Friday, April 29, 2011

Fast Five

This was the best Fast and the Furious movie I've ever seen.

I'm just going to give you a minute to let my above claim sink in, since it will either mean nothing or everything, depending on how you feel about the whole franchise, which just released its fifth installment ten years after the original was released. It's kind of like if I said I just ate the best tuna noodle casserole I've ever had. If you love tuna noodle casserole, you would be a fool not to rush out to try that recipe. But if you don't care for it, well, the best would only be slightly more tolerable than the worst. This was my round about way of saying that I am a Fast and the Furious fan and thought this was the best one yet, but I realize that if you haven't liked or cared enough to see any of the others, this one won't offer much to change your mind.

Then again, maybe it will, because it was friggin' awesome. The Fast and the Furious franchise is a machine designed to give men (and, I guess, certain women) car chases, explosions, and hot hicks, and this film doesn't disappoint in that we get all of that, with the bonus being the fact that it's also very funny, very clever, and maybe even smart, so far as dumb action movies go. Director Justin Lin returns, after helming the past three films in the series, and he has worked it down to a science. Lin may in fact be the best director of car chases and action sequences currently working today, with every set piece in this film being just about the coolest thing I've ever seen.

The plot involves... ha ha, just kidding. I'm not going to talk about the plot, except to say that there is just enough of one to string the action sequences and car chases together, which is as it should be. If this film attempted to make some commentary on the human condition, I'd be annoyed. I came to watch car chases, explosions, and hot chicks, not experience the emotional turmoil of Raskolnikov. Actually, as far as these films go, Fast Five is something of an epic in comparison to the rest of the film, since it's the longest, has the biggest cast, and centers around a heist that actually requires the audience to keep track of certain elements. Kind of. I mean, the film layers different missions and sequences as the crew conduct this heist to steal $100 million from some drug dealer, but it all just ends with a long car chase anyway, so it's not like any of the little details were all that important anyway.

But enough about the story. Let's talk about the cast, since it's any FatF fan's dream come true. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Jordana Brewster return, who are the main stars of the franchise even though they have each come and gone during the course of the five movies. The leads plan a heist, which comes with the cliched (but always awesome) "assembling a crew" sequence," almost all of whom are characters from previous FatF films. Long time fans of the series will wet their pants as they watch the crew come together, featuring my all time favorite FatF character Han from Tokyo Drift and Fast and Furious, Ludacris and Tyrese from 2 Fast 2 Furious, that one Spanish guy and that one hot chick from Fast and Furious, and Matt Shultze from the original The Fast and the Furious.

There's even a cameo from another previous FatF character, but you'll have to sit through the credits to see that, since I don't want to spoil it here. This was a big ensemble cast for a movie that is basically just a bunch of car chases strung together, but they were all given a lot to do, great lines, and even some attempts at character development. Tyrese was the audience's clear favorite, since every line of his had the entire theater cracking up. I hope he gets an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in a Fast and the Furious Movie. 

Even better than the returning fan favorite characters was the introduction of yet another character played by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. The Rock plays a special forces operative sent to take down the stars of the film, before they can complete their heist to steal millions from some generic drug dealer. The Rock was one of the greatest personalities in the history of professional wrestling, but this was the first time his persona was fully utilized in a major motion picture in my opinion. It was as though one of the producers said, "Hey, we've got The Rock in our movie. Why don't we just let him play The Rock?" And the film is all the better for it, since he's hilarious, totally over the top, and completely bad ass. He steals every scene he's in and almost got as many laughs from the audience as Tyrese did. They should've just named his character Special Agent The Rock.

And, yes, The Rock and Vin Diesel fight. And, yes, it's awesome. It's long, it's over the top, and features they two men throwing each other through walls and pounding each other into cars. It's a great fight that's harmed only by the fact that it was filmed in a dark garage. Had I written this movie, I would've had the two guys fighting on the edge of a giant, erupting volcano or something. But, anyway, it was good stuff, and while I won't tell you who wins, I'm fairly certain Vin Diesel has something in every contract that states he's never allowed to lose or show any weakness at all ever. And that's why he's awesome.

