Tuesday, December 31, 2013

An empty head is better than an empty bed!

As hard as it is opening real presents, it turns out opening fake ones can be even more difficult. See, the fine people at the Cinematic Katzenjammer have put together a kickass blogathon known as The CK's Not So Secret Santa Review Swap. Shunning my life of solitude and bridge-dwelling, I decided to participate this year and swap a flick with some (currently) anonymous blogger. While I brought the cringe-worthy mindf--k Cat People remake [review] to the party, I left with a film much more straightforward and less ridiculous. The only problem? I couldn't watch it.

Ned Lynch: The world's tallest pirate.
Seeing 1976's Swashbuckler for the first time almost forty years after its release was a trip. Having never really been a fan of pirate epics, I'm not quite sure what to say. Basically, it's like talking to someone who is completely shitfaced, while being completely sober yourself. Even though it's kind of funny and interesting, eventually you start to think get me the f--k outta here.

But like talking to that drunk bastard, there's a certain amount of charm in the whole experience, once you get beyond how awkward it all is. Seeing the (basically shirtless) duo of Robert Shaw and James Earl Jones talk shit and kick ass is a good time, no matter what. Shaw, who appears half-cocked the whole time, is impossibly charismatic as the somewhat long-in-the-tooth Captain Ned Lynch. Both he and his character seem like they could give a f--k. And as for James Earl Jones, I was pretty stoked to actually see him do things, as opposed to simply marveling at that legendary voice. He rules as Nick, Ned's forever loyal wingman.

Boner Garage loves it.

My new job does not require me to speak. If I wanted to, I could probably go the full eight to twelve hours without saying a word. The other night, I stood there listening to two people drone on about oil changes when the conversation shifted to movies. I left my happy place and listened intently as each of them discussed the movies they had recently watched and loved. Even though neither person seemed to have similar tastes to mine (much of the conversation dealt with how great the Fast and the Furious movies are), I decided to quietly check out one of their overwhelming recommendations. That movie is funny as shit!

We're the Millers is funny as shit, it's true, but as a father of an infant, shit ain't that funny. At best, it's mildly amusing. At worst, it's a mess that I'd rather never deal with again.

Though it may appear to be another tired road flick initially, We're the Millers is more of a fish-out-of-water comedy. The plot concerns itself with a small time drug dealer, David (Jason Sudeikis), heading to Mexico to score a large amount of pot in order to pay off a debt. In order to evade detection, David hires a group of f--k ups to pose as his decidedly average family in hopes of avoiding major scrutiny at the border. Stupid? Sure. But for a comedy these days, it's at least serviceable, if not even borderline inspired

It's quite possible that I was in a shitty mood, but it's more likely the movie simply isn't as hilarious as some will make it out to be (that jerk I work with included). There are definitely some good laughs, and the cast is pretty solid, but at the end of the day it's yet another comedy getting by with f-bombs and dick shots. Not that there's anything wrong with that...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I'm not really into digging up dead things.

As a little kid, I loved school. Loved it. But if there was one thing that meant more to the seven-year old version of myself than learning stuff with my friends, it was dinosaurs. I was completely fascinated by them.

I still want to punch both of them.
One morning, prior to heading off to school, I heard something on television that was about to change my life. Up next it was said, two dinosaurs were going to be born - live!- on T.V. Amazing, right? The thing is, it was time to go. Everybody in the car! As quickly as I could, I faked impending death. The whole I don't feel good/my stomach hurts routine made its debut. My mom, either on to me, or believing there is no way I would miss school, said, miraculously, I should stay home, and dashed out the door with my older brothers. Not a minute later, the dinosaur eggs filled the television frame and my eyes widened. The eggs began to crack, as my heart began to fail. Out came Rex and Rita Readasaurus, those two God-awful puppets pictured to the right. They wanted Kids to Read! Ah, the personal irony.

Oh, you're not interested in pointless, rambling stories, loosely related to dinosaurs? Well then stay the Hell away from Walking with Dinosaurs, which is arguably one of the worst movies I have ever seen. It's so bad, so soul-crushingly miserable, it actually moved the Rex and Rita incident down a peg, to become the second worst dinosaur related tragedy in my life. [Oh, and for the record, that scene in The Lost World with the parallel bars ranks a solid third ]

Anyway, what looked like a possibly educational/visually breathtaking experience for me and my son to catch on the big screen turned out to be the longest 87 minutes of my life. It was so bad, for the first time ever, I almost asked for my money back at the movies, as if it's the theater's fault that I'm a f--king idiot and paid to go see this.

Specifically what's wrong with this movie, is either a really long list or a short one (that list reads: everything). I'll meet you in the middle and narrow it to the three largest offenders. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

We both know what this is about, don't we, honeypot?

It's so easy to tear something down. In fact, I do it all the time on this crappy blog. For this post, I've decided instead of the usual destroying, I'd go the other way and create. I have a wholly unique idea for a film that is nothing like any other movie ever made. It goes a little something like this:

For the majority of the planet, everything seems perfectly normal. But, living among us, is a secret group of potentially dangerous creatures. For the most part, we've been existing together without incident for years, but something major is about to happen, something not from Earth. Plucked from obscurity to aid in this secret war, is a young hotshot upstart who plays by his own rules. My plan, get this, is to partner him with some gruff older guy, who may or may not be too old for this shit. They'll save the world, if only they don't kill each other first.

This idea is so good, I can't believe they never made anything like this. Anyway, I'm thinking Justin Timberlake and Harrison Ford would be perfect as the leads. Oh, and those secret creatures living among us? Motherf--king werewolves! Yep, I've already got the title picked out: Werewolf Task Force. Or, we can abbreviate it to...

What the f--k, R.I.P.D.? You might set the record for the most obviously derivative film in the last twenty years of cinema (and that's really saying something). And, of all movies to crib from, frickin' Men In Black? I guess it's not so bad. I mean, the third M.I.B flick came out way back in 2012 [review], right? I doubt anyone even remembers it.

Maybe with out the overwhelming familiarity, R.I.P.D might have had a chance. The effects are decent, the cast is charmingly silly, and it all moves at a breezy pace. But, without the novelty of originality, you can't help but sit there and compare every little thing to the Smith/Jones alien flicks. Trust me, it's impossible.

Anyway, to be recruited into the Rest In Peace Department, police officers must die. Then, they are basically given the choice of corralling naughty ghosts or after judgement, going straight to Hell. Nick, played by can't-catch-a-break Ryan Reynolds, reluctantly joins up, though not to shoot Slimer in the balls. No, he's more interested in somehow reconciling with his French widow, Julia (an adorable Stephanie Szostak). I crossed my fingers he would scoot a penny up the side of a door and then hit the ol' pottery wheel, but no luck.

Monday, December 16, 2013

That's all right. I have a special present for you, anyway. There you go, sonny.

Yay! It's that time of the year, again. That time where that old magical fat guy from some far away place gives us things we really don't want or need. Yep, it's time for the First Annual Two Dollar Cinema T-Shirt Giveaway!

In a ridiculous way to show my sincere thanks for all (well, both) of the people that visit Two Dollar Cinema, I've decided to give away a severely limited edition t-shirt. These black short-sleeved t-shirts will keep you warm throughout this bitterly cold holiday season (assuming you were unnecessarily naked to begin with, like the ladies above). They'll also make handy rags, too. Either way.

