Please email any comments or review requests to beerbohmtastic@gmail.com.
Follow Beerbohmtastic on Twitter @beerbohmtastic.

Saturday 26 May 2012

VIEWED: Catch .44

My recommendation for this one was...

"I'd like to see Catch .44 when it comes out on video, but since there is no video store near me I guess I won't be able to see it..."

Well, we rented this one from the video store that we discovered in our neighbourhood; the one that was always there but we never noticed until the Blockbuster closed down.

Catch .44 is a multiple double-cross caper film that tried so hard to be cool and slick in a Tarantino, Guy Ritchie sort of way.  It failed on every level.  The storyline was so weak it was almost invisible. The cast, despite their individual past successes, were terrible.  I've never seen Bruce Willis so lame and I can't believe how dull the usually brilliant Forest Whitaker was.

The wife told me to say something nicer than, the film was a complete waste of time.  I can't think of anything nicer.

40 Days at Base Camp

This one is by request...

When my wife was pregnant she wanted to get a doula.  A doula, as I learned, is a birthing coach.  Not quite a mid-wife, a doula pretty much provides support before, during and shortly after the birth.  Kind of like a guide; at least that's how I saw her.  So much so, in fact, that I kept calling her a Sherpa.  At first she seemed annoyed and when she finally corrected me, I said that I thought of her as someone helping us over the mountain of child birth.  She seemed satisfied, the wife rolled her eyes between contractions and I was pleased with myself.

40 Days at Base Camp is a documentary, by Dianne Whelan about the different types of people who try to climb Mt. Everest.  I say "try" because the trailer tells us that 1 in 4 die trying.

I'm not a mountain climber, but I know people who have climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Apparently Kilimanjaro is a walk in the park compared to Mt. Everest.  I prefer a walk in the park, myself.

The trailer is both visually beautiful and harsh.  You have the beauty and clearly unforgiving majesty of the great white and grey mountain juxtaposed with colourful tents, colourful clothing, garbage, waste and death.  We also learn from the trailer the motivations of many people from all over the world.  I think that is the point of this documentary; Whelan spends 40 days at base camp listening, without prejudice or judgment, to the stories of these climbers. That alone, could be amusing or entertaining.

Personally, I'd rather take a Bugatti Veyron or Ariel Atom V8 around a racetrack, but that documentary, likely titled, 40 Days in the Hospital wouldn't be as interesting as 40 Days at Base Camp.

I think we'll rent this one.

Wednesday 23 May 2012

VIEWED: The Avengers

My recommendation for this one was...

"No point in me really reviewing the trailer. We know the drill, good guys vs. bad guys to save (or at least avenge) the earth. This movie looks and feels like a winner and I'm too um... excited about it.
I can't wait to see it on the big screen and I hope that my local cinema has stocked enough red licorice."

The wife and I saw this last night in 3D.

Firstly, it was the best 3D movie I've ever seen.  And the wife, who hates 3D movies said the same... yes, we agreed.

Secondly, it was the most exciting comic book movie I've ever seen.

Thirdly, while I said in my original review I wouldn't use the word "giddy" any more, I was f**king giddy from seeing this film - even more so than the trailer.

I'm sorry but I can barely contain my enthusiasm for The Avengers.

My friend, Huss, (who also loved it) said...

"Everything wrong about Hollywood done absolutely right." 

I'm not sure about the "wrong" part but I agree about the "done absolutely right" part.

And, there was plenty of red licorice in the cinema and the need for a toothpick wasn't even a distraction...

All hail Joss Whedon.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Men in Black 3

Many years ago I went to see The Stranglers in concert.  I was with my friend, John, who was a bass player and a big fan of JJ Burnell, The Stranglers bass player.  JJ was also a martial artist and kicked alot while he played bass.  We were close to the stage and during a song, JJ accidentally kicked John in the head... then gave him a beer as an apology.

