Review: Looper

Bruce Willis is still a badass.
 
The year is 2044. Time travel doesn't exist yet, but it will. When the mob wants someone dead, they tie them up, gag them, and send them back in time for people called Loopers to kill and dispose of the body. Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a Looper. He's also a struggling addict. The thing about Loopers is that eventually they will have to kill their older selves. This is called "closing the loop." When Joe's older self (Bruce Willis) is sent to him, he gives Joe a terrible warning and takes off. Now Joe's employers are after them both, because you have to close the loop.
 
 
In a world of remakes, sequels, book adaptations, it's nice to see something so original. Director/Writer Rian Johnson put a lot of thought into this and it pays off. The story is wonderful. The future is different, but not over the top "spacey" either. He adds some interesting quirks. At first I was a little distracted by the amount of make up Joseph Gordon-Levitt had to wear to resemble Bruce Willis, but I got used to it. He's the heart and soul of the film and he does a tremendous job. Bruce Willis is his usual badass self, but he's faced with some tough consequences. Even Paul Dano has a short but memorable part. Brave is a good word to describe this film. Just when I thought it wouldn't go "there", it did. It packs an emotional punch.
 
I don't know if this is a film that Oscar voters will love, but I definitely think it deserves an original screenplay nomination at least. Another funny thing, the music doesn't play in the credits right away. So the screen is silent, and the theatre I was in was filled with "yeah that was good." "I liked it." and "wow."
 
Recommended: Yes
 
Grade: A
 
Memorable Quote: "Shut your fucking child mouth." - Older Joe (Bruce Willis)

Indie Gems: Tonight You're Mine

I want you instead.
 
Adam (Luke Treadaway) and Morello (Natalia Tena) are musicians at the T in the Park music festival in Scotland. After a random fight, a minster handcuffs them together and runs off. They both have to perform and as they search for a way to remove the cuffs the find a deep connection between them instead.
 
I normally would trash a film for this, but the lack of direction and script actually works for it. If you've ever been to a music festival, you know how chaotic they can be. I wouldn't be surprised if all the dialogue in this film was ad-libbed. The quick cuts and casual conversations we see just make us feel like we're at the festival with them. The leads have quite a bit of chemistry, even if they don't start off as the most likeable people on the planet. There was a few side stories that I found annoying and unnecessary, but when the final scene of the film was shown, it all came together beautifully. Turns out they served a bit of a purpose for that last shot.
 
Tonight You're Mine might seem sloppy on the outside, but it really did have a lot of heart. I enjoyed it.
 
Grade: B-
 
Memorable Quote: "Please let the music bring these two people together." - The Prophet (Joseph Mydell)

DVD Review: The Lucky One

Of course this is based on a Nicholas Sparks novel.
 
Is there a more repetitive writer than Nicholas Sparks? All of his novels turned movies follow the same formula. Two people are in love, one has a secret, someone important dies. Wash, rinse, lather, repeat.
 
The Lucky One follows Logan (Zac Efron, possibly the world's most unrealistic Marine) while he's on tour in Iraq. He finds a picture on the ground, and while he's admiring it, his platoon is attacked. He survives and credits the girl in this picture as his guardian angel. He doesn't know who she is, so he goes on a hunt to find her. He sees a lighthouse in the background of her picture, so he goes online and finds that it is in Louisiana. (I'm sure he spent hours doing that, right?) Logically, he and his dog WALK there and find that the girl in the picture, Beth (Taylor Schilling, who could pass as Efron's mother) works at a dog trainer/kennell. Of course he gets the perfect opportunity to explain why he's there, but Beth interrupts him and he drops it. Of course she has a young son that takes a liking to Logan, and of course she has a crazy ex husband. Of course.
 
Every part of this movie felt like a gigantic cliche. It was completely unwatchable. I had to force myself to finish. Thanks for reminding me why I hate romantic movies like this. It was fucking awful.
 
Recommended: No
 
Grade: F
 
Memorable Quote: "I wish it had. I wish it had." - Logan (Zac Efron)

Film and Food

As a movie lover, it's safe to say that film effects my life in several different ways. Occasionally, that includes the way I eat. Think about it. Has a film ever changed your opinion of food? Made you crave a certain something? Or make you never want to eat it again? It certainly has for me. Here's 5 films that make me either crave it, or cringe at the sight of it.

 
The Film: Se7en
The Food: Spaghetti sauce
The Reaction: Cringe

As if eating yourself to death isn't gross enough. They had to have that bucket of puke underneath the table to top it off. I have never looked at spaghetti sauce the same since. I'll take my noodles with butter, thanks.


The Film: Matilda
The Food: Chocolate Cake
The Reaction: Cringe

Watching that poor boy eat that entire chocolate cake in front of the entire school was enough to make me stick with white cake for quite some time. I've since welcomed chocolate cake back into my life, but it took awhile.


The Film: Waitress
The Food: Pie
The Reaction: Crave

I rarely eat pie, but watching Jenna throw her feelings into the wonderful pies she makes at Joe's Diner gives me a reason to want them.

