Tuesday, July 31, 2012

I'm afraid I've got good news and bad news...

Do actual people still tell jokes? Obviously, comedians and entertainers and the like do, but I'm talking about people you know. I can think of one or two guys I work with, who will actually say something like Hey [head nod], I got one for you... and then proceed to tell a joke. It usually ends one of two ways, polite laughter, or when it's extra terrible, I repeat the punchline and shake my head, indicating disbelief. Imagine if someone took that awkward exchange, and actually made a movie out of it. Then imagine, that I actually watched that movie.

I swear to you, I thought this was something else. I did. I thought this flick was The Aristocrats. Now, depending on who you ask, that movie is a steaming pile of ass, but a close friend recommended it to me (hmm) and I thought that was  what I was getting myself into late Sunday night. The movie, silly, not the...whatever.

Instead, I ended up with Dirty Movie. Goodness. The first sign of trouble should have been the National Lampoon's in front of the title, as that hasn't meant anything since 1983's Vacation.  The next red flag, is the actual cover of the flick. Now, I streamed this one from DISH (which in itself is another red flag), and you can't fully appreciate the awfulness of the poster in their setup. It's too small. That said, one of the unwritten rules of the cinema states: On movie posters, the hotter the chick (in some, less-classier circles, this reads, the bigger the breasts), the worse the movie is. Oh, and dogs in sunglasses usually don't bode well, either. Usually.

Okay, enough with the warning signs, what the Hell is this movie about? Well, nothing really. It's simply a series of jokes, presented in sketch form, delivered by a mixture of stand-up comics and shitty actors. Depending on how you feel about these jokes, will greatly influence how you feel about this flick. For example:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

This is our Waterloo, baby!

I've called the police just once in my life. Last New Year's Eve, somebody drove through my neighbor's fence, and I figured I'd call it in. Turns out, the lady on the phone didn't really give a shit. Do you know who did it? Um, no. Well, then. There's nothing we can do. Imagine if this were their attitude on a larger scale, saaaaay the murder of your family. Then what? Well, if yesterday's flick taught me anything, there's only one thing you can do. Let the system take care of it. Wait, what?

Can you hear the ominous synthesizer? I can..
Vigilante is awesome. Sure, I have an inordinate amount of man-love for Robert Forster, but regardless, this revenge-flick is a good time. Released in 1983, this one doesn't imply anything. The bad guys look, sound and act like bad guys (actually, really bad motherf--kers, honestly). The good guys are fed up with this, and decide to do something about. Pretty simple, right? Well, yeah. Kind of.

New York City, according to this flick, is a steaming pile of human waste. They are recording forty homicides a day, and the police have lost control. Our main man Nick (played by the ever-badass, Fred Williamson), has had enough of this shit, and he and his two friends are taking matters into their own hands. Enter family man Eddie (Forster, younger but still a force), who's simply interested in making a little more scratch at work so he can take the wife and kid to Florida.

Though friends, these two guys don't see eye-to-eye on the whole vigilante justice matter. Eddie believes in the system, while Nick believes in cutting bitches and knees to the face. Well, after an incident with Nick's family, let's just say all Hell breaks loose. I'm sure you've seen a revenge flick before, but after you get a peek at what happens to Nick, you might find yourself bloodthirsty, too. Then, everything that was pretty straightforward, pretty black-and-white, well...they start to get gray. Blood gray.

Okay, that didn't make sense. But watching Forster and Williamson kick ass does. I was surprised at how quickly I was buying what director William Lustig was selling. Trust me, it won't take you long. The flick opens with a pretty lengthy speech by Williamson detailing the sad state of affairs the city has found itself in. If you roll your eyes at all, just get out now. But me? I ran to the shed to get a tire iron and some old bike chains.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Get off...my face.

My car was in the shop for a couple of days, so I had to borrow my wife's Saturn. I hate that car. Not the make or anything, just her car. The seat's always too close, the mirror's all off, and it usually looks like a family of homeless people live exclusively on the floor of the passenger side. But one good thing, is my wife loves NPR. So, Wednesday, in my desperate attempt not to adjust anything, I drove around all day listening to the varying awesomeness of public radio, namely Diane Rehm. Dear Lord, you have to hear this lady. She sounds like she's a thousand, but it's so great. Anyway, I get home, we get to talking about her, and my wife actually says this out loud: Diane Rehm? Oh, she's the bomb. First she marries me - strike one, then sincerely uses the bomb to describe anything other than an actual bomb - strike two, then she really liked Thursday's flick. Strike three?

Um, Scrat's friggin' gigantic on this poster.
I remember seeing an interview with Denis Leary saying something to the effect of they have plans to make like, fourteen of them in reference to the Ice Age flicks. Ice Age: Continental Drift may be proof that we can go ahead and scratch off those other ten. While not horrible by any means, these flicks just seem to exist. I guess the big three of Manny (Romano), Diego (Leary) and Sid (Leguizamo) are charming enough, but the secondary characters are all pretty terrible. By the fourth film, we've got a couple of animated turds, to say the least. And while this one may look the best so far, the series is so visually bland compared to its contemporary counterparts. At least it moves quickly.

Each of the three main characters has a bit of a family crisis going on here. Diego, the saber-toothed tiger, falls for a lady-tiger (can I go liger? No?), and wants her to join the herd. Sid, the weird penis-looking sloth-thing, is saddled with his ultra-annoying grandmother, who was abandoned just like him. And Manny, the giant mammoth, has been separated from his family due to the continental divide that for some reason won't stop happening at 87 million miles per hour. And if you still think that sounds okay, just wait. Each plot is complicated by the worst fad since Hyper Color clothing. What is this awfulness you ask? Pirates.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A joint venture - no pun intended.

Before the review, let's discuss before the movie. Last night, at my local Regal Cinemas (a mostly shitty theater), I noticed two things. First, a police presence. Maybe I've seen an officer at a movie when it's a huge release (and even that's a rarity), but on a Wednesday night? Not a chance. There were only three actual employees. Was this a random occurrence, or a sign of things to come? I don't mind, it's just odd how quickly things can change.

