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Wednesday 31 August 2011

P.S. On Colombiana

The wife saw Colombiana last night.

"How was it?" I asked.

"Shit."  She answered.

Please Note:  The views of the wife do not reflect the views of Beerbohmtastic.


Today marks the end of the first month of Beerbohmtastic.  Please keep the emails and comments coming.  I will review any trailer and take requests - for reviews. 

Here are some month end stats:

Movie trailers/synopsis reviewed:    36
Movies viewed in August:                    6                          
Movies reviewed actually viewed:     2
Reader insults:                                      3.5
Feelings hurt:                                        1.25

New blogger observation:  It's easier to judge a book (movie) by it's cover (trailer) than it is to read the book (watch the movie).  I guess that's the point of Beerbohmtastic...

It was suggested that I include links to the trailers and a bit more detail on the films like the director, actors etc.... Thank you for your suggestion, Ron, but if you want more detail just Google it, that's what I do.

My friend, Simon, once said to me, "if you write as good as you talk, nobody reads you..."

Thank you for reading.  

Tuesday 30 August 2011


The trailer starts out looking like a fast food commercial. Cool.

This one is from the writers of Taken, so you know it'll be a revenge-based journey. It's also from the creators of La Femme Nakita and The Professional - both good, violent movies with some conscience.

It's always fun to see a hot girl kick ass, but from the trailer we know why she's doing what she's doing and we also know that she gets some revenge, if not all. So, then what? Is it going to be another movie where the exactor of the revenge is unfulfilled once the revenge is exacted and still can't find peace? Are we going to hear the tired old line, "revenge is a dish best served, cold..."?? Or is she going to live happily ever after with her boyfriend who is understanding of her plight?

As an action movie it looks like there will be lots of action. As a showcase for Zoe Saldana - who also kicked ass in The Losers - I hope it's more than an opportunity to show off her body. As a story, it appears to be more of the same stuff that gets chewed up and spit out over and over and over and over again.

Likely a rental, no more.

NOW VIEWED: Fright Night

My recommendation for this film was...

"...this looks like a fun update on the original Fright Night.  I will see it, possibly first run."

I watched this by fluke, on-line, while looking for Chan Wook Park's vampire film, Thirst.  As I mentioned in the review of the trailer, I liked the cast.

They all looked like they had fun making this film.  Especially McLovin!  I have no doubt they had a ton more fun making this film than I had watching this film.  It was really a waste of all that talent. Pretty uninspired remake.  

Monday 29 August 2011

5 Days of War

Okay. Here's another movie based on a true story about journalists... well the plight of journalists while covering a war. My wife and I just watched The Bangbang Club, about photo journalists in South Africa during the fall of Apartheid - more on this one in the September edition of Film Quips. The Whistleblower, though not about journalists, also covers a war that the western world watched while it was happening with both horror and indifference.

In another life I taught an ESL (English as a second language) class. I befriended a student. His English was very good and his French, even better. He was from Rwanda. We spent a winter and early spring drinking coffee and talking about the state of the world after class (he did most of the talking). He told me that soon he would be going back home to Rwanda to take back what was rightfully his. I didn't really know what was happening in Rwanda and frankly, thought he sounded a bit fanatical when he spoke of his home. Without a good-bye, he left.

Later that year we started to hear about a civil war in Rwanda. I don't know what became of Jean-Batiste. The film Hotel Rwanda gave the west a glimpse of the genocide, well after the fact.

What I'm trying to say is that while atrocities around the world are being covered by the media as they happen, the "truth" sometimes seems to surface years after the fact. It's like history is being taught to us in palatable portions, on film, 2 hours at a time. Once digested, they can be forgotten.

Despite my first impression, I don't remember even hearing of a war between Russia and the Georgian Republic. In the trailer someone mentions that the "Olympics were happening at the same time so nobody was paying attention." Messed up!

The trailer looked very good. It gave away a lot, but not enough to anger me. One of the bad guys is Boris the Blade from Snatch. Loved that movie.

I will see this film, but likely as a rental.

Sunday 28 August 2011

Shark Night 3D

This looks like to be, quite possibly, the dumbest movie of the year.

So, a bunch of attractive young people go to their friend's lake house to take off their clothes and have some fun.   From the trailer (and I may be wrong),  the friend who owns the lake house doesn't know there's a shark in his lake... or does he?  Bum, bum, bum!

Apparently, in Nicaragua there are lake shark - fresh water shark, but they are rare. 

The trailer tells us that this film is from the makers of Hostel and Texas Chainsaw Massacre And the trailer actually shows us that the shark is a sort of pet that some sicko uses to kill people with.  Imagine, the makers of Hostel and Texas Chainsaw Massacre make another movie about a sicko torturing people? 

I saw the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre at some seedy rep. cinema when I was a teenager, years after it was released... it scared the shit out of me and for years any person that even remotely looked like a product of cousins marrying cousins sent me running for dear life.

Didn't Lake Placid have the same theme with an Aligator or crocodile - whichever one grows to be the size of the great white shark from Jaws.... The killer/keeper of the gator in Lake Placid was Betty White and her motive was to scare away tourists or something... no wait... that was a Carl Hiaasen novel... 