 

The Film: Harold and Kumar go to White Castle
The Food: White Castle burgers
The Reaction: Crave, then cringe.

I had never even heard of White Castle before that film came out. (Seriously, the closest one is 400+ miles away)  I always said I would try them if I ever came across a restaurant. Well I did, and it was not that great. Shortly after the burgers started showing up in vending machines at the office. It's like I'm being mocked.
 
The Film: The Kids Are All Right
The Food: Salad, veggies, anything fresh.
The Reaction: Crave

For some reason every time I watch that film I feel like I don't eat healthy enough. Whenever we see Jules, Nic and company eating, they're eating salads, fresh looking veggies, pasta, etc. I immediately want to start serving more salads when I make dinner. It's currently making me feel a little bad about the glass of chocolate milk I just got done drinking. (oops)



2012 Emmy Winners

Well the Emmys sure went sour for me after they didn't give Bryan Cranston his deserved trophy. Besides that glaring mistake, the Emmys were pretty predictable. Here's a list of winners. My thoughts will follow in green.


Outstanding comedy series: Modern Family
Everyone saw this coming. No surprises here.

Outstanding drama series:  Homeland
I don't watch Homeland. For all I know, it's a great show. Still, The fact that Breaking Bad didn't win this is insulting. I'm surprised they've never won when every single episode is golden. Even the filler episodes are great.

Outstanding miniseries or movie:  Game Change
I thought American Horror Story would take this, but HBO once again comes through. Game Change was great.

Outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie:Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
Kevin Costner, really?

Outstanding directing for a miniseries or movie: Jay Roach, Game Change


Outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or movie: Julianne Moore, Game Change

Outstanding writing for a miniseries or movie: Danny Strong, Game Change

Outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or movie: Tom Berenger, Hatfields & McCoys

Outstanding supporting actress in a miniseries or movie: Jessica Lange, American Horror Story

Outstanding variety series: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart winning this was the best part of the show. Not only did Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert tackle him to the ground and try to drag him away, but he dropped two wonderful F bombs. Those are always accepted in my eyes.


Outstanding directing for a variety special: Glenn Weiss, 65th Annual Tony Awards

Outstanding writing for a variety special: Louis C.K., Louie C.K. Live at the Beacon Theatre

Outstanding lead actress in a drama series: Claire Danes, Homeland

Outstanding lead actor in a drama series: Damian Lewis, Homeland
If the sting of Bryan Cranston not winning this was enough, Damian Lewis acted like a total smug fuck during his acceptance speech. I loved how they panned to the other nominees, who all had "what the hell are you doing up there." looks on their faces.


Outstanding directing for a drama series: Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire

Outstanding supporting actress in a drama: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
I love Maggie Smith, but Downton Abbey shouldn't be in the drama category. Anna Gunn or Christina Hendricks could've gotten this.


Outstanding writing for a drama series: Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff, Homeland

Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Yeah, Bitch!! I thought Giancarlo would've won, but I would be happy with either. Plus that was the best hug of the night. The only thing better is if Cranston would've joined in.


Outstanding host for a reality show: Tom Bergeron, Dancing with the Stars
I seriously love Tom Bergeron, he's awesome.


Outstanding reality-competition program: The Amazing Race

Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep

Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series: Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Jon Cryer, really? I didn't see this coming. Did anyone?


Outstanding directing in a comedy series: Steve Levitan, Modern Family

Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series: Julie Bowen, Modern Family

Outstanding writing for a comedy series: Louis C.K., Louie
I'm happy with all the Emmys Louis C.K has won. He's hilarious in that total asshole sort of way.


Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series: Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

Indie Gems: Normal Adolescent Behavior

Oh by the way..Havoc 2
 
When NAB was released on DVD, they changed the name to include Havoc 2. Even though this movie has absolutely nothing to do with the original. The plots are not even similar. The only connections are teens that are having sex.
 
Wendy (Amber Tamblyn) and 5 of her friends have one big open relationship. They want to avoid the typical heartbreak and drama of high school, so they stick together and are essentially a rotating set of friends with benefits. They were once a group of 8, but two members left because they only wanted to be with each other. The group now shuns them. Wendy meets Sean (Ashton Holmes) and she's torn between starting a relationship with him, and leaving her friends. Billie (Kelli Garner) who is also part of the group doesn't want Wendy to ruin what they have.
 
This isn't 5 star film making, but I actually thought the movie was really interesting. The idea of 6 friends having an open relationship like that was different and intriguing. It made me wonder if something like that could actually work. I came across this film at a video store, and I rented it because I like Garner and Tamblyn. There's been a lot of confusion with it, aside from the title change. Lifetime also airs a this film occasionally, but it's heavily edited due to it's R rating. So much is taken out in fact, that the movie doesn't make a whole lot of sense. If you do seek out this film, I strongly urge you to find the DVD and not watch it on Cable.
 
Grade: C+ (Yes, a lower rating. I acknowledge it's not the best movie out there, but I still found it really interesting.)
 
