Thursday, November 18, 2010

Best of the Decade

As a movie nerd, I can't help myself. I have to copy everyone else and list my top 10 movies of the past decade. Let it be clear that these are on here because they balance artistic validity with appeal; they appeal to me. Their order is none in particular.

Following are all of the honorable mentions I couldn't fit in 1 through 10.

Top 10 Movies- 2000-2009

1. Gladiator (2000)
2. Road to Perdition (2002)
3. Children of Men (2006)
4. Sunshine (2007)
5. Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
6. Watchmen (2009)
7. Moon (2009)
8. Gone Baby Gone (2007)
9. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
10. No Country for Old Men (2007)

Best Western
Open Range (2003)

Best Sci-Fi Movie
Pandorum (2009)

Best Sports Movie
Miracle (2004)

Best Horror
28 Days Later (2002)

Best Comedy
who cares???

Best Action
The Bourne Identity (2002)

Most Unforgettable Movie of the Decade
The Road (2009)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Smurfs Look Even Cartoon-ier in 2-D

My search for reference-quality blu-rays had a close call last month, as I narrowly avoided buying one of the Transformer films just to have them. Instead, I went with a movie I can actually stand, Avatar.

This movie was like a gosh darn roller coaster in 3-D, and the computer animation was the most convincing I'd ever seen. However, even though the blu-ray is probably the best ever made, it can't make the Na'Vi look like they're anything other than cartoons. So half the movie looks like a cartoon. The 3-dimensional effect is the only thing that made Cameron's movie look like the greatest achievement in visual effects ever. And the other half looks like it was shot on home video. The whole movie might just as well have been made in a computer.

If I had wanted to buy a cartoon on blu-ray, I would have bought Toy Story.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Sorry it's been three months. I have never-ending internet issues, but I won't tell you that they are the fault of my landlord and Verizon FIOS.

More blogging coming soon.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Congratulations to the Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks won game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final in overtime last night, beating the Philadelphia Flyers at home, 4-3. This win clinched the Blackhawk's first Cup since 1961.

Patrick Kane scored the game winner. The best part was watching everyone look around, wondering if the game was actually over.

Aww, man. No more hockey until mid-October.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Shia LaBeouf is Kind of Dumb

Most people go to Cannes to watch new films, meet celebrities, and avoid American authorities, but Shia LaBeouf goes to get attention.

I don't mind that, but the guy went and very publicly bashed his last two blockbuster films. The writers and directors weren't there to defend their works, and LaBeouf betrayed his total lack of class by insulting movies he fully promoted when he was paid to.

One of them was his second Transformers film, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. He admitted that it wasn't any good; it's a good thing Shia is here to tell us these things. "It became too big, and I think you lost the anchor of the movie," he said, referring to the first film's characters and heart. This missing, enigmatic anchor of the movie could also very well be the script.

Then he bashed in the head of a once-sacred cow. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the fourth film in that series, was an embarrassment, and LaBeouf classily put some of the blame on his performance. The rest of it, according to him, fell on director Steven Spielberg. "When you drop the ball you drop the ball," LaBeouf said of Spielberg. I hated that LaBeouf, the most overrated actor currently in Hollywood, was in the movie, but his acting had nothing to do with its failure. The film had weak special effects, laughable characters, and the tone of a Wayans brothers comedy. As I've been known to say, Nathan Drake has taken the fedora right off Indy's head as America's adventurer. If Spielberg makes Indy 5, he has to win back people's respect.

Naughty Dog 2 / Steven Spielberg 0.

LaBeouf is toast without Megan Fox to make his acting look good in the next Transformers film, anyway. Maybe Michael Bay can put Fox in the film by creating her entirely out of CG... And he can ditch all of those pesky sets and locations and just shoot it all on blue screen.

Hey Shia, you're a moron. Those films were both painful, but that's why we read scripts before we accept the $15 million to do a picture.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Transformers, Rest In Peace

As everyone who cares already knows, Transformers 3 is filming and will be released next year.

The main problem with this, other than the fact that the first two films sucked and that Michael Bay keeps wavering back and forth on the subject of 3D, is that Megan Fox won't be in it.