All this stupidy is only increasing my own...

The only thing the trailer doesn't tell us is how the shark and its evil master(s) die.  Maybe the evil master is forced to eat the shark in a bizarre twist of torture...  You know, like shark fin soup?

I haven't been this annoyed by a trailer since The Help.  The difference is that The Help is probably a decent movie.... this one looks like crap.

This film will disappear faster than Yahoo Serious.

Save your money and rent Jaws and some soft porn.

The Guard

I laughed out loud (that's lol to the kids) watching this trailer. Lines like...

"I'm Irish, sir; racism is part of my culture..."

Question: There are gay guys in the IRA? Answer: How do you think we infiltrate the MI 5?

Brendan Gleeson is one of those actors that you see in many films but don't know, or remember his name. He's always good, but rarely does he play a lead.  I remember really liking him in 28 Days Later and thinking, he's really good, he looks familiar, what's his name?  I will remember his name, now.

Don Cheadle was great in Crash, United States of Leland, the Ocean's movies and everything else I've seen him in. He's a solid actor.

I haven't seen Mark Strong in a role other than villain, but he's really good at it. My wife made me watch some Queen of England movie and he was really good and evil. Same type of role in the Russell Crowe Robin Hood movie, which I actually liked and, as Lord Blackwood in the Robert Downey Jr. Sherlock Holmes. It works for you, Mark.

The cool thing about this trailer is that you know Cheadle and Gleeson will be working together to solve a crime and you know that part of the fun will be the two of them getting to know each other. The banter looks fun and I have a feeling that this film will not disappoint.

I'll see this one.

Saturday 27 August 2011

NOW VIEWED: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

My recommendation for this film was:

"I don't care what the trailers or synopsis look like. I'm seeing this film."

Rise of the Planet of the Apes felt very true to the spirit of the series and that's exactly what I was hoping for. I was not disappointed.

Friday 26 August 2011

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

I don't know much about Guillermo Del Toro other than I loved Hellboy.  That whole Nazi, occult supernatural stuff was a theme in one of my favourite FPS (first person shooter games), Return to Castle Wolfenstein, where I completely kicked ass. 

Who didn't love Guy Pearce in Memento and who didn't hate his character in L.A. Confidential?  I think he's a pretty solid actor.  The worst part of Batman Begins, and I loved Batman Begins, was Katie Holmes.  I found her to be dry and flat.  Haven't seen much of her, but I loved Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder... did I mention that already in another review?

So, the trailer...

Family acquires old, run-down mansion and has plans to restore it only to discover that it's haunted.  Withdrawn child, new step mom, dad trying to do best for family…hmm...nothing new here.  I think this is a remake/update of a film by the same name from 1973.  The synopis are similar and the title... I'm a frikkin genius...  Didn't see the original so not sure if the old, "better to remake a crap movie than butcher a good one by remaking it"  applies.

That said, you've got to believe that Del Toro will give this film something beyond the obvious.  What could that be?  Well if it was obvious than it would be obvious...

Will try to get to this one at the Rainbow or at least rent it.

Thursday 25 August 2011

You Are Here

I was asked to review the trailer for this one.  It's billed as a Meta Detective Story. 

The trailer has the occasional review pop up containing polysyllabic words that I think mean the reviewers liked this film.  Words like (the made up?) "metafictional" and "philosophical" and descriptions like "...a more advanced rumination on the fragility of human consciousness..."

I'm not sure if I got that from the trailer.  What I did get from the 2:36 trailer was an odd journey of sorts. The entire trailer was teaser... nice.  It asked a lot of questions and gave few answers... nice again.  The whole door thing made me thing of The Matrix, the pace and music made me think of Atom Egoyan, and the look and feel was oddly Canadian.

Meta detective story, eh?  Meta has many definitions, a cone or turning post; a female given name, but the one that seems to be the coolest example of meta is “a movie-within-a-movie.”

I never meta concessions stand I didn't like.....

I liked the Matrix.  I like Atom Egoyan.  I love Canada. So, even though it looks odd, for some reason I want to see it.

Wednesday 24 August 2011


Last month, while going through some plastic bins in my shed, I found two trophies I won go-karting.  One was for a disappointing 3rd place finish and the other a more disappointing 2nd place finish.  The second place should have been a 1st place except I lost points when, annoyed by a slower vehicle, I removed him from my path by tapping his rear tire with my front and spinning him out.  They said I pulled a "Prost." That penalty dropped me to second.

I dusted them off, brought them into the house and gave them a polish.  My wife said that I would not be keeping them in the house.  I told her I had no intention of displaying them at home and would be taking them to my office where they are now proudly displayed.

I love cars and I love racing.  All kinds.  I remember Ayrton Senna and remember when he died.  It was quite a shock to the racing world, not only because of his driving success but because of the man he was.  I also remember disliking Alain Prost.  Prost was an excellent driver, but arrogant and he seemed jealous of Senna.

The trailer for this movie/documentary has a great look and feel.  Senna is a genuine tribute to a racing legend.  I know, without a doubt, that I will thoroughly enjoy watching it.

Big screen and I'll probably own it.

