Thursday, December 31, 2015

I don't think I'll ever understand why so few people care about history.

New Year's Eve is that magically awful place where many of us find ourselves looking either forward or backward, simply because that shiny new desk calendar we got for Christmas compels us to.

Typically, I find myself at the end of December not (really) ready to embrace the New Year, but instead shaking my fist at all the time/opportunities I squandered in the previous one. Maybe 2016 will be better, but outside of seeing my kids grow up right before my eyes (a fine barometer if there ever was one), I have this sinking suspicion that this upcoming year will be one thing, and one thing only.

The same as it's always been.

But at least I get older, right?
Getting older, not to mention fatter and balder never really seemed like something I should appreciate, naturally, until my wife and I fired up The Age of Adaline. The film, from director Lee Toland Krieger, tells the science fiction-y story of a woman (the smoky/smokin' Blake Lively) cursed with the inability to age. Adaline, after a car accident and a series of (un)fortunate events, is permanently stuck at age 29.

Wait, this is a bad thing? 

Of course it is, silly goose, as the inability to age dooms Adaline to a life of endless loss, frustration and disappointment. Due to the sideshow nature of her condition, she lives by a strict code consisting of roughly three rules: no permanent residence, no photographs and no relationships. Hell, that's not so bad, right? Well, I might need to amend that last one...

When we meet Adaline, at this point referring to herself as Jenny, she's at a fancy party with that ol' typical movie best-friend, a blind woman who plays the piano. Jenny, easily the hottest chick in the club, attempts an early exit to head home, presumably to archive historical documents and snuggle up with her adorable pup. Actually, one of her pups, as poor Adaline/Jenny has outlived more than her fair share.


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

I had quite a revelation tonight.

We're all adults, right? Of course we are, as children don't read words on the internet. And if there's one thing adults know, it's that you shouldn't ever, ever look behind the curtain.

I don't know about you, but in every industry I've ever worked in, be it retail, restaurant or even education (shit, what a lousy career path that is...yikes), in my opinion, the less you know about what really goes on the better. Yes, ignorance is bliss, it's true, but unfortunately, it's also ignorance. And no one likes feeling stupid.

Not even football fans.

And remember, those are the kind of people who will give up a perfectly beautiful Sunday with their kids...to sit inside all f--king day and watch commercials for beer and boner pills with the occasional exciting play thrown in. Those are the kind of people who will not only pay an obscene amount of money to go to the stadium to watch millionaires play a game, but they'll even more to have that stadium built in the first place.

I should know. I'm one of those people. But I'm trying to be better. Really.

This past Sunday...instead of watching football? Well...I watched a movie. About football.


After missing two chances at lighter fare (late arrival for one, sold out for another), my wife and I actually managed to successfully enter a movie theater to catch Will Smith's latest film, Concussion. While the preview essentially told you everything you need to know (a frightening trend, no?), director Peter Landesman's film still manages to remain engaging for its just-over-two-hour run time. Interesting? Yes. Enjoyable? Not really.

Will Smith is quietly fantastic in his portrayal of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the man responsible for discovering the traumatic brain condition known as CTE. Omalu, born in Nigeria, was a small-time forensic doctor in Pittsburgh, before he pieced together the long-lasting implications that playing football has on one's brain. And in doing so, angered the then (currently?) invincible behemoth known as the National Football League. Talk about a one-sided matchup.

Omalu's story is certainly worth telling, but for whatever reason, something's missing. Maybe it's that they left something out, or maybe it's that I knew too much, but Concussion, despite a tremendous performance from Will Smith, isn't the blow to the...heart...I was expecting.

Monday, December 28, 2015

You don't meet a girl like that every dynasty.

You know how for the last few weeks you couldn't stop thinking about Christmas? Well, neither could my students. And as we limped headed toward holiday vacation, it became increasingly difficult to get them to pay any attention to what I was teaching them. Though to be fair, that's not exactly something new, so let's not blame eight pound, six-ounce Baby Jesus, in his golden, fleece diapers for their inability to focus. No. Trust me, the problem is much bigger than a day on the calendar.

Anyhow, on the final two days of my social studies class, I decided to show a movie. Clearly this isn't any sort of revelation in my classroom, but I am always at least a little leery as to what I'll put on for them. I like it to be that priceless combination of interesting and topical, with a dash of not terrible

And what I chose? Well, let's just say I totally nailed it. 

Talk about a Christmas miracle...

I had never seen Disney's Mulan prior to the Tuesday before Christmas break, and somewhat surprisingly, neither had many of my students. Being that the vast majority of people in the room were born five years after the films' 1998 release date, it's safe to say this was a new experience for most of us (as was learning anything about ancient China - though we'd been studying it for most of December), even if the formula wasn't.

I'm sure everyone knows the story, but just in case, here's the short version, as told by a moron: Equal parts angry and ugly dudes invade China and the Emperor needs to build an army - quickly. Messengers head to even the remotest of villages to recruit one male from every family. Our heroine, Mulan, an only child, takes the place of her aging father in this new ragtag unit of farmers turned soldiers. But, but...she's a girl! Exactly, and a hot one at that. 

Being that No Girls Allowed isn't only for hillbilly tree houses, young Mulan cuts her hair and tapes 'em down, thereby transforming herself into Ping, a likable, unquestionably effeminate dude. Don't ask him, and he won't tell you, okay?

Monday, December 21, 2015

We'll see each other again. I believe that.

I would have gushed over Titanic. Like a schoolgirl. Probably spread my arms wide and sailed around my dorm room.

Hell, Avatar, too. In fact, I told my wife as we were leaving the theater that day, something to the effect of, that movie just changed everything (to be fair, I was kinda on to something, as 3D was officially back). I probably would have changed the title of this blog to Two Na'Vi Cinema. Yikes.

But the number one movie that I would I have lost my shit/credibility over, had I had a blog after opening weekend? It would have been The Phantom Menace. Easily. I wasn't even the hugest Star Wars fan at the time, but I saw that bastard four times theatrically.

And loved every minute of it. Even the Jar Jar ones.


I only mention these films because as the years have gone by I've fully turned my back on some of the biggest blockbusters of all time. After wholeheartedly loving them, no less. But after walking out of the first showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (and having seen it again less than 48 hours later), I want to nail this one down with as much permanence as the internet allows:

I loved this movie.

Not to the point where I'm calling it the best film ever, not even close, but I'm willing to say it just might be my favorite of the Star Wars films. J.J. Abrams has taken what could possibly be the riskiest directing project ever and for my money, knocked it out of the park.

Not that you need to know, but just in case, here goes: Luke Skywalker has disappeared, and with his absence, any real hope of a rebellion has too. A map to Luke is discovered, and before it can end up in the hands of the murderous First Order, it's placed in a droid for safe-keeping. This droid, the currently ubiquitous BB-8, ends up in the care of Rey (the flawlessly cast Daisy Ridley), a lonely scavenger living desperately and (perhaps?) foolishly awaiting the return of her family. Rey quickly realizes this droid is impossibly important (um, and adorable), and with the help of a nervous ex-Stormtrooper named Finn, makes it her mission to return the map to the good guys, aka the Resistance.

Simple enough, right?

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

I enjoyed the silence too much.

This is my 500th post.

I have reviewed every single movie I have completed in the last five years in the exact order I've watched them. I've taken journals and journals full of notes on both really good and really (really) shitty movies. I've watched films in every room of my house (except the shitter, oddly enough), my car, at work, damn near everywhere I could possibly fit one in. I even watched one at McDonald's. In a WalMart. 