If I have any complaints at all about this film, it's that the main villain was totally boring and that there actually weren't enough car chases, all things considered. There were a lot of cars, almost all of which went really fast at all times, but there could've been a few more races thrown in. There was actually only one real car chase in the entire movie, and it was at the end during the big finale. It was amazing, however, ranking as one of the best car chases I've ever seen. But still... I wanted a little more car chases and little less gun fights. But all in all, this was still an exceptional action film, and certainly the best film in the entire series, at least since the original.

Just go see it. It was awesome.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Crazies (2010)

I liked this movie, even though there is nothing new or original about it, and not just because it's a remake. It's basically just another zombie movie, but at least it's a well made one with lots of good scares. As I said, I liked it, but I wasn't totally crazy about it. Ha ha ha...

The original film was made by George A. Romero in 1973, back when he still attempted to make films that weren't completely tied-into his zombie universe. It told the story of a biological weapon that was created by the government and accidentally released into a small town, where the citizens began to turn into mindless, homicidal maniacs. It told the story from the points of view of the citizens fighting for the lives, the scientists who created the virus, and the politicians and officials dealing with the fall out and eventual cover up of the disaster. It was a smart, clever, thrilling film that dealt with paranoia, fear of government conspiracy, and a look at what happens when a small town is thrown into chaos. This remake tells the same story, but it mostly eschews all of that plot, political intrigue, and subtext in favor of just upping the gore and the intensity of the scares.

And that's fine, since the scares are so good and the set pieces are so thrilling, but it does make the film feel a little hollow over all. We see very little of the scientists who created the virus here, nor do we learn much about its creation or who's trying to contain the outbreak. All we really see are about four or five characters who attempt to survive the outbreak and escape the town. The film follows the following formula: The stars enter an area where they get attacked by the Crazies until the escape and enter the next area where they are attacked by crazies. This is incredibly repetitive, and it is made watchable (not to mention very fun) only because each set piece is so exceptional. My favorite bit was when the stars got trapped in an automatic carwash. If you're like me and find carwashes to be incredibly claustrophobic and scary in the real world, this scene will make you want to die. It's scary stuff.

The cast is good, even though they are rarely given much to do beyond running, screaming, and occasionally looking at the carnage around them. My boy Tim Olyphant stars as "The Sheriff of a small town," and he doesn't disappoint in the role. Radha Mitchell is his wife, who already went through the same basic plot in Silent Hill. She's very pretty and plays scared well, for whatever that's worth. Then there were some other characters, all of whom were fine, especially when they all died horrible. (Spoiler!)

So check it out if you just want to watch a pretty good thriller with lots of gore and great scares. I'm a fairly jaded horror fan who has seen it all at this point, but this film still made me jump and cringe in places. It doesn't reinvent the wheel (or even do all that much to reinvent the Crazies for that matter), but it's a perfectly good scare machine that's worth watching if that's all you want. I liked it. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Summer Movie Preview

It's finally spring, so that means the build up to the summer movie season has officially gotten under way. I'm a Summer movie fan who loves big even movies with lots of explosions, huge budgets, and awesome special effects. The past few summers have been kind of underwhelming, in my opinion, but this year looks to be kind of cool, if only because there are so many films coming out based on some of my favorite comic books.

Anyway, let's take a look at some of the films I'm either definitely exciting to see or just intrigued or curious about:

April 29th: 

This looks... ok. I mean, it's a Fast and the Furious movie, almost all of which I've seen in the theater. This isn't a big Summer movie, but it's a decent looking mid Spring movie that might be worth a look. Then again, I'll probably just rent it.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare!

Many important people were born on April 23rd: President James Buchanan, Shirley Temple, Roy Orbison, Vladimir Nabokov, Me. But the person I want to discuss today is William Shakespeare, who was both born on this day in 1564 and then died on this day in 1616, which was the same day Cervantes died as well. Small world.