To enter, all you need to do is comment below! Feel free to mention any movie-related traditions, favorite holiday flicks or general musings you have, or simply leave an e-mail address and the size you'd like if you're selected (M, L or XL). Easy, right?

Also feel free to destroy your own credibility (and hurt your own chances) and mention this giveaway on your blog, too, if you feel so inclined. Just grab the pic and post away!

Happy holidays, everybody!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Everyone knows amnesia is bollocks.

Of all the things I couldn't believe from my freshman year of college, there's one particular event I witnessed that I still haven't come to terms with. Well, that I'll discuss publicly, anyway. It was early in the Fall semester, freshman orientation if I remember correctly, and hundreds of us had gathered to see a hypnotist in one of the auditoriums. The stuff they did was so ridiculous and embarrassing, I was convinced this shit has to be real. I mean, at the snap of the hypnotist's fingers, I watched a fairly hot chick make out with some guy she thought was Brad Pitt. Whoa. Two thoughts entered my mind: First, is it possible they're faking it? And then, is it possible I can major in hypnosis?

Danny Boyle's Trance may focus on hypnosis and hypnotherapy, but it's really about control. Not only being in control, but allowing others full control over you. In other words, it's a love story, really. A very, very f--ked up love story.

What starts out as a very slick, fast-paced flick about an art heist gone wrong, Trance quickly spirals into madness. See, a very valuable painting has been stolen during an auction. Sort of. During the robbery, minor thug Franck (played by the likably slimy Vincent Cassel) smashes in the head of lead auctioneer, Simon (the always solid James McAvoy) who was guarding the painting. Simon, who despite his training telling him otherwise, has foolishly placed his own safety in jeopardy for the artwork. 

And that, kids, might be the last straightforward thing you're given, as the head trauma makes the entire narrative hinge on someone's faulty/selective memory. Simon has stashed the painting. But, Simon also can't/won't remember shit. Until, it is decided, he sees a hypnotherapist. Well, let me clarify, the world's sexiest hypnotherapist. 

Friday, December 6, 2013

Better get my pants.

This past Thanksgiving, there was a lot of talk about convergence. Seems that once every eleventy-billion years the stars align for something so rare no one on the planet today will ever see it again. In fact, if not for @Bubbawheat, I wouldn't have experienced it at all.

While Hanukkah and Thanksgiving overlapping may have thrilled some of you, I was more concerned with the Nine Realms lining up in the shockingly awesome sequel, Thor: The Dark World. 

Somewhat half-heartedly, I headed to the theater last Wednesday night (alone, tear) to see something. The second Thor was the only option when I got there, other than Catching Fire. Earlier I had taken to Twitter, soliciting which of the two blockbuster sequels was more worth my time. Thor had managed a narrow 2 -1 victory, so that's where I headed.  Yeah, my Twitter clout is pretty impressive, huh?

Actually impressive, for me, was just about every single aspect of The Dark World. Maybe I was just happy to be there (and I'm coming off a record string of dogshit flicks), but I found the second Thor to be one of the best Marvel flicks yet, trailing only The Avengers [review] and possibly the first Iron Man. It really is that good.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Let me warn you - this won't be easy.

We needed help. We've got two small kids, and we'd reached a point that something drastic needed to happen. If not, they'd be home alone, eating Cheerios off the floor and essentially raising themselves. So, in addition to me quitting my job, my wife and I summoned a supernatural being from a mystical place, and invited her to our home in Pennsylvania. In other words, my mom moved here from Hawai'i to watch the kids.

Depending on who you ask, my mom isn't scary. The film Mama, from writer/director Andres Muschietti, isn't either. But it was supposed to be. Instead it's yet another shitty PG-13 horror movie, churned out to the delight of twelve-year olds, who likely confuse mysterious with hard-to-see, and terror with just plain terrible.

Let's be fair, even though it fails miserably, Mama had a chance. The idea of (sort of) re-domesticating two kids left to raise themselves had promise. That alone is kind of creepy, I'll admit. Layer in the fact that for those five years some angry (yet loving?) ghost bitch was watching over them and is presumably going to be real pissed when they're gone makes for an interesting premise. If only it had stopped there. If only.

Holy shit, this movie is dumb. Almost to the point where I was offended. And I'm an idiot. But, at the very least, I understand logic and reason, and this movie is completely void of both. Okay, fine, the main character is a ghost, so I should probably let some shit go, but still. I've never been left so dumbstruck by the end of a movie. Never.

But let's back it up, shall we? After a pretty shitty day (three murders with a smidge of kidnapping), some guy crashes his car down the side of a snowy mountain with his two daughters in the backseat. And even though I can use Google Earth to see into the backyard of my childhood home from space, an entire car simply can't be found at ground level. Anyway, the two girls end up in a, get this, spooooky cabin! with dear old Dad. Dad's had enough and despite miraculously surviving the car accident, decides it's time to shoot everybody. And before things take an ugly turn, Mama shows up, kickin' ass and rolling cherries. Okay, this is kind of dumb, but whatever. I'm still in.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Hope you haven't had breakfast.

I'm pretty sure there's something very wrong with me, but f--k it, Catwoman is sexy. I don't care if it's Anne Hathaway or Michelle Pfeiffer, it's a sweet look. All the tight-ass clothes, the purring, the licking, hell, even the scratching. It's all weird as shit, but there's still something oddly alluring about it. Halle Berry needs no help, but throw her in that awful Catwoman outfit and even one of the shittiest movies ever made is watchable. I'll even give you old timers Eartha Kitt, though honestly, that bitch scares me.

Anyway, as much I like a sexy lady dressed as a cat, let me be clear: it's the lady I want to have sex with. Not the f--king cat.

What the f--k is Cat People? Honestly. How does this movie actually f--king exist? I randomly chose this one based solely on the title, and though I knew nothing about it, something still compelled me to press play. And as I grinded it out, I was left with this look on my face that I still haven't been able to shake days later. I can't quite place the expression, but imagine while sitting there on your laptop, you fart and the smell literally surprises you. You expected bad, but what you got was so much worse your face is an unholy mix of disgust and disbelief. That, friends, is Cat People.

But that ain't even the half of it. Let me boil it down for you, okay? I, unlike the makers of this film, appreciate your time, so let's do this in one awful sentence: This movie is about half-leopard siblings dealing with the fact that they can't f--k anyone, till they f--k each other. I shit you not.

The movie opens back in some unknown time period with a group of aboriginal types doing their thing to some groovy eighties synth beats. Some chick heads into the potentially mysterious lair of a black leopard and...just like that, it's 1982. We meet a creepier-than-usual Malcolm McDowell, who basically eye-f--ks everyone he sees. This dude lives with his voodoo maid lady and is clearly a murderous douche. Seriously, this guy oozes date rapist more than probably any other character I can remember. His "sister" shows up, in the form of the fairly attractive Natassia Kinski, and she's basically the early eighties version of Sandy from Grease, except that instead of being an Aussie she's a f--king leopard. Anyway, it's not that she hasn't liked some boys before, she's just never been able to um, fully engage in Summer Lovin'.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Is this turkey paradise?

Christmas for me, no matter how ridiculously childish this sounds, is still mainly about presents. Honestly. Along those lines, Halloween, despite being in my mid-thirties, is still mainly about candy (though there was a time where slutty costumes entered the fray). Thanksgiving, no matter how old I get, has always been about one thing, too: Football. Fine. It's also about family. I guess.