As I often struggle to come up with an opening bit, each post probably takes me about an hour or two (should I admit that?) to complete, so if you do the math, well...that's a shitload of hours.  

My point? It's totally fitting that the movie I happened into for my 500th post, just so happened to be about divorce. Because I'm sure on more than one occasion, not only the contents of this blog, but the sheer amount of time I put into it, have certainly rubbed Mrs. Two Dollar Cinema the wrong way. In fact, I probably could have used all those hours to do something um, a little more productive.

But that's a lot of videogames, you know?

Shocking no one, my wife fell asleep seconds in to the utterly charming People Places Things. And I'll be honest, I thought about shutting it off right as the Yeti-like snoring began. Partly so we could watch it together, partly so I could actually hear it, but mainly because I really wanted to play Star Wars Battlefront (oh, you hadn't heard - I'm twelve). Luckily for me, the force is strong with Jemaine Clement, and I spent the next 85 minutes not on digital Hoth, but in cinematic heaven.

Will Henry (Clement) is a good dude. Maybe a little passive, maybe not truly engaged, but he's a nice guy and a good dad. We meet Will during the 5th birthday of his adorable twin daughters, and unfortunately, there's a problem. A big one. Not in their picturesque backyard, not with their countless hipster friends, but upstairs in Will and his lady-friend Charlie's bedroom.  Charlie, on her daughters' birthday, is f--king Gary. And Gary ain't Will.

Snap your fingers and it's the girls' sixth birthday. While Will is still a good dude, the girls still adorable, everything else has totally fallen apart. Will is drifting through his life as an art teacher, barely aware of the students in front of him. After yet another uninspired lecture, an attractive student named Kat (the lovely Jessica Williams) approaches him, and suggest to her professor that he come to her house for dinner. Uhhhh....To meet my mom. Oh, your mom?

What the Hell? I'll meet your cute mom.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Whoever did this is a demented son of a bitch.

I don't remember when I stopped believing in Santa Claus.

Honestly, I don't ever really remember starting to believe in him, either (does anyone?). But being that I had not one, but two deviant older brothers (Ed and Bryan), I was a kid that didn't have a lot of say in things like what I chose to believe. I was the youngest in the house, my job was simply to survive whatever came my way. Hell, Pharaoh was treated better than I was.

But of course they wouldn't f--k with our dog. I mean, he was a big scary German monster.

Er, shepherd. A big scary German Shepherd.

With an impending/rare Thursday off, I decided to head to a 10:00 pm Wednesday showing of the holiday horror flick, Krampus. Good word of mouth (plus a recommendation from my girl at the corner) led me to believe that this one was going to be a really good time at the movies. And it just might have been, had I not been completely f--king exhausted.

In fact, I'm only asking Santa for two things this year: a good night's sleep, and better judgement. Not necessarily in that order, either.

With a fully operational brain, this summary may have had holes in it, but going at about half-speed, here's all I gathered from Michael Dougherty's latest scary flick: A young boy, after basically telling Christmas to eat a giant gingerbread dick, unwittingly unleashes a yule-tide demon, the pissed-off horned giant, Krampus. See, ol' Krampy shows up to rip the jingle bells off any non-believing a-holes that are out there, and young Max's family is comprised entirely of said a-holes. And what starts as an epic storm and the appearance of some creepy-ass snowmen, quickly evolves into the disappearance of his sister...and even more creepy-ass snowmen.

Oh, and Christmas monsters. Lots of and lots of f--king Christmas monsters.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

You're me, and more.

Dear Violet,

As I write this, you're laying in your crib (mostly) asleep. You've had a nasty cough the last couple of days, but trust me, it hasn't slowed you down. While there's a large part of me that hopes you never read this blog (Dad tends to say not-so-nice words at times), if and when you do, I hope you're feeling better.

I also hope by the time you read this, you've told me about your first day at high school. Or about the first time you drove a car by yourself (assuming they still let people drive), your first day at work, or the first person you kissed. Wait. Tell that last one to Mom. But, really Vi, I've got something to tell you. Let me tell you about...

...the first time you went to the movies. 


You really loved The Good Dinosaur. It's pretty safe to say that you loved it more than the rest of us combined. While Dad and Mom found it kind of simple and maybe even just a tick boring, you loved every minute of it. Though that might have been the popcorn talking, as you didn't stop eating it. 

The Good Dinosaur was clearly aimed at kids your age back then (though at 2 and a third, you might've been a little young), so the somewhat negative reaction from adults was to be expected. Watching an orphaned cave-boy named Spot and a constantly worried Apatosaurus avoid endless peril for 90 minutes may not sound like fun (in fact, it doesn't), those shapes and sounds thrilled you. So much so, you won't hear me complaining.

If you've grown up into one of those kids and never watched it again, let me fill you in. And apologize for failing you. Anyway, Arlo, our titular dinosaur, is the runt of the litter who always has to prove himself. But after screwing up task after task, his incredibly patient father finally gives him a job that he can complete: protect the food. Along comes Spot, eating ear after ear of corn, until Arlo chases him away.

During this chase, things go full-Disney, and let's just say, it doesn't end well. I hope you didn't understand what happened, but your brother sure did. And I think it bummed him out.

A lot.

Monday, November 30, 2015

I don't know how to make this work!

Before the internet, us kids had to earn our naked women. And I'll never forget the day in ninth grade when one of my friends stole an issue of Playboy from a touristy general store a few miles from where we lived. I actually didn't think he had done it, till we got to his car and he pulled up his shirt. There, tucked into the front of his plaid boxers, was a cellophane-encased copy of The Best of Pamela Anderson. It was a glorious magazine dedicated to every spread (ahem) that Pam had ever done. In a word, amazing.

Weeks/months later, it was my turn. While this will go down as the lone heist of my shoplifting career, the thought of naked women was worth a life in prison (ah, the irony of that sentence). Anyway, I couldn't figure out the whole stuff it down your pants maneuver, so I used my head. I blindly grabbed the magazine, placed it in a newspaper, walked away for twenty minutes, came back in, and bought the paper. Danny Ocean ain't got shit on me. It totally worked. 

The problem? I had stolen a copy of Penthouse Letters. That's not a clever title. It's a monthly magazine...of f--king letters. Yeah, they were dirty letters, but are you f--king kidding me? Words?

I needed action. People getting it on (whoo weeee) and such. Not some stupid written correspondence between people I could give a damn about. I mean, who gives a f--k about some stupid letters? 

At the behest of my lovely wife (who doesn't know that story, by the way), earlier this week I Redboxed 2015's The Longest Ride. Being it was a book that she had finished not too long ago, curiosity about the film version had totally gotten the best of her. While she wasn't sure that I would be up for it, she left the acquisition of the flick solely in my hands. And as I loved (loving) The Notebook and really loved (hating) Safe Haven [review], I'm always down for some Nicholas Sparks-fueled insanity romance. 

As my wife consistently informed me, a lot was changed from the book, so here's the story, watered-down as it may be: Sophia (the super-hot Britt Robertson) is months away from graduating from college and heading to New York for a fancy-pants, art-related internship. But instead of doing extra-credit homework for the tenth time in a row (or some shit), young Sophia is begrudgingly dragged to a rodeo. Aww. Lucky for her, she meets Luke, a handsome bullrider with adorable dimples, rock-hard abs and...a puppy. 

No, wait. A secret. Luke's got a secret. Didn't see that one coming!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Everyone in here knows they've seen something special.

