Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Inglorious Basterds/My Oscar Nominee

Yes Inglorious Basterds came out this summer. Yes I am behind on this one. Yes it is such a good film that I think it still deserves a review. No its likelihood as a great film is not the only reason that I am revisiting this gem.
Basterds came out on DVD today and as my roommate loves having great cinema pancaked into tiny laser readable discs we now own it, thus giving me a chance to confirm something. Usually when I watch a film I try to look at everything, from the cinematography to the directing, even down to the sound design. However awhile back I said I wanted to mix things up, and I think its time I do that (yes that time is at 2:30AM on a Wednesday, WHAT?).

Christoph Waltz deserves the Oscar for best supporting role.

Who? The guy who plays Colonel Landa "the Jew Hunter" in Basterds. I dare you to watch this film and not be amazed by this man. Now watching Christian Bale act out an American accent is one thing(He hales from Wales), but the Waltz acts out 3 different languages and more than one accent, top that. Normally when I watch a foreign language film, which I think for the most part Inglorious can be described as, I just read the captions and I am over it. This guy, oh this dude-and-a-half, nah he makes me actually watch and listen, and this suckers in GERMAN & FRENCH. He is able to make me believe the delivery even when I don't speak a lick of the language he is belting. I caught myself smiling during the first scene, which is perhaps one of the tensest moments of the film, and here I am with the dumbest smile on my face, a grin that only occurs when yours truly is amazed. This character moves me, and its not the words coming out of his mouth, its the way he spits it.
Well Mr. Waltz, my hat comes off to you, this was indeed one of the best performances I have ever seen on the silver screen. In fact his acting is so fun to watch it is a shame that one has to read the captions, I am hoping someone out there with a better grasp of French and German will watch this and comment on my blog about how believable he is in the native tongues, I guarantee he is amazing, Champs Stamp of Approval.
Well it's time for this little blogger to say auf wiedersehen (see I'm learning Ma). Peace out cub scouts.

Oh and this film is great: awesome shots, beautiful dialogue, amazing directing and the sound is Tarantino to a T(HA!).

Banana-meter: 9.8/10 Bananas.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Beginning

Yeah so I have been doing a pretty bad job at blogging. I know I know, a 'pretty bad job' is an understatement. Yes lots of movies have come out, and just because I haven't been blogging, does not mean I have been avoiding the silver screen, in fact I have seen several films during my hiatus. Now your probably wondering why "the incident" of my long term step away from blogging. Well its quite the mix drink of excuses: 1 part laziness, 2 spoonfuls of distractions poured over an ice cold job of PA work, shake and pour.

No I am not writing this as a resignation speech, I left that in my other pants and they went through the wash, so that's out. This is also not a comeback spiel, those are over-rated and I am pretty sure Brett Favre ate all of those up this year. Nah folks, this is just me letting everyone know that I am still breathing, and yes still sipping down red ICEEs while letting my mind melt into the big screen.
Ok enough of the sappy stuff, back to business. The other night as I waited freezing on a street corner in my beloved new home of New York City, it finally hit me that winter was fast approaching from the west, on cold fronts filled with the white stuff. With the arrival of snow soon, my oldest friend returns, skiing, and there is no better way to prepare for ski season than by watching some excellent ski/snowboard films.
I owe a lot to the ski film industry, the first time I ever threw in Match Stick Productions: High Society was the budding of the my need to put images on celluloid. The first films I ever made were ski films, the first time I ever had an audience was a ski film. So it's time to pay some respect to my beginnings as I come off my first Hollywood film.
Most people know about Warren Miller, the pioneer of the snow sports film, but I got started with MSP, and new school skiing. So that is why I suggest you all to check out "Refresh" from Level 1.
Refresh starts at the beginning of the Freestyle/newschool movement, the one that got me moving. It helps to show how much the sport has progressed, and how far we have come with the ways it is shot. Also, the soundtrack is nasty and the tricks are pretty rad too.
Snow snow snow, its sooooooo dope.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Mayer Hawthorne - A Strange Arrangement

With popular music these days being cranked out at speeds that would make Wile E. Coyote cringe, quality has reached an all-time low. Industry execs are beating a dead horse looking for the "new thing", but it all comes out the same - stale.

Well, as luck would have it, Stones Throw has their shit together. Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce a breath of fresh air - Mayer Hawthorne.

The Ann Arbor native's debut is obviously heavily influenced by the music of his home state - the classic, Detroit sound...but there's something new in the mix. Think Smokey Robinson and J Dilla had a whiteboy lovechild.

