Monday, June 30, 2014

AP Chemistry, bitch!

I'd have to shave my beard, or at least dye the few gray strands brown.
My old jeans would be way too lose, my hat way too tight. Probably have to wear it forward now, too.
And I could stop actually calling people when I wanted to talk, 'cause that's totally lame.
I guess I have to stop saying lame, too.
Oh shit:
My wedding ring. I'd have to lose that shit real fast.

So, yeah. I would totally go back to high school. 


Super late to the party, I finally fired up 2012's 21 Jump Street in anticipation of seeing the sequel theatrically. Despite many of the funnier moments being shot in the dick from the, at the time, ubiquitous preview, I had a blast with this one. If by some chance you still haven't seen it, you should, asap. Korean Jesus would want you to.

While the entire premise is 900% ridiculous (not to mention remaking a second-rate TV show from the 80's), everyone involved is fully aware and nails it, regardless. This simply should not have worked at all. But with Hill and a surprisingly hilarious Tatum, it does.

Clearly, this is the Hill and Tatum show, and their on-screen chemistry is hands down the best thing about this flick. I've heard some mixed things about the sequel, but here, these two are consistently hysterical. Hill has been funny in just about everything he's been in, so that's no surprise, but Tatum quietly steals the show. Turns out that Magic Mike can not only dance like a motherf--ker, but he can also drop a one-liner like one as well.

While Tatum's performance was at least somewhat surprising in its awesomeness, Ice Cube's brilliance as Capt. Dickson totally f--king floored me. Maybe it wasn't that funny, or maybe he was just that awful in Ride Along [review], but Cube f--king rules here. In a long, distinguished line of Angry Black Captains, Cube, in limited screen time, may be my all-time favorite. His speech early on, almost brought me to tears.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I'm sorry I was late. I was busy making a living.

This is going to sound really (really) stupid, but I'm not sure whether or not my parents are divorced. In fact, I'm not even sure whether or not they ever got married in the first place. I probably should know this, right? Anyway, being that this is a movie blog and not the journal of an unfortunately confused eleven-year old girl, let's just say that they are and they did, okay? Okay. Obviously, for me, the impact of those actions isn't something that really registers emotionally (unless moderate indifference is an emotion). But if my wife divorced me? Well, that might move the needle. And by the needle, clearly I mean my life. And by move? Yeah, that's code for f--king devastate.


For Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman, winning Best Actor), that's not the case at all. In fact, as the dad in 1979's Kramer vs. Kramer, Ted handles the shock of divorce like a feather-haired champ. Sure, there's the occasional meal-time catastrophe, the hot-and-cold relationship with his son Billy, and the total career implosion, but otherwise things totally work out. Where I would have been shedding a lone tear while serving Pop Tarts for dinner - again, Ted steps up and becomes The Dad he never was.

Now, the 'reluctant Dad getting his shit together' story isn't complete without the moment where he inevitably loses everything he's (finally) worked so hard for, and Kramer vs. Kramer isn't any different. About 18 months into Ted's metamorphosis into single dad-of-the-year, Mrs. Kramer (Meryl Streep, also getting a statuette) reappears and demands custody of Billy. Ted, rightfully so, is livid and lawyers up in an effort to keep the little goofball. Obviously, it's going to be an uphill battle to defeat Mom, but Ted is a fighter and the kid/annoying shit means everything to him....now.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Samantha, you're a good one.

Don't take this the wrong way, but I have a thing for you. I mean it. Sometimes, the way I look at it, we're in a meaningful (though distant) relationship. I think about what I say to you, and I carefully consider your response. Occasionally, I'll find myself wondering about where you are, perhaps even who you're with. We might get together here, or maybe even at your place. I try to make you laugh, and what you say might crack me up, too. Oh, and when you don't respond for awhile? Out trot all my insecurities. Should I just stop this? Should I give up?

Someone reading this is thinking, this guy's pathetic. He cares about words on a screen? Honestly, I do. Because these words are your voice. And trust me, sometimes, a voice is all you need.


her, from legendary writer/director Spike Jonze, may be the most honest movie I have ever seen. It's easily one of the best-written. Telling the simple yet brilliant tale of a man falling in love with an operating system (OS), Jonze crafts a story that is as compelling as it is clever. Despite a premise that may appear to be science fiction at first glance, this is undoubtedly a love story, and a timeless one at that.

