Friday, April 28, 2017

Three is the perfect number

None of my friends are divorced. Yet.

None of my co-workers have been let go or asked to retire early. So far.

But I do know this one dude who was totally replaced by someone younger, seemingly out of nowhere.

His name is Matthew Brown.

And he is my son.


Though the ubiquitous trailer was amusing enough, I had very little desire to actually see DreamWork's latest animated flick, The Boss Baby. But when rain cancels baseball practice on Bargain Night, it just seemed like the logical thing to do. And while my family ending up at the movies (on a totally calculated whim) should surprise no one, the amount of heart and smarts in this comedy just might.

Timothy Leslie (ha!) Templeton had it all. A nice house, a cool room, two loving parents that doted all over him day and night. But then - the worst thing possible happens - a new baby arrives by taxi, and Tim's perfect world is knocked out of its orbit. This adorable little creature, known only as The Baby, instantly demands all of his parents attention, leaving Tim, for the first time in his life, desperate and alone.

It turns out this chubby-cheeked cherub is, of all things, a secret agent. His mission? To derail a hush-hush plan for total domination by, you guessed it...puppies. Yep, it seems that baby dogs have finally become cuter than baby, uh, babies, and the future of every would-be ankle biter is in jeopardy. And with Tim's parents being important cogs in the puppy machine, it looks like in this all out war, Poor Tim's happy life is collateral damage.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

I should be the one that's writing angry letters!

I get it. I do. It may sound strange to you...but I'm cool with it. It's just how some of us deal with things, I suppose.

See, in a way, I also write letters to the universe. But I write mine because I have kids, you know? This dumpster fire you're currently standing in is a gift for them when I'm gone (Dad, you shouldn't have. Like, for real. Stop.), whatever the circumstances may ultimately be.

Yet, even though no one owes me a response, I'm not gonna lie: I certainly welcome it.


Collateral Beauty is the 2016 bullet point on Will Smith's resume of annual holiday-season/feel-bad movies. Released this past Christmas, the once freshest of princes plays Howard, a father still mourning the loss of his young daughter to cancer. Howard hasn't moved on, and we find him quietly drifting through his life at the film's outset.

Personal tragedies are typically just that - personal - until three top execs at Howard's company have finally had enough of his downward spiral. Turns out, it isn't exactly top form that their former fearless leader spends days in his picturesque office setting up and knocking down dominoes. Oh, it's totally rad, sure, but cost-effective it ain't, and they decide to walk the dangerous path of proving he's mentally unfit to steer the ship.

Knowing their boss has actually written letters to the universal concepts of Life, Death and Time (the former benchmarks of their advertising firm), these three kooks cook up a wickedly deceptive, three-step plan: 1) hire three actors to play Life, Death and Time 2) film their interactions with Howard on the streets of NYC and 3) digitally remove the actors making Howard look like a f--king psycho.

Wait, what?

Monday, April 24, 2017

People need their history. It gives them strength.

I can hear Jimi.

Many years ago, when I heard this certain exchange in Ron Shelton's White Men Can't Jump, I thought I understood it. See, the two main characters, Billy Hoyle and Sidney Deane were arguing about music when Billy, a goofy white dude (Woody Harrelson, my hero) claimed that he too loved Jimi Hendrix. Sidney, a super-smooth black dude (Wesley Snipes, also my hero), essentially states that that's not possible. And as your typical (cluelessly) know-it-all high-schooler, I got the joke but disagreed with Sidney. Anybody can get anything, and it was unfair to think otherwise, you know?

But now I'm older. Not only do I know what I know, but more importantly, I know what I don't know. I'm with Sidney. I think it's entirely fair that where you're born and raised can exclude you from really knowing about something, right? But even more telling?

When you were born and raised.

As much as it's possible to enjoy a two-hour funeral service, I liked last year's Jackie a good deal. Like the rest of the world, I was hopelessly transfixed on the stellar performance of Natalie Portman, I'm just not sure I can fully appreciate the film surrounding it. Oddly enough, I was born just thirteen miles from where JFK was assassinated, but sixteen years after it happened.

Set before, during and after the horrific events of November 22nd, 1963, Pablo Larrain's meticulous film plays like a documentary at times. Juxtaposing the nationally-televised version of our then First Lady with the determined (and at times, despondent) mother and wife behind-the-scenes, is a harrowing yet inspirational view of the iconic Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Obviously, any person dealing with that unimaginable level of shock, grief and despair would struggle immensely. But Mrs. Kennedy? At that time? And on that stage? Her response is nothing short of breathtaking. She's entirely (and deservedly) overwhelmed, but somehow, she keeps it together.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

It's not possible for you to be here.

"I time every journey, to bump into you...accidentally..." 
                                       - Franz Ferdinand's Dark of the Matinee.

I suppose, like anything (and uh, beauty), romance is in the eye of the beholder.

After becoming impossibly smitten (sounds way better than obsessed, right?) with a young woman I went to college with, I began to have a lot of official business...that would perhaps make an encounter with her possible. Or, probable. She worked on campus as a S.T.A.R. (a student something-something resource), and all of a sudden, I had a lot more work to do in the library. And the computer lab. And just about wherever I learned she would be. I wasn't quite moving tiny pieces around a map of southern Connecticut while wearing a bicorne, but it might have been close. Even if it ultimately worked out, getting a girl to notice you probably shouldn't be so...

...strategic.

While that girl and I have since pledged til death do us part, my initial pursuit of her anyway, didn't immediately jeopardize her life-expectancy (though the act of marrying me may ultimately be hazardous). In 2016's ill-received Passengers, however, falling in love goes hand-in-end with a fiery death, as two potential lovers find themselves awoken out of hyper-sleep ninety years too soon. You had me at 'we're going to die alone'.

As the megaship Avalon majestically soars through the galaxy toward a better life, an asteroid strike results in one of the 5,000 sleeping, uh, passengers, to awaken. Jim Preston (the now unlikable? Chris Pratt), a mere mechanic, comes to to find himself utterly alone in space. Initially, it's kind of cool having the ship to himself, but even Kevin McCallister eventually got tired of eating junk and watching rubbish. With over 90 years left in the journey to Homestead II, and any hope of correspondence taking almost as long, Jim's left with a tough choice. Die alone. Or...

...kill someone else.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I don't relate to that as much.

Ninety-five percent of my 'professional' career has been in education, so I've only experienced a true office party once. It was lame as f--k, having to make nice with the endless slew of elderly women I worked with. Hanging out with your grandma can be taxing enough - but multiply that (potential) nightmare by six...teen, and I'm thinking all I want for Christmas is a bullet in my face.

But the worst part - and I've said this before - is that I don't drink. Never have. So even the warm embrace of public intoxication couldn't shield me from hours of idle chit-chat about diabetic cats and UCONN women's basketball. Oh, and if somebody mentions a recipe they have, I might set this whole f--king place on fire.

When did something called a party become so lame and uninspired?