Fox never got along with director Bay, and now it's cost Bay the only thing going for his hyperbolic franchise. You suck, Mike.

Bay has replaced Fox with a Victoria's Secret model. I'm not paying to watch this in theaters. Her name is Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, if anybody cares.

If Time Warner Cable was a Girl, I'd Stick My Tongue Down Her Throat

So I know both of you who read this have been bumming about my hiatus from blogging. It wasn't my fault. Time Warner Cable did it.

Their modem at my house went bad, and they took over two weeks to replace it. So the title of this post is, indeed, sarcastic because I'm not actually excited to have something back that my roomate and I have been paying for all along.

They'd better not charge us for those long, hard, Youtube-less weeks.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Obi Wanna Rap?

At least something good came of my wasting countless hours surfing Youtube...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Movie Review: Samuel Bayer's A Nightmare on Elm Street

Lacking the personality of any original, 1980's, slasher film, the remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street will be forgotten as nonchalantly as it was conceived. Failing to truly scare or titillate, as any film in the genre must in order to make up for its own inherent lack of credibility, the greatest appeal this new Nightmare can claim is its nostalgic ties to Wes Craven's 1984 original, albeit with better film stock.

The plot is very similar to the original story. Teens in a quiet, suburb-heavy American town begin dying, but no one can explain why. First, Dean (Kellan Lutz) kills himself in public, but not before telling his sort-of girlfriend, Kris (the lovely and hard-to-track-down-in-real-life Katie Cassidy), that his nightmares have been a problem. Kris soon starts to dream about the same man Dean did, Freddy (Jackie Earle Haley), and she discovers that other teens in town are having the same dreams. But when Freddy kills them in their dreams, they die in real life, though Freddy leaves no physical evidence other than gallons of blood. Soon, their friends dropping at a slower rate than one would expect from a 2010 horror film, Nancy (Rooney Mara) and Quentin (Kyle Gallner) realize they have to stay awake long enough to figure out how to defeat Freddy on his own turf, or else they're next. Freddy's origin, and link to his victims, is revealed through the investigation.

There's very little I can add to all of the mainstream reviews for Nightmare. No, there is nothing original enough here to warrant a remake, much less the label "reimagining." Yes, some of the special effects are distractingly bad, though the production values, in general, dwarf those of the original, as they have in all three major, spiritless remakes (this one, plus Rob Zombie's Halloween and Marcus Nispel's Friday the 13th).

And, much like those other films, the major downfall of A Nightmare on Elm Street is its lack of imagination. The kills, which are conventionally the orgasmic payoff at the end of minutes upon minutes of teen misbehavior and asking-for-it decadence, are generally plain and forgettable. Perplexingly, the gorgeous young students of this film are the only slasher teens ever to have no interest in partying, having sex, or abusing substances, making one wonder why director Samuel Bayer bothers killing them off at all. They do, however, bathe while nude.

Haley, whom I absolutely love, is cardboard as Freddy Krueger, whose iconic status will continue to be defined by Robert Englund's painfully stupid, pun-dropping incarnation in the original films. The rest of the cast does a fine job looking pretty and acting scared, though the lighting by Jeff Cutter (Orphan) is probably the loveliest thing in this movie, besides Cassidy.

People in their mid-twenties and up will probably keep going to see this movie because of its iconic name. When younger audiences come to realize that the film doesn't even do its job as a slasher, they'll stop going and forget it the way the kids of Elm Street need to forget Freddy.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Katie Cassidy, Please Marry Me

Since most of the attractive girls in the Binghamton, NY area have threatened me with restraining orders (you know who you are, blondies), I've decided that I'm going to have to stick with Hollywood starletts for my love needs. I'm just worried that my celebrity is going to prevent me from finding the one, you know?

Now that I've seen two ads for the new Nightmare on Elm Street, I'm officially in love with Katie Cassidy. She's the one who screams in the classroom.

The film is now playing.

I'll see you soon, Katie. Which dark alley works for you?

Doctor, It Hurts When I Do This...

Dear Jordan Leopold,

Please keep your head up from now on.

