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Sunday 29 January 2012

VIEWED: The Grey

My recommendation for this one was...

I'm not sure when Liam Neeson became a badass, action hero type.... Maybe Neeson was always a badass...  So, Grey is the story of a pack of men vs. a pack of wolves. I think I'll see it, but I hope the wolves win.

Neesan was a badass.  The movie delivered a good amount of suspense and badassary.  It builds up to a confrontation between alpha badass Neesan and alpha badass wolf.  All I can say, without spoiling why I was a bit disappointed (though I understand why it was done the way it was), is: stick around until after the credits. 

Thursday 26 January 2012


I think I mentioned in my trailer review of Colombiana that I like movies where hot girls kick ass.  So, did I like Haywire when it was called Colombiana?

I really like movies where the hot girl is trained to kick ass, then is betrayed by the ones that trained her and then they can't stop her.  So, did I like Haywire when it was called La Femme Nakita?

I really like movies where the protagonist has to fight his/her way through a sea of peer assassins in order to get to the people who betrayed them and gave the orders to have them killed.  Did I like Haywire when it was Matt Damon in the Bourne Identity franchise?  Well, no.  Matt may be hot, but he's not a hot chick. 

Kate Beckinsale is the current queen hot girl kicking ass with the Underworld franchise.  I've seen some of them and always find her entertaining.  In other things, not so much, though she was smokin' hot in Laurel Canyon. 

But Haywire has a pretty good supporting cast.  Ewan McGregor is a great actor and should have won an Oscar for Big Fish.  Fassbender is in every other movie these days.  Paxton has done some interesting work over the years.  What can you say about Michael Douglas that he probably hasn't already patted himself on the back for?  He's made some good movies, though.  I don't think I've seen Channing Tatum in anything but he couldn't be the offspring of Stockard Channing and Tatum O'Neill, could he?  I still haven't forgiven Banderas for portraying Armand as such a pussy in Interview with a Vampire in 1994. 

All that said, Haywire could easily be Colombiana (which the wife said was "shit") or La Femme Nakita or even the female Bourne Identity.  But you know what? Whether this movie will be as predictable as the trailer looks or not, the hot girl kicking ass is still fun to watch. 

Saturday 21 January 2012

The Grey

I'm not sure when Liam Neeson became a badass, action hero type.  I checked IMDB and I think badass Neesan begins in Batman Begins.  After that, it's Taken and more badassary.  Prior to that, he seemed to play milder mannered characters.  I liked him in Kinsey and.... wait a minute... he played Darkman in 1990... nevermind. 

Maybe Neeson was always a badass but never thought of as a badass so in the last 10 years he chose roles where his badassary was more blatant and in your face.  Does that happen to actors as they age?  Look at Ralph Fiennes.  My image of him was a poncy annoyance on screen (though not as poncy or annoying as Joseph Fiennes).  Ralph was ridiculous as Francis Dolarhyde in Red Dragon (which was a bad remake - even though the ending was truer to the Thomas Harris novel - of Manhunter).  Tom Noonan was awesome as Dolarhyde.  Fiennes was a joke.

That said, Fiennes was pretty badass in In Bruges (which I really liked).  My point is that as these actors age they seem to want an edge, an image beyond nice guy.  Or, like Bruce Willis, they can't let go.  Could it be that they're just pissed that they're ageing?  Shit, I'm pissed that I'm ageing, too.

Liam Neeson is 60 years old.  In Grey, he's another tough guy and like every aging tough guy movie, he's likely ex-military, ex-CIA, ex-assassin or all of the above. I'm not sure if he looks 60 or not, but he looks to be in good shape and he leads a group of plane crash survivors on a journey to survival. 

Unlike other movies where the plane crashes in an arctic wilderness, it doesn't look like these guys are going to eat each other - thankfully.  So, what challenges will these he-men face while walking in the snow to safety? Wolves.  Yes, wolves.  Big, mean, and clearly hungry, wolves.

Dermot Mulroney is also in this movie, though I didn't recognize him in the trailer.  I've only seen him in a few movies that the wife "suggested" I view with her.  I find him really dull.  He lacks leading man presence and frankly, I don't think he's that good an actor.  Maybe he'll get eaten by a wolf.