For as long as I can remember, my cousin Tony always loved all things Rocky. I'll never forget when he showed me this awful talking-Stallone statue he bought for his classroom, as he was beaming at it the whole time. Hell, even his XBOX Live username was spiderrico34, a fairly obscure Rocky reference if you ask me. And for a guy who didn't annoyingly quote movies all the time (um, like I did), he would manage to work Thunderlips into as many conversations as possible...whatever the Hell that meant (I know...now...but back then I smiled along cluelessly).

Since Tony succumbed to cancer in late June, I've found myself, perhaps foolishly, smiling and glancing upward anytime something crosses my path that reminds me of him. And as I sneaked off to the movies alone, on a school-night, wellit's safe to say that I saw the ceiling more than once...


Obviously I'm incredibly biased, but I thought Creed was a Hell of a movie. Totally delivering on the greatness of an awesome trailer, Ryan Coogler's film remarkably makes the seventh Rocky film feel both fresh and nostalgic. While full of nods to the original (and subsequent sequels, too), Creed's story manages to proudly stands on its own, too.

Coogler has crafted a visceral tale of a young boxer on the rise, allowing the camera to make sure we fell every single blow. And as the literal punches certainly make an impact, it's the figurative ones that really leave a mark.

Michael B. Jordan f--king crushes it as Donnie, a rather determined young man fresh off a promotion at work. That should be enough for this handsome kid - a sweet-paying gig in downtown L.A- but his desk job is likely a cover. At night, Donnie slips down to Tijuana, kicking ass in a host of unsanctioned bouts..

But Donnie's doesn't really know what he's doing. He's quick, he's strong, but when he finally heads into a local gym and runs his mouth...well, he basically gets knocked the f--k out. You'd think this little lesson would encourage him to hang up the gloves, but shocking no one, he does the opposite. Donnie quickly trades in a City of Angles for one full of Brotherly Love.

If only he could find someone there to mentor him?

Sunday, November 22, 2015

That's a boss hog.

It's strange that I'm now the one steering the ship when it comes to familial holiday traditions. Well, co-steering the ship. Fine, along for the ride on. er, running alongside choking on my own tears. 

Anyway, as Dad, the only innovation I've offered up - going to the movies Christmas Day - crashed and burned after only one attempt (though utter failure does seem to occur annually). And as a kid, it was only marginally better.

In fact, the only thing I really look back on and remember from my youth, is this annual Christmas football game we used to hold in our yard. We grew up in Texas, so the weather was warm-ish, and post-Christmas morning was that time where all the neighborhood kids, coming down off that plastic packaging high, would shuffle up and down the street to our house on the corner of Cartwright and MacArthur. We might play five-on-five, but it might swell to ten against ten. It was a pretty f--king great time, the more I think about it, but there was one problem:

It never ended well. But more on that later...


The Night Before isn't about a bunch of fat kids playing football on Christmas Day, but it could be about them twenty years later. Set on Christmas Eve, Jonathan Levine's holiday comedy is a story about three childhood friends ending the Christmas tradition they started fourteen years prior. It's consistently vulgar, intermittently hilarious, and momentarily heart-breaking. But starring the trio of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anthony Mackie and Seth Rogen, it's entirely enjoyable, too.

JGL's Ethan is floundering through his early thirties. Haunted by the tragic events of a decade and a half ago, he seems to come alive only for the Christmas tradition put on by his best friends, Isaac and Chris (Rogen and Mackie, respectively). See, each Christmas Eve, these three guys run all over New York City in hopes of ending up at a mythical party known as the Nutcracker Ball. While it's usually Chinese Food, karaoke, and mild disappointment, this year it's finally happened: they've scored three invitations. But now they've got to score some drugs, too. Well, more drugs.

Friday, November 20, 2015

I used to have a romantic streak.

I'll admit, I'm no less shallow than the next guy when it comes to what I find attractive in a woman. A great body, long legs, beautiful eyes, uh...winning personality, all that typical, ultimately unimportant bullshit. But, and I can't stress this enough, there is one (potentially [more?] ridiculous) thing that will turn my head so fast, it's likely to pop off and roll across the floor in a bloody semi-circle, somehow maintaining a creepy smile.

Her voice.

I don't want her to be able to kill my dog with a sigh, or be asked anything else, sir? at the drive-thru, but a higher or lower pitched voice has always driven me wild. Smokey like Scarlett Johansson, or even squeaky like Joey Lauren Adams, I've always appreciated (/totally lusted over) women with unique voices. Maybe I'm a freak, or maybe I just love good aural. 

But if you happen to sound like a regular person when you talk? There's still a good chance that I will still love you endlessly, prior to ever laying my eyes upon you: have an accent or be able to sing. One of those will do, too. Just keep it at one, okay?

As both just might make my heart explode.

After holding a boombox over my head outside the window of Begin Again [review], it was apparent I needed to see director John Carney's earlier ode to love and music, the 2006 film Once. Clearly, Carney has the market cornered on acoustic guitar-laden, bittersweet romances, but there's an undeniable charm to these remarkably similar films.

But even while I enjoyed Once, that's also the number of times I'll watch it. Begin Again? Turn it all the way up, and put that shit on loop.

Set in Dublin, Once initially seems to be about an unnamed, down-on-his luck street musician. By day, this charming gent (coolly played by Glen Hansard), when on break from the vacuum repair shop, croons popular music. But by night he f--king belts out original numbers. And like every guy I've ever known within a three-foot vicinity of an acoustic guitar, he's doing it for the ladies. Not necessarily the one he wants, but rather the one he had.

Things begin to change when a lovely, though mysteriously coy young woman shows up. She may be interested in this Guy, it's possible, but she also really needs her Hoover fixed, too. No, seriously. She does. But after an impromptu jam session in a music store, it's altogether obvious that this dude has fallen for her. So hard in fact, you might want to just vacuum around him.

But that's when Carney does his thing.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Aimy, I need you to stop being so crazy for just one minute.

As a teacher, I'm routinely forced into situations where I feel hopeless and utterly trapped. Surrounded by strange people and screaming on the inside, it can get pretty desperate, if not altogether lonely.

And that's just in the faculty meetings. 

A few years back, in one of these moderately inspired 'professional development' situations (likely the result of someone freshly Googling How to have a fun meeting!), my colleagues and I were handed a box of what appeared to be leftover scrap-booking pieces. Random shapes of various sizes, sea and farm animals, and of course, a shit-ton of bubble letters made of foam, were all cascaded indiscriminately in front of us. The directions? Make something that represents you and your educational philosophy. 

With a limited supply of glitter glue, a 3 x 5 foam rectangle and all the feigned enthusiasm a thirty-three year old man could muster, I arted-and-crafted three simple words: 

Respect the story.

And it's with those three words in mind that I tell you, quite sincerely, I f--king loathed the Bitcoin-funded Aimy in a Cage. Contacted by a member of the production company's public relations department for a review, I went in to this experimental film with an open mind and no bullshit, wanting to like it. Clearly, we're pretty small-time around these parts, so the fact that I could help anyone with anything would have been pretty f--king rad. But, alas, that wasn't the case. 

And it wasn't even close.

Set in some weird mishmash of time periods, and during a mysterious world-ending outbreak, Aimy in a Cage tells the intimate tale of one young girl's struggle to fit in. No, it's not like Aimy is a tomboy in a house full of debutantes (anything that straightforward need not apply), no, she's just a vastly different kind of crazy than anyone else is. What exactly that means is anyone's guess, as the 79-minute runtime is composed of nothing but strange images, irritating f--kers and a cinematic record for shouting. And screeching. And impromptu dancing


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

We do what we do. And we do it together.

