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Showing posts from January, 2013

The Greatest Horror Movies I've Ever Seen

What is a horror movie?  Many films claim to be horror films, but they are merely thrillers with a scene or two of gore.  To me, a true horror film makes you cringe, makes you grab hold of an armrest or maybe even make you cry.  A cat jumping out from behind a couch, when you think it might be something worse, is suspense revealed, not horror.  True horror is when you believe what is taking place, those awful things, we hold back in the recesses of our minds, unfold before us and for a brief second, we believe it is happening.  It is then, that horror is achieved.

We call lots of movies horror.  The Exorcist is one of the classic American horror movies, but if you're an intelligent and well adjusted human being, it is neither scary nor thrilling.  There is never a lump in your throat, because you know that demonic possession is nothing more than a tall tale.  For me, there was a never a scary moment in the entire film.  Watching it now, I find it almost comical. Now take Last House…

Free Writing - Take 17

I love the rain. Like DeNiro said, one day a real rain will come and wash all the scum off the streets.  I like rain, because so many see it as a hindrance.  Tonight I heard the drops hitting a piece of metal outside my window.  It became harder and harder than then soft again. I went outside.  A steady mist.  I love that feeling.  The feeling that everything bad is being washed away.  Like a hot shower, it cleanses the soul, or whatever lays within us, trying to get out.  It's dawned on me that religious types believe that when we die our soul ascends to heaven or retreats into hell.  To me, our soul is trying to get out every day.  When we do something that makes us happy, it's our soul, that thing inside us that is dancing.  When we are sad, it's our soul that cries while we stay strong on the outside.  When we are angry it's our soul trying to leave us, trying to escape and attack all that is evil.  When we are bored, it sits and waits and wonders, where we are goi…

Quickie Review - Calvaire

I'm going to do something  I've never done before.  I'm going to leave my original post and then add something to the end of it that changes the entire movie.  The added paragraph is in bold, so you can see what has been added to it.  Warning some spoilers.

Calvaire, which translates to The Ordeal, is a Belgian psychological thriller about a struggling singer, Marc Stevens, whose car breaks down while trying to make his way to a Christmas show.  He finds a strange man walking in the rain looking for his dog, he leads him to an inn that has been closed, but the proprietor quickly gets him settled and promises him a hot meal in the morning.  The caretaker, Bartel, tells him he'll look at his car and will make sure he's on the road the next day.  This obviously, doesn't happen.  That night, the Bartel, an ex-comedian tells the man a joke and then asks him to sing.  He also tells him about the love of his life and how she ran away.  The next morning Marc realizes so…

Quick Review - Inside

If you are a fan of horror movie that will make you squirm, this one is for you.  There are so many reasons to hate this movie.   Gore, brutality, bloody everywhere, gun shot wounds, stabbings and then there is the self tracheotomy and the non-medical C-section.  So why did I like this insane movie?  Simple.  There are two beautiful women in it first off.  Alyyson Paradis plays Sarah, the pregnant single mother, trying to get over the death of her husband in a car accident we see at the very beginning of the film and then there is Beatrice Dalle, who plays The Woman.  The other characters are unimportant really, because none stays on screen more than a handful of minutes.  The key is these two stars.

Paradis is a depressed woman still reeling from the death of her husband and unsure about the birth of her baby.  She pushes everyone who seems to care away and has an inability to smile.  As the movie goes on, she defends her baby against anything or anyone who might try to harm it.  Des…

Simple Pleasures - Dinner At Home

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food." - George Bernard Shaw

I hadn't really eaten all day and had no intentions of going out this evening, so I knew I had to make dinner.   I didn't have many options, but had defrosted some ground beef, so a burger was in order.  The original plan was a simple burger with lettuce and tomato.  It turned into a little more and a burger that was so messy, I couldn't actually put it down.  This was a small price to pay for a burger that was one of the best I've ever made at home.

I opened the fridge and took a quick inventory of what was available and quickly realized the standard American classic was going to take on a different angle.  I cut two slices in half and laid the four strips into a pan and turned the heat on.  As they cooked, I gently separated about eight ounces of 80/20% ground beef, sprinkling salt, pepper, garlic and cumin liberally onto it.  I then splashed a little Worcestershire sauce over it.  I g…

Arbitrage - Quick Review

When you watch a movie like this one, you find yourself looking for those little things that separate it from all those that have resembled it in the past.  Arbitrage succeeds on two levels.  The script is nearly flawless and the acting, with one exception, is not overdone. It's people acting the way you would imagine they would under these situations.  The standout in the film however is not the star, Richard Gere, but Nate Parker who plays Jimmy.  Parker's ability to convey loyalty with self interest, street smarts with raw intelligence and toughness with sensitivity is uncanny.  He is an odd choice to represent the moral compass in the movie. Tim Roth and Gere share a scene that is explosive, despite it's subtlety, but the scenes with Parker steal the show.

