Monday, April 30, 2012

How many more like you are there?

Surprisingly, I've never been punched in the face. Nope. I've also never jumped from an overpass onto a moving trailer. And I really, really want to. They just don't happen to be passing by when I need them. Oh, and I've also never lived my life as an deep-cover Russian super-agent sent to infiltrate the highest agencies of the U.S government, either. Well, at least not yet. Who knows what trigger word will send me into a sexy rage of ass kicking, double-crossing and glaring. Lots of glaring.

2010's Salt took me over a week to watch. That might be all you need to hear, honestly. Whether it was the NHL playoffs (damn Bruins couldn't pull it out), school work (year's almost over), or my son's new found love of all things muppet (we've watched the newest film at least seven times this week), Salt just wasn't making the cut. I like a good action flick and  I'm pretty sure I love Angelina Jolie, but something didn't quite work for me. Oh yeah, I remember. The whole thing is f--king ridiculous. That's what it was.

Look, I could watch Angelina Jolie do just about anything. And yes, I saw Tomb Raider theatrically (I think it was that shot of her boobs in the trailer). But maybe this Sexy Action Lady thing is getting stale. I'm finding it increasingly difficult to buy into a skinny mother of six just destroying dudes left and right. It might sound sexist, but at least it seems like a lot of the male action guys could genuinely devastate someone. Jolie? Not so much. If you want to see a woman believably kick all kinds of ass, check out Haywire [review]. Gina Caron is the truth.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Hello, my old friends.

There's a lot of sayings I hate, but number one on the list? No regrets. I hate a-holes who swear that when they look back on their life, they regret nothing. Bullshit. I regret typing that last sentence (needless profanity). I regret things I did last week (put fifty bucks in the tank and f--king gas prices dropped?). And most of all, I regret things I didn't do. Well, let's be clear, people I didn't do.

That's (mostly) a joke, but when I think back on my list of things I missed out on, I think back to one place, one time period: high school. Not sure what I would have told you during those years, but looking back? It was a really good time. Sure, I spent way too much of it in a movie theater and/or losing basketball games by hundreds of points, but still. High school f--king ruled.

Time's been kind to the guys. The ladies? Well, Nadia's still pretty hot.
Guess what? The fourth, yes fourth, American Pie film, American Reunion, also f--king rules. Seriously, I was floored by how much fun I had with this flick. Yeah, I went in not all that excited, but by the time it was over I had a huge, stupid smile on my face. It was like the first day of eleventh grade all over again. It started out business as usual. The same teachers, the same bastards I'd spent just about my whole life with. Then it happened. She showed up. New Girl. Oh. This changes everything.

If you've seen the first three, you're really missing out by not catching this one. Don't worry that not everything adds up (it's a thirteen year reunion, er, something? ), just be psyched that everyone's back. But, be warned. This is more of the same, by far. If you've hated any of the previous three, loathe Stiffler and/or Jim's Dad, or simply don't enjoy full frontals of smashed up johnsons - stay away. In fact, stop reading this review immediately and just start running. Fast. But for those jerks still with me? I'm telling you. Check it out. You might be surprised.

Before I break it down, I think the real magic here is, unsurprisingly, seeing the whole crew back together again. For me, a friendless nomad (in terms of my youth), these guys are the onscreen embodiment of my high school and college years. Jim, Oz, Finch, Kevin and Stiffler may have started out as generic stereotypes, but four (!) films later they have become relatively iconic representations of male youth. Misguided and horny, loyal and protective, Jim and his friends have grown up on screen. You can call it a cash grab if you want. Me? I just saw a bunch of old friends getting back together. Nothing wrong with that. Oh, and if you think this flick's a retread of the gags from the first three? C'mon, now. Think about what you do when you get together with old friends. The same shit you always did, right? Right.

Well, let's reminisce about the Yays and Boos, (sing it with me) 'we're-gonna-party-like-it's-1999' style.