The NHL Playoffs are on now.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Traffic Update: Gridlock in Algonquin...

So, I spent $40 on Episodes from Liberty City a couple of weeks ago, and I've hardly played it. Don't get me wrong; it's a great game. The expansions are worthy updates to GTA IV. I've just been too busy to play the game.

Great way to watch your money, Steve. Brilliant.

So what have I been doing instead of playing video games lately? Watching TV in the afternoon and shouting romantic advice at the characters, mostly.

"You don't need him, honey! YOU DON'T NEED HIM!"

Try it. It's cathartic when you're having girl/guy problems. Those people on the tube understand what you're going through.

"She's just a skank anyway! A SKANK!"


Monday, April 19, 2010

Be Afraid, Summer Box Office. Be Very Afraid.

There's going to be a lot of 3D movies trying to earn your money at the local multiplex this summer, but you'll have some other choices, too. One of them consists of a ton of '80's, '90's, and ought's action stars teaming up to kick your butt.

The Expendables stars, in varying degrees of involvement-- and I am not making this up-- Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mickey Rourke, Bruce Willis, Jet Li, Randy Couture, Steve Austin, and Jason Statham. You might want to read that list again.

I also found out that the lovely Charisma Carpenter, of Buffy and Angel fame, is in the movie. Hey Charisma, glad to see you're getting work. Do you have the kids this weeend, or do I?

This really doesn't seem like a fair fight, all of these guys against one little box office.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Mom and Dad, I Have Something to Tell You...

No, not what you think. But I did watch the second Twilight film, New Moon, last night.

Um, there were girls there. Real ones. So that makes it okay. I saw it with a group of friends, and some of them were girls. But I still refuse to see these movies in theaters, no matter how much I want to be a movie critic. The only thing that could drag to a theater to see one of these in public is a smokin' girlfriend, but Jessica Alba and I are broken up right now.

So anyway, I was thinking about... holy crap! Did you see Taylor Lautner as Jacob in this thing? Look at him! He's like 12 but has the body of a Greek god. No wonder tween girls love these movies.

By the way, it was hard for me to watch you in that movie last night, Ashley. Come back to me. I miss you.


Friday, April 16, 2010

Movie Review: Kick-Ass

Tarantino-vile and largely entertaining, Matthew Vaughn's (Layer Cake) Kick-Ass is a funny and action-packed super hero spoof. The film is fundamentally an action comedy, with offensive language and blood splattered about the hilarious and jaw-droping gags. In the midst of the ridiculousness mangled bodies lies a super hero movie that suddenly looks very outdated.

In the film, teenager Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson) loves comic books and hates society's apathy towards crime. He decides to become a super hero, Kick-Ass, roaming the streets of New York City and fighting muggers and the like. He is almost killed in fights more than once, and his acute lack of super-powers forebodes a short career. However, he has help soon as the well-trained Hit-Girl (Chloe Moretz) and her partner, Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage), start taking out gangsters in a serious way. They have a vendetta against mobster Frank D'Amico (Mark Strong), whose son, Chris (Christopher Mintz-Plasse), becomes Red Mist, another super hero, to befriend Kick-Ass. Most of this drama unfolds over the internet, through things like Youtube. All the while, Dave is trying to deal with being a loser of a teenager, trying to spend time with his friends and win the heart of Katie (Lyndsy Fonseca), a girl who believes he is gay.

Kick-Ass fails as the commentary on super heroes, and the possibility of real-life super heroes, that it sometimes believes itself to be. Zack Snyder's Watchmen (2009), based on a juggernaut of a graphic novel, already covered that territory: people dress up as heroes because the costumes are a sexual fetish, people fight crime because they're driven maniacs, someone with real super powers makes costumed heroes irrelevant, costumed heroes die when shot. Watchmen analyzed the phenomenon within the context of an alternate-reality United States, one rife with political turmoil; Kick-Ass simply wants us to watch our characters kill and be killed. And the film fails in the same way that many felt Watchmen did: the real people who try to be heroes do, in fact, pull off superhuman feats, therefore equalizing their story with the average comic book instead of keeping it about comic books. Hit-Girl is 11 years old, but she defeats a cemetery's worth of grown men while jumping around like a foul-mouthed, purple-haired Yoda.