The other thing, and I think I'm only talking to people who go to the movies all the time, was the motherf--king Bourne Legacy preview. I'm pretty sure this has been in front of every movie I have seen this summer. I seriously don't even want to see the flick anymore, I'm so sick of this damn trailer. Anybody with me on this? If you want to keep showing me the same trailer, how about some more of The Great Gatsby?

Another showing where I was completely alone in the theater.
In a summer of letdowns and mediocrity, Savages feels right at home. I truly wasn't expecting much, but in a season crowded with reboots and re-imaginings, I thought that maybe Oliver Stone could deliver something unique. Nope. Outside of a solid (and attractive) cast, this one is ultimately forgettable. The search continues...

If you've seen the trailer, you're all set. But if you haven't, here goes. Two guys run a super-successful segment of the marijuana industry. One dude, Ben, is the oh-so stereotypical genius stoner, who double majored in dreadlocks and American accents. No wait, it's business and botany, if I remember correctly. The other guy, Chon, is the muscle. He's been overseas for a couple of tours and hasn't really let go of the his time in the shit. Together, these guys have crafted the best weed on the planet with THC levels that are ten times higher than your garden-variety Snicklefritz. Awesome, right?

Well, hold on. A struggling faction of the Mexican drug cartel decides they want in. They offer a fair deal to grow the business, but our two guys have different views on what to do. One says no thanks, you can just have it, bro while the other guy says f--k you, I'll kill everyone's face. I'll let you figure out who said what.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Why do they always pick on my hat?

I don't know if it's because I've now set my summer movie-loving sights on the upcoming Expendables sequel, or simply because I've spent too much time at the always awesome Comeuppance Reviews, but last night I felt compelled to fire up some (mindless) action. Though I've seen just about every Stallone and Schwarznegger flick ever, I'm not as dedicated to the second (and third?) tier guys. So, who did I turn to for a cinematic roundhouse to the face?

F--kin' Chuck Norris.

Forced Vengeance hit theaters in 1982. I don't know what audiences made of it then, but now it's pretty ridiculous. Chuck Norris has morphed into a bit of a sideshow in recent years (I put the blame on that Walker, Texas Ranger lever that Conan O'Brien had, though I don't know if that predates the 'facts' craze), but in his day he was pretty legit. Sure, he lacks any semblance of range but makes up for it with his no-nonsense style of ass kicking. Maybe other roles allow him to actually change expression, but in Forced Vengeance, Chuck's stuck on slightly disappointed. He'd prefer it if everybody would just be cool, but if bitches step out of line, Chuck's going to do something about it. He's all business, even when it gets personal.

The story is pretty standard. Norris plays Josh Randall, the muscle at a casino owned by his old friend/father figure, Sam. Sam's son, David, runs the day-to-day operations now that the old man has basically retired to a life of desk collecting and pool installations. Guess what? David's not the best at this job, and has got himself (and therefore, everyone) in some deep shit. He can get out if he sells the casino to some unsavory types, but guess what? His old man's not interested. Guess what else? Those unsavory types? Who knows why they ever ask in the first place, because those dudes are going to do whatever they want. And that's when Chuck gets pissed involved. Oh, you done f--ked up now.

Before my silhouette gets spin-kicked to the face, I'm going to unleash my special move. On my knuckles, some spiked Yays. In my boot, I keep a couple of razor-sharp Boos. But I don't want any trouble. I just want to play cards. Or something.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

So that's what that feels like.

I went to the movies at 9 in the morning. Pretty sure that's the earliest screening I've ever been to. Anyway, when I came home, my son immediately punched me in the balls. Honestly. I think he was trying to give me a hug, but was looking away, and he slugged me right in the junk. Likely, he meant well, but his grand gesture of adoration went awry and ended up a painful moment of shock and disappointment.

If you haven't gotten it by now, I was crushed with disappointment after seeing The Dark Knight Rises. Oh, that was obvious? Well, if you've seen this movie, you know that everything must be explained and shown fully to occur. I'm just following suit.

I went into full-on internet lockdown when it came to reviews (or even images) concerning the third film in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy. This was going to be hands down the movie of the summer, if not of all time. You can laugh at the absurdity of that all you want, but I was f--king hyped. And when I left the damn-near three-hour epic, I was in shock not only because the movie wasn't even close to being that good. Honestly, for a minute there, I thought it wasn't good...at all.

In the hours that have passed, I've come down a bit from that movie sucked, to more of a blaming myself. I scrolled through Rotten Tomatoes and saw one glowing review after another. One guy even was calling for Best Picture. Best. F--king. Picture. Did I miss something? Did I see a workprint by accident? Because the version I saw was one of the most illogical and hollow great movies I've seen in a long time. Just thinking about the final third of the film baffles me. Completely.

Look, I'm no professional here. Not by a long shot. And I know that if I truly love a movie, it doesn't matter what you say about it. You won't change my mind. But while I'm always open for a discussion, I don't think you'll ever convince me that this flick isn't insanely ridiculous (polite way of saying stupid). Yes, we're talking about a comic book movie, got it, but Nolan had elevated Batman to a level of legitimacy and awesomeness that both surprised and floored me. Shit, judging by box-office numbers, us. I know my own impossibly high hopes are responsible here, but so too is Nolan for creating two excellent films prior.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

This must be the nicest family in the world, I think.

Last Thursday night, in movie-going terms, was a much more innocent time. It's rather fitting then, that my wife decided that we should watch a movie as a family. When it comes to watching a movie with a very young child, there are only two options: 1) Go with something the little one knows and loves or 2) Don't. Option 1, can be mind-numbing for the adults, but crowd control is easier. Option 2? Oh, that's a gamble. One that's almost a guaranteed disaster. If you wonder which option we usually choose, let me start reciting Cars verbatim for you. That said, apparently my wife was feeling saucey that night...

Before I begin, let me say that  Stuart Little has a very surprising pedigree. Director Rob Minkoff was one of two directors for The Lion King. Decent, right? Well, this is when sh-t gets real. This movie is co-written by M. Night Shyamalan of all people. Maybe this is common knowledge by now, but I did a spit-take when his name appeared on the screen. Goodness. I guess 1999 was his peak, because both Stuart Little and a little flick called The Sixth Sense were released. Nuts.

