Every find yourself browsing Netflix's movies trying to find something to watch? Let me watch it for you!


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Page One: Inside the New York Times (2011)

  • Rated R: Language 
  • 91 mins
  • HD
  • I rated 4 stars (I Really Liked It)
Initial Thoughts:
I'm sure most of you have heard a lot about this documentary; I surely have over the past year. Page One chronicles (pun intended) the venerable, but old, New York Times as the forces of change rain down upon it like a thousand arrows. The film is also an insider's look into the legendary establishment.

Quite interesting, coupled with parts of boredom. Many of the writers there come off as entrenched and stentorian advocates of a by-gone era. It stands to reason: they are the pinnacle of a profession built upon 20th century technology -- though they have to come to terms with 21st century media consumers.

One of the more memorable parts of the film, is when the ex-drug addict media writer visits the offices of VICE (which happens to be one of my favorite publications). VICE is notorious for doing stories other outlets don't want to touch, or if they have, not in the visceral way VICE did it. The VICE founders are explaining what they do, and why when the crotchety old guy from NYT rips into them for glossing over the Time's reporting. The VICE guys back down and go on with the interview. What they could have said is: sure the Times reported stories of genocide and cannibalism from the war-torn African country, but what VICE did is send a camera there and film the children holding up human organs still dripping with blood, they filmed the beach covered in human feces, because the country doesn't have the proper infrastructure to provide sanitation. That is more powerful than black ink on white paper. But alas, the impenetrable facade of the NYT deflects blows that would easily break others.

By the end of the film, you can tell the staff is nearing it's breaking point; they've been told countless ways over countless days how the biggest newspaper in the country will go under. You get the sense that what ever happens is probably better than the sense of dread filling them then.

Page One is great at showing how the old stalwarts of media are trying to deal with a changing landscape. It may not be the most interesting story ever told, and I think that's fine. We are talking about a newspaper here, and no matter how hard the writers and workers at the NYT try and convince you, it really is just a newspaper.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Searching For Bobby Fisher (1993)

  • Rated PG
  • 110 mins
  • HD
  • I rated it 3 stars (Liked It)
Initial Thoughts:
One of my resolutions this year is to study and improve at chess. I've probably seen a quarter of this film in snippets flipping through the channels, but when I found out that it's based on the early life of Josh Waitzkin, I was sold. I'm hoping it ages well.

I'm disappointed; I was really hoping Searching would show more chess, but it was really about young kids and high-level competition.

Waitzkin was a true prodigy, and we follow him as he begins his chess career. Early on he's confident and playing with abandon, but soon he faces a player solely focused on chess. He's taken out of school and tutored by a former champion.

As Josh realizes that he may be beatable, he retreats and concludes that winning is not everything. Josh's dad (a sports writer) dials up the pressure to shake his son of his caution, but Josh's bitch mother thinks it's too hard on the boy.

The answer then is to completely forget about chess for a couple weeks. Upon returning, Waitzkin is refreshed and in the right mindset to deal with the ever mounting pressure.

The match takes place between the two prodigies, and in a tight spot, Josh sees a line that snatches victory from defeat.

Again, I wish it was a more technical film. Though any film trying to make money has to be as general as possible. It's a bit erratic, a bit sappy, and not all that fun to watch. The whole Bobby Fisher thing seems forced and unnatural. Still though, with all of that, I'd still say it's worth a look. Just don't expect great things.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

After.Life (2009)

  • Rated R
  • 103 mins
  • HD
  • I rated 3 stars (Liked It)
Initial Thoughts:
I've been sick the last few days, and haven't wanted to concentrate for very long. I saw this in the recommendations and thought that it might be good, or would help me fall asleep; so it's a win - win. Also, you can't go wrong with Christina Ricci.

I have to admit that I wasn't in the right mind while viewing this film. It was a bit confusing, is she dead, is she alive, why isn't she naked the whole movie?

Ricci is in a relationship with the I'm a Mac guy, but dies (maybe) suddenly in a car accident. Liam Neeson is a creepy mortician guiding her to the other side. Ricci contends that she's actually alive, but Neeson does his best to persuade her she's not.

On the table, Ricci reexamines her life and decides that what she really wants out of life is love. She continues to question Neeson, while continuing her war on clothing.