Mayer plays all of the instruments heard on his album. Yeah, I'll say it again. He plays ALL of the instruments, AND sings. Originality just seeps from this dude's pores. While there is a backbone of throwback soul to his records, listening to it, it's not so much paying homage to the greats as it is a progression of sorts.

Infectious hooks and upbeat breaks remind you of a time when things were a little more pleasant in the USA. I usually have to throw on some old Smokey, Curtis, or Cooke to get that nostalgic feeling, but now there's a modern artist who manages to squeeze that emotion out of me. Feel how you may, but I think it's amazing.

A few favorites:

1. Just Ain't Gonna Work Out - Heavy, dirty breaks that sound like they could have fit easily into a Tribe jam support Hawthorne's tightrope vocals over a bobbing bassline on this apologetic breakup song that still manages to score high on my nod factor.

2. The Ills - A great example of Curtis Mayfield's impression on Mayer. Uptempo drums (sounding a bit like Pusher Man) over a busy bee bassline and big brass/sax stabs really grab your attention and keep it (an amazing feat to maintain MY attention).

3. I Wish It Would Rain - The saddest "miss you, girl" slow jam ever, but he pulls it off. This dude really makes you feel the pain in his lyrics. Give it a listen.

Bottom line, this album is listenable the whole way through, which is becoming a rarity these days. A Strange Arrangement is available on iTunes now, and you can snag it HERE.

do-Buy meter: 8/10 dB

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

As I write my next installment I want to try to take you to where I am. Its very dark, with lots of loud noises, accompanied by bright strobes of lights and guttural bass coursing through my body. It seems as if everything is awry and nothing is going to according to plan, chaos is afoot. I will give you three guesses on where I am.

No, not in the guy's bathroom of a Chi-Chi's restaurant on All-you-can eat Taco Tuesdays.

False, not starting the REVOLUTION!

Wrong, not watching Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.

Well, good try everyone. Actually I am sitting through one hell of a thunderstorm. Which unlike your third guess, is actually pretty wicked. Also might I mention that this thunderstorm is free and I get to watch it from my LoveSac. So with that out of the way...
Ok so yeah, I saw Trans 2 awhile ago. I know, I know. But just like an evil villain can't get away in the end of most action films (which my life is) neither can Michael Bay. It's time to pay the piper Mr. Bay, and here I come.

Yes, a thunderstorm is taking place outside of my apartment.

Yes, the thunderstorm is free.

Yes, I would have rather paid 21 dolla dolla bills for the thunderstorm and gotten more excitement, loud noises, and explosions than Transformers 2 in IMAX.

This post is actually quite old so I am going to wrap it up quickly here, get it in the bag. Things you should know about Transformers 2. This film does have a reason for existing, I will defend it in one sense. The CGI and Digital Effects in this film alone have helped to push the industry along to amazing heights. Yes although the story is awful (Egypt and the pyramids and primitive cromagnon-man overthrowing powerful robots) and horrible acting (No Megan Fox's bust size does not save the words that come out of her mouth), ahem, the Special Effects and digital FX that go into this film still give me goosebumps. So thank you Michael for making yet another money pit of a film, but in all seriousness, thanks for helping the next good film in need of amazing digital FX to have the access to them thanks to your raucous budget.

Banana-meter: 3.2/10 Bananas

Monday, August 17, 2009

35mm to 1080p

In the next few months something incredible is going to happen. No not the end of the recession and definitely not the Bucs winning the World Series. What Chaps could it possibly be? Well, simple, the film world is going to explode. And it is all thanks to this, the Red Scarlet. With the release of this camera the digital phase will finally catch up to film, and for the price half that of current HD cameras. So with this concept of change at the doorstep, it was time for me to look at myself and the changes I needed to make. I realized after some helpful insight from a good friend of mine that sometimes you need to keep on going no matter what hits you take or changes are taking place, and thanks to this advice, I am fine today. I also looked at my blog, myself, other blogs, and my lack of motivation. Sure I have been seeing some excellent films and some horrific ones, but one this the same no matter what I watch, I give the same reviews. Well Not exactly the same reviews, but they are all the same layout/form/fashion/dudes.
So after this moment of zen I decided that its time to switch, make the move into something a little more free form, not reinvent the idea of film, but just change the format, so here it is, blog 2.0, or maybe 3K.
But whatever you all do, don't call it a comeback.