The Stranglers started as an angry punk-ish band with Doors style keyboards.  Later they became more experimental.  One of their experimental albums was called, The Gospel According to the Men in Black.  The theme of the album was that humans were being farmed and harvested by an alien race called The Men in Black for food. 

I would compare The Gospel According to the Men in Black to The Gospel according to Spinal Tap... the fictional review stated, "on which day did God create Spinal Tap and why couldn't he have rested on that day?"

Is there a movie goer out there that doesn't like Will Smith?  Is there a movie goer out there that doesn't like Tommy Lee Jones?  Is there a movie goer out there that doesn't think Josh Brolin is a very versatile and talented actor?  Let me know.

I really like the MIB franchise.  The elements of action, humour, surprise and some clever story lines always seem to deliver.  As a trailer, MIB3 has all the fun, familiarity and twists to indicate that it'll be just as entertaining as the others, and Josh Brolin as a young K looks hilariously dead pan.

I will see this one on a big screen.

Friday 18 May 2012


I trust every review, even a trailer review, will start with reference to the board game, Battleship.  I never owned it but played it when I was a kid.  That's all.

Watching the trailer, I kept thinking of that Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck movie, Armageddon.  Remember that one?  Captain of oil rig, Bruce, hates Ben for many reasons but mostly because Ben is dating his daughter... then they have to work together to save the world.  But I think the tagline was: Hey, you sunk my meteor! I remember it being very entertaining.

So, Liam Neesan.  I like this guy.  He's an ageing bad ass and he's a solid actor.  I liked his real accent better - somewhere from the U.K., I think?  Taylor Kitsch.  I didn't see John Carter, haven't seen any of his shows and I don't remember him from anything else that he's listed on.

I heard that Disney took a beating from John Carter.  A similar beating to the one the martians took from John Carter in the film... only financial.  Maybe it was the title or the marketing.  I haven't seen it yet but I heard it was pretty good.  A reader, Lightening, commented:

Wicked, awesome movie. Better than Attack of the Clones.  Solid acting, original story, funny. Best Sci-fi I've seen since Avatar. Too bad the marketing dept. screwed up the sale.

Disney is, arguably, one of the greatest marketing machines on the planet.  I love Walt Disney World.  I don't think that one box office flop will slow Disney down too much, and I'm sure The Avengers will more than make up for the marketing mistake of John Carter.  Now, I really want to rent John Carter.

Battleship, the trailer:  to be honest, it looks like a really dumb action movie.  While the action did look kind of cool in an alien invasion, except by sea, sort of way, the dialogue in the trailer was so cliche it was laughable. Though I sometimes enjoy a dumb action movie, this trailer didn't really grab me.

A new video store opened in my neighbourhood.  It has actually been around for a while but I hadn't noticed it as months after the local Blockbuster closed down, I still stared longingly at the empty blue and yellow structure... please read my Blockbuster editorial http://beerbohmtastic.blogspot.ca/2011/10/editorial-good-bye-blockbuster.html

My point to that is the wife has been dropping into the new (always had been there) video store and has been bringing home shit because I think she's forgotten the process of movie rental selection.  Everyone has there own process... come on... admit it.

Battleship will be on the list of "if you can't decide on a movie, just get this one" movies to watch.  Then when it ends I can say, "hey, you sucked you battleshit!" 

Monday 14 May 2012

The Dictator

Almost ten years ago a friend invited me over to watch a video of a comedian she had just "discovered."  The video was Ali G's BBC TV show.  She had described his humour to me for weeks but I just didn't get it.  She would say things like "innit" and "check ya' self before ya' wreck ya' self..." and I would stare blankly at her.  I finally conceded and said I would watch - just to shut her up.

The episodes I viewed included a discussion with a feminist activist and Ali made a comment that women shouldn't be judges because they menstruate.  The guest was shocked and Ali said, "all me know is dat when me Julie have da' painters in da' house, everybody guilty..."  As shocked as I was at this type of humour, I found it hilarious.  He takes the piss out of serious, unsuspecting people and made a career out it.

