July 27, 2009

DVD Review #16 Bottle Shock

Bottle Shock (2008) Alan Rickman, Bull Pullman Directed by Randall Miller

I watched this movie a few days ago and wasn't going to review it, however it was so good that I guess I will review it in hopes that somebody will read this and think...yeah possibly better than Beyond on the Law with Charlie Sheen (I recommended to a friend this film...and he choose to go with Charlie Sheen with a mullet and a motorcycle instead...hmm good choice). Bottle Shock is the true story of a 1976 blind taste test putting the California wines of Napa against French Wine. When California wine wasn't taken seriously this put it on the map and of course opened the door for places like Oregon or even New Zealand to get in the game and produce some great wine. Now I would consider myself a "sort of" wine guy, I have been a waiter and I have had the opportunity to try some great wine, so there is a bit of bias in this review...however I don't love the movie because it's about wine, the characters are fantastic, the acting is wonderful, and the story is actually hilarious. Alan Rickman plays the great wine expert Steve Spurrier who so brilliantly states "you think I'm an A@*hole because...well I'm British...and um your not". Several nice acting jobs in addition to my man Rickman...Chris Pine (of new Kirk Star Trek fame) is really likable again here as the hippy son of Bill Pullman, Bo Barrett, Freddy Rodriguez does a nice job with Gustavo, and the absolutely adorable Rachael Taylor is wonderful as Sam. Dennis Farina, Eliza Dusku, and (my boy) Bradley Whitford all have nice little roles here as well. Randall Miller who is best known directing TV shows does a really nice job with a very funny and interesting story. Bottle Shock is not a movie that is going to jump out at you at the local REDBOX, or Blockbuster so make an effort and go find it. It was truly a nice surprise.

Rickman is playing the Caterpillar in the upcoming Alice in Wonderland film in addition to his work in Harry Potter as Snape, Pine has Unstoppable the next Tony Scott/Denzel picture, Rachael Taylor (keep an eye on this girl) has an interesting film called Splinterheads out on the Independent circuit now that I may track down, and also a hot sounding film called Melt for next year, Pullman has the very cool looking Jennifer Lynch (daughter of David) film Surveillance out there...and Randall doesn't have anything in the works right now...however much of the cast from this film is in another film he did right before this called Nobel Son...and I am on the hunt to see it.

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) Wine...please for the love of god drink wine while you watch Bottle Shock (I recommend Trader Joe's: either the Morris Cab or The Stonehedge Reserve Cab...both good value wines) this is the kind of film to just curl up, relax, and enjoy...it gets a very strong plum, fruit forward, soft finish, velvety smooth...um 7.0. See it!

July 21, 2009

DVD Review #15 Watchmen

Watchmen (2008) Billy Crudup, Malin Akerman Directed by Zach Synder

I read about a thousand bad reviews for this film when I was contemplating going to see it in the theaters...whether it was USA Today or Entertainment Weekly I was led to believe that this film was not good. However my two most trusted rating sites gave it a 7.9 out of ten and a B (IMDB and Boxoficemojo respectively), but sadly those were probably the only two reviews I didn't check at the time. After viewing the Watchmen on my TV I sort of wished I did see it in the theater. I didn't love it, but I certainly admired the attempt to tell a complex and layered superhero story. I also thought Zach Synder (best known for directing 300), made another film that was great to look at. I am not familiar with the graphic novel, so like many viewers of this film, I was being introduced to characters like The Comedian, Dr. Manhattan, Nite Owl, and Rorshach. This group of not so super (except for Dr. Manhattan) hero's who fight crime, vigilante style in a not so cool alternate future America (a future where Nixon is serving his fourth term, the USA won Vietnam, and USA and Russia are on the brink of Nuclear War) is an interesting one. But because the story is pretty complicated, it is difficult to follow both the introductions of these characters and the story progression. The acting is Hit and Miss Malin Akerman (Silk Spectre II) is very pretty but not a great actress yet, Dan Dreiberg (Nite Owl II) is whiny, Billy Crudup (Dr. Manhatten) is stone cold...(BTW Billy Crudup so good in Almost Famous has not impressed me in long time Trust the Man was good but more so for Duchovny I suppose...the last time I found him really likable was in a Daily Show interview), and really the only two guys who make a good effort of getting into character are Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Comedian...best known from his role as Denny in Grey's Anatomy) and Jackie Earle Haley (Rorshach)...who guides the story with his narration. The alternate 80's setting provides some great scenes of Tricky Dick, Kissinger, and Pat Buchanan...and the soundtrack is awesome. When two superheros have sex with Hallelujah playing in the background as they take off their capes and masks...it is so strange and foreign that it works perfectly (like imagine what it would be like to see Batman sleep with Catwoman and struggle to get his utilty belt off, crazy right??). On the flip side there were a few other things that didn't work so great, like Billy Crudups blue penis flopping around the whole time...maybe dude put like some superhero shorts on or something. At the end though I was happy enough, having the bar set low from all those bad reviews may have played a factor here, but its ok..sometimes that's how it works. I recommend viewing it at least once to see a truly unique perspective on the superhero genre.