And worse, when did 'comedies' about these parties follow suit?

Despite a solid cast and a highly-exploitable premise, Office Christmas Party, while entirely watchable, plays it safe. Too safe. Sure, cocaine in the snow machine, gun-toting lady-pimps and 3D printouts of cock'n'balls may not seemed restrained, it sure as shit feels like it. Maybe my expectations were too high, or my testicles too low, but I didn't find directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck's film all that funny.

But...somehow...I still kind of enjoyed it.

When word gets out that his branch may be closed down and his employees laid off, the bumbling head honcho of Zenotek's Chicago branch comes up with a last-ditch plan to save the day. Against his bitchy sister's wishes, he's going all in on the office Christmas party. Er, non-denominational holiday get-together. Not only to cheer up his shitty employees, but in hopes of wooing a big client who values family over business as usual.

From there, it's just the kind of nonsense that you'd expect in a (bad?) holiday film: lessons will be learned, family will finally trump money, love will be found in the most unlikely of places, and most obviously, everyone will be just a little bit nicer, because, you know, it's Christmas! for f--k's sake. Or it was, as I saw this movie a few days ago. In f--king April.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Bonnie needs his Clyde.

Even though I have dreamed of a better life for me and my family, I have never done what (bad) movies tell me to do: hastily rob a bank, likely with the dumbest people I know. But I have thought of how I would do it...

When I was a kid, someone (allegedly) robbed the First Hawaiian Bank branch in my hometown. Rumor has it that some dude strolled in - never said a word - and placed a note on the counter informing the teller that he had a gun. She complied, and he ran the Hell out of there...cash in hand.

I don't know what came of that f--ker (the next closest town is twenty miles away [with absoluteldy nothing in between]), but I seriously commend this dude's non-violent efforts.  Me? I'd follow a similar tactic.

I'd just do it on Super Bowl Sunday. In the city of the underdog. At kickoff.


Wait. A movie starring almost exclusively SNL alums isn't great?
Since when?
Masterminds isn't about a bank robbery, but instead an inside job at an armored-truck company. Set in the super-rad year of 1997, this (alleged) comedy follows all the familiar beats of most amateur heist films, but cranks the incompetency to eleven. Though the cast is loaded with bankable talent, you might not want to peer into this cash bag. I hear that ink is a bitch to get off.

David Ghantt (Zach Galifiankis, tucking in his t-shirts) is a nice-enough guy living a quietly miserable life in Podunk, North Carolina. He and his bearded-lady face are getting married to Jandice (Kate McKinnon, in full sketch-mode), which like the rest of life, seems void of any real excitement. Even his job is boring, as David's lot in life has him peaking as a super-employee at Loomis Fargo of all places (aka that armored truck company you see everywhere).

Even though she gets fired after only four months on the job, David's (former) co-worker Kelly Campbell apparently made quite the impression. When she eventually hooks up with some slime-ball named Steve, er, Geppetto (Owen Wilson), they devise a plan to rob an armored truck, with love-struck David as their in. It's actually a pretty no muss, no fuss plan, or it would be, you know, if everyone weren't a f--king moron.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

I've gotta spend the rest of my life with myself.

I, like everyone else who has ever jammed their phone in your face, have two wonderful children, one almost eight, the other almost four. These two cherubs are the best, smartest and just the nicest little kids on the planet. They really are a reminder of the beauty the world possesses.

Until you put both of them in the same room - then they're little shits. They make you wish that beautiful planet would drop out of orbit and careen directly into the sun.

And while I'll never understand firsthand what it's like to love/hate (mostly hate) a sibling to that degree...one time? I was pretty f--king close.

See, when I was in 7th grade my brother had already graduated. But his super-hot girlfriend, Dana? She was a senior. At my school. When he picked her up so they could go have sex during lunch, he was on my turf.

So...yeah. I...get it. Because as a fat middle-schooler, clearly I had a chance with this fine-ass chick my brother was banging. Clearly. *runs off to bedroom crying*

YOU ALWAYS RUIN EVERYTHING, BRYAN! *slams door*

The Edge of Seventeen, while consistently f--king hilarious, isn't a comedy - it's a horror film. Written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig, this coming-of-age tale routinely terrified me by perhaps foreshadowing what my life will be a dozen years from today. *Shudder* According to this film, my son will grow up to be a quietly confident dude (fingers crossed [ever-so-tightly]). But my daughter? After being the raddest of little girls? She will destroy everything - and everyone - in her path, Godzilla-style.

Good thing I don't plan on dying before then (fingers gnarled into knots), as it's the sudden death of her loving father that sends Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld, f--king born for this role) into the years-long downward spiral we find her in. While that'd be enough to do just about anyone in, at that point the camel's back was only sore. It's when her best/only friend hooks up with her idyllic brother, that that f--ker is snapped in half with the speed and viciousness of a Mortal Kombat fatality. FINISH HER!

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

How can I be strong, when you make me so weak?

Many people, okay - a few people (nerds, mostly), love to argue about what Disney film has the best villain. While I guess it's fine to waste valuable life time to debating such trivial matters (this is my 623rd blog post, by the way), I'd like to discuss something much more pressing. Like, serious serious business: What Disney princesses I'd like to hook up with.

My number one has always been Ariel. Long red hair, big round...uh, eyes, clam-shell bra worn as everyday attire, and a voice that's either angelic and melodic or totally mute. Regardless, add all that up, and she's the total package.

Number two? Jessica Rabbit. Okay, fine...she's technically not a princess, but everything about her gives me a royal boner. And clearly she's down, I mean, her boyfriend is a rabbit.

But number three? That's where me and the other eleven (voices in my head) lock the doors, and begin to deliberate fervently. Is it Jasmine and her olive skin? Mulan and her boyish good looks? Pocahontas and her...uh...okay, I never saw that one.

Honestly, those three? I think I'm gonna go with no..., no! and no? The answer is actually quite simple. Number three all-time?

Hermione. I mean, Belle. Number three is Belle.


I'm not sure what side of the fence I'm on when it comes to the influx of live-action remakes Disney is unleashing on the masses. While the risk seems to be low, the rewards apparently are quite high, as once again, Disney has broken the bank with a modern retelling of a beloved classic. Pulled from Walt's moneybin vault, Beauty and the Beast follows the formula from last year's The Jungle Book [review] to the letter: famous songs and famous scenes, now filled with famous faces!

Typically I'm wasting your time with poorly-written plot information anyway, but describing the story details of Beauty and the Beast seems like cruel and unusual punishment. Basically, a nerdy girl is held hostage by a hairy a-hole and all his friends until she loves him unconditionally. Sure, that doesn't sound super-romantic nor the ideal way for a romance to blossom, but being that the guy it totally rich, f--k it! There's a part about the girl's cockblocking dad being committed (or hanged, or something), but no one really cares about that guy anyway. Oh, and there's another giant prick that's in love with this girl, but no one really can figure out why.

Monday, April 3, 2017

I'm a fan, by the way.