My father is a chef. An egotistical a-hole chef, that considers himself a God in the kitchen, alienating countless people along the way, type-of-chef, er, chef.

Well, according to my mom, anyway.
(Spoiler alert: They're not together anymore).

But for me, while I respect my father's immense talent (and my mom's pointed opinions), and endlessly appreciate anyone that's willing to prepare food for another person, part of the whole restaurant/chef thing has always baffled me. Flawless presentations? Silly. But even worse? No matter how good the meal, no matter how fresh the ingredients, in the end?

It's going to turn to shit.


For our seventh anniversary, my wife and I pawned off the kids and headed out of town to do what we do best: no, not that silly, dinner and a movie. And as I was secretly hoping to spend a romantic evening in a three-way with my wife and Daniel Craig, she jumped at the chance for a little face-time with Blue Steel himself, Bradley Cooper. Oh, and I'd be there, too.

Burnt isn't a movie you need to see on the big screen, and quite possibly not one you need to see at all. It's not terrible or anything, it just didn't have the kind of emotional impact I was hoping it would. Not a tear was shed, nor a palm sweated, and outside of two big moments, the (shockingly) capacity crowd seemed rather subdued. This film, directed by John Wells (August: Osage County) isn't really gonna move the needle. Unless you have a thing for Bradley Cooper. Or montages. Or montages of Bradley Cooper. Then...well, you might need a box of tissues. And a change of pants. Chef pants.

If you've been lucky enough to miss the ubiquitous preview, here's the short-ish version: Cooper plays Adam Jones, a once mighty chef who, after burning every bridge possible, heads to New Orleans to shuck oysters. Once his shucked-o-meter hits a million, he decides he's atoned for his sins and heads to London to take another shot at being a giant asshole, er, master chef. Too bad no one wants to see his impossibly gorgeous face ever again.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

We'll make sure all this has value.

It's really, really stupid, I know, and I probably shouldn't even type the words...but I've always hoped I would break one of my legs. Preferably doing something (or someone, ahem) really adventurous, but ultimately it doesn't matter. I just need one of them broken.

What are you, a f--king moron?

Probably, yeah. But hold on a second.

Look, a good portion of this femur-shattering scenario is your fault. Yeah, you and your handsome blog have recommended me more fantastic films to see than a lifetime of Saturday nights could ever cover. So, the way I figure it, I need to be down for a long time. And not so bed-ridden that I can't function, mentally or physically, just long enough to watch the shit out of some great films.

What about your family, asshole? They'll be fine. It's not like we live in the Wild West or anything.

What the f--k, Bone Tomahawk, really? How does a movie so f--king badass, so unrelentingly intense, totally elude theaters? How does a film starring Kurt Russell, set in arguably his most formidable genre, find itself as something I'd never heard of? This is entirely ridiculous.

It's a good thing I've got Comcast's VOD service (even though Comcast is chaired by Satan, I'm sure of it), so I could track this one down. But it's an even better thing I've got Sati at cinematic corner., whose wholehearted recommendation is why I've even heard of S. Craig Zahler's directorial debut in the first place. Yet again, she comes up huge.

Set in the sleepy frontier town of Bright Hope, Bone Tomahawk grabs you by the throat from the jump. And then slits it. Two smooth-talking unsavory types, after murdering some sleeping cowboys, stumble into a very creepy Native American tribe. These dudes are some scary f--ks, and quickly dispatch one of the thieves. The other? Well, he gets the f--k outta there. And eleven days later, makes his way back to Bright Hope.

And that's when all Hell breaks loose.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I'm not gonna die here.

Science was always my worst subject. Followed by math.
Following long, complicated directions? Not really my strong suit.
And when things go wrong, I'm a big fan of sulking. Like, huge fan.
But the number one reason why I would never make it?

I get dizzy. Easily. And once it starts, I'm going to have to lie down for awhile. That, or clean the vomit out of my helmet.

Over and over again.
Go ahead and drop him off at our house.
While my head remained still, for the most part, it was my heart that was spinning end-over-end. Undoubtedly one of the best cinematic experiences of my (movie-going) life, The Martian bordered on big screen Hollywood perfection. Seen in 3D with my wife on a quiet Fall Saturday, Ridley Scott's latest is the perfect blockbuster. Equal parts crowd-pleasing and pulse-pounding, the film based on Andy Weir's book was an absolute joy to watch. I know they can't hear me scream in space, but can they hear me squeal?

Matt Damon plays Mark Watney, an astronaut left behind in an emergency evacuation of a manned mission to Mars. Fortunately Mark is a botanist (a job title now neck-and-neck with ninja or Patriots QB as most badass ever), and quickly formulates a plan to survive where things simply don't. His problem is essentially a series of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, but with Damon's charm (not to mention Watney's a f--king genius), anything is possible. And leaving the theater that day? I couldn't have agreed more.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I sort of threw her under the bus.

Did you ever read The Monkey's Paw? It's an old story about a guy that acquires a mystical relic (the paw, naturally), allowing its owner three wishes. Allegedly the paw is cursed, but the guy in the story, Mr.White, simply can't help himself. He's curious, and even with the best intentions, things don't end very well.

Now, I've never come across the severed hand of a...monkey, per se, but I routinely access something far more powerful, and far more nefarious. You have, too - I'd bet my life on it. See, I've been burned badly by this invisible monster, and on more than one occasion, too. But I can't resist the untold possibilities, just waiting to be tapped into. 

It's called the Netflix search feature. And it's right behind you!

Look, last time it was worse, way worse [don't click here], but the hairy undead hand of Netlix's website has led me down an awful path, yet again. Yes, once again I made the desperate mistake of typing Daddario into the search bar, and once again I got screwed. 

But not in the way I'd hoped.

Burying the Ex, shocking no one, is a terrible film. To its credit, it lets you know this (rather clearly) thirty-seconds in, but my irrational Alexandra Daddario-related lusting is boundless. While my wife tapped out ten minutes later (likely the longest ten minutes of our relationship), I told old friend Better Judgement to f--k off, and made it all the way to the craptastic end of the film.

The bitterly unfunny, insanely uninspired, Joe-Dante-made this?, titty-free end of the film.

In case you've recently suffered major cranial trauma, and actually care what this f--king flick is about, here goes: Max (the likable Anton Yelchin) has a whiny, tree-hugging girlfriend named Evelyn, who is, for lack of a better word, a total bitch. She's hot, sure, and loves to f--k (seriously?), but still manages to be just about the worst person on the planet. Well, person is a stretch, as she gets hit by a bus and, proving Movie God may actually exist, dies (and assuming heaven is only for decent actors/characters, plummets into a lake of fire) only to return as a, wait for it...Zombeaver [review]

If only we could be so lucky.

Monday, October 26, 2015

On a scale of one to ten, you are an eleven.

It was a square room. I got there first, and I took the back left corner, quickly affixing my Trainspotting poster to the wall, next to the one from Swingers. Eventually, this room would be filled with Andy, Tom and Mike. These were my freshman year roommates. The year was 1997.

Andy and Tom were awesome, laid-back guys trying to get laid...back in that room. Mike, however, was thoroughly a douchebag, with the mind of a child and the eyes of snake. I've outright hated few people in my day, but ol' Mike was toxic. Probably two weeks into that year, I vowed never to speak to him again. And as far as I can recall...I didn't. 