I'm a Mac guy also starts to question Ricci's death, and as you might imagine, this doesn't make his friends comfortable around him.

Neeson sorta lets slip a key piece of information at the final showdown, and both lives are never the same.

I should probably rewatch this now that I'm not delirious with the flu. If you find yourself at home with your girlfriend/wife and she wants to watch something without explosions, suggest this and I wait for your emails thanking me.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Morning Glory (2010)

  • Rated: PG-13
  • 107 mins
  • HD
  • I rated 3 stars (Liked It)
Initial Thoughts:
Honestly, this was not my pick. My girlfriend had annexed the remote and this is what she put on, along with nearly fifteen similar movies in the queue. She said that it's a Rachel McAdams film so I guess that's good enough.

Beautiful and sexy McAdams just happens to an uptight and boring TV producer given a shot at the big time.

The only problem is she's been given the reins of the worst morning show on TV, notorious even for being a black hole, sucking careers and lives into oblivion.

McAdam's first day on the job reads like a check list for a Banana Republic, though our wide eyed heroin, trained by years of overachieving, sees potential and plods along.

Her biggest coup is to get the venerable Harrison Ford to join the morning show. Ford's character is an award winning field journalist and nightly anchor stuck in a contract fight with nothing to do but collect paychecks. McAdams strong-arms Ford into taking the job, but he's not enthused.

Ford joins a very old looking Diane Keaton, it's apparent they had relations in the past, and the fireworks go off immediately. McAdams' job is in serious jeopardy.

Ford continues to bemoan his current station in life, reminding everyone within earshot how famous and great he is; McAdams desperately  tries to win him over.

Slowly her plan starts to work. All the while the show's ratings climb out of the toilet. Finally she's offered her dream job.

Conflicted, after assessing the current show's situation, she takes the interview.

Ford hears that she's leaving, and stops pretending he doesn't care, and wins her back.

It's really not a bad film. It's not something I would go see in the theater, but fun to watch. A grumpy Harrison Ford makes me a happy boy. I guess I'm getting old. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

8MM (1999)

  • Rated R
  • 123 mins
  • HD (TV only)
  • I rated 2 stars (Didn't Like It)

Initial Thoughts:
I'm usually not a fan of Nick Cage's movies, but I'm always a sucker to see them -- what if this one is actually good? Just from reading the little blurb, I figured this would be one of those scary movies that's so not scary it's funny. We'll see.

Cage is private investigator, I think, I just saw this and I can't remember if he's a cop or not. An old rich man dies and his private safe is found to have an untitled video tape. His wife views it, and it's a snuff film -- maybe. Cage is tasked with finding out the truth in a crazy mixed-up world.

Cage leaves his ugly and overbearing wife (she's so ugly I couldn't find a picture of her) with the kid and off he goes to find out who the girl in the film is. Set in the late 90's, he has to go through stacks of filing cabinets and card boxes. He finally finds a close enough match to make the trip to see the mother. She's a lonely middle-aged women dying for attention. Cage adroitly deflects her advances.

On to LA and a very young Joaquin Phoenix. Phoenix works at a grungier than usual adult book store (for all of you young people out there, this is where your dads got porn). They strike up a working relationship and tour the decrepit underbelly of the deranged LA porn scene. While this is going on, Cage wire-taps a scumbag looking James Gandolfini. Most of what they find is fake, but they do make see a lot of stuff produced by one guy in New York.

They set up a meeting with the producer in New York under the guise of producing their own film. The meeting takes place in a dockyard, and to no one's surprise, it's a trap.

The situation goes from tense to overdrive and people lose blood. Cage escapes and begins the hunt to kill everyone associated. It seems that he's grown quite fond of the dead girl he's never met.

I can't say much about the ending, but if you watch True Blood you are in for a real treat. Oh and Cage wins, obviously.

It's not a good movie. It's tired and cliche and far too dark. Even the scenes with Cage's wife, which I can only imagine serve to lighten the movie up, are just depressing. Maybe I have it wrong; maybe it's supposed to be like watching a snuff film. Who knows? The point is, I wish I would have watched something else. I was foiled again by Nick Cage. How on Earth does this guy keep getting work?  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mallrats (1995)

  • Rated R: strong language, sexual dialogue, and drug content
  • 95 mins
  • Full screen, but not sure if it's HD
  • I rated 3 stars (Liked It)
Initial Thoughts:
What's not to love about a cult classic? If you listen to all the hype, this is one of those movies that define a generation. A generation scarred by terrible music, an insipid sense of worthlessness, and a general lack of hygiene. I am excited to finally see Kevin Smith's work before he ate himself to obscurity.
Jason Lee and his buddy are a bunch of Gen-X losers in a forgettable town with a mall. I smell a post-ironic 90's movie!