But I'll tell you what it's never been about: turkey. The bird, for me, is the least interesting part of the meal. Who knew that was foreshadowing?

What's strange, is it's also the worst turkey movie of all time, too.
My wife and I took our son to see Free Birds two Sundays ago, but this leisurely family outing felt a lot like work. Uninspired and bland, this latest kids' flick to cash in on a timely holiday crushed our fairly low expectations. We saw the preview, we knew what we were getting into. But somehow, it ended up being worse. But the real kick in the giblets? The only showing we could make it to was in 3D. Well, if you can call it that.

Anyway, the story, I suppose, at least had potential, for a (non-Pixar) kid's movie, anyway. After receiving the ceremonial presidential Thanksgiving pardon, a young turkey named Reggie appears to be living the good life. By this, I mean he's eating pizza all day and watching telenovelas. Harshing his vibe is Jake, a manly turkey destined to travel back in time and take turkey off the Thanksgiving menu. Apparently, the President resides directly on top of some top-secret time travel device, so these two turkeys make the typical unlikely duo. Had potentially hijinks ensued we might have had a decent 70-minute flick. In and out, easy-peasy, please recycle your 3D spectacles on your way out. But no, we veer off into turkey lore and turkey love and 91 minutes later I felt like I had just finished eating Thanksgiving dinner: I was tired and full of regret. And I didn't want to think about anything turkey related for at least another year. If not, ever again.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

How bad could it be?

Most horror movies are very straightforward, maybe even to a fault. Their plots often revolve around the simple concept of revenge. Sure, there's the occasional sick f--k who kills for no apparent reason, but typically in this genre, people need to be killed/raped/tortured because some other person was killed/raped/tortured in the past. And even that creepy bastard who does this for no reason? Well, ideally, he'll get his too, eventually. Those are the rules.

I'd like to exact revenge on pretty much anybody associated with The Big Bad, a flick I had the misfortune of renting last week. I'm thinking I'll go eye-for-an-eye, you know, hurt them the same way they hurt me. Maybe something along these lines:

For about twenty minutes, I'm going to just walk around and ramble incoherently. It won't make any sense, and it will literally be so boring, one or two of them will probably just take their own lives. But for the next fifty minutes or so, I will simply shit all over everyone. I will shit in their eyes, in their ears, and somehow into their soul. It won't be fatal, no. It will simply be the worst looking event to have ever taken place and will leave everyone involved wondering the same thing: Good Lord, why did that happen? Am I bad person?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

This family's in trouble.

Since Halloween has just recently passed, it's fitting that the last movie I watched centered on something that absolutely terrifies me. The idea of being locked in a giant metal contraption, barely in control, for hours and hours is overwhelmingly maddening. But worse, the thought of consistent loud, sharp noises and awful smells surrounding me, only compound one of my deepest fears. Obviously, I'm talking about one of the greatest, slow-death torture scenarios found on this planet: the family road trip.

This poster couldn't represent the movie any better. Honestly, it's perfect.
The road trip in Transit, much like everything else in the movie, is utterly ridiculous. A father decides that his family must reconnect (for some initially unclear reason), and so they head out on a long car trip together. On the docket? Incessant whining, camping and familial bonding. Fair enough, I suppose. But when four increasingly generic and incompetent criminals show up, and fully beat the shit out of Mom, you'd think maybe Wally World can wait until next year, huh? Wait, wait, wait. Did you just think? You better cut that shit out now if you even plan on enjoying this one.

The flick opens with a pretty typical armored car heist, complete with your standard double crossing of masked individuals (you know, where splitting it five ways becomes four because someone gets shot in the face). Cut to Miserable Family, where Dad is insisting that This trip will be good for us! The bad guys are on the run, and stay with me here, must ditch the money because there's a roadblock and they're checking everyone's cars. Seems like the only logical plan is to hide the money with the family and simply follow them to where they're going and murder them and grab the cash. Hmm. The cops are stopping everyone, but if they don't have the money on them, apparently they'll be fine. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

You gotta be strong to survive out there.

Last week, I quit my job. I prefer the term resigned, but I guess it really doesn't matter either way. While I'm 99% sure I'll have another job in just a few weeks, the timing was, personally speaking, perfect. Not only did my wife's maternity leave expire today, but the school I was working for ultimately appears doomed. Our charter has not been renewed and the school district is shutting us down. And while I'm hoping it works out for the dozens of teachers (including some of the best people I've ever met) still there fighting the good fight, their fate is likely already determined. The ship, it seems, is starting to sink.

In my new career path, ship captain was never considered. Sure, there's the whole not at all qualified thing, but honestly, after seeing Captain Phillips last Saturday, the main reason is fear. Not just ooh, that looks kind of scary uneasiness, but full-on I'm never going on a boat again level of fear. Seriously, Jaws ain't got shit on Somali pirates.

Captain Phillips is an excellent movie. The acting, the cinematography and direction, the score, everything really, all effortlessly coalesces into something so compelling and so tense it's almost hard to watch, even if you can't turn away. And that's presuming you know the ending beforehand (I'm assuming you do). It's truly an incredible story.

And there's the rub, huh? The story. I'm not really interested in debating the facts, as I will personally never know what happened over those days in 2009. What I do know, is that director Paul Greengrass is a brilliant filmmaker. I also know that Tom Hanks is one of the greatest actors of all time. Everything else, it seems, is debatable. For my money, the greatness of their collaboration is not.

Please copy...

Jason Voorhees is not scary. He's killed countless people in countless ways, but it's all kind of silly. What I saw last Thursday? Now that was terrifying. The thing is, Jason should scare me more. Easily. I mean, at least Jason is possible. The deaths, as ridiculous as they may be could happen. I could have sex in a bunk bed. Unlikely, sure. But it could happen. And after that, an arrow could be jammed through my neck from below. Yeah, it would suck, but I'd manage. At least I'd die in a bed. In a house. On Earth. 

With all due respect, f--k space. F--k everything about it. Those serene shots of the sun rising over Earth? Bullshit. That shit ain't peaceful. That's certain, quiet death. 

I loved every minute of Gravity. Well, not while I was watching it, actually (you can't love something that's choking you), and not immediately afterward, either (my equilibrium was f--ked up). But the next day? Very much so. And while its box-office success is bringing out more and more detractors, I am obviously not one of them. Gravity is a cinematic experience unlike anything else I've ever been a part of. The film literally took my breath away.

From a technical perspective, the film is unquestionably brilliant. But while numerous films have stunned me visually, few, if any, have also packed the emotional weight of director Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity. Not only did I want everyone to make it home safely, I needed them to. 

The story is actually quite simple, and takes place in what feels like real time. After surviving an accident in outer space, astronauts Ryan Stone (a never better Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney, consistently perfect) must improvise a plan to stay alive and get home. The challenges they face are relentless, and the overwhelming emptiness of space exacerbates everything. And making things somehow even worse (though, ultimately, great), the whole story is presented so seamlessly, in these fantastically long shots, you can't help but feel a part of every decision, every catastrophe.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Can we do this again? Like, all the time?

Last Wednesday, I had to take our four-year old to the doctor's office. Dad Doing Official Business is challenging enough, but this instance was even more trying. Matty needed to have blood drawn. See, since birth, the kid's been allergic to milk and eggs, which, unsurprisingly, are found in everything. Well, everything reasonably priced, anyway. Anyway, Matty was slightly concerned that they were going to suck all his blood out. To ease his fears, and award his bravery, I told him that immediately afterward, we'd grab some food and head to the movies. Deal? Deal.

In Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2, the characters have the opposite dilemma. Instead of worrying about the food they eat, these unlucky souls are worried about food eating them. Maybe it was the McDonald's prior to showtime (a chicken McNugget Happy Meal is dairy free...just sayin'), but this one definitely wasn't as tasty as its predecessor.

We liked the first Cloudy With A Chace of Meatballs. A lot, actually. Honestly, I suggest we fire up the original more than my son ever does (I will do anything to avoid the Cars films, anything). The initial tale of Flint Lockwood and his FLDSMDFR has just the right mix of laughs and heart. The second one isn't bad, it's just not as surprisingly fun and warm as the original. Outside of catching it in 3D (which is likely pretty sweet), my vote is rental, at best.

Anyway, after the events of the first one, where Flint Lockwood (voiced by the brilliant Bill Hader) made it rain food, the town of Swallow Falls has been evacuated. The displaced citizens want to go home, but otherwise, no one seems to care about their old town. Well, no one except food mogul and master scientist Chester V. (Will Forte, doing that great delirious old man voice that he does so well). His intentions are a little more nefarious.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Please, God. Pull the trigger.

Some actors rise to a level of notoriety that essentially works against them. When we talk of the character, we refer to the actor (Tom Cruise was so pissed off in that one scene...). It gets increasingly difficult for them to truly get lost inside a character like a less recognizable actor (potentially) could. Sometimes they'll transform themselves physically to avert their level of fame, often to mixed results (Gary Oldman in Hannibal being an impossible-to-classify example, um, for example). But for me, even harder to swallow, is when certain actors attempt to change their voice. This can be done well to great effect. But when it's bad...it's really bad. I refer to this as the Halle Berry as Storm phenomenon.

Robert De Niro and John Travolta have very distinct voices. In Killing Season both inexplicably don accents far outside anything we're used to hearing. And like the aforementioned Ms.Berry, neither actor can maintain it for the duration of the whole movie, much to the detriment of the film's effectiveness.

Oh, let's not just blame the accents. Nyet, mye freyend. This flick is just over eighty minutes of are you f--king kidding me? Potentially, there was an interesting story here. And we've got two talented leads. But to quote Mr. De Niro from a far, far better movie, the saddest thing in life is wasted talent. 

Anyway, we're about as far away from the Bronx as possible in Killing Season. Surprising no one, this one takes place in the woods, where Travolta's Vlade Divac Emil Kovac has decided to exact revenge on De Niro's Benjamin Ford. Seems these two have unfinished business from the Bosnian War, and scores must be settled, seasons must be killed.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

You're blind to everything.

We f--ked up. Big time.

My wife and I must have been smoking some good shit the day we decided to buy our house. Well, we don't actually do drugs, but when I think about our house, substance abuse seems like a solid plan (and likely we could acquire them nearby). Now, don't get me wrong, our place? It's relatively charming. And at the time, affordable. But little did we know it's in a horrible location. Well, that's not entirely true. It's on a busy road traveled exclusively by douchebags. It's also near some ugly electrical transformer facility, where they implausibly craft telephone poles twenty four hours a day. But what pisses me of more than anything? Motherf--kers break into our cars. All the time.

Luckily for the audience, the characters in Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring have their sites set much higher than Bumf--k, PA. These entitled little shits stake out Hollywood, and stealing valuables out of cars is only the beginning. Eventually, taking something out of an unlocked car isn't enough, and this crew rob mansions repeatedly.

I know I'm old, trust me. But peering into the lives of anybody ten years younger than I currently am immediately makes me want to fight something. And while I'll stop just short of shaking my fist from my front porch (which I don't even have, dammit) at the kids passing by, I clearly resent the youth featured in this flick, if not every teenager on the planet. Youth is wasted on the young, indeed.

Watching rich kids steal from even richer celebrities is a very odd thing. I love movies and I love movie stars, but honestly, I don't give a f--k about what they have and where they live. And I would never even consider stealing anything as I realize how hard it is to work for the little bit of shit I have. I respect talent. And if you get paid millions of dollars for whatever it is you do, good for you. Don't rub my face in it, and we're cool.

Drink up. Let's Boo-Boo.

I don't drink. Never have.

Shit, I made it all the way through college and didn't even think twice about it. On my wedding day, not even a sip of the bubbly to celebrate the occasion. Hell, I've taught middle school in the inner-city for six years, and still, not a drop. But given the chance to relive high school, in my hometown, with some of my old friends? F--king bottoms up, right?

The World's End is f--king brilliant. Despite taking place in a town overrun by blue-blooded aliens, and despite the fact that it's all kinds of ridiculous, the movie is really an ode to lifelong friendship, and is grounded in a reality more familiar than 90% of the junk I see. For me, someone long out of college, and barely able to remember high school, director Edgar Wright has made a movie that taps into how all guys look back at that magical time known as high school. Some look back fondly, some look back regretfully, and some never look back at all. And some, well, some can't look back. Only because they never left in the first place.

I'm not really into ranking shit, but let me just tell you that I f--king love Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. I don't know where The World's End falls in the trilogy, nor do I really give a f--k to say one is better than the other. Wright, Nick Frost and Simon Pegg have made three films that make me laugh endlessly. Period.

The third film in the Cornetto trilogy tells the somewhat somber (yet consistenly hilarious) tale of a group of old friends getting together twenty years after high school. The reason? Gary King (Pegg), the team-captain of sorts, believes they have some unfinished business, specifically, finishing an epic pub crawl they failed two decades prior. While the level of enthusiasm from the other guys varies, King is determined to see it through, possibly showing more determination in this evening than in his entire life beforehand. Old friends, old jokes, old flames won't stop him. Neither will a town full of aliens.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Turbine failure!

I used to fly all the time. Usually alone, too. Once, when I was probably eleven or twelve, I remember being on this long overnight flight. We had left Honolulu and were flying over the Pacific, ultimately headed to the East Coast. I had an aisle seat in the middle section and awoke to a strange noise. To my left and up a row, a young girl, maybe nine or ten herself, was trying to open the door. At first I thought she was just pretending to do so, but then she started putting her tiny back in to it. She actually placed her foot on the door for leverage, and yanked down as hard as she could. The long red handle seemed to move, even if just a little. I frantically looked for help, or at least some form of non-verbal agreement that this was actually happening. But outside of some blissfully unaware passengers, loudly sleeping nearby, I was alone in my quiet desperation.

Unfortunately, I wasn't alone when I saw Planesyet another aviation-related catastrophe I've had to endure. This time, my wife and young son were along for the ride, too. At least we weren't at 30,000 feet.

Weeks after his sister was born, we were desperate to give Matty a little concentrated face-time, and for the three of us to get out of the house. A teaser for Planes had been slapped in front of the original Cars blu ray (a movie that once played incessantly in our house). This was a flick that we basically had to see. Originally, according to this teaser anyway, the plan was for Planes to be a direct-to-video release. If only we had been so lucky.