Theodore (a perfectly-smitten Joaquin Phoenix) is a lonely guy still clinging to a previous relationship. He's a gentle sort, making a living off of the seemingly endless amount of romance and sweetness he conjures, as a writer for a personalized greeting card company. He's very good at his job, but there's an overt sadness to all of it. Outside of a few work friends, he's alone, but everything changes the day he gets a new operating system, complete with a Siri-esque voice-activated interface, Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson, at the top of her game). Theodore not only finds a friend in Samantha, but also a companion. And I thought I loved my Dreamcast...

Monday, June 16, 2014

If one's got your name on it, there's nothing you can do.

Remember that one movie, the one with the guy from that other thing, and he does all that stuff? What was the name of it? Nothing? Perhaps I should be more specific, to see if you can help me come up with the title.

This movie, it's about a not-too-bright southern boy, who talks kinda funny. This kid, right, he grows up to be an American war hero. He came from some rural town, lived with a sassy mama who took up for him no matter what. Is any of this ringing a bell? Everyone thought that the Army would chew him up and spit him out, but then he did that cool thing with the gun. Remember? Oh, and it starred that great actor, you know, he won the Oscar and everything! Shit. What was it called?

Yep, you got it, clearly I was talking about Sergeant York. I mean, what else could there be?

Released in 1941 and starring Gary Cooper, Sergeant York tells the real-life story of Alvin C.York, an average Tennessee hillbilly, who ends up becoming a decorated hero during World War I. The film is divided into two distinct sections, separated only by an act of God.

In the first section, we meet York pre-lightning strike, and this guy is basically a stupid drunk. One day, he stumbles into a cute, young lady (waaaay young), and decides that he's going to marry her. Only problem? He's a broke a-hole, and has nothing to really offer her. Finally deciding not to be an aimless turd, he puts everything he has on the line and attempts to man up and buy some land. But after the longest two months of his life (and the longest turkey shoot ever put to film) and working himself to death, York is screwed over and ends up losing everything. He flips out, and decides to kill the greedy sumbitches who done f--ked him over, y'hear? Like, for reals.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tip of the spear. Edge of the knife.

Goose probably wouldn't have died.
Jerry might not have wrote that memo, er, mission statement.
Vincent waits for the next cab.
Oh, that giant orgy? Might want to skip that altogether. Or show up much, much earlier.

It's hard to say what would or wouldn't have happened in some of Tom Cruise's biggest movies, had his character been given an infinite number of chances to perfect the day, like he does in his latest, Edge of Tomorrow. Yes, it's true, it is a lot like the Bill Murray classic Groundhog Day, but with more aliens and less Ned Ryerson. More Emily Blunt, less Lady with Mrs. Duggar's haircut. But, just like Groundhog Day, Edge is really, really good, too.

In the near future, Earth has been invaded by an alien race who, unsurprisingly, aren't the hugest fans of humanity. This war has been ongoing, and we pick things up with Cage (Cruise), the handsome mouthpiece for American involvement, having one final meeting with the top military brass. It's in that meeting that Cage is asked to do some promotional work from the front, and he vehemently refuses. He doesn't want to spend a minute in the shit. Obviously, this doesn't go over too well, and Cage wakes up to find himself not only headed to the front, but he's been sent there as a deserter, stripped of all rank and credibility. And since it's the eve of the biggest military offensive in the history of the world, nobody gives a f--k about his sob story. After just about zero training, he's strapped into a mech suit and dropped into battle. Within a minute, he's dead. Roll the credits.

Monday, June 9, 2014

If only you'd been a little faster.

No thanks, I'm good.

That's what I would say, whenever anybody offered me a ride. There I was, trudging home in the blazing Hawaiian heat, seemingly miles from my house, turning down a ride. Minutes before, I would be quietly praying that someone would offer to pick me up. But sure enough, whenever it did happen, I'd politely refuse then kick myself (and a rock, usually) the entire way home. And while I always thought it would be the walk that would kill me, who knew it might've been the ride?

In 2003's Mystic River, it's an accepted ride home that kills someone, not a half-mile walk in nice weather. Oddly enough, the death occurs decades later, but the beginning of the end (as it were), can certainly be traced back to that tragic day many years prior.