Okay, so enough with the trivia. Stuart Little is a decent um, little family flick. I had caught bits here and there before and knew that Stuart was an adorable bastard, but I had never seen the movie in full. Almost fifteen years later, it still entertains, though I'm sure if it were made today things would be different. Instead of picking Stuart up at an orphanage, they probably would have just ordered him online. That's how you get orphans  mice, right? I kid, I kid.

Actually, it seems like orphans have been at the heart of many of my recent watches, come to think of it. Hugo, Moonrise Kingdom and even The Dark Knight Rises have featured the unfortunate youngsters. And while all those characters end up fairly happy, Stuart probably ends up with the cushiest digs. Not only is his mom the gigantic archer/genius Geena Davis, but his dad is a very young Dr. Gregory House. Not bad.

What was that? I think I just saw something run under the fridge. Damn it. I'll come up with some Yays and Boos. You set the trap.

Friday, July 20, 2012

A few words...

This blog is completely trivial. Completely. But if you're reading this, it's because you love movies. Obviously, I do as well. Especially going to the movies. Early this morning, in a theater in Aurora, Colorado, many people just like you and me packed into a theater for a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises. As I'm sure you've heard by now, a gunman entered the theater and opened fire on those in the audience.

People die all over the world everyday, that's a horrible fact. And yes, I don't take the time to write about them. This is a blog where I celebrate movies, and all the nerdy goofiness that goes along with them. The feeling of excitement and anticipation that comes with seeing something you've waited forever for is silly, but it's also very fun. There's nothing wrong with that. That this alleged gunman not only took that from everyone in attendance, but potentially people all over the world, is unfair. And obviously, that's not even scratching the surface of the atrocities committed early this morning.

So today, or this weekend, or whenever you go see The Dark Knight Rises, take a second to think of those in Aurora this morning. The people in attendance, the theater employees and all the first responders who rushed into the Century Aurora 16. For many of them, what was supposed to be a fun night at the movies, unfortunately became a tragic one.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

It is true. Bitches are liars.

I saw three very random things today.

When taking my son to the park, I saw a man lying on the ground. He looked as if he was carefully drinking from a puddle, but a moment later the truth was revealed. He was violently throwing up. Like, one hand on the ground supporting himself as the other was twisted-in-agony-kind-of throw up. A woman and a small girl watched him. I pretended not to. He then got up, had a sip of Powerade, and walked away. Later, many people unknowingly walked through that puddle. We did not.

On the way home from the park, I saw a woman get out of a car at a red light. She whipped open the back door and grabbed her purse. She then walked right through the intersection while flipping the bird no-look style to the befuddled driver. He lurched forward, and I thought he was going to run her down. She kept walking, shouted F--k you!, and kept her bird held high. My light changed and away I went.

And an hour later, I watched Casa de mi Padre. This, I can't describe.

Will Ferrell is a funny dude. When I saw the trailer for this Spanish-speaking feature, I thought it was going to be a kickass parody of telenovelas. Turns out, it isn't. At all. Despite dashes of goofiness here and there, this one plays it rather straight. I know, that's the joke. But aren't jokes funny?

Anyway, I was thrilled when I first picked this one up and saw that it was 84 minutes. That's beautiful, and easily finished while my son naps (wait til you have kids, you'll see). Turns out, you feel every one of those 84 minutes, as this movie isn't in a hurry to get anywhere. Drop the opening James Bond-style intro song and the weird campfire sing-a-long, and you're probably looking at 75 minutes tops. Not bad, but I'm not sure if it's good either.

Once you get past a gigantic white man playing a Mexican rancher, the story unfolds rather easily. Armando (Ferrell), is the simple son striving for his father's approval. His brother Raul (Diego Luna) shows up, and dashes any chance of that. Raul complicates things further, as he brings an incredibly hot girl with him, Sophia (newcomer Genesis Rodriguez), whom he plans to marry.

Tom Brady could do that.

I fill up my DVR with all kinds of stuff. Mostly current movies that I didn't see in the theater, but occasionally I grab random stuff to review for this site. June 26th, I recorded what I thought was going to be an awesomely bad flick from 1980, a little movie called Flash Gordon. Almost a month later, I still hadn't gotten to it. And Tuesday night, I paid dearly for my laziness. Tuesday night, I saw Ted.

I don't watch Family Guy that often, but I've seen enough of it to know that Seth MacFarlane is a Jedi-master of obscure pop-culture references. In his directorial debut, the trend continues. But for all the Joan Crawford and Frankie Muniz references, there is one constant point of reference. Yeah, you guessed it, motherf--king Flash Gordon.

Now it might seem like I'm spending too much time talking about a shitty action flick from thirty-plus years ago, but I'm just trying to keep up. It's all over Ted. Seriously.

Anyway, let's get on with it. If you smiled at all during the preview, then you are going to love this flick (though, the previews gave away a slew of the good bits). Say what you want about MacFarlane's sense of humor, but he takes so many shots, he's bound to crack you up at least once. Sure, he relies on simply saying the worst thing but it's still pretty amusing. And adding a thick Boston accent to everything triples the enjoyment for me. But my family is full of Massholes, so I have a legit excuse.

What there might not be an excuse for, is the down time (basically, any time Ted's not onscreen). Sure, Kunis and Wahlberg are beautiful and charming, but honestly, who gives a f--k? No one's on their first date. Nobody is taking their fiancee to this. Those bastids are at Magic Mike, watching Channing Tatum shake his wee wee.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The earth is evil. We don't need to grieve for it.

There have been a lot of films recently that have focused on the end of the world. Usually, the climactic event occurs in a way where the characters can attempt to flee it. Their final moments are spent running and screaming, or some desperate last act of grace and acceptance. But what if you pretty much knew exactly when it was going to happen? What would you do, how would you go out? I'm not sure about you, but I'm thinking lay naked in the moonlight.

Melancholia is a very interesting film. I had no idea what it was about prior to it arriving on my doorstep, I just knew that I had to see it. When I read the plot summary, I was very intrigued.

The film is divided into two distinct parts, but basically it's about overpowering depression and the end of the world (literally and metaphorically, I suppose). Part 1 (Justine) focuses on a wedding, where the bride is intermittently happy and uninterested. Part 2 (Claire)deals with the titular Melancholia, a planet once hidden behind the sun that is now on a collision course with Earth. Primarily connecting the two parts, is Justine, a woman mired in deep depression, played by Kirsten Dunst.

