Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Ribs’ Reviews: Shutter Island

February 26, 2010

For me, there are five directors whose movies are must-see — The Cohen Brothers, Quentin Tarantino, Wes Anderson, David Fincher and Martin Scorsese. Spike Jonze, maybe.

Most of their movies are EXCELLENT. Not all. Sometimes these film gods falter atop their Mt. Olympus. But rarely, if ever, do they plummet to the valley of Michael Bay. Their movies are never BAD. That is until ….

Shutter Island

Leonardo DiCaprio (Growing Pains) plays Teddy Daniels, a US Marshall assigned to a case on Shutter Island, home to a an insane asylum, jagged cliffs and countless clichés. Ben Kingsley is in it. You know what. Let me just stop right there.

"Shhhh. I have a secret. Bruce Willis is a ghost in The Sixth Sense."

Don’t go see Shutter Island. Just don’t. It simply collapses under the weight of its expectations. The twists and turns are straighter than a laser tag employee. If you have ever watched a movie before you will see the ending coming from 43 miles away. An episode of Blues Clues on Nickelodeon® is more suspenseful. The only real mystery is why Scorsese tried to tap into his inner M. Night Shama-lama-ding-dong. Because, last I checked, his last few movies have been terrible. If Scorsese is a self-proclaimed student of film, he should be wearing a Dunce cap right now. Red ink. F+. No smiley face for you, sir.

Also. Enough with DiCaprio already. Someone should tell him there is more to acting than seeing how tiny of a ball you can scrunch your face into. He isn’t Robert DeNiro. He is never going to be Robert DeNiro. Let it go, Martin. Let it go.

Shutter Island receives 1 gravy boat out of 5 because I got to sit in the front row of the stadium seating and put my feet up on the railing.

I have an idea. Go rent Sexy Beast instead. Yes. That was my nickname in college. Yes. You can still call me it. Have you seen Sexy Beast? Most people haven’t. That’s why I ask. Anyways. Ben Kingsley is in Sexy Beast and is so out-of-his-mind EXCELLENT. Words don’t do his performance justice. All I can say is he is far better than Tom Green in Charlie’s Angels. If that means anything to you.

Are you on your way to Blockbuster® yet? Oh. You have Netflix®? I don’t know how that works. Look. Just go to Blockbuster. OK? It’s in the Drama section under “S” for Sexy Beast.

Or “N” for “Not Shutter Island”.

Ribs

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Ribs’ Reviews: Crazy Heart

February 21, 2010

Jeff Bridges, widely known as “The Cool Guy” from The Big Lebowski or the bald guy from Iron Man, plays Bad Blake, an alcoholic country-music-star-has-been whose days in the spotlight are long since gone and replaced with bowling alley appearances, cheap whiskey and steak dinners in styrofoam containers. (To amplify his bottom-dwelling, we are shown him disposing of a gallon jug of what appears to be his own urine. Which I guess is better than someone else’s.) Somewhere in the Southwest of the USA, Arizona maybe, during his cliché downward spiral, Bad meets a small-time reporter named Jean, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal (Brokeback Mountain’s sister). For whatever reason, because the character development moves faster than Apollo Ohno (watch the Olympics on NBC), Blake falls for Jean like Bisquick® fell for Aunt Jemima®.

This love connection inspires Bad to swallow his pride with a chaser of Pabst® and kick-start his career again with his one-time protegé, Tommy Sweet, played by Colin Farrell (I’m a Douche). The audience doesn’t really know why Bad doesn’t like Tommy but we definitely know that Bad doesn’t like Tommy. Because he says as much. A LOT.

Will Bad return to his glory days? Will he not? Will you care? I suppose you’ll have to see it to find out.

Jeff Bridges gives a riveting performance in Crazy Heart and the Temple of Doom.

