Slumdog Millionaire – Feb 6th

slumdog_millionaireIf you haven’t heard of the indie phenomenon called Slumdog Millionaire, I don’t know where you’ve been.  It’s everywhere seemingly, including the Oscar noms. The other night Jess and I finally made it out to see it. What follows is my review, which as always, will most assuredly contain spoilers. Continue at your own risk.

I can honestly say that this movie is really unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. It is a remarkable movie. I can tell you, it completely earns it’s 94% fresh rating on I am the first to admit that I am woefully ignorant about life in India beyond what I have seen in Gandhi and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The first of those was probably a little more accurate, but I digress. The basic premise of this movie is the story of a young man who goes onto the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. The movie begins with him being “gently” interrogated. We the audience are unaware as to what is going on. Turns out, they are trying to figure out how he answered all the questions correctly. The rest of the movie is spent as he tells the detective his story and how he learned the answer to each of the questions. I know it sounds a little strange, but it is a very effective way of telling a story. Again, not like anything I’ve seen.

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Poinsettia Bowl – Ugh.

So, the game is over. We lost. I’m not happy about it.

I’m struggling to come up with positives from this game… Since it is Christmas and I’m depressed. If I don’t get in the spirit a bit more Jess will kick my ass.

The Positives:

  1. The cliche’ “it’s something to build on”. This seems to be a team of hyper competitive guys and a loss will only help propel them through the winter conditioning and spring practices.
  2. It was supposed to be a rebuilding year. 12-1 is a heckuva rebuild.
  3. We are very young. That only bodes well for the future, right?
  4. Moore is not Zabransky despite doing his best Z impression at the end of the game. However, I am pretty sick of ending bowl games with an interception. We know he will watch that tape about 567 times before next season.
  5. Despite the loss, we will most likely start next season ranked.
  6. I didn’t purchase any of that dumbass “Perfect Season” merch the BSU bookstore was hawking for the past month.
  7. My DVR is not going to be clogged with 4 hours of HD football programming that I can’t delete. I deleted the recording about .002 seconds after the game ended.

As a postscript, I have to say something about watching the game last night. That #$&*$% “Interactive Tuesday” crawl at the top of the screen filled me with a searing white-hot hate that has yet to be extinguished. Hey ESPN, there is a reason I choose not to visit friggin message boards. The rage I feel reading what “fans” have to say (even the pro-Boise State ones) make me homicidal. For the safety of myself, and everyone around me, I do not frequent message boards. Nor do I frequent any place where the unwashed masses discuss college football ( comment sections, I’m looking at you…). Now you’re going to force that same infuriating crap down my throat DURING the game? There is a special ring of hell reserved for the programing nerd who thought that one up.

In case you’re not aware of what I’m talking about, there was a bar across the screen, above the score that ESPN invited fans to submit comments online which would then scroll across the screen. Basically what we ended up with was 3 and a half hours of pithy comments like, “Boise sux. TCU is gonna roll!” or “Boize wont never get a BCS game until they toughen there schedule!!”. URGE TO KILL RISING……

Ok, that’s enough.

Merry Christmas everyone!

PS. When I’m off next week, keep your eyes on the blog as I’m thinking I’m going to make some sweeping upgrades to the blog. I’m unsure what exactly I will do, but it will be something new. That’s exciting, huh?

Quantum of Solace – Dec 18th

quantum-solace-poster-2I can’t believe it has been almost 5 months since I’ve been to a movie, but the record doesn’t lie. George and I finally made it back to the theater last night to check out the latest Bond flick, Quantum of Solace. As always, there will undoubtedly be some spoilers in this review.

Quantum of Solace (yes, I think it is a ridiculous title as well) begins exactly where Casino Royale leaves off. I really enjoyed Casino Royale. Far more than any of the previous 5 or 6 Bond flicks before it. It was real, and gritty and visceral. QoS was obviously in the same vein.

The plot revolves around an evil organization that has so far remained unknown to the worlds major intelligence agencies. But, apparently they have “people everywhere” including M’s personal body guard. *insert action sequence* This evil org is obviously very well financed and even better at staying hidden. However, that doesn’t stop them from sewing the seeds of revolution and instability around the globe for financial gain. Bond, in is bulldog-like tenacity is on to something. In seeking information and/or retribution for the death of Vesper (his love in the first flick) he his on the trail of these folks. Unfortunately, he has a bad habit of killing everyone he comes across instead of actually pumping them for information, much to the chagrin of his bosses back in London. Oops.

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The Voice is Silenced

It’s a sad day for consumers of movies or television, which is pretty much all of us.

Don LaFontaine has died.

Its possible that name doesn’t mean a whole lot to you, but I 1000% guarantee you will recognize his voice. He has been the voice of over 5,000 movie trailers and over 350,000 television commercials and network promos. It wasn’t a real trailer or promo unless you heard his voice.