Though I found Justine frustratingly annoying and selfish, she's also deserving of our sympathy and understanding. Claire, her sister, and John, her sister's husband, show up in both stories as well, and they personify how maddening it is to deal with someone as downtrodden as Justine. Claire tries again and again, though rarely succeeds. John, well, John's basically pissed the whole time. He uses his crazy wealth to solve problems. But all the money in the world can't buy happiness in this one. Not even close.

I should mention that this film was directed by Lars von Trier. Perhaps I should be treating this film with more reverence, but since I've never seen anything else he's done, I'm going on reputation alone. Though the visual flair was a bit heavy-handed at times, I loved how unique the film was. Incredibly long shots, wild use of slo-motion and a fascinating juxtaposition of the two parts, I really enjoyed Melancholia. I've never seen anything like it. Though I will say that as often as I find myself devastated at the end of a sad story, I wasn't all that affected here, surprisingly. But, be sure - this is about as depressing a motion picture as you can find.

If the end were truly coming, I'd want to be surrounded by the Yays and Boos, wouldn't you? Let's break this one down, we're-a-long-way-from-Bring-It-On-aren't-we? style.

Her dad was a pretty cool guy. Him and his Bettys...
  • I want to cheer for every single guest at Justine's wedding. Friends, you are some patient mofos. 
  • Those lantern things were very cool. If you're not married yet, use those.
  • Little Father. Not only is your name cool as shit, but you are an incredible person.
  • Jack Bauer, I mean Kiefer Sutherland, you were worth cheering for. Way to hold it together for your family. Sort of.
  • The invention! Brilliant. It's like a rudimentary Juggs gun.
  • I enjoyed it when they would snap at her. It didn't even seem to bother her she was so far gone.
  • Justine, though I seriously hated you, I'm going to give you a Yay for two things, well three. One: Your consistency. You were a miserable bitch throughout. Well done. Two (and three): Your breasts. Sure, the world is ending and you are spiraling into the deepest of depressions, but no reason you can't strip down and air 'em out, right? Right.
  • And seriously, the concept and execution of the film. Mid-summer is always a time of sequels and reboots, seeing something unique and thought-provoking was very welcome. 
  • And finally, the ending. The end is most certainly the end.
  • The mom. She's terrible. I wonder if she has something to do with her daughter's condition?
  • Surprise! Stellan Skarsgard plays a complete douche of a character.
  • Getting denied on your wedding night is the ultimate boo. And she dropped your orchard picture? That bitch.
  • Even Claire's story is about Justine. Selfish.
  • Beating the horse? That pissed me off more than the impending elimination of mankind. Not cool.
  • Justine can't even lift her leg to get into the bath? Goodness. All kidding aside, that's likely an accurate reflection of the reality of depression. Awful.
  • And the award for BIGGEST BITCH MOVE EVER goes to John, in a shocking turn of events. Screw hay, I'm going with horseshit.
  • Even in Claire's desperation in the end, Justine can't support her. She does redeem herself a bit, but still, she's pretty steadfast in her awfulness.
  • The kid probably had more composure than everybody else. 
Bottom Line:  I was expecting to be blown away and devastated by this quiet take on the world's end. and while that didn't happen, I would still recommend this film to anyone interested in seeing depression exemplified in countless ways. Sounds fun, right?

Oh. stop. It's not like it's the end of the world.

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    Be good!

    My cousin Tony and I used to go to the movies all the time when I lived in Connecticut. We're both teachers, so our schedules aligned perfectly. We would go just about every other weekend, and in the summertime - forget about it. I moved to Pennsylvania with my wife in 2007, only to see my cousin (and the rest of my New England relatives) sparingly over the next few years. A wedding, a funeral, two baseball trips and the occasional long weekend were the only times we ever saw each other, and well, there was no time to go to the movies. In fact, the last movie we saw together was five years ago yesterday, the oddly effective John Cusack flick, 1408.

    Friday night, we headed to our old stomping grounds, the Loews 20 in Plainville, CT to catch a 3D showing of The Amazing Spider-Man. Late last year, Tony was diagnosed with cancer and was in a very dire situation. I saw him in March, and things didn't look so good (little did we know, he was about to get much worse). Every movement was a struggle.

    My point, is no matter what the Hell was on the screen for the next two hours and sixteen minutes - it didn't matter. Me and my cousin, born less than a month apart, we're at the friggin' movies. Again. And, (AND!) he drove us there. It f--king ruled.

    Oh, and one more bit about my cousin. Yes, he's battling cancer in his early thirties and yes, he's one of the best people I know, but you know what makes him truly unique? Like, one of a kind? Dude's never seen any of the Sam Raimi Spider-Man flicks. Seriously?

    Anyway, on to what was rather secondary that night, the flick itself. What is there is say? It's the [dramatic pause, lower your voice] untold story of Spider-Man. Really? 'Cause for me, it was the exact same thing with different people. I don't read comics, but I'm sure there's an alternate origin story for Spider-Man out there somewhere. Should have used that one. Because outside of some better special effects, you've seen this movie. Well, most of you have anyway.

    If I had to pick which one I liked more, I wouldn't know what to do. Likely, I would simply punch the person making this absurd demand in the face and/or reproductive organs. This is like asking your favorite brand of bottled water. My favorite is the one I just had.

    So, might as well break this one down. I'm going to shoot the Yays at you from my wrists. The Boos, well, they're coming out of a device I wear on my wrists. That matters, you know.