Truth be told, the exact date of Shakespeare's birth is unknown, but it is commonly observed on April 23rd, possibly do do a typographical error, but it fits because we know he was baptized on the 26th. This day stuck probably because it added to the romance of the man's life to think that he died on the same day he was born. Also, it happens to be my birthday, so I think that's cool. And forget about the silly notion the Oxfordians and anti-Stratfordians have put forth that the actual historical figure William Shakespeare didn't write the plays attributed to his name, since there is no actual evidence to support those claims. But that's a post for another time, since what I really want to talk about today are a few of my favorite films based on the works of William Shakespeare.

In no real order...

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead (1990)
This isn't really adapted from one of Shakeaspeare's plays so much as a pastiche centered around two of the supporting players in Hamlet. It shows the famous play from the perspective of the titular characters, who are engaged by the king to spy on their good friend Hamlet. It was directed by Tom Stoppard and based upon his own stage play, and it is very clever, very funny, and features two great performances by Gary Oldman and Tim Roth.

But that's not why I put this movie on my list. I love this movie mostly for Iain Glen as Hamlet. It's a surprisingly small role in a film based on Hamlet, but Glen gives my all time favorite screen performance as Hamlet.

Throne of Blood (1957) / Ran (1985)
Both of these films were directed by Akira Kurosawa and transpose the stories of Shakespeare to feudal Japan. Throne of Blood is based on Macbeth while Ran is based on King Lear. Both are brilliant, boldly adapted with stripped down language and stunning visual, and capture the tone of themes of the original plays better than most straight adaptations have.

Ran in particular is extraordinary, since it is maybe the director's best work and the last of his major epics. Go rent it.

Macbeth (1971)
I remember watching this for the first time in school, which is crazy because of all the gore and nudity. I went to high school Europe, so I'm guessing any teacher who tried to show this in America would be shown the door before the end of act one. But I loved it then and I still do now, probably because of all that gore and nudity. Also, because Macbeth is my favorite of Shakespeare's plays and this is a pretty great (if not all together faithful) adaptation with a stellar lead performance by Jon Finch. Whatever happened to that guy?

This was the first film Roman Polanski directed after his wife Sharon Tate (among others) was murdered by the Charles Manson cult, so that helps to explain why it is so dark, bleak, and maybe off-putting to most audiences. Boy is it dark, but then, it's a dark play to begin with.

Othello (1952)
Here is a film by the greatest film director all time adapted from the play of the greatest writer of all time. Othello is neither my favorite of the plays of Shakespeare nor my favorite of the films of Orson Welles, but it's still extraordinary. It's well worth seeking out, even though it is one of the more elusive films from a director whose entire career was based on films that have have been reshot, recut, or just lost completely.

If you manage to find a copy of this film, chances are good the audio will be muffled and hard to hear and the picture quality will be mediocre. There recently was a restored version released on DVD, but it was recut from the version originally edited by Welles. However... it's worth watching even then because it's one of the most gorgeous films he's ever directed, featuring an incredible performance by Welles as Othello, as long as you can get over (and forgive him for) his black face.

Romeo +  Juliet (1996)

Baz Luhrmann's modern-day retelling of Romeo and Juliet was loud, irreverent, over the top, and campy. In other words, it would've made William Shakespeare proud. This is just a fun movie that has a great cast, a clever setting, and a great visual style. I love it, and so will you.

Hamlet (1996)
Kenneth Branagh was all wrong in the titular role of the brooding Danish prince, but everything else about this film is magnificent. To begin with, it is the only film version of the play that is completely uncut (and since it's 242 minutes long, it's easy to understand why everybody else trimmed so many scenes down!), it has an epic cast including such actors as Derek Jacoi, Julie Christie, Kate Winslet, Jack Lemon, Brian Blessed, Charlton Heston, and about a billion other famous and notable names, and is absolutely gorgeous to look at.

Branagh shouldn't have have cast himself as Hamlet, however, even though I don't blame him for wanting to play the role. He was just too old for the role. When Hamlet is a young man dealing with the murder of his father and the usurpation of his title to the throne, it's tragedy at its best. When it's a guy who's pushing forty, he just comes across as a psychopath. So this is a wonderful film in most ways, except the central character is unlikable.