Tuesday 23 August 2011

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D

There is buzz around this film.  People who have seen it say it's fun. Jeremy Piven looks like he had a great time making this.  It's not often an actor gets to play the role of a mad, evil genius bent on world domination/destruction.  If I could act, I'd embrace a role like that.   You know, role a bunch of evil geniuses into one.  Professor Moriarty, Lex Luthor, The Joker, Goldfinger, Syndrome, Dr. Evil, and maybe throw in some Dick Cheney for extra creepiness. Yeah, Piven had a blast making this one. 

Wasn't Piven on Ellen's first show?  He was in that disturbing Very Bad Things movie.  Liked his funny sidekick, cluelessness in Grosse Pointe Blank.  Don't watch Hangers On or Entourage or whatever it's called, but people who watch it say it's really good.  Anyway, I like him.

The trailer for this movie, however, just doesn't excite me.  Maybe it's because I just ate lunch, but the silly one-liners and borderline arrogance displayed by the kids actually made me utter an expression that I heard a young girl utter in a restaurant... "Meh."  It sounded like bored indifference and it made me laugh.

So, the 4D thing... it's explained as: When you purchase your ticket you will be given an Aroma-Scope scratch-and-sniff card which you will be given instructions throughout the movie on how and when to use. However, smell is not a dimension.

Scratch and sniff?  That's not only hilarious, but kind of gross.  There is so much that can be said here, but again, I digress.

As a white(ish) male well past my teen years but not quite middle-aged, there is nothing about this movie that makes me want to see it.   I don't have cable any more (by choice... my wife's choice - but now I have more time to watch many movies, and garden, and do laundry and dishes and vacuum, and paint stuff and play the drums and be an attentive dad.  Yes, my life is complete), so I will likely never see this film even on TV.

Maybe if it's on the hotel room TV when we go on vacation, I'll watch.

Monday 22 August 2011

Blow Up (1966)

A very close friend leads a monthly movie night called edible cinema.  Each month a different host  picks a film and a meal to go with the film.  I am almost always invited, but have not been able to attend, yet.  So, my contribution this month is to review this film in my usual way.

The trailer begins with the words, "sometimes reality is the strangest fantasy of all..." and "...in Michelangelo Antonioni's first English language film..."

What a cool trailer! It's fast paced, filled with model's in motion and still shots of skinny 60's people posing.  That's it!  There is no indication of what this film is about other than the feeling that it will be really cool to look at (watch).  It's billed as a Drama/Mystery/Thriller.  Watching the trailer was like watching a 58 second piece of art. 

Here is Ron's description from the email invitation, "Blow Up is a deconstruction of Italian Neo-realism .  I was called on the carpet for excessive post-modern pretentiousness [that sentence refers to me busting his chops for his description of The Bicycle Thief], so I'll just say that in Blow-Up, director Michelangelo Antonioni has a jolly time making a flick in London and taking the piss out of his Italian mates."

Bravo, Ron.  Bravo, Trailer.

Enjoy the film, my friends.  I might be able to make it this time.

Fright Night

The Trailer should have stopped before the 2 minute mark.  Once again, the last 30 seconds of the trailer wasn't necessary. Are we so unimaginative that we need to see all but the final outcome from a trailer?

I often have discussions with people about how over use of social media seems to negatively affect face to face social skills or what we used to call inter-personal skills.  I wonder if (what I've been calling) anti-social media has anything to do with what appears to be a decline in basic human courtesies.  I guess it's not that people don't care, it's just that they don't know that on-line and off-line behaviour are different... hmm... may be on to something.  I must be getting old.

After a few roles that showcased Colin Farrell's acting ability and a nice change from Horrible Bosses (though I still only saw the movie poster), in Fright Night he gets to play what he was once infamous for: A true bad boy.  Welcome back.

I really like Anton Yelchin.  I loved him as Bird in the Huff series.  Toni Collette is a true professional and always great in whatever role she takes on. 

And welcome back to the screen McLovin.  It is great to see you there again.  I loved Superbad.  I hope you continue to be the nerdy sidekick in many movies.  Maybe you can be the sidekick/brother in the upcoming remake of Rain Man...  This is how rumors get started, that is if anyone actually reads this blog.
After all that said, we have another remake of a film that I saw as a kid...  Someone once said to me that it's better to remake a mediocre movie well than to butcher a classic by remaking it.  I think this applies here.

Watching the trailer, I couldn't help but feel that it resembled Disturbia, which was just a knock-off of Hitchcock's Rear Window. 

Aside from the spoilers, and despite my crusty nature, this looks like a fun update on the original Fright Night.

I will see it, possibly first run. 

Sunday 21 August 2011

Film Quips: New Monthly feature on Beerbohmtastic

Why does The Inside Man begin and end with bollywood music?  Does Denzel miss Mississippi Masala?

The Limitless concept was cool.  In a TV commercial, didn't Cher once say, "if you could take a pill to have a great body, everyone would have one." 

Rob Schneider priceless in 50 First Dates.  The Golden Pineapple Award for best Hawaiian played by a non-Hawaiian.   

Seth Rogan, as talented as he is, is no Britt Reid.  I can just hear Seth say, "but I am, bitch, so deal with it." 
Nick Hornby needs to write more books so that they can be adapted to the screen. 