Planes is pretty bad. Almost shockingly so. I'm sure it took years to make, and I'm sure there were hundreds of talented people involved, but the end result seems incredibly half-assed. It's all very bland, very uninspired. It's also very, and I hate to use this word, boring. It's likely the worst Disney movie to hit theaters since the cash-grabbing, Mater-fueled Cars 2 [review]. Truthfully, I was so desperate during this one, I would have welcomed that annoying tow-truck with open arms. Read that again. I wanted Mater. That's like having a knife jammed in your eye and really wishing someone would kick you in the balls, just to mix it up.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

It must be comforting the way that everyone hates you.

My wedding was uneventful. Well, at least in cinematic terms. No one got sloppy drunk. No one (outwardly) hated anyone else and told them off in stunning fashion. And no one slept with a bridesmaid (well, the married ones probably got lucky), either. Overall, everything seemed pretty relaxed. Though to be fair, I should probably have prefaced all of this with: As far as I know.

Eight names + Nine actors = One terrible poster.
Speaking of as far as I know, the people behind The Big Wedding likely didn't plan on making a God-awful movie. Robert De Niro, probably didn't set out to lead an all-star cast straight down the shitter. And Diane Keaton, sure as shit didn't set out to play the same f--king character she plays in every f--king movie. Again. I mean, as far as I know, anyway.

But then again, as every single post on this site suggests, I'm a moron who apparently hates his free time.

This film was yet another peace offering to my wife, brought to you by the good folks at Redbox. Minutes after I had completed The Numbers Station [review], miraculously, my wife tiptoed downstairs to fire this one up. Quite the double header, no? Anyway, she had been watching a shit ton of daytime TV and some unlucky bastard had been out promoting this flick. Very rarely does my ladyfriend get excited about the shit I rent, but this one was right in her wheelhouse. A picturesque wedding and a host of recognizable faces should have made for an enjoyable flick, right? Right. But then, for laughs, Robert De Niro goes down on Susan Surandon three minutes in and instantly we both realized oh, it's that kind of party. My wife? She lost interest and probably started thinking about what else she should be doing. Me? I crossed my fingers and hoped that somehow Arnold Schwarzenegger would kick down my door and put a bullet through my television/head declaring, Consider this a divorce. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

I guess I like the idea of serving my country. Even if I don't know exactly what I do.

Days left until my wife gives birth to our second child. Games the Sox are ahead of the Yankees.
Total dollars in joint account. Movies watched per month. Completed posts.

These were the numbers that ruled my summer, in no particular order. Now, it's much simpler.

Hours till my alarm goes off. Days till the weekend.

John Cusack has never been confused with Richard Nixon. UNTIL NOW.
The Numbers Station doesn't concern itself with such trivial matters. In fact, the titular numbers, though shrouded in mystery, are clearly matters of life or death. The only numbers that mattered to me, however, were 89 and 32. The former being the number of minutes in this flick, the latter begin the cents it cost to rent. 89 + 32 = Victory, for a new dad, short on time and disposable income.

Pretend for a second that you were making a movie. This movie was going to be about a washed-up hitman, sent to another country to wallow in solitude. This guy is a loner, tormented by something in his past. Even if you didn't see the poster, you're thinking John Cusack, right? Of course you are. Oh, but this is going to a direct-to-video affair. Ethan Hawke, perhaps? Well that makes sense, too. He was originally cast in the role, only to be later replaced by Martin Blank. I mention this because while Cusack's presence gives this movie a little bit of credibility, it also brings a ton of familiarity, too.

Monday, September 2, 2013

It's Mexican water, Burt.

F--king magic.

Previously, that was uttered around my house only when the Lakers would beat the Celtics, but I remember one time where those two words swirled in my head for weeks. It was probably seventh or eighth grade and my friend Ke'ala had invited me to go camping with his family at the beach. We'd eat, we'd swim, we'd fish, then we'd swim some more before eating the fish. Outside of the Hawaiian setting, it was all rather ordinary. But somewhere during those days, somebody's uncle sat me down and showed me something. And that's when shit got real. And even though that set up sounds like something I might finally tell a therapist, trust me, it's much more wholesome you sick bastard. Much.

Perhaps sounding like a good idea on paper, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone dazzles in its ability to squander not only a great cast, but also a promising setup. 

Casting Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Steve Buscemi, Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini and Olivia Wilde should have been enough, regardless. Seriously. Those actors, playing themselves, having lunch and just bullshitting about the industry would have riveted me. But an even better idea? Putting them all in a flick making fun of the aging magic industry in Vegas. But, they don't make movies on paper, do they?

Burt Wonderstone (Carell), is a moderately successful magician who hasn't innovated his Vegas show in years. The crowds are thinning, and it seems the magic biz simply ain't what it used to be. However, there's buzz around a new magician named Steve Gray (Carey), who performs his act in the streets. As the interest in Steve Gray: Brain Rapist swells, Wonderstone's boss, Doug Munny (Gandolfini) thinks it's time to reconsider the top show in his hotel. Shocking no one, Burt gets canned, and bottoms out, repeatedly failing to see how much of a douche he has become. Well, at least until he meets his childhood hero, Rance Holloway (Arkin), and slowly he regains his form. From here, well, if you're smart enough to successfully have turned on an electronic device, I'm assuming you can figure out exactly how this one ends. But...then again, you're still reading this...so, yeah. There's that.

Monday, August 19, 2013

We don't all have claws.

If I asked you to name the comic book character most faithfully realized on the big screen, who would you choose? It's Batman, right? Likely followed by Superman or Spider-Man, I'd think. And while I feel each of those characters have kicked all kinds of cinematic ass, I'm throwing them all out on a technicality, as only a super nerd (who um, doesn't read comic books) would dare. Each of them has been played by more than one person, muddying the waters. With my newly instituted/highly arbitrary criteria, we're down to two: Iron Man and Wolverine. While I'd go to bat for Robert Downey, Jr. anytime, when I think about, there can be only one.

Hugh Jackman has been playing Wolverine for almost fifteen years. Ridiculous. And throughout that span, Jackman has dusted off the CG claws again and again and held down major roles in four films, and even had a kickass cameo in a fifth. His latest entry, and certainly not his last, is The Wolverine.

I'll tell you up front, I've never seen X Men Origins: Wolverine. I heard that it basically sucked and have somehow managed to never catch it on FX, where it's seemingly on twice a day. That said, I had every intention of watching it prior to seeing the latest Wolverine flick, but it wasn't in the cards. And being that my wife was due the day after this one released, I honestly thought I'd never see this one either.

Clearly, I ended up catching this, and perhaps less obvious, I'm glad I did. Even if, overall, the film lacks action, I firmly believe you simply can't go wrong with Jackman. Watching him growl each line, occasionally stab a bad guy in the neck, and generally skulk around like an aging gunslinger, the guy is Wolverine. Even in a medicore-at best summer action flick.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Don't play the angles, George.

Of all the kids I have taught, there was this unforgettable young man I had early in my career, Jules. Jules was a pudgy, extremely introverted 6th grader at the time, and barring any setbacks, academic or otherwise, should be headed to college in the next few weeks. Jules never said a word, and always appeared to be diligently working. The thing is, all he ever did was draw. Shapes, lines, letters, cars, ninjas, whatever - Jules would put his head down and get completely lost in his art. Initially this frustrated and infuriated me, as Jules failed to complete anything. When I would question him (or even step in his direction), he would furiously erase whatever he had drawn. Even when I kind of accepted it, and eventually encouraged it, Jules would always apologize and say Sorry, Mr. Brown. I'll start my work. I'm sorry, while vigorously erasing/ultimately decimating his paper.

