Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It's like, extra sad when a hot chick dies.

The things we do for love. A few weeks ago, my wife accompanied me to Blockbuster to help me choose our next movie to watch. First thing I need to mention, is involving her has traditionally been a bad move. Now I watch a ton of shitty movies, but it's generally inspired shittiness (at least in my opinion). Her picks? Not so much. But worse than watching a bad movie with her is, watching half of a bad movie with her. I don't know if this happens to you, but my significant other flatlines into a near coma if we start a movie past say...ten. And being that we have a two year old, that's pretty much every f--king time ever. So there I sit, watching something I didn't want to watch in the first place. Alone.

Flypaper is one of those movies that you inadvertently stumble across, see the decent ensemble cast, and ask yourself why haven't I ever heard of this? And while I can't specifically answer that question for you, most savvy types know the true answer: because it sucks. Now, this movie might not even qualify as awful, but for me, it didn't qualify as good either. And I loves me some Tim Blake Nelson. I do.

These movies always crank the quirk to eleven and hope for the best. And while everybody loves a good mystery, it helps when the audience actually gives a shit. And judging by my increased indifference and the volume of my wife's snoring, Team Two Dollar Cinema wasn't really onboard. And that's saying something, because the missus loves her some Patrick Dempsey. She do.

Okay, jerkface, what's the flick about? Well, it's a heist movie. But, the difference here is that there are two sets of bank robbers robbing the bank. At the same time! That premise seems tailor-made to make an old woman smile and clasp her hands together in ancient delight. But, this one is rated-R, Grandma. Despite being rather cutesy at times, it's probably got nineteen too-many motherf--kers for this one to get play at the Springfield Retirement Castle. My point, is that this flick seems like a goofy, almost made-for-TV caper, that would be on CBS on a Saturday night. But then the script went for misguided edginess, and the whole thing unraveled into a deep pile of average.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

I used to encourage everyone I knew to make art. I don't do that so much anymore.

I think all of us know someone who is completely full of shit. I knew this kid growing up, who couldn't speak for more than a minute without saying something that everyone in the room knew was a flat-out lie. Somehow, no one ever called him on it. We would just roll our eyes and try to exit the conversation immediately, but after years, his shit wore pretty thin.

In sixth grade, as only some really cool eleven year-old boys could, we both entered a poetry contest, and this bastard won with some poignant shit about early American settlers. I was quietly pissed, not because I lost, but that the poem he wrote was actually good. Years later, this jerk-off would surprise no one when he told me he had simply copied it out of a book. F--ker.

Exit Through the Gift Shop, shockingly, isn't about shitty middle-school poetry, but rather the burgeoning pseudo-credibility of the Street Art phenomenon. Banksy, probably the most influential street artist ever, assembled this documentary as equal parts history lesson and cautionary tale. Both parts exist by focusing on this fascinating French dude, Thierry Guetta (who goes on to be known as Mr. Brainwash).

Thierry spent years following (and filming) a slew of street artists as they did their thing all over the world. Thierry began his fascination with street art watching his cousin Invader place old-school game characters all over Paris. From there, Thierry would follow and film other artist with a possible goal of one day creating a documentary about street art. As Thierry records these notoriously secretive artists (he considers it collecting), he longs to meet the enigmatic Banksy, clearly the best in the field. Eventually, this happens, and Thierry becomes a part of Banksy's ultra-secretive crew. But instead of a happy ending and a watchable documentary, things sort of go off the rails.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Welcome to rock bottom.

I was really sick last week, perhaps deliriously so. I had just left the diagnostic lab where I had given five, yes five, vials of blood and proceeded to hustle through the local grocery store to get something to eat, as it had been at least 24 hours since my last bite. So, it was rather weakly that I approached the Redbox machine and made my pick. Apparently, giving blood makes you want to see blood. And feeling like ass, actually makes you want to see tits. Who knew?

Clearly, I'm reaching, as the true inspiration of my willing rental of Piranha 3DD was not the result of my mystery illness, but more of a logistical matter. At a doable (ahem) 83 minutes, I thought I could finish it before I passed out. And while that wasn't the case, I was also going for simple. No plot twists, no character development, nothing that involved even the slightest twinge of thought. And in that regard, is the only way, that this film could ever be considered a success. Because unless you're an eleven year old boy who hasn't ever been on the internet, this flick is a giant, floating turd. Hell, even that might be more entertaining to look at, depending on it's shape and size.