Seventeen years as the same amazing character.
Seventeen years of routinely delivering the most bankable performance in a gigantic movie franchise.
Seventeen years making sure that no one walking this planet will ever best you in such an iconic role.

Seventeen f--king years, man. This role has a part-time job, a license, and all kinds of hair on its (gigantic) balls.

And while doing something magnificently for almost two decades is incredibly admirable, ending the entire run on the highest of high notes is bitter f--king sweet, you know? You finally knock me on my ass...and now you're walking away? Have you no consideration for my feelings, here? Seriously, I don't think I'll ever be able to love anyone else the way that I loved you. Just thought you should know that...mister. 

I know, I know, I'm focusing on the pain. But it's the only thing that's real, you know? At least I have my memories of you to keep me upright...

Your stoic presence. Your unflinching loyalty in the face of adversity. Those eyes, the fire that's burned behind them since the turn of the f--king century- I'll never forget them. And oh God, that voice. Stops me right in my tracks every single time I hear it. But the most memorable part of the role you were absolutely born to play? Easy.

That bald head.


I like how this poster implies that the little girl isn't an absolute death machine.
While my adoration for Patrick Stewart's run as Professor Charles Xavier may surprise you, the real shocker is how f--king good Logan is. It's quite honestly the best Marvel movie ever made. And yes, Stewart again commands the screen as the near-the-end version of Professor X, but all (wholly unnecessary) misdirection aside, the real star of this movie, and this franchise, has been and will always be Hugh f--king Jackman as Wolverine. I'm almost certain no actor has ever given more of his life to a role in the history of modern cinema. And to it finally come to an end is, personally, two things: incredibly exhilarating...

...and totally f--king devastating.

Set many years after the last (mostly shitty?) X-Men film, Logan finds Jackman's Wolverine literally limping through a quiet existence somewhere along the border between Mexico and Texas. Working as a chauffeur, Logan is doing all he can to take care of a dying Professor X, whose telepathic superpowers are completely f--ked up and endanger anyone near him. It's a sad state of affairs, as two of the world's greatest heroes are living out their days like distinguished veterans of an army for a country that was blown off the map years prior. It's not how these guys were supposed to go, but if they can just scrape together enough cash to buy a boat, perhaps they'll be able to die with a little dignity. Assuming, of course, that a self-inflicted adamantium bullet to the brain is dignified.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Can you stop touching me now?

I feel like I've been down this road before, but since this is a site about movies, it kind of goes with the territory. At this rate, you can be considered a breath of fresh air if you when you say the same shit over again...in a live-action new way. So pardon me if this feels a bit...re-imagined.

The thing about messing around with someone's childhood, is that it turns out, get this, we're all different ages. That thing I hold so near and dear, might be something you've never heard of. And your beloved childhood memory? It might be something I didn't give a damn about in college.

In fact, my only memory of today's subject, occurred sometime in or around 1996. As some of my classmates and I descended into our school's computer lab, we were challenged to try our hand at this new thing called the world wide web. Our teachers promised us this was a place where we could find whatever we were looking for. And the first thing I recall that ever made the Netscape N pulse was when some horny a-hole typed in these three words:

Pink Ranger NUDE.

While I remember the ensuing (and very pixelated, uh, when it was instantly printed) image quite vividly, I'm can't exactly recall if they used all caps on the n word. But when it comes to my enjoyment of the re-imagined version Power Rangers, please excuse me if I turn on Caps Lock the rest of the way (and type the rest of this review with my johnson), even if doesn't feature a topless chick.

At the behest of my phone promising me buy 1 get 1 free tickets, not to mention a bored seven year-old boy at home, I essentially had to see this movie. And while I thought it might be decent enough (the early reviews weren't kind) to snicker at behind a bucket of popcorn, let me go on the record as saying I f--king loved this movie. It might not be for everyone, Hell, anyone, but it was tailor-made for dads to take their young sons, too. *squeals*

After a jarringly-intense opening, Power Rangers quickly becomes a re-imagining of The Breakfast Club, versus the lame Voltron ripoff you might've been anticipating. A bunch of (supposedly) do-nothing kids are lumped together in Saturday detention, likely counting the days until they can leave this town forever, man! *flicks cigarette, er, e-cigarette* Quickly, our main crew is established: Misunderstood Jock, Hot Chick, Weird Chick, Quiet Asian Guy w/ Sick Mom, Funny Autistic Dude/Black Guy/the Nerdy One...and we're off.

Sort of.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Rach, I don't think you're helping anybody.

For most of my adult life, work has been at least a forty-five minute commute. By car. And being that I'm a (shitty) teacher, the idea of living close enough to walk to school is the stuff of nightmares. So in that regard, I enjoy the time behind the wheel. In theory.

The reason I mention this, is the last film I saw made me realize that I have never been a fixture on public transportation. F--k the bus in it's stinky ass, but the only steady train ride that ever became something resembling old hat, was when my cousin and I would take the T to Red Sox games all summer.

When I wasn't fantasizing about a Sox victory, or getting Rebecca DeMornay'd in a tunnel, I would stare out the window, enviously longing to live along the Green Line. There was this one typical New England house in particular I always had a boner (that should read bonah, or wicked haad on) for: the one with the basketball hoop. I'd imagine shooting jumpers on that sumbitch, draining threes as people on the train were awed by my Bird-like skills. It would be the coolest shit ever, likely prompting a sexy young co-ed to de-board and repeatedly box me out. The drawback?

I always imagined my errant shots getting crushed by a train.

Oh, speaking of a train smashing my balls and ruining my idea of a good time, what the f--k is with the cinematic adaptation of The Girl on a Train? While I didn't read the book it was based on (it was all I could do to not passionately murder those desperate to recommend it), when it comes to f--king up a good book with a bad movie, my uh, spider sense is tingling. With the novel, I'm gonna go out on a limb in assuming you actually wanted to find out what happened next, right? Or is that a stretch?

Because what is certainly a stretch of many things (including my attention span), is about four-fifths of what's presented in director Tate Taylor's 2016 'thriller'. Set along the idyllic Metro-North line, the story takes us through the bizarre journey of Rachel Watson (Emily Blunt, always looking like yes, she yet again shat her pants), a seemingly bored woman obsessing over the lives of the people living along the tracks of her commute.

While that I could potentially swallow, these aren't just random people that live their lives as Watson chugs by at a speed typically reserved for Roombas. Instead these passionate individuals are all inexplicably linked to one another...on the same f--king street. And at time, in the same f--king house. It's so incredibly stupid, even as a someone who doesn't drink, I was thinking I should ask my wife, you wanna do some shots? Liven this f--ker up a little?


Friday, March 24, 2017

You here now, that's all that matters.

Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck. 