Fast forward past Sacha Baron Cohen's Ali G BBC show, the Ali G movie Indahouse, Ali G in America, Borat, Bruno and while I liked all of those characters, the brilliant humour sometimes came across as mean spirited.  Although it was always fun to watch any one of his characters take the piss out of racists, homophobes, liberals, conservatives, socialists, feminists, beach bums, square dancers, Donald Trump... everyone really.  Occasionally, he might have gone too far.  Borat singing "Throw the Jew down the well.. so my country can be free..." in a red neck bar with people happily singing along was a bit unnerving.

And speaking of possibly going too far, now we have The Dictator.  I say possibly because one never knows how people will react if offended by this film.  Let's face it, Sacha, while being a brilliant comedian (check out his Harvard commencement speech from 6 or 7 years ago http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJ66pOtfOYg), he is Jewish and he appears to be taking the piss out of Islam, at least extremists.  Remember what happened to Salman Rushdie and the dude who drew the caricature of the prophet Mohamed?

As a trailer, The Dictator is more of the same Sacha Baron Cohen gags, only with a new character.  I like the fact that he stays in character when he's promoting the film and, like he did with Borat, causes a stir with the Hollywood establishment. 

Max Beerbohm said that, "nobody ever died of laughter."  I just hope that Sacha making us laugh doesn't upset the wrong people and get him put on some kind of hit list.  I'll say one thing:  dude has balls.

I'll see this one.

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Dark Shadows

About a month ago a reader asked me to review this trailer.  While I viewed it, I said that I would review it closer to the release date.  During that time I found the remake TV soap opera, Dark Shadows, from 1991.  The original Dark Shadows TV show ran from 1966 to 1971.

While I couldn't sit through more than two episodes, the 1991 remake of the TV show was a big ball of camp stuffed with cheese and rolled in low-budget melodrama... I'm not sure if I was supposed to laugh, but I did, though not enough to warrant watching episode 3.

While Tim Burton is hit and miss for me,  Johnny Depp is always 'hit'.  He's another one of those actors that just makes everything he's in better by association.  I still can't believe that he has not won an Oscar.  If there was a Beerbohm Award for Best Actor in a Trailer, I think Depp would be the winner.

In a nutshell, the Dark Shadows story is: Dysfunctional man from a wealthy family scorns a woman who wants him.  Woman turns out to be a witch and puts a curse on him. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned..."  as Bill Shakespeare told us.  Anyhow, she puts a curse on him, turning him into a vampire, and buries him.  He is buried for many years (hundreds?) and when he is resurrected, his family (rather, descendants of) are still dysfunctional and he must save them from themselves while navigating through the turbulent... um... 1970's. 

Dark Shadows is gothic, but comical... maybe even cothic or gomical?

On the poster Depp looks a little like Eddie Munster standing in front of  the Addams Family.  The trailer was really entertaining.  It felt a bit like the Addams Family meets Beetlejuice meets The Nightmare Before Christmas and delivered in a kind of scary, fun, almost slapstick way... Tim Burton's way.

Depp also made me think of Count Chocula.  I haven't seen Count Chocula in the cereal section of the supermarket in years.  The other day I bought Lucky Charms.  I wonder if Count Chocula was taken off the market because it caused blindness in laboratory bats.

I love the way the trailer looked and felt, and Depp's comedic timing is usually brilliant.  Add the solid supporting cast and a story that I have no doubt Burton had fun with, and it's definitely a film that I'll see, either big screen or rental.

Saturday 5 May 2012

VIEWED: Haywire

My recommendation for this one was:

"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."

I didn't see Colombiana and as fun is it is to watch a hot girl kicking ass, Gina Cerano's looks and fighting ability were completely overshadowed by her cardboard performance in a dull story.  What a sad waste of a brilliant supporting cast.  So, when Haywire ended the wife asked, "what did you think?"   I responded in the same tone as she did in her review of Colombiana...

"it was shit."

