Wednesday, October 28, 2015

I sort of threw her under the bus.

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

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

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

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

But not in the way I'd hoped.

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

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

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

If only we could be so lucky.

Monday, October 26, 2015

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

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

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

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

About that second one...

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

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

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

Sunday, October 25, 2015

I've been sorry a long time.

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

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

Good thing no one's paying attention.

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Always take the fancy option.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Death came in instead. And it came with teeth.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Life? What life?

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

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

Saturday, October 10, 2015

We don't have time for zingers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, October 5, 2015

And that is why I'll always love you.

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

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

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

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

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

Or should I say, f--king Peach Fuzz?

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

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