- Joss Whedon

Knowing what I know, and working where I workI'm very much on the fence of fully supporting the notion that we should all be ourselves. Sure, living a life that isn't yours seems to be nothing short of tragic, but have you spoken to some of these motherf--kers walking the planet these days? They're terrible human beings. Like, the absolute worst. And trust me, anytime someone announces that's just the way I am, it's usually code for I'm an unapologetic dickhead, and I could quite honestly give a f--k about you or anyone else.

So, again, I'd like to support you being you...but, uh, like my man Jospeh Hill Wheldon says, not if you're a shitty person.

No lie, this one gets my vote for top 5 posters ever. 
As the main character of the Oscar-winning Moonlight, Chiron isn't a shitty person, but instead appears to be a good person dealt a shitty hand (perhaps the shittiest of hands, frankly). The film, broken into distinct acts, chronicles Chiron's life at three pivotal moments: adolescence, high-school, and adulthood. In these stunningly captured scenes, we're given a window into the broken life of a little boy as he tries to navigate the depths of poverty, drug-addiction and homosexuality.

Alone.

While not quite the relentless gut-punch that was Manchester by the Sea [review], Moonlight instead breaks your heart just as quietly, but on a much larger scale. For Lee, it was essentially a singular incident that ruined his life. But for Chiron, his life is a mess for countless reasons, any of which could destroy a little kid. But piling them all together? It's so f--king one-sided, it's not even funny. And what's worse, it's likely a situation that is mirrored all over this godforsaken country. Hell, even if Chiron didn't have narrow-ass shoulders, the weight of the world this young man carries would still drive him straight into the warm ground of southern Florida.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

When something terrible happens, what does he do? Fends for himself, he does.

I don't care what country you're from, in the streets, you gotta be careful, you know? All kinds of bad things can happen out there. You need to keep your eyes open, stay sharp, or frosty. Or both. And if things get really bad, you might even have to call in the Regulators and mount up. Assuming, of course,  someone interferes with the consumption of evening skirts.

And there's one street in particular, where you better be extra cautious, because you can end up on your butt before you even know what hit you. One street that's in my neighborhood, and yours too. It's quite possibly the toughest street of all.

It's called Memory Lane.

After inexplicably (to her) having to drag me to the movies (this is the first time in the history of my life this has happened, I'll admit), my wife was fairly (and surprisingly) pissed that I didn't love one of her all-time favorites, Mary Poppins. Showing downtown for one night only!, the Saturday night screening was the first time I had ever laid eyes upon Disney's beloved, fifty-three year old classic, and while this is apparently blasphemy, I thought it was terrible.

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Before you punch your screen in the face, put down those lube-covered bed knobs and broomsticks and hear me out, will ya (wrong movie, right?)? This is not a movie I was indoctrinated into by the unquestioning dead-eyed, smiling Disney humanoids you likely call(ed) parents. My folks had no known reverence for any of the flicks from Walt's vault. My older brothers showed me the classics. And it wasn't a spoonful of sugar that made the medicine go down. It was friggin' Rocky fighting Apollo, microwaving Gremlins, or a dancing Ferris Bueller that made me feel better, you know?

I didn't even spill my Kool-Aid, dammit. I wasn't offered any in the first place.


Sunday, March 19, 2017

What God made these things?

Work can easily be the death of you.

Maybe you hate your job so much, showing up everyday kills you just a little bit at a time. You know, death by a thousand cuts.

Maybe it's not your soul that's at risk, but that your sorry ass may actually die on the job. Be it explosion, exhaustion, or some sad combination of the two, for some of us, being stretchered out of the office is a distinct possibility. And worse, no one will ever give a f--k that you were offed, on the clock, outside of your hungry, miserable family.

Or maybe, just maybe, you'll actually finish the job, and even get paid handsomely, but the final project will be so bad (or so insignificant), you'd simply wish you were dead.

Matt Damon's face. Selling tickets for over two decades.
In ancient China, workers that died during the construction of the Great Wall allegedly had their corpses tossed into the f--king thing. And for a minute there, it seemed like Matt Damon's career would meet a similar fate in his own version of that 5,500 foot long behemoth. Routinely derided by Jimmy Kimmel during the Oscars, Damon's decision to make the Chinese ponytail movie instead of Manchester by the Sea [review], feels like a legend that may haunt the actor for years to come.

But let me be clear (for a change), it ain't that bad. And all bullshit aside, I kind of liked it actually.

Sure, The Great Wall isn't a good movie, at all, but with the right expectations, it isn't a bad time. In fact, I was alone in the f--king theater, and still managed to have a lot of fun. But then again, when you take your pants all the way off, smiles are pretty much guaranteed. Or awkward cringes...but whatever.

Damon plays William, a (possibly Irish) mercenary schlepping around ancient China with a ragtag crew of dirty European bastards. While they could all use a bath and haircut, instead it's the acquisition of black powder that tops their to-do list. Unfortunately, after a campfire run-in with am indecipherable green monster, William's crew has gone from a wild bunch to a hairy pair. And after William murders the f--king thing that took his men, he and his buddy Tovar need to get the f--k out of Dodge, asap. If only this giant f--king wall wasn't in the way.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Now you're in the sunken place.

When I finally went home to meet my then-girlfriend's family, I think we had already softened the blow by a neutral-ground introduction beforehand. Maybe. [F--k, the timeline's all jumbled in my head, and I'm not up for losing another conversation at the moment, so let's just proceed accordingly]

Anyway, when I (possibly) first met her parents, it was in a hospital recovery room of all places, where her father had just gotten out of surgery. Conversation was tough, but we could always fall back on ye ol' So, you're doing okay, sir? bit of friendliness. It was a solid distraction, as opposed to the knowing glance of So, you're the guy who's f--king our daughter? But outside of that tiny elephant in the room, everything else was easy-peasy, you know? I mean...

...we we all white together, got along just fine. I mean right. We were alright together.

Prior to hauling ass out of town for a romantic weekend, er, Saturday, I strong-armed my wife into accompanying me to that dreamy rom-com lighting up the silver screen, Jordan Peele's smash hit, Get Out. Fine, it may not be a contemporary version of Meet the Parents (as I tried to sell it), but she didn't need to know that. Had she caught wind that it was scary, I never would have got her to go.

But after her spider-sense tingled, she sneaked off into the kitchen to watch the preview on her phone (insert Muldoon's Clevah Gurl), and I was sunk. 

At least initially.

Like any guy trying to get a girl to do something she doesn't think she'll enjoy (in my case, marry me), I didn't give up. And as we sat down in Auditorium 7, she had already psyched herself out. When I tell you she jumped early on, let me be clear: not just one cheek, not one and a half, no. Her (sweet) ass entirely left the seat. On more than one occasion. 

Chris is a good dude, holding it down in the city as a photographer specializing in, you guessed it, black and whites. Rose, well I'm not sure what the f--k she does, is his girlfriend, and when we catch up with them, they're just about headed out the door for a romantic weekend of their own. But instead of a blustery Baltimore like me and my lady-friend, they are instead headed upstate to her childhood home, er, family estate, to meet her parents. While most guys might be thinking I wonder if her Pops is gonna like me?, Chris is locked in on, Does her dad know I'm black? Rose assures him, it won't be a thing. Or a thang.