You know, I actually saw the first one (the 2010 remake) theatrically and had a decent enough time. I mean, seeing a severed schvantz floating around in its 3D glory certainly has its charms, right? Okay, no - but still. It was incredibly stupid, but so comically violent and over-the-top it deserved whatever slight praise it was given. And, it had Elisabeth Shue. So, you can't hate it. Oh, and there was that girl that got her hair caught in the propellar, too. Remember her? Of course you do.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

We are morally indefensible, absolutely necessary.

Ah, the movie virus. Generally, it's a terrible thing - they either wipe out the planet completely, or turn its inhabitants into blood-thirsty rage monsters. Occasionally though, the movie virus can be a good thing. It can make you stronger, smarter, Hell, better. But there's a catch. There's always a catch. You're probably going to need more of it at some point, and guess what? Getting more, well, that's not going to be easy.

It's been a week since I've seen The Bourne Legacy. And while I wish the excuse for this late review was only related to going back to school/work, I've also, oddly enough, acquired some sort of mysterious virus of my own. Chills, muscle pain, full-body rash, and my favorite part of all, it hurt to look sideways, have been some of the telling signs. So, if this review is for largely worse (or, better) than the norm, well, let's go ahead and blame wavering health.

Last Sunday, I wasn't terribly excited to see this flick. I had already decided I hated it due to over-exposure to the trailer (which was seemingly placed in front of every movie I had seen this summer). Additionally, I had stayed up late on Saturday and watched Ultimatum and was owned by its relative greatness. It seemed like a perfect place to end the franchise.

But, as is the trend, Hollywood couldn't leave well enough alone. And while Legacy doesn't do anything particularly wrong, it's altogether forgettable, really. I'm a week out, and I quite honestly, can hardly remember anything that happened. Oh sure, maybe it has something to do with whatever is ravaging my immune system, but I'm leaning toward the microscopic need for even telling this sidestory as the main culprit.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Get some rest, Pam. You look tired.

With the end of summer looming, I'll be headed back to the classroom soon enough. This week, all the teachers and support staff gather to begin gearing up for the upcoming school year. It's fitting then, that on Saturday night, I felt like I finally completed some long overdue assignment when I decided to tackle 2007's The Bourne Ultimatum.

Though I think TNT shows all three Bourne films seventeen times a day, I had never seen a minute of the third one. The only mental image I could recall was that shot of him jumping through a window as the camera follows him in. Awesome, right? Obviously, my interest in completing the original trilogy was upped by the release of The Bourne Legacy. I mean, you can go four, just four, but you can't go one, two, four. No way. Bourne wouldn't stand for it.

Even five years late to the party, I found Ultimatum to be fairly kickass. I had forgotten how much of a bad customer Matt Damon can be. I've kind of settled in to the frumpy/dreamy dad-version of Damon, featured in disease flicks and zoo purchases. But not here, friends. The only illness he has is being sick of not knowing who the Hell he is. And the only thing he's buying here, is time. To kill.

Okay, even I thought that was stupid, but let's just pretend it never happened. What has happened, is that director Paul Greengrass has done it again. This movie is so tightly-wound, so fast-paced and yet still essentially based in reality that you can't take your eyes off of it. In fact, with so many things in play, you might not want to. Sure, all the action is tense and frenetic, but even conversation is on the clock. Seriously. There are few, if any, casual moments - it's great. I was shocked at how seamlessly everything was woven together, too. Bourne, in case you've forgotten, is no joke.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

If I see you anywhere near Hell, I'll kick your ass out.

Lately people have been getting irritated at the number or remakes and reboots. It seems like we're at a point where studios are trying everything twice, especially with iconic characters. Hulk, Conan, Batman, Spider-Man, Superman, shit - the Wolfman, and just about every major horror icon (Freddy, Jason, Michael Myers and even Leatherface) have all been given a second chance. But there's one character, who's a little more fringe, that has actually shown up three times. I'm talking about Frank Castle, aka The Punisher. Third time's the charm, right? Well, depending on your mood, there's actually two answers to that question. F--k yes or f--k no.

Okay, Punisher: War Zone is bad. Really bad. But it's also f--king awesome, if that makes sense. I know the whole so bad it's good argument, but this movie goes way beyond that. And the fact that this is the third try makes me f--king ecstatic to see the first two. I mean, what the Hell happened in the first two? Did Dolph Lundgren only kill 50 people? When Thomas Jane killed someone, did he not always shoot them in the eye? 'Cause Ray Stevenson has remedied all of that. Big time.