Saturday 20 August 2011


Oh, my.  I was actually moved by this trailer.  I was moved by a Seth Rogan, Evan Goldberg production.  Seth and Evan write and/or produce some really funny stuff.  There is funny stuff here.  But so much more. 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a really good actor.  He is always real and believable and his rise as an actor will continue (Oscar someday.  Maybe even for this one).

When is Seth Rogan not Seth Rogan?  He suits his roles and even as a lead plays the goofy sidekick.  Rogan even made Britt Reid a goofy sidekick.... more on that in an upcoming Beerbohmtastic feature.  The thing about Rogan, Green Hornet excluded, is that he never seems out of place, even though he is always Seth Rogan.  That, in itself, is very smart.  Smart in the same way Kevin Spacey always takes on roles where he's the smartest guy on screen. 

50/50 is some serious subject matter.  Rogan has taken it upon himself to be friend, cheerleader and comic relief to his friend who has been diagnosed with cancer.  This is not an easy role.  Anyone who has been touched by cancer (it took my father and close friend's wife) knows how difficult it is to, not only talk about with the person who has been diagnosed, but actually help lighten the burden.  Imagine how difficult it is to look in the face of someone you love and know they could die soon.

This film looks like it will touch many emotions.  I can't say anything negative or goofy until I've seen it.

 If 50/50 is half as moving as the trailer looks, then I would say it's a must see.

Friday 19 August 2011

Conan the Barbarian

"I live, I love, I slay... I am content." 

I don't remember Arnold saying that in the original Conan.  Cool line, though, you know, if you're a barbarian.

So you know you're old when they are re-making movies that you saw as a kid.  I remember seeing Arnold interviewed when his version was released in 1982. During his interview, Arnold said (say out loud in Arnold's accent), "Some actors ver made vor zertain rrroles.  I vas made vor Conan." 

I have no doubt that this will be an action packed romp and, from the synopsis, similar to Arnie's version with updated special effects, of course. 

There were many Conan stories published in the 30's, so do I smell another franchise starting? Next will be Conan the Destroyer, Conan the Cimmerian... Conan the Governor, Conan the Philanderer....

There will surely be an audience for this film,  but I don't think I'll be part of that audience.

Thursday 18 August 2011


Wow, really good trailer. Aside from the story, which appears to be a modern, more realistic version of The Stand by Stephen King, it highlights the little things that we do every day that spread germs. Opening doors, hands on railings, touching our faces or others.... I'm already feeling panicked.

When I say more realistic than The Stand, I just mean that there doesn't appear to be a supernatural force that rises to divide the survivors. Contagion looks pretty bleak and the trailer doesn't give any indication of hope. Nice job trailer maker.

Matt Damon is outstanding, always. We don't see enough of Lawrence Fishburne. I occasionally watch Apocalypse Now and can't get over that a 14 year-old Fishburne plays a 17 year-old soldier. Gwyneth is one of those freaks of nature that does absolutely everything beautifully, with style and grace. Nice job Bruce and Blythe. I wonder if Kate Winslett drops the laundry in this one.

Contagion looks like one of those thrillers that will have a profound effect on its viewers.  Though there have been many movies with this theme over the years,  at least this one doesn't go zombie.  That said, we live in a society where there are hand sanitizer dispensers everywhere and we are told to wash our hands often. I wonder if, with our obsession with hygiene, are we healthier than we were 20 years ago? Do we get less colds or viruses?  Don't get me wrong, I use the sanitizers everywhere I go, but is it like the water craze? We buy tap water that has been re-packaged and sold back to us, don't we? I still drink tap water. I believe, whether true or not, that if you take a little bit of poison every day, you strengthen your immune system. So, if Contagion or The Stand or even I am Legend are an indication of our potential fate, then I'll be one of the survivors.

Wait a minute. I'm not smart, nor scientific, nor a great warrior, nor do I posses any MacGyver skills... Do I want to be alive when all around me are dead? Tough question.

Contagion has great cast and the trailer kept me interested in the outcome. That's enough for me.

Big screen with lots of popcorn and red licorice.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Red State

Trailer starts off like a teen flick and I'm thinking, hmm, Kevin, where are you going with this kind of half expecting Jason Mewes to appear... then...

BAM! Kick in the balls! Holy crap! This is a serious trailer for a creepy movie. I'm thinking Rob Zombie meets Waco and Frailty seasoned with Texas Chainsaw Massacre... but then John Goodman and Kevin Pollack pop up for some comic relief, then BAM for another kick, then back to Goodman and Pollack.

John Goodman was so sad and creepy in Barton Fink. Pollack gave me an autographed picture that told me to "stay cool." Jeremy Hotz must have told him I was cool or something because why would he write that without actually meeting me? You're cool, too, Mr. Pollack.

I sat riveted to the screen when I watched An Evening with Kevin Smith.  I loved the giant spider Jon Peters Superman story.

This looks like a departure from what we've come to expect from Kevin Smith. I have no doubt he had a blast making this one.
I will pay full price concession stand hard.