    I want a girl with a short skirt and a loooooong jacket.
    • I liked both the leads. Garfield and Stone are nice to look at and had a decent amount of chemistry. 
    • Speaking of Stone, Gwen Stacy's attire was incredibly sexy. I will buy this outfit in pieces and slowly give it to my wife. Christmas? Knee-high socks. Birthday? Short skirt. Valentine's? Oh, yeah - lab coat.
    • I thought it was going to be gimmicky, but the first-person web-slinging was pretty cool.
    • As was the action...when there was some. I think School Battle was my favorite.
    • Flash! This is the typical douchey-alpha male guy, right? But in very limited screen time, he actually works out a nice little role, and fully redeems himself.
    • This is Stan Lee's best cameo scene. So far.
    • And, you know what? I liked the ending exchange. Those are the best ones.
    He's actually looking for Master Splinter.
    • Why is it that in every drug company human trials must start now, damn it!
    • Guess what I learned about myself? I hate when regular people help superheroes. It's always cheesy. Especially when it's New Yorkers. Hey, I'm helpin' Spidah-Man ova here!
    • What was that Giant Rat thing? And if you're going to show it, can we also get to see it killed? I thought it looked like the Sumatran Rat Monkey from Dead Alive. Weird.
    • Oscorp has some serious shit going on inside. It also has one of the most advanced computers I've ever scene. But, security? It sucks. You can tell a bad lie and still get a name badge no questions asked.
    • I actually really like Andrew Garfield, but this guy nods his head so much I thought it might roll off. 
    • The Subway Battle against Old Bald Buy over Bra Lady was supposed to be funny. It would have been hilarious if the lady hadn't been wearing a bra. Boobs are inherently comical.
    • I'm paraphrasing here, but: (shouting) Do you know how to cook a serum? Of course I do, silly billy! Remember, I am an intern there! Someone, anyone, punch me in the face.
    • Okay, it's time. THE LIZARD. He really sucks. I liked him better when he was Sherman Klump. Oh, you heard me. This guy is a complete ripoff of the Nutty Professor.
      • Trying to better himself genetically, oops, I mean the world? Check.
      • Often handles glowing serum? Uh, check.
      • Alter-ego version often overindulges on aforementioned serum to disastrous effect, leaving his clothes in tattered ruins? Check. Mate.
    • And speaking of reptiles, what was with the all-call for NYC's lizard population? Dumb.
    • Denis Leary's heroics. Go, Parker! (Peter hesitates) I've got a shotgun that holds 9,000 bullets. I'll hold off the Lizard by shooting the f--k out of his hand. Go! I got this.
    • And finally, the scene that made me want to leave the theater and punch an actual spider: Level 9: Crane Assist. New York is being evacuated due to bio-terrorism and who rallies all the most absurdly loyal crane operators in the world? Ponyboy Curtis, of all people. And to make matters infinitely worse, there's a spotlight that travels from Spider-Man to his destination, bad video-game style. It's so bad, I actually like it. Wait, I love it.
    BOTTOM LINE: Though it might seem like I hated this movie, I didn't. It's just kind of silly and ultimately very unnecessary. But, if you've somehow never seen the first one, this isn't a bad place to start.

    Tony liked it. And that guy's Amazing.

    Thursday, July 12, 2012

    What kind of bird are you?

    I only have one child, but if I had say, seven of the them - would it be possible to pick a favorite? Sure, maybe the first would hold a special place in my heart, but what about the others? What if each one was so beautiful you couldn't take your eyes off them? How could you choose? Worse, what if they were all utterly charming and impossibly clever?  I know what I would do. I would never pick a favorite. I would love them all the same. I'd have to.

    Wes Anderson is more than a filmmaker, he's his own genre. If video stores still existed like they did when I was a kid, I'm pretty sure that right next to Westerns would be a tiny section of Wes Anderson's (or would it be after Action?). It might not be very popular with the casual movie-goer, but I'm sure you'd find a lot of geeks and movie nerds (and every blogger, movie or otherwise) perusing the titles. And, you'd find me. But I would never know which one to pick. My favorite would be the one with the guy who has a quirky family and eccentric friends. Or the one with the sad girl.

    Moonrise Kingdom is brilliant. Easily my favorite movie I've seen all year. This will be the type of movie I will use as a barometer to judge other people on for the rest of my life. If they  haven't seen it, or aren't interested - fine. But if you actually watched it and didn't absolutely love it, you will have lost whatever respect I had for your movie-going tastes and credibility. That, and I might just hate you and people who look like you. Seriously.

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    No man can walk out of his own story.

    Every chance I get, I use self-checkout at the grocery store. It's usually much faster. Removing people from the equation makes the experience better. While watching yesterday's movie, I started to think that computer animation is doing this to movie-making. Now, hold on, I'm not a complete idiot. Yes, there are still actors bringing the characters to life with their voices, and hundreds of impossibly talented digital artists behind them. So, clearly, we still need flesh and blood - fine. But, there were countless times during this flick that I was just as immersed in what the talking chameleon in the cowboy hat was doing as I would have been watching actual people. For me, that's incredible. But for an actor, it might be worrisome. They might go the way of the cashier.

    I honestly can't imagine how anybody would greenlight this lunacy.
    Last year's Rango is a fantastic movie. And while it's legitimately a western it is not a kids movie. Don't let the Nickeldeon logo fool you. Director Gore Verbinski and star Johnny Depp have joined forces (yet again) to craft a very entertaining, heartfelt and non-stop tale about the search for meaning and companionship in life.

    If you enjoy nothing else, the visuals are insanely inspired and detailed. But under all that digital wizardry, is a very compelling story about a guy, well, chameleon, trying do the right thing in the face of overwhelming adversity. The theme is nothing new, but it's told in a revolutionary way.

    Now let me pump the breaks for a second. I watch a lot of programming directed at the little ones (my son is almost three), so I see a lot of laziness. Poor animation, bad jokes and a heavy reliance on violence permeates a ton of it (especially the older stuff). So when I see something good, I might often jump over to great. Granted, this one turned out not even to be a kids movie, but it at least explains my raving adoration a bit.

    So, what's it about? I was afraid you'd ask that, but here goes. An erratic chameleon finds himself freed of his cage and alone in the desert. Well, for the moment. Soon, he meets a variety of animals hardened by the lack of water in their town, Dirt. Our hero not only loves a good story, but loves telling a good story, and this quickly gets him in over his head. Like the new kid in school who initially gets by on wondrous tales of his previous accomplishments, Rango eventually has his questionable past catch up with him. He gets knocked down, beaten up and exposed, but he also gets incredibly lucky, too. As is anybody willing to spend 111 minutes watching this borderline masterpiece.

    Obviously, I really liked this movie. But in fairness, I might have been the only one in the room who did. To my right, my son tuned it out after he was done eating popcorn, so maybe it's altogether light and fluffy. To my right, was my father, and he instantly passed out, so it might possibly be very boring, too. But, it's more likely that was a heat-induced coma, as he was working in the yard earlier. But, me, in the middle? I was glued.