Memorable Quote: "They meant something to me." - Wendy (Amber Tamblyn)

DVD Review: The Rum Diary

Nothing in moderation.
 
Considering how excited I was to see this film initially, it's a little embarrassing how long it took me to review the damn thing.
 
Journalist Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp) is assigned to write for a newspaper in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He hopes this job will take him further, but he's really just swimming in circles. He's a drunk, his room mate is a drunk. They manage to piss of locals and tourists alike. Soon Kemp finds himself smitten with the wealthy Sanderson's (Aaron Eckhart) girlfriend Chenault. (Amber Heard) That brings on a whole other level of trouble.
 
I happened to be in San Juan while they were filming this, I even ran into Amber Heard in the hotel lobby. (who at that point, I recognized from All The Boys Love Mandy Lane) So it was cool to see all the sights that I saw on film. The film itself was a lot more boring than I expected. The reviews for this were sour, but I still thought it would be a little fun. It was at times. The thing is, aside from Depp, Eckhart and Heard, all of the other actors are below mediocre. It was a little unsettling to see such an obvious line drawn in talent.  I wouldn't go as far as calling The Rum Diary a bad film, because staring at Johnny Depp for an hour and a half is never bad. I just wish it had more heart.
 
Recommended: No
 
Grade: C
 
Memorable Quote: "Why did she have to happen? Just when I was doing so well without her." - Paul Kemp (Johnny Depp)

Review: Premium Rush

No brakes, no problem.
 
Wilee (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a thrill seeking bike messenger in New York City. One day he is assigned to a last minute delivery to get a very special envelope to someone in China Town. A corrupt police officer, Monday (Michael Shannon) attempts to intercept Wilee while he's on his mission. Soon, he finds out what the contents in the envelope really entail, and with the help of his fellow biker girlfriend, Vanessa, (Dania Ramirez) he's determined to get it to it's destination.
 
First off, I have to admit that a movie about bike messengers wouldn't normally grab my attention. However, since my favorite actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars, I'll throw that notion out the window. I had actually read some pretty harsh reviews prior, and I have to say that it really wasn't that bad. I actually had a pretty good time watching. The director gives us many shots of routes that Wilee considers taking in his head, and with those shots we see the consequences. Even if the effects were pretty bad, the idea was still interesting. The plot is pretty generic and had a few holes. Only Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, and a small part by Aasif Mandvi really leave an impression. Either way, it was a fun matinee to catch.
 
Ok..I'm bias, I just liked staring at Joseph Gordon-Levitt's toned legs.
 
Recommended: Yes
 
Grade: B-
 
Memorable Quote: "I don't like the word "douchebag". It gets thrown around too often." - Bobby Monday (Michael Shannon)

Final Emmy Predictions: Who Will Win, Who Should Win

The Emmys are a hard awards show to call since I don't watch every single show that's nominated. (and also because their rules of who goes in what category are absurd to say the least) I try not to be completely bias about the shows I watch (I know Mad Men is a fine show, even if I don't watch regularly) so here is my final list of who I think will win, and who should win. 

Best Drama Series
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
Game of Thrones
Homeland
Mad Men
Who will win: Mad Men
Who should win: Breaking Bad
Why: Mad Men has taken the top drama prize for the last 4 years, I expect it to do it again. Mad Men's actors never win, so this is a way of awarding the show as a whole. Personally, I think Breaking Bad is the best show on television, and season 4 is easily one of it's best seasons. I think Breaking Bad will clean up the individual acting categories, so I don't see it winning here.


Best Comedy Series
The Big Bang Theory
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Girls
Modern Family
30 Rock
Veep

Who Will Win: Modern Family
Who Should Win: Modern Family
Why: Modern Family has been the Comedy Champ since it's first season. While shows like 30 Rock and The Big Bang Theory are great, I see Modern Family taking it home again.

Best Leading Actor in a Drama Series
Hugh Bonneville, Downton Abbey
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall, Dexter
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Damian Lewis, Homeland
Who Will Win: Bryan Cranston
Who Should Win: Bryan Cranston
Why: Cranston wasn't eligible last year due to Breaking Bad's late season air date, so Joe Schmoe from the horrible Friday Night Lights won instead. (bad choice) Emmy #4 for Cranston is a lock in my eyes, especially since Walter White becomes increasingly more dark to play.


Best Leading Actor in a Comedy Series
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis C.K., Louie
Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Who Will Win: Jim Parsons
Who Should Win: Louis C.K
Why: I think Parsons will repeat, and I love me some Jim Parsons, but I actually think a win for Louis C.K would be the most deserving. His show is hilarious, even if he might be too crude for some. I haven't seen House of Lies, so I have no clue if Cheadle is the best, but as an actor, a win for him would be cool as well.

Best Leading Actress in a Drama Series
Kathy Bates, Harry's Law
Glenn Close, Damages
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife
Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men

Who Will Win: Claire Danes
Who Should Win: Claire Danes
Why: The Emmys seem to love Claire Danes, Although I could see them awarding Glenn Close for what I believe is the last season of Damages? (I could be wrong there) I'm not even going to acknowledge Downton Abbey because I think it should've stayed in the miniseries category.