In fact, I really don't remember much about the guy, outside of the high-douche factor, naturally. But as I can vividly recall, there was one stupid thing that he loved to do. He'd put on this particular Disney movie, and proceed to recite the whole f--king thing, line by line, note for note. I might hang in for a couple minutes, out of morbid curiosity, but when the Mikey Sing-a-long really kicked into high gear, I told myself two things: 1) you've got to get the Hell out of there, and 2) you're never going to watch that f--king movie. Ever.

About that second one...

Almost twenty-five years late to the party, I finally sat down and watched the classic Disney film AladdinFor the first time
And while there was still some childish behavior in the room (to be fair, Violet is two), it was more adorable than deplorable. My daughter may not have been interested (for long), but my six-year-old son and I had a blast.

Even mentioning the plot may be entirely foolish, but for that other guy out there, here goes: Legend tells of some magical lamp that will bestow its owner with untold power. Unfortunately, the enchanted sand-tomb that holds the lamp can only be accessed by a diamond in the rough. Apparently that's slang for handsome street urchin. Enter Aladdin, who's equal parts good-looking and shady homeless guy. 

Somehow, this dude gets hooked up with the super-hot Jasmine, a princess not so super-hot on the idea of her impending arranged marriage. If only she could escape the trappings of insane wealth , luxury and beauty, and just meet a guy that loves her for her. Oh, and if that guy could have a rad flying carpet - that'd be sweet, too. 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

I've been sorry a long time.

You know that feeling when you get to the end of a chapter, Hell, sometimes even just the end of a page, and you have no idea what you've just read? You saw the words, sure, maybe even considered some of them, but nothing quite adds up. It's right there on the page, but beyond that? Nothing.

For me, this is an all-too familiar occurrence, as I'm routinely finding myself slightly unfocused, as my body's natural state seems to be somewhere between f--king exhausted and HE'S GOT NO PULSE! Luckily, I'm paid to read for the last twenty-five minutes of my workday, so I give it a go five days a week, but as I'm up watching movies the night before...it's not going so well. I tell myself they were only closed for a second, but in reality? I haven't a f--king clue. 

Good thing no one's paying attention.


Which, in my opinion, is the only way a novel like Dark Places gets turned into such a boring film. Spawned from Gillian Flynn's page-turning nightmare, and starring the supremely talented Charlize Theron, director Gilles Paquet-Banner adaptation of the 2009 novel is a resounding misfire. Even with a shotgun of a premise, this motherf--ker missed by a mile.

Theron plays Libby Day, a thoroughly detached woman, aimlessly drifting through what's left of her shitty life. She's not suicidal or anything, just the sole survivor of the grizzly murder of her family decades prior. When we meet her, she's at the end of line, penniless and alone.

Well, that's not entirely accurate, as her older brother Ben survived, too. Turns out, however, that Ben's the one that killed the family, or at least he's the one who has been fingered for it. And who pointed that damning digit? Libby, of course, even if she was too young to really know. 

While all this seems like certainly enough bullshit to deal with (and enough drama to create an interesting film), it's the arrival of the marginally creepy Lyle Wirth (my main man Nicholas Hoult) that really knocks Libby on her ass. Lyle's the frontman for an underground group of murder enthusiasts. And they've got some questions, and cash, for Libby.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Always take the fancy option.

Ask anybody who knows me, I'm not a big fan of people coming into my house. If I've got a hundred friends, 95 of them have never been invited inside (and yeah, I rounded up from...six?). It's nothing too weird, other than the fact that the vast majority of the time, this place is a f--king nightmare. Toys all over the floor, (dirty) dishes in the sink, (clean) laundry on the couch, and simply too much of everything else. Embarrassing, slightly. Maddening, exceedingly.

But the one guy that managed to get in? The one guy that made himself rather at home? The one guy that, all bullshit aside, wouldn't f--king leave? 

The f--king Heating Oil Guy. That motherf--ker was relentless.


Even though it pained me to break from my self-imposed scary movie month, I f--king loved A Most Violent Year. Screened at a nearby college by one of the film's producers, writer/director J.C. Chandor's film is a quietly heart-pounding look into the seedy underworld of the heating oil industry. Yeah, you read that right.

Set in an early-eighties New York City on the brink of yet another miserable winter, Chandor's film feels simultaneously familiar and fresh. We've seen gangsters and lowlifes before, but we've never seen one so honest, so hardworking. We've seen the sexy and hot-headed wife before, too, and we've seen her get into the face of her husband (and say some really nasty shit), but we've never seen it end like this. We've seen it all before, honestly, but all the familiar parts it contained within come together in spectacular fashion. What really sets A Most Violent Year apart? Two things: Oscar Isaac...and...

...restraint. Which are, coincidentally, two of my favorite things.


Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Death came in instead. And it came with teeth.

When the inevitable end-of-days outbreak finally happens, if movies have taught me anything, I'm totally f--ked. Best case, I die quickly, likely as the guy who checks on a noise and never returns, or more likely, the guy whose car breaks down and is devoured by monsters while YouTubing how to siphon gas. 

Hopefully, after my cowardly (yet satisfyingly gruesome) death, my kids are left in the hands of some grizzled older guy, whose resourcefulness far outweighs his vocabulary. That guy will never show how much my kids mean to him (though they do), as he's too busy concealing the pain of losing his own family.

Look, there are no hard feelings in this future, as I'm all for following the rules. The only problem? I have two kids. That's like...double the limit.

Continuing my annual (and wholly unoriginal) tradition of watching only horror movies in October, this past weekend I stumbled into Stake Land after scouring Netflix for something not terrible. Perhaps surprisingly, director Jim Mickle's 2010 vampire epidemic flick was actually pretty good. In fact, for a low-budget horror flick, it's borderline fantastic.

As the world around them is becoming increasingly unsafe, sixteen-ish Martin and his family are packing up and getting the f--k out of their rural home. In an instant things head south, as blood-thirsty vampires attack and kill every member of his family (including a very little one...for f--k's sake). At the last possible moment, a mysterious man shows up and gloriously lays waste to the bloodsucking freaks, saving Martin from certain death. It's creepy, it's intense, and it sets the (familiar) stage for what's surely to come.

Like these movies go, Martin and the man, only referred to as Mister, will form a father-son bond/alliance. Mister will be hard on him, sure, but Martin will quietly appreciate not only the company and the protection, but the countless lessons/TED talks about how to kill a f--king vampire. We've been down this road, no doubt, but there's something different about the scenery.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Life? What life?

I don't even recall having HBO at the time, but somehow, I feel as if my older brother and I watched every single episode of Tales from the Crypt. While the ten-year-old version of m.brown was in it purely for the violence, I can imagine that my then sixteen-year-old brother was more likely in it for the titties. But before either of us got what we wanted, we each got what we needed: a minute or two with the Crypt Keeper.

When Bubbawheat (@bubbawheat) contacted me to participate in Channel: Superhero's 31 Days of Tales From the Crypt, I just about did a f--king backflip. Well, I'm old, so that loosely translates to standing up quickly...without sighing afterward. Anyway, the task was simple: revisit an episode from the classic series and post your thoughts. If only I could have called my older brother. And only if he knew how to use actually use a computer (for something other than porn).

Saturday, October 10, 2015

We don't have time for zingers.