 Please...I want you to come so bad.
  • Dude. This chick on the right? Ali Corbin? Goodness. Good. Ness. She's very cute. And she gets very naked. It's slightly creepy, but also incredibly awesome. Nice to meet you, Conflict of Interest.
  • The opening naughty scene. Equal parts super relatable/ I wish I could relate to that. I'll let you figure out what's what.
  • Stiffler. Same schtick. Same effect. Still awesome.
  • Okay, Oz's wife is crazy-hot. Like, sexiest woman alive type hotness. She was in this, too. Go get 'em, Ostreicher. Oh, and her interior designer guy? That guy has a magical ass. I mean that as seriously as I've ever said anything. Really.
  • Best line: I'm your dick. Or, I ain't worth jack-shit, D-Ron.
  • Jim's wish? Hopes to have the sex-life of Ricky Martin.
  • The return of the Sherminator. I can never hear the Terminator music enough. Add that to 'Little Furlong' and I'm a happy doucher.
  • Moms. We lost one (sad), we get a new one (whoa!), and then there's the one.
  • The final scene. That's how you send 'em out of the theater.
  • Tara Reid. I used to love you. Then I saw those pictures of you on the red carpet with your boob hanging out. Wait. That changed nothing.
  • Natasha Lyonne. Shockingly, I wanted a little more time with you. And your, um, date. Awesome! All of this applies to Shannon Elizabeth as well. All of it.
  • Kevin. I'm booing you only because you're like Doug in The Hangover. Congrats on being, uh, there.
  • Stiffler's Boss Guy. There aren't words. He's like a Persian troll.
Look, I realize I'm way too into the fourth American Pie movie. Waaaaay too into it. I'm still kind of shocked how much I liked it. What can I say? Maybe it was the timing of it. Maybe it was the low expectations (oh, and the free pass). Shit. Maybe it was even the crowd's fault (a real lively bunch, let me tell you). But, I'm going to stand by my review. I'm going to vouch for this one, big time.  

No regrets.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

I can't believe I fell for Muppet Man!

Some characters from our childhoods deserve to fade into obscurity. Heathcliff, the Gummi Bears and Richie Rich are three that were either terrible ideas, or terribly executed, or possibly even both. Barney is thankfully extinct, as are Alf and Inspector Gadget (seriously - there was only one script for this show, one!). But for every lame cartoon that we endured (The Littles, anyone?), there were some legitimate classics that have been relegated to reruns or Youtube clips. Sometimes they're dredged up and modernized, like The Smurfs [review] and Alvin & the Chipmunks to mixed results. But sometimes, they're brought back and it just works. Obviously, I'm talking about the 1980 masterpiece, Popeye, starring Robin Williams.

I almost saw this theatrically nine times.
Maniacal laugh.

The Muppets is a welcome return of characters many of us remember fondly. I'm not sure which form the show was in when I watched it, but I'm positive I watched a green and white knee-high stocking full of the Muppet Babies. That said, I was genuinely looking forward to the 2011 big screen return. Then, the reviews started coming in, and I started to get pretty excited. Well, as excited as a thirty-two year old guy can get for a talking puppet movie anyway.

As usual, the hype worked against this one for me. This is a fun movie, but somehow I was thinking I was in for a classic. Segel writes and stars, and in my opinion, the guy is bankable. The weird preview of his puppet fascination in Forgetting Sarah Marshall was quite cool and charming. Obviously, dude's got passion. It translates to the screen, but it's all rather good - not great. But maybe that's where the alleged greatness comes from, actually. The movie doesn't pander, doesn't suck in the least. And considering how many of these revisits go, that's certainly saying something. And the bottom line? It's the freakin' Muppets. I mean, I got to spend some more time with my main man Rowlf, not to mention the always awesome Swedish Chef. That guy's like a slightly cooler version of my dad. Speaking of, I remember when I asked him what a muppet was. His reply:
Well, it's not quite a mop, it's not quite a puppet...

Okay, let's break this one down. Here are the Yays, Boos and Matty's, Beaker-and-Bunsen style.

Who is the blue guy? Seriously, what is he? A bird? An owl? The devil?
  • The opening dance number was great.
  • Walter's reaction to hearing the news? Let's just say, he's not pleased.
  • 80's Robot. He's probably the coolest robot ever. Suck on that, ED 209.
  • Fozzie's bootleg Muppet Show is rad.
  • Quite possibly the best scene in the movie? Rowlf's flashback sequence! Classic.
  • Hobo Joe. Don't forget that guy. Don't.
  • PUNCH TEACHER is my new favorite TV show.
  • The fart-shoes are pretty great. Especially their second appearance.
It's like when the Griswald's get to Wally World. Sans moose punching.
  • Miss Piggy. She is the worst character, hands down. Granted, she is a bit of a pioneer. Yep, pretty sure she was the first thing I ever hated.
  • Jack Black. I love JB, but he misses the mark here. I always thought that JB + Muppets would be unsolvable due to awesomeness overload. Turns out the answer is...shrug.
  • Cars 2 poster! Boo! Hiss! Back off, Disney. We're trying to have fun here, you self-promoting bastards. Once would've been too much.
  •  Chris Cooper. I like this guy, but he wasn't um, dastardly enough. I guess.
  • Walter's final act? I don't know, maybe it's a reference I didn't get, but it wasn't as cool as I'd hoped it would be. Oh well, I might've cracked a smile. And speaking of smiles, here's the debut of the...
I wish one of my brothers was a Muppet. Or normal. I'd settle for normal.
(the ridiculous things my son said during)
  • Miss Piggy's a MAN?
  • I didn't know a car could go underWATER!
  • Mom. MOM! [points] Butt shoes!
He lost interest about half way through (about the same time the popcorn bowl was empty) but did request/demand that we immediately watch it again. I s'pose he liked it, no?
Matty and I finished this one minutes before I darted out the door for a 10:25 theatrical showing of....well, I guess you'll have to come back for that one. Or scroll up. One of those. Mahna mahna, 

