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-Bearded Creative Pioneer of the World of Tomorrow-

Sunday, May 23, 2010

You've Got Mail (And a slightly, yet not completely outdated movie)

Again I find myself over a decade behind the cinematic times, but I'm ok with that. Last night I spied with my little eye the Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan flick You've Got Mail. Within the first 15 minutes of the romantic comedy the most apt among us can easily predict the major plot points. However, there are a few (unintentional) bumps along the way. I can easily see how people no more than a year or two younger than myself having never heard some of the dial-up noises of ye internet of olde in addition to the classic voice for AOL letting you know when you have mail and giving an audible good-bye. I know our Blu-Ray player displays "Good-bye" when I turn it off, but that voice of AOL, what a friendly and reassuring voice. Regardless, the precursor of facebook chat is without a doubt a foreign and comical experience to the younger people. I can still remember using and preferring a rotary phone in the household. Wave of the past.

Anyways, the main point that disturbed me about this surprisingly entertaining movie was this: in the start to middle of the film the main problem is that a Barnes and Noble-like book beast (Fox Books in the movie) is about to put a small corner, family owned bookstore out of business. There are protests made and newspaper columns printed to no avail. Eventually the store just gives up, sells all the merchandise at low, low prices and Meg Ryan continues chatting away on the interweb with nothing but a minor cold. This conflict which actually grabbed my attention was quickly accepted by everyone in the movie as nothing but "business." Now, of course everyone thinks of Wal-Mart as the big bad company swallowing the competition, but that's not even my major beef. The mere fact that it is completely acceptable and slightly encouraged for big chains to buy out ma and pa stores is sickening. It's as if the writers were upset by this too when they started the screenplay, but suddenly stopped caring (not unlike my phase where I thought was the coolest thing since Weezer...How ironic that I would smoke my fair share of cigarettes throughout college and that Weezer went from hero to absolute horse shit.) Just an eerie part of the movie that is a little too deep for a romantic comedy.

In other news, Ronnie James Dio died a week ago and I meant to post earlier. My compatriot
Raging Boll beat me to the eulogy, but I too would like to express my grief. The man was in 5 major metal rock bands over the years and was an icon to live through the ages. Not bad for a man under 5'5''. The man denied a scholarship to play trumpet for metal, by the way. BADASS. I hate seeing rock legends like Dio die long before their time, this one due to stomach cancer. He was only 67, plenty of rock left in that little man. A good egg if there ever was one.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Always Underappreciated Don Cheadle

Iron Man 2? Kind of a disappointment. The first review I read was pretty much spot on. The main point stated that there was a lack of action for an action/comic book movie. The final battle sequence between the drones and the dynamic duo of Iron Man and War Machine was pretty cool, but extremely short lived. Stark ended the battle by shooting a lazer around in a circular manner, destroying all the remaining drones. LAME. And by the way, how is the Whiplash guy so superhuman, because he's Russian and drinks odious amounts of vodka with a bird? Seriously, all he had going for him is his super physics/computer skills and a suit on the upper part of his body that cuts cars in half (before the end suit.) HOWEVER, his bottom half was rammed with a car not once, not twice, but thrice and it hardly seemed to phase him. That does not compute. Rourke's accent wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but his role wasn't nearly as prevalent as the trailers made it out to be...and now he's dead. These comic book movies need to stop killing all the main villains. That's part of what makes comics last so long, the characters don't all die, they go to prison or get banished into a spirit world. I was extremely disappointed when Two-Face was killed off in The Dark Knight, when Obadiah was killed in the first Iron Man, the first Green Goblin in the first Spiderman, and then Doc Oc in Spiderman 2. The list goes on.

I thank God that Terrence Howard is no longer Col Rhodey. Don Cheadle is solid, and is an awesome War Machine. Most importantly, he doesn't sound like a 13 year old girl when he says "Tony" (watch the first one again and pay special attention to Terrence's whiney whine.) Don Cheadle brought class and believability to a role that would have been doomed.

The S.H.I.E.L.D. thing is getting a little overbearing. These movies are becoming promos for the Avenger Initiative and it takes away from the plot. I'm not the biggest fan of Sam Jackson as Nick Fury, but I don't hate him either. I keep seeing Snakes on a Plane when I see that bald badass. They mentioned the situation in the Southwest at least twice (referring to the Incredible Hulk for those playing at home...DESPITE the fact that Tony Stark was in the end of the Hulk movie and obviously knows about it already) and showed what I assume will be the new Captain America shield. Vomit. Also, Scarlett Johansson's character was completely unnecessary and was obviously just there for sex appeal, another S.H.I.E.L.D. operative and too many spinny take-downs.