Our Idiot Brother

Was that Steve Coogan in the trailer? That scene with Steve Coogan and Alfred Molina in Coffee and Cigarettes is one of my all-time favourite shorts.

Paul Rudd. Very likeable guy. Great in Knocked Up as, well, every man. Is Our Idiot Brother the real brother of that stoner Rudd played in Forgetting Sarah Marshall? What about Bob?

Zooey Deschanel. I used to have a huge crush on her. But then I saw The Happening. I still like Zooey, but when her roles are more mature she loses that angst that makes her so charming. Adults can still have angst. Look at Elvis Costello. Saw some angst in the trailer, so I'm hopeful.

Elizabeth Banks. She could laugh in my face any time.

So, what's the verdict? I'm not sure. I love the cast, but didn't Homer Simpson cross tomatoes with tobacco to create tomacco? Didn't the cigarette companies chase him down and steal the tomacco plants? As a sub-plot, will Chef Boyardee or the makers of Ragu offer Rudd a whack of cash for his tomion hybrid, thus easing the burden of his presence on his family?  I'm hoping the payoff is better than that...

I'll see this, possibly first run.

Tuesday 16 August 2011

The Whistleblower

The first 1:20 minutes of the trailer are very good.  The last 30 seconds give too much away -YET AGAIN!  WHO PUTS THESE SPOILER TRAILERS TOGETHER?  YOU ARE AS SKILLED AS A CERTIFIED METEOROLOGIST!


I worked for a branch of Immigration during the crisis in the former Yugoslavia.  I interviewed Serbians, Bosnians and Croatians on the job and, while assessing their English language proficiency, listened to the different perspectives of people living in a crumbling society.  The people that I met, for the most part, were highly skilled and educated and had no choice but to flee their normal lives when the country began to fall apart. 

In the Whistleblower trailer we see once again how chaos flourishes when order crumbles.  The chaos most often takes the form of corruption. 

Rachel Wiesz and Monica Bellucci are beautiful and smart.  Monica was smokin' hot in a film called "Brotherhood of the Wolf."  I heard she's married to Vincent Cassel, that French actor who always plays an arrogent Frenchman on film.  Imagine getting paid to play yourself?  OMG, that's the premise of all those reality TV shows.  I am so dumb!  I get it.  The only Question left is: who cares?  Obviously many....

The Whistleblower looks like a very entertaining film. And if it's based on actual events, it would make it both entertaining and disturbing.  It seems like the United States (and I'm not a hater) paints many with the corruption brush and after the statute of limitations expires, we learn from books and film "based on actual events" that it is often American corruption behind it all. 

As Lord Acton said in 1887, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Yes, I will pay to see this film.

Glee: The 3D Concert Movie

As Max Beerbohm says, "Only mediocrity can be trusted to be always at its best." But this time it’s in 3-D?  This applies to all reality TV where mediocre people like you and me (but you and me are cool with that) strive for their 15 minutes and, should they achieve it, try to ride it for life.  Talk about a generation suffering from arrested development.  I’m both disgusted and jealous.
The Glee generation will grow up to be way more embarrassed than the people who wore acid washed jeans in the 80s. Apologies to those living in Gatineau, Quebec and still wearing acid washed jeans.

I haven't watched the TV show. I didn't read the synopsis. I didn't watch the trailer.

If anyone who reads this blog has seen this movie, please send me your comments and I'll post them.

As of this moment, the word glee, is no longer part of my vocabulary.

Monday 15 August 2011

30 Minutes or Less

When I first saw Jesse Eisenberg in Zombieland I kept thinking that he was like a dollar store version of Michael Sera. Kind of like Skeet Ulrich was a dollar store Johnny Depp and Justin Timberlake is a penny candy version of Vanilla Ice... Jesse and Justin were in that Facebook movie, The Social Network. Both were okay.

Eisenberg, though he plays similar characters in his films - nerdy, awkward - he's likeable. Fred Ward is a cool, hard-ass mo-fo and who didn't love Michael Pena in Crash? Pena, despite the type-casting he sometimes gets, is smart and believable.

So do I wish 30 minutes or less running-time was 30 minutes or less?

The story is pretty thin. In the trailer, Jesse, wrapped in explosives a-la suicide bomber, walks into a school to get his friend. His friend comments "you walk into a school full of kids wrapped in dynamite..." funny at first, and then pretty tasteless.

For some reason it made me think of teen versions of bad movies like Big Trouble and Bandits. Not bad films but the usual "strange things happen to ordinary people, they rise to the challenge and their lives are better after suffering the adversity."

The theme is relevant. It holds true for many... you know, "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger..." That said, if we were to face movie adversity (action packed with criminals and guns) in the real world 99 times out of 100, the ordinary person becomes a casualty. 

Sad, because we all want to face adversity and come out the hero. So, as with most movies, must apply the old suspension of disbelief...

Sitting around with friends do you ever ask, "If you had to, would you ever....?"  You know, like if you had to rob a bank to save your family?  Or would you kill one person to save one hundred people? Or would you let your spouse sleep with someone for $1 million?   All movie themes.  But I digress.

I think 30 Minutes or Less will be mildly entertaining, if nothing else.  I'll see it at the Rainbow.