You could have had the decency to lie about that one.

I'm not really from anywhere. It's terribly unfortunate, but it's true. I was born in Texas, moved to Hawai'i when I was eight, went to college in Connecticut (and lived there for a few years afterward) and now live in Pennsylvania (of all places). I don't feel at home ever. It might be that my family is spread all over the country, or it might be something deeper than that - I honestly don't know. But if I have to choose, like, for casual conversations or introductions, I always pick Hawai'i. Always. Even though I haven't been back in years, it's the closest thing I have to home. And when something reminds me of home? I love it. No matter what.

That intro was a heads up. Shit might get irrational around here. Combining my love of all things Hawai'i with my admiration (and possible adoration?) of George Clooney, I may just gush like a schoolgirl. The Decendants is an excellent film. I'll keep the best ever nonsense to myself, but damn it if I didn't love just about every second of it. Hold on, I did hate Sid for about an hour, but even that goofy f--ker turns it around. Suckin' haoles.

From the opening voice-over, I was hooked. He describes the contradiction that is living in Hawai'i. As someone who left, I've had numerous conversations that it's just like anywhere else. Of course, it isn't, but it's also not the unencumbered paradise that mainlanders make it out to be. Clooney nails it. Paradise? Paradise can go f--k itself.

Now, Clooney is talking about many things, but mostly about his wife. She is dying in a hospital and he's left to pick up the pieces of a family he hasn't really had a presence in. He describes himself as the backup parent. The understudy. Being a father myself, it would be hard enough to lose my wife. But left to raise a pair of  daughters? I would be just as lost as Matt was, if not more so. Oh, and then there's the infidelity bit...

Speaking of. Though it makes up the bulk of the movie, I routinely questioned the pursuit. If my wife were in the hospital drawing her final breaths, would I want to find the other guy? Would I really give a shit? I guess it's impossible to answer truthfully, but I found myself leaning toward f--k no. Bigger fish to fry...

Hmm. Anyway, let's get on to the Yays and Boos, please-don't-use-Dog-the-Bounty-Hunter-or-The-Brady-Bunch-as-your-barometer style.

Yet another classic scene. Do you get hit a lot?
  • Aloha shirts. Holy shit do I miss those. In Hawai'i, some of the most powerful people look like bums and stuntmen.
  • The Big Island trip. It only lasted a minute, but to see the low road in hi def? Priceless. Was that supposed to be HPA? What, she couldn't go to Parker? Oh, right. No dorms.
  • The development of his relationship with his daughter. At first, I hated her. By the end, she is truly a badass.
  • Sid. I wanted to punch you in the junk. I questioned why they kept bringing you places. But by the end? You're an okay dude. I mean that.
  • The soundtrack. Sure, it sounds like every hotel lobby in Hawai'i, but it's also equal parts soothing and beautiful.
  • The scene at Speer's house was as good as anything I've ever seen. The goodbye kiss? Great.
  • As was the final shot. Perfect.
Hawai'i could've used a few more um, Hawaiians.
(nothing major, just the stuff that upset me)
  • Her dad, played by Robert Forster. This guy is a real prick (well, not really), and Matt could get at him. But, like in countless situations, he just takes it.
  • The younger sister, Scottie. She was an annoying little kid. But also, a great performance. We're all lost at 10. But this poor girl? Goodness.
  • And finally, the way people keep telling him she's going to make it. This really bothered me. Made me think I should just shut up when people are grieving.
I'm going to leave with you with my favorite lines from the entire film. I'd say at least three-quarters of this applies directly to me. Well, if I were from Hawai'i it would.

Now, we're haole as shit. And we go to private schools and clubs...and we can barely speak pidgin, let alone Hawaiian. But we've got Hawaiian blood, and we're tied to this land.

Friday, April 13, 2012

This is the pulse.