Shakespeare in Love (1998)
And if you love Shakespeare (and the movies based upon his plays), this film is just a treat, since it is a funny, clever, entertaining look at the man's life and inspirations. It wasn't terribly accurate in terms of his life, of course, but it captured the time perfectly and the man as well as I could've imagined. I don't know if Joseph Fiennes really captured the true William Shakespeare, but he was perfect in the role as popularized in our culture. Best of all was seeing the plays of Shakespeare performed in the same way that they were when he originally wrote them.

Happy birthday, Bill!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Just My Opinion

From the IMDB news blotter:
Some of Hollywood’s biggest names have gathered to protest studios’ agreement with DirecTV to release films as soon as eight weeks after a their theatrical releases. (The current release window stands at four months.) On Wednesday, the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) released an open letter criticizing studios for See more »

Ok, now here's my open letter to James Cameron, Peter Jackson, and more:

"Shut up."

Apparently DirecTV made a deal with the movie studios to start offering new release films "on demand" after they've been in the theater for eight weeks, and Hollywood is going nuts because they are afraid this will cut into their revenue. When was the last time you went to see a movie that had been in the theater for eight weeks? Unless it was at a dollar theater, I've probably never done that, unless I was completely boring, completely desperate, and had absolutely nothing else to do and I was trapped at a cinema. Eight weeks is a pretty long time in terms of movie going, and almost an entire season with dozens and dozens of movies can open and close within that time-span.

Long story short, if your film doesn't make a profit in eight weeks, it never will in the theater, so releasing it on demand at the exorbitant price of $30 (which nobody will pay anyway, making their complaints all the more unreasonable) should be taken as a gift to those Hollywood filmmakers, not some kind of threat.

Or, if you really want people to keep going to the cinemas, make better movies. But that would be crazy, right?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Happy Birthday, George Takei!

The Blessed are the Geeks Blog would like to wish a happy and healthy birthday to one of our all time favorite actors George Takei. Takei is probably best know for his role as Hikaru Sulu on the original Star Trek TV series and films, but he has been in hundreds of other productions and devoted much of his life to humanitarian efforts fighting for equal rights for everybody. He played a hero on TV and in the movies, but he is also one in real life. There aren't many people about whom you can say that and have it still feel like an understatement.

Happy birthday, George!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Justified: Season One

About a year ago, I watched and commented on the pilot episode of the FX series Justified. I liked that episode, but my review wasn't exactly the rave of the century. However, I recently finished the entire first season on DVD, and now I'm ready to rave about it. Long story short, this show is the real deal: It's brilliantly funny, exciting, and well acted, and as fun as anything currently on TV.

Justified stars Timothy Olyphant as Deputy US Marshal Raylan Givens, whose gun-slinging ways get him into trouble in Miami, so they transfer him back to his hometown in rural Kentucky. Raylan is an old school law man who wears a cowboy hat and is quick on the draw, both in terms of speed and in his willingness to put somebody down if he has to. This show is basically a Western in a modern setting, which makes it stand out from the 800 other cop shows currently airing at any given moment these days.

This series also stands out because it's based on a series of stories written by Elmore Leonard, of get Shorty Fame. I've never read any of Leonard's stories featuring Raylan Givens, but I have read a mix of his crime novels and westerns, and this show does a great job of capturing the feel, excitement, and humor of both genres for which he is most famous. The action set pieces are gripping and the dialogue is laugh-out-loud funny. This is just is just a fun, cool show. I dig it.

Lead star Timothy Olyphant is no stranger to playing a gun-slinging western lawman, since he is probably best known from his role as Sheriff Seth Bullock on HBO's Deadwood. As good as he was there, I always felt he was some what wasted because that role required him to be laconic and stoic, where as he really shines when he's allowed to be charming and funny and showy. Even though the character was written years ago by Leonard, Raylan Givens still seems as though he was created to be played by Olyphant. He's just a stone cold cool guy, who is at times intimidating, at times charming, but always hilarious and fun to watch. As the season progressed and his story arc got darker and darker, he still never lost the twinkle in his eye or the quick wit.