Thankfully, Vaughn stays away from the obnoxious filmmaking so prevalent in today's action films. This wasn't made by Tony Scott. When a strobe light effect is created, it isn't because the editing is so fast that the viewer can't tell what's happening, it is because there is actually a strobe light being used for tactical advantage by a character. The movie, which is based on a comic series by Mark Millar, is relatively derivative, from the tight spandex to the use of iconic music from other films, including Danny Boyle's Sunshine (2007) and 28 Days Later (2002) and Sergio Leone's For a Few Dollars More (1965). And, in the spirit of anime, Hit-Girl drops the f-bomb, killing grown men while wearing a skirt. Yes, she is sexualized at one point in the film.

So I liked the film, but it isn't for the faint of heart.

By the way, there are some mainstream critics that have written, "Kick-Ass kicks ass!" and crap like that. They get paid for this stuff! Really??!! I mean, really? Where'd they get that one?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I promise not to end this post with the words, "You know what? Forget it." To both of you who read this once a month, I apologize about ending that way twice in a row.

I just get so unsure of myself, like, "Am I getting through to the people? Will President Obama and the corporate executives who analyze my awesome blog be satisfied that I am always right?" And then I get all self conscious about whether or not anyone cares about my steamy affairs with world famous supermodels, and I back off right at the end of my post.

Anyway, as of today, I, and all other Playstation 3 owners, can finally play this...

Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City is a bundle of GTA IV expansion packs: The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. These have been available for a while for XBox 360 owners, but they are now available for the PS3 for $4o bucks in stores or for $20 each on the Playstation Network. Yes, they still take place in the majestic but crazy world of Liberty City, and they involve characters from the original game.

The reason the expansion packs were available for the XBox for so long is that Microsoft paid money for the exclusivity, which just ran out. Microsoft owns everything, including your car and my laptop, which they said they want back. Nice blogging with you folks.

We are going to the top, cousin.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Somebody Do Something!!!!

I actually like Milla Jovovich, but, like a lot of smart people, I've felt a little sorry for her for a few years. She seems to star in one horrible movie after another, and her track record is worse after age 25 than before.

To top it off, she went and married Paul W.S. Anderson, a horrible man who directed Mortal Kombat, AVP: Alien vs Predator, and now this...

Yeah. I hate to tell you, folks, but 3D isn't going to help this franchise.

The point of this post is that we all need to help Milla and destroy Paul. But Paul can only be stopped when his movies stop making money-- which isn't going to happen-- and Milla is a skinny, gorgeous, rich supermodel, so I don't feel sorry for her after all.

You know what? Forget it.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Megan Fox has no Power Over Anyone, Ever

Megan Fox made her name with both of Michael Bay's Transformers movies, and in 2009's Jennifer's Body. If you've seen her, then you remember her.

I doubt she's got all of her stuff together, like as a person, but I can't really judge her for that because my psychiatrist says my incessant hiccuping is a result of my scarred childhood and fear of overweight toddlers.

In any case, she's doomed to a life of obscurity from now on. I don't think there is any way she'll ever even be able to get what she wants out of life...

You know what? Forget it.

Transformers 3 is due next year, boys.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Not to change the subject, but you need to know that I love hockey.

When the sport is played at a high level, there is a power and a beauty to it that is a sight to behold, as ten men speed around racefully in a choreographed, 20 mph dance. It's a gladiator-style chess game, and the National Hockey League features easily the most aesthetically appealing and viscerally impressive product in North American sports.

Milan Lucic of the Boston Bruins hit Mike Van Ryn right through the glass on October 23, 2008. Lucic is a 21-year-old, human battering ram from Vancouver, and Van Ryn is a human pancake.

I just wish the NHL knew how to market itself better.

Even if you don't like hockey, you can appreciate things like this...

Who wouldn't?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

News Flash: There's a Genocide Going on in Burma

Sylvester Stallone is one of the few good guys in Hollywood, a town controlled by narcissistic, empty-headed, selfish, rich fools.