So, Grey is the story of a pack of men vs. a pack of wolves.  I think I'll see it, but I hope the wolves win.

Wednesday 18 January 2012

VIEWED: The Descendants

My recommendation for this one was...

"for some reason I found the trailer compelling. I also made the wife watch it just to be sure the soy milk that I used to drink hadn't altered my hormones. When the trailer ended she looked at me and said, "hmm, let's see this film." I told her that just because I liked the trailer doesn’t mean I’ll be seeing the film AND there's a difference between being in touch with your feminine side and actually touching your feminine side. Yeah, this will be a date night movie."

Yes, this was a date night movie because we heard that it won a bunch of awards.

Clooney was pretty good - an understated sadness and subdued anger that was befitting a work-a-holic, non-present dad.  The rest of the cast was good, too.

Though The Descendants was slow moving, there was an air of sadness and enough conflict to make it entertaining - at least for me.  At the 52 minute mark the wife said, "dude, why are we watching this shit?"

PLEASE NOTE: The views of the wife do not reflect the views of Beerbohmtastic.

Thursday 12 January 2012

A Dangerous Method

Cronenberg is an odd one.  I've seen many of his films and liked a few.  When I see a Cronenberg film, I ask myself, "did I really get it, did I understand the point?"  If I can't answer, then I didn't.

Of the Cronenberg films I've seen, Rabid was an interesting take on the zombie theme at a time when there were few zombie movies.  The Brood was just weird.  Videodrome, which I watched again recently on Netflix, while dated, is an interesting statement on technology at the threshold (1983) of home entertainment, interactive video and access to porn.

The Dead Zone and The Fly were more mainstream and both excellent films.  Then he started getting weird again. Dead Ringers (based on a true story) was sick (old school definition).  I didn't understand Naked Lunch (based on the Burroughs novel, which I also didn't understand), but the insect thing reminded me a bit of Kafka's Metamorphosis.  I hated the book, Crash, by J. G. Ballard, so I never watched the film.  eXistanZ (a Videodrome update?) and Spider were just boring - or I didn't understand them.

I really liked History of Violence, except for the ending which may have been a metaphor? Man kills his past by literally killing his past. 

I liked Eastern Promises.

I didn't realize that Viggo made any movies before Lord of the Rings until I looked him up on IMDB.  I've seen him in a few movies but before LOTR, he was one of those guys who looked familiar but you didn't know his name.  I guess Cronenberg likes Viggo as this is their third movie together.  Dude can act.

Fassbender is appearing in lots of stuff.  Dude can also act.

Vincent Cassel, an arrogant Frenchman always seems to play an arrogant Frenchman.  Gotta go with what works for you, I guess.

Kiera Knightly never impresses me.

The trailer for A Dangerous Method, also based on a true story, looks like a return to the mainstream - as mainstream as Cronenberg can allow himself to be (maybe he goes mainstream for the money and weird for himself - if I was smart and talented, I'd likely do the same).

So the gist of it is that Freud and young Jung develop a friendship of sorts but Jung's theories are different from Freud's and, given that Freud doesn't approve of Jung's affair with a patient (which likely proves Freud's theories) it isn't surprising that Jung separates himself from Freud. 

During the trailer young Jung says, "sometimes you need to do something unforgivable just to go on living."   Ahh, great minds sometimes create clever sounding yet silly statements to justify their less than noble actions... Nice example of Freudian rationalization, Carl.

Just to highlight the differences: The id, ego, superego, and Oedipus stuff are Freudian; archetypes, extro- and introversion, and the collective unconscious are Jungian (thanks http://www.mentalfloss.com/difference/freud-vs-jung/).
There are enough elements here to make this a good film; I'm just not sure if I care to see it.

Monday 9 January 2012

The Divide

When I was a kid at summer camp, the counsellors used to play a game with us.  They would describe an end of the world scenario and ask us who should be allowed to stay in a bomb shelter to survive the end of the world and rebuild civilisation.  They would list about 12 people with different backgrounds and skills and say there was only room for 8 (or something like that...), then ask the kids to discuss who would be allowed to stay and who would have to die.  Heavy stuff to pull on pre-teens.

