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.