Saturday 13 August 2011

The Zookeeper

Finally, a trailer that's a real "teaser." Not that this film is a complex examination of anything beyond our comprehension...

All I could get from the trailer is simply, Kevin James is a Zookeeper and he freaks out when the animals talk. Why do the animals talk? Why are they talking to him? What's the story? Gee, kind of makes me want to know. The synopsis positions it as a love story so I'm sure the animals just help him have more, um... animal magnetism?

As for the concept, what child of a certain generation didn't love Dr. Doolittle? "If I could talk to the animals..." The original Dr. Doolittle with Rex Harrison was fun. Even the ones with Eddie Murphy were entertaining.

Kevin James is a likeable guy. There is nothing really Hollywood about him, other than the fact that he's an actor, of course. He seems like the prototypical side-kick; awkward, both physically and socially, kind of goofy, but sincere and real. As a lead? We'll see. Rosario Dawson is a good actress and she's hot. I'm curious to see their chemistry. Talking animals aren't real, just so you know.

On my brother's birthday I gave him a card. On the cover was a cartoon monkey and the text read: As a special treat on your birthday, I was going to take you to the zoo.

On the inside of the card it read: But I figured if the zoo wants you, they can come and get you.

Yes, this film is low on the originality scale but I'm thinking it might be fun.

Friday 12 August 2011

The Tree of Life

Love and wonder. Pure joy.  First disappointment.  Experiencing tragedy. Loss of innocence.  Coming of age. Realization.  Disillusionment.  Anger.  Regret. Forgiveness.  This progression would apply to many lives.

I think Brad Pitt is an excellent actor and I always find him entertaining.  Sean Penn is an excellent actor whos off screen persona has tainted my respect for him (I loved his puppet in Team America).  If I could create a top 5 list of people who should just shut up, the list would be:

1) Bono
2) Sean Penn
3) Oprah
4) Rush Limbaugh
5) The NFL

When I saw Sean Penn in 21 Grams - great acting by all in that one - I was so annoyed by how slow and deliberate every scene was, irritated by the fact that the evolution of the story was so obvious that I walked out before it ended.

Watching the trailer for The Tree of Life I certainly identified with both the father and son.  Is this an original story? Well, no.  Will this appeal to everyone? I think more so to people over 30.  Is there enough here to make this film rise above others this year?  I don't know.

What I do think is that the apparent heaviness of this film and what I suspect will be strong, intense acting will make the film hard to watch for some. 

I will go and see this for one reason: I have a young son and maybe I'll learn something.

Thursday 11 August 2011

The Help

I didn't want to review this movie for no other reason than it looks like a thought-provoking story of triumph while continuing to examine a dark time in American history. Frankly, I didn't want to be disrespectful to the spirit of the film. However....

Why the f**k does the trailer have to give away the whole movie????!!!!! It's so infuriating!!! So, from the trailer we know that she not only gets "the help" to speak to her to expose their conditions, she gets the story, she infuriates the white community, her book is published, she empowers "the help," while sacrificing her standing in the community by doing the right thing, and.....

So the only thing left to see is the process; the details with which she (Skeeter played by Emma Stone) achieves the above-mentioned. So the meat of this film was handed as a two-minute appetizer, while the two-hour filler will be presented, following the cost of admission, as the main course.

That's like paying $50 for bruschetta and $7 for lobster.

It's so disappointing because this really looks like a heart-warming film. It really looks like a triumph of the spirit, yada yada... but the trailer really doesn't need to give it all away.

What kind of time are we living in where movie trailers have to blow their loads in two minutes? If one were to compare movie trailers to teenage boys, they could be described as short attention spanned, unimaginative, disengaged, quick-draw ejaculators. 

Wow, I can't believe I'm so pissed about a movie trailer for a film that could potentially be on the Oscar list. And I like Emma Stone! She was cute in Superbad and great in Zombieland... wait a minute; I'm sensing a pattern....

I will begrudgingly see this one to appease my wife, but not during its first run.


Max Beerbohm Quote for September...

"Only the insane take themselves seriously."

My Favourite Max Beerbohm Quotes

"It is easier to confess a defect than to claim a quality."

"Only mediocrity can be trusted to be always at its best."

"The delicate balance between modesty and conceit is popularity."

"There is much to be said for failure. It is much more interesting than success."

"To destroy is still the strongest instinct in nature." 

Monte Carlo

After watching the film... I mean the two minute trailer that provided more than enough character development, plot and conflict to avoid ever watching this film.....

It's the Prince and the Pauper story spit out again.  This could have been a Lindsey Lohan movie but more likely an Olsen sisters yawn.   As far as this film goes... I mean the two minute trailer, you can't ooze obviousness (thanks Mr. Bukowski) more than Monte Carlo. 

Isn't there another Prince and the Pauper story now playing?  The Devil's Double?  That one looks pretty intense but they should have called it Son of Saddam.

Monte Carlo looks like a commercial for a product that you quickly forget once the commercial is over.

What was I saying?  Oh yeah, I don't think Charles Bukowski would enjoy the plot, but I think he'd watch it for the young girls.  

Don't even watch the trailer.