Seriously, this movie is so badass, even its imdb goofs would kick the shit out of any other movie. For example:

At one hour into the movie, Jigsaw is sitting on stairs firing a gun. When the gun is out of bullets, you hear him yell "f--k!" but if you look at his mouth, he is saying "shit!"

Yeah. You just read that. And I just verified it. F--king wow.

Since watching this movie, I've learned that reason, logic, shit - words, are vastly overrated and unnecessary.  All you need is a face. And that's just so the bullets have a place to land.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Watch Mike Pomeroy...before your morning dump.

There was a minute or two in my life that I was determined to work in television. My grandparents live in Bristol, Connecticut - the headquarters of ESPN. For years, I would be driven past (then, drive by) the world wide leader in sports and imagine myself working inside. I chose my college sight unseen, just for its proximity to ESPN. But after a few TV production classes with some extremely horrible professors, I decided this shit ain't for me.

What also wasn't for me is the 2010 comedy Morning Glory. Now, I shit you not, I'll watch anything, but this one was a peace offering for the wife. You know, the ol' you've watched 17 guy flicks, how about we watch something for you, dear type situations. Married guys, you know what I'm saying (and single guys, why don't you get off the internet and go do whatever the f--k you want). Anyway, we fired this one up close to two weeks ago and decided to finally finish it last night. And while we might have been politely smiling during the initial watch, by the end we were both rolling our eyes and praying for credits.

The um, story, is pretty simple. the ever-perky Becky (McAdams) is hired to be the producer for a failing morning show titled Daybreak. Though her dream is The Today Show, Becky takes the job despite everyone thinking she'll never make it. Well, spoiler alert, everything turns out fantastically. I know, I was floored, too.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Fact is, I hate all people equally.

When I hear someone say that they hate cops I want to immediately punch them in the face. Repeatedly. Then I want to kick down their door and steal everything they own. Perhaps form a nice pile of their belongings and take a gigantic piss on it, even. What are they going to do about it? Vigilante justice, perhaps, but the obvious answer is call the f--king cops, right? The way I see it, police officers have a pretty terrible job. Their day-to-day is to deal with all the shit that no one else wants/has the ability to. That could stress someone out after awhile. Maybe even turn them into a real prick.

Now, real prick doesn't even begin to describe Woody Harrelson's character in 2011's Rampart. This guy is f--king psychotic. And while I'm not sure what to make of the film as a whole, Harrelson's performance is incredible. You can't take your eyes off of him. You probably shouldn't either.

Officer Dave Brown (ha, my dad's name) is a mess, both professionally and personally. At home, his wives are fed up with his bullshit, and his daughters are as well. It doesn't help that the girls are first cousins, too (think about it). At work, Dave (also known as Date Rape) is knee deep in shit. He works a tough beat and his department in being investigated for numerous shady dealings, many of which he has had a hand in. Things get all kinds of f--ked when Dave is caught on tape nearly beating someone to death. The L.A.P.D has enough problems, and this latest incident isn't helping. If only it had stopped there.

Everything I've mentioned so far, well, outside of his daughters, is pretty typical bad cop movie stuff.  But the level of corruption and perversion that Harrelson takes it to undoubtedly separates it from the rest. Throw in very compelling visuals and excellent performances from a ridiculously deep cast and you should be good. But for some reason, it feels slightly incomplete. We are left to figure out the ending for ourselves, and while I'm always for interpretation, I thought this one was going to go out guns blazing. It's much more restrained, to say the least. A literal slow burn...

I will be 100% committed to this, half the time. Maybe more.

Staying at the Bates Motel. Not keeping an eye on Mrs. Voorhees son. Crossing streams. Advancing on a Daniel LaRusso crane kick. Telling Tommy to go f--ck himself. Trying to rob Fenway Park. Leaving Neil Patrick Harris alone in your car. Saying Beetlejuice three times. Feeding your Mogwai after midnight.  Not getting on flight 180 (Hell, getting on it wasn't a good plan either). And finally, killing The Bride on her wedding day. There have been many monumentally bad ideas in movies over the years. And having a kid with your best friend is definitely another one.
And the award for Worst Photoshopping goes to...

When I saw a trailer for Friends with Kids I was intrigued. What the Hell is this? Half the cast of the beloved flick Bridesmaids [review] and this didn't get a wide release? Hmm. That's usually a tell-tale sign that the movie kind of sucks. Well, Sunday night, my wife and I settled in to see for ourselves.

I actually had a conversation (via text, of course) with an old friend about this topic the day before. He actually said that he doesn't want to settle down and have a family, when years ago he felt the opposite. When I asked why, he said that his friends that did have kids are never around anymore. I thought that this viewpoint only existed in shitty movies, but apparently that's not the case. Whatever.

