Monday, February 8, 2010

Up In the Air

As you read this do me a favor, hit this big BUTTON and listen to this in a new tab as you read this joint.
The first time I saw the trailer for this film it gave me goosebumps.  The dialogue that they were willing to give up and the shots paired to it had me wondering what this film had left. Not only did it have some seasoned greats, Mr. Clooney, Danny McBride and the hot-cross buns of Vera Farmiga, but Jason Reitman also directed Juno and Thank You for Smoking.  Thank You for Smoking is a great film in itself so as I heard more and more hype over Up in the Air I figured it was well placed.  Well to be honest, the only reason that I find all this hype over Up in the Air and we didn't hear any nominations for Smoking is the Cloone-miester.  In fact I will compare films here, throw them up head to head, Smoking was the better more original film.
Both films have great, witty scripts, with perfectly timed cuts and pacing and great front men.  Air however lacked the story that I thought it's predecessor contained.
It's greatest flaw was its story arch, they paint these great relationships between all of the main players, but they fail to bring it together in good fashion by the end.  After the first hour and a half your wondering when things are going to cease to be so hunky-doree.  You can feel it under your skin and then wham-bam thank-you ma'am the climax happens and the film ends.  There's no build up and no last supper moments leaving one feeling like they just went on a date with great food, conversation and drinks, but the the night cap resulted in 12 seconds of sweaty motions between the sheets leaving only one person happy with the finish.
As much beef as I had with this lacking story arch I have to say the shots were great and so were the cuts between them.  The ariel cinematography even made parts of the US such as Nebraska (super flat and smells like cat food) look intriguing and beautiful.  On top of the visual stimulation, this film had a whomping soundtrack.  Actually whomping doesn't do it a justice, just listen to it, NOW!
I will confess I did not watch this in the theatre but was able to watch an early release of a friends copy they received through SAG *coughs and polishes nails on shirt collar*.  Would I pay for the theatre though, yes, I do support this film and what it has to offer.  Do I think it deserves the Oscar, nah probably not, there are better films (that doesn't mean AVATAR, back off jackals).  Ok it's late, and this blogger needs to get to bed before the sun comes up, see you cool cats on the other-side.

Bananas-meter: 8.3/10 Bananas

Oh and Sam Elliot is in this film, and yes, the dude does abide.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Yeah yeah, I know this isn't a recent theatrical release, in fact this film is from 2006 so its not even new.  However, as much as I couldn't let that rotting pile of celluloid Smokin' Aces 2 get away with being watched, I can't let you folks live your lives without at-least checking out this film, Cashback.
Sometimes you throw on a movie you have never seen, for reasons no greater than it just looks good from the cover.  This films face had some of those goofy vines on it surrounding text talking about some silly festival it won and a half naked woman, copy my attention.
Since the film was on Netflix it was really a no lose situation here: 
A.) It's not bad and I watch it without having to spend a dime.  
B.) I hate it and turn it off and play video-games.
C.) I fall asleep.
What I hadn't counted on was D.) I love the film, and it does that thing I think all great films do, change your life in the just the tiniest way.
Within the first 5 minutes of this movie I knew something great was about to be dished out, and I was hungry.  This film is like eating KFC on the worlds most exquisite china dinner set. The film has rough moments and overtones, but these are all overshadowed by a base of elegance.  Everything about this film comes off smooth, the acting, the plot, the shots and the editing.  Even the soundtrack is a solid piece of work.
The other day I was talking with a close friend of mine about connecting with characters in films and finding myself at a loss, I really couldn't find a character where I felt myself fully wrapped up in.  That was before I heard Ben Willis (Sean Biggerstaff) talk about things he loves.  I can dig where this guy is coming from both in the way he lives his life and the things he finds within his reality.  Now I am not saying I am this guy, thats right all you twihards stay back, just because you think you're Bella doesn't mean you are, it means you're crazzzzzzzzzzzy.  All I mean by this is I really felt where this dude (yes he is just a written character) was coming from, and it was cool.
This is also beautifully shot, did I mention that?  Yes, well thats fine, they did a great job of making this film look grim and dull when it needed to and brought it up to fantasy level when it was ready.  The cuts and editing were spot on too, perfect timing to leave you just the right amount of time to absorb what was taking place and then make moves onto the next moment.
The acting all around was superb and I think the casting director deserves a high-five.  The actors know their roles and seems to stick to their guns throughout the film, not stepping out of line like some people.  Being a "romantic comedy" (although I disagree with this genre pick) it is often easy to fill films with cheese lines, cheese moments and cheese actors *Enter Bullock as her blackberry gets taken by an eagle*.  Cashback keeps the chedda to itself and keeps it real throughout.  All this keeping it real has a good deal to do with great direction by Sean Ellis, the guy is killin' it.  Ellis knew what he wanted, you can tell, and he got it.  A fun fact!!!! Cashback is a remake of a short film he made back in 2004.  Ah the glory of being able to go back and visit an old friend and make a beautiful relationship bloom later on.
Anywho lets close this shop up, because this boy-oh needs to get some time outside today.   Do whatever you can to see this film in my opinion.  It's on Netflix instant watch so if you have your Netflix set up I suggest you go on it sometime this weekend and enjoy yourself for two hours.  I started watching this film with an good day ahead of me, and ended it knowing I would have a great day.  NOW THATS WHAT I CALL CINEMA!  Lator gaters.