Through work connections, I got hooked up with a complimentary room in the Back Bay Hilton. A nice one, too. It was Valentine's weekend, and I quite frankly had three things on my mind: getting out of town, my girlfriend and, well, I'll let you figure the other one out. At this point, my roommate had already moved/dropped out of college, so it wasn't a privacy thing. Just ask any guy, it was the unlimited possibilities of a big shower and an even bigger bed.

We dropped our bags at the foot of the bed, peeked out the window, you know, quickly went through the motions. And then? Then it was on.

But as quickly as it all started? It ended. Badly. It might have been a rip, a tear, maybe even a pinch. But...

...let's just say the Overlook isn't the only hotel to feature a bloody shaft.

But even that awful hotel experience was better than Adam Sandler's latest theatrical effort, Hotel Transylvania 2. While I have been essentially the last idiot faithfully aboard the Sandler Express, even in these lean years, safe to say I'm now joining you and the rest world along the tracks. Rotten tomatoes in hand.

To say this movie is a resounding disappointment would be putting it mildly. It is abysmal in just about every way possible. This is the Halloween movie equivalent of the old lady who gives out apples instead of candy. The first film was a surprisingly sweet and delicious Granny Smith [review]. But this? Not only is it bruised top to bottom but it's rotten to the core, too. In fact, it's begging to be thrown back to where it came from. Just check for razor blades first....

After genuinely liking (and re-watching) the first film, I assumed the sequel would be, at best, a watered down version of its predecessor. Less laughs, less surprises, and of course, less originality.  If only we had been so lucky.

Monday, October 5, 2015

And that is why I'll always love you.

If I remember correctly, we were coming back from a Red Sox game. A crushing defeat to the Twins as I recall, the Sox falling apart in the top of the ninth. Anyway, as so many douchey twenty-year-olds are apt to do, naturally, my friend and I stopped at Wal-Mart on the way home...to buy aviator sunglasses.

While I was standing near the registers, spinning the sunglasses thingy to no avail, I noticed there was some sort of disagreement at the lane closest to me. I'm not much of a gawker (maybe if I had my aviators, I would have been), so I just kind of...kept tabs on the situation while continuing to go about my business. Suddenly, somebody put their hands on somebody else, two guys hit the ground, and somebody yelled, HE'S GOT A GUN! 

And in that moment, where perhaps my life was in the balance, I played it cool. Like, I walked away as if I'd halfheartedly forgot to buy something in Produce, not as if my life depended on it. 

Maybe I like to believe in the best of people, or more likely, maybe I'm a f--king moron. 


The more I think about writer/director Patrick Brice's Creep, the more I f--king love it. Watched under the least ideal circumstances ever (more on that later), this found footage flick is about the creepiest f--king film I have ever seen. And the reason why I still shudder when thinking about this 82-minute film days later? F--king Mark Duplass.

Or should I say, f--king Peach Fuzz?

The premise is incredibly, and possibly, eerily simple: A freelance cameraman is given one thousand dollars to help a man create a day-in-the-life-of video. It turns out Josef (the chilling Duplass), has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, and has hired Aaron (Brice) to record something Josef plans to leave to his (currently) unborn son. Nothing creepy here, right? Well...

Josef is a f--king weirdo. This is painfully obvious. But he's a hugger, too. And a very open guy. In fact, his transparent nature almost seems like a mental condition. It's alarming, sure, but he's so quick to thoroughly apologize, even the strangest offense is quickly forgiven. Oh, the warning signs are there, no doubt, but believe me, Aaron isn't going anywhere. Not that I blame him.

Initially.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I knew you were gonna be a good guy.

I f--ked up my senior internship every possible way I could.

Initially, I turned down ESPN. Brilliant f--king move, that. Then, at the one I actually accepted (at a rock station), I allowed some desperate chick in Promotions, to steer me away from Production. Again, totally f--king genius, assuming you get IQ points for being a f--king moron. 

But, when I actually got on the job? Even worse. I did just about the stupidest f--king thing someone working for free could ever do: I kept my head down and always did what was asked of me.

And that's it. 
It's not like I'm a total failure as a human being however, as last Saturday night I took my mom to the movies (um, for the first time ever...I should[n't] mention) to see Nancy Meyers' latest, The Intern. And while we both agreed that it's a very charming movie, it appears that, a week later, there's one thing we will NEVER agree on...but more on that later.

As the cutesy trailer and the somewhat awkward poster make painfully clear, this is that kind of movie. Old people will do things in that old-fashioned, by the book, but lovable way! and young people will be too busy tits-deep in Apple products and social media to realize they're missing out on the finer things in life. If only they could somehow meet in the middle!

Honestly, the entire setup is somewhat ridiculous and many of the smaller details infinitely are too perfect for their own good, but damned if this wasn't a crowd-pleaser. If you can hate something starring an angelic-tempered Robert De Niro and an impossibly sexy Anne Hathaway then you's a hardcore motherf--ker. Me, I'm a bit of a pussy, so I actually had a pretty good time. Oh, and so did Momma Two Dollar Cinema. (Which is good...because she'd never let me hear the end of it otherwise.)

Monday, September 28, 2015

Jesus, Becca. I'm blind.

I had this post started a week ago. The anecdote was ready to go, and I thought it was going to be a great setup that would be interesting, and maybe even a little humorous at times. But then I realized....

...I already told that story. 

Sure, maybe I could jazz it up a bit, present it in a new and exciting way, but honestly, I couldn't pull the trigger. Yeah. The past is the past, but there's nothing worse than doing a shittier version of something you did years back. It's in this moment that I realized that not only am I running out of ideas, but this format I've created for myself? It may indeed be choking the life out of me.

Good thing I'm not the only one.


Outside of a few jump scares and a general sense of what the f--k is going on here?, I was bored out of my skull during M. Night Shyamalan's latest horror/comedy flick, The VisitAnd this is coming from a person genuinely happy just to be near a movie theater, let alone f--king inside one. Well, not f--king inside one, but...nevermind - you know what I mean.

Clearly ol' M. Night is taking everything less seriously these dayswhich I support wholeheartedly, but this found-footage flick needed an edge. Or something. The setup is laughably absurd, the performances peak at not terrible, and the patented surprise ending made me wish I was dead people. And that's without mentioning all the white-kid freestyle rapping, for f--k's sake.

If you haven't heard (lucky!), The Visit is about two teenage siblings heading to their grandparents house...for the first time ever. For a week. Many years ago, their mom had a falling out with her folks, so these wascally wabbits decide to get to the bottom of this family squabble and document the entire thing. Sounds like a perfectly acceptable plan, right? Right.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A perfect storm of really fantastic awesomeness.

Assholes. F--kers. Miserable, rotten bastards.
Bags of all varieties, Douche, Scum and sometimes I'll even go with Shit.

There have been many things I have called Philadelphia sports fans in my life, and quite frankly, they've deserved every label thrown their way. I've sat in the Vet and Citizens Bank to see the Phills battle my Red Sox and it's rarely a nice time. Some guy called me a f--king piece of shit...because I clapped for a third out. Hell, I've even risked my life watching the Bruins play the Flyers from the last row. I don't want to even mention the things I heard up there.

Through it all, I've always left the stadium, in victory or defeat, thinking, these people are the most joyless souls on the planet. I mean, do they really even like sports? The answer is simple. No. 

They f--king love them. Almost more than anything.