Friday, July 3, 2009


One of the benefits of living in NYC besides, well, everything that makes New York, New York, is the fact that limited release films are now much more accessible. As someone who strongly dislikes watching amazing cinema through the second camera it was filmed on (the one in the theater camming the film) and streaming perfectly good shots, there can finally be a sigh of relief on this end. *sigh*
Moon is a film I watched the trailer for so many months ago and was instantly hooked. Think 2001 a Space Odyssey but for the here and now. The film revolves around an employee on a lunar mining base who is about to finish up his 3 year contract when he discovers that he is not alone on the surface by finding himself in a wrecked lunar buggy.
Duncan Jones must have been watching Kubrick since popped out of his Mom many years ago. The guy does clean Sci-Fi so clean it will have you saying "oh my science!" Not only does he does he make the film look beautiful with his use of shots and framing and well, its all freaking stellar. Seriously though on to his actual directing of our good friend Sam Bell (Rockwell). This is a true actors film, meaning that the film has to be carried by just one person for the most part. Sam Rockwell as Bell has to entertain us throughout. He is our weather vane, our guide, our eyes into this strange and complex story. Guess what, he kills it too.
Rockwell gives an outstanding performance in this film. He has to confront himself and take himself way inside to tiny places I am sure he never wanted to go, and then come back out again. It isn't supposed to be scary, but it is. It's scary how much he makes us believe this is happening, he pulls you out of your seat and into his shoes in the film.
As for the other actors, well Kevin Spacey plays our 2009 version of Hal as GERTIE. Even though his voice is semi-digi and he is a robot, its really hard to believe that the little microchips and gears don't care about Bell throughout the film. So if they nominate Mr. Spacey for the best supporting role as a robot, I'll let him have it, he made it work.
How do you film a movie about a place only a handful of people have ever visited, well I don't know, but Gary Shaw did as cinematographer. I hope this movie makes a billion dollars so he can get some of that money and fly to the moon, because he needs to see it for real and then tell us all "i told you so." He does a great job of showing the loneliness and desolate traits of such a large and mystical place. Whether drama he adds through the lighting inside the base or the coldness he brings to the barren landscapes, Shaw nails it. Thumbs up.
I want to kick it out to the Special FX guys here. THIS WAS ALL IN CAMERA! Yes models, yes like star wars, yes like little plastic stop animation. This stuff has been around forever and forgotten, but not here and not today. It looks so good that it is better than CGI, you know the little vehicle is a model sometimes, but that makes it real. Hats and hair off to Cinesite for delivering excellent special FX.
The soundtrack was good but not very expansive for this film. I wasn't sure if the composer Clint Mansell did this on purpose or if he just didn't know where else to go with this. I mean we never leave the same character or location, so why switch up the soundtrack. In my honest opinion I would have liked to heard more variety from the soundtrack but for what is played it is beautiful and fits great.
Overall this is a wonderful film. The acting, directing, look, and feel of this film are all enchanting or as the french would say enchante. Should everyone rush out to see it, no. This is a limited release film and I am blessed to be in a city that carries such films, but for those of my dear readers that are not blessed with the convenience of this, don't rush hundreds of miles to see it, BUT PLEASE RENT IT! This a great film to watch at home so please do whatever you can to get your hands on it when it is released. On that note I am going to hit up some Sinatra, can you guess the song?

Banana-meter: 9.3/10 Bananas

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Strange Wilderness

I am only posting this because I want to say how awesome this movie is, and by awesome I mean dumb. I rented this because I thought that the trailer looked funny. Well guess what, that was it, just watch that clip for 90 minutes and it will be better than this piece of rubbish. I write this as a warning for all of you out there, this film should be played in Guantanamo Bay in place of water-boarding it is that bad. Hell I can't even write the review because I think that if I did the actors/directors/crew might actually go to hell because of the rapture I would bring down on them. So on that note:

Banana-meter: 1.2/10 Bananas

PS. I just watched Space Camp, and it was a whole hell of a lot better than this. Even this is better than Strange Wilderness.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Hangover