Lee's girlfriend, Shannon Doherty of all people, dumps him after the 900th night spent playing SEGA and not having sex. Both Lee and his friend T.S. (as in a reference to T.S. Lawrence -- the sheer gall these idiots have is remarkable) are both on the rebound, though T.S. is having a tougher time; his love was true! Lee suggests going to that consumerist paradise, the mall.

I know the 90's were all about dialogue; directors like Tarantino made their names on thoughtful and robust scripts, but Kevin Smith beats a decomposed horse into dust here. Lee delivers a rapid fire attack filled with more SAT prep vocab words than the average idiot watching can comprehend. A lot can be said for using big words, but more can be said for Hemingway writing at a 4th grade level. It's about comprehension, not making an impression.

The best gag by far, is a fat nerd standing next to a Magic Eye, that everyone can see but him. I vividly remember friends in school who could never see those things. Almost pissed myself laughing.

Our two anti-heroes get to the mall and find out that the father of TS' ex-girlfriend is hosting some 70's dating game show rip off there. They conspire with Jay and Silent Bob to crash the show and win back their respective girlfriends.

Ben Affleck makes an appearance as a meathead with a healthy fascination with anal, no surprises there. Jason Lee meets Stan Lee and finds the inspiration to become a normal person. Jay and SB cause havoc.

The two find their way onto the dating game, and show how clever they are; Affleck gets arrested for cornholing a minor. All is right with the world.

If you can get over how ridiculous the dialogue is, then this is a great film. If you remember the 90's, like I do, then you'll catch a few jokes that take you back, back to a more annoying and forgettable time -- but still fun.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Surviving the Game (1994)

  • Rated R: Strong violence and language
  • 96 mins
  • SD
  • I rated it 4 stars (Really Liked It)
Initial Thoughts: 
This one was one of Netflix's recommendations, and with Ice-T and Gary Busey in it, it's bound to be awesome. The box art looks corny and leaves a lot to be desired, so I'm not totally sure this is gonna be worth it. 

The film begins with Ice-T as a dread locked homeless man down on his luck (though I wonder how many homeless people are up on there luck). He does have a loyal dog to take the sting out of life, but the dog dies within a few minutes of the opening credits. Fido's funeral is the last straw and he's seconds away from walking into oncoming traffic. At the last minute, Ice-T is safe and has a job offer...

Fast forward to the wilderness; it's so wild the only way in is a chartered plane. T is informed that his new job will basically being a valet for a bunch of rich guys at a hunting lodge.

The night before the "hunt" is by far the best part of the film. Busey gives a long soliloquy on how his father ushered him into manhood. Rewound and watched it twice, seriously it's that good.

The day of the hunt, T is startled awake; he's the prey. The rich white guys pick up street tramps and hunt them down for sport. T is off and running with no supplies or transportation. The hunters have high-powered rifles and quads.

Once in the woods, T morphs into Rambo and starts taking the hunters out one by one. Sadly Busey dies. At points in this sequence, you're reminded why this movie never won an Oscar.

T wins, obviously. Along the way he recaptures what made him a decent and productive citizen. So you could say, his old smelly self died out in the woods, and a new awesome side was reborn.


The film is not bad. Not great, but worth a watching -- but maybe only once. Good for a few laughs, but the real gold is in the scenes right before the hunt. Busey is amazing in this movie. Good to see he wasn't always a degenerate.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)

  • Not Rated
  • 86 mins
  • HD
  • I rated 5 stars (Loved It)
 Initial Thoughts:
Obviously I heard all about this film when it was rumored Banksy was supposed to go to the Oscars incognito, but it wasn't until a week ago when a friend of mine really explained who Banksy was that I decided to see it. I don't know much about street art, but I'm becoming interested.

It's a ruse! The film is really about a crazed French filmmaker, and part-time husband/father, Thierry Guetta. Guetta owned a vintage clothing shop in LA, but grew bored of adulthood.