After watching the film, there's really only one thing left to do...
Get the Jolly Franklin tattooed on my chest.
Oh, or...go to a game. I guess I could start there.
Thirty seconds into the preview, I was totally sold on the sports documentary, Sons of Ben. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that I'm a huge sports fan, or the fact that I currently live in Pennsylvania (and used to live right outside of Philly). But even if none of the above were true, this film wouldn't be any less compelling. And remember, this is coming from someone who generally hates those cheese-steak eating sons of bitches.

Sons of Ben tells the unlikely story of Bryan James, a Philly guy and avid soccer fan, who cooks up just about the most ridiculous idea ever: he decides to root for a team that doesn't exist. No, not a Super Bowl Winning Philadelphia Eagles team, silly, but a Major League Soccer team. Years back, James and his friends had caught wind that the MLS was thinking about expanding, and their mission was simple: support the team. With as many people as they can. And then...maybe, just maybe they'll actually get one.

James wagers everything he has on this absurd idea of the Sons of Ben, this passionate group of soccer fans, armed with every component of fandom except a team to root for. He launches a website, creates an insane amount of merchandise, and rallies the troops over and over to desperately try to catch the eye of Major League Soccer's commissioner. But even though it's a great story, and possibly even a nice hobby, this film shows us the harsh reality of wholeheartedly believing in a dream.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

HHFF Feature: Ghosting

Many years ago, in this mythical place known as high school, I developed an unflinching love of photography. Not only the freedom that came with walking around like an a-hole and sticking my camera wherever I felt like it (at 16, this felt like immense power and privilege), but I was enamored with the process of composing a shot. The idea in that a single frame anything was possible continues to consume my imagination to this day.

So much so...it's almost scary.

Also borderline frightening, was the feature film my wife and I caught at last weekend's HHFF, Kevin Alexander Boon's Ghosting. Filmed over 18 days with essentially no budget, Boon's film is a throwback to old-school horror (with some elements of a typical episode of Scooby-Doo). There's a spooky bad guy, naturally, but that sumbitch ain't coming out till the very end.

Matt (an effective and intermittently sweaty Michael Mowen) is a college student, simply trying to hold it together. School's okay, but his home life is f--ked. His dad is a drunken asshole, and his mom is becoming increasingly adrift in the throes of schizophrenia. Late for class, Matt ain't (though it doesn't hurt that his best friend is a hot chick, I'm sure).

At night Matt works at a local picture printing place, and after bagging order after order, he discovers the same random guy is appearing in photos from people all over the country. Being that that's totally f--ked up, of course, he goes to his boss and says something to the effect of, you see this creepy shit? To which his boss, a kind of creepy guy himself says, the f--k you talking about, son? Yep. Matt's seeing shit that ain't there.

Thanks, Mom.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

HHFF Block C Recap: Shorts

In what could (hopefully) become an annual tradition, my wife and I attended our first film festival this past weekend. In a bit of good fortune, the Harrisburg-Hershey Film Festival was held on the weekend immediately prior to my birthday, so it would seem the almighty Movie God (thanks, Dell) was kinda looking out for yours truly.

I wasn't the only virgin there, as this was the inaugural event dedicated to celebrating Central Pennsylvania's (relatively) modest film industry. And as much as I wanted to attend as Blogger Guy, I instead dialed it back and went as Random Dude, though between you and me, it was more like Young(ish) Random Dude, as the crowd was more likely born in '36 rather than celebrating turning 36.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Try not to die, okay?

Even though I'm not really plugged in any more, seldom do I get a chance to see a movie theatrically that I know absolutely nothing about. But after checking my phone and clearing it with Mrs. Two Dollar Cinema, I decided to head to a late showing of a film that I quite honestly had never heard of. Never saw a trailer, didn't catch anyone out promoting it.

I saw the title, looked at the cast, shook my head at the rating, and just f--king went for it. Better judgement be damned. Yeah, I probably wasn't the ideal age to undertake such an endeavor, but f--k it, you know?

I wanted something to write about. 


A Walk in the Woods isn't about a stagnating thirty-five year old movie blogger, but late Sunday evening, it sure as shit could have been. Instead, it tells the story of an aging writer who after attending yet another funeral decides to go for a walk. Well, more like a hike, actually. A two-thousand, one hundred and eighteen mile hike to be exact. At least he didn't go alone. I mean...that'd be embarrassing.

Robert Redford plays real-life author Bill Bryson, a nice-enough guy living out his days in a picturesque New Hampshire town. We meet Bryson on the set of a morning talk show, where the only person less interested than being there than he is happens to be the person interviewing him. Bryson has released an anthology of sorts, and we come to find out the only writing he's been doing for the last couple of years has been for other people's books. He's bored, and it's all too apparent that the thought of being at home with his wife may indeed kill him. So he does what any man would do in that situation: he gets the Hell outta there. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Somebody needs to sort that prick out.

While Japan and England are essentially neck and neck for the place I'd most like to visit, next up on that list would have to be Australia. I'm not sure what exactly intrigues me so much about a sunburnt country, but for whatever reason, I certainly feel compelled to see it before I die.

Maybe Paul Hogan milling around my formative years had something to do with it (if I had a nickel for every time I butchered That's not a knife...I'd have a shitload of nickels), or Steve Irwin's presence when I was in college, but there's a certain undeniable charm to Aussies. And that's just a couple of random dudes.

But the women? That's a completely different story.

They'd probably kill me. 

Infinitely better than it's current 9% on Rotten Tomatoes, Kill Me Three Times is further proof of how the ladies from Down Under can be bad for your health. 

Set in the Western Australia town of Eagle's Nest, this breezy flick features a pair of lovely ladies that f--k, and/or f--k over, just about every guy around them. Some of their dastardly deeds are intentional, but for the most part, this flick features a series of unfortunate events, each culminating in the untimely death of some poor sap. And I thought a walkabout was brutal...

Even in a small(er) role, Simon Pegg gets top billing, as his hitman character, Charlie Wolfe, is the common thread tying it all together. It seems ol' Charlie has been hired by Jack (the gigantic Callan Mulvey) to kill Jack's wife, after he suspects she's running around on him. But before Charlie can actually kill her, the unlikely duo of Lucy and Nathan intervene, as they need the wife's body as part of an insurance scam they are running. And it just so happens that Lucy is Jack's sister...not that that really matters. I think.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

This is not troubling to you?

In yet another installment of Not Being an Adequate Adult, I'm really bad at the whole present thing. Like, embarrassingly bad. I'd totally prefer to just give you my money, but being that I don't really have any, ever, that's not exactly a solid plan. Honestly, I'd rather you not get me anything, and we can silently agree that I'm going to do the same. Sounds fun, no?

But then people go and get married. Or have a kid. And then it's time for the dreaded registry. I've got two words for anybody referring me to their registry: The first one's F--k. The second, go ahead and take your pick between You and Off. Either one will suffice (actually, you can take both if you want). Sure it removes the guesswork, but it's basically a f--king ransom note. 

The worst essentially-mandatory present ever, though? The f--king housewarming present. Hey Hon, did you see our friends just bought a nicer house than we'll ever have? Fantastic! You know what we should do? We should buy them something for it.


Last Saturday, I managed to convince my ladyfriend to accompany me to an evening showing of Joel Edgerton's The Gift. Had I told her that we were seeing something scary (for her, anyway), she would have vehemently protested, but being that we're married and have kids, most conversations are a series of defeated sighs. But if there was truly a present exchanged that night, it would be the sheer delight I take in seeing her basically do a backflip during a jump-scare.

Oh, I f--king love that.