Anyway, rather obviously, this film is about what happens when your friends finally grow up and have kids. Surprise! They disappear. And when they finally do surface, they are shells of their former selves. We as audience members get to either relate to the struggles of parenthood, or vigorously shake our heads at the mere mention of bringing life into this world. Obviously, as a dad, I'm in the former. My friend, the a-hole bastard who has sex with different people, is in the latter. But as these silly movies have taught us, family is where the true joy is. Not the hollow sex with ultra-attractive partners. This is what I cling to every time my son shits in the tub (to be fair, Matty, you're only at two, so far).

Okay, sorry, let me reign it in. As predictable as all this sounds, there is one twist. Two of these people, who happen to be best friends (annoyingly so, by the way) decide one kooky evening to have a kid, but you know, as friends. Their um, thought, is that married people who have kids are inherently miserable f--ks. So why not just not get married and continue to live like the awesome-single-white-people we are, right? Right? When the idea even seems terrible on paper, why bother fully executing it? Oh, that's why this wasn't in the theater...I get it now.

Look, you go out and have a good time. I'll stay at home with the Yays and Boos. No, no it's no problem. I totally won't grow to resent and hate you forever. Have fun!

That's as happy as he's ever gonna be - buried in tits.
  • Don Draper. First, I just kind of love this guy. Second, just when I asked myself why he's even in this flick, he stands up at dinner and f--king destroys the happy couple(s). Loved it.
  • Buuuut, the rebuttal was pretty solid, too. Fairly well-written, but expertly delivered.
  • Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd have some really funny moments.
  • Who doesn't like Edward Burns?
Yes, Fox plays stuck-up bitch. No, she doesn't get naked.
  • Handsome people with awesome jobs.
  • Adam Scott's Jayson, is probably on the Mt. Rushmore of biggest on-screen douchers ever. Maybe twice.
  • He is on a date when she goes into labor. Maybe could've postponed that one, huh, assface?
  • Megan Fox plays the hot young slut who not only doesn't want to have kids, but kind of can't handle being near them. Yawn.
  • Jennifer Westfeldt. Yes, she has the best hair ever, but there is something about her that was very distracting. I think it's the way she speaks. Or maybe just her mouth. Even at rest.
  • Their kid doesn't age for a long time, then he's like, 19.
  • I actually like a good romantic love story. I dig those lines that once said, there's no going back. Like, Love means never having to say you're sorry or You had me at hello. This flick's version, and I kid you not, goes like this. Hold on...get ready, clear your throat. Shake it out. You good? Okay, here goes: Let me f--k the shit out of you.
On that note, let's put a fork in this one. I think saying any more would be like making a Jump to Conclusions mat. Or sleeping with Paulie Bleeker. Or having a Christmas party in Nakatomi Plaza. Or reading this blog...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What is the greatest day in the history of the world?

When I was in college, I had a professor who would routinely express how in life everything is connected. It got to the point where you could utter just those three words and everyone knew exactly whom you were talking about. And maybe we laughed at his repeated insistence, but I think Prof. Gourlie was right. Maybe I didn't need to close my eyes and imagine the energy that is flowing between us, but I certainly understand it. Our actions, or lack thereof, affect the people and things around us. Even the seemingly random ones.

I bought in fully while watching Jeff, Who Live at Home. From the opening piece about the film Signs delivered from the crapper, I was hooked. And 83 minutes later, I'm not afraid to admit, I was a sobbing mess. I think the less you know, the better. So if you think you're in, we'll talk later.

This film takes place over the course of one day. Jeff, played by the gigantic Jason Segel, is this really nice guy trying to figure out his place in life. Ed Helms plays his brother Pat, who is probably equally as lost, but is too hard-headed or stupid to admit it. Both of these guys are at odds with their ladies, too. Jeff frustrates his mother with his lack of action and direction, while Pat's wife is feeling unloved and alone. Everything will change however, and it all starts with a single, hilarious phone call. Some guy gets Jeff on the phone, but he is really looking for Kevin. And so it begins...

One thing I can say without really spoiling much, is the fact that I really enjoyed that the movie spends time referencing another movie throughout. Especially considering that it's M. Night Shyamalan's Signs. I know now that the guy is a borderline joke for many people, but I think that he has made some really good films. And for awhile, he was the Jedi-master of movies where things all came together in the end and where, say it with me, everything is connected. And since Jeff, Who Lives at Home is one of those movies, well, it's a perfect fit.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

This ridiculous blog has been recognized by two quality sites, cinematic corner. and flixploitation. The fine folks at these fellow movie blogs have foolishly decided to award Two Dollar Cinema with something known as the Liebster Award.