Friday 4 May 2012

Meeting Evil

Meeting Evil is an old theme.  Think of the classic German tale, Faust or the American version, The Devil and Daniel Webster. The song version would be Charlie Daniel's, The Devil went down to Georgia.

The old theme is basically, man suffers string of bad luck.  He is on the verge of losing everything, or does.  He is vulnerable. He makes a pact with a stranger, the devil (literally or metaphorically).  Luck changes.  Everything is better.  Man confident.  Man almost arrogant; drunk with his own success.  Devil comes to collect debt.  Debt is usually man's soul or life or both.  Man resists and tries to beat Devil.  In the end, man finds loophole and everything is back to normal, well, sort of.  Kind of a distorted message, don't you think?  Sell your soul, declare bankruptcy and avoid paying the debt.  Sounds a bit like the global economic crisis we're in...

The Hunger Games is also an old theme. I don't think for one minute that Meeting Evil will be as successful or as good as The Hunger Games. It's just that old themes, if they haven't been done in recent years or if they attempt a new spin, can seem both fresh and familiar.

I like Luke Wilson.  I like him much better than Owen Wilson.  Luke never annoys me on screen and he was brilliantly sad and disturbed in The Royal Tenanbaums. Wes Anderson is a favourite.

When the wife and I were in Jamaica, Lakeview Terrace was on TV every morning.  We watched it while we prepared for our day. Every morning we missed the ending because, who wants to spend their vacation watching a crap movie? Sam L. was really menacing.  He can have a very intimidating presence.  Sometimes he makes a bad movie watchable.

The trailer for Meeting Evil seems to show that, since Wilson is trying to get out of their deal, the devil (or whatever Sam is) is killing people and Wilson is being accused of the crimes.  During the interrogations Luke tries to tell the police that he is innocent.  There was this evil guy...  So, the question becomes, is the devil character real or is he part of Wilson`s imagination and is Wilson really the killer?  Kind of like The Secret Window?

Movies like this can be entertaining and are usually decent rentals when you`re not sure what you feel like.  That's as committal as I can be with this one.

Wednesday 2 May 2012

The Five-Year Engagement

These kind of romantic comedies usually annoy me.  I guess because everyone has a romantic comedy in them, which obviously confirms the appeal of these types of films.  Ask any couple, and they will tell you sweet, funny, touching and often interesting stories of how they met and their courtship.  Hence, the endless supply of scripts, I guess.  It is these courtship stories that, more often than not, make it to the big screen as "romantic comedies."

After the courtship, real life begins.  Real life may not be as interesting as the courtship, but it can be the best part of the romance.  The part where acceptance, compassion and unconditional love take the romance to a higher level.  But, while the real life is a theme, and can be funny, sweet and interesting on film, the finish line of a romantic comedy is different.  Kind of like sprint vs. marathon.

It's much lighter (and easier) to watch a romantic comedy where we know the couple, regardless of the length of engagement, is likely going to overcome whatever obstacles presented before them and, just when we think they'll break up, they come together and make the life-long commitment.  Doesn't the label "comedy" imply a happy ending? Everyone walks away happy with one hand holding your lover's hand and the other picking popcorn out of your teeth.

The wife loves these types of movies.  When I'm in the doghouse, I watch these types of movies with her.  Sometimes I am pleasantly surprised.  Sometimes I am bored.  Sometimes I keep my mouth shut and smile to avoid conflict.

I haven't seen Jason Segal in anything other than Knocked Up and Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  Guess who took me to see those?  He was hilarious in Knocked Up and showed his ass.  He was kind of funny and a bit annoying in an Owen Wilson pouty sort of way in Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and he showed his penis.  I'll have to see him in a few other films before I can comment further.

The trailer for The Five-Year Engagement made me think of one thing:  It took longer to watch the movie, Titanic, than it took the actual Titanic to sink.

I'm not sure I can sit through even 2 hours of a five year engagement.  Not unless the wife has anything to say about it, of course.

Tuesday 1 May 2012

May Day Max Beerbohm Quote

"We must stop talking about the American dream and start listening to the dreams of Americans."