So he bought a video camera, then another, soon he filmed nearly every waking moment of his life. His French wife, I'm assuming being used to this kind of nonsense, became a first-class enabler.

On a trip home to France, Thierry asks to film a family member while he stealthily puts up his mosaics depicting characters from the Space Invaders game. Guetta is hooked.

Space Invader greases the wheels and asks Shepard Fairly (of OBEY fame) if Guetta can join him on his guerrilla campaign to document it.

Soon Guetta's children become fatherless, his wife a spinster; he's out nearly every night, and spending untold sums on film and camera equipment. After meeting nearly all of the biggest names in the underground street art world, there's only one left to film.

The call from Banksy came one LA afternoon. So Thierry drops everything and broke untold traffic laws on his way to meet him. Remember that all of this is going on under the guise of a documentary.

Thierry films a bunch of Banksy stuff, and Banksy grows to trust the wily Frenchman. Eventually Banksy asks Guetta when the documentary will be finished, and Thierry has to deliver. It becomes apparent that Guetta has no clue what he's doing, so Banksy being an actual artist, turns the table and makes a documentary about Thierry.

This is the final straw for Thierry's sanity. He throws his family on the proverbial ice-flow, and starts planning his own art show. He found the biggest space available, hired a gaggle of real artists and fabricators to produce his art. All of that, coupled with absurd amounts of hype and you get Mr. Brainwash.


Banksy is a talented man; not only is he the preeminent street artist, but he's a world-class troll. It's amazing what you can accomplish being untalented with eternal optimism and drive. Shepard Fairly is not amused.  

Monday, January 16, 2012

Fallen (1998)

  • Rated R
  • 124 mins
  • HD
  • I rated 4 stars (Really Liked It)
Initial Thoughts:
I've always been a little curious about this film; I remember a whole lot of buzz about it when it came out, but never knew much about it. Denzel was the biggest thing since sliced bread back then, but I never got around to seeing this one. As you might remember from Red State, I'm quite partial to John Goodman, so I thought I'd give it a go.  

The film begins with Denzel as a tough, but inscrutable detective witnessing the execution of his biggest catch do date. From the onset we're clued into the supernatural element underpinning the movie.

The bad guy dies, but the demonic spirit residing in him is released. It seems that the freshly dead serial killer, was in fact an all-around nice guy who probably loved kittens; the heinous murders committed by him were the work of a fallen angel.

The fallen angel, named Azazel, wants to take over Denzel, but it seems Denzel is too pure to succumb easily (by touch) and must be taken when the demon is in spirit form (it sounds dumb and tedious, but is actually played out well in the film).

Murders keep happening, and  all signs point to Denzel. John Goodman, being an all-around awesome individual, remains his trusted partner and confidant. Eventually, Denzel figures out the game with the help of a severely unattractive women, and the story moves to resolution.

Denzel figures out how he could kill the fallen angel (???) and puts the plan in motion. Shockingly that plan goes to pot, and the end turns out perfectly.

It's so rare to see a standard film end so beautifully. I honestly can't remember the last time I really enjoyed a story's resolution.


Fallen is a standard "company" film, but I cannot say enough about how they decided to end the film. Wonderful change of pace, and it re-affirms my belief that there are really good films out there. Goodman does an admirable job as the side-kick, and Donald Sutherland makes an appearance. Tony Soprano plays a dirtbag cop, making it that much better. The soundtrack isn't bad either. All-in-all, good film.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Hackers (1995)

  • Rated PG-13: Some sexuality and brief strong language
  • 105 mins
  • SD
  • I rated 3 stars (Liked It)
Initial Thoughts:
I knew a guy in high school that watched this film just about everyday for a solid year -- and when I say "knew" -- I mean I avoided the kid like the plague. He dressed like he was going to a pride march, and while that wasn't so bad, he was at least 70 pounds overweight. It's hard to find leopard print pants in husky.

I have to say one thing about this film... it does not age well. Our protagonist is a super hacker from prepubescence, but gets caught and is forbidden to touch even a phone until he's eighteen. Flash forward to the 28 year old looking Johnny Lee Miller, and we're off. He changes schools and meets a short haired Angelina Jolie. He's smitten, she's too cool for school. Remember kids, it's the 90's and women are either cheerleader sluts or pants-suit wearing womyn with more anger than the Hulk.