I didn't know it then, but I now know exactly what Jules needed to help him snap out of it. In fact it's the thing that gets most of us (in and) out of trouble.

Jules needed a girl.

If you weren't that kid who couldn't quite function in school, it's likely you knew him. The Art of Getting By, from writer and director Gavin Wiesen, tells the story of George, a high school senior. George, played by Freddie Highmore, is a relatively shy oddball, who despite being pleasant and well-mannered, can't get his shit together. He's not a bad kid, he just doesn't seem to care. About anything. And while part of you just wants to grab him and shake him endlessly, there's something frustratingly intriguing about him, too. I'm telling you, Jules was this kid.

As so often happens, the tiny world that George is possibly okay with gets knocked on its ass by a pretty young blonde named Sally. In a typical guy-move, George covers for this girl, despite likely never having even said a word to her in his life. Luckily, she rewards his misguided chivalry with some awkward conversation and the two become friends. They hang out, skip school, do typical cool-kid New York movie bullshit, and things seem to be going fine. Foolishly, and in a maneuver that too many guys have unsuccessfully attempted, George shuffles along claiming nothing more than friendship. This f--king guy isn't passionate about anything, except maaaaybe his artwork. Even that he seems ultimately indifferent toward.  But then friends, things change. That blonde friend of his? That blonde female friend of his? Well, she decides to start hanging out with another guy. They might even be having sex. Ol' passive, drifting-through-life Jules George? Well, I'll let you guess what he does.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

This parenthood thing. Oh, it's a disaster.

If it ever comes up, I'll say that I applied to two colleges, though I might be exaggerating that tally by one. If I remember correctly, everybody in my graduating class (of thirty-three) had to apply to the nearby University of Hawai'i, whether we intended to go there or not. It was a lone piece of paper, where we checked some boxes and signed our names on the back. Seriously. Where it went after that, who the f--k knows, so, let's officially label that one as a possible application. The other one? Well, I was accepted right away. And clearly, it's worked out for me. I mean, I write a blog.

As our first movie since my wife delivered our daughter Violet, I thought Admission was going to be perfect. Since day and night have blended into she pooped again? my original plan was to Redbox the shortest friggin' movie in the machine and pray to Jeebus that I could finish it. But as the sweet smell of freedom/gasoline swirled around me at our local Royal Farms, so did the feeling of guilt. I had to include my wife, even if I knew there was no way in Hell she would finish it. And who better to entertain my hero than her hero, right? Well...

Turns out Admission isn't that good. Kind of at all. Despite starring two incredibly likable and talented people like Tina Fey and Paul Rudd, there's something incredibly off about the entire flick. Frustratingly, we spend too much time with characters we don't really care about (I'm looking at you Mom), and not enough time with those we do (Rudd). Fey, who can be hysterical, rarely gets to let loose as she plays the straight-laced tight ass, Portia. Whenever she finally explodes, it feels forced and surprisingly, extra ridiculous. Potentially the biggest offender however, is the the fact that the whole damn movie, revolving around someone who is a f--king wizard with forms and applications, allows a typo (or a smudge?) to knock everything on its ass. Maybe that's the point of the whole thing, or maybe the whole thing doesn't have a point.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Call 911. We got a problem.

In my list of awful jobs, one of the worst had to be the few months I spent working in a call center. Imagine you worked in some office, and you went to make some copies, and the f--king copy machine was broken. You could do what pretty much everyone else does and find another machine, or you could do something about it/be a real asshole and call someone. Oh, that poor bastard on the other end, the one you arbitrarily blamed for your shitty day/life? Well, that was me. And I hated every minute of it.

Shockingly, I didn't feel the same way about the 94 minutes I spent in a different call center, however, with March's The Call. It kinda helps when the employees look like Halle Berry, even if she's got Justin Guarini's haircut. Though the 911 operator uniform is sadly cleavage free.

Anyway, this flick actually surprised me. Sure, it's ridiculous and ultimately not very good, but I went in expecting utterly terrible and was sort of bummed when it wasn't. It's simply a below-average thriller elevated to mediocrity by talented leads and able direction. In fact, it's far better than the shit show I was looking forward to, trust me.

I'll assume you saw the same horrid trailer that I did, but if you didn't here's the plot, as told by an idiot: A 911 operator quits her job after inadvertently being responsible for the death of a young girl. After some time off, she comes back, but only as a trainer, as she's still tormented by memories of that tragic day. In a twist that absolutely no one saw coming, she's thrust back into action when it happens again. Holy shit, I'm nervous just typing this. I mean, how's this going to end? I'm assuming she f--ks up again and the girl dies, right? I mean, there's no way she faces her fears and completely redeems herself. No way that happens.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

People like you don't have friends.


That's what it said on the screen. Years ago, I had attempted to withdraw twenty bucks from my Webster Bank account so I could get food on my lunch break, but apparently I didn't have any money. Shit, no money would have been a goal at that point. I owed bitches. Lots of them. Worse? I worked at f--king Webster Bank. That's some bullshit.

Much like how some ratf--k piece of garbage went into my bank account too often, I went to the Melissa McCarthy well more than I should have, too. To be fair, I only overdid it by one. I didn't take every dime some poor bastard had rendering him totally f--ked for a week while they investigated the alleged wrongdoings. I just Redboxed a movie. A not-very-good one.

After laughing my ass off throughout much of The Heat [review], I had high hopes for Identity Thief. Sure, that sounds pretty frickin' ridiculous now, I get that. But as the Universal logo spun around that globe, me and my lady friend were looking forward to a good time. Keeping with the trend of this post however, it would appear our fun would be crushed by some nameless, invisible force miles away from my current location.

Despite a slew of talented, likable people involved, Identity Thief feels like it's missing something. And that might be putting it mildly. There are a few laughs, some so-so action, and a somewhat inspired setup, but it doesn't amount to much and never really comes together. The reason? As unfair as it may be, is likely McCarthy. Not so much her personally, but her character Diana. This lady might be the most unlikable bitch ever put to screen that we're supposed to like.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

There's nothing wrong with me, Chet!

Ben Johnson, Marion Jones: Track and Field.
Floyd Landis, Lance Armstrong: Cycling.
Every single baseball player: Major League Baseball.

In certain sports, the use of performance enhancing drugs seems so commonplace, that it barely even registers emotionally when somebody new gets busted. These athletes risk long-term health by juicing their bodies with chemicals simply for a shot at momentarily dominating their sport. Sadly, in the summer of 2013, the list continues to grow. And this final name really hurts, not only for the kids in Milwaukee, but for youngsters all over the world.

Theo: Snail Racing.

Dreamworks' Turbo has the misfortune of coming to theaters mere weeks after established animated franchises raked it in (Monsters U [review] and Despicable Me 2 [review] are both top 5 in dollars earned this year). While racing snails are probably interesting enough to entice the little ones, Turbo, sadly, is nothing we haven't seen before. And judging by the opening numbers, we probably won't see again.

Box-office numbers and animation saturation aside, the real problem is  familiarity. Turbo is essentially a retelling of Cars with snails and people, instead of...well, cars and more cars. Throw in a smattering of Rookie of the Year and you've seen this movie already. You know what's going to happen and you sure as shit know how it's going to end. But, it's certainly enough fun along the way, especially if you're sitting shotgun to an almost-four year old, and merrily stuffing your face full of cornbread popcorn. Ain't nothing wrong with that.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

You ain't even dark-skinned.

