Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Super Quickie Review - Solomon Kane

This movie cost $45 million to make and I believe $44 of it was on CGI. Was there one scene that was real? It was bad CGI too. The opening scene was almost comical it was so badly done, but then it continues and despite the decent cast, the dialogue couldn't save it. Probably because it was equally as horrid. Von Sydow was in it, so I gave it a chance. Seriously, people found this enjoyable? Sure, I know, mindless entertainment, but there wasn't a single scene that was well executed. I knew nothing about this, but saw the cast and decided to give it a try. Reading the positive reviews after, leads me to believe people had to like this before even seeing it. Even Excalibur seems less silly than this.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Free Writing - Take 70

I love the snow and how pure it is. Nothing like walking in it and making those first steps. The crush from the weight of your foot, making that familiar sound. No matter how old I become, it will remind me of childhood. The walk towards our destination is filled with those steps over and over, but the walk back is different. The chilly air has taken hold of our sense and staring down, we see steps going in another direction, a place that was a goal. We're now returning to where we started and it will be like we never let. It's too bad friendships aren't like that. Too bad for some that their actions, their goals aren't easily rescinded. As of late, I've had friends make decisions, some unbeknownst to me at first, but then when I noticed, the dominoes fell. I don't care about these people anymore. Some I've know their entire lives and most of mine. They chose their path and they chose it, without ever discussing it. A simple explanation and no ill feelings would be had. I don't think they even know who they are, but their actions are irreversible. I feel betrayed and there is one emotion I can't forgive and that is being completely let down. I can fake niceties, but that's all they will receive from this day forth. I'm done caring and yes, loving them. I'm done making excuses for that which they lack, because they are no longer part of my life. If these dominoes continue and more people call them friends or family than do me, then my inner circles will just get smaller, tighter, better. For I'm not one to change my mind, not ever for this feeling. The snow doesn't get to cover back up these footsteps.

Quickie Review - We Are The Best!

If you're my age (44), 1982 was a time of rebellion, discovery and punk rock music. This beautiful Swedish film, captures the very essence of what so many of us were feeling. Everyone else had the cool parents, ours were a burden. Everyone else had issues that were unimportant, because whatever "we" worried about was paramount. We chose our friends this way. We sought out other outcasts and wanted them to join us on our quest for world domination or simply to be noticed, to be different. It's when we cut our own hair or the sleeves on our shirts. It was our way of saving punk music, but for many of us in the US, it was really the beginning of it.

The movie is the story of three girls and their desire to fit in without fitting into what society wanted them to. They truly were the essence of the punk movement. The same way that hip-hop isn't just music, punk wasn't either. It was a style and a mindset. Establishment's rules are for the masses, not us. What's so beautiful about this film is it balances the girl's desire to be rebellious with truly just wanting to be normal. They all want to be something they aren't and by supporting each other, they become this thing, a band. This is by no means meant to be a musical. It's not a grim tale, showing some seedy side of the movement and if you're like me, you might not even know the bands they were mentioning.

It's not for everyone. Nothing happens. It's life. I passed on three hours of Boyhood to watch an hour and forty minutes of what could essentially be called girlhood. But more bad ass.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Quickie Review - The Den

The Den is a very good film and there are things about it that are great. It takes our comfort with the Internet and makes it truly awful. It takes a few other things that make us feel comfortable and it ruins that too, but I don't want to give to much away. I will however tell you what is absolutely great about it (yes, some slight spoilers).

1. It's not fucking Hollywood - Yes, there are some scenes where you wonder why it's shot in a found footage style, but it doesn't matter. It was done and you don't care. 
2. The Killer - Watch it you'll see.
3. The ending that will drive some crazy - Because they didn't get how awful it was and not in a bad way, in it's view on society as a whole.
4. A beautiful girl who has sex - And here's where it is wonderful, The girl is adorable, she gets surprised by her boyfriend who is leaving town and what's the scene we see. Him pleasuring her. How often is that the only sex scene in a movie. Oh and another thing, it's a pretty hot scene.
5. Despite the craziness, there is never a point where you say "who the hell would act this way?" It all makes sense. 