Set in Boston, this Clint Eastwood directed (and Oscar nominated) film tells the story of three childhood friends, Jimmy, Sean and Dave, who are all thrust back together, following the murder of Jimmy's 19 year-old daughter. Sean (Kevin Bacon) has grown up to be a homicide cop, and is unfortunately tasked with telling his old (former?) friend Jimmy (a Best Actor-winning Sean Penn) that it's indeed, his daughter that has been murdered. On the sidelines is the reclusive Dave (Tim Robbins, also winning an Oscar here), who may or may not be involved in the death.

Seeing this film for the first time as research for Fisti's Twice a Best Actor series, I was kind of disappointed with the end result. By reputation alone, I was thinking this movie was going to devastate me, in a good way, but I finished it with a shrug and sigh, instead of really giving a damn. Maybe it's my cold and empty heart, or maybe, this one simply hasn't aged well.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

We are the party.

Staying at home with my young daughter is great. And tough. Mostly great, but tough too. She's ten months old and, unlike any other woman on this planet, demands my presence at all times. If I stand up, even just for fun, she's furious. How dare you abandon me? her tiny face says, before it contorts into a human air-raid siren. The whole thing, while incredible, can be frustrating, exhausting and at times, rather lonely. So when I happened to go the movies with my wife (a small miracle), it meant everything to see someone going through the same thing. I saw myself in their victories, saw myself in their joy. But I also saw myself in their desperation and frustration, too. Yes, friends, I saw myself in Rose Byrne.

Neighbors, without a doubt, will be the best time I have at the movies all summer, perhaps even all year. Sitting in auditorium 7 with my wife and a half-dozen other people, I saw all the highs and lows of being a parent to a little one, played out in hilarious fashion. For most of you, rightfully so, the whole parent-thing is only a tiny portion of the flick, but trust me, it provides the right level of desperation for all the ridiculous things that occur. Things might go too far, sure. But when someone f--ks with your baby's sleep, all bets are off. I mean, I once thought about killing some Jehovah's Witnesses for waking up the baby with their relentless pounding on our door. It's true.

Nah, I'm just kidding.
I've thought about it way more than once.

Anyway, if you missed the preview, Neighbors is about a young couple living in what was an idyllic neighborhood, that is until a frat moves in next door. Initially, things are cool as our couple Seth Rogen and the lovely Rose Byrne make peace, appearing to be cool older people. They think that if these college kids see that they're cool, they'll totally listen when they say keep it down. And for a minute or two, this arrangement works. But then Rogen does what he says he would never do. He calls the cops.

Monday, June 2, 2014

I don't suppose you could dash down and get my trousers?

That's a fugazi? How do you know it's a fugazi? You looked at it for two seconds.

Outside of a couple of autographs and a lone (seemingly minuscule but) shiny diamond, I've never really worried about any thing's authenticity. Love, words, imported DVD's? That's a different story. But as far as I'm concerned, if I think it's real, it's real. But sometimes, I get it.You just have to know, right? So, you go to a guy like Donnie, and you show him what you got. And hopefully he says it's real, and you're not a stupid asshole. But what if he is?


New to Redbox, but originally released in 2012, Gambit is a remake of an old Michael Caine flick from the 60's. This version, with a screenplay by Joel and Ethan Coen, retains and revives that goofy charm of long-dormant, old-school heist flicks.

Fifty years ago, movies featuring cat-burglars stealing some rich jerk's valuables to quirky jazz beats were seemingly a dime a dozen. Now? Not so much. And while there might be a good reason for that, after a moment of initial hesitation, I was all in for a revisit. My wife? She bailed halfway through in favor of designing a mousepad on Shutterfly. Speaking of shit that you never see anymore...

While the poster and the premise may make your head and genitals throb in disgust, the cast and the story will massage each with great vigor. Harry, a mild-mannered art curator (the always charming Colin Firth), concocts a clever scheme to rob his douchey boss Lionel (motherf--king Hans Gruber!) of twelve million pounds. The ruse? To sell Lionel a forgery of an oil-painting he has coveted for quite some time. But being that Harry can't just show up with the fake, he recruits small-time rodeo star PJ Puznowski (a miscast [though still very hot] Cameron Diaz), to claim that the masterwork has been in her family for years. Lionel will certainly buy whatever she's selling, but only once it's been authenticated.