age began with a couple of friends from high school and then college, and concluded with an amazing fiancee/wife. 

Once full-on adulthood sadly/gladly showed up - things came to a screeching halt (as if there's any other kind of halt). Over the last two years or so ( son is almost two), my movie going experience is typically alone at a very crappy movie theater located in an even crappier mall.

That said, I still love it. I think there's nothing like the big screen. I know it's become ridiculously expensive. I know the floors are sticky and the seats riddled with lice and bodily fluids - got that. Hell, I know that the last person arriving is going to be a douche on his cell phone who's going to sit right in front of me and have to ask basic comprehension questions aloud to an equally-douchey friend of his in an oversized Yankee cap. As much as I want to put my shoe through the back of that guy's will never be enough to keep me away. I love it. And if you're reading this, you do too.

-M. Brown