As a lifelong moviegoer, I've probably seen a thousand action movies. Schwarzenegger, Stallone and Willis were the icons of my day, with an appearance or two by the likes of Segal and Van Damme. As I got older and sought out less uber-mainstream guys, I discovered early stuff by Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Sammo Hung. These guys weren't as charismatic as my guys (dubbed dialogue being their undoing), but they seemed to both actually kick ass and legitimately take a beating. It was a revelation to my younger self.

As these guys all got older, it seemed that very few others were willing to step up and carry the torch. The Rock seemed to be the one, but he decided to make 4,000 family flicks. Jason Statham churns 'em out, but none of his flicks really stand out. He doesn't have an iconic role - they all seem to bleed together. Tony Jaa came along, and literally knocked the shit out of the action genre, but he too faded into the weirdness of the Ong Bak sequels. Was I growing up, or was the action genre growing stale?

Today though, it happened. I saw an action movie that completely and utterly renewed my faith in the genre. It was fast-paced and bloody as f--k. It didn't have a bullshit love story for the ladies, and it didn't have some asshole walking toward the camera while something exploded behind him. Shit, it didn't even have any one-liners. What it did have was some of the most insane stunts and camerawork I have ever seen in a movie, period. Ladies and gents, I give you The Raid: Redemption.

The plot is simple. A SWAT style group of cops have been selected to infiltrate an apartment complex that's home to a crime boss. This guy has been undisturbed by the police for a decade. Rival gangs have tried, but nothing can penetrate his fortress. This building is home to some crazy-ass shit, to say the least. We get all this information on the way to it, and from there? Oh, it's f--king on.

Hype is usually the number one reason that I will ever genuinely hate a movie, and I had really psyched myself up for this one. I hadn't heard anything about it recently, but months ago I saw a redband trailer on JoBlo. I instantly forwarded it to a friend and labeled the link simply: boner-inducing violence. All that anticipation, and I still loved pretty much every minute of it.

Last night, I saw a commercial for it and (shhh, don't tell my wife), we got out of school early today [parent conferences]. I hit up a 12:30 showing, grabbed some nachos, and me and the other two solo guys in the theater sat down and got our asses handed to us. The old guy in front of me loved it, and told me on the way out, Did you know it was subtitled? I guess I got in my readin' for the day.  How this guy found his way into the theater is beyond me, but that exchange might have made The Raid even better.

Surprise! I'm rambling. I was so awed by this one, I'd actually consider seeing this again theatrically. It was so f--king loud and intense, I don't think my setup could do it justice. If you have a chance, go. Trust me. If you have a d--k and don't like this movie, I owe you an apology. I'm not sorry for steering you in the wrong direction, no. I'm just sorry you're such a pussy.

Okay, I don't want to spoil anything, but I want to list (in vague detail) my 10 favorite things in this one:
  1. The camera. It's right there all the time. You are never cheated during a fight. Never.
  2. Yellow-shirt Kid. You bastard.
  3. If you want to help out, you can live here for free...(this is one of the best things in a movie ever) [paraphrasing]
  4. 7th Floor Battle = Legendary. So too, the um, powder room.
  5. I'll call the neighbors.
  6. Everyone, good guy, bad guy - whatever. Everyone, shit, everything is so damn relentless. Incredible. Even the music.
  7. Running out of bullets is actually a good thing. No one runs out of knives though. Or machetes.
  8. Mr. Iko Uwais. If this is the only movie you ever make, you still are in the Top 5 of all-time BAMFs (with love to The Smoking Pen [check it out]).
  9. Dude, the main ass-kicking bad guy? That guy is the truth. That two-on-one action was incredible.
  10. The last shot. It just fits.
UPDATE:  4/23/12. My main man H. Dunphy caught this one on my recommendation. His text to me afterward?  If u had an ass in that movie, it got kicked. Brilliant.

    What means, doom and gloom?

    If you met a famous actor, what would you do? Would you ask him for an autograph? A picture, maybe? For the most part, I think I'd just freeze and try and play it cool. Well, unless it were Jason Statham. See, if I met Turkish, this is what I'd ask him to do. First, I'd want him to look at me sideways. Then, I'd want him to furrow his brow, suggesting he really doesn't want to do what he's about to do next. And then it would happen. He would roundhouse me in the face and I'd fall to the ground like a sack of dirt. He would adjust his tie, pat the dirt off his sleeve and walk away. It would f--king rule.

    After watching this, I wished he'd put both those guns to my head.
    What doesn't f--king rule however, is the third installment of his most famous franchise, Transporter 3. Sure, it's head and shoulders superior to the shit-tastic second film, but that isn't saying much. The first one was enjoyable, in a ridiculous kind of way. But the second one? It was the cinematic equivalent of a Cleveland Steamer. And on a decent shirt, no less. The third one, while less offensive, still manages to be intermittently terrible. If Statham's kicking ass, we're good. Outside of I need to continue the poop analogy?