    Let's break this one down with some photo-realistic Yays and Boos, this-completely-deserved-the-Oscar style.

    Each action scene is better than the one prior. The first is great.
    • Johnny Depp. I know, surprise!, right? Really went out on a limb there, huh? But no one else in the world could have done this. No one.
    • The animation is flawless. I also loved that they didn't bother with 3D when it was released theatrically. It was incredible as is, no gimmicks needed.
    • A nod to Hunter S. Thompson? I'm at a loss for how cool that was.
    • The first bar scene. I dare you not to laugh.
    • The vending machine bit. It's madness and ridiculous but it's also soooo cool. 
    • As is the death of a very fearsome predator. One-bullet.
    • I'm sorry, but punching a woman in the face is like seeing a complete rainbow. It's rare, but it's magical.
    • There's a character with an arrow through his eye. Trust me, this is funny.
    • Perhaps one of the best scenes in any animated movie ever, let me stand up and cheer for The Spirit of the West. It was pure heaven. I mean, it was like eating Pop Tarts with Kim Novak.
    Can I have your boots when you're dead?
    • Parental Advisory: If my son had actually been paying attention, by the end of this one he'd probably be using Hell in every other sentence. Dad, where the Hell is Doc McStuffins? 
    • The poor armadillo splattered in the road. I'm only booing this because as a young boy in Texas, this is the only way I ever saw them. I swear that's how they're born: destroyed along the side of the road.
    • Only because I want a third 'o' in the header, I'll jeer that this sucker is too long. Sure, I watched the extended cut, but jumping from 107 to 111 minutes isn't that big a deal. That we hit a hundred at all, is.
      Will we reach a point where animation looks so lifelike we won't be able to tell the difference? I don't know, but the bar is being raised exponentially higher every year. How long will it be until we look back at Rango and laugh because it looks about as realistic as an episode of Gumby (youngsters, feel free to Google that)?
      Regardless, like anything, being gorgeous is never a bad thing, but at the end of the day it needs something inherently human to make it all come together and mean something. Rango has this in droves.

      Saturday, July 7, 2012

      I swear to God, guys, I thought this was going to be fun.

      My wife made this thing for the house this past fourth of July. It's hand-crafted and pretty patriotic looking. She says it's a wreath, and while I'm not sure we (or anybody) needed one of those, she took the time not only to buy the supplies, she also put the thing together. Give me some credit, as I cleaned up the hay (yes, hay). The point? Well, for me, this little project didn't serve much purpose, but I love everybody involved so I'm going to stand behind it. A little bit. But if you saw it, and hated it, that wouldn't surprise me at all.

      In the land of the R-rated comedy, the bar is currently pretty high (or low, depending on your tastes). You sit down to watch a flick called A Good Old Fashioned Orgy and you might be inclined to think that raunch and nudity are going to be front and center. Shockingly, not so much. In fact, I thought that the movie kind of fell apart by the time we got to the titular event. But getting there? It was just amusing enough to keep me hanging in. And the main reason that this one is bearable is the performance of SNL ass-kicker, Jason Sudeikis.

      I'll tell you right now, I've loved Sudeikis in every movie I've seen him in. So if you have any problem with him, don't waste your time with this one.

      Here, Sudeikis plays Eric, a kind of man-child type thirty-something, who is contributing to society simply by having this incredible house on the beach. Rather abruptly, his dad shows up and puts the house on the market. And what do movie people do when faced with disappointment? They f--king party.

      Surprisingly, the actual party isn't the crux of this flick. No, the preparation is the bulk of it. Once they finalize the idea of the orgy actually happening, we're stuck waiting for each individual to finally say f--k it, I'm in. Little reasons are given for or against participation, but none of them will be anything you'll remember five minutes after the credits roll. The movie attempts to be honest with the complexities of friendship, but more often dabbles in typical movie romances and cliches. It's not terrible by any means, at least not for this type of movie, it's just not that good either. 

      Thursday, July 5, 2012

      I'm too old for this poop.

      You should stop reading this and go thank your parents. For what? Anything really. There's probably been hundreds of instances where they really took one for the team to make you happy. Maybe they smiled along, showed you that they were having a good time, but inside they were miserable, taking solace in the minutes you were actually pleased and not making ridiculous demands or statements.

      Tuesday morning, I took my son to the Summer Series of movies at our local movie theater. These films are all geared toward the little ones and only cost a buck to go to. I've known about them for years, but this was the first summer I thought the little guy could handle it. On top of that, it was hot as balls outside, so the mall seemed like a good choice. About that...

      Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore is just as horrible as you would imagine. Probably even worse. We actually were given a choice of movies, but the other flick was Hugo [review], and I knew that wouldn't hold him. So, I tucked-tail and reluctantly headed into the chaos.

      First thing: the place was bonkers. Not only was it crowded, but there was some sort of camp there, comprised of special needs kids and their counselors. I'm am all for these kids getting a sweet day out and think that the movies are a great place to go. But some of these guys simply couldn't be contained. We sat down front and there was this one kid who, in a flash, would bolt out of the theater. Strong dude, too. He would shrug off his two companions and get all the way outside in mere seconds. There was another kid who basically screamed the whole time, as well. You add this to the general chaos and you have quite the lively room. But the point of these Summer Series flicks isn't about the nuances of cinema. This is kids having fun watching talking dogs sniff each others' butts. And hopefully for everybody involved, mission accomplished.

      I know that there is an audience for this kind of fluff, but my question is, who aspires to this stuff? There are great family movies out there, why settle for this? Perhaps it's a stepping stone for the director and crew? In that case, good for them. But for the parents in the crowd, bad for us.

      Plot details, characters, acting, special effects? Irrelevant. Breaking it down into Yays and Boos? Even more so. Well, here they are anyway.