Lee Miller ends up befriending a waifish Puerto Rican and gains entree to the ELITE (I'm laughing as I type that) hacker club. Jolie, sensing an attack on her manhood, challenges Miller to a hack-off. Hilarity ensues.

All the while the nerd of the group (I know) hacks blindly into the devil's den and stirs up a hornet's nest. He gets busted and the plot rolls on.

Miller and Jolie have erotic dreams about each other, but being bound by the rules of high school, continue on being love-struck idiots.  

The Black Hat begins going after our new buddies by hacking into the FBI files and changing stuff. Miller and the crew hatch a plan to take him down with the aid of a Independence Day style montage of world-wide hackers. The access point is Grand Central Station. How did they get there you ask...

rollerblading. I nearly pissed my pants I was laughing so hard.

Miller, with the help of a world-wide network of super hackers is able to make it into the Black Hat's system. A battle that rivals Iwo Jima ensues. But at the end of the day, even Penn from Penn & Teller using all his wizardry can't stop ZEROCOOL.
Jolie has to wear a dress on the victory date. Take that Feminism!

Painfully 90's. The costume designer was trying to make a statement; I'm just not sure if it was a joke about how ridiculously serious Gen X took themselves, or a serious foray into avant-garde high fashion. The acting left much to be desired, and the plot was absurd, but still I'm glad I saw it. It does have that crazy tall guy from SLC Punk, so there's that.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Exam (2009)

  • Not rated
  • 101 mins
  • HD
  • I rated 4 stars (Really Liked It)

Initial Thoughts:
This one came my way by Netflix's suggestions; while I'm usually dubious of their system, I thought the premise was entertaining. Again, the notion of watching an unknown quantity with unknown actors intrigued me. 

The gist is, we know nothing of anything the whole movie, and society brakes down.

We start with eight candidates dressed in their finest clothes preparing to take an exam for a prestigious job. The proctor (called the Invigilator) gives the rules for the exam. Pay close attention to what he says. Before leaving the Invigilator asks, "Are there any questions?"

The test begins and it's only the candidates facing what has to be a two-way mirror and a lone security guard at the door. As they all look at their provided materials, it becomes apparent that this is no ordinary test. The paper is blank, so everyone is sort of looking at it and wondering what the hell to do with it. One woman picks up the provided pencil and starts writing on it, and is immediately disqualified (one of the rules is: do not spoil your paper).

Upon seeing this, the tall white guy near the back perks up and figures out that there's no rule against talking amongst themselves. This is where everything goes to pot.

Tall white guy leads them on a destruction spree in order to "solve" the exam, breaking lights, holding people hostage, and other general mayhem. By the end, there are only a few candidates left. The Invigilator comes back and in a destroyed room, with a few candidates injured, announces that one is the winner -- and says almost nothing of the carnage.

It's a great film; it kept me guessing the whole time. At the same time,  it's shocking to see what how the different candidates handled the stress. If the sentiment holds true to real-life, it doesn't bode well for us. Also, there's a nice little twist that you might not guess. The shocking story lines do well to cover it up.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Harsh Times (2005)

  • Rated R: Strong language, violence, and drug use.
  • 116 mins
  • HD
  • 5 stars (Loved It)
Initial Thoughts:
The box art alone was enough to hook me. A Christian Bale movie, coupled with the creator of Training Day, I'm sold. Though I can't tell if Bale looks pensive in the cover picture, or he just curb-stomped some guy.

This masterpiece begins with a flashback sequence in which Bale is in Afghanistan as a Ranger ripping through Taliban fighters. He wakes up drenched in sweat, and you can already tell he's haunted by his service. One nice touch is he's wearing on of those skull masks that Ghost had in MW2.  

Next thing we see is Bale in a suit and tie picking up his childhood friend as they both go off to find jobs; Bale is hoping to be hired by the LAPD, and his bud is just looking for a job to get Eva Longoria off his back (this interaction between Rodriguez and Longoria is the only low-point for me of the whole movie. I cannot see the two together. It's like a 5 and a 9.5, and we all know that there's only a 2 digit window.)

The job hunt plan quickly gets thrown out the window and the day devolves into drinking malt liquor, stealing drugs from dealers, and trying to get laid.