Here are the guidelines, as completely stolen from Sati @ cinematic corner.
  1. Tell us 11 things about yourself
  2. Answer 11 questions the blogger who awarded you asked
  3. Pass the award to 11 people
  4. Give them 11 questions.
  5. Tell them about the award.
  6. Don't award people who are recipients already.
  7. Give all parties involved a sensual massage.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Costco's for members only.

I hate where I live. The immediate surrounding area is okay, but give it a couple of minutes and you're in the shit. We live on the corner of a very busy road (what we were thinking, I have no idea), but as you head up our street it gets pretty quiet. Outside of Nosy Lady, who somehow is always outside regardless of what time I walk my dog, there isn't much going on. Well, we do have a Scary House too, but I've never seen those people. Just the giant lizard cage they've made out of their large front window (baffling). But the one thing that really ruins my neighborhood more than anything? No f--king Costco. I'd take an alien invasion for some Kirkland Signature any day.

It has always bothered me when they're not under their own names.
Tuesday night, aka Bargain Night, I managed to catch the 10:30 showing of The Watch. I hadn't really investigated it, but the general sense suggested that it wasn't very good. With that in mind, me and the other nine people in theater 2 (where I had been that morning for Chimpanzee) sat back and had a few laughs (and drinks, too, as I heard some cans get cracked). And while no guts busted, and maybe only a knee or two slapped, I think everyone enjoyed themselves. At least I did.

Maybe it's the unfulfilled potential, or the pedigree of those involved, but I'm not quite sure what everyone expected. I went in looking for dumb guys to do dumb shit and I got exactly what I was looking for. Maybe the preview gave away a lot of the good bits, but it still had just enough surprises to keep me hooked. And, I'll admit it. I actually snorted once.

You know the story, but I'll wrap it up in three lines just in case. Four guys in Ohio form a neighborhood watch after someone is brutally murdered in their small community (though big enough to have a Costco, f--kers). Turns out, it's not that simple, as aliens have entered Glenview and are apparently going to, surprise, destroy the planet. The police are worthless a-holes (though you gotta respect Chucho), so it's up to these four rejects to get shit done.

It must've been hard for Stiller to play uptight, Older Guy.
The big three of Stiller, Vaughn and Hill all do what they've been doing for years, which is fine by me. Stiller's neurotic, Vaughn won't shut the Hell up, and Hill is a foul-mouthed prick. Those three would have been enough, but the addition Richard Ayoade really sold me. Not only is he rather goofy-looking, damn near everything he says is quietly hysterical. My favorite two, These just shit, and I'll get your name in due course, while decidedly not funny in print, both cracked me up in the theater. And on a average Tuesday night, you can't ask for much more than that.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

In the heat of the day, the parents just want some peace and quiet.

On Monday, I took my son to the zoo in Baltimore. It was hot, and I decided not to bring the stroller (bad call), but we had a pretty good time regardless. Considering this almost three-year old loves Monster Jam, Star Wars and Marvel Super Heroes, I thought the zoo might be boring. But, as summer fades away, I'm trying to make a last-ditch effort to do things we normally wouldn't. Now, the movies isn't one of those things, but one that's not animated? Well, this was a first.

Chimpanzee is a charming little documentary. While it actually tells the story of a baby chimp named Oscar, it might as well have been about my own son, Matthew. Both are extremely needy and curious, and both seem to always get into trouble. Adding to that, both are hairy and smell weird, but ultimately adorable and loving. Throw in a little overbearing love of mom, and these two could be twins. Though my son's never been attacked by a rival gang of monkeys and forced to flee his home. At least not yet.

On a hot day in late July, this movie was perfect. In fact, for the Summer Series at our theater, this showing was bananas. We actually arrived right on time, but due to the lines and a holdup at concessions, we probably missed the first five minutes. But as soon as we heard Buzz Lightyear telling us about a villain named Scar, we knew we were suckling the the warm teet of mother Disney. This one was going to be a crowd-pleaser, no doubt.

The visuals are incredible, and probably would have been even more so had we not been in the third row. Still, scene after scene is filled with breathtaking visions of the African jungle and all the wild stuff that inhabits it. I'm not sure how much of the film is culled from the stellar Planet Earth, but it's of that insane caliber regardless.