I always answered, "well you need both men and women to populate the world, so I say have men and women in the bomb shelter."  This answer was usually met with mild acknowledgement.  Then I'd say, "but if the same few people are re-populating the world, then there will be inbreeding and potentially a cross-eyed, cannibalistic, Texas Chainsaw Massacre scenario," then I'd add that "I'd rather die in the blast." 

Given that I'd completely missed the point of the exercise, I was usually asked to leave the cabin.  Which, by the way, didn't help me understand the point of the exercise.  The lesson here is that you include the dummy to help make him smarter.  Excluding the dummy never lets the dummy learn.  Hear that, Mr. Krasner?

When Ned Flanders built a bomb shelter, he let everyone in, then he was kicked out.  Feeling ashamed, all the Springfieldians in the bomb shelter joined the outcast Flanders, only to watch a tiny piece of the meteor destroy the bomb shelter.  Great stuff.

I watched the "teaser" trailer for The Divide:  A nuclear bomb blast sends the tenants of an urban, low-rise apartment building scurrying down the stairs to the exit.  When the exit is blocked by fire, they head for the basement where some have already gathered in the sub-basement, furnace area, looking room.  Some get in, some don't. 

So, a bunch of people, during the end of the world are possibly trapped together in a large room with limited food and the panic and uncertainty of their situation.  This is some pretty intense stuff.  What we can guess is that some will emerge as leaders, some as agitators, some as diplomats, some as criminals, but all will slowly lose social graces and civility as hunger, panic and fear, combined with length of stay, set in.

The Divide is a good title.  This film looks like one of those experiments that examines what happens when you put a bunch of rats together in a small cage and they have to face the reality of their situation, limited food and space, and each other. 

Given what I (sadly) feel about human nature and the horrors we are capable of as a species, I don't know if I have the stomach to even want to see this film.  That said, it looks really interesting. 

Saturday 7 January 2012

VIEWED: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

For the first time in five months of Beerbohmtastic, I have gone to see a movie without reviewing the trailer.  I had seen the trailer; I meant to review the trailer; I think I even liked the trailer, but I didn't get around to reviewing it.  Last night, the wife told me we were going to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie at the local cinema.  I asked what else was playing and she said, "nothing else at 7:00 PM."

I hadn't read any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories.  I think I watched The Hound of The Baskervilles, starring Basil Rathbone on TV when I was a kid. I don't remember much about it.  I did love Disney's The Great Mouse Detective...  What I'm trying to say is that I'm not a purist, nor snob, and other than knowing about Sherlock Holmes and "deductive reasoning" (which I don't practice) and the term, "elementary, my dear Watson," which is an old fashioned way of saying "duh," I know enough about him to know that he was brilliant, a master of disguise and was the first CSI detective in history.

I believe (please correct me if I'm wrong) it was the great director Robert Altman who said that Robert Downey Jr. is the best American actor of our time.  He said something about the fact that, regardless of the issues in Downey Jr.'s personal life, on-set he was always prepared and professional.

I like Robert Downey Jr. He is great in every role and he has played so many different roles.  As Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder he was brilliantly hilarious.  He was perfectly cast as Tony Stark in Iron Man.  I loved the first Iron Man and was entertained by the second.  But I am a sucker for comic book movies...

The image of Sherlock Holmes is that of a meticulous, clean, gentleman.  One who can use his fists, but also doesn't need to because he is clever, cunning and smarter than pretty much everyone.

Robert Downey Jr.'s Sherlock Holmes is not exactly the Sherlock Holmes I would have envisioned.  As great an actor as Downey Jr. is, I'm not sure if I like his Holmes and I can't quite identify why. Maybe it's just me.

I don't really care for Jude Law, but he's okay as Watson.

All that to say that Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is a good, not great, movie that provides enough entertainment, action, cleverness and fun to make it worth the cost of admission.


Thursday 5 January 2012


When is doing the right thing not doing the right thing? When it's against the law?  When is it right to take the law into your own hands? When the legal system can't or will not?  So, the Buford Pusser's (Joe Don Baker) and Paul Kersey's (Charles Bronson) of the world did the right things for the right reasons, even though their actions were against the law and the in-effective law turned a blind eye.