Crudup gets another chance in a cool sounding thriller for 2011 called Trust with K Sutherland and Guy Perice. Akerman has the Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau (um they wrote Swingers together) written comedy Couples Retreat to look forward to. And Zach Synder has an animated owl flick called Guardians of Ga'Hoole in 2010 and soon after the 300 sequel which has yet to be titled. Also I'd like to just throw out there the Drew Barrymore directorial debut movie Whip It, for which the trailer has just hit the Internet...it has Ellen Page among many others playing roller derby...and looks really really good.

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) Blue Penis, Nixon "four more years", Superheros "doing it", and a cool soundtrack warrant at least a 6.5 rating...I may have given it more the re-watchablity factor hurts it a bit.

July 18, 2009

Movie Review #14 Public Enemies

Public Enemies (2009) Johnny Depp. Christian Bale Directed by Michael Mann

There are some Michael Mann movies I absolutely love (The Insider, Heat, Manhunter), then there are those I kinda like (Collateral, The Last of the Mohicans, and ALI), and then there is Miami Vice...just not good. This is not as bad as Miami Vice but some of the same things I didn't like about Vice, I don't like about Public Enemies. First of all on the good side, the soundtrack is so F-ing cool I had to download a few Otis Taylor songs (only Michael Mann could make the Banjo cool again...well maybe Steve Martin could as well). Secondly the film looks and feels great, costumes, sets, the feel of the 1930's is without question here...and as usual it is Michael Mann cool. Thirdly and lastly on the good side, this film is stuffed with good acting, Depp is great as usual, Bale serves his role well, Billy Crudup as a young ambitious J. Edgar Hoover is a scene stealer, and the role players like Jason Clarke, Stephen Dorff (yeah crazy if you can forget he is Stephen Dorff he isn't bad), and a brief visit by Duke from the upcoming G.I. Joe: Channing Tatum who plays Pretty Boy Floyd also does well. The female lead is miscast, Marion Cotillard is a beautiful actress who was great in Love Me If You Dare and A Good Year, but she doesn't quite work right here. Her character Billie really has to pull you in for you to buy this movie as it is told to us...and sadly I was not pulled in. Actually it isn't Cotillard's fault that her character doesn't work well in Public Enemies...it is Mann's. Public Enemies weighs in at over two hours, yet in all that time I don't feel like I really know John Dillinger at the end of the film, or Agent Purvis, or J. Edgar Hoover, or really what just happened...besides what I already knew about the story that is. The film is cool (like Miami Vice maybe a bit too cool), but the story it tells is incomplete. I really wish more time was spent explaining some of the relationships, or perhaps why Dillinger would fall for this woman so fast, or maybe even how he pulled off his escapes or bank robberies...we really don't learn any of of that throughout the film, even the hints about the birth of the F.B.I. leave you begging for more information...that we never get...instead we get cool close ups of Johnny Depp, or cool close ups of Tommy Guns being loaded, or cool closeups of all those 1930's sunglasses styles. Mann's signature style oozes from everywhere...a little bit too much, (I fear it's kinda like when John Woo got old...remember Face/Off...it got old right around there) I hope that is not where Mann is headed. The bar is set high for me with The Insider being in my top 5 of all time, so I don't want to be too hard, but really Mann who has a writing credit here as well should have probably taken another look at the story and perhaps held back some of his MichaelMannishness in the editing room. All that said it is a cool film to watch (think The Good Shepard meets The Untouchables), who rates a worthy 6.5 rating and a modest recommendation (can wait for DVD, but it's cooler on the big screen).