He was the one who introduced us to the line, “In a world…”.

Really, it kinda feels like an old uncle has died. You know, the one you never saw very often but got to talk to on the phone regularly? Don’s voice has been so ubiquitous that you couldn’t escape it if you tried.

I think I’m legitimately a bit sad about this. Seriously. I’ve always loved this guy’s voice.

Rest in Peace, Don.  I’ll miss you.

The Dark Knight – July 24th

The Dark Knight“Some men just want to watch the world burn.”

If you’ve been living under a rock, you might have missed that the latest Batman movie has been released. For the rest of us, it has ben Batmanmania since last weekend when the movie took in a record $155.3 million over the opening weekend. That is absolutley crazy. However, not unjustified. “The Dark Knight” might well be the best movie I’ve seen all year.

Standard disclaimer, there will probably be spoilers here. Read at your own peril.

We pick up the story where Batman Begins leaves off. Bruce Wayne is still batman, but there are copycats donning their own masks and capes in order to foil crime… I think. I was never too clear exactly what was going on with these things. Twas a bit confusing. But, no matter. The mob is still seriously pissed at Batman for crimping their enterprises. Along with the new fair-haired district attorney Harvey Dent, they have shut down all of the money launderers but one . So, the mob, being enterprising types, bring in a chinese businessman to handle all their cash and… ya know what? It doesn’t matter. Other than a pretty sweet snatch and grab by Batman in Hong Kong, all this really does is launch us into “Joker” territory.

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Indiana Jones and Hancock Double Feature – July 3rd

Indiana JonesGeorge and I were desperate to catch Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (is that an unwieldy name) on the big screen before it left. We were finally able to jive our schedules and headed to the theater.

Again, spoilers are sure to follow, proceed at your own risk.

The basic premise of this installment of one of the great series of all time is that another friend of Indy is in trouble and he is enlisted as the only one who can help. Basically, this is the impetus of every Indy movie (except 2, which might as well have never happened). This time around, we’re set in 1957 and instead of battling the Nazis, we’ve upgraded to a new villain, the Soviets. When I first heard that there wouldn’t be any Nazis this time around I was a little disappointed, but it makes perfect sense that the communists would take over in the bad guy department.

The flick starts off with Indy being in the custody of a rather large group of Soviet soldiers somehow operating free and clear in the US. Not quite sure how that would work, but I digress. They brought him to a hidden US Army warehouse where “all of your secrets are hidden.” We have seen this place before, and fans of the movies will instantly recognize it. Why the army would have an important facility so lightly guarded is another question. The Soviets are looking for something that Indy had found and handed over to the government some 10 years earlier. Long story short, they find it and kick off a big action sequence. I liked the touch of showing us a shot of the Ark. Enough to make me smile.

I don’t want to get too deep into the actual plot, because frankly, it didn’t make a lot of sense. In the previous movies, Indy and by extension, we the audience knew what his mission was. He was looking for the ark of the covenant or he was trying to find the holy grail. Here, it is something to do with ancient Mayans, crystal skulls, and aliens. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but I guess that’s not the point. You go to a flick like this for the action. There was plenty of action. Although, this movie makes the mistake of turning everyone into indestructible supermen. I mean, there is a scene where 4 people go over not 1, not 2 but 3 waterfalls in an open top “duck”. Nobody gets as much as a scratch. Nobody drowns. Nobody even loses any personal effects. Not quite sure how that works. Prior to that there was a nice chase scene along a cliff rim that was a little hair raising and fun. Oh yeah, the gigantic South American ants were a creepy touch.

The end of the flick shifts into full on alien crap that really just kinda lame. Oh well. This movie followed the formula and did it well.

I will say, there was a throw away line that should have been the plot for this movie… or 10 movies and I would have watched every one. When Indy is being interviewed by the FBI about his dealings with the Soviets, they question his loyalty (it was set in the 50’s afterall). But it was mentioned that Indy did 40 missions with the OSS (precursor to the CIA) during World War II all over the globe. WHAT!? Are you kidding me? We could have had movie(s) about Indy operating during WWII and you don’t show us that? I feel cheated! THAT is the movie I want to see, not this crap about aliens. Dang. It never occurred to me what Indy might have done during the war. I figured that he would remain a professor while the world was in flames, but it obviously makes more sense that he would be recruited to perform missions suited to his skill set. The more I think about it, the more I want to see more of that time period.

All in all, I enjoyed Indy this time around. I would have to say that this movie stayed true to the formula and was fun to see. The hat, the whip, the music. It was all there and great to see again. If I had to rank them, Raiders is still first, and Last Crusade is still second. I would place this one 3rd and Temple of Doom is 4th. I will undoubtedly watch it again on video.

As we were heading out of the theater, we saw the sign for Hancock starting in 5 minutes. We kinda looked at each other and thought, why not? I used to love doing double features, but usually Jess can barely stay awake for one movie, two in a row is no chance. Since Geo and I both wanted to see it we figured what the hell and headed in.