    I know, what did you expect? I guess I thought they would right some wrongs. If we've got Frank Martin put to celluloid one last time, I figured we should go all out and end on an ass-kicking high note, right? Well, no. Not so much. Sure, Statham shows off that ridiculous physique, kicks some ass here and there, and drives that badass Audi all over Europe - but all for naught.  This flick is undermined by entirely too much dialogue and characters that no one gives a damn about. Frank deserved better. So did we.

    Well, let's get this over with. Here are the Yays and Boos, this-is-why-I've-stopped-buying-movies style.

    This actually made me want to punch myself in the face.
    • You get a package in the mail. You open it. It's a phone. And then it rings. That's what I want for Christmas.
    • I like it when guys make a circle around Statham and then rush him one at a time. It's great.
    • This is the only good thing I will ever say about her, but the chick in this movie pisses on the floor of a gas station. It actually made me not furious for a second.
    • The editing. There weren't a lot of fight scenes in this movie. When they did occur, the quick cuts really lessened the awesomeness. 
    • There's a chase scene involving a bicycle and a luxury car. It worked in The Goonies. Here, it made me want to punch Sloth in the junk.
    • Breathing tire air. Really? 
    • You're really going to quote Donald Trump in a movie? Okay, the 'writer' sucks. I know you hired an editor, what the hell was that guy doing? Oh, right. Ruining the good parts.
    • And finally, the girl. She might actually be so bad it's some kind of record or something. Seriously, she's f--king terrible. If you're going to be an annoying bitch, you need to at least be super hot. She isn't. Okay, so you're not very attractive, well fine. Win us over by getting naked. Often. She doesn't. At all. Well, at least, I don't know, sound cool or something....Oh, wait. Turns out she has the worst voice ever to occur in the history of time. Damn she sucks hard, and not in the admirable way. Honestly, I want to spin kick her tiny picture.
    But hey, other than that, this movie rules! Don't worry. My next flick is THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE.

    Monday, April 9, 2012

    I said shut up once already with my mouth.

    Katniss Everdeen is a huge bitch. Yeah, I said it. Ooh, she's got to compete in some fancy games with a dreamy baker that she may or may not love. Oh, and her home life isn't the greatest either, what with starving and oppression and such. Please. If you want to see Jennifer Lawrence really handle adversity, really deal with some shit - check out 2010's Winter's Bone. Tracker jackers and being moderately thirsty ain't got shit on some crank-fueled hillbillies from the Ozarks.
    And the Oscar for Worst F--king Boat Ride Ever goes to...

    I've looked for my dad before, I'm sure of it. Once, I was at the grocery store and I couldn't find him for minutes. Replace grocery store with scary mountains where everyone is poor and wants to skullf--k you and minutes with f--king eternity and you have the plot for this movie. Seriously. It's simple, and at times, effective. But worth a Best Picture nomination? Maybe if you're on meth.

    Regardless, Jennifer Lawrence is truly badass in her role as Ree, a 17 year-old chick dealing with entirely too much awful. When she's not skinning squirrels for dinner, she's making damn sure her little brother and sister are getting some kind of education. Mom's around, but apparently too f--ked up to deal with any of this. Oh, and guess what? They're about to lose their shitty house because Pops put it up for his bond. Guess what, again. Do it. Pops is kind of an unsavory dude. And guess what else? Nobody can find him. Balls.

    I'm going to keep this one as brief as possible because I've noticed a trend of loquaciousness around these parts. Just like my search for Daddy-o in the grocery store, I've got to focus and keep it moving. And pray that he and I aren't at opposite endcaps at the exact same time.

    His name is Teardrop. And somehow, that's scary.
    Child, I's a givin' Yaaaays for the followin'...
    • Acting. Everybody. It's so good that you're pretty sure that none of these people are actors.
    • John Hawkes (pictured to the left). I recognize you from somewhere. You're usually really high or really creepy. In this flick, you're both. Well done.
    • I can now tell how long a meth lab has been burned to the ground. Thanks!
    • Army Recruiter Guy. You sir, are a credit to your country. Seriously, this dude is awesome.
    Everything, head to toe, is so damn bleak.
     We don't take kindly to no Booos, neither...
    • There's about as much color in this one as there is happiness and beauty. Record-high dreary factor.
    • Once you figure out what Dad did to make everybody spit on the ground at the mere mention of him, it all seemed rather...meh. I mean, that's it?
    • Yes, this movie is tense. But at the same time, I was kind of bored. The resolution didn't payoff and the threats were implied, but not very tangible. I thought we were in for some grisly shit, but instead we just get pissed off meth-heads.
    BOTTOM LINE: You might as well give it a spin. I wasn't knocked on my ass like I expected to be, but the performances are good enough to warrant a viewing. It just might be one that you have to get ready for (and shower afterward). Speaking of bath time, more Lawrence is always a good thing, even if she looks exactly like someone you'd find gathering carts outside a Wal-Mart at four in the morning. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

    Saturday, April 7, 2012

    Slam dunks feel good.