The rest of the cast is also great, including the always dependable Nick Searcy who plays Raylan's boss, and the incredible Walton Goggins as the main villain of the season, the Neo Nazi turned Evangelist Boyd Crowder. I'm going to take great care here to not sound as though I'm being hyperbolic, but Goggins's turn as Boyd Crowder in this series is one of the best acting performances I've ever seen. I don't know how he didn't get an Emmy nomination, since he pretty much walks away with every scene he's in, creating one of the most incredible characters in TV history. For real.

Also fun are the guest stars, many of whom starred alongside Olyphant on Deadwood. The episode featuring W. Earl Brown as a convict who takes over the Marshal's office was as good and well written an episode of TV as any I've ever seen. We also got fun performances from such character actors as Robert Picardo, Raymond J. Barry, Stephen Root, Doug E. Doug, and that guy who played Tom Friendly on Lost. We also have two wonderfully sexy leading ladies played by Natalie Zea and Joelle Carter, the later of whom as the best Southern drawl I've ever heard.

So... Justified. Check it out if you like Westerns, cop shows, or just plain old good TV in general. It's one of the good ones.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Tron: Legacy

Well, I thought this was awesome.

I meant to see this in the theater, since the trailers looked awesome and because I'm marginally a fan of the original film. However, I'm an adult with a job and a girlfriend, so Imjust never managed to find the time until it was too late, but I rented it as soon as it came out on Blu Ray. Needless to say, I thought it was great, and I regret missing it in the theater in its full 3D glory. If they make a third film, I'll be the first in line. Unless, you know, I have something important to do, like getting my tabs renewed at the Department of Motor Vehicles, or going grocery shopping, or something else that comes up that I can't avoid. Frankly, being an adult sucks.

I'd much rather leave this life behind me and jack into the digital grid of Tron, like Sam Flynn did, the character played by actor Garrett Hedlund in Tron: Legacy. The world of the grid is like our world but better, with cooler body suits that are fully illuminated, better landscapes where the buildings look like circuits on a motherboard, all of the women have an otherworldly beauty, and all everybody seems to do all day is play cool video games and ride around on awesome light cycles. All things considered, my life is ok, but it's a safe bet there's no DMV in the world of Tron. There is just a totalitarian leader who is bent on eliminating everything and everyone that isn't perfect in the hopes of creating a true, digital utopia. So I guess it's a real toss up.

Of course, I can't jack into the world of Tron, but being able to watch a film about a guy who does is a good compromise. As films go, this isn't up there with Citizen Kane or the King's Speech. If what you want is a moving story with lots of commentary on the human condition, go rent My Dinner With Andre. If what you want is to see an amazing visual tour de force with exceptional set pieces and pioneering special effects, well, this is the best film you'll see all year. In an era where every film is chock full of computer generated effects, Tron: Legacy still manages to see as fresh and visually original as the original film was when it was released almost thirty years ago.

As sequels go, this was pretty much perfect, in that it honored the original while still being able to stand alone on its own terms. Bruce Boxleitner and Jeff Bridges both reprise their roles from the first film, although Jeff Bridges has a starring role while Boxleitner's is close to a cameo. I would rather have seen a bigger role for Boxleitner, since he's just a cool actor and because he *is* Tron, but I can understand why they focused instead on Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, and the amazing Olivia Wilde. Jeff Bridges appears both as the aged version of Kevin Flynn in the first film, as well as the digital representation found in the grid where he looks just like he did in 1982. The film somehow used digital technology to de-age Bridges in this role, and while it isn't perfect at all (in fact, when you first see him on screen, it's really strange and off putting), it's still very cool and extremely well done.

The star of the Garrett Hedlund, however, as the son of Bridges's character who enters the digital grid in the hopes of saving his father. Hedlund took a beating in many of the reviews and user comments I read after seeing the film, but I thought he was great. His role was fairly underwritten and he wasn't given much emoting to do, but he was pretty charming and likable, and fun to watch through out. Even better was Olivia Wilde as the love interest he meets in the computer world. I had never seen this actress before, but she was a wonderful actress, and maybe the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. Best of all was Michael Sheen as Zuse, who played the character as thought he was in a Ziggy Stardust video.