Wednesday 10 August 2011

X-Men First Class

I like this franchise. It's pure comic book and always entertaining. Wasn't sure I was interested in yet another prequel, but then I saw the trailer....

At first glance it looked like they threw together some unknowns because the franchise would sell, regardless. I like being wrong.

McAvoy is solid. He's shown his versatility in a variety of roles and I like that. Michael Fassbender was good in Inglorious Basterds. Creepy Kevin is a damn good actor. Oliver Platt is always awesome playing a caricature of himself.

I love that it takes place during the Kennedy, Cuban missile crisis era. The Comedian shot Kennedy. The X-Men would easily beat the Watchmen in a brawl. Dr. Manhattan would make it interesting, though. I heard through the grapevine that Dr. Manhattan and Mystique were dating.

X-Men First Class looks to give context to the story in the same exciting, action packed manner as the rest of the franchise. Good enough for me.

Big screen viewing!

Final Destination 5

Speaking of franchises...

I saw the first one.  I thought it was interesting.  Can't cheat death.  Isn't that the saying?  Maybe that's why this franchise is so popular.  People die everyday.  Some die in bizarre ways. 

Isn't that coronor the guy from that other franchise, Candyman?  He's creepy. 

That said, does the trailer for each one look pretty much the same?   The laser eye scene (from the trailer) is pretty stupid when the doctor leaves the procedure, leaving the laser fixed on the patient's eye.  As if...

I knew this guy that was having a triple bypass heart surgery.  The procedure can last many hours. The three surgeons decided they were hungry, so they took a break for lunch, leaving the patient on the table.  Well, they ended up having a few pints of beer, forgot about the patient and the patient died.  NOT!

Why didn't death go after Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta in Pulp Fiction when the bullets from the young drug dealer's gun seemed to go right through them?  They walked away unscathed.  Is there a difference between an "Act of God" and "cheating death?"  Yeah, yeah, I know it wasn't called Pulp Final Fiction Destination. 

I saw the first Final Destination, so no need for any more.  I may postpone the laser eye surgery, though, just in case. 

Tuesday 9 August 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

Who doesn't love Johnny Depp?  Best actor on the planet to have not won an Oscar.
The majority of cinema goers seem to love the Pirates franchise.  I saw the first one and smiled a few times.  I smiled once during the second one when I'd forgotten it was Depp and not Keith Richards as the lead.  I couldn't sit through the first 15 minutes of the third.  Is this the fourth or fifth?

Is it just me or is the best actor on the planet to have not won an Oscar kind of gay in this franchise?  When I say "gay" I say it in a non-gender specific, non-judgmental, non-homophobic way referring to his femme portrayal of a tough-guy leader, comedic pirate.

Geoffrey Rush was great as Casanova Frankenstein in Mystery Men. 

One Halloween, I young boy dressed as a pirate knocked on my door.  "Trick or treat?" he said.  I said, "great costume, where are your buccaneers?"  The kid looked up at me confused and said, "On the side of my buccan head..."

I doubt I'll pay to see this film. 


So the synopsis says,

"Though lovelorn and broke, Annie bluffs her way through the expensive and bizarre rituals. With one chance to get it perfect, she'll show Lillian and her bridesmaids just how far you'll go for someone you love."

So, from what I understand, she lies and scams and destroys her reputation and credit rating so that her best friends' wedding is successful?  What would I do for someone I love?  Probably set a better example and would hope that someone who loves me wouldn't let me do stupid things for them.  That's just me. 

Wait a minute... I'm so in my Beerbohm zone that I missed the obvious.  This is the most blatant chick-flick of the year (that's what happens when I take myself too seriously).   Bridesmaids will provide women of marrying age and beyond with amusement and fodder for conversation as they reminisce about their own weddings and/or wedding plans.

I used to videotape weddings - actually I just made sure people didn't trip over cords.  As a young man I made one cynical observation about weddings: the bride looks more beautiful than she will ever look again and the groom is happier than he'll ever be again.  It made sense at the time.

I'd rather have a pedicure (and I hate my feet being touched) then watch this movie.

Monday 8 August 2011

The Change Up

Yet another body swapping film. Seriously?  I can't keep track of how many of these have been made over the years.  Maybe the makers of this film can make a film about Woody Allen's mythical creature, the Roe.  It has the head of a lion and the body of a lion, but not the same lion.

As much as I like Bateman, there is nothing appealing to me about Ryan Reynolds acting like, well, Ryan Reynolds.  He’s a terrible actor with physical charm (can't take that away from him) and an annoying voice. 


Crazy Stupid Love

I love the cast. Gosling is a fantastic, versitile actor. Carell is hilarious. Julianne Moore will always be Maude Lebowsky to me - and that's a good thing. Emma Stone is very good and I will always have a crush on Marisa Tomei.

But I only have five words, Crazy Stupid Same Old Story. Isn’t every Harlequin Romance about the ladies’ man that can only be tamed by one woman AND didn’t Steve Carell already get a makeover in 40 year old virgin?

Come on people... even taking two common themes and throwing them together was done by the Animaniacs... they called it Animaniacs stew. I prefer bad original movies to fluffed up unoriginal movies.
I'll rent this one.

Friends with Benefits

After reading the synopsis, the only thing I can say is, "duh!!!"