Uh, about that...

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Murder is the worst sin of all.

Depending on the situation, I'm not sure what makes one person a hero, yet another person a total f--king moron. Is it the intent? Or the result? Or something else entirely?

Let's look at that classic scene in Jurassic Park, for example, when the T-Rex breaks out of its pen during the storm. Lawyer Guy runs out of the truck and hides in the bathroom, negating any hero status off the bat. He leaves the kids behind, hiding on the shitter like a little bitch. (Way too many minutes later) Dr. Grant steps in, and using his vast knowledge of ancient beasts, leads the T-Rex away with a flare fastballed into the jungle, momentarily cementing his hero status. But then, of course, the misguided yet sexy Dr. Ian Malcolm attempts an act of bravery, and basically f--ks up everything. He not only locks in his status as not a hero, but he quickly becomes an accessory to murder, which in most cases is most unheroic.

See, so what I'm saying is, the difference between bravery and stupidity (and to an extent, selfishness)

Yeah, I have no f--king clue.

It's been a few weeks since I've seen the Oscar-nominated Hacksaw Ridge, and it'll likely take me a lot longer to decide whether or not real-life protagonist Desmond Doss did something really, really stupid, or really, really brave. Honestly the answer's pretty straightforward (this guy's got balls the size of boulders, for f--k's sake), but had it ended a different way...it might've been hard to defend what he did. But what I can say rather definitively, is that Mel Gibson's latest is a Hell of a movie.

When he was a little kid, Desmond almost killed his brother in a seemingly insignificant front-yard scrap. Rightfully so, this event fully changes the course of the rest of his life, and he takes the Thou shalt not kill commandment to heart. For the rest of his life, Desmond will never, ever hurt another soul. He will never touch a gun, never fire a bullet. Seems reasonable, right? Right.

Until he enlists in United States Army. During f--king World War II.

Desmond is an amazing person, and possibly even a better American, as he patently refuses to sit out the war (despite his oath to never kill). The other young men in town are going, and he reckons it's his duty to go, too, despite what his parents or his bride-to-be insist. War is Hell, they'll tell Desmond, especially if you refuse to defend yourself. 


Saturday, March 11, 2017

I'm just a backup.

If you don't have kids, in a way, I totally envy you. You and all your disposable income are bound by nothing. You can come and go as you please, do basically whatever the f--k you want. Oh, and don't even attempt to mention your cat or dog as a burden, okay f--ker? No one (with kids) cares.

But, in a weird way, though I would never say this to your handsome face, I also feel bad for you. Sure, doing whatever, whenever (and to an extent, whomever) you please, absolutely f--king rules, but holy shit, man...no kids? Really? Ever? You're hardcore.

If you have kids, on the other hand, there's nothing that needs to be said. You've been to the puppet show, you've seen the strings. You know all about the highs and lows of raising/managing those lovable little bastards. I could tell you it's the most rewarding/thankless job on the planet, but I'd just be wasting everyone's time. I'll just give you a silent nod and keep it moving, because we both probably have some shit to do.

But if you had kids? There's nothing I could ever say to you. Nothing I would ever say to you. In fact, I might give you a pass on just about everything you'd do from that terrible moment on. Including being an aimless drifter, just trying to get by.

Near the top of my personal 'movies I loved...but never, ever want to see again' list.
I had heard the legend of Manchester by the Sea, heard all about how depressing a film it was, and thought I was prepared for an emotional story. But after I found myself sobbing yet again, tears quietly streaming down my face, I realized this film was about the thing that terrifies me more than anything. Typically, seeing a father die in a film makes me brood over own mortality (perhaps even the inevitable death of my own father), but in Sea, it's an entirely different feeling. And frankly, I couldn't shake it. And maybe still haven't.

Casey Affleck plays Lee Chandler, a quiet man floating through the drudgery of an invisible life just outside of Boston. You might assume that he's unhappy about his lot, but the more we get to know Lee, the more we realize this is exactly the way he wants it to be. He's alive, but might as well be buried, as his days being a handyman likely peak with an evening drink and a bar fight.

Even the death of Lee's beloved older brother, Joe (Kyle Chandler), isn't enough to shake him, and he perfunctorily heads north to the hospital morgue. Joe had his affairs in order, for the most part, with only one glaring omission: who was going to take care of his 16 year-old son, Patrick. Maybe everyone else knew it was always going to be Lee when Joe passed, but this is news to his baby brother. Awful news.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

That kind of pressure's not helpful.

Although it pains me to admit it, I've probably ordered a half-dozen items from QVC in the thirty-seven years I've wandered this planet. Of the two orders I can actually recall, one was a four pack of kick ass NIKE posters that upon their arrival, I immediately thumb-tacked to my bedroom wall (the crown jewel of the set being that MJ from the free-throw line pic).

The other order I vividly remember, was an autographed David Justice rookie card. I didn't even like David Justice, or the Atlanta Braves, but for whatever reason I was so utterly compelled by what they were saying, I raced upstairs and begged my mom to pull the trigger. It was 'only' seventy dollars, and it was guaranteed to be authentic.

Because, you know, authenticity is everything.

I wasn't exactly stoked to see David O. Russell's 2015 directorial effort, Joy, when my wife and I fired it up a few weeks back. It wasn't that I've kind of soured on the whole Russell/Cooper/Lawrence thing like some of you, but more about the fact that I loathe fake stories about real people. 

[uh, that, and the fact that everything Russell makes lately seems to absolutely reek of Scorsese (which the trailer fully conveyed]

While I had heard some talk about the movie being overrated (which I could give a damn about, honestly, as it's a year after the fact), what really chapped  my ass was the whole idea of basing a mostly-fictional character off of an entirely real person. I know, I can hear myself, and you're right, I sound like an asshole. But see, what made this movie intermittently compelling, was the idea that this shit actually happened!

Turns out, however, that most of the time? Well...that shit didn't happen. At all. Or at least not in the way we're led to believe.

But letting that go, and the whole Yeah, Dave, I've seen Goodfellas a million times, too aspect, there is some joy to be had watching this flick. Assuming of course, you're a fan of Jennifer Lawrence, as her performance here is easily the best of her career. Fine, second best. She was the bomb in House at the End of the Street, yo [review].

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Mt. Rushmore of Movies '17 LINKS

To honor the great leaders of this country, uh, the Presidents (I know, I was thinking handsome people who get paid to tell stories, too), I resurrected a blogathon idea from 2014 affectionately known as The Mount Rushmore of Movies. Last time, we had an excellent turnout, with great writers at great blogs crafting, you guessed it, great monuments. 

In this installment, some people have actually crafted their second monument, meaning they've been kicking rocks past this dump for years. These are some of the best people I have never met. But it's not just those sexy (and mysterious) individuals I'd like to acknowledge today, as many other fine authors also contributed as well.