Unfortunately, the movie fails with too much filler (which at just over 100 minutes is a little odd) and a very weak ending. Not in that it leaves us with questions, but leaves us with the feeling that a final scene…

What Does 2012 Say About Our Country (According to Google)?

We are in a technological age like no other.  Not only is every imaginable piece of information at our fingertips, but we've gotten to the point where this information is available almost instantly.  Sometimes the information is released before the facts, but that is due to the fact that news sources are all trying to be the first one to break the story.  The story is key, the facts, they can be filled in later or changed.  Being first is what counts.  
So where do we go when we need information?  For most of us, it starts with a search engine.  The preferred method around the world is the all knowing, all powerful Google.  Now some have said Google has taken on a bit of a bias when it comes to certain searches, but that being said, it's still an important tool.  Now we've had some big stories this year in the U.S.  The Election, Hurricane Sandy, Benghazi, The Fiscal Cliff and Felix Baumgartners epic descent from space (or damn near close).  Then the year ended with what e…

Quickie Review - In America

In America is a tale of an Irish families journey to New York City in hopes of a better life.  The story is apparently somewhat of an autobiographical tale, written by Jim Sheridan.  Sheridan's name might not ring any bells, but he's the writer and director of many of Daniel Day Lewis' better roles, such as My Left Foot, The Boxer and In the Name of the Father.  He also wrote one of my favorites, Some Mother's Son, which chronicles the Bobby Sands hunger strike.

The film stars Paddy Considine and the lovely Samantha Morton in the roles of the parents.  They are looking to start anew and we quickly learn they are not only seeking a better life for they and their children, but they are running away from the death of their son, that haunts them, especially the father.  The parents want everything for their children, at almost any cost, even their own lives and happiness. There is a scene, early on, that is almost physically painful to watch, because of the stress that you…

Free Writing Take 16 - Revelations

I'm tired and I've slept 8 hours in three days.  I just had an English muffin, two slices of avocado and a bit of black bean salsa.  Not the smartest thing at 3AM, but I was needing to fill a void.  Revelations?  Am I going to write something biblical?  No, but it dawned on me today during multiple discussions during the day, that intelligence is not something that can be claimed, but must be proven.  I can throw out my IQ and I can claim to be as smart as a whip, but it's work to prove it.  Intelligence is the ability to make reason out of what you know, what you can explain and if, by chance you don't know, going through the proper avenues to decipher.  I was made fun of today, while ignoring ignorance.  I didn't get mad. ignorant people don't know they are ignorant.  I have always known that.  For the sake of a friend, I spared the feelings of someone that not only publicly, but privately had been proven to be of a lesser intellect.  The funniest was I was m…

Current Hollywood Actresses - Best Unknown Roles

A few days ago, I paid homage the the best known actors in Hollywood and picked some roles that you may not have seen.  Now it's the women's turn.  As with the men, I am keeping this limited to women who are still in their prime or have been recently.  The big names only.

Sissy Spacek - Now many might not think of her as one of the top people in Hollywood right now, but consider this, but she's been nominated six times for best actress and won the thing four times.  I could pick the cult classic, Terrence Mallick's Badlands, but I'm going to stick with one she was nominated but lost, In The Bedroom.  The movie garnered tons of awards, yet even I didn't see it until a few years later at the urging of my parents.  It's a sad tale and Spacek plays a grieving mother of a teenage boy who was killed, by a jealous lover of his "older" girl.  What is so wonderful about her performance is it's proof that sometimes grief can not be overcome and while th…

NFL Playoff Predictions - A Week Late

Well, I forgot to write this a week ago, but here it goes.  I had actually posted my predictions on Facebook and while my scores were off, I did get three of the games correct.  So here you have it a week late.

Wild Card Weekend

I'm giving my score predictions, even though I know that they were wrong for the wildcard games

Baltimore over Indianapolis 23-21
Bengals over Texans 27-21
Seattle over Washington 27-17
Green Bay over Minnesota 31-27

I would have had the Bengals playing the Broncos and the Ravens playing New England, but being that I am now writing this with knowledge that won't be the matchups I'll stick with what is taking place (either way, I would have had both teams losing this week).