So, adding sex to a friendship complicates it?  Gee, ya think???

I'll bet everyone out there has a "sleeping with your friend" story that is  better and more interesting than this one.  Difference is that none of us real people are as hot as Kunis, except my wife.  I'd rather she sleep with me and call out Timberlake's name, than sleep with him and call out my name. 

I've already commented on Timberlake in a previous review. Why is this modern version of Vanilla Ice in so many movies? 

My wife will watch this while I listen to Elvis Costello on my ipod and give her a foot massage (with my back to the tv).

Sunday 7 August 2011

Bad Teacher

Bad Ronald, Bad Lieutenant, Bad Boys, Bad Santa, Bad Teacher.

I'm not sure if I like Cameron Diaz. I know I don't like Justin Timberlake. My wife says he has talent, but she's shallow, she likes me.  Both Jason Segal and Harvey Keitel have shown their penis on screen. Segal has a goofy charm. Keitel has a mystique... Keitel is not in this movie.

It looks like a really stupid episode of Three's Company (John Ritter, God rest...), not that there were smart episodes.

I think Don Knotts is dead. If he isn't he must be about 175.

I don't really care for Bad Teacher. She should be fired.

I won't be seeing this one.

Midnight in Paris

There's usually something special about a Woody Allen film. A mood. A feeling. A look. Complicating the simple with a poignant view through a neurotic lens.

Who's getting sick of Owen Wilson's pouty, whiny, sensitive guy character that he plays in, um, every movie?! With particular sensitivity to his off-screen personal fragility, his on-screen presence is getting so tired.

The whole Paris "magic" after midnight seems fun, though. The grass is always greener message (on vacation) is part of the fantasy of travel. Something every traveler has felt. I'm just not sure if I can watch Owen Wilson deliver what could potentially be a fun and thought provoking message.

This one will probably be a rental.

Saturday 6 August 2011

Cowboys & Aliens

Even though the title reminded me of Snakes on a Plane... you know, matter-of-factly, I still read the synopsis.

Decent cast. Unite a dysfunctional group to rise against a common enemy. Timeless theme. What more can you say? Animanic stew? I'm intrigued. I guess that's what a trailer and/or synopsis are supposed to do.

Jon Favreau, eh? He was great as the nervous film maker in one of the seasons of The Sopranos.

I'm seeing this one on a big screen with tons of red licorice.

The Smurfs

Actually looks fun. 

Best Smurf monologue other than from a Smurf movie or cartoon goes to Donnie Darko:

"First of all, Papa Smurf didn't create Smurfette. Gargamel did. She was sent in as Gargamel's evil spy with the intention of destroying the Smurf village, but the overwhelming goodness of the Smurf way of life transformed her. And as for the whole gang-bang scenario, it just couldn't happen. Smurfs are asexual. They don't even have reproductive organs under those little white pants. That's what's so illogical, you know, about being a Smurf. What's the point of living if you don't have a dick?"

Judging from The Smurf movie trailer, synopsis and cast (who doesn't love Hank Azaria?) there's more here than meets the eye.

I'm sure I'll rent it.

Captain America: The First Avenger

The movie trailer looks awesome even though it gives away too much. The look and feel seems authentic and very true to the time. Hugo Weaving is in this one. Hugo Weaving is one of the greatest, most under-rated actors of our time. V for Vendetta... Say no more.

I love comic book movies, even if they're bad. Exception being Fantastic Four - worst comic book movie ever.

I will probably own this film. Can't wait to see it.

Horrible Bosses

Is this a remake of Dolly Parton's movie 9 to 5 and Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train times 3?

From what I can tell from the movie poster, Colin Farrell is doing an impression of Tom Cruise from Tropic Thunder.  Tom Cruise was awesome in Tropic Thunder.  Good on ya, Colin.

I like Dolly Parton, she seems nice.  I love Hitchcock.  I've had horrible bosses.

I'm seeing this one.

Friday 5 August 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I loved every Planet of the Apes movie going back to the original with Charleton Heston.  I liked the remake with Tim Roth and Marky Mark.  I even watched some of the TV show from the 70's.

I don't care what the trailers or synopsis look like.  I'm seeing this film.




In the spirit of of Max...

In the late 19th / early 20th century there was a writer, critic, caricaturist named Max Beerbohm. Max was a Londoner, travelled in the theatre circle and was friends with George Bernard Shaw. Max had a sense of humour. He was once asked how he wrote his book reviews. He answered (I'm paraphrasing). "I look at the book, write the review and, if I like the review, I'll read the book."

At some point in the late 20th / early 21st century movie descriptions and trailers stopped being teasers to pique interest. In written form, a synopsis is often cliché, vague or uninspired. In movie trailer form they often give away the entire movie. The latter does save one the cost of admission, but I prefer 2 hours of escapism over 2 minutes of escapism - call me old school.
Thus, in the spirit of Max Beerbohm, this blog will review movie descriptions, comment on them and, if I agree with my comments, I'll see the movie.
Please note: I will only review descriptions from sources such as Cinema Clock and IMDB. Out of respect, I will not criticize the work of those who actually get paid to criticize. Open season on everyone else; myself included.