And don't be afraid if you haven't already seen the original Tron. That movie made no sense, and neither did this one, so seeing one won't help much to decipher the other. However, both are beautiful and exciting in their own way, but I actually think this sequel works better, is more entertaining, and has more exciting action sequences. Just check it out. I give it two thumbs up, even if only for the awesome soundtrack by Daft Punk.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Night at the Museum 2

I thoroughly enjoyed the first Night at the Museum film, and I thoroughly enjoyed this sequel, even though for all intents and purposes they are the same movie, right down to the fact that neither make any sense at all. But that's ok, since I'd rather watch a fun movie that makes no sense than a perfectly logical, intelligent script that bores me to tears. The first film was about what happens when the exhibits come to life at New York City's Museum of Natural History, while this film is about what happens when the exhibits come to life at Washington's Smithsonian.

But don't worry! All of the exhibits, characters, and statues from the first film are here too, through some nonsensical plot where they are sent to the basement of the Smithsonian for storage, along with the magical Egyptian talisman that brings them all to life at night. The talisman gets stolen by some evil Pharaoh played by Hank Azaria, so Ben Stillar has to fly to D.C. in order to save the... actually, you know what? Who cares about all that. Did you like the first movie where stuff came alive in that one museum? Well, you're gonna like this one, since even more stuff comes alive in an even bigger museum.

To be sure, this is a kid's film with lots of big set pieces centered around a central premise where stuff in museums come alive. I keep using that description to describe the plot, since that's all that really happens, but that's all I want to happen anyway. When I watch this movie, I just want to get through the plot filler and exposition until we get to the stuff coming alive. In fact, even when I go to a real museum, I want to get past all of that learning stuff until I get to the point where the stuff comes alive. Too bad that never happens, so I have to settle for these movies, which I hope Stiller keeps cranking out because they're hilarious and exciting.

Even forgetting the fun plot where you get to see dinosaurs, paintings, statues, and monkeys come to life, these films are worth watching just for the amazing casts they've assembled. Owen Wilson, Steve Coogan, Hank Azaria, Ricky Gervais, Christopher Guest, and Bill Hader all provide big laughs as their various over the cop characters, abetted along the way by cameos from various other comic actors from the Office, 30 Rock, Reno 911, and those Judd Apatow movies. There wasn't nearly enough of Robin Williams this time around, but his few scenes were pretty great. And at least we got a lot of Amy Adams, who was kind of annoying as Amelia Earhart, but at least she was adorable and dressed in spandex pants. For the ladies, Hank Azaria's guns were on display throughout.

Anyway, that's Night at the Museum 2. A pretty fun if not all together exceptional film that provides lots of laughs and shows tons of stuff at museums coming to life. Check it out.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Why are they making a prequel to the Planet of the Apes? Or, should I ask, why are they making another prequel, since the original film already had a prequel film called Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, which was actually a pretty good film. The entire Ape series has a pretty clearly defined time line that shows what happened between the present up to the future, where the original film takes place. That time line was paradoxical, however, since the original film established the apes as mutants that evolved after the humans killed themselves off in a nuclear war (or some other kind of apocalypse), while the sequels involve time travel to explain where the intelligent race of apes came from, but that's a discussion for another blog post that I'm sure I'll go to someday. Anyway, this new film begs the question of whether it's a prequel to the original film or that awful Tim Burton remake from a few years back.

But whatever. This actually looks like a pretty cool maniac-monkey movie, but don't confuse it with an actual Planet of the Apes movie, which this absolutely is not. However, the special effects look amazing and it'll probably have some cool ape attack scenes.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Happy Birthday, Ron Perlman

The Blessed are the Geeks blog wants to wish a happy and healthy birthday to Ron Perlman, who may be the coolest character actor who's ever lived. No joke.

Kevin Costner: Career Retrospective

Yes... I took this picture.
Well, it was only a matter of time before I broke down and did a career retrospective on Kevin Costner.