I can only rate 90 minutes of 100 minutes of this little nugget of fun thanks to some poor planning by a hooch named Terry. But for 90 minutes, wow. I need to see the other 10 minutes because I feel like my life may be made a little more funnier if I do. Judd Apatow and his little pose better look out, cause there is a new crew in town, and they have bastard babies, ruffalin pills and bearded men that will light you up.
From the get go this film is packed with funny, in fact I don't know if this film has a line in it that isn't qouteable, seriously. Director Todd Philips takes a very cliche premise and moves it to such zany extents that he is able to make the old "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" credo and bump it up to "what happens in Vegas is fudging awesome, like Jesus is awesome awesome, YEAH!" The plot revolves around 4 guys going to the sinnest of cities to get weird for their friends bachelor party, upon blacking out they must find where their friend, the groom has gone missing, and make it back in time for the wedding.
The film has so many plot twists and turns that your in the same boat that these guys are the entire time. I normally like to think I can see through to the end of a movie within the first 10 minutes, but no, not the Hangover, I really didn't know where Dougy was. Philips keeps all of these players in check throughout the movie and does not let one out play the other, they are all one big ball of hilarity.
If you have a bladder condition wear a diaper, cause the acting will make you want to relieve yourself right there on those oh so absorbent theater seats, goo. Justin Bartha (Doug) has the smallest of roles but his time on the screen is great, I for one am very happy to see him be making this instead of National Treasure 4: the Search for Curly's Gold in Abraham Lincolns Porn Drawer. Bradley Cooper (Phil) does a great job at playing the underlying ringleader of the crew and keeps it fresh with a serious yet "holy-shit we did that?" kind of attitude. I feel like if this film did happen, this guy would have to actually exist in real life. I am a huge fan of the Office and was worried when I saw Ed Helms (Stu) following in Rainn Wilson's footsteps to turd-city of acting roles (except 5 minutes of JUNO, that was off the chain). Helm's has so much to deal with in the film that he easily could try to express too many emotions and lose his central character role as the guy who plays it safe, but he doesn't, he sticks to his character like Harry does to the Hendersons, and the guy is funny.
Zach Galifianakis needs his own space in this. First because you probably never remember the guy from any other movie/TV show since he is always overshadowed and given crap roles. Secondly because he is a bona-fide funny dude. He plays such an interesting character in this film and does it so well, that to even look away from the screen for a second to sneeze is a big mistake. He plays such a solid role in this film that it would be just another typical zany Vegas experience without this guy...and by this guy, I mean this GUY.
As for the gangle of people that support this mischieve bunch of rascals, Mike Eps was able to make it out of Compton for the other 6 days of the week and was able to give a hilarious performance as Black Doug. Ken Jeong as Mr. Chow gives yet a more over the top delivery, this guy is coming up so look out, I am excited to see him as a main role here in the next several films. Mike Tyson gives a knock out performance as himself, yeah pun intended. Actually I take that back, I just said it for the pun but whatever, he was good enough for the role.
The cinematography was pretty typical Vegas-esque stuff, delivered by Lawrence Sher. I mean the thing is, if you have seen most Vegas movies, you have seen mostly everything shot from every angle there is out there, so it can be hard to top it, but he does a solid job as DP to stay on the same level as his predecessors.
The soundtrack for this film was pretty much the perfect homemade mix tape of Vegas music for our ages (that is people who listen to pop music of today). All the right songs were jammed together and everything went together like a good P.B & J sandwich. Literally if you were going to Vegas this is probably the same exact soundtrack you would listen too, at least that is if your not Danny Ocean, he would probably be more into this.
So yes goes see this movie in the theaters. The ability to be able to quote it with you friends at the bar alone makes it awesome. Not many comedies are worth watching in the theaters these days, but this one definitely is. But make sure you don't make your plans with any hoochs and definitely go for the medium soda, not the collosa-gulp, cause getting up to take bathroom breaks would be a shame.

Banana-meter: 9.0/10 Bananas

Thursday, June 4, 2009


A very happy birthday goes out to the founder and better half of this may know him by many names: McFelon, McSmellin, McSummaryOffense, MacGruber (?), or Chaps McColon. Either way, if you're fortunate enough to see this clown today, buy him a drink, give him a few birthday punches, and tell him he has entirely way too many bracelets on his arm. Happy Birthday jmac, you old dirty bastard, you.

311 - Uplifter (Deluxe Edition)

The four dudes from Omaha known as 311 Come Original once again with their 9th album, Uplifter. I snagged the Deluxe Edition (2 bonus tracks, which imho should have made it to the regular tracklisting). Ask any fan what 311 album they are into the most, and chances are they'll respond with a record that's over 8 years old. Sound like 311 heard the fan's voices and returned to what they do best. That being said, I'll touch on a few songs that really stuck out to me, in good or bad ways.

Jackpot leads off and kicks you square in the nutsack. Energetic as all get-out and loaded with big drums and chugs galore, Nick and SA ride the groove at their best - spitting a la rap/rock while providing those sweet ass harmonies on the chorus...(no pitch correction detected...yet). I could have done without the collective band, "JACKPOT...who-o-o-oa!" though. A wee bit o' cheese for my liking.

