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Showing posts from January, 2015

Free Writing - Take 71

I was going to write a mini review, but I'm not thinking straight. The movie mattered so much more last night, more specifically yesterday morning, but I was watching tennis. I watched again tonight. Serena won and she's everything that is wrong with sports in my mind. I've always hated players like her, Connors, Nadal and even the young Djokovic. Players who can't seem to ever get beaten, even on a single shot, without glaring at a lines person, yelling at themselves or checking their racquet. Then of course, there is the Nadal special, where the second you start to lose, you suddenly have a limp, which you explain after the match had been bothering you all week. You know, the week where you didn't lose a service game until the semis and won 74% of your serves. Yeah, tough going. Serena takes it to a new level now. She complains before the tournament even begins. She's sick, sore, injured, not in the right frame of mind or is she on drugs/drunk as was evident …

Super Quickie Review - Solomon Kane

This movie cost $45 million to make and I believe $44 of it was on CGI. Was there one scene that was real? It was bad CGI too. The opening scene was almost comical it was so badly done, but then it continues and despite the decent cast, the dialogue couldn't save it. Probably because it was equally as horrid. Von Sydow was in it, so I gave it a chance. Seriously, people found this enjoyable? Sure, I know, mindless entertainment, but there wasn't a single scene that was well executed. I knew nothing about this, but saw the cast and decided to give it a try. Reading the positive reviews after, leads me to believe people had to like this before even seeing it. Even Excalibur seems less silly than this.

Free Writing - Take 70

I love the snow and how pure it is. Nothing like walking in it and making those first steps. The crush from the weight of your foot, making that familiar sound. No matter how old I become, it will remind me of childhood. The walk towards our destination is filled with those steps over and over, but the walk back is different. The chilly air has taken hold of our sense and staring down, we see steps going in another direction, a place that was a goal. We're now returning to where we started and it will be like we never let. It's too bad friendships aren't like that. Too bad for some that their actions, their goals aren't easily rescinded. As of late, I've had friends make decisions, some unbeknownst to me at first, but then when I noticed, the dominoes fell. I don't care about these people anymore. Some I've know their entire lives and most of mine. They chose their path and they chose it, without ever discussing it. A simple explanation and no ill feelings …

Quickie Review - We Are The Best!

If you're my age (44), 1982 was a time of rebellion, discovery and punk rock music. This beautiful Swedish film, captures the very essence of what so many of us were feeling. Everyone else had the cool parents, ours were a burden. Everyone else had issues that were unimportant, because whatever "we" worried about was paramount. We chose our friends this way. We sought out other outcasts and wanted them to join us on our quest for world domination or simply to be noticed, to be different. It's when we cut our own hair or the sleeves on our shirts. It was our way of saving punk music, but for many of us in the US, it was really the beginning of it.

The movie is the story of three girls and their desire to fit in without fitting into what society wanted them to. They truly were the essence of the punk movement. The same way that hip-hop isn't just music, punk wasn't either. It was a style and a mindset. Establishment's rules are for the masses, not us. What&…

Quickie Review - The Den

The Den is a very good film and there are things about it that are great. It takes our comfort with the Internet and makes it truly awful. It takes a few other things that make us feel comfortable and it ruins that too, but I don't want to give to much away. I will however tell you what is absolutely great about it (yes, some slight spoilers).
1. It's not fucking Hollywood - Yes, there are some scenes where you wonder why it's shot in a found footage style, but it doesn't matter. It was done and you don't care.  2. The Killer - Watch it you'll see. 3. The ending that will drive some crazy - Because they didn't get how awful it was and not in a bad way, in it's view on society as a whole. 4. A beautiful girl who has sex - And here's where it is wonderful, The girl is adorable, she gets surprised by her boyfriend who is leaving town and what's the scene we see. Him pleasuring her. How often is that the only sex scene in a movie. Oh and another thi…

Quickie Review - Timecrimes (Minor Spoilers)

After hearing about this movie a lot recently, I dove in last night. Clear head, full stomach and a couple of cups of coffee ready. Time travel movies need you sharp and this one was no different. Like all movies, I went in with a blank slate. I knew absolutely nothing about this, other than it being a time travel movie. So the first scene sees this buffoon trip his way around his house, while his wife works busily. I noticed something right away. What's interesting, is not one review I read after seeing the movie even touched on it. The bet on the table. Hector knew the table wasn't going to fit in the house. So I'm assuming right away, he's done this before.

Fast forward close to 80 minutes and the same table is used in two scenes that are meant to mimic each other. Now, without noticing the obvious hint, this makes the movie very neatly wrapped and people can go home happy. I wasn't, because not only does it mean there is either another layer, it could mean it w…

Frank - Is It A Movie About Twitter Or Mental Illness?