I've loved standup comedy as long as I can remember. As a little kid, I stayed up late watching An Evening at the Improv. In high school, it was MTV's Half Hour Comedy Hour and Def Comedy Jam. In college, I had to take it even further. I needed to see it in person. At school, we had Frank Caliendo, Norm MacDonald (booed off stage because he was f--king shitfaced) and even Wayne Brady show up. Back home in Hawai'i, I actually paid money to see Howie Mandel over Christmas Break (he was actually pretty funny). One night, years later, some friends and I braved an epic snowstorm and saw the perfect show: Mitch Hedberg, Dave Attell, and Lewis Black. It was f--king  hysterical.

As a much older man, with slightly more money and significantly less time, it appears the only way I'm going to see standup these days is to head to the theater. The movie theater. So obviously, I was pretty psyched to catch Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain and rekindle my long dormant love. Running under (!) eighty minutes, this was the perfect flick to see theatrically on a hot summer day. It was so short, I think I saw it under the guise of Yeah, I'll be right there after I get gas and grab some things at Target. Pathetic Awesome, right?

Anyway, though I didn't head into this the biggest Kevin Hart fan, it's safe to say this guy is a funny dude. While some of his jokes tend to meander, his delivery is so intense and so earnest, he commands your attention regardless. He's honest and easy to relate to. He's also pretty friggin' smart.

This flick starts off almost like a traditional movie, albeit an incredibly low-budget one. Hart and his crew are celebrating their success at a huge party in New York City. The vibe of the party begins to take a turn against him and he decides he needs to get some things off his chest. He insists he's going to head across town to the Garden and he wants everybody to come with him. One of his guys, Nate, really doesn't think he can pull it off. He's pretty sure the Olive Garden isn't open this late.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I didn't ask for it. And I don't want it.

Sometimes, the only thing better than a great movie is a shitty one. If the stars align, and it's the right kind of awful, a really bad movie can be a really good time. Even better, is when you realize that the person sitting next to you feels the exact same way about the flick. Especially when it's someone close. As my wife and I settled into our latest (and last?) Redbox offering, there was magic in the room. No one was secretly gutting one out, nobody took one for the team. We loved this movie. Wait, let me clarify. We loved hating this movie.

You know shit when you find shit, too.
I actually think I loved Safe Haven. Really, no bullshit. It lets you know how bad it is probably thirty seconds in, and it doesn't ever let up. It remains laughably absurd the entire time and actually ends with a record-setting level of ridiculousness. Our son wasn't home, so I was able to immediately burst into the out-loud version of the Are you f--king kidding me? routine I usually just keep hidden behind my rolling eyes. And shockingly, and perfectly, Mrs. Two Dollar Cinema was right there with me.

Domestic violence. Losing a spouse to cancer. Children in peril. Alcoholism. Murder. None of these topics should be hilarious, but in the deft hands of director Lasse Hallstrom and this silly script, even life's most gut-wrenching moments translate to comedic gold. The melodrama is so thick, the acting so forced, and each allegedly tender moment so incredibly contrived, Safe Haven is remarkably terrible. It's as if M. Night Shyamalan directed the longest tampon commercial ever. That description is so good, they probably should have put it on the poster. Just sayin...

Friday, July 19, 2013

The hardest part to deal with is the silence.

I was never Andy from Toy Story. When I played with my toys, I used very little of my imagination. I would try to recreate scenes from the cartoons or movies, hell, maybe even the commercials themselves. But I never crossed streams, never mixed genres. Even when allegedly having fun, I wanted things to be authentic. He-Man never fought Optimus Prime. The dudes from M.A.S.K. never tangled with the Turtles. Those kind of battles would never happen and were ridiculous. I mean, what's next, Godzilla fighting Voltron?

I don't know why, but I just want to yell Roooooobot Jox!
I didn't even have to see a preview to know that I needed to see Pacific Rim. If I remember correctly, when I asked for a plot summary, I believe a certain husky-eyed friend of mind placed his hands on my shoulders and bore his eyes directly into my soul. Dude, he said. It's f--king robots, fighting f--king monsters. So, we're seeing it in 3D, right?

Months later, there we were. 3D, IMAX - the whole bit. And while he left with noticeable back sweat (true story), I left pleased, if slightly underwhelmed. And no, I just checked. There's no vagina down there. Promise.

Look, whenever a giant-ass robot is fighting a giant-ass monster, I was all in. Even leaning forward. But for the other half of the movie, the parts where people are talking about their feelings and explaining their actions, I kept all of my f--ks, relinquished none. Outside of some of the best action sequences I have ever seen, the whole thing reminded me of a less-ridiculous Independence Day. Seriously, it's basically the same story, except Will Smith is now a handsome white guy and Bill Pullman is now a handsome black guy. And instead of the sexy rack of Vivica A Fox, we get the unholy face of Ron Perlman. Though I love that guy so much that might be an upgrade, honestly.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I'm starting to think this is the most spiritual place I've ever been.

In college, I really never had any money. It wasn't all ramen noodles and bagel bites, but the truth is, I never worked during school. I made all my money waiting tables at an outdoor restaurant not-so-cleverly named Hang Ten (where I had to answer the phone by saying Aloha! like a true asshole), which happened to be located just under five thousand miles away. Meaning during Christmas and summer break my bank account went up. Way up. But during the semester? I had to be cautious. Once, one time, I said f--k it. I'm going on Spring Break like everybody else. Destination? Chicago.

That's not what you were expecting, huh? Well, neither was the film Spring Breakers from director Harmony Korine. What I thought was going to be a throwaway flick featuring hot chicks shaking their asses, turned out to be something entirely different. Oh, the chicks are still hot, and asses are definitely shook. But after that is something about as surprising as going somewhere colder for Spring Break. F--king dummy.

Anyway, Spring Breakers, on paper, is simple enough. Four college girls, by less than savory means, get some cash together in order to leave behind their shitty lives at their shitty college, and go on f--king spring break. They head to Florida, and quickly get vag-deep in some insane partying and unfortunately get locked the f--k up. Crazy? Sure, but at least at this point things are still manageable. But seeing as our fearsome foursome haven't got shit on them except for some skimpy bikinis (no complaints here), making bail is going to be a bit difficult. Luckily isn't the right word, and neither is fortunately, but somehow the girls get sprung. Good news, right? Well, not exactly. Seems their liberator is a bit of a character, with likely more than a random act of kindness as his motivation. Hmm, I wonder what he wants?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

She's looking for my balls.

On any given day, there are fewer and fewer things I absolutely believe in. But one thing I will always go to bat for? Context. In life, the circumstances surrounding our actions and decisions do indeed matter. And when watching a movie, I believe context is even more important. It's f--king everything.

The Heat is probably a terrible movie. But in the context of a night out with my super pregnant wife? It was damn near perfect. Shorter than anything else in the theater we hadn't already seen (fine, shorter than anything I'd already seen), it worked logistically. More importantly however, it was, for us, on that day, f--king hilarious.

Yeah, you read that right. I know, I know. I saw the same awful trailer you did. Probably twenty times. And each time, I covered my eyes at the mere thought that Bullock and McCarthy would squat over society's chest, and pinch off the same shit they've been churning out for years. But trust me, even though I initially wanted to absolutely hate the shit out of it, I ended up powerless against it. The only reason I can muster? F--king McCarthy.