Best Leading Actress in a Comedy Series
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Lena Dunham, Girls
Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Melissa McCarthy,
Mike & Molly
Amy Poehler, Parks & Recreation
Who Will Win: Len Dunham
Who Should Win: Tina Fey
Why: Even though I think Girls is AWFUL, the show still has it's fans. I see the Emmys rewarding Dunham for her efforts. Personally, I always think Tina Fey is the funniest. I'd be happy with Fey, Poehler, or Deschanel winning to be honest.

Best Miniseries or Movie
American Horror Story
Game Change
Hatfields & McCoys
Hemingway & Gellhorn
Luther
Sherlock
Who Will Win: American Horror Story
Who Should Win: Game Change
Why: Since Downton Abbey decided it was a drama series this year, AHS seems to be the shoo in to win. I thought Game Change was really well done, even if I didn't like the people it was about.

Best Leading Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Woody Harrelson, Game Change
Clive Owen, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia (Masterpiece)
Idris Elba, Luther
Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
Bill Paxton, Hatfields & McCoys
Who Will Win: Clive Owen
Who Should Win: Benedict Cumberbatch
Why: I don't see Hemingway & Gellhorn winning Best Miniseries, but I can see their actors taking home the prizes. I've only seen a few episodes of Sherlock, but Cumberbatch is pretty amazing in what I've seen. A win for him would be a delight.

Best Leading Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Julianne Moore, Game Change
Connie Britton, American Horror Story
Nicole Kidman, Hemingway & Gellhorn
Emma Thompson, The Song of Lunch (Masterpiece)
Ashley Judd, Missing
Who will win: Julianne Moore
Who should win: Julianne Moore
Why: Emmys love Sarah Palin impersonations, and Moore did a fabulous job playing her. I'd be fine with Kidman winning too, anyone but Ashley Judd, who should've have been allowed in this category in the first place. Missing wasn't a mini series. It was a shitty show that got cancelled after it's first season.
Best Reality Competition
The Amazing Race
Dancing With The Stars
Project Runway
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef
The Voice
Who Will Win: The Amazing Race
Who Should Win: I have no idea.
Why: I cannot describe the immensity of the fuck I do not give about this category. I don't watch any of them.

Best Reality Host
Tom Bergeron, Dancing With The Stars
Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance
Phil Keoghan, The Amazing Race
Ryan Seacrest, American Idol
Betty White, Betty White's Off Their Rockers
Who Will Win: Betty White
Who Should Win: Tom Bergeron
Why: Again, I don't care about this category, I like Tom Bergeron enough to think he should win, but since everyone is on the Betty White bandwagon, they'll vote for her. This way they won't have to pretend they watch Hot in Cleveland.
 
Best Variety Program
The Colbert Report
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Jimmy Kimmel Live
Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
Real Time with Bill Maher
Saturday Night Live
Who Will Win: The Daily Show
Who Should Win: The Daily Show
Why: The Daily Show consistently proves to be one of the funniest programs out there. I don't see Jon Stewart and his team being unseated from this for a long time.

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad
Brendan Coyle, Downton Abbey
Jim Carter, Downton Abbey
Jared Harris, Mad Men
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Who will win: Giancarlo Esposito

Who should win: Giancarlo Esposito or Aaron Paul.
Why: My theory on this is, Aaron Paul will still have 2 more seasons to take home Emmy gold, Esposito will not. Plus his character, Gus Fring really showed his true colors in season 4. He's not only a nice business man, but a terrifying drug lord as well. I wouldn't count out reigning champ (can we call them that?) Peter Dinklage here. I just think he'll have tough competition from the Breaking Bad boys.

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Joanna Froggatt, Downton Abbey
Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Who will win: Anna Gunn
Who should win: Anna Gunn
Why: Like I said earlier, I see Breaking Bad taking all of their acting categories. I cannot stand Skylar on Breaking Bad, but that just means Gunn is doing a good job. This is her first nomination, and I don't see it being her last.
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ed O'Neill, Modern Family
Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family
Ty Burrell, Modern Family
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family
Bill Hader, Saturday Night Live
Max Greenfield, New Girl
Who will win: Eric Stonestreet
Who should win: Jesse Tyler Ferguson.
Why: Either way, I see someone from Modern Family taking it. At this point, it doesn't even matter who.

Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Mayim Bialik, The Big Bang Theory
Merritt Wever, Nurse Jackie
Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family
Kathryn Joosten, Desperate Housewives
Who will win: Julie Bowen
Who should win: Julie Bowen
Why: At this time last year, I would've said Mayim Bialik should win. Then I actually saw her do press for TBBT and I realized Amy isn't really a stretch for her. Plus her character has kind of been over the top for me. I'm going to go with Bowen repeating.

Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Movie
Sarah Paulson, Game Change
Frances Conroy, American Horror Story
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Judy Davis, Page Eight (Masterpiece)
Mare Winningham, Hatfields and  McCoys
Who will win: Jessica Lange
Who should win: Jessica Lange
Why: She's got some strong competition, but I see Lange coming out on top again.
Best Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Movie
Ed Harris, Game Change
Denis O'Hare, American Horror Story
David Strathairn,
Hemingway & Gellhorn
Martin Freeman, Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia (Masterpiece)
Tom Berenger, Hatfields & McCoys
Who will win: Ed Harris
Who should win: Denis O'Hare
Why: Ed Harris was great in Game Change, he rightfully deserves the Emmy. I just love Denis O'Hare in True Blood so much that I want him to win because of that.
Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
Dot-Marie Jones, Glee
Maya Rudolph, Saturday Night Live
Melissa McCarthy, Saturday Night Live
Elizabeth Banks, 30 Rock
Margaret Cho, 30 Rock
Kathy Bates, Two and a Half Men
Who will win: Maya Rudolph
Who should win: Maya Rudolph
Why: Her episode of SNL was easily the best this season.
Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series
Michael J. Fox, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Greg Kinnear, Modern Family
Bobby Cannavale, Nurse Jackie
Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live
Will Arnett, 30 Rock
Jon Hamm, 30 Rock
Who will win: Jon Hamm
Who should win: Will Arnett
Why: Jon Hamm will win here because he won't win the leading actor category. Personally, they should just give it to Will Arnett or make him a series regular. This is his 4th nomination for this part.

Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series
Martha Plimpton, The Good Wife
Loretta Devine, Grey's Anatomy
Jean Smart, Harry's Law
Julia Ormond, Mad Men
Joan Cusack, Shameless
Uma Thurman, Smash
Who will win: Julia Ormond
Who should win: Julia Ormond
Why: This is really tough to guess. Honestly, I'm just picking her because it's Mad Men, and that is the best show on this list of nominees.
 
Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Mark Margolis, Breaking Bad
Dylan Baker, The Good Wife
Michael J. Fox, The Good Wife
Jeremy Davies, Justified
Ben Feldman, Mad Men
Jason Ritter, Parenthood
Who will win: Mark Margolis
Who should win: Mark Margolis
Why: Can anyone else act better using only facial expressions? No. Give him the Emmy.

SYTYCR: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

This is my other review I did for the SYTYCR tournement at The LAMB.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit that the first time I saw this film I had tried to talk my way out of it. I was young, and martial arts movies weren't really my thing unless they involved Jackie Chan. Go ahead and laugh, but for me at age thirteen, Jackie Chan was the man, damnit! If there was ever a film that was going to change my views on martial arts movies, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is it.

The story follows Li Mu Bai, (Chow Yun-Fat) a famous warrior that's ready to lay down his powerful sword, The Green Destiny for good. He gives it to an old friend, but the sword is immediately stolen. Lin Mu Bai's fellow warrior, Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) aids him in his search. They have long been in love with one another, but have never acted upon it. Tying everything together is Jen, (Ziyi Zhang) the daughter of a wealthy family. Jen is unhappy with the marriage that has been arraigned by her family, and it soon comes to light that she has been secretly trained to be a fierce fighter. Originally, I accidentally called Li Mu Bai "Lin Mu Bai" I must have stared at this damn review for an hour before I submitted it, checking for type-os and I mess up one letter. Damnit.

"Subtly ridiculous" is a good way to describe this film. The characters are flying, catching darts inches from their faces, running on tree tops and defying gravity in every which way possible. The beautiful score is what keeps this from being over the top. It made me look at the fighting almost as if it were dancing. It was choreographed so well. The stunning cinematography just made it even more beautiful. "Subtly ridiculous" may seem like a harsh thing to say, but I say it with appreciation for the film.

Underneath it all, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is also a love story. Upon re-watch, it's no surprise that director Ang Lee brought such a touching story to light. I consider Brokeback Mountain to be one of the best love stories of all time and now I know it didn't come out of nowhere. Ang Lee was already good at bringing romances from pages to screens. This is merely a comparison I thought of right away. I don't mean to take away from the actual screenwriters, they did a great job as well. Although the film drags in parts, I found the characters to be very intriguing. Particularly Jen. I have a soft spot for dreamers, and that's what she was. She dreamed of the life as a warrior even though she made some selfish decisions. I admired her toughness, even if I kind of wanted to drop kick her towards the end. (I'd elaborate, but that would require major spoilers) The chemistry between all of our leads is strong and only makes us care about them more. Minor flaws aside, this is a fantastic film. Tommy Wiseau (the director of The Room, the film I reviewed in round one) would probably say: "What a story, Ang!" *awkward laughing* Here's me elaborating: After everything you've gone through, put others through, and your little crusade to retrieve your hair clip of all things, you just end it all by jumping off a fucking bridge? If I was that guy who's heart you just broke, I would've lassoed your ass back on that bridge. At least she jumped with style, but that was seriously such a let down for me.
4/5 Lambs

Indie Gems: Donnie Darko

What would you do if you knew the future?
 