Was I the only person who felt that the entire film was about Twitter? I'm not saying the concept or even the original idea, but the way it plays out, especially in the final forty minutes, feels like it's entirely about life on twitter? I just felt that Twitter was always the anti-Facebook. It was the place where you went to be yourself and be recognized for it, but the reality is that it's become worse than Facebook. People make up a persona and become completely pigeon-holed into one genre or type and the only acceptance they feel is from the people they tried to separate themselves from in the first place.

Yes, I realize the movie is also about mental illness and wanting to be "normal." Normal in the sense that you can do what you love and have it accepted and appreciated without judgement. We all know that even when people with disabilities achieve greatness, we always add they are disabled. The irony in the movie is the most damaged is Clara, who is really …

Been A While

Well, it's been a while since I've written anything really personal on here. I didn't wrap up my year or even the holidays in any neat little package of words, because I really didn't have much to tell. I feel let down by the holidays, by people, both friends and family. I feel lost in a a repetitive episode of an awful game show, where even the winner seems less than enthused. My distance to those I once called friends is obviously taking its toll on their memory of me and mine of them. I don't reach out via text the way I used to and they don't in any ways. I have a $100+ month phone and it has rung due to a friend's call only three times since before November began. My outgoing calls have been minimal as well as I don't need small talk. All I have is small talk. Small talk and the social media connection. The funny thing about it is that I've made a "new" friend who has kept a smile on my face and two old ones too. I get the sports mess…

Quickie Review - A Company Man

Korean action thrillers are pretty much always better than American action thrillers. The reason is that they don't get bogged down with silly stuff like love affairs and characters who show too much emotion. Or, they go absolutely insane with emotion and undying love and it works like a charm. A Company Man unfortunately resembles too many of the American versions, but benefits from the stoic performance of its star and some decent action. Unfortunately for you adrenaline junkies out there, the best action scene takes place in the first 10 minutes of the movie and the rest is standard procedure. Make no mistake, this film is solid as entertainment and has a very sharp look to it. Definitely worth a look, but not up to the standards of what I've been seeing out of Korean cinema.

Quickie Review - Contracted

I usually don't do spoilers, but I'm going to make a little exception, because this movie is so awful in every way, people should be warned. The real problem starts if you saw it through Netflix. In the synopsis, it states a girl has a one night stand and contracts a disease. She's roofied and raped. Big difference! Secondly, she's raped by a man, but it a lesbian who is in love, if not infatuated with her beau. Oh, did I mention the first scene is someone having sex with a corpse, but don't worry, you only see the toe tag moving back and forth.

Within twenty minutes, you realize the writer/director isn't very good with the ladies and any girl who doesn't accept the advances of the "nice guy" is a lesbian or deserves to be raped or killed or contract the plague. Anything, but live a normal lifestyle. Oh and she's a drug addict, who tried to kill herself, fights with her mother and is a loner. Oh yeah and apparently she still goes to her pediat…

Quickie Review - As Above, So Below

Why this movie was done in the found footage genre, I'll never understand. It completely detracts and distracts, in that it is terribly done and adds tons of plot holes that didn't need to exist. That being said, it's shot beautifully at times and had it been done simply as regular movie, would have been much more effective. Think of it as The Descent, but with an actually decent premise. It has a beautiful cast, which definitely helps, but the pretty faces don't always show acting chops and some scenes, which should be powerful, fall flat on their faces. The lead however is solid, if not a little naive to the very mythology she's supposed to be an expert in.

Now here's where the Internet trolls are prowling. It's a basic telling of Dante's inferno and examines Martinism. A form of hermeticism in line with the religion based on alchemy. Now, obviously there aren't many people who are going to pick up on this and I'll admit, I did think it was ab…

Quickie Review - Knights Of Badassdom

I didn't know a thing about this, but the title was so bad, I had to see for myself. Plus, Steve Zahn was in it, so how bad could it be? The simply way to describe this (for me), would be to say "Role Models, if it were a horror movie." The movie is outrageously funny, but also shows that in the world of LARP, these people, no matter how hardcore, simply know how to have fun. 

The cast is amazing, with Peter Dinklage really being the star when he's on screen. What's beautiful, is that in this fantasy world of magicians, elves and dwarfs, his size never becomes a focal point. The horror is somewhat silly, but pretty much standard fare in an 80's slasher kind of way. The monster is about as silly as you'd expect, but in reality, it's the one thing that's "real" and everything else is fantasy, so take that for what it's worth. Oh yes and like all good horror films, it has an absolutely beautiful woman in it. Summer Glau is pretty badass …

Kevin Smith's Tusk: The Jokes On You

Originally posted on IMDB. Assuming I'll have to delete it due to trolling, but I'll leave it here. If I knew how to do a podcast, I'd do so (No, I wouldn't).