Below, in the order I read the entries, are links to each of the blogs that submitted a post to the 2017 version of The Mt. Rushmore of Movies. Please visit and support these sites, as everyone really delivered this year, and it might help them recoup their $200 entry fee. You guys read the terms, right? 


CLICK ON THE BANNERS TO VISIT THE MONUMENTS

created by: Sati
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of Ed Harris characters
Materials: Soul-piercing eyes and quiet intensity
When visiting: Leave your wife in the car, and make sure you don't litter, graffiti, of any kind of general disrespect. (the park ranger, after unleashing a scream that only dogs can hear, will f--king murder you)


created by: Dell
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of Mt. Rushmore scene
Materials: laziness, brilliance, superheroes and Cock. 
When visiting: Get the camera ready, because those faces might not be there long...

created by: Mettel Ray
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of Four Characters with Great Beards
Materials: Testosterone, invisible jawlines
When visiting: Hands to yourselves, ladies.


created by: Sonia
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of Food Scenes
Materials: Hungry Elves, Abiding Dudes and lots of carbs
When visiting: Come hungry as the menu truly has something for everybody, assuming you're not lactose intolerant...or afraid of lobsters.


created by: Allie
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of Movie Cameos
Materials: actors who don't take themselves too seriously, bad wigs and good times
When visiting: Stay off the internet beforehand, you f--king killjoy! And when you leave, keep your damn mouth shut before Cena puts his foot in it.



created by: Brittani
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of 'Modern' Musicals that are not La La Land
Materials: Anna Kendrick, unrequited love and spontaneity
When visiting: Be quiet, please. No one wants to hear you sing (along)


created by: Big Screen, Small Words
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of Romantic Comedy Leads from the 21st Century
Materials: Big smiles, full hearts
When visiting: Try not to say awww too much.


created by: Dan
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of Movies Where the Romantic Leads Don't End up Together
Materials: Jerk writers, a healthy dose of reality and a deluge of audience tears.
When visiting: Bring tissues. Lots of tissues.

created by: Drew
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of Great Opening Scenes
Materials: Immediate intensity and perspiration
When visiting: Find your seats immediately, as tardiness will have major consequences.

created by: Steph
Monument: The Mt. Rushmore of Movies about Print Journalism
Materials: Facts, an honorable desire to share/uncover the truth
When visiting: Make sure to pack three things: spellcheck, caffeine (it's gonna be a late night) and a rolled up, long-sleeved dress shirt.

Thanks again to the great blogs that participated. You guys and your great sites all combine into one massive, sundress-wearing Helen Hunt. Meaning?

You make me want to be a better man. 

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Is this some kind of bust?

A special thanks to my wife (and her boobs) for making this rad banner.
I resurrected The Mt. Rushmore of Movies as a way to once again share something with the fantastic group of bloggers I write with (and frankly, for). Three years ago, I wanted to pay tribute to them with a monument built to being a clutch neighbor. Those fellow bloggers, in my mind, were the cinematic equivalent of people who would undoubtedly lend you a cup of sugar (that sounds waaaaaay dirtier than in should), and I wanted to honor that bond. To this day, I truly value them because they inspire me to keep going when I think I should just pack it in. Hell, sometimes it's feels like I borderline love them.

[insert Happy Days studio-audience style Awwww...]

But while they might be loved, this year's monument is well, erected, for something I have always loved and will always love. 

Boobs.

Monday, February 27, 2017

I'm not that guy anymore.

If you broke into my house and beat the shit out of me, that would be pretty f--king uncool. As long as it was just me, we might have to have some pretty strong words, after that. You know, after I got out of the hospital and learned to talk again.

If you broke into my house and killed my dog, Dodger, well I'm fairly certain I'm going to bury my beloved pup in a tear-filled blur, likely delirious for the next decade of my life. And then I would proceed to murder you and your entire family, possibly even your close friends and acquaintances, too.

But if you walked into my house, was denied my assistance in an important matter, and proceeded to then blow my residences straight to f--king Hell, well, you'd basically be forcing my hand, you know? I mean, you're going to get, like, the biggest hug ever!!!!

See, I f--king hate where I live, both the house and the location, so do me a favor, Italian Crime Lord Guy, and blow this place the f--k up. In John Wick: Chapter 2however, the whole house leveling isn't an act of kindness, but instead a declaration of a very low-key war. Kind of. And while this second chapter isn't as good as the one that preceded it [review], it's still a Hell of the ride.

Taking place a few days after the first film, it seems John can't escape his violent past. This time around, his dog is safe (thankfully), but after his home is destroyed, it would appear that Mr. Wick basically has nothing left. Except a debt.

A giant f--king debt.

See, when John got out a few years back, he apparently called in a pretty big favor to do so. The guy who granted him his release from the shadowy world of elite hitmen, Santino D'Antino, has come calling on John for payback. And his request/demand...is a pretty tall f--king order. John must not only infiltrate the underground organization he's desperate to leave behind, but he's to assassinate a very high-ranking official. If he succeeds, he'll be wanted by every fellow hitman skulking around the world. And if he fails, well, he'll be dead as f--k. But what if he just says no, and tells D'Antino to f--k off? Yeah...about that...

Thursday, February 23, 2017

All of this is wrong.

Though it's rare, sometimes it can simply last too long. At the beginning, everyone's excited and things are rapidly progressing to a state of nervous euphoria. The end might be the best part, but nothing you necessarily want to rush into, right?

But then, for whatever reason, it just...keeps...going, and going, and arriving at a satisfying conclusion goes from something you desperately want, to something you absolutely need. Like, this shit has gone from all kinds of fun, to something resembling manual f--king labor. 

You're exhausted in every conceivable way, wondering what exactly you need to do to make it through. And just when you think it's over...it isn't. And you're thinking, f--k this. I'm throwing in the towel.




Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Christian, did you have something to do with this?

It's so f--king easy to judge other people, isn't it? Especially when it comes to, well, f--king. Like whatever you do behind closed doors is your business, sure, but let someone find out about it? It's open f--king season.

Maybe you like to role play in the bedroom, perhaps? Say some real vile shit to one another. Maybe you've got some toys or something, right? The ol' nine iron and ice cubes approach. Or, Hell, maybe you simply liked to be tied up (or down) and spanked like you stole something.

Whatever floats your boat (or tickles your pickle) is fine by me. Honestly. Personally, I'm not really into any of that stuff. I try to keep it simple, you know?  I jump through enough hoops to get to the f--king bedroom, so you can save that circus shit for another time. But,between you and me, occasionally, like, every once in a while...

...I like to get f--ked. Hard.

In a room full of strangers.


Yep, once again, in an auditorium filled with people I hope to never see again, my wife and I squirmed our way through E.L. James' second cinematic anal bead, Fifty Shades Darker. While not quite as foul-smelling and oddly crusty as the first flick [review], the latest chapter of Intermittently Sad Girl and her Giant Wooden Dildo still falls woefully short of anything other than unintentional comedic masterpiece. I'm assuming this isn't the intent of the alleged worldwide phenomenon, but clearly, as evidenced by how I spend my free time, what the f--k do I know?