    When you were a kid, did you find yourself lamenting the fact that there's nothing to do around here? I don't think I was douchey enough to say it out loud, but I know I felt it. My friends and I weren't very cool, well at least they weren't, and if we weren't playing basketball, we pretty much went to or rented movies all the time. Initially, we'd rent things that genuinely interested us, but after awhile it became a contest to watch the shittiest thing in the store. Covers were huge back in the day (remember no internet?), especially the lenticular ones. Jack Frost (he's chillin'... and killin') and Uncle Sam were chosen solely based on the horrible dual images. But another way to rent a surefire turd was to chose something with the worst title ever. Cue the kickass synthesizer! From North Carolina! guard!...six-six... Kung Fu Dunk!

    Please don't ever confuse with this genuine awesomeness of Kung Fu Hustle.
    Okay, that last bit doesn't make any sense. Maybe basketball fans will enjoy it, but everyone else will hate it and think it's stupid. Shit maybe even hoop fans will hate it, too. If you haven't figured it out, I'm talking about the movie. Yeah, I know, you seriously rented (and watched) this? I'll answer that just like I did back in high school. Yeah, so?

    Speaking of high school, do you know I played varsity basketball as a freshman? Sexy, right? Oh, wait. Did you also know that we never once won a game? And that we actually lost a game by 109 points? Maybe if we'd spent more time working on our kung fu instead of say, free throws, we'd have a different (yet subtitled) story to tell. Regrets, I've had a few.

    Okay, I'm falling apart here. Let's break this one down quickly and then pretend it never happened, much like my old coach Mr. Terminello would do, okay? Sounds like a plan.

    UPDATE: Okay, I just saw the craziest end to a real basketball game - with the Knicks coming back to tie the Bulls. I've never seen a ball almost go in as far as it did. It was nuts. Anyway, let's finish (well, okay, actually start) this review.

    Seven Things I learned from Kung Fu Dunk:
    • If I find an abandoned baby, screw a hospital or the police, I'm taking his punk ass to a dojo.
    • When my master is trying to change the world and freezes mid kung-fu, there's only one thing I can shout (before I make sad face): ________________! You fill in the blank. I know you know it.
    • My other masters at the dojo? They will look old and worthless. But, shhh...don't tell anyone. They can kick heaps of ass.
    • At least one man in China/Korea/Japan will have white or blonde hair. He'll be known as Hair Guy. Oh, and someone, most likely not Hair Guy, will be drunk. Always. We'll call him Drunk Guy. The reason for his problem? His mysterious past.
    • If I get into a fight with 10 or more people, there will be at least two times where all the action stops. I'll get to look around, perhaps wipe my lip (and admire the blood), and then signal that I'm ready to kick more ass.
    • My also-Asian girlfriend? She won't notice me at first. She'll be too busy adjusting her glasses and twirling her pigtails. But in the end? She will be mine. Oh, yes...
    • And finally, whatever my conflict is, it will come down to one final moment. And that moment will be against the guy that has already defeated me before, badly. He might be Hair Guy, or his friend. This showdown? It will happen in...slow...motion.
    They oop off the tip. They oop off a blocked shot. Yes!
    Wait a second. I knew this shit already. How? Because it's in every bad foreign movie ever. Add a hip-hop soundtrack and you officially have the plot of every Kung Fu flick released since 1997. But this one does have one thing that may make it rise above the rest. The basketball action. It's fan-tastic!

    Even if you skip every other minute of the movie, the basketball scenes are ridiculously awesome. It's like NBA Jam with a dash of Mortal Kombat and NFL Blitz. If you don't understand the reference, you probably should have stopped reading a long, long time ago.

    Friday, April 6, 2012

    None of you will do anything, except live the life that has already been set out for you.

    If you've read a couple of my reviews, you can see that I usually have a built-in out. If I've watched something that I really enjoyed, you'll find that I'll mention something that'll explain why it might just be me. Very rarely, will I just flat out say (at least, seriously say), this movie is great. Drive [review] and The Fighter [review] are two examples that jump out at me. Otherwise, I try to temper my enthusiasm, so as not to look like a (gigantic) ass. I know, bitch move.