For whatever reason, Costner is one of my all time favorite filmmakers, mostly for his body of work, but also partly out of sentimental value. I love previous retrospective-recipient Sylvester Stallone partly because I grew up watching his films with my brother Jim, while I love Costner partly because I grew up watching his movies with my sister Tanya. Both actors are notable in that they have made some movies that are absolutely brilliant, while some are absolute garbage. He's also (so far!) the only career retrospective subject I've seen in person. You can read all about that here.

Anyway, here are my thoughts on the films of Kevin Costner:

Sizzle Beach (1974)
Don't watch this one if you're looking for Kevin Costner. Watch this one if you are looking for a terrible 80s comedy with some decent nudity. Remember that show USA Up All Night, where they used to play that kind of must every Saturday night with all of the nude scenes edited out? Well, I'm sure they aired this at some point. If you are curious (and why wouldn't you be?), you can watch it instantly on Netflix.

Hey... every actor has to start somewhere, right? And at least he got o appear with some naked women. I bet your first job was at Arby's or something.

The Big Chill (1983)
Kevin Costner was famously edited out of the final cut of The Big Chill, only appearing on screen briefly as a corpse. I'll let you make your own joke about how Costner's wooden acting made him the perfect choice to play a character whose only motivation is rigor mortis.

Anyway, this is an ok, if slightly insufferable film about self-important baby boomers who spend all of their time listening to the music of Marvin Gaye.

Fandango (1985)
Classic 80s road trip movie starring Costner and Judd Nelson. Skip it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chump Change

I added ads to this log about a month or so ago, and all totaled I've made five cents so far in revenue. For all I know that's really good, but it's certainly not worth the trouble. This past month was actually pretty active for my blog too, since somebody on some Stallone message board posted a link to my comparison of Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger. But even after I've been getting a few hundred hits a day, I've only made five cents.

I'm not complaining, since I do this blog for fun and not financial gain, and I certainly get a lot of excitement from the fact that a few hundred people a day may or may not be checking out this site (I'm happy if even one person reads it!), but I'm beginning to understand that the only way to make money with a website is if you get literally millions of hits per month. Since that's not going to happen, I think I'm going to remove the ads.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Nintendo 3DS

I don't have a whole lot to say about this since I didn't actually buy a 3DS, I just played the demo this afternoon at Target. Anyway, it's very cool. I played through a few levels of Pilotwings, which was fun if a little simplistic. I hope this game comes with the system, since it wasn't so great that I'd want to play it for more than a few minutes.

However, the 3D effect was very, very cool. In case you're unaware (which wouldn't be hard to believe, since the marketing for this seems to be very low key), the 3DS is the latest handheld videogame system from Nintendo, that plays game in 3D, without the need to wear glasses. The graphics were nice and colorful, but the 3D effect was really well done and worked better than I suspected it would. There's a slider on the side of the screen that turns the 3D depth from very deep all the way to off completely. I experimented with different depths as I played, but the more "3D" I went, the harder it was for me to keep things in focus. But bear in mind that I wear glasses and have a slight astigmatism. The 3D was the real deal, and I could definitely see myself picking one of these up someday once they release some kind of killer ap.

Anyway, go to Target or wherever and check it out. It's neat.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Winter's Bone

This is one of those movies that I found myself respecting more than enjoying. I could easily see how somebody might like this film, although it certainly wasn't for me. It was an interesting (albeit bleak) look at the culture of the Ozarks that very few films have portrayed, featuring some outstanding work by some of my favorite character actors, including the Oscar-nominated John Hawkes (who has never been less than Oscar-worthy in everything I've seen him in, excluding perhaps his less than outstanding role on Lost) and the criminally underrated Garret Dillahunt. The least actress was also very good (and also nominated for an Oscar), although she was perhaps too stunningly beautiful to be all that believable as a redneck living in the Ozarks, especially in comparison to how every other character in the film looked like they were kicked off the set of Deliverance for being too freaky looking.

But, all in all, it was just a huge bore. The story didn't interest me, and even with such talented actors, I never cared at all for any of the characters, most of whom were so distasteful that I didn't even watch to watch them at all. So check it out and see if it is for you, since it was well done and interesting, but I sure didn't care for it.

That's all I have to say on that.