If you're not sure from that creepy ass poster, here's the quick-and-dirty. Late thirty-somethings Simon and Robyn, have relocated to the West Coast, in order for Simon to pursue a lucrative new job. Simon, played by that boyishly handsome Jason Bateman, grew up nearby, so this new gig is a bit of a homecoming.

Robyn's left alone to hold down the new house, and as played by the sublimely elegant Rebecca Hall, seems moderately interested in doing so. Robyn's taking some time off it seems, as the stresses of her former life in Chicago are the chief culprit in her recent miscarriage. The plan is to keep calm and make a baby. What could be scary about that?.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

For a special agent, you're not having a very special day, are you?

I feel stupid for doing it in the first place, but I feel even worse for feeling stupid about it. But when I was in college, I remember there were probably consecutive years where I actually purchased the Hollywood Issue of Vanity Fair. Like, with money. That I earned.

I don't know what was so alluring, but the damn thing fascinated me. All these beautiful young people, so handsomely dressed in this super-elegant setting. I swear, I could look at that unfurled glossy cover for hours. And probably did. But when I actually opened the magazine? When I started to really look at the mammoth number of pages behind the pretty people doing pretty things?

It was pretty f--king shallow.

I've never seen a minute of the 60's TV show, but the 2015 film version of The Man from U.N.C.L.E, on its own, didn't really do much for me. Maybe it works as an updated version of the show, but as a flick - a Guy Ritchie flick no less, it's all style and very little substance. I like watching attractive men argue as much as the next person, but sometimes, just sometimes, that simply ain't enough.

Early on, however, I was all in. 

After a particularly groovy opening credits sequence, and a fairly rad early action bit, U.N.C.L.E was working. Hell, I was even leaning forward. But once my eyes adjusted to all the handsomeness, the cold-war spy shit didn't really matter. To anyone. You'd think a script with no less than seven names attached would be oozing conflict, but there was a startling lack-of-urgency to the whole affair. It's like someone said, You got anything else? and a dozen shoulders shrugged simultaneously. The fate of the free world is at stake, and we've got Superman stealing jewels and The Lone Ranger beating up Italian punks...off screen. And those were the best parts.

Clearly for me the story was lacking, but I'd be a real dick if I didn't mention that all the other stuff, like, every component that wasn't the f--king plot, was top notch. Even if they were a bit wooden, I loved Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer (Cavill more, to be honest). I could take a nap in the warm playfulness of their silly voices. Fantastic, really.

And talking about, um, sleeping, I wouldn't mind sharing the top bunk with Alicia Vikander, who looks like she was put together with parts from Jennifer Love Hewitt and Audrey Hepburn. Jinkies. Even though there isn't really a sexual component to speak of (more on that later), I didn't mind adding even a little of her pepper to all that sausage.

Monday, August 17, 2015

And it all went tits up.

If religion is defined as a particular system of faith and worship, I must admit, I'm not at all religious. At least not in any traditional sense.

For me, outside of family and friends, the only thing I truly show a deep reverence for is expression. However it is someone is going to create, to say something, to literally change the world, that is something I believe in without question.

And sometimes, in a rather strange coincidence, this expression? This story?

Sometimes it takes place in a church.

Holy f--king shit. That's what I wrote in my notes, twice, during Matthew Vaughn's epic spy flick, Kingsman: The Secret Service. I don't know why I dragged my feet in seeing this one, but almost a week later...I still haven't caught my breath. And as an action-movie devotee, it's safe to say that this film is religious experience.

Hidden in the most dapper of shadows, the Kingsman are an elite squad of spies determined to keep the world safe from the nastiest of threats. They are a select few of impossibly talented (and handsome) ass-kickers, and only seek a new member when another is killed in action. After some fantastically unfortunate events, it appears the regal Kingsmen have some perfectly-shined shoes to fill. Enter a young man named, of all things, Eggsy.

Eggsy is a dirty f--king hoodlum. He's a smart kid, sure, but with an impressively shitty family situation, he's more apt to dicking around with professional low-lifes, than becoming a professional dick living the high one. But under the tutelage of Kingsman Galahad (a surprisingly deft Colin motherf--king Firth), he may just be the chosen one. But this job interview is pretty f--king killer, to say the least.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

I'm an average nobody. I get to live the rest of my life like a schnook.

I'm headed back to school in the morning, and not only is it the dreaded end of summer, but it's always the moment where I have to finally reevaluate my priorities (and begrudgingly enter back into the scary world of adulthood). I'm going from damn near having all the free time in the world, to maybe an hour or two a night. And that's if I can keep my eyes open.

This is how it ends for the Yays.
While August is what I always consider Career Reevaluation Month, it's also the end of my Summer Movie/Blogging season. Suddenly, staying up late and writing twelve hundred words about Pixels seems...daunting. If not altogether foolish.

Which begs the question, when does it end? And I ask you fellow blogger, do you have an exit strategy for your blog? Have you set aside a number of years? Number of posts? Personally, I've always thought it would be cool to call it at a million pageviews, but at this rate, that will be in 2030. And I'll be 50. Damn.

Oh, but then there's this little tidbit: I don't think I can stop doing this. Ever. 

So, friends, let me hear from you. If you are going to walk away, how will you do it? A quiet smile as you push Publish one last time? Double birds to your monitor in an angry rage? Or in some bizarre fashion, like pounding on your chest like Mark Wahlberg in Fear

Friday, August 14, 2015

You heard Hall and Oates - you blew it!

You ever hear those stories of famous people describing the moment they made it? Depending on the celebrity, this can be a real f--k off and die moment. We were driving, and like, I heard *my song* on the radio! OMG. 

But sometimes, it's this tearful story of when they bought their hardworking mom a house. When they were able to pay for their younger sibling to go to school. Or when they could finally stop giving handjobs behind the 7 Eleven. Whatever the case may be, even the best stories still sort of rub me the wrong way. Why? Probably because I haven't made it, and likely never will. But if I do? You know how I'll know? Because somewhere in my house, there will be something I've wanted my whole life:

A Ms. Pac-Man arcade game.

Tabletop style.

Pixels is probably just as bad as you think it is, maybe even worse. But as someone who legitimately loves old-school arcade gaming, it's not the complete kick in the nuts that I had expected. More like a good grazing if anything. But let me give you a heads up, okay? You want to have a good time? Bring a kid. A (delightfully) nerdy one, if possible.

Though he liked Ant-Man [review] and Minions [review], it turns out Adam Sandler's latest was the film my son really wanted to see. And like the rest of the world, when the people were talking he couldn't have cared less. But when one of those dastardly gaming icons appeared on screen? He lost his damn mind. 

And as his dad...well...it was kind of awesome. 

Anyway, for the rest of you, I don't know, normal movie goers, this alien-invasion movie is a grainy 8-bit dump on your chest. If Earth's fate rested in the hands of Sandler and his crew, safe to say we're all f--ked. Unless, of course, the aliens weakness is overwhelming indifference! 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

BLOGATHON: Against the Crowd (part deux)

Like Tony! Toni! Tone!, Dell, over at Dell on Movies has done it again. And yes, it feels good. 

Click on the banner for official rules and information.
And The Quick and Dirties.
Rebooting last year's Against the Crowd blogathon, Dell's back with what would appear to be his annual assignment. In short, Dell's asking us to fight the good fight...like this:

1) Pick a movie that everyone loves, square up, and kick it in the balls.

2) Pick a movie that no one loves, and take it out to dinner. Invite it up for coffee. And then, after pretending to really listen, make sweet love to it. 

3) In each case, use tomatoes. Rotten ones.