Early on, things didn't look so good. The only four words more cringe worthy than female buddy cop movie are likely beans above the frank. And as the movie got started, I began to settle into my misery. Each actress was doing their thing and the script seemed impossibly lazy with an over-reliance on f-bombs to be even remotely funny. At this point, I was literally hoping to get caught in my own zipper and excuse myself. All I could think was, f--king shit.

Better living through chemistry.

Tonight, well, last Friday night (by the time I finish this), I had to get a CT scan. After ingesting the dye/delicious lemonade, I was finally summoned to the inner depths of the hospital. On our walk, the nurse half turned to me and very casually explained that my just-downed tasty beverage was only one of the dyes they needed. I was going to have to get another intravenously. Okay, fine. She then adds, matter-of-factly, It's going to feel like you're peeing your pants. But, you won't be actually peeing your pants. Hmm. Sounds good. Anyway, I get on the table, get my IV, slide quietly into the vast machine. And as I hear the slight whirring of modern medicine, I begin to feel a very strange sensation in the ol' crotchal region. Almost as if just my junk was being abducted by aliens. It was this exact moment where I thought, well, with two kids I probably don't even need it anymore.

Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects isn't about f--king, but it is about getting f--ked over. Pick a character in this sordid tale of depression and the drug industry, and at some point, they get completely screwed. In fact, you might feel a bit violated too, by the time the credits roll. It gets a little bit, um, crazy by the end.

Yet another man I find probably too interesting, Jude Law steadily anchors director Steven Soderbergh's (for now) final theatrical release. I've loved Lemony Snicket since he was Dickie Greenleaf. This guy, for my money, never disappoints.

Here, Law plays Dr. Jonathan Banks, a seemingly well-meaning and generally likable psychiatrist. Banks gets a new patient, the despondent Emily, played by the lovely Rooney Mara. Apparently, Emily isn't coping well with her husband's recent release from prison. As he acclimates himself back into society, she begins to withdraw altogether. With intermittent success as treatment rolls along, Banks recommends a new experimental drug to Emily. And from there, a seemingly straightforward psychological maniacally laughs in the face of the old 'double-cross' and opts for something closer to a triple cross. Maybe even a quadruple. Honestly, by the end, I was so hepped up on goofballs, I had no idea what was going on.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

I counted twenty-two.

Summer sequels. Assuming you loved, really loved the first one, the second one is more or less screwed. There's usually only two ways it's going to go. It's either going to be exactly the same thing, or go in some different direction. In most of the superhero flicks, everything is basically the same, they just swap out the villain. Never before has that even remotely mattered to me.

Until now.

When I first saw the original Despicable Me with my nephew in 2010, I thought it was okay. Decent, even, but nothing spectacular. In the following years, however, the film has honestly transformed into one of my favorite animated films ever. Sure, my son's unyielding adoration of the flick has something/a lot to do with it, but it's also consistently hysterical. While Gru, Agnes and the minions are the ones rightfully on the T-shirts, they don't absolutely slay me. For me, it's all about Vector.

Jason Segel, sadly, does not reprise his role as the bumbling, track-suited counterpart to Steve Carell's Gru in Despicable Me 2. Not even in a cameo. Instead, our villain this time is a bit of a surprise, as their true identity is about a five-second secret But what you'll figure out even faster, is their ultimate goal of destroying the world.

It seems that someone has stolen this dangerous purple chemical, PX-41, that turns even the cutest and most docile things into ravenous beasts. There's evidence suggesting the culprit is hiding out in the local mall, and Gru is recruited away from his happy domestic life, back into the world of heroes, villains and minions. This time, however, he has a partner, the goofy but well-meaning Lucy, voiced by Kristen Wiig.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

That's not stupidity or weakness. That's just human nature.

If you're a hardcore gamer, or, like me, a bit more casual in your videogame pursuits, it's safe to say that games are increasingly becoming more and more cinematic. They're not only becoming like movies, but they're also becoming actual movies. Big-budget games are being turned into big-budget flicks. I mean, eventually, they're going to run out of comics, cartoons and reboots, right? Well, they won't, but - just humor me, okay?

Anyway, with the proliferation of CGI for f--king everything, I think it's fair to say that movies are also becoming more and more like videogames. I'll never forget when I showed my dad Avatar and the old man pushed his glasses back on his nose, unimpressed. This? This is like a cartoon, or a videogame or something. This isn't a movie. Good point, Master Chef.

You know what's better than videogames and movies combined? The book. Don't ever f--k with the book.

Relax, I'm not going to say that the film version of World War Z is terrible or anything, because it certainly isn't. As far as this summer is concerned, it might be considered borderline excellent. But as I reflect back on it, I feel like it was a lot more akin to a really good survival horror videogame, rather than the kickass book it was based on. Typically, the game or movie goes something like this:

After a jarring opening, we settle in and follow a lone character, who has few supplies or weapons, as he (not really or she, no?) traverses the world to save what's left of humanity. Occasionally, we're privy to the unleashing of Hell, as bullets and bodies fly. It's all very intense, albeit in short spurts. Eventually, and inevitably, there are the stealth portions, where instead of laying waste, everything hinges on not. Making. A sound. We solve some puzzles, find the origin, and save the f--king day.

World War Z isn't the first flick to toe the line of movies and games, it's likely just the best. So far, anyway (faint praise I realize). And, it's got friggin' Brad Pitt in it, so it's all oddly legit, even if it's familiar ground. My main concern, without sounding too much like an asshole that read the book ('cause I friggin' hate those people, too), is that there was a wealth of awesome in the novel, however unfilmable it may actually be, and World War Z barely tapped into it. It probably should have been the most kickass HBO show ever, outside of the one with all the naked people saying and doing things. That one's my favorite.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

It only hurts when I try to explain it.

As my wife counts down the dwindling days of her second pregnancy (allegedly, a girl), my son and I have been spending almost every minute together. Matty and I have flown to New England to see my older brother. Also on that trip, was my younger brother, Nikos, and he stayed with us for some time, too. We've been to parks, restaurants, museums, baseball games, movies, bounce houses, play places - you name it. It's been quite the dude fest.

A byproduct of this concentrated time with me and his uncles? A huge spike in his um, manliness. Sarcasm, farting (my wife prefers tooting), daredevil maneuvers, off-key singing and general wise-cracking are all on the rise. And while my two brothers and I would like to take credit (read: blame) for much of that, we might just be the wrong trio of siblings responsible for his, um, inspired behavior.

How can one poster make me want to kill many things?
Every summer the local theater shows old children's movies for just a buck, which in this case might've been a fleecing. Our inaugural trip this season turned out to be the God-awful Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. My son had already seen the other flick (Mr. Popper's Penguins), so I can't necessarily blame him for opting for Alvin, Simon and Theodore. But I can blame every single person who had a hand in creating this turd. Really, guys? Really?

Seeing as the first two Chipmunk movies weren't exactly riveting, I knew this one was going to be all kinds of horrible. Any actual good ideas in this trilogy (bit of a stretch, that) have long been trotted out and shat upon all of us. But, being that I enjoy seeing my son have a good time (as well as air-conditioning, honestly), I took one for the team. At least we weren't home...right? Right.

Look, you are never going to see this movie. In fact, there's a safe bet you aren't reading this post. But if for whatever reason, you actually will? Let me at least clue you in on some of the atrocities that you've wisely avoided.