Troubled teen Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal) follows a giant rabbit named Frank out of his house one night. Frank tells him the world will end in 28 days. When he returns home, a jet engine has crashed through his bedroom ceiling. While he contemplates the reason for his survival, he continues to follow Frank's suggestions, even as they become stranger and cause more chaos.
 
One thing I'm not going to get into this review is my theories on it. If you've ever researched Donnie Darko you've probably found out that there are two versions, the original and the director's cut, and that the latter basically spells the movie out for you, where the former leaves a lot to your imagination. I think that's actually pretty off putting. There's just too many arguments out there. Watch it for yourself, form your own opinion, then join the discussion if you wish.
 
Jake Gyllenhaal is wonderful as a disturbed teen here. (Though I swear this movie made me enjoy The Day After Tomorrow less because I was like 'Why is Jake Gyllenhaal still a teenager?") Bit parts by Maggie Gyllenhaal and Jena Malone are great too. The movie raises a lot of questions, and is really just very interesting to watch. Not to mention this is the creepiest rabbit costume you will ever see.
 
Grade: B+
 
Memorable Quote: "I can do anything I want." - Frank (James Duval)

SYTYCR: The Room

I participated in this tournament over at LAMB, I was ousted in round 2, which is actually kind of a blessing because I would've had to review one of the Harry Potter films next and I think that would be a dead give away to anyone who's ever read my blog over the years. Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun. Here is the original review, any comments I've added will be in blue.

Oh Hi, fellow LAMBs

The film that was chosen for me was the train wreck cinematic masterpiece known as The Room. I feel like I should point out that this review is coming from someone that usually enjoys "bad" movies and can find the humor in them. I was really tempted to just write "what the fuck?" and submit that, but as funny as that would've been to me, no one would've voted.

 
The main story line that is actually consistent throughout the film is that sweet Johnny (Tommy Wiseau, with an accent that suggests he grew up in Poland/Denmark/United States/Sri Lanka/Antarctica/France) is being played by his fiancee, Lisa (Juliette Danielle). Lisa has grown bored of predictable Johnny, and has moved on to his reluctant best friend, Mark (Greg Sestero). When I say a story line that is consistent, I'm referring to the fact that there are multiple subplots that arise during the film, but go absolutely nowhere and are soon forgotten. There's actually this fantasicly bad scene where a drug dealer threatens another character, Denny, on the roof of their apartment complex. I thought this would be a big deal and they don't even fucking mention it after it's done. At all.

Tommy Wiseau really wants us to know that this is his film. Hell, his name appears in the opening credits about 5 different times. Perhaps he put a lot of work into this, the problem is that it's horrible. Not even campy horrible (Think: Mommie Dearest), just plain bad. The worst part is that it doesn't even feel like it was intended. It lacked that tongue-in-cheek, self aware vibe that some films give off when they know they are a giant stereotype. Everything about The Room feels unnatural, from the sets, to the way he cuts to different scenes, to the way the "actors" deliver their lines. It reminded me of a class I took in high school where we had to film ourselves "pitching sales in a commercial." No one wanted to do it, so of course everyone came off like a robot reading from cue cards. That's exactly what the film felt like! Then again, how can you blame these actors when they are given gems of dialogue like "Sometimes you feel love deep down in your heart." "I want to do what I want to do..what do you think I should do?" and "I definitely have breast cancer." (That last line delivered so nonchalantly that you think she would be telling you about something as simple as the weather vs a life threatening illness.)



Don't even get me started on the continuity issues, the poor dubbing, or the fact that the film has 3 sex scenes accompanied by a terrible sound track that go on far too long. I seriously was so embarrassed watching them that I thought someone was going to kick down my door and accuse me of watching cheap porn. In fact, the only way I can actually recommend this film with a clear conscious is if you are curious on seeing how bad it really is. Or if you plan on watching it with a group of friends, a 6 pack, and possibly any herbal substances you choose. Though, there might not be enough alcohol in the world to make this a pleasant experience. Seriously, I had hoped to at least laugh at this..but wow, this is BAD. 


Rating: 1/2 out of 5 Lambs. That 1/2 comes from the fact that it probably is more enjoyable while under the influence.

DVD Review: Margaret

Editing hell.
 
Here's a little back story on Margaret. This was shot in 2005 with a release date in 2007. Then the director apparently didn't meet the time restraints when he was editing the film. Then the guy financing the film got sued for not paying the studio. Then the financier sued the studio back. So after a few lawsuits and extensive editing process, Margaret finally saw the light of day in late 2011. I have to note that I didn't see the actual 3 hour extended cut. I saw the 2 1/2 hour version that Netflix is offering. I wish I could see the longer cut, because than maybe my review wouldn't feel like this:
 