HancockHancock is not your typical super hero movie. Will Smith plays a depressed, drunken indestructible “hero” who has stopped caring long ago. Whenever he helps the police, he ends up creating a vast wake of property destruction. Now, this is nothing new in super hero movies. I’ve long time wondered when you watch these flicks about what happens in the aftermath. They are blowing up bridges and knocking down buildings, generally causing billions of dollars in damage to public infrastructure. But, we never see the aftermath. That’s why this movie’s angle was so enjoyable. Hancock gets some very negative reactions for his destructive ways. Basically, the public no longer appreciates his helping the police out.

After Hancock saves a PR guy’s (Jason Bateman) life, he takes it upon himself to rehabilitate Hancock’s image. I loved this first 2/3 of the movie. It was something totally different. Unfortunately, the last 1/3 of the movie, it downshifts into a more standard super hero movie. I think if they would have kept along the path they were following it would have been an outstanding movie. Instead, it had the feel that they didn’t ultimately trust the film they had and maybe they had to appease the “geeks” who turn out in droves for super hero movies. I don’t know. I really think they should have kept along the personal growth plot line, but maybe that’s just me.

Will Smith is again great in this movie. I really liked that they portrayed him as seriously rough. He’s drinking whiskey from the bottle and actually swears. They didn’t try to sugar coat it and come off fake. You really feel for the guy in that he doesn’t know who he is, and is acting out to push people away. It’s just really well written and acted. And until it goes sideways with 45 minutes left, it was really really good.

I did enjoy Hancock and do think it is worth seeing. I’m glad we caught it.

Jess asked me which movie was better. That is a tough question, and despite my thinking about it, I don’t think I have an answer. They are both very close. Neither was perfect but neither was horrible either. I would call them “solid”. If I had to lean, I might give a slight slight edge to Hancock, if only for the reason that Charlize Theron is in it.

Happy 4th of July everyone!

Wall-E – June 29th

Wall-EYes, I know I haven’t blogged in forever. Cut me some slack… I could NOT be more busy. More on that soon.

Disney/Pixar’s latest masterpiece was released this past weekend to huge critical lauding. Since, it was triple digits outside, Jess and I decided to spend a few hours in a nice air conditioned theater and see what all the fuss was about.

Bottom line? They hit another home run. I don’t know how they keep doing it, but every film they make is amazing. Not a flop among them. When you stop and think about it, it really is incredible. Name me another studio that EVERY movie they make is a guaranteed winner? Doesn’t happen. I can tell you one thing… I would hate to be they guy responsible for the first movie they make that kinda sucks. You know its going to happen eventually. But not this time.

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Iron Man – May 16th

Iron ManIn the midst of all this nonsense I’ve got going on, George and I went to go see Iron Man. We also had a few beers that night, which I desperately needed after the past week.

To be perfectly honest, I can’t seem to generate much to complain about this movie. Could be the fact that I just can’t muster the energy to analyze this thing at the moment. Perhaps it’s just that the movie was good and it’s always easier to write negative reviews. Actually, I’m sure its due my current lack of writing mojo.

But, since I’m trying to write something about every movie I see in a theater this year, I gotta get at least a little something down. As always, there may be a few spoilers involved here, so be aware. If you wanna go into the movie “clean” don’t read further. (Maybe that’s just something I do, I’m not sure).

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Forgetting Sarah Marshall – April 22nd

forgettingsarahmarshallpost.jpgThe latest in the Judd Apatow production machine is a movie called Forgetting Sarah Marshall. He is the guy that gave us The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up. However, he didn’t write or direct this one, only produced it. Frankly, this movie isn’t near as good as either of those flicks.

The movie centers around sad-sack Peter who in the first scene gets dumped by his TV star girlfriend of 5 years while in the buff. That’s right. We’re treated to a little full frontal male nudity not 5 minutes into the flick. Not that there is anything wrong with that… Did it feel a little gratuitous? Yes. Was it necessary to tell the story? That is questionable.

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The Bank Job – March 13th

The Bank JobAs usual, thar be spoilers ahead!

When a movie has boobs during the opening credits, you know you’re in for a good flick. Actually, one of my movie pet peeves are the ones that have a long drawn-out opening credits sequence where there is nothing on the screen but the names of the people and companies who created it. They are basically forcing me to read the credits because there is nothing else to look at… and that makes me angry.

Anyway, The Bank Job starts with some folks frolicking in the ocean topless, then retiring to a bedroom where some illicit photos are taken surreptitiously. We later learn that these photos contain scandalous images of Princess Margaret getting funky with swarthy types. These photos are in the hands of a Black Panther leader /pimp /all around criminal named Michael X (real original there, Chief) who uses them as leverage to stay out of jail. See, the authorities can’t touch him or he releases the photos to the press. Apparently, this is all based on a true story.

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