Now, the detractors will point to style errors, camera angles and possibly reasoning, but I felt that is what makes it authentic. It is rusty in spots and sure, there are liberties taken with cameras and computer logistics, but that doesn't hinder the story as it does in so many other. A don't listen to the message board trolls who didn't like it, because the girls aren't all naked. That wouldn't have played any part in the film anyway and those that wanted more gore need to watch some Takashi Miike films and get their fix and come back to a stylish thriller, that has a nice balance of scares, violence and gore. Oh yeah and a wonderfully sensual cameo by...the man, Bill Oberst Jr. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Quickie Review - Timecrimes (Minor Spoilers)

After hearing about this movie a lot recently, I dove in last night. Clear head, full stomach and a couple of cups of coffee ready. Time travel movies need you sharp and this one was no different. Like all movies, I went in with a blank slate. I knew absolutely nothing about this, other than it being a time travel movie. So the first scene sees this buffoon trip his way around his house, while his wife works busily. I noticed something right away. What's interesting, is not one review I read after seeing the movie even touched on it. The bet on the table. Hector knew the table wasn't going to fit in the house. So I'm assuming right away, he's done this before.

Fast forward close to 80 minutes and the same table is used in two scenes that are meant to mimic each other. Now, without noticing the obvious hint, this makes the movie very neatly wrapped and people can go home happy. I wasn't, because not only does it mean there is either another layer, it could mean it was an enormous plot hole. So say I'm wrong and there is another reason for it, then the movie is to be taken as is. But then, how do you explain what transpires right after the table incident, if there was Hector #1?

Timecrimes is very well done for the genre. It is absolutely killed by a lethargic performance by it's star, but the story alone is fun. It also uses a very clever technique, which has been commented on, but is absolutely brilliant. The director uses breasts as a distraction to an enormous plot hole. That might sound funny or downright ridiculous, but at some point in the movie, no matter if you are male or female, you are taken by this beautiful nude woman who is utterly (pun intended) perfect. What this scene does is it allows you to forget that there is no logical explanation for it happening, because the logic actually contradicts the plot....unless of course you picked up on the table hint. The second time we see the woman, we're not shown her naked body and in an odd instinctual reaction, we're sidetracked. While we wonder why they edited it, we're distracted again, by the second plot hole.

I don't like giving things away, so I'll say this. Timecrimes is good. It's no Triangle as it's been compared and it's not even as effective as Looper in many ways, but when you realize that they created a time travel movie with no special effects and only four speaking parts, it's absolutely genius. It is one of those movies I'll revisit a year or two from now and probably appreciate more for it's artistic prowess, but a lot less for it's ability to deceive and confuse. If you do adore this genre, it will without a doubt jump to the top of your favorite list.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Frank - Is It A Movie About Twitter Or Mental Illness?

Was I the only person who felt that the entire film was about Twitter? I'm not saying the concept or even the original idea, but the way it plays out, especially in the final forty minutes, feels like it's entirely about life on twitter? I just felt that Twitter was always the anti-Facebook. It was the place where you went to be yourself and be recognized for it, but the reality is that it's become worse than Facebook. People make up a persona and become completely pigeon-holed into one genre or type and the only acceptance they feel is from the people they tried to separate themselves from in the first place.

Yes, I realize the movie is also about mental illness and wanting to be "normal." Normal in the sense that you can do what you love and have it accepted and appreciated without judgement. We all know that even when people with disabilities achieve greatness, we always add they are disabled. The irony in the movie is the most damaged is Clara, who is really the main character in so many ways, even down to her metaphorical instrument.

I must admit, that while I didn't enjoy the movie, I was fascinated by its layers. All of which get bogged down by the fact that we know this is based on someone real and a person I knew nothing about before and I know even less now. This brings me back to Twitter. Even those twitter handles that I call friends, are really strangers to me. I take at face value they are who they say they are, but as I've experienced, there are those who will privately ask you how your weekend was and then unfollow you because you didn't like the song they posted for you. Is that twitter, mental illness or both? Is it neither? I don't know, because unlike Facebook, there is no history between us.