I'm extremely frustrated with what I saw. Margaret is about an out spoken, moody teenager named Lisa Cohen (Anna Paquin, who 7 years ago easily passed for a teen) While trying to get the attention of a bus driver (Mark Ruffalo) she witnesses a horrific accident in which said bus driver strikes and kills a woman. Lisa can't help but feel a little guilty, and subsequently lies to the police about the traffic light being green. (it was red.) Then she starts having second thoughts. Lisa is already argumentative and strong willed, but now she's having angry out bursts at nearly every one around her. She admits to the police that she lied, and with the help of the dead woman's friend, Emily (Jeannie Berlin) she attempts to take the case to court to ensure that the driver loses his job for not paying attention. Along they way we examine Lisa's strained relationship with her mother, (J. Smith-Cameron) her interesting relationships with some of her teachers (Matt Damon, Mathew Broderick) and her impulsive relationships with her friends. (Kieran Culkin, John Gallagher Jr)
 
Does this sound like an interesting movie? Of course it does. But the way it's put together makes it feel choppy. There were numerous times where I felt scenes were cut too short, like the characters should've said more. Then there were scenes that felt completely out of place. (example: Lisa randomly walking up to a few of her teachers and telling them about an abortion she had the previous week. There is absolutely no talk of this prior.) Evening the ending felt unfinished. Who knows if the extended cut would've made this already lengthy movie feel more complete?
 
The person who is really let down by this film is Anna Paquin. Her performance is outstanding. If this had been released when it was originally intended, I honestly think she would've gotten an Oscar nomination out of it. She was that good. It's disappointing.
 
I know this review comes off as mostly negative, but I truly didn't hate Margaret. I liked it. I actually found it really interesting, but the editing was something I just can't get over. It's a lot like Tree of Life. If Terrance Malik hadn't done the world's weirdest editing job on that film, I would've loved it. Instead he ruined it in my opinion. If you do get a chance to see this film, look for the extended cut. I hope it feels more complete. A performance like this from Paquin, and a subtle but wonderful performance from Matt Damon deserve to be seen.
 
Recommended: Yes (with caution)
 
Grade: B (for plot)
 
Memorable Quote: "Because I killed her." - Lisa Cohen (Anna Paquin)

DVD Review: The Deep Blue Sea

"The" is the keyword.
 
Without "the," this could easily be confused for the movie where that shark ate everybody. No, Terence Davies' adaptation of the play is so much more.
 
Stage 5 clinger Hester (Rachel Weisz) is in the midst of a divorce with her much older husband, Sir William Collyer. She's also in a love affair with Freddie (Tom Hiddleston) who clearly doesn't love her as much as she loves him. We meet Hester in the aftermath of a suicide attempt and this isn't the first time she will do something like this.
 
  The acting by our three leads is fantastic, and I love how Davies shot the film. It's based on a play, and it feels like one right down to the sets and lighting. Even the way the characters move makes it feel like they should be on a stage. The main problem for me was that I didn't care for Hester. Her attention seeking and mopey behaviors made me wonder what either man saw in her. Not to mention we don't know why she left her seemingly loving husband in the first place. (His age, perhaps? It's easy to see why she would fall for someone as good looking as Freddie.) Hester is in serious need of a reality check. Towards the end of the film, I think she finally receives one.
 
Recommended: Yes
 
Grade: B
 
Memorable Quote: "You were the one that didn't want to wait for the divorce. Not me." - Freddie Page (Tom Hiddleston)


Indie Gems: Casa de mi Padre

Ode to Spanish soap operas.
 
Will Ferrell speaking fluent Spanish with Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal is what sold me on this. How could it not?
 
Armando (Ferrell) has worked on his father's ranch in Mexico his entire life. His brother Raul (Luna) has gotten into trouble with the drug king pin, Onza (Bernal) and soon Armando finds himself tangled in their fight. There's also the fact that Armando has fallen in love with Raul's fiancee, Sonia. (Genisis Rodriguez)
 
Case de mi Padre is very self aware of how ridiculous soap operas can be. They take full advantage of this. From obvious stages, fake back drops, horses, and even people at times. CDMP relishes in it's outrageous behavior. Onza smokes two cigarettes at a time, Armando and Sonia have an ass grabbing love fest, and blood always splatters in the most ironic of places. Everyone and everything in this film was hilarious to me.
 
Grade: A
 
Memorable Quote: "I will beat you with these hands!" - Armando (Will Ferrell)

Breaking Bad Season 5 Review

I think Breaking Bad just might be the best show I've ever seen.

 
Even with the infuriating "mid season break" These 8 episodes really delivered.

In this season we see the aftermath of Gus Fring's death, and Walter White's deeper descent into the world of drugs. His ego is consuming him. He's less the man that was doing this only to support his family, and more the man yearning for power. This season's tag line "All Hail The King" says so much. The final 8 episodes have to pack a powerful punch.

Here's what I'm looking forward too.

Keep Walt and Jesse connected: This season saw Jesse saying he was out. Walt still visted him to give him the money he owed. Walt and Jesse are at their best when they are together. Almost like a surrogate father/son. Their relationship is my favorite, and there has to be a powerful scene between them. We know Walt has screwed over Jesse in many unforgivable ways (Jane's death, Brock) and Jesse is bound to find out. (I'm assuming from Saul, since Mike is no longer with us) But despite all that, we know Walt cares for him (He accidentally called Walt Jr, "Jesse" in season 3. I am eager for a final emotional showdown between the two. Jesse is the one character I hope survives everything.

