Tuesday, December 31, 2013

An empty head is better than an empty bed!

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

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

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

Boner Garage loves it.

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

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

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

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

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I'm not really into digging up dead things.

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 19, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, December 16, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Happy holidays, everybody!


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Everyone knows amnesia is bollocks.

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

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

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

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

Friday, December 6, 2013

Better get my pants.

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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