      This thing is like a final boss in Silent Hill.
      • Intentional or not, I have to cheer for this flick showing the most terrifying thing ever. A hairless cat in a homemade bunny suit actually scared the shit out of me. If there is a Hell, these f--kers are probably buy one, get one.
      • I found a new job to aspire to, that of Fake Paw Holder Guy. Every close up of an animal pushing a button or opening a door? Yeah, that guy was clutch.
      • Emergency Lighting in the theater. Thank you, tiny lights on the floor. Not only are you there for my safety, but you interested my son when butt-sniffing dogs could not. I owe you. Big time.
      • Okay, legitimate one for the finale. There are some fairly inspired gadgets here. The little battle on the boat? It might've reached acceptable at times.
      • Oh, and the Dancing Squirrel. You made me laugh even though I really didn't want to. F--ker.
      This film had a budget of $85 million. Imagine explaining that investment.
      • Within minutes of this movie starting, not only did a dog bite a guy's butt, but as a result he went cross-eyed. 
      • Chris O'Donnell. Congratulations. Your Robin is no longer the worst character you've ever played.
      • Hairless cat? I usually prefer those. Not this time.
      • There's a room full of cats who are stoned off their asses. I guess that's why we have D.A.R.E. And for those cool black shirts.
      • Nick Nolte phoned in his vocal performance. Literally. I guess it was a decent choice for his one phone call.
      • There's this super-secret rocket thing that they fly through tunnels in. Okay, that's horrible enough. What's worse? The top speed is K9. Worse than that? The lowest speed is K7. K. 7. I imagine the guy who stenciled that on there just shook his head and cried softly. And then offed himself with his tiny paint brush. Godspeed, K7 Guy.
      Okay, I'm done. This movie isn't for jerks like me, and probably isn't even for goofballs like my two-year old. In fact, he used my phone's Redbox app to call up the trailer for something called Space Dogs during the flick. That looks equally bad, but the title is so horrible that I'm at least interested in it's awfulness. Despite that, I'm sure I'll rent it for him one day.

      And he better thank me for it.

      Tuesday, July 3, 2012

      We're not bad people. We just come from a bad place.


      While generally the best thing ever when it goes bad, it seems to go really bad. Sometimes, you'll actually hear stories of people who are suffering through life as <gasp!> sex addicts. For years, I've laughed this off. My response was either well, all guys probably are borderline cases or just a simple lucky. In Chuck Palahniuk's novel Choke, the main character, an addict himself, actually used to hook up with the women at the sexual addiction meetings. Ha ha. Everything's funny, right?

      No. Not at all.

      This was the third film in the June 30th triple feature, the Old Bay of my ridiculous analogy, and also the first movie that I've willingly watched on DVD (and not blu). My wife and I watched this one hours after putting the little guy down. What I thought would be a fascinating (and sexy) flick turned out to be as unsettling as anything I've seen in years.

      Shame , while a tough watch at times, is mesmerizing. The film focuses around the life of a pretty successful guy named Brandon, played by the white-hot Michael Fassbender. Brandon seems like a pretty solid individual, but has some major sexual issues. On top of that, his sister shows up (unannounced, sort of), and she too is all kinds of messed up. Publicly, you would never doubt either of these two. Behind closed doors (or alleys, bars of the gay and straight variety) things are radically different. I think saying that they are both majorly f--ked up might cover it. Might.

      What isn't spiraling out of control, are the performances of everyone involved. I don't need to gush over the two leads, Fassbender and the always incredible Carey Mulligan, as any film either has appeared in is all the proof you need of their excellence. Surprisingly, what I enjoyed slightly more than those two was the direction and editing of this film. The minimalist approach is so unnerving, so unsettling you are helplessly compelled to watch (stare, even) though your gut instinct might be to look away. Director Steve McQueen has only one other feature under his belt, but I'm in for whatever else this guy delivers. Goodness.

      One thing I want to mention, is that my wife watches a good amount of movies with me. She has much simpler tastes, and is usually down for a nice drama or a easygoing rom-com. When I popped this one in, I refused to tell her what it was about. Being the uber-dork that I am, I think I've seen one movie that I knew nothing about (I saw Thumbsucker in the theater, hadn't even heard of it at the time). My goal is to allow her to be shocked and free of any certain expectations. I think it's noble. She hates it.

      Anyway, this one bothered her. A lot. Early on in the movie she was so disgusted by Brandon she actually told me, I hate him. I say that all the time about characters in movies, but never with such conviction. Yikes. By the end however, she was more Well, now I feel bad for him. Oh, Wife. You so crazy.

      Let's break this one down with some sexy Yays and some pathetic Boos, turns-out-this-one-isn't-a-date-night-type-of-movie style.

      • The editing. Seriously. When we don't cut to another angle, we're no longer watching a movie, we're just watching. It makes things incredibly uncomfortable.
      • The score is fantastic as well. First time in awhile I actually remember the accompanying music.
      • The blonde pictured to the left. She is super hot. And, at this point in the movie, I thought Brandon still had it together.
      • Thanks for the tip on What To Do When You Hear Family Members Doing It. I should have gone for a run. I just stayed still and shuddered.
      • The incident in the subway station. This is one of my favorite scenes in years. The way it's presented is frickin' brilliant. Urgency in the background, especially unbeknownst to the main character in the foreground, is always great. So many things were rushing through my head (it was incredibly realistic).
      • And finally, the burgeoning trend of a final shot that provides major uncertainty. Can't get enough of those. This one is reminiscent of the last frame of Like Crazy [review]. Thoughts?
      • No one checks their messages like that. Not even dudes with giant schlongs. Well, at least I don't. 
      • At the workplace? Really? Though in all seriousness I worked with a guy who claimed he would do the same at a red light. Impressive. And creepy.
      • This movie features the worst consensual sex ever put to film this side of MacGruber [review].
      • Brandon's boss. This guy is a real douche. He seems rather clueless too. Oh, wait. I'm being redundant. I already mentioned boss.
      • Okay, I'm not trying to start anything here, but if that's what all gaybars are like, I have just one question. What. The. F--k?
      Bottom Line: You know some people think that it makes everything better, but it turns out too much can be incredibly destructive. Give it a shot, just don't overdo it.

      That, friends, concludes the June 30th triple feature. We started with Puss In Boots, I messed around with The Dead, and the Wife and I experienced Shame.

      That, friends, also concludes the most epic pointless story/worthless analogy ever. If you didn't read the other reviews, you have no idea what I'm talking about. That's okay. Neither do I.