Food for thought: Wouldn't you know in this day and age at the movies I can just walk right up to the snack stand and order a Venti Iced Vanilla Latte and they will actually give me one. I left this film wishing I had a cool pair of 1930's sunglasses and lived back in the time where everybody wore a 3-piece suit. Up next for Mann is a film called Empire and he also has many in development films. Depp is a busy guy with Alice In Wonderland, Sin City 3, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, and The Rum Diary (A Hunter S. Thompson novel...Tiffany where are you??) . Bale has The Fighter about Mickey Ward...played by Mark Wahlberg, Prisoners done by Bryan Singer (he did The Usual Suspects), and of course the next Batman flick. Bonus: Strong rumor is Pirates 4 is on the way...for those of you who like those movies...I sort of do settle down.

July 16, 2009

Fantasy Update #9

It is indeed the halfway point of the baseball season and time for another update. I find myself in a very competitive 2nd and 3rd place in my two leagues. I have made great strides in my weak league (Soxtown) and have slipped just a hair in the league I have been in first for most of the year (RedSoxRevenge)...I should say other teams have stepped up. I have made some significant trades (as promised) that so far have worked out. Alright here's the break down. These are 12 team mixed Leagues.

League One (RedSoxRevenge)
New Lineup looks like this:
C Jorge Posada-29 Runs-11 HR's-40 RBI's-285 AVG (need a strong healthy 2nd Half)
1st Derek Lee-40 Runs-17 HR's-57 RBI's-280 AVG (how good has he been)
2nd Chase Utley-62 Runs-20 HR's-61 RBI's-313 AVG (9 steals) (now on both my teams)
3rd David Wright-56 Runs-5 HR's-44 RBI's-324 AVG (20 steals) (still would love more power)
SS Hanley Ramirez-53 Runs-14 HR's-61 RBI's-349 AVG (13 steals) (nice to have him aboard)
OF Manny Ramirez-30 Runs-9 HR's-29 RBI's-355 AVG (he better play great he owes LA)
OF Raul Ibanez-53 Runs-22 HR's-60 RBI's-309 AVG (can he keep it up??)
OF Matt Holiday-42 Runs-8 HR's-43 RBI's-276 AVG (10 steals) (Looking for better numbers)
UTIL Jayson Werth-60 Runs-20 HR's-56 RBI's-263 AVG (12 steals) (too hard to bench)
Bench: Alexei Ramirez, Paul Konerko, and Mike Lowell.
My bench is good enough with Alexei to try if I need to anyway to parlay a Werth, Holiday or even an Ibanez for a legit starter. Moves: The Hanley trade was Tejada, Adam Dunn, and J.P. Howell for Hanley, Buehrle, and Kerry Wood...I felt strongly about it...and it makes my infield the best in the league not close. Picked up Lowell and Konerko. DL: Soto injured makes me nervous but hopefully Posada can get me through, he is playing fine and there aren't that many good catchers out there. I should be fine here.
Pitching: My staff looks better but I am willing to consider picking up a big dog starter if I need to...these categories are crucial for me to win. I'm led by Mark Buehrle, Edwin Jackson, Roy Oswalt, and Eric Bedard. I picked up Contreras and still have Smoltz...as I hope those two hold it together. Relief: Lead by Joe Nathan, and Brian Fuentes (who really got it together in June/July) but also have Kerry Wood...I am hoping that is enough.