Hank's "aha!" moment: Leave it to Breaking Bad to have the subtlest thing pack such a punch. I can't wait to see how he confronts Walt.

There Will Be Blood: I expect the body count to be quite high in it's final season. For some reason, I can see Skylar dying, maybe that's what throws Walt over the edge? (Lots of foreshadowing with Hank and Marie keeping Holly) Perhaps Walt will even kill Hank for finding out his secret? Will Walt lose control and kill Jesse? I'd bet a lot of money on Todd being a goner. One thing I think is for certain..

Cancer has to kill Walter White: Walt thinks he's unstoppable, but he can't run from his cancer. Judging from the flash forward, he's no longer in remission. It would be fitting for cancer to kill him, rather than it being drug related.

God, I'm getting more excited just writing about this

True Blood Season 5 Review

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack.

Anyways, one of the things I've been eager to talk about is wrapping up my favorite shows. So for the next few days, that is what my posts will be about. We'll start with the highly anticipated, but ultimately a major let down - True Blood.



True Blood is starting to remind me of Rescue Me. I loved the show, defended it constantly, but it went downhill, fast. Even though it got pretty terrible at times, I still watched and loved it all the same. True Blood entered terrible territory this season.

The main problem with this season was that there were too many story lines going on at once:

The Authority - which was interesting, but since they were in the same room for nearly the entire season it felt like it was taking forever to take off.

The Return of Russell Edgington - Which I was really looking forward too, and it was a lot of fun, but his send off was a disappointment. I was hoping for a fight.

The "Obamas" - I wish they could've focused more on this and dropped the other mini story lines, at least this brought the majority of our characters together.

The Ifrite - I like Terry and Arlene..as background characters. I hated this so much I nearly did a fucking back flip when it was over. What a waste of time.

Where or where is Jesus's head? - Any Lafayette screen time is welcomed, and Lafayette and Jesus scenes made me smile. I was ok with this. It didn't take up too much time.

Tara - The first few episodes with her tearing up Sookie's house got annoying. Her subsequent scenes with Pam were gold. Pam really does get the best lines. I'm not sure how I feel about the Tara/Pam relationship going forward, but I hope Tara reconciles with Sookie and Lafayette, and I hope to see more Eric/Pam next season as well.

Faeries - For once in my life I didn't hate the Faerie story line! I have a feeling next season will be built around Warlow and unlocking more of Sookie's powers. How crazy Bill will play into that is a mystery. I can see them fixing him right away, and moving on with the Fae stories.

Jessica's relationships. - I hated most of Jessica's scenes at the beginning of the season. Hoyt is a whiner, who I am not sure I'll miss, and Jason turning into a lovesick puppy was not the Jason I wanted to see. It will be interesting to see where this goes from here.

Andy/Holly/Fae Babies -  I have to admit Holly's kids confronting her about the facebook picture was hilarious, but if it weren't for Lafayette and Arlene being drunk in the background during Andy's Faerie woman's birthing scene I might have shut my TV off. That was just ridiculous..almost as ridiculous as..

Eric and Nora - I'm honestly surprised Nora survived this season. I just think Eric suddenly having a sister doesn't make a lot of sense for the show. Where was Nora when Godric died? Why was she never in the many Godric flashbacks we've gotten? Why didn't Godric say anything to Eric about Nora before he committed suicide? It just doesn't fit in. Plus I hate that they are referring to Godric as "father" now. Pam never called Eric that. Jessica (until this season) never referred to Bill as "father." You don't see Tara calling Pam "mom." It just sounds silly.

Sam/Luna - I actually really enjoyed their relationship this season. I hope that Luna doesn't die.

Alcide - I like Alcide when he's with our main characters. I don't like Alcide by himself. I enjoyed his scenes with Sookie at the beginning of the season, but if he's not with Sookie or Eric, he's boring. I didn't care for the scenes with his father, and the pact scenes were dull until vampires got involved.

Things I want to see next season:

Less story lines: Seriously, this was too much. This isn't fucking Game of Thrones where each story actually serves a purpose. Get our characters back together (preferably at Merlotte's) and go from there.

Go forward with Warlow: There has been plenty of build, please make it interesting.

Don't waste Evil Bill: Please don't "fix" him in the first episode. Let him tie into the Warlow story. Hell, maybe he can assist him.

More Eric/Sookie, please: I miss smutty Eric/Sookie sex.

More Eric/Pam and Sookie/Tara/Lafayette: I miss Eric and Pam's scenes together, and I want Sookie, Tara, and Lafayette to repair their friendship. You can lose Nora too while you're at it.

Well, that's it for now. For you True Blood fans, what did you think of season 5? Was it as big of a letdown for you as it was for me? Will you still be watching next season with show runner Alan Ball no longer at the helm?

EDIT****

I found a clip of the bonus scene on youtube. This is intriguing..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IRv82NjVNrk