My Heart Sings starts off a bit Amber-ish due to its simple bassline and the scale that the phased-out, reverb for days lead guitar plays. However, once the chorus kicks in, this song gains an identity of its own. Great movement between the vocal harmonies and the instrumentation - an instant favorite of mine. Definitely a great jam to chill out to, I don't know, say, with, a layyyydayyyyy © Leon Phelps.

Never Ending Summer - Again with band chants...I'm not down (three-eleven, three-three-eleven...maybe it will work live, but for me? not on a studio album). Not much to say here - decent jam, fairly simplistic...apart from Chad's always excellent drumming and Tim's face-melting guitar solo at 2:40.

Two Drops In The Ocean - I'm a sucker for downtempo 311...they just do the reggae vibe so well. Great lyrics, great harmonies, P-Nut playing well in the pocket, just great stuff. Sounds like a new addition to the daily rotation for me.

India Ink - Heavy riffs, fat drums, soaring vocals on the chorus, and a sprinkle of sitar = recipe for success.

Too Much Too Fast - Bouncing, happy vibe throughout this track. Some nice sidestick action in the intro leading to a striding pace keeps your head bobbing. Good stuff.

Hey You - Another track that hits hard, the first single sounds like it will be extremely successful. Hey You comes out as a sort of love ballad to music (a successful formula). A well-balanced mix of chunky riffs and laid-back breaks, it demands attention. Check the video out here.

Produced by Bob Rock of Metallica fame, this album is well-rounded. I dig it. It sounds like a mix of Grassroots, Music, and a little bit of Transistor. Put simply, it sounds like good old 311 (No "Don't Tread On Me" here...woof). Don't get me wrong - there are still glimpses of tacky lyrics and repetitive riffs, but the sound that 311 fans have become accustomed to are all present once again.

The drums are compressed very well, giving them a deep, warm, and full-bodied pop, the silky vocals sit nicely atop of the mix, the bass provides a strong backbone, and Tim's guitar tones, as always, are excellent throughout the album.

do-Buy meter: 8.0/10 dB

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Crank 2: High Voltage

Wow. So many feelings, so many questions, so many "manys" that my mind feels like it just got blown into pieces of mush that I don't think it could be put back together. BUT luckily after watching this film, I have learned the secret of eternal life, be JASON STRATHAM, DUH!
Your first question is probably, "Chaps what is the best thing about Crank 2?" Well let me answer that simply by waxing a little intellect and changing the wording of your silly silly question: "What isn't the best thing about Crank 2?" The answer is: NOTHING!
I don't know if you can get much better than this film right here, both directors Neveldine and Taylor need to be falsely worshipped for taking this script (that they wrote) out to a cheap dinner and then back to their parents house for a trip to poundtown. Maybe the only thing that could top it would be if Raptor Jesus and Chris Hanson teamed up and directed a Sex Tape. Seriously this thing is more fun that the first time you learned about masturbation.
Now your probably thinking, "Chaps your being a little crude here." Well guess what kids, Disneyland just burnt to the ground because Mickey Mouse started the flames freebasing behind Cinderellas Castle, The Hate Train just pulled into town, can't you hear it? Chug-a Chug-a HATE! HATE!
This masterpiece crosses all boundaries and thus I must keep with its spirit in writing this review. WARNING! Do not watch this film without the right supplies. Those being as follows: time to waste, enough Redbull to kill, and a suspension of all belief.So now that we are on the same page, blog, website, line; I'll get back to it. First, visually, this film makes your eyes tingle and you will find yourself with a grin that I thought only methadone could induce. There are so many more zany things in this film than in first the Crank that it is hard to put them down here, but here is a quick run through, Godzilla fighting+grandma humping+naked Amy Smart+gay biker gangs+saline boob shooting+strippers and blow=crank 2. I mean the writers/directors needed at least a shoebox full of coke and more strippers than the likes of shamwow guy can even comprehend in the creative process for this film. All i can say is this is a Disney Movie for adults, yeah the kind where you get to see what Princess Jasmine is really rocking with the Genie shooting Latinos and that little monkey, yeah hes down on the corner slinging meth to some lady named Wanda.
As for the performances, Jason Stratham needs to father my kids. Just watching this dude kick, shoot, and pound the existence out of everything in this film is mind numbing. Chev Chelios (Stratham) is the new Superman, the dude can't die. You can throw the Latin Kings, The Bloods, the Crypts, Chuck Norris, an Asteroid, hell even 1000 monkeys from that movie Outbreak, and Jason Stratham would still be in one piece, I mean the guy has an English accent, those things are like bulletproof and make him sound smart as hell too.
Amy Smart as Eve in this film is amazzzzzzzing. Eve from Crank is the kind of girl that you take home to meet your parents. Eve in Crank 2 is the girl which you cheat on her with while she is in the living room meeting your parents. She takes all previous roles and throws all caution to the wind with this part, and holy shit is it intense. As for the rest of the cast, Doc Miles (Dwight Yoakam) delivers a wicked performance with such great lines as "is doc miles gonna have to choke a bitch." It was so natural i like to think that he gets up every morning and tells his kids that to get them out of bed. Venus (Ramirez) is back in one of the cheapest character introductions as Kaylo's identical brother from Crank. All of the bad guys are too numerous to name but they are all huge scum bags and every time Chevy kills one its pretty gruesome and involves a lot of red tinted corn starch mixed with water.
The cinematography for this film delivered by DP Brandon Trost is the reason there is rehabilitation clinics and shows such as Intervention. I am full phased addicted to this guys work, they should include surgical tubing when you enter the theater when Trost works on something.
As I pound my 6th consecutive Redbull I want to buy a round of hand and foot stuff for the Special FX and Sound Design teams down at Mustang Sallys. There were more explosions, more google maps and more crazy stunts than even Jackie Chan could dream up, on weed. Talk about PUSHING THE ENVELOPE!
Soundtrack, I didn't know where the guitar riffs and breaking bone sounds stop and began. The whole movie was a melody of complete mayhem and destruction. The music was campy and spunky at the same time, it fit together like wrestling coaches and team relations at a Catholic boys school. The soundtrack will get you so amped that you will break something while watching this film, keep all pets out off the room or you might punt the cat.
So how do I wrap something of this magnitude up, how about go fucking see this movie. You need this movie more than Paris Hilton's parents needed a condom. I would seriously urge the distribution houses to start selling this movie with an 8-ball of snow and a booklet containing 1-900 numbers. SO stop reading, rent, buy, bootleg, I don't care, go now.
Banana-meter: 11/10 Bananas