    You'd never guess that this is a piece of science fiction, huh?
    What's the point? Well, Tuesday night the wife and I settled in to watch 2010's Never Let Me Go. She was tired but I insisted that despite not knowing what it was about, that this is going to be good. Real good. My proof? Well, a friend of mine, known around here as Haspe (Hass-pee), totally and unflinchingly vouched for it. Who gives a shit? Hold on. This guy damn near hates everything. His film standards are absurdly high. What makes this even more odd, is that he was a guy I saw everything with as a kid. Everything. I mean, we saw Double Dragon theatrically. Hmm. Maybe that's part of it.

    Anyway, I was completely underwhelmed by this movie. Sure, my inflated expectations had something to do with it, but I just couldn't believe this was the movie he vouched for. Really? It's so quiet, so slow - how could this stand out so much? I texted him about it, and he said this in regard to my what the f--k, man?

    Haspe: Love. Love lost. Love cut short by circumstance.

    This is a great scene.
    And that was enough for me. Because it reminded me of why I love film so much in the first place. Often it's created for the largest of audiences, but each speaks to us in a different way. Sometimes, a flick comes along and simply grabs you. And when it does, it could be for a number of reasons. Maybe it reminds you of someone you have or even someone you've lost. Maybe it just made you feel better. And maybe, you don't even know why - you just can't help it. I mean, I liked The Lorax [review] simply because we finished it. And on any given day - these are all good reasons. Who gives a damn if someone else disagrees? We love what we love.

    UPDATE: Well, thirteen hours have passed since I initially posted and I suppose I'll finish this review. The more I think about the film, the more I'm flip-flopping on my opinion of it. It's starting to get better. It's still very quiet, very slow, but the performances are resonating. Each of the three leads really deliver. I think it's easier to like Mulligan's performance because her character is so sweet and kind, but I'm going to go with Knightley's. She does the most-horrible-bitch-alive role quite well and her um, completion is pretty brutal.

    On that note, here are the Yays and Boos, better late than never.

    Now here I thought we were in for some craziness.
    • Ms. Lucy's speech was pretty fantastic.
    • The idea that your art and poetry prove your love is very cool. But the real reason is a little more, um, serious.
    • I appreciate the how-to on looking at an adult magazine. Informative stuff, thank you.
    It's not only his spider-sense that's tingling.
    • More conflict, please.
    • Ruth, you bitch.
    • Extra years if you're in love! Yay! Oh, wait.
    • I swore that older guy was Ron Weasley. Damn you, diminishing eyesight.
    • That I didn't cry at the end. I guess I'm soulless.
    Wow. You made it to the end. I owe you a dollar. Or a hug. I'm not sure. I've rambled endlessly, and basically taken both sides. Oh, and I barely discussed the actual movie.  Just remember how much this cost you and you'll feel better. I know I do.

    Monday, April 2, 2012

    I'm going to bed, where hopefully, I've been all along.

    As a parent who genuinely loves movies, I find children's movies equal parts fascinating and frustrating. Many of the major releases take years to create and it's baffling that something is turned out that isn't stellar. At what point do the creators just say screw it and churn out something half-assed knowing it's probably money in the bank regardless. Pixar, and to an extent, Dreamworks have consistently turned out timeless tales that appeal to everyone. These aren't great animated films. They're just great films period.

    Yesterday's flick, Hop, isn't great. At all. In fact, I thought it pretty much sucked. I know that the target demographic likely doesn't include thirty-two year old asshats, but still. I wanted to like it, I really did. Watching my son squeal with delight during the preview made me damn near giddy. It's true. Seeing a mini-version of yourself sincerely excited about something - anything - is a great feeling. But for me, when it's a movie? Even better.

    But, like Easter morning itself, this one runs out of joy quickly. Seriously, the guy who whipped up the preview deserves either a shiny award or a severe ass-kicking. Everything remotely funny or charming was nailed in the preview. So, what we're left with is eighty plus minutes of Easter basket grass. Oh, you can dig through it all you want.  But trust me, all the good stuff is long gone.

    Kids flicks are riddled with cliches, right? Right. Guess what? This one is also a holiday movie, too. And not only that, it's basically a Christmas movie, too. I'm not upset that it's all been done before. I'm just pissed that it's all been done much, much better.

    Let's put this bunny down with a mercy kill, shall we. Here are the Yays and Boos, we-used-to-hide-them-in-palm-trees style.