After the events of the first one, all of which I couldn't give an angry f--k about, Fifty Shades Darker picks up with a more independent, more confident version of Anastasia Steele. Apparently, after being um, erotically paddled into sexual liberation (she was a virgin, right? Ah f--k it...who cares), Anastasia has blossomed into quite the confident young woman. She has a job now, and even a desk to sit at. Occasionally, she gets to stands up and talk to people. About books. It's all very fancy (though I will award 9,000 bonus points for Darker not having the workplace be super-quirky, which it easily could have been) and so...mature.

Anyway, Anastasia seems to be doing fine, despite her boss looking like the default template every sketch artist uses when penciling out a previously unseen date rapist. One night, ol' Ana heads to an art gallery to see her friend's show, and two things happen: 1) half of the show is giant pictures of her doe-eyed face, seemingly pondering whether or not to fart, and 2) Christian Grey shows up, looking like a constipated shark that feeds exclusively on vaginal meat. Even though Anastasia has like, so moved on, she reluctantly decides to have dinner with him. In Hell. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Blogathon '17: Mt. Rushmore of Movies

Now that we've all finished pretending to actually love someone (other than ourselves) with dead plants and delicious heart-shaped poison bites, let us shine a spotlight on a holiday that means, well, a lot less (or a lot more) than it ever has in the history of the United States.

Today we celebrate our Interdependence Day.
(it's true...I need you)
I'm talking about President's Day, or as the rest of the world calls it: the third Monday in February. 

And in honor of this...uh, wondrous day, Two Dollar Cinema would like to announce our triennial blogathon, the Mount Rushmore of Movies. 

To participate, simply choose the top four of anything cinematic and explain why they should be carved into the side of a mountain forever. Remember, these are real people carved into imaginary rock - so choose wisely!

Whatever brilliant monument you concoct will be accepted, so feel free to take a break from being so damn serious all the time and have some fun. Let down your luxurious hair, maybe unbutton that shirt a bit, and have an adult beverage or two. Because we've got some stone to carve, dammit.

Whether you want to do the Mount Rushmore of Friday the 13th death scenes, the top four Ed Harris movies, or a tribute to Disney villains, pick something that interests you and run with it. Three years ago we had some wild submissions [check them out here], so I have very little doubt you sexy cinephiles can do it again.

Now the business end of things:

  1. I'd like to have all posts done by Friday, March 3rd (where I'll create a master list, linking back to all of your, er, both of your sites), but it's cool if you finish way before that. Or later. I'll update as they come in.
  2. Send me a heads up on twitter @twodollarcinema , reply in the comments below, text me, e-mail me (twodollarcinema@gmail.com), smoke signals, Bat-signals, non-verbal cues, Beastmaster handshakes - whatever! when you've finished, okay? Cool.
  3. In your post, please use the rad banner my wife designed after forcing me to do the Truffle Shuffle. Okay, she would never do that...but still. 
  4. Share the announcement with the good people you know. Hell, the bad ones, too. Anyone can (and should) participate.
  5. Be awesome. 

Thanks to everyone that gives this a shot, and even the people that don't. No, I mean it. I'd even like to thank those heartless bastards, too.

It takes a village. Not a Batman.

In our current political climate, there's not a lot of arguments I willingly want to be a part of. Especially really stupid ones.

Lately, however, it seems I've been unable to avoid one particular point of contention. One nagging, unanswerable question. It's bad enough it pops at work (at a middle school, ugh), but now it's happening at home, too (my son is seven, and if there was such a thing as a nerd mustache, his is awkwardly coming in as we speak). But let's be honest, there's only one answer that makes any sense.

Well, unless you're Zack Snyder...'cause that dude's not helping anyone. At least...

...not on purpose, anyway.

Obviously, Superman wins in an actual fight, but with The LEGO Batman Movie the Dark Knight wins...uh, everything else. Again. Aided by the constant missteps of the DCEU, yet again some of the best stories and biggest laughs around are built with tiny, plastic bricks. It may not reach the heights of The LEGO Movie [review], but man, this movie is awesome.

Like he's done countless times, Batman, shocking no one, saves Gotham from utter catastrophe. But when he heads home, the enviable mirage of his playboy lifestyle is totally nuked by the spinning lights of his microwaved dinner. For one. Luckily his city needs him.

Until it doesn't.

Commissioner Gordon is retiring and his daughter Barbara is set to take over. Her vision of Gotham doesn't exactly require the Caped Crusader, and Batman is relegated to something resembling McGruff the Crime Dog. Worse, all the city's villains turn themselves in at the same time, leaving Batman even more alone. Good thing he has Robin, around right?

Wrong. It's a great thing.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Always remember the basement.

It all started with recess. Instant relief ensued.
Then it was the ice cream truck, making my adolescent mouth begin to salivate.
Hell, even though I'm not religious, the ones from the church always made me feel...at peace.
And sure, he's annoying as f--k, but the Salvation Army Guy at least lets you know Christmas is right around the corner. There's a certain enjoyment in that annoying f--ker, you know?

Yes, I've heard lots of bells ringing in my lifetime, and many if not all of them have signaled something good was moments away, but never, ever anything like this. Never did they make me double check to see if the door was locked. Never did they make me think about my old high school girlfriend. And never, never did I think about those bells and tell myself, if only I could lovingly place them inside of my...vagina.

Until now.

Ring-a-ding-aling, we have a winner! I'm not exactly sure what the contest was, but regardless, Chan-wook Park's The Handmaiden wins in a landslide. Endlessly intriguing, breathtakingly gorgeous and unrelentingly sexy, this sordid tale is unlike any movie I've ever seen. But then again, I usually don't click on the girl-on-girl stuff...anymore.

Set in a 1930's Japanese-occupied Korea, the initial setup is quite simple. A young girl named Sook-hee is hired to be a handmaiden for an eccentric heiress named Lady Hideko. Sure, Hideko is a little, uh, troubled, but that's to be expected when dealing with the (soon to be) insanely rich (currently) and aloof.

Initially, we're let in on the fact that Sook-hee is actually a trained criminal, and that seems like it may be the most scandalous and secretive thing this film has to offer. However, as more and more information is delicately revealed, any little thing you thought you could count on isn't what it seems. At all.

But was is readily apparent, however, is the immediate sexual tension between Sook-hee and Lady Hideko. Yeah, maybe one's pretending to be something she isn't (math might not be my strong suit here), but the latent heat firing between various lady-parts is 900% truth. It starts as a bit of a curiosity, sure, as both ladies dip their toes in each other those soapy murky waters, but eventually it's going to reach quite the, uh, climax. If you don't find yourself aroused even a little bit, you might want to make yourself an appointment...in Hell. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Hope ain't a tactic, Doc.

I wanted to open this post with these five words: Because I give a f--k. 