Banana-meter: 9.4/10 Bananas*

*All rights and use of the title: Bananas, Johnny Bananas, Johnny B, and J-Bananas are in affiliation and protected by the Terrence S. Foundation and to not be copied or used in any sort of unlawful or illegal manner.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins Ball

Some people smoke rocks, others prefer gorging on copious amounts of bacon.  Me, I like silly cinema.  This my friends is not just a goof ball film, it is a despicable and ruthless piece of HD (Hateful Definition) junk, and I am here to put it out of its misery, and I tend to oblige it.
Smokin' Aces was not a great film, but it was a  fun film.  It knew what it was doing and used an interesting stable of actors in some strange roles: ChrisPy is this dude, Miss Keys as a hooker/lesbian/assassin, and Jeremy Piven as a high strung, whacked out, ass (oh wait, last one was a bad example).
Thanks to the first (Smokin Aces) and my affinity for fun movies and their sequels (Crank 2, Duh).  I figured Smokin' Aces 2: Assassins Ball would be fun too.


I won't go into much but instead just hit the bad poi-err bullet poin... Ok I meant bad points.  
The story tried to be cool and packed with plot twists, but just came off predictable and boring, much like that economics teacher that tried to make a boring subject cool and just tanked miserably.  Sorry Professor PJ Pesce, I'm dropping this class, on the account that you're corny.
The acting was pretty much all around awful.  A few of the repeat offenders return and hold up their end of the bargain, but the new crop, yuck.  Clayne Crawford as Agent Baker has an acting career waiting for him, in the WWE, tossing lines with this guy.  Tom Berenger why?  I can't comprehend why you would do this film, but I guess you have to pay your bookie sometime eh.  (Sorry spent the last week in Canada).  As for our silver-screen harlots, spend some more time in the bull-pen(TELEVISION), then do a Maxim cover, and then head up to the majors.
Even the cinematography in this puppy was sick, (not the cool, surfer style sick, but the dying, painful kind).  There were a few brief moments that I was pulled in but for the most part this film looked like it was soap opera'd the hell out.  I have seen better lighting and depth-of-field in most sham-wow commercials.
Ok, so its time to say something nice.  The soundtrack for this film was actually pretty rocking.  They chose some great songs and put them in the right places, I would definitely look it up and if you don't have some of these tunes try them out.
Do not buy/rent/download/steal this film.  It's not worth it kids, take this from a guy who has spent many hours enduring bad cinema (SOLARBABIES), this is one of the worst.  Save yourself some time and brain cells and play it safe with this baby.  However I don't want to end on a negative note so on the other side of the spectrum I suggest everyone check out World's Greatest Dad, it's a little off but in a good way and is worth netflixxxing, or however you kooky kids watch movie films these days.

Banana-meter:  0.8/10 Bananas

P.S. I know this wasn't a theatrical release film, but it's one that I couldn't let slip away without giving it a piece of my mind.  Lo siento.