Divisional Championships

Denver over Baltimore  30 - 17
New England over Houston 34 - 10
Atlanta over Seattle 27 - 24
Green Bay over San Francisco 31 - 20

Conference Championship

New England over Denver 38 - 34
Green Bay over Seattle 28 - 16

Super Bowl

New England over Green Bay …

The Last and the First

I recently read an article explaining that the last person we think about before we go to bed and the first person we think about as we awake are the people, who at the time, bring us the most happiness and/or the most pain.  It's dawned on me recently that many times, for me at least, this seems to be the same people.  I tend very often to awake from a vivid dream in the morning, thinking about the same person that inevitably kept me awake the night before.  Recently, I'll admit those people have been one's of frustration.  They have been people who have let me down in some way, whether it be by their actions or the more likely scenario, their lack of.  I have also found myself thinking of those, who quite possibly, I failed.  In my recent attempts to come to grips with why so many have deserted me over the years, I find that I have myself deserted them in different ways.  By constantly evolving my friendships, there have been times I've given my time to those who do …

The Dark Knight Rises - Review

Let me preface this review with the fact that I will not give any major story plots out in this review.

So the film recently dubbed "the best" Superhero movie of all-time finally arrived in my mailbox.  I went into it with an open mind, because Batman Begins was great in my opinion, but a little trepidation because I felt The Dark Knight was lacking.  I know every professional critic loved it, because there was a love affair with Heath Ledger before the movie even came out.  When word of his drug overdose spread, it was an instant hit before it was viewed.  Unlike movie critics, I am also a critic of life.  Or should I say cynic.  When I read the side effects found in people addicted to the exact pills that Ledger was on, I learned that his side effects were his portrayal.  There was no wonderful method acting or some place he dug deep to reach.  His slurred speech and odd behavior were nothing more than the standard look of such a man who was hooked, sans the crazy makeup. …

Feeling Bad For Others

It came to my attention today that someone who I consider and actual friend, who unfriended me on Facebook posted a status that read "Happiness is unfriending a liberal on Facebook."  My initial reaction was to laugh.  Then I got a little annoyed.  After a few hours, I felt sorrow.  How empty is someones life when they achieve satisfaction from something so unimportant.  This is a grown man, with a wife, a kid and a good job, who for some reason felt he had achieved something important by reducing a friendship down to a label and a click of a button.  This is a man, who puts his life on the line every day as a NYC fireman.  How could someone who puts himself in harm's way, despite having a family he's responsible for, find joy in something so meaningless as this?

I stated that I felt bad for him and a friend quickly rushed to his defense and told me he has a house and a pretty wife/  A house and a pretty wife?  Is that what life is for some?  I have seen lots of hou…

Current Hollywood Actors - Best Unknown Roles

Hollywood stars are iconic.  We all know the big roles that made them stars.  Whether it be Leo in Titanic or  Julia in Pretty Woman, we know the roles that made them stars, but what about their best roles.  Many times awards are received for a body of work or for past award failures.  Many times awards are given for lifetime achievements in lesser roles.  Many times, like in the case of last years Oscar winner, Jean Dujardin, it is their best role, but that isn't always the case. I'm going to give my opinion on some of the greatest roles of actors that you might not have seen, but should.
Despite his big time movies like the Ocean's series and movies like Seven, the best role Brad Pitt has ever had, was that of the Pikey in Snatch.  With a nearly impossible to understand accent, his drunken antic, almost impossible to believe he wasn't drunk play such a big role in the ending of the film that he deserves front and center on the poster.  Most people have seen this, but…

Killer Joe - No Spoilers

Just finished watching William Friedkin's adaptation of the Tracy Letts' play Killer Joe.  Friedkin had adapted another of Letts' plays that I had seen about a year ago called Bug.  Bug starred Michael Shannon, Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr. and was a brilliant expose into the fine line between reality and delusion. Bug made me desperate to see Killer Joe.  As quirky and odd as Bug might have been, it pales in comparison in terms of mental impact.  Killer Joe is one incredibly bold movie.

To say it's a good movie, means it's enjoyable.  It's hard to call this movie enjoyable, because at times it's look away awful.  Not awful in it's delivery, but awful in it's subject matter.  There is gratuitous violence and nudity, a very disturbing sex scene and another scene which combines violence and sexuality in a way that has never been seen before.  To say the scene is disturbing is an understatement, despite it being a gripping  and the pivotal scene of…