Contraband, at least from the trailer, isn't exactly like that.  It's doing the wrong thing, for the right reasons and the actions are against the law because the wrong thing is having to commit a crime to make things right.  And not just a small crime, but a mega caper by a retired criminal who, just when he thought he was out, they pulled him back in... OR ... Only one man can pull of this heist and it's you, so you gotta come out of retirement or they're all gonna die...

In Contraband, Mark Wahlberg has to commit the crime to save his wife's brother, a petty criminal from bad guy Ribisi or the law or both.

I like Mark Wahlberg.  He's made some really great films and some real stinkers.  I loved him in I Heart Huckabees and The Italian Job. He was great in Boogie Nights and The Fighter, but really pissed me off as Max Payne, one of my favourite video games ever.  Four Brothers was lame with a similar concept to Contraband- borderline and reformed criminals kicking the asses of real criminals for the greater good because the cops in movies can't.  Not exactly realistic.

What's with movies that glorify criminal activity?  Maybe it's just the notion that the average man, when pushed to the brink, can emerge as an action hero and save the world.  I guess it helps when the average man is an ex-criminal and is a lethal fighter.

I couldn't name 3 Giovanni Ribisi movies, but whenever I see him he's awesome.  I think he's one of the most underrated actors in Hollywood.  Cool to see him as such a bad ass in the trailer.

My friend, Huss, met Kate Beckinsale and said he didn't recognize her in person because she was small and mousy.  Hard to believe because she's pretty hot on screen.

If there was a video store in my neighbourhood, I may have rented this one.  If I come across it on-line, I might watch it.

Wednesday 4 January 2012

VIEWED: Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol

My recommendation for this one was...

"The MI franchise continues to deliver while the Bond franchise continues to deliver cold pizza: some people still like it, but it ain't the same as hot...Yeah, I have no doubt that this one will deliver and I have no doubt that I'll see it, hopefully soon."

Yes, this one delivered.  Great stunts and great action with a true old school Bond-type story.  Madman tries to destroy the world... classic! The MI franchise is so much better than what the Bond franchise has become. 

VIEWED: Young Adult

My recommendation for this one was...

"Judging by the trailer, which is the point of this blog, I didn't find this story interesting, intriguing or even clever. That said, I want to give Diablo Cody the benefit of the doubt because I can't imagine that this story is as pointless as the trailer looks."

This film has the depth of a kiddie pool. Indeed, it was as pointless as the trailer looked. 

Tuesday 3 January 2012

The Devil Inside

The Exorcist (1973) is arguably one of the scariest movies ever made.  The concept of demonic possession is pretty scary itself.  All major religions believe in the existence of demons.  I guess that's what makes movies/stories of demonic possession so scary.  So, if one is possessed, then has the demon exorcised, but becomes possessed again, is that demonic re-possession?

What made the Exorcist so scary, aside from the great story and acting and, of course Mike Oldfield's, Tubular Bells (music), was that it explored uncharted territory that seemed possible.

www.horror.about.com lists the top 20 demonic possession movies, of which I've seen about half.  Some of them are really good and The Exorcist is rated #2, behind The Shining.  Hard to argue that.

The Rite, #19 was okay. I saw one of The Exorcist prequels (both are rated #17) and found it entertaining.  I stayed up late one night when I was a kid and watched Burnt Offerings (#15) on TV.  It gave me nightmares for years.  I liked the concept of John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness (#14) but the movie fell short. Denzel Washington in Fallen (#12) was a cool concept, too, and was entertaining.   The original Amityville Horror (1979) at #6 also gave me nightmares. Session 9 (at #4) was a really creepy and scary movie.  Very entertaining.  I'd recommend any of them, if you're into that sort of thing.

The trailer for The Devil Inside looks like an interesting take on the theme.  A young woman's mother is committed to a psychiatric hospital in Rome after she murders three people.  The woman learns that her mom may have been possessed and becomes involved in exorcisms, including the one of her mother.  To be honest, it looked pretty good.

I think I'll see this one.

Sunday 1 January 2012