His film, Rambo, is the fourth movie in the franchise and was released to horrible reviews in January of 2008. The close-minded, left wing idiots we call movie critics in this country hated it.

What they failed to grasp through their puffs of marijuana smoke was that Stallone took a stand simply by making the film. He showed Western audiences what is happening in Burma, and that's genocide.

Burma is an Asian country bordering Thailand on the northwest. The dictatorship there is using military might to wipe out whomever they don't like, including the Karen people, who are largely poor, Christian farmers.

Since you've probably never heard about this unless you've seen Rambo, Stallone already accomplished something that our ridiculous media won't. He also made the point that the only way to stop evil forces like the Burmese military regime is through violence. I highly recommend the movie on Blu-ray.

Since we, unfortunately, can't really send Rambo over there to slaughter all the bad guys, check out

Live for nothing, or die for something.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My Imaginary Girlfriend is Hotter than Your Imaginary Girlfriend

Ahhh, let's see. Which torrid love affair with a famous starlet do I tell you about first? There are so many to choose from...

Oh, yes. I'm currently in love with Ashley Greene, the lovely young lady from the Twilight films and those risque Sobe commercials.

Ashley and I have been talking a lot about whether or not things can work out between us. She told me she loved me, but we're both in demand so much that it's hard to find time to love each other. I mean, she's a rising movie star that has to make a new vampire movie every three weeks, and my employer in Binghamton, NY demands that I show up Monday through Friday from 6 to 3. It's hard to be a big deal.

Ashley, baby, I still think about you. I've got a lot of love to give, but I can't wait forever.


Monday, March 29, 2010

You Know Anything about a Man Going Around Playing a Harmonica?

So, I've been hearing a lot of harmonicas lately. Back when Bob Dylan was still a folk singer, he played the harmonica at the same time that he played the guitar.

The harmonica appeals to me in a profound way, despite the harsh sound it makes when it hits higher notes. I'll tell you why: it's melancholy. Whether or not Ridley Scott was right when he said that Celts are obsessed with melancholia, I certainly feel that way sometimes. I can think of no better word to sum up our inexplicable lives on this planet.

Other than Dylan, I've only been struck by a harmonica's use twice, once in Billy Joel's "Piano Man" and again in Sergio Leone's 1968 film, Once Upon a Time in the West. Charles Bronson played a character named Harmonica, and he used the instrument to communicate and announce his presence. Never has a harmonica sounded so ominous.

Once Upon a Time in the West is the greatest Western you've never seen. It is, indisputably, the masterpiece of a movie nut, Leone, who is most famous for his Man with No Name trilogy. But it's not for kids, folks.

I've almost been inspired to learn the harmonica by all of this, but that would take time and effort. And my roomate would murder me. And then he'd hunt all of you down. So stop putting dumb ideas in my head, you meddlers.

Instead of talkin' he plays. And when he better play, he talks.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Zack Snyder's Movie can Beat Up Your Movie

I found 2009 to be a particularly disappointing year for movies. There were very few released that I actually want to own on home video, and that's saying something.

This year will be remembered forever for one movie: Avatar. Whether the 3D craze it started lasts or not, the film became the highest grosser of all time, and now everyone is struggling to catch up with James Cameron. 3D will be applied to a lot of movies, even ones that were shot in 2D.

But Zack Snyder's Watchmen was the most noteworthy film of the year. An unfilmable graphic novel was filmed, and, using the miracle of cinema, audiences were completely tranported to an alternate reality. The last sixty years of U.S. history were rewritten. A god walked among us. Every healthy young male on the continent realized that their lives were missing something and that her name was Malin Akerman. Snyder crafted an epic that was cast to the letter and used c.g. special effects in the best way possible: to tell a story.

Snyder also shows a Danny Boyle-like appreciation for montage, which is apparent in the opening credits sequences of Dawn of the Dead (2004) and Watchmen. I'm sure plenty of critics would say that editing footage to a catchy song doesn't count as good filmmaking, and they'd be right- that's done every day on MTV. But Snyder uses his little music videos to better his films; the credits of Watchmen are brilliant, and they're my favorite six minutes of cinema from all of 2009.