I consider myself a KS fan, but without any exaggeration, this was the single worst movie I've ever endured. Not a single laugh, scare, flinch or original thought for that matter. Like the sarcastic Mr. Smith, I too have convinced myself that celebrity takes on an aura that is unexplained. The only logical reason or this movie being made, was for KS to prove to the world that the little guy can turn into the big guy and poke fun of all of them.

While I find podcasts ridiculously silly, I don't dispute they've become an interesting medium.They've allowed some a freedom that radio and television doesn't, but they also (generally) turn into childish rants, proving that delivering a concise message isn't as easy as it looks. While I understood each and every gag and reference in the film, I do…

Free Writing - Take 69

Type type type. Delete. Over and over I do it. So afraid to offend. Silence from where I want to hear noise. Constant silence. The only time I hear anything, is the rehearsed, timed responses. The same conversations each and every day. I hear them on the phone. I hear them spoken. Each day. Even the faint muttering to oneself is the exact same. It's like being trapped in an awful version of Grounhog's Day, but without the knowledge it can be changed and it can't be ended. The same exact routine over and over. Even alone, I sleep and wake up. I lie in bed or maybe I get up. I eat immediately, but what if I am not hungry? I don't eat. I don't follow this rule, this painful fucking rule that each day I must have the bowl filled with the same contents, the same tea, the same one hour and 15 minutes. The routine, which if broken sends the day into a tailspin. The pattering of keys, the sound of the shower or maybe not. The written note, 12:45 or is it 1:00 or 1:15 today…

Quickie Review - Only Lovers Left Alive

Jim Jarmusch is a genius. Most people didn't realize this until they saw Bill Murray in Broken Flowers, but those in the know have been singing his praises since the early 80's when Stranger Than Paradise hit. For me, he made Tom Waits a great actor who sang, then I got into his music and realized it was really just the opposite. From Down By Law to Mystery Train (Fuckin' Joe Strummer is in this man!) to Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai, he has thrilled us with his melodic take on everything, in a way that only he sees the world. So why not take on the most popular genre going?

Tom Hiddleston, who I must admit, I'm not very familiar with other than the silly portrayal of Loki in the Thor movie is the male lead, who in any other world, would have dominated the screen. Unfortunately for him and fortunately for us, he shares most scenes with Tilda Swinton, who is easily one of the top five actresses in the world without this ever coming out. Her ability to transform herself …

Quickie Review - Calvary

Let's start right off with letting you know....this is a comedy. It is not as funny as The Guard, which was written and directed by the same guy and also starred the amazing Brendan Gleason, but it is hilarious at times. What you have to realize is that it isn't necessarily American humor and if you're sensitive about religion, especially Catholicism, you might not love the attitudes within. That being said, you do need to know a little bit about Christianity to get the story. Then again, this was my one knock on the film. I won't give it away in here, but a few huge "symbols," pretty much tell the tale. Taking away a bit of the dramatic mystery, but still holding your attention. It is not a knock on religion so much as an exploration of faith. There are no punches held back, but they also aren't going to floor anyone.

The real joy is the dialogue. The attitudes towards the church and how modern day life, even in a small town in Ireland, are put against t…

Quickie Review - Neverlake

Some say it has a very slow start, but I'd argue that almost all good horror movies have a methodical buildup and this is no different. Sure, there could have been slight editing and a little more normal interaction between the father and daughter, but it was part of the story. Call it "psychological thriller," "suspense" or "horror," it doesn't matter. The acting is above average for low budget horror, the film is shot beautifully and the story actually plays out well without too many holes. The best thing about the movie is that it falls into so many genres, but some things might simply be metaphors or causes due to one of the plot devices. I really liked this and found it to be far superior to about 90% of what I've watched in the past year and that's a lot of horror.  Don't guy by the picture on the DVD box/poster. It doesn't represent the movie at all.

Quickie Review - Ida (The Best Movie of the Year)

Ida is as close to perfection as I've seen in a while. I'd argue that Argo was perfect, in that it held a balance between drama, comedy and realism, while never entering a superfluous scene. At 80 minutes, Ida might have succeeded in bettering it. Ida leaves the viewer with choices, but is clear in it's intent. The story is the short journey of two women, very different in every way and the path it leads them to, by defining them, to nobody other than themselves. What's even more important to note, is their tale is the secondary story. The real story is the story of Poland as it overcame the war and tried to crawl out of Stalin's communism. The symbolism isn't overdone and the dialogue is sparse. The black and white monochrome filter, lends to the dreary time as well as to the mood of the film and the season, in it's look and it's symbolism plays its own role.