I'm not sure when this was written, but I'm guessing the writer was very aware of the power of twitter. Not only as it's portrayed in the film, but also it's power to affect lives, both good and bad.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Been A While

Well, it's been a while since I've written anything really personal on here. I didn't wrap up my year or even the holidays in any neat little package of words, because I really didn't have much to tell. I feel let down by the holidays, by people, both friends and family. I feel lost in a a repetitive episode of an awful game show, where even the winner seems less than enthused. My distance to those I once called friends is obviously taking its toll on their memory of me and mine of them. I don't reach out via text the way I used to and they don't in any ways. I have a $100+ month phone and it has rung due to a friend's call only three times since before November began. My outgoing calls have been minimal as well as I don't need small talk. All I have is small talk. Small talk and the social media connection. The funny thing about it is that I've made a "new" friend who has kept a smile on my face and two old ones too. I get the sports messages once in a while and they are a welcome addition. The reality is that my real online friends are those who don't know my situation all that well and don't feel the need to judge me or make any assumptions based on anything. They know I like movies, I'm a bit of a wise ass and I like to joke. That's pretty much all the need to know, because, it's me. Sure there are more layers, but like all friendships, we strip those away slowly.

I'm bored. I'm bored about reading about everyone's colds, their weather conditions and their daily woes. I miss talking to people about real things. Even those who actually have true problems, I miss. I miss being there with more than a "like" and a comment or two. I'm done liking your sick child or praising your parenting skills for staying up with your coughing child. If you need to be patted on the back, you probably aren't as good a parent as you think. I'm tired of people thinking Facebook is Google or the yellow pages. If I want to know where to fix something, I look it up and I'm calling that place within ten seconds. I don't need six likes to make me feel better about my household appliances being on the fritz.

On the other hand I'm thrilled with my friends having babies or who have had them. Facebook does serve a purpose in that sense. I get a warm feeling seeing fat cheeks smiling at me, even if they will never see me in person. Maybe they will and then I'll be thankful I didn't miss out on them growing up. I have weekly crushed on people and not always in that way. I have crushes on their frivolity and their tenderness. I have crushes on their vulnerability and like me, their ability to share it. Sure the 50 comments they receive proves they have better friends than I, but I don't let that get me down. The people I need to hear from aren't on these sites and the ones that are have done more than their share.

I'm thinking about how I went an entire football season not watching one game with any of guys and girls I've spent watching for 25 years. I think about how I have watched more football during the playoffs than I did the entire regular season. I think about how little college basketball I've watched and how my legacy regarding it, is not only tarnished, but an end of an era in my life has come. I hope those I owe realize I have not forgotten and will get to them. It's a thorn in my side, which hurts more than those other debts, deemed more serious by the parties involved.

It's cold, but not unbearable anymore. Thoughts of going outside to warm up are gone. Going outside at all has become a mystery to me. I was someone who was constantly walking to the store, walking to the bar, waiting for a cab, doing something outside and now, I'm a complete hermit. That will change, hopefully with the ability to walk without pain. It's still a dream of mine. Many more ailments plague me now and despite what some may think by my grizzly appearance, all hope is not lost. Those who care give me reasons to look to the future, but it is me, the future is ten minutes from now, not ten years from now. I don't even like to think about ten days. Plans. People with their plans!

I don't ever want to seem pathetic, but it is nice to get a hello once in a while. It's nice to have people say nice things in private. Not looking for a like, an immediate response or anything else that makes it about them. I am worried about two people who I have always been able to count on and them on me as we drift further and further apart, for no reason other than we are.

So much has changed and 2014 was the worst year of my life since 2004, but even more so in some ways. I can't call the seven months I had with my mother bad, so even with her passing it was better than last, because last year, I couldn't put my troubles aside and think of someone else who needed me. It was always on me and my problems and the ball dropped and like the 44 times before, nothing changed.