Saturday, August 29, 2015

This is not troubling to you?

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

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

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

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

Oh, I f--king love that.

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

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

Saturday, August 22, 2015

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

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

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

It was pretty f--king shallow.

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

Early on, however, I was all in. 

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

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

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

Monday, August 17, 2015

And it all went tits up.

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

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

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

Sometimes it takes place in a church.

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

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

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

Sunday, August 16, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, August 14, 2015

You heard Hall and Oates - you blew it!

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

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

A Ms. Pac-Man arcade game.

Tabletop style.

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

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

And as his was kind of awesome. 

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

Thursday, August 13, 2015

BLOGATHON: Against the Crowd (part deux)

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Just forget I said anything, okay?

I guess they're headaches. At least I hope they are. (I honestly feel as if headache is the most arbitrary term)
Sometimes, I'll go to put my deodorant on...and I've already done it.
And when I give directions? I'll use the word thing more often than not. Grab the thing, turn left at the thing. Oh, and don't even ask about receiving directions. I think my face contorts to something like Sloth from The Goonies if there's more than one step.

But what really scares the shit out of me? It's this alleged tender moment I'll often share with my dog, Dodger. No, not that kind of tender moment, you f--king sicko. No, it's this moment where his whole world stops. And he'll kind of glide over to me, staring me straight in the eyes, and get his face so close to mine. I pet him, smile like this is beautiful, but really I'm thinking: he smells my brain about to explode.

Don't think I'm making light of any hint or form of neurological disorder, believe me, I'm not. But after sweating all the way through the captivating Still Alice (or as I call it, F--k That: The Movie), I've started second-guessing just about everything in my life. Sure, slasher films and torture porn can make you jump, but early-onset Alzheimer's? That's where the big scares are.

Julianne Moore plays Alice, a fifty year-old linguistics professor who is absolutely blindsided by the progressive disease. Initially, it's all Sorry, I'm drawing a blank and Your name again?, but it quickly deteriorates into something much worse. Soon, Alice doesn't remember where she is, or how she could possibly know that nice actress from the play. I don't have any real firsthand experience with the disease, but here it's portrayed in what feels like a very honest and very sincere fashion. 

And it's horrific. I'm sorry, did I already mention that?

Anyway, while I assumed this movie was going to be a grind (I'm not the biggest fan of Moore, truth be told), it was anything but. Honestly, my wife and were riveted the entire time. Yes, the performances are great, and the story compelling, but that I expected. But what blew me away? The pace. Still Alice is f--king breakneck. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Just leave me to do my dark bidding on the Internet.

It all started out so innocently. 
I don't even know what would possess me to do it, but I sent it, even though I felt like an asshole for doing so. I'm definitely a fan, but I hate crossing that line. It feels...desperate. I'm not cool, clearly, but I like to play it that way.

But after my phone died, I'm not going to lie, when I plugged it in, I thought, well...maybe. I mean, even though it's kind of embarrassing, there's a healthy component of oh, f--k it, you know?

And then,
This is totally absurd, right? Just f--king ridiculous, if you give it any amount of thought. But, it's also kind of perfect, too. 

Which exactly sums up how I feel about co-writer and director Jemaine Clement's 2014 mockumentary, What We Do in the Shadows. As an avid fan of Clement's since the mind-numbing brilliance of HBO's Flight of the Conchords, I've always looked forward to projects he's a part of. But this one? Initially, anyway...I had my doubts.

The faux-documentary thing seems to have really run its course, as has just about anything to do with vampires. But for whatever reason, likely the talents of Clement and frequent collaborator (and fellow dry-comedy genius) Taika Watiti, the combination of the two is a smashing success. It's very seldom that I'm disappointed when a movie ends, but even in a near coma-state at two in the morning, I wanted more. 

After getting a guarantee of their personal safety, a film crew moves in and documents the lives of four vampires: Viago, Vladislav, Deacon and Petyr. Most of the film deals with the minutiae of not only living with roommates, but life as a modern-day vampire. It's all played in a very low-key fashion, perfectly humdrum and borderline pathetic. The result? Big laughs out of the tiniest of situations.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The journey sucks.

Though in most cases hate is too strong of a word, let me tell you, I f--king hate being a tourist. I love going to new places, sure, but doing anything that falls in the vicinity of oh, you have to see/do/go/eat at/be a f--king asshole near _______ makes me die inside. Instantly. Maybe it's growing up in Hawai'i, where tourists are like cockroaches, unwelcome but apparently necessary. Or maybe it's the fact that despite the contents of this blog, I'm not a huge fan of looking like a clueless dickhead. 