PS. Corey Haim is in this movie, with a mullet, yum.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Observe and Report

No slushy, $1 Tickets, post-wide release films, pre-stadium style seating: Cinema 6. Yes for all of you young guns of the Centre County who remember this being the "nice" theater in town, I tell you I just revisited that magical place where I saw cineMAGIC such as Titanic, Independence Day, and Pearl Harbor (Titanic part Deux sans Boat). As with my previous post, nothing of interest has been in the theater and since I missed this little Rogen vehicle several weeks ago I was looking forward to catching it. So I know this is not a brand spanking, still covered in membrane release and crying release, but if you see it in the theater it's still a release to me heres what I have to observe and report on Observe and Report.
First off, not what I expected at all. Not that I necessarily disliked it, but just wasn't what I had planned on seeing. I guess I went in looking for more of a Seth Rogen from Pineapple Express meets and clone babies of Seth Rogen in Super Bad. Saddly this is not the character that turns out. Instead there is some strange depression and the character actually plays out extremely odd and not funny. As for his co-stars, Ray Liotta really doesn't bring anything at all to the table, not funny or mean, just reading lines to me. It was exciting to see Anna Faris in a role outside of Scary Movie, then I realized although the movie wasn't in that realm, her acting still was. As for his fellow security guards, Michael Pena, Yuen Brothers and Jesse Plemons, all deliver a good show and really helped to keep me distracted from the creepiness of Rogen's character as Ronny. Aziz Ansari is really coming up in the world and could be the new big thing in character funny in Hollywood, he is the token Indian guy now, and he is nailing it. For the best performance though, I have to hand it to Collette Wolfe as Nell, I actually felt for her character and she made me want to jump on screen and punch Ronny for not seeing her signals, which means she had my attention throughout the film.
As for this strange creepiness, I don't know if maybe he wasn't casted correctly, just didn't bring it to the table, or if Jody Hill just lost it as a director. I will say in Hill's offense that some of the shots were great and the montages in the beginning were solid. Not to mention the ending of the film wrapped up well, and I especially liked the use of the slow motion in the end that really helped to close out the film. Although Rogen did not show his best skills in this film for the most part, I will say in the last 10 minutes of the film, he may have his best screen time yet, a new character emerges and it really is believable and new for even Rogen.
Nothing too crazy in the special FX or Cinematography department, all pretty simple stuff I thought that Tim Orr as DP kept the camera and crew on an even keel. As for the soundtrack though, I thought it was excellent for the film. All of the songs seemed to fit great and helped to add that extra element to each scene, so hats off to Joseph Stephens for a solid OST.
All in all I am glad I only paid a buck to watch this film, I mean it was cheaper than renting it, and Cinema 6 isn't that bad when it's not packed with teeny boppers and families with crying kids. As for the film, I think besides Rogen's off-the-mark acting it also comes down to the idea of a director/writer being able to "kill their babies." This concept of cutting certain things seemed to leave Hill when it hit the cutting rooms, and hopefully Jody learned that sometimes you have to pull the trigger and get rid of some things maybe just "you" find funny. So if I was you, watch this movie on cable when it comes out, but don't go out of your way for it.
Banan-a-meter: 4.3/10 Bananas