It probably sounds like I’m being hard on this movie. That’s because I am. Only due to the fact that there is not a single ounce of creativity throughout the 111 minute runtime. But. I did like Crazy Heart. It follows a timeless formula that never gets old, a formula that seems to work, time and time again. I guess I’m a sucker for it. Also. Jeff Bridges sings in the film better than I have ever seen an actor sing in a film. Even better than Zoe Deschanel in every single movie she has been in. Remember when she sang in The Happening? That seemed pointless. Although, that whole movie seemed pointless. (I hope you agree.) Bridges sings so well, you may even consider buying the soundtrack and not breaking it. The acting is EXCELLENT and award-worthy. Robert Duvall (Every Movie Ever Made) makes a brief appearance, you know, because he is still alive.

This movie receives 3.25 gravy boats out of 5. It doesn’t do much. But what it does do it does well.

If you are looking for originality. Look elsewhere. Remember last year when The Wrestler came out? Well, this year Crazy Heart came out. If you are short on movie ticket cash, you could simply relive your screening of The Wrestler and replace the word “wrestling” with “country music,” then you would have Crazy Heart. There is even a broken, abandoned father-child relationship. Which is always a must. If you have a couple of dollar bills stashed in your jeans, give it a shot.

By the way, internet. Did you see The Hurt Locker? That looks pretty good. Hello? Internet?

Ribs

Ribs’ Reviews: Paranormal Activity

February 9, 2010

Paranormal Activity is the “true” story of Katie and her boyfriend Micah, who live in a house and have their lives taped to find out what happens when demons stop being polite and start getting real.

This movie, filmed guerilla style, is similar to The Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield and Bebe’s Kids. In the film, the couple (played by unknown actors in order to add a “real” element to the production) decides to video tape their home, around the clock, in order to capture some kind of evidence as to the existence of an entity that has haunted and tormented Katie since childhood. A visit from a psychic, Dr. Fredrichs (played by a guy with white hair), determines that the presence is indeed a demon, and not a ghost. Because ghosts don’t roll like that. Ya heard?

Spoiler Alert: Contrary to what you might expect, Dr. Fredrichs does not turn out to be the demon at the end, all Scooby Doo style.

What do demons eat for breakfast? .... Devilled Eggs

Soon enough, the demon makes his presence known by pulling demon pranks and shenanigans in the middle of the night. Opening and closing doors. Shaking chandeliers. Dipping Micah’s hand in water as he sleeps. Ordering Domino’s® pizza. Burning Ouija boards. You know, the usual. Tensions rise between Katie and Micah as they debate whether to exercise the demon. After researching consumer reports and product analysis, they determine the cost of a Bowflex® home workout system to be too high and instead decide to exorcise the demon by giving Dr. Johan Abrams, an exorcism expert, a call. Things go pretty ape shit from that point on, believe you me.

Perhaps Paranormal Activity had been far too hyped prior to my viewing, because I didn’t think it was that scary. Perhaps it was because I watched it at 10 AM. Perhaps, indeed. With that being said, as far as horror movies and demon-based plots go, it wasn’t too shabby and kept me interested till the end. The actors are all believable and Viggo Mortensen gives a gripping, ethereal performance as the demon, and, in my opinion, was seriously snubbed by The Oscar’s® committee. I mean, Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones? Please. Get serious.

Anyways, I would give Paranormal Activity 3 gravy boats out of 5.

There is no doubt the film would have been better if watched at night, with the lights off and a tray of Tostino’s® pizza rolls.

Boo!

Ribs

Ribs’ Reviews: Youth in Revolt

January 17, 2010

Once again, my wife and I were unable to see Sherlock Holmes (apparently it’s just not meant to be). This time due to  show times conflicting with our schedule, so, instead, we saw Youth in Revolt.