Oh, and if I did ever manage to go to some tourist trap...I sure as Hell wouldn't want to do it again.

The preview looked like it was possibly the right kind of stupid, but hours after catching the new Vacation theatrically, I'm thinking this one might be better served on the small screen. It's probably not as bad as you've heard, but the Griswold's latest family outing is like any trip with two kids: not as much fun as you'd hoped it would be.

The plot is secondary, as everyone knows it's simply a rehash of the first Vacation film. That ain't the problem. While the first one (in faint retrospect, anyway) felt like a cohesive story about a relatively believable family, the second one shits all over that idea and opts for a series of nonsensical gags instead. Yes, the plan is to still get to WallyWorld, but along the way it's like a loosely connected string of SNL skits. Some bits are hilarious, some utterly cringe-worthy, while all of them manage to last just a little too long.

Okay, Blogger Guy, enough with the bullshit: is it funny? Obviously I can only speak for myself, but there were at least two scenes I couldn't breathe during, I was laughing so hard. The rest of the film was like putting a clown on a horse: Steady chuckles.

Oh, f--k off. I took a shot, okay?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Maybe good isn't your thing.

At least for the first one, I can remember exactly where I was when I found out my wife was pregnant. I can vividly recall when, weeks later, we went and got an ultrasound. There's this moment where everything goes from Oh, this is sooo exciting to the room being frighteningly quiet. The technician was a pro, so she was real cool, but in the seconds it took to find the baby's heartbeat, I remember feeling that my own heart had gone quiet, too.

But there it was, loud and clear, and I could exhale...slightly. There was something else that the tech was looking for, and I would have died had she found it:

Another beating heart. 

I'm not sure what compelled me to watch The Skeleton Twins, just as I'm not sure how I feel about now that I've finished it. Starring the (un?)likely duo of Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, and telling the story of two highly-dysfunctional twins, writer-director Craig Johnson's second feature is at the very least, intriguing (possibly a nice way of saying shockingly uneven).With arguably the funniest pair the recent SNL alums leading the way, you'd rightly think this is a comedy. 

Well, it isn't. At least...not really.

Hader plays Milo, the estranged brother to Wiig's Maggie. After a botched suicide attempt, Maggie flies to L.A. to bring her brother back to Nyack, New York, the pictureseque town where they grew up. Maggie seems to have everything figured out, as she has a steady job, a nice house, and of course, a great husband (a fairly rad Luke Wilson).

Initially it appears that this is going to be a movie about Milo, an out-of-work actor and full-time asshole. But while we quickly peg him as the mysterious f--k-up, it turns out that Maggie might be even worse than he is. Much worse.

Monday, August 3, 2015

I'm gonna watch you till I can't see you anymore.

Apparently, his name was Mikey.

And while my family was having a nice time at the pool this past week, little Mikey decided, perhaps inadvertently, f--k that. Oh, your daughter wants to go down the slide? Perhaps I'll run up it. Gee mister, your shirt looks dry. Maybe I should spit water on it. Hmm, looks like you're trying to take a cute picture of your son, huh? Perhaps I should dart in front of him, splashing your smartphone along the way. And while I'm sure you've got your own kids' safety to worry about, I'm going to take about a half dozen headers, running around the pool like an asshole.

While all of this was going down, while my little parade was being rained on, I could only think of one thing: where the f--k are this kid's parents? 

Unlike that (woefully) uninteresting tidbit from our vacation, I had a blast with writer/director Zak Hilditch's These Final Hours. Set in Australia during the final moments of Earth's existence, the film is a tensely gripping experience that shines a little ray of light on the darkest bits of humanity. When nothing really matters, should you do something that does?

Jimmy is kind of a f--k up. We meet him as he's making sweet love. Is this women his wife? His girlfriend? We're not sure. But it's clear he's got somewhere to be, and her desperate eyes aren't enough to make him stay.

So, he hits the road and we get an intimate look at the end of civilization. Freaks of all kinds are out and about and it's pretty f--king clear, all bets are off. After outrunning a crazy f--ker with a knife, ol' James sees some burly bastard hauling a little girl into his house. With the clock ticking, and an invitation to the Last Great Party in the history of time, Jimmy does not what we expect, but what we hoped: He goes inside and saves the day.