Because, deep down, I actually do. Well, I'd like to think that I do. But, between you and me, there are times when I'm at work, where I think f--k this. And quietly don't complete something that was asked of me, or do just enough to get by. I justify this laziness (or at best, indifference) by telling myself whatever task I didn't bother to tackle, likely didn't matter anyway. It was just busy work pushed down by another person sharing a zest for bureaucratic horseshit similar to my own. They didn't care...so why should I?

While that's all potentially a long-winded way of saying I'm terrible person, which is entirely possible by the way, the corners I cut almost always involve paperwork and the checking of boxes that have zero to do with my actual job. That shit? Couldn't care less. 

I only care about the people in front of me and their families. All the higher ups?

Sorry, these are my f--ks.

I should probably apologize now for such a toxic level of ignorance, but I didn't know that Peter Berg's Deepwater Horizon was about the 2010 BP oil spill, aka the worst environmental disaster in American history (uh, so far, anyway). I knew the film was inspired by real life events, knew that it starred Dirk Diggler, but was sadly unaware of the greater context the damn-near real-time film takes place in. 

More importantly, I also didn't know the extent of the systemic carelessness and selfishness of entirely too many f--king yes men scurrying from rock to rock in the oil industry. Instead of giving a f--k about the hundred plus men and women aboard the massive rig (in addition to say, the rest of the f--king planet), these c--ksuckers routinely ignored any 'costly' measures and forged ahead into an unmitigated disaster. Berg's film isn't really concerned with these real-life super-villains, but instead focuses on the heroic efforts of a few brave individuals.

Connecting the thrilling images of a (momentarily) feel-good Hollywood production to that awful underwater camera feed showing thousands and thousands of barrels of crude oil blasting into the Gulf (that video is seared into my brain) made for a rather hollow movie-watching experience.  

Friday, February 3, 2017

It's gonna take two flushes!

Sometimes, if the stars align (if it's Tuesday and I've got coverage for the wee ones), I just have to go. Regardless.
I wish I could come up with a clever name, or at least something not stupid, but when I know the film I'm about to see is a dog, I take solace in the fact that no matter what happens in the next two hours, three things will make it all worthwhile: previews, popcorn and...peace.
Maybe I could call it Triple P.
---
Nah, that sounds f--king stupid.
Just breathe in all that awesome.
While Triple X, (or XXX, I suppose) may not exactly sound f--king stupid, it more or less is f--king stupid. Gloriously so, in fact. xXx: Return of Xander Cage, the third film in a trilogy that no one ever asked for, cranks the moronic action to eleven. It not only rips the knob off, but takes a Mountain Dew flavored piss all over it, too. Take off your (sleeveles) shirt, grab your balls, check your brain at the door cause it's raining satellites, motherf--ker.
Wait, what?
Yeah, apparently some sort of doomsday device known as Pandora's Box is in the dreaded WRONG HANDS, allowing its owner the impossibly stupid power of raining down fiery death by, you guessed it, crashing satellites into them. While maybe shooting that person in the face instead would be way less EXTREME!, someone walking planet Earth decided that flaming garbage from outerspace was a better option. Oh.
And while the government and its infinite resources should probably be able to track down the aforementioned device (which looks like a case for the most futuristic dildo ever) without using a tattooed freak pushing fifty, they instead happily recruit the long-lost legend known as Xander Cage, aka xXx. When this dude isn't barreling through the Brazillian rainforest on a dirtbike, unnecessarily backflipping the entire way, apparently he's a badass super-agent. But, get this. He plays by his own set of rules, motherf--ker. And rule number one? There are no rules. 
Except his. And he doesn't have any.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Now, this is what God watches right here.

It probably wasn't everywhere, but it felt like it was. 

Radio commercials, T-shirts, the occasional belt buckle, highway signs and a Hell of a lot of bumper stickers all combined forces to provide a constant reminder of how I better keep myself in line. But I didn't really understand the warning. Like, how do you start something with that many people? Or were they just talking about the giant guy at the fair? I wasn't gonna f--k with that dude, believe me. I was six years old, I didn't want any trouble. Dang, y'all. I just wanted to go to 7-Eleven with my brother and play Shinobi. Again. Maybe get a pack of Garbage Pail Kids and a Coke.

But now? Looking back? Oh, I totally get it.

Don't Mess With Texas.


And also don't mess with just about anybody in David Mackenzie's latest, Hell or High Water. Written by Taylor Sheriden (the same dude that penned Sicario [review]), this flick is equal parts heist-film, new-school western and revenge drama. Anchored by three dazzling performances, this is quietly one of the better films I've seen in quite some time. Well, at least one that didn't have people dancing across the stars, anyway...

Set in the decidedly unromantic and thoroughly dusty towns found deep in the heart of Texas, Hell or High Water jumps right in as brothers Tanner and Toby Howard are robbing a local bank. It's not quite smash-and-grab, but it's close, as this amateur duo is really only interested in the loose cash in the drawers, eschewing the safe altogether. The robbery isn't much of a success, but between you and me, these two are just getting started. 

Further down the road in another part of West Texas is Marcus Hamilton, a soon-to-be retired Texas Ranger. The Feds aren't terribly interested in two local jerks knocking off a couple of small-town banks, so Hamilton and his partner Alberto head out on what looks like their last ride together. Regardless of what side of the law any of these men find themselves on, safe to say everybody involved is getting too old for this shit.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Pee on yourself! Pee on yourself!

I'm currently reading Ghost Boy, the memoir of a South African man named Martin Pistorius. When Martin was very young, he became sick with a mysterious illness that rendered him damn near non-existent.  As he sat in the corner unable to communicate or show any signs of basic awareness, everyone basically gave up on him. He could twitch, he could drool, but that was about it.

And so he sat there. Unable to let anyone know that his food was too hot, their hands too cold. For over a decade.

Perhaps worst of all, throughout his years in care-based institutions, there were times when he was not only physically abused, but sexually as well. The only solution he could come up with to survive this repeated trauma?

During the worst parts, he floated away into a void of nothingness, praying for the end.

Turns out there's another dire solution to coping with years of abuse, something known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (aka Multiple Personality Disorder). In M. Night Shyamalan's latest thriller Split, this condition is front and center. But instead of a young boy in South Africa named Martin, our story focuses on a young man in Philly named Kevin.

Well, sort of.

When we first meet Kevin, he's actually Barry, one of his twenty-three distinct personalities. Under the watchful eye of Dr. Fletcher, Barry, er, Kevin is a fully-functioning member of society. He has his own place, a steady job, and it seems like he's keeping it altogether. For the most part.

About seventeen miles up the Schuylkill (or three hours, if it's Friday), three teenage girls are abducted in a parking lot at the King of Prussia Mall. They awake to find themselves in some sort of ramshackle chamber, windowless and dreary, minus an oddly impeccable bathroom. While their methodical captor definitely isn't Barry, he sure looks a Hell of a lot like Kevin.