Bale suggests they drive over to his old girlfriend's house; Rodriquez, being an eternal pessimist, warns that ship has sailed. A bet is made. The two show up and are greeted by the sister (who we find out later is well aware of Bale's charms) and she's not happy. Bale pushes aside her protestations and finally talks to Patty.  Just as Patty's defenses were weakening, her current boyfriend shows up and it GETS REAL.

Bale handles 4 attackers and in a move every spurned boyfriend in the history of the world has wanted to pull of, humiliates them in front of Patty and walks away smiling.

After this and a few minor episodes, it's apparent that Bale is psycho. The LAPD loses interest after he fails the psych profiles. From here on, the antics and situations get more gnarly and dangerous. I'm not going to elaborate -- I want you to watch the movie!

By the end, as you might have guessed, it all becomes too much for the two to handle. One dies and the other has to pick up the pieces of their lives and move on.

A fantastic movie about adults who haven't figured out their lives yet. It shows that not everyone gets second-chances. It's gritty, and has a touch of reality. I've known and befriend people like Bale's character, and consider myself lucky to have survived some situations with idiots of that caliber.

All in all, this is one of those that I'd watch again. The only real sticking point for me is Freddy Rodriquez; I really wish they would have cast someone else, but then again, he is the perfect foil to Bale's alpha-male.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Take Me Home Tonight (2011)

  • Not rated
  • 97 mins
  • HD
  • I rated it 3 stars (Liked it)

Initial Thoughts: 
I have a strong distaste for Topher Grace, only because the nerd calls himself Topher; we get it super-cool-movie-guy, you're original. That being said, I thought Dan Fogler (the fat guy) did a great job in Balls of Fury. It can't be worse than Buried, so let's give it a shot.

SPOILER ALERT: Topher plays a nerd! A nerd who went to MIT and can't figure out what he wants to do with his life, so he does the rational thing and moves back home to LA and works in a Suncoast video. I couldn't make this crap up. The hot girl that he's had a crush on since middle school comes in and, after standard comedy fluff, invites him to a party. The same party being thrown by his sister's popular boyfriend. I'm bored already.

Enter Dan Fogler, like a thunderbolt from Zeus. Fogler, that perfect combination of sweaty greasebag and John Candy loveableness, prods the sissified Grace into going.

They get there and it's high school all over again. Everyone else is perfectly awesome and cool and probably going to score, they on the other hand can't complete a sentence in the same zip code as a breathing female. Classic and tired comedy rules apply: Topher lies to impress the Kristen Stewart look-a-like. She begins to like him because he's different from the average jerk-off she dates. Stuff happens. She finds out he lied. Fogler bags the hottest woman in the movie. Topher has a come-to-Jesus moment, and conjures manhood out of the dreams and the carcass of the little girl body he inhabits. Fin.

It's not bad. A little campy and cheesy and predictable, but not the worst movie I've seen. My favorite part is where he lies and says he works for Goldman Sachs. I can just see every preening jerk that works there secretly patting themselves on the back; no self-respecting Goldman guy would claim it out loud.

Watch it for nothing more than Fogler.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Stuff (1985)

  • Can't find a rating
  • 86 mins
  • SD
  • I rated it 4 stars (Really Liked It)
Initial Thoughts:
I saw this film as a kid, and I do remember being blown away by the story. Though when you're 7 years old, a story about white goo that kills you if you eat it is the cat's meow. If you go into this film knowing it's an 80's B movie, you should enjoy it.

Watching it now, with grown-up eyes, and with posterity on my side, it doesn't hold up as well as I'd thought. That's not to say, that The Stuff isn't worth the time. 

The themes are so deliciously 80's it hurts. A weird and unexplained white goo bubbles out of the Earth. It tastes sweet and smooth. Some country bumbkins decide that they could sell it -- and  it's apparent that no testing is done (Capitalism RULES!). Flash forward to a fancy ad agency marketing the crap out of it, and it's on every supermarket's shelves. They shill the hell out of it. Turn it into a giant industry that supports one town and kills another, and commit all types of corporate crime.

Problems arise when a little boy, who's head is far to big for his body, notices the Stuff moving in the fridge. Later the boy freaks out at the market, knocking down store displays and taking cartons of the Stuff out of shopper's carts.