    • Having a bunny played by Russell Brand going to the Playboy Mansion is not for the kids, but it is kind of funny.
    • The stuffed bunny routine was in the preview, but it still made me smile.
    • As was the pooping jelly beans bit, but look at his face while he's going! Genius.
    • There's a nice Knight Rider joke in here. Not worth the price of admission, but decent.
    • Soundtrack H.O.F candidate: Every Rose Has Its Thorn. Oh, Bret Michaels. You power-ballad writing freak.
    This is one of the better scenes. He's cuddly...and warm?
    • Gary Cole's in this? Yay! Oh, wait. He's not in the ballpark of funny. Damn.
    • This blonde chick is his sister? Boo. And I'm not sure if she's hot? Double Boo.
    • The Queen Latifah Factor. My friend refuses to endorse any movie with Queen in it. My version of this? Chelsea Handler. Why she's anywhere near a children's flick is beyond me. She shouldn't be near children at all. Or people.
    • There's a scene where I actually feel bad for Marsden. I was hoping Cyclops would fall from the ceiling and shoot an eye beam through his ass. It was the ventriloquist scene, if you're curious. I know. You weren't.
    • Last one. Is it a federal law that all bad kids flicks must end with the characters dancing during the credits? Just wondering.
    Okay. Bitter Old Man is leaving now. Even I can recognize there's just way too much hate being thrown at a movie about the Easter Bunny. I mean it's called Hop. Speaking of, my son refuses to call the bunny E.B. No Dad, that's Hop. It's like Rio (review) all over again (the bird's name isn't's...oh, nevermind).

    Sunday, April 1, 2012

    I wasn't there, even when I was.

    That's more like it! After suffering through the glittery boas of the glam rock era, it turns out that greatness in the music-film genre was just a country song away. Crazy Heart, a 2009  film, is another notch in the belt for the incredibly talented Jeff Bridges. Though, for me, The Dude is his ultimate character (maybe even the ultimate), Bridges' Bad Blake is a close second. He may not the Dude, but he is the man.

    Wow. You're still here. Yeah that last line was incredibly lame, but nothing in this movie is. The performances are all top-notch, the music is excellent and the story's quite touching. And the ending? Phew. I actually got a bit choked up at the end (I'm a huge bitch, I know). Unless you hate genuine human drama, you will like this movie. If you don't enjoy it, I want to know from you exactly what it's like to be a heartless, bitter a-hole who hates life. Do tell.

    Long ago, a friend of mine - let's call him Haspe, would go on and on about the wonders of Mr. Robert Duvall. I never hated Duvall or anything, but always found it curious that my friend would pledge allegiance to him. As I've grown up, it's altogether shocking that people don't worship the ground he walks on (I'm talking Duvall, here). I frickin' love this guy. If I met him and he wasn't anything short of the best person on the planet I would hope to die immediately. Now, that might be overselling it a bit, but I really do think he's awesome. And his character in this one, Wayne? I dare you to find a nicer person on film. Unless of course, maybe some implied racism (or direct senility) bothers you. Otherwise, he rules. Frickin' Haspe. First he calls Nowitzki, and now this.

    If Bridges is wearing that shirt, my dad is currently shirtless.
    While I'm dredging up the past, let me say that my other good high school friend (and budding filmmaker) Justin, used to swear by Maggie Gyllenhaal. I'm pretty sure he was enamored with how beautiful she was. I think she's okay, but I think he confused beauty with willingness to get naked on camera. She doesn't here, but it's cool. Honestly, I think Gyllenhaal is another victim of the DushFactor. Search is your friend.

    Well, let's write a heartbreaking song about the Yays and Boos, shall we? Hopefully Tommy Sweet'll like it.
    With all respect to The Smoking Pen, these two are BAMFs.
    • Of all the hobbies that Bad Blake had, I think watching Spanish Female Prison Movies was my favorite. That or making biscuits.
    • How he ended every call with his agent. Awesome.
    • Colin Farrell. I was shocked by his character. and his performance. Both very solid.
    • I've got this whole driving thing all wrong. I always have my pants closed and my belt on. Thanks for showing me the way, Bad. Means a lot.
    • And in all serious, Jeff Bridges. Just awesome.

    • Oooh. Late 50's groupies. Not cool, Bad. Not cool.
    • Not only does he dress like my dad, he drives like him, too. My dad once told me he slept for an entire 40 mile drive. He woke up in the other lane after a guy had been honking at him for minutes.
    • Turns out bringing a four year-old to a bar is a bad idea. Who knew?
    • The end. Damn.
    So, I guess I liked this one a lot. Maybe it's not as good as I think it is, but remember, I watched this around a showing of Velvet Goldmine. That movie makes everything else look much, much better.