The fact the lead is a first time actress shows to some, but not to me. I found her vulnerabil…

Quickie Review - I, Frankenstein

This movie was bashed by pretty much everyone. Horror, superhero and graphic novel fans all hated it. So I went in with absolutely no idea what to expect. I do know I normally like those movies which everyone else hates, but knew very little about this one. Bam, Aaron Eckhart stars. So now I'm thinking how bad can it be? First 10 minutes is amazing and then Yvonne Strahovski, my true blonde crush and Bill Nighy, today's version of Vincent Price are both in this. Add Miranda Otto, some bad ass gargoyle and you've got some fun. Did I mention this movie is shorter than a half of football? It is CGI heaven and it actually works. I know this sounds odd, but what I loved was the lack of plot holes that kill movies like this. Sure there is one huge one, but they actually cover it up perfectly. I'm not going to preface it with anything....I liked it, a lot.

Quickie Review - The Outlaw (Korean)

This movie takes a tried and true formula, good cop, falls for victim and then the obvious happens and turns it into the most garbled mess you will ever see. The last twenty minutes is so absolutely ridiculous, especially when you think about it for more than a second after it ends, but I beg of you not to. It really tries to be something interesting, but the real problem is it's five movies in one. There's also two scenes which make absolutely no sense and at one point, I'm not sure if there wasn't a little time travel in it or they just switched character's roles. It's not really that confusing, but it's just poorly done with too many side stories that get wrapped up very poorly.

Quickie Review - Room 237

Another movie I'd heard nothing good about. This documentary on the hidden symbolism found in the Stanley Kubrick film version of Stephen King's The Shining is all over the place. From the obvious to the absurd, from the logical to the flat out insane. This gives Kubrick credit for everything from faking the moon landing to giving us the greatest social commentary on genocide ever on film. Oh yeah, occasionally, it talks about what happens in the movie and hits the nail on the head.  The real shame of the film is that in trying to peel off all these layers found within the classic, it's reveals the human side of Kubrick. A man known as a perfectionist is revealed as a mistake oriented director who feared thoughts of the Holocaust so much, that he inserted his anger into every film he ever made, because he didn't have the guts to make his own movie about it. That is if you believe it to be true.

I've long thought The Shining was actually a pretty simple movie, but t…

Super Quickie Review - The Lego Movie

I'm not going to give anything away, but this is probably the best thing I watched in 2014. I'm not even going to say, because it was fun. It's thought provoking, sad, poignant and downright hilarious. The voices are great and the dialogue flows so perfectly. The cultural references will have adults in as much of a tizzy as the children they may watch with are affected by the sights and sounds.

If there is any other reason you need, may I just say this. Morgan Freeman had never done an animated film until this. Thank you your almighty!

Quickie Review - Deliver Us From Evil

I actually liked this, but I should have known they were going to ruin it with the scene most people think is the best in the movie. The movie rolls along well until the 100 minute mark and then the dumbest scene ever starts to take place. That being said, the last 30-45 seconds of this scene are actually well done. It's the complete silliness of the  rest of it that destroys this movie's chances of being considered, well good. It's entertaining, that is all. Miscast people such as Munn and Bana (honestly, his accent is so distracting, I felt as if in a parallel universe, Jon Hamm's character in The Town was receiving an "Awscah").

My honest feeling is that they had all these scenes they liked, but they didn't know how to wrap it up cleanly. The movie is good enough that you forgive Bana for being the worst father, husband and partner and sit back and enjoy, but then when everything mounts, it gets too far fetched. Truly, unless this silliness is your cup…

Free Writing - Take 68

As not to bore anyone who happens upon this, I'm going back to a set time. Today, four minutes. Starting now!

Two football games, alone, sans snacks and comforted only by two beers to make it feel normal. A shit sandwich and some cheese. A cheese and tomato wrap for dinner as there was nothing else to choose from. Someone's leftovers, a bite of cold, soggy spanakopita was as uneventful as the last few months. Thought back to Christmas and how it was the first in 29 years I didn't call three people. First in another 15, I didn't call two others. They didn't call me either. The games, movies, people I don't know, have become my entertainment. I long for an interesting tale. Not one of these responses that feel so rehearsed. "I liked this, I didn't like that, that is what the consensus is, right?" I want something other than my own voice, repeating over and over the stories of the day before. I'm too old for small talk. I'm in the living room…

Out With The Old, In With The Older

2014, was a tumultuous one and it ended, much the same as it played out. I went to bed angry, but airing out some of my displeasure. I awoke, well rested for the first time in ages and without a single regret. I slipped out of the warmth of flannel sheets and into the frigid air of the kitchen. The floor was if standing on ice and as I've found hours later, the heat is not even on. Twenty degrees outside and not a warm pipe to be found. I retreated back into bed, even opening the window for some air to combat the dryness of the bedroom.

I looked back at New Year's past and thought of laughter, good food and memories. Last night I had one of those. No memories can be formed in Ithaca, because there is a combination of forces that delete them from some minds. Cliched words of religious symbols, humped on our backs, is not my problem. I have my own memories, good and not, but can't be burdened with remembering for others. What is the use, if they tell themselves what they wan…