Monday, June 1, 2009

When the well runs dry...

These past two weeks have been quite dismal as far as film releases go and since nothing have coaxed me out to the box office I have had to rely on our good friend the DVD. Yes you know that disc that contains the image file of the movies which you download off of your torrent, remember those dinosaurs, I barely do.
Last week I was blessed to hang out with a good friend of mine on the longest of islands while partaking in some wakeboarding and rich living during a visit to New York. On a rainy down day we were able to catch some time indoors, the perfect time for a little cinema. Thankfully the little cinema included a 47 inch HD 1080p Plasma with a PS3 Blu Ray player and Bose Surround sound. If you can't make it to the theatre to see a film, make it to Durso's house.
To my amazement and surprise Durso had in his possession a copy of Sunshine on Blu Ray disc. Many of you are probably making cartoon "?" in your minds right now, which is good, because this is a true sleeper film to me. Beautiful cinematography, excellent acting, spot on soundtrack and superb direction. Not to mention a great story line. Sunshine released but not to great accord and thus has fallen to the back of other great blockbusters of that year. If you are a fan of great cinema though, please do yourself a favor and rent/buy this film, you will not regret it.
Banan-a-meter: 9.6/10 Bananas
After my stint in NY I traveled back to the happiest of valleys. To no avail, yet again nothing worth noting was released so I reverted back to the couch. After talking up a little documentary about a great feat that I had the pleasure of viewing several months ago, my tastes were finally put to the test.
I sat down for the second time and watched perhaps one of the best documentaries of our time, a fairy tale played out in real life and on a wire in, Man On Wire. To this day this film gives me goosebumps and brings my face to a perma-grin* (copyrighted ABL). Movies should be something that moves you, and makes you feel, this film does that in so many motions that it is almost hard to sit still at times. If you are having a down day, a day that you feel like you are stuck, then rent this. If you are having an excellent day, and nothing could be better, buy this. Watch this film in whatever way possible, period.
Banan-a-meter: 9.8/10 Bananas
I would write reviews on both of these movies, but alas that would be breaking away from my true purpose as a blogger of new releases so I will just tell you that it would be a mistake to not grace your minds and eyes with these films. So until my next screening (hopefully The Hangover release later this week) I will be posting then. Peace out cub scouts.

P.S. this blogger is officially interning in NYC and making moves to the land of Limited releases and Indie Films, so expect things to get a little more outside of the screening room.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Stay Cool...

Since the interweb has just arrived here in Cashville, posts are on their way...sit tight.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Terminator Salvation