      Anybody want to challenge the awesome randomness of this triple feature? Let's see what you got!

      Monday, July 2, 2012

      Maybe we're being punished for our arrogance.

      For me, the zombie film, is the best type of horror. I could watch a good one anytime. It feels like they've been officially cool again for the last ten years or so. When I was a kid The Return of the Living Dead, my first exposure to the undead, got me hooked (though it's probably horrible now). The more recent mainstream stuff like 28 Days Later, Snyder's Dawn of the Dead and even Zombieland have been decent, but nothing has been flat-out great (if you mention any of the Resident Evil flicks, I will bite your face off). My favorite one of all (and a personal top 20 of all time) happens to be Shaun of the Dead, but as great as it was, it wasn't very scary. The search continues...

      My second film of the June 30th triple feature, the eggnog if you will, attempted to fill that void. Guess what? I'm still looking.

      Credibility Hit #1,985: I've never seen a minute of The Walking Dead.
      The Dead tries. It does. It's obviously low-budge, but there are some cool things going on. Namely, the setting. Sure, if you've played Resident Evil 5, it's not altogether surprising, but Africa is a very cool place to witness the outbreak of zombie-induced mayhem. Maybe the impact is lessened a bit, because it's not where I live, but the barren environment is harsh enough. Throw in flesh-eating bastards and the odds are overwhelmingly horrible.

      Let me say it now, I love bleak. I love hopelessness. Happy endings are great in real life, but in movies? Give me an ending like The Mist anyday.

      Here's what you need to know: A white guy must get back to the United States to see his family. A black guy, not super fond of the whiteman in general, must find his son. White Guy, is an engineer, and was on the last flight out of Africa. Black Guy, was a soldier, who arrived home just after the zombies destroyed his village. These guys must work together to survive and reach their families. But damned if those slow-ass zombies don't have other plans for them.

      We don't have any baby muffins.

      I grew up in a town called Waikoloa. There, we had a small grocery store, the cleverly titled Waikoloa Village Market. I had a huge thing for one of the clerks there and remember being very selective about the items I would purchase in her lane. My God, she was beautiful. I recall buying something I thought was cool enough and trying the chitchat thing to horrible effect (probably just enough to be that Nervous Guy). Anyway, I get home, and my mom tells me we need a plunger. NOW. Without questioning, I jump back in the car and haul ass back to the store. Quickly, I realize, this looks bad. Beautiful Cashier Girl, will see how I bought something from her, went home, took a massive dump, and raced back to acquire the tools necessary to extricate the aforementioned deuce. I panicked. But fearing my mother worse than eternal shame, I reluctantly headed back to her lane (the one all the way on the left). To my utter terror/ultimate delight she made the chitchat this time. Something like, Oh, man, that sucks. I laughed along, but did not say a word. This day had gone historically bad.

      Years later I was in a very different grocery store and I had to buy just three items: Eggnog, Old Bay and a 6-foot extension cord. Ever since the plunger incident, I began to imagine how the person ringing me up would judge me and my purchases. On this day I thought to myself, no one in the history of the world has ever bought just these three items. No one. There's no connection. No correlation at all. You can't judge me.

      Blogger Guy, you're losing me. Fast. This shitty site's about movies, right?

      Right. On Saturday, I watched three movies. In their entirety. I was pissed because in the first month of my summer break I only watched eight movies. Unacceptable. So on the last day of the month, I pulled off the rare triple-header. I present you, the 6-foot extension cord of the bunch, Puss in Boots.

      Since I've probably wasted most of my goodwill, let me get right to it. Puss in Boots is quite simply okay. Having seen all the Shrek movies, Puss was a character I was all for seeing more of (I avoided the dirty phrasing of that, thank you very much). Antonio Banderas is hysterical with the breathy goofiness he provides for Puss' voice. Add Salma Hayek, and you had me at Salma Hayek.

      The plot is simple, though probably completely irrelevant to about 150% of the audience tuning in. Let's just say that things happen, and Puss must go an adventure. There will be some swordfights, some dancing and a surprising amount of sexual innuendo. if you're two (like my son), this will bore you quickly. If you're thirty-two (like my wife was last year), this will bore you, just not as quickly. If you're me, you'll hang in and enjoy it just enough to not hate it. 

      One thing I did want to mention, is the idea of nursery rhymes. My wife said something to the effect of Do kids even know these? and I thought it was a fair question. Jack and Jill? Jack and the Beanstalk? Are these references for the adults only? Are children going to refer back to this film when they tell their own kids about these nursery rhyme characters? I know, that's a stupid question. Children of Men takes place in fifteen years from now, so no need to worry.

      Enough tomfoolery. Here are the soft and cuddly Yays and Boos, cat-people-are-crazy style.

      I refuse to Google the answer, but is he the Nasonex  Bee Guy, too?
      • Dude. Puss gets a lot of, well...tail.
      • Tattoo Guy = Inspired lunacy. I thought it was funny enough when he had the magic beans tattooed on his arm...
      • Scheduled DANCE FIGHTS are even cooler than impromptu ones.
      • Maybe this is a Texas deal or something, but when I was in primary school and someone would get in trouble we would all say Ummmmmm as that person was summoned to the teacher. In this flick, they have the Ohhhhhhhh cat. He rules.
      • Traveling via tumbleweed? Brilliant.
      • The beanstalk is pretty badass. I bet it looked very cool in 3D.
      • When Puss is left for dead, the last crow is pretty awesome.
      • The Great Terror! This ferocious beast is intense. When it destroys the town? It made me want to throw a horse out of excitement.
      • Playing in the clouds is just like I always imagined it when I was a kid in an airplane/still to this day.
      • Humpty Dumpty, as voiced by Zach Galifianakis is kind of lacking. He has his moments (The First Rule of Bean Club...), but isn't very memorable. Or funny.
      • Jack and Jill are scary. I mean, even-for-me scary.
      • I know, I know. But outside of Disney's best, I hate all the ridiculous singing and dancing in these second-tier animated flicks. Save it for the credits.
      • We couldn't get a Donkey cameo? Or at least Gingy...
      Bottom Line: This one is short and does it's job. Nothing memorable. But it didn't cost me much either.

      Wait. What does this have do with a 6-foot extension cord? I hate this site.