If you've seen any footage of Snyder, you know that he's a successful filmmaker who can also beat you up. Dang, his forearms are big! Look for Legend of the Guardians, a c.g. film, next from Snyder this fall.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Movie Review: Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island

Once you've got that Boston accent down, you might as well keep using it. And once a director like Martin Scorsese has chosen you as his new leading man, you might as well run with it. (Heck, Scorsese is so talented, even I'd work with him.)

Leonardo DiCaprio, predictably, stars in 2010's Shutter Island, a thriller with excellent production values and performances. The time is 1954. DiCaprio plays U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels, who travels to the mental institution on Shutter Island in Boston Harbor with his new partner, Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo). They've been called there to investigate the disappearance of a female patient, who is considered extremely dangerous, but the institution's leader, Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley), seems hesistant to really help their investigation. The danger presented by the island's patients and an incoming storm aid the mood of this unpredictable thriller.

This is, indeed, a genre picture, and I believe the critics who say that this is relatively conventional for Scorsese. But it's an exceptional thriller for a few reasons, including the two-hour buildup to the payoff, causing a nail-biting crescendo to a disorienting symphony of a movie.

If Shutter Island is remembered 30 years from now, it will be for two reasons. The first is DiCaprio's exagerated delivery of the line, "We are duly uh-poin-ded fed-uh-ral mar-shuls." The second is the film's who-who of supporting stars, including Max von Sydow, Jackie Earle Haley, and Patricia Clarkson.

Though out of Scorsese's confortable vein, the movie was excellently directed. Scorsese leaves his mark with the usual preeminence of wide angle lenses and some obnoxious filmmaking. Plenty of the shock cuts he uses during action scenes are right out of his other films, and his manipulation of sound is extreme- if you're looking at a kitten in this film, you're probably listening to an F-15.

Shutter Island looks like a film noir from the 50's, colorized and modernized with harsher language and content. None of this would have worked without the excellent production values and cinematography (by Robert Richardson).

I'm not a student of Scorsese, but I liked this film. I don't believe he makes bad films, ever, but I do believe he makes forgettable ones.

Shutter Island is neither.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Listen to (old) Bob Dylan

I don't care about Bob Dylan's rhetoric, and for the purpose of this post, neither should you.

I really like Dylan's old music, mostly the stuff that was considered folk. This was before he ticked off all of his fans by using an elctric guitar and band at the Newport Festival in 1965. Ironically, I'm just getting into Dylan now, even though I was practically raised on oldies. I had never heard any of this stuff.

The point is that Dylan is the greatest poet, lyricist, and songwriter in the history of the United States. Don't believe me? Ask your daddy. Every other song he listened to from 1965 to 1990 was a cover of a Dylan song made popular by another artist or group. These include "All Along the Watchtower," "It Ain't Me Babe," "Knockin' On Heaven's Door," and "House of the Risin' Sun."

If you agree with me that the crowd of celebrities and musicians who praised Johnny Cash after his death was unexpectedly diverse, just wait until Dylan bites it.

"Chimes of Freedom," off of 1964's Another Side of Bob Dylan, has struck me as particularly exceptional. It's a song that's about the hardships of life and the oppression every human being faces at one time or another, including the shackles we put on ourselves. Dylan's trademark, melancholy voice and harmonica give it this flavor. The sad tone is missing when someone like Bruce Springsteen covers this song and dubbs it simply an ode to human freedom.

Check out the embedded video.

And we gazed upon the chimes of freedom flashin'.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blu Recommendation: Heat

I'll be recommending home video releases once a week because you people clearly don't get enough advice on how to live and what to buy from the media already. My recommendation for the week of March 21 is the Blu-ray of Michael Mann's Heat (1995).

I know a lot of you saw Mann's Public Enemies in the summer of 2009, but what you may not believe is that he once made a crime epic that wasn't a blurry, digital, overrated mess. Heat is his best film, a Los Angeles crime saga that holds up under multiple viewings. The story focuses on cops and robbers, as Al Pacino's Detective Vincent Hanna hunts down Robert De Niro's Neil McCauley. A strong cast supported them, but the film didn't just showcase excellent procedural sequences of police work (before they got acronymed to death on network television) and shootouts; it brought the goods by focusing on the two driven lead characters and the effects their obsessions wrought on the people closest to them. The legendary cafe scene, pictured above, showcases a surprisingly moving exchange between Hanna and McCauley in which they realize that they are two sides of the same coin, one driven to hurt others through crime, the other to stop such victimization.