At this point of the film John Connor (Bale) is questioning Marcus (Worthington) loudly about whether he thinks "is this professional?!" No I lied, but if you do want to see some of Christian Bale's best yelling feats, then check out this film.
Terminator Salvation revolves around the beginning before the first terminator film, involving Connor's learning his destiny to send back his father in time, and the invention of the T-800 serious Terminator (that's the type of terminator the Gov. plays). In all seriousness the plot is pretty simple if not for some sappy love stories dropped here and there but beyond that it follows a straight line.
McG had a big project to tackle here, I mean it's T-4, the script itself might as well have been self aware. I would like to see the behind-the-scenes of him and Bale interacting, because personally, I don't think he brought anything from Christian that we haven't seen before. However, Worthington attempts a star performance in this blogger's opinion. He comes out of the gates very strong with a good set of deep emotional undertones, he was feeling his character I believe, and doing a damn good job at keeping it. I did drop the "attempt" for reason though, when the going got tough, and the tough got to yelling, the Mick Dundee in this Aussie came out. Let's not hold this against him though, he may lose it every now and then, and yes Bale is good at dropping his Scottish accent no matter the vocal range, but the dude could still act his way out of a box, so lets get a golf clap. As for the other major players, Moon Bloodgood as Blair, gives an enticing performance, which counter acts Helena Carter as Dr. Kogan. I would think as Connors mother-to-be she would be a little more emotionally involved, but alas it is not, and Carter is not making me believe she is actually Kogan in the film.
I need a whole other paragraph for Common as Barnes, because here comes the dilemma. Is it the writer, actor, or director's fault in this situation. I couldn't tell if it was just bad lines "don't worry he will make it." or if it was bad acting "beautiful." or just bad directing "Blair said you needed to see me." Even simple one liners from this guy hurt. I am going to have to go with part writer and part Common, bad lines+bad delivery=UnCommonly bad screen-time (uncommonly was inspired by a John Tussey Dubosky convo. I had previously today).
As for Sharie Hurlbut as the DP. The cinematography was pretty simple and nothing really jumped out at me so I will give her a strong handshake and say, good job. The CGI and Effects teams though, KUDOS! They pushed their boundaries this time on a series of films that has been known to push the Special FX and Digital FX boundaries since T-1000 and beads of mercury on a table with hair driers. The machines somewhat resembled those from Transformers, which is perfectly fine, and I think they did a great job with their creation and execution.
Soundtrack didn't really jump off the screen this time, except for the use of a classic 90's alternative rock song used at one part, that was an nice move. The Sound FX were awesome I just have to say, everything fit perfectly. I think it's really hard to make something that doesn't exist sound authentic, and they pulled it off completely.
So it's time to get off of here before my mac book becomes self-aware and starts shooting at me. Would I go see this film in the theaters your probably wondering, yes. The sound and CGI are great and it is a very intense story line, so it was definitely enjoyable. Would I see it again, probably not unless it was free, nothing beats the old Terminator and T-2, but its worth its weight in liquid metal. Oh and look for some throw back lines in the film, they are masked a little by off note acting, but they peak their heads out.
Banan-a-meter: 6.6/10 Bananas

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Angels and Demons

If you have read the book(s) then please raise your hands. Now hands down, to this film. I walked into the theatre thinking, damn I sure hope this was Davinci Code Part Duex, and it wasn't this was a new movie, with one common link, Tom Hanks. YEAH!
Now I will make my attempt at a synopsis: Angels and Demons is about the Vatican, pope dies, then a bunch of zany stuff happens, and Professor Robert Langdon(Hanks) saves the day with his uncanny knowledge of lots of weird church stuff, even though he is an atheist. There. Seriously too many crazy things happen in this movie to even note. However, although it is crazy, it is smart. They took another Dan Brown novel and were able to adapt it very well to the screen, not too much unbelievable stuff to make it ridiculous, but just enough to keep you wondering what is coming next. For someone who has already read the book, I was still caught up in the suspense of this film.
Ron Howard knows how to direct, and he nails it with Tom Hanks in this film. He could have easily had Hanks do a repeat of Davinci Code, but no, they went a lot deeper. Hanks is Robert Langdon, I felt that every crazy connection he made, he actually did in his head on screen, he literally looked as if he was caught up in the film himself. Ewan McGregor also gives a stellar performance as the Carmengello, he tricked me again, even though I knew the plot, that he was on the outside loop with what was happening. As for Vittoria (Ayelet Zurer), she seemed to be overshadowed easily in this film, even at times I forgot all about her.
The cinematography was on par with the last film I thought, nothing too crazy and nothing very new. Salvatore Totino tried to stick to what he knew I think, so maybe next time Sal can you get a little more wild. However for all you filmies out there, please do pay attention to the eyelights on Langdon and the lack of eyelights on everyone else, made me think he might have a twinkle of brilliance in those little eyes.
The soundtrack for this was so-so, nothing too hair-raising or wild, something I would consider standard for what the film was covering. My only real gripe is that it was a little too heavy on the foreshadowing of events and too regular, you knew everything was coming and with a movie with so many twists why ruin their timing with early notes.
Lets get technical finally. First off, HOORAY they shot a good bit of this film on the One Camera from Red. If you don't know what this is, get on it pronto! This technology is breaking us poor indie kids out into the pro world of Hollywood, look out here we come. Also the CGI and Special FX team did a stellar job. I have seen the Sistine Chapel in person and I know you can't film or shoot anything in there, or probably most of Vatican, but they recreated everything to a T.
My friend Dan tonight suggested I start giving things a bananas rating on everything since I do hail from another nickname of Johnny Bananas, and I think I will start with this. This is a film that if you read the book, you should go rent, if you DIDN'T read the book, you should go see on the big screen.
Banan-a-meter: 7.6/10 Bananas