Michael CeraYouth in Revolt is your typical “Boy meets Girl” story. Nick Twisp, played by Michael Cera (Superbad), is a timid teenager who meets the love of his life, Sheeni Saunders, played by Portia Doubleday (umm …. Youth in Revolt), while on vacation with his mother and his mother’s boyfriend, played by Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover). As the vacation comes to an end, Nick and Sheeni develop a plan to get Nick kicked out of his mother’s home so that he can move in with his father, played by Steve Buscemi (Airheads), who lives in a neighboring town. This requires Nick to develop an alternate “Bad Boy” personality know as Francois Dillinger (similar to Tyler Durden from Fight Club). Dillinger is a ladies man with a mustache, a filthy mouth and a cigarette always in hand. As Dillinger begins to take over, things start to spin out of control (similar to Fight Club) for the meek and meager Twisp.

Youth in Revolt is classic Michael Cera. Nick Twisp is essentially the exact same character Cera has been in every movie or TV appearance in his career, since the days of Arrested Development, yet, in my opinion he finds ways to keep things fresh and keep me laughing most every time I see him. There is no other comedian or actor that does exactly what he does. It’s a unique talent, that my wife and I really enjoy. Most of the other characters and actors disappoint.

Sadly, Zach Galifianakis, who stole the show as the “Lone Wolf” Alan in The Hangover, is barely in the movie, although he seems to be featured heavily in commercials for the film. Then, when he is on screen, he really isn’t very funny. Bummer! Fred Willard (Best in Show) and Justin “I’m a Mac” Long contribute a couple chuckle-inducing performances, but on paper, I would have expected a little more from the cast. In the end, Youth in Revolt is more a showcase of Michael Cera and his humor than a well-rounded film.

Side Note: The makeup artist for this movie went CRAZY! Ray Liotta has more makeup on in his scenes than Kim Kardashian wears in a year. He looks like a pissed off clown. SCARY!

My wife thinks I need a ranking system in my reviews. Stars, or thumbs up or something. So, I have created the “Gravy Boat” ranking system.

I award Youth in Revolt: 2.75 Gravy Boats out of 5

Overall, I would say if you like Michael Cera, you will like Youth in Revolt. If you don’t, you won’t.

Ribs

Ribs’ Reviews: Sherlock Holmes

January 10, 2010

Normally, this is where I would give you my opinion on the movie Sherlock Holmes, maybe a brief synopsis and a recommendation as to whether or not you should see the film. Standard review fodder. However, when my wife and I went to see it yesterday, it was SOLD OUT. Can you believe that? So, we went to the mall instead.

Sherlock Holmes Movie

This scene is probably pretty good.

The mall was alright. Parking was a bit of a pain, but that’s to be expected on a Saturday afternoon. We bought our daughter some jeans from Baby Gap. Adorable! Then we went to Adult Gap, and I purchased some shirts that were like 40% off. Very savvy, if I do say so myself. All in all, it was a pretty good day.

Oh, Sherlock Holmes? Right … um, I mean it looks pretty good, don’t you think? You should probably go see it, you know, if you want to ….

Ribs

Ribs’ Reviews: Avatar

January 3, 2010

The spectacle of Avatar is spectacular. The hype is justified. I didn’t see it in 3D, but I imagine it adds a whole other dimension to the film (pun intended). While smaller films are sure to steal the Oscars and accolades, James Cameron deserves credit as perhaps the most innovative filmmaker of our time. The world of Pandora was built straight from his imagination as well as the technology needed to create it. Few would take on a project of this scope, but after the success of Titanic, anything else would have been a step back for Cameron.

Avatar

Amazon Smurf Warriors

The story is not original, but in today’s Hollywood where the films of the ’70s and ’80s are simply being rereleased with a new coat of paint, it shouldn’t prevent you from seeing the movie. As many have said, the similarities to Dances with Wolves ( I would include The Last Samurai, Point Break (also from Cameron), The Fast and the Furious and almost any romance) are endless, including the not-so-hidden political agenda, but that seems almost inevitable anymore. As in most of his films, Cameron seeks to accommodate the masses, in that regard, the story is a success.

I would say Avatar is a must-see, if for no other reason than the benchmark it has set for every blockbuster from this point forward. Cameron gives you your money’s worth and makes a trip to the theater an experience. Isn’t that what movies are for?

Ribs