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Category Archives: Movies/TV

TV & Movie reviews and recommendations.

Four Birds With One Stone?

The Descendants (film)

I’ll make this short and sweet.  Four movies that I have seen recently; The Guard, The Descendants, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and Young Adult.

The Guard is an Irish production that attempts to be a dark comedy.  There are some funny moments, but overall for me, not enough.  It’s fine to watch if you have nothing better to watch.

2.5/5

The Descendants was an Oscar contender for Best Picture of 2011, and in my opinion it should have won.  George Clooney is great as usual, but the star of the movie is Shailene Woodley.  She is excellent as Clooneys’ eldest daughter.  The great thing about The Descendants is that it seems real and plausible.  Each actor does a great job of keeping it real, Beau Bridges impersonation of his brother Jeff as “The Dude” aside, no overacting here.

4.5/5

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is an old school whodunit spy mystery.  Gary Oldman plays a retired British agent challenged to find a Russian double agent planted within the inner workings of British Intelligence.  The movie is slow paced and longer than it should be.  What really disappointed me was the fact that the mole is revealed in the trailer for the movie.  I was begging for a twist to the movie but it never arrived.  Overall good movie, watch it if you have nothing better to do.

3/5

Young Adult, written by Diablo Cody, is about an adult woman who has not moved past her high school years.  The main character is wonderfully portrayed by Charlize Theron, supported by Patton Oswalt as an old classmate whom she befriends upon return to her old hometown.  Young Adult is a dark comedy, with not many laughs.  It is heavy on the dark, so if your in the mood for a depressing time check it out.  If you like Cody and her previous work you will probably like Young Adult.

3/5

 

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Tattoo You

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011 film)David Fincher’s adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is an must watch thrilling movie.  Fincher has produced a movie that comes much closer to the hardcore edge of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy than the original Swedish production.  Fincher has taken liberties with the story but they advance the story just as well as Larssons’ original narrative.  Without revealing the ending, I was a little disappointed with Fincher’s biggest deviation from the novel.  With that said I did find the ultimate ending of the film to be much more satisfying than the Swedish movie.

Rooney Mara does a remarkable job of presenting Lisbeth Salander, making her a damaged yet very sympathetic character.  Daniel Craig also does a great job of not getting in her way.  Viewers who are used to Craig the action star will see him wisely step back and allow Mara to be the catalyst of action throughout the movie.

The opening credits, to me, were quite enjoyable.  I don’t know if it is the presence of Daniel Craig but the credits remind me of the highly stylized opening credits of the James Bond franchise.  With Trent Reznor and Karen O’s (better than the original) cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” the opening credits prepare the viewer for the coming thrill ride.

I highly recommend The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo for readers of the novels as well as newcomers to the series.

4.5/5

Midnight In Paris

Midnight in Paris

I finally had the opportunity to see Woody Allen’s latest movie, Midnight In Paris.  The movie stars Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, and Marion Cotillard.  Wilson plays a disenchanted Hollywood writer, engaged to McAdam’s character, hoping to find a creative spark for his novel while vacationing in Paris.  Along the way Wilson encounters many of his literary heroes and gains a new perspective on life.  Owen Wilson does an outstanding job of acting “natural” and helps the viewer suspend disbelief as he travels back to the 1920’s.

In the same way that Allen showcased the beauty of Barcelona in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Paris is very much a featured player in the movie.  After watching the movie one wants to visit Paris.  One can only hope upon such an excursion that Marion Cotillard is available as an private guide to the city.  Michael Sheen is excellent in a supporting role as the smarmy villain.  Overall, I really enjoyed Midnight In Paris and highly recommend you watch.

4/5  Midnight In Paris will be released on Blu-ray/DVD December 20, 2011.

Current listening:  Elvis Costello – “Alison” “Good Year for the Roses” “Sulphur to Sugarcane”;  Faces – “Stay With Me” love Ronnie Woods’ guitar on this song

Forgive?

elvis costello, villa solaria, sesto fiorentin...Sorry it’s been awhile since I last posted 😦

Two stories I have found interesting.