Overall, I'd give the movie a B-. Not utterly fantastic, but not a complete failure.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Killing John G

Man oh man. I just watched Memento for the first time ever. I've read about it before in one of my Klosterman books and my curiosity and desire to know what the writing was describing got the best of me. Absolutely fantastic. Aside from the fact that my nose is completely stuffed up and I have had to breathe through my mouth most of the day, it still would have been a jaw dropper for me. The story was so fresh and original. This point is of particular value to me. There are far too many remakes and sequels in current cinematic history. I've mentioned the brilliance of Christopher Nolan many times, and this movie simply hammers the nail into the wall a little further. I realize the story was based off a short story by Nolan's brother, but it still is an original story. Basing a full length film off a short story also impresses me, especially a film of this quality. Originality is key in cinematically thrilling me these days. There has simply been too much of an absence of original stories (and story telling.) Nolan has mastered both of these techniques. The Prestige is also a fantastic display of said talents. Guy Pearce is flawless in the movie. I was totally caught off guard to discover he is actually from a land down under.

Again, narration proves to be a valuable story telling tool for my favorite films. I know the first instinct is to view narration as an aid for the viewer, like we can't figure things out for ourselves. However, this is almost never the case. (Side Note:My narration theory was recently broken by the movie Bride Wars which contained the most pointless narration I have ever witnessed, in addition to being one of the worst movies I've ever seen.) Anyways, the narration in my favorite films (Juno, Thank You for Smoking, etc.) is there to add to plot and character. Again, not because the actors can't display what is being stated, but it simply brings another side of things. You instantly feel connected to the character, like you're interacting, not observing. Observation is for the zoo and biology labs. Being a part of a stranger's story is what makes these experiences worthwhile. We sometimes forget that, but just remember when you were a kid. Almost all children imagine themselves right there along with the main character, like a best friend. We may not consciously think like that anymore, but that still goes on in our brains. Story telling is key. Now I am quite excited to see Nolan's next vehicle, Inception. I've yet to be disappointed by him and I don't think I will.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Movies and Zipper Ties

First and foremost, happy 70th post to me. Second, I saw Kick-Ass yesterday and was quite pleased. It was an excellent film. There was a line or two that I could have done without and one song choice that made baby Jesus cry, but it did live up to all my expectations. Nicholas Cage was my favorite actor and pretty much made the movie for me. As my friend Zach of All Trades said in his fabulous blog, he channels Adam West's odd and curious speaking pattern for his time as Big Daddy. So good. Plus he has a pretty nice moustache that he extends into a wicked fu manchu when he becomes Big Daddy. Grade A badass.

Also got some Redboxes yesterday, one (my choice) was not terrible, but not good. Another (Kristen's choice) was a very good movie. My movie was a gut instinct choice that I randomly saw on the screen, The Marc Pease Experience. It stars Jason Schwartzman and Ben Stiller and it does have its moments. Schwartzman is a 26 year old who is still living like he's in high school and has an a cappella group that he hopes makes it big. Stiller is the drama/music teacher who is kind of a scum-bag. It basically revolves around the musical The Wiz, which I have never seen, but looks terrible. That did not help the movie's cause. It wasn't terrible, it was just there.

The other one was The Blind Side. I was hesitant at first because I'm not a big fan of underprivelaged kid stories, but this one broke the mold. I'm sure everyone knows the story, so I'll just skip it. Tim McGraw was Sandra Bullock's husband and was actually very good. It was kind of hard to look up Michael Oher's stats from last year with the Ravens, but I'm going to assume he was pretty good professionally seeing as it seems he was next in line for the Offensive Rookie of the Year. It's a touching story, but doesn't really pull at your heart strings too much. A good flick for sure.

Now, I'm onto the zipper ties. I saw this (possibly) new invention yesterday at Kohl's and it vaguely disturbs me. It is basically the new and improved clip on tie. If I hadn't recently learned how to tie my own tie with the help of the interweb, this would probably be first on my list of things to buy. However, a slightly more terrible thought crossed my mind. Could this possibly be another step to compensate for poor fathering? Not to say my father wouldn't have taught me had I asked, but I had beaten the system by simply keeping my ties tied. BRILLIANT. But I see families at the Wilderness all the time, and the parenting seems to be going down the tubes just like the kids down the slides. Zipper ties could just be another way of getting rid of the parental picture. Will velcro be the common thing for dress shoes too? so that parent's don't have to teach kid's to tie their shoes? or will everyone just wear diapers so that potty-training doesn't need to happen. I'm probably over-reacting. The ties do look pretty cool.