The Blu-ray features an excellent video transfer (for a film from 1995) and pounding Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio. Mann's commentary is also great. I recommend this one for home theater enthusiasts.

Mann up,


*sniff* I'm so Happy...

No, seriously.

According to just about everyone, actor Chris Evans has landed the role of Captain America in the upcoming The First Avenger: Captain America. Director Joe Johnston (Jumanji) is set to helm.

I'm so psyched on this bit of casting. You may be wondering whether or not Evans is really leading man material and whether or not you can ignore that he has already played Johnny Storm in two Fantastic Four movies. Stop worrying; if you haven't seen Danny Boyle's Sunshine, you're missing out. Evans stole the movie from Cillian Murphy and that one Bond/Jackie Chan girl.

That being said, Johnston had better not screw this up. I love Cap. But how can a movie about the only other notable comic book boy scout besides Superman be successful in an age of cynicism and violent anti-heroes? Darker tone, anyone?


Monday, March 22, 2010

This Guy was Better than Ridley Scott

Shoot, here's a post that's actually about movies.

Ridley Scott is a master craftsman because of his ability to, as he explains it, realize a vision on film. I love a few of his films, most notably Alien, Blade Runner, and Gladiator. Blade Runner is probably in my top ten movies of all time.

But that guy up there is John Martin Aloysius Feeney, a.k.a. John Ford (1894-1973). Ford made stuff like Stagecoach and The Quiet Man and How Green was My Valley. John Ford crafted lyrical poetry, and he did it with such surety that he could actually put his hat in front of the camera when he knew he had the footage he needed but was unhappy with the time it took for the cameraman to stop rolling.

Ridley Scott has been known to shoot about 5.3 million miles of film for every scene. Think about that.

And these are just the two gentleman that come to mind. I'm not picking on Scott; there are plenty of good and bad directors with both of these reputations.

Uncharted 2= Better Than That Crap You Play

Nate is the new Indy.

For those of you in the know, this is your rallying cry as a serious video gamer. (If you are a Wii gamer, you're at the wrong blog- try Nick Jr.'s website or some soccer mom's blog.) For Playstation 3 owners, the Uncharted series is the best intellectual property of the current console generation.

Uncharted: Drake's Fortune (2007) and its outstanding sequel, Among Thieves (2009), have set the bar for video game production values. Their third person gunplay and platforming action were nearly flawless, and their story/ presentation were second to none. Playing Among Thieves, I often wish I could take a screenshot and frame it, so beautiful is the lighting and color, even when I'm playing multiplayer.

The hero, Nate Drake, is pictured above, flanked on the left by Among Thieves heroine Chloe Frazer. (Chloe is the one on the left.) If you want more evidence of the artistry, check out the embedded trailer for Among Thieves.

That's right, a teaser trailer for this game is that good. And, yes, the music from the trailer is in the game, composed by Greg Edmonson ("Firefly").

Nate Drake, for me, has become who Indian Jones should be and was until sometime around 12:01 am on May 22, 2008. Yeah, I can't remember specifically when he lost it, but it was sometime right around then.

Here We Go

Hey, both of you who will ever read this, I'm just getting started. I love to write, but I don't do enough of it. I've got to write more often to exercise this lazy brain of mine.

Yeah, I'll often be discussing cinema and it's slow, younger brother, "Hollywood Cinema." Just kidding; Hollywood features a ridiculous amount of talent, and it always has. The point is that I'm the type of person who watches DVD/Blu-ray commentaries and reads entire books about one film. If you're not, then you're probably at the wrong blog.

The ultimatum is this: my blog will be about movies and videogames and whatever else I feel like writing about. You're going to hear a lot about the X-Files book I'm trying futilely to write. And you get to do it all in glorious, proper/grammatically correct English.