#1 Elvis Costello recommends fans not buy his upcoming box set.

Elvis is not happy with the price of his upcoming box set entitled “The Return Of The Spectacular Spinning Songbook”, and has asked fans to purchase Louis Armstrong recordings instead.  This is a welcome breath of fresh air from Costello.  He says that he tried to get those responsible to lower the price but his efforts were “fruitless”.   This statement by Costello gets major “dap” from me.  Paying $200-300 for a box set is a brutal sacrifice for even the most strident of fans.  Big ups to Elvis Costello.

 

#2 East Bound and Down will return in February!!!

Kenny Powers is set to return in February for the last season of East Bound and Down.  If you haven’t watched you should use the next two months to get caught up.  Maybe you can put the first two seasons on your Christmas wish-list.  Santa will definitely approve!

Captain Jack Will Get You High Tonight!

Bacardi 151 Rum

Image by MerlinStoll via Flickr

The Rum Diary is the latest tribute by Johnny Depp to his late friend Hunter S. Thompson.  For me The Rum Diary is a much better movie than 1998’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.  The plot and characters are much more likeable and easier to follow.  Rum Diary is a much more heartfelt and overall loving tribute to a departed friend.  The movie is based on the experiences of Thompson during his stay in the Caribbean during the early 1960s.

The movie is quite funny in places but also takes on a serious tone in relation to Thompson and his fight against the “bastards” of corruption.  For me the lack of focus on the corruption is the weakest portion of the movie.  Depp does a great job of paying to homage to Thompson without going over the top.  Richard Jenkins, Aaron Eckhart, and Michael Rispoli all give great supporting performances, while Amber Heard does a great job of looking sultry and beautiful.  Despite showing the seedier side of Puerto Rico, The Rum Diary is a visually striking movie.  The beaches, blue skies, and overall beauty of the island really shine.

The Rum Diary is a film about finding your place and voice in the world, luckily Thompson did just that in Puerto Rico.

3.5/5

Current listening: “Shangri-La” – Mark Knopfler, entire album is great!!

 

Why You Hatin’ On Zooey?

Zooey Deschanel ( cropped version )

Zooey Deschanel

I never watch baseball.  Unfortunately there was no football on in my area at 6 p.m. CT Sunday night.  To kill time before the Sunday night NFL game, I flipped over to Fox.  I was pleasantly surprised to see Zooey Deschanel standing in the middle of the baseball diamond.  Zooey performed a pleasant rendition of the national anthem and I returned to watching the NBC pregame show.

Please refrain from condemning me as “unpatriotic” but more often than not I change the channel during any performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” or “God Bless America.”  They are often badly sung, overly dramatic, and way too long.  The only reason I hung around for the anthem on Sunday night was to hear Deschanel.  I found it to be sweet, pleasant, and concise.

To my surprise I have seen online criticism of her anthem rendition and the fact that she didn’t stay for the whole game.  Who would want to stay and watch a baseball game?  If it were me I would sing the anthem, accept my check, and head for the nearest exit.  Critics blast her for singing the anthem in order to promote her show on FOX and  the new She & Him Christmas album.  I find no fault in her for this.  Everyone who sings the anthem at sporting events is looking to promote their latest project or boost album sales.  Get over it!

What did you think of her rendition of the anthem?

You can view it here: MLB.com

Breaking News…Dancing With The Stars is a “Popularity Contest”

I admit it, I do not watch Dancing with the Stars.  Whew, that’s a real load off my conscience.  I read a headline where the most recent reject from Dancing with the Stars, Chynna Phillips, proclaimed that the reality dance show is a “popularity contest.”  This is a real genius observation, a show based on the votes of the viewers is a popularity contest.  I am floored.  Next thing you’ll tell me is that American Idol, Survivor, The X-Factor, and the rest of reality contest shows are “popularity contests.”

She should just shut up, enjoy whatever boost to your album sales you receive from your appearances on TV, then GO AWAY!