This kind of animosity towards the new wonder product doesn't sit well. The boy's family soon demands that he eat the stuff and, "join the family."

All the while Michael "almost as cool as Jesus" Moriarty is going around kicking ass and taking names. Moriarty rescues the kid and long story short: a disgraced ultra right-wing general (who sees the stuff as a communist threat) activates his all white militia and takes over the stuff factory and compound by force. I can imagine Newt's pants stirring watching all of this unfold.

After the stuff has been banned, we see in the final scenes that it goes underground, much like the crack-cocaine epidemic of the 80's.

The only eighties cliche missing is the syth-heavy soundtrack.

Watching the credits roll, I was glad I re-watched The Stuff. If you're bored, or have some friends over and want to clown it up a bit, put this on. Deliciously good.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Buried (2010)

  • Rated R for language and some violent content
  • 95 mins
  • HD
  • I rated it 1 star (Hated It)*
Initial Thoughts: 
Ryan Reynolds trapped in a box for an entire movie? I'm sold. Ever since Van Wilder I thought, "Oh, how wonderful it would be to bury this idiot in a coffin and forget about him. Also, you can generally tell how insipid this thing is gonna be by the "critic" blurbs -- Intense, Suspenseful, Thriller = plot sucks.

It's 95 minutes of Ryan Reynolds in a box making mistake after mistake after mistake, to the point where I got to find the controller to turn it off. As I was about to actually turn it off, I thought to myself, "What if it gets better?" -- wrong. It didn't. 

Credit where credit is do; I do applaud director Rodrigo Cortes for staying true to the format and never showing action, or flashbacks outside of the coffin. That's about it though. I understand that a person waking up in a coffin, with no idea where they are and if they'll be rescued, will not be thinking clearly. I understand that. What I don't understand is how Reynold's character can make so many dumb decisions and still get a far along as he did. That was the longest single bar of power in the history of Blackberry. There's some stuff about an ex-wife and family, but really who cares. They didn't seem that excited to pick up the phone for him, so why should we care about his family? 

Actually, it makes more sense that this was in fact a 95 minute commercial for RIM. RIM has been in trouble lately, and this is a great way for them to jump back into the market. Blackberry: who needs fancy battery draining apps when you're stuck in a coffin, in the desert with one battery bar?

Honestly I've tried not to think much about Buried. I saw it. I'm not happy about it. I'm trying to move on with my life. 

The whole thing stinks of a master's project. The director is so caught up making a film that 12 people would think is a masterpiece that millions just ask, why?

*Netflix does not allow 0 stars

Monday, January 9, 2012

Red State (2011)

  • Rated R for strong violence/disturbing content, some sexual content including brief nudity, and pervasive language
  • 88mins
  • HD
  • I rated it 4 stars (Really Liked It)*
Initial Thoughts:
A quick look at the box art coupled with the ire-inspiring name, and I thought this was gonna be a pseudo-documentary directed by a known liberal, detailing the crazy us in the "blue states" love to imagine. No noticeable Stars did create a slight allure.

Let's just say, this thing doesn't heat up til the mid-way. The premise behind the action we see is flimsy. I'm almost a decade removed from high school, but I surely don't remember being that creative in finding sex. 

I had the feeling that the church scenes were intended by Director Kevin Smith to invoke fear in my cultured, educated, and slightly distrustful towards fundamentalism mind. I found them more comical than anything else. Instead of pantomiming what he thought was creepy, why not just film the real thing?

So this thing trudges along, and you're thinking to yourself, "this is pretty standard, and I have a comfortable idea of where this is going." Then out of the ether, JOHN GOODMAN appears as an ATF agent! Truthfully, after JG appeared, I lost all interest in the rice-paper thin plot and just marveled at Goodman. After about the fifth time I muttered, "Holy crap, that's John Goodman, in this film?!? And he looks thinner!" my girlfriend threatened to turn it off. JG shows up and tries to fix the mess. His superiors proceed to make every mistake possible. JG does the right thing, and gets promoted to a desk job. 

If you're bored and ready to take a trip down the surreal (I don't mean the movie is surreal, just that it's surreal that we live in a world where this is considered HORROR), then why not waste an hour and a half on this.

* The rating might have been skewed by my apparent fascination with John Goodman.