League Two (Soxtown)
New Lineup looks like this:

C Brian McCann-27 Runs-8 HR's-37 RBI's-298 AVG (need him to see the ball)
1st Todd Helton-47 Runs-10 HR's-57 RBI's-319 AVG (hope he plays for the batting title)
2nd Chase Utley-62 Runs-20 HR's-61 RBI's-313 AVG (9 steals) (welcome aboard)
3rd Kevin Youkilis-56 Runs-16 HR's-53 RBI's-298 AVG (C'mon Youk I need you)
SS Alexei Ramirez-44 Runs-11 HR's-42 RBI's-281 AVG (12 steals) (Alexei is back)
OF Grady Sizemore-40 Runs-13 HR's-47 RBI's-235 AVG (9 steals) (my #1 pick)
OF Andre Ethier-49 Runs-18 HR's-56 RBI's-250 AVG (he could see some bench time)
OF Kendry Morales -39 Runs-15 HR's-49 RBI's-284 AVG (what a pickup)
UTIL Dustin Pedroia-65 Runs-4 HR's-40 RBI's-303 AVG (14 steals) (needs a good average)
Bench: Michael Cuddyer and Cody Ross leave me little flexibility, so it looks like my starters are going to have to take me to the top unless I can make another major deal. Cody Ross may not be with this team much longer. Moves: The Utley trade was Adam Dunn, Jayson Werth, and Ryan Franklin for Chase Utley, Cliff Lee, and Michael Cuddyer...I didn't have much of a choice here, Utley was my target and with saves wrapped up good for now I though Franklin was expendable, I was pissed to let Werth go, but still got the best player in the deal. Picking up Kendry Morales later helped with the blow and the fact I moved up to 3rd makes me think I did well...also today Cliff Lee went 9 Innings giving up one run. Pitching: My staff looks like it may get me back into some stat categories I thought were long gone. I'm lead by Jon Lester, Cliff Lee, Carlos Zambrano, and Tim Wakefield. I have Randy Wells, Jose Contreras, and Smoltz...they all make me nervous but I think I’ll be ok. Relief: It is sad to not have Franklin a guy that was so good this year, but Fuentes, Jenks, and Rodney are enough with the lead I have in saves right now...I may still deal one of them.

Some Advice from the guy in 2nd and 3rd: At this point you can only trade for need, don't go get guys that will hit 20 2nd half homers if you already lead that category...it sounds funny but I almost just did it. Sometimes we don't want to look at what it is that is causing us to not move up the list. If you are going to concede a stat now is the time to figure that out and trade away all guys that you no longer need, to get those guys who you will now need. Also pay attention to schedules and don't be afraid to bench guys...pay attention to your game totals.

2nd Half Stars-Look for Ortiz to be more normal as well as Sox stars Youk and Pedrioa. Pujols is the man, but if you don't have him, you won't get him so enough said there. Try maybe a Lance Berkman, Carlos Lee, or Miggy Tejada...the Astros are a second half team and may make a run. I believe David Wright and Chase Utley will earn their money...and I would have to concede that even A-rod is guy I would love to take on my team for his stats. If you can't get him, try for the great Kung Fu Panda Pablo Sandavol...he is for real.

2nd Half Fizzle-Well maybe Kevin Millwood won't keep it up, I would also be careful of Carlos Zambrano. I doubt Jeter keeps playing this well, and Mark Reynolds, Joe Mauer, and Ben Zobrist are all suspect from this point on.

Good luck to all in 2nd Half...I hope to win at least one of these leagues and if I can stay in the top five in both I would consider it a victory !

July 12, 2009

Week In Review #5

So the King of Pop leaves us along with many others, Nomar returns to a warm Fenway crowd, the Red Sox fend off Tampa and New York to hold their A.L. East lead at the break, I rank everything now, The All Star game where our Prez is cool even though he can't quite make it to home plate, and some NBA news.

Ok let's play catch up: Latest embarrassing Ipod Download-Will You Be There by Michael Jackson...I didn't have it...it seemed right. Latest DVD movies I have seen but won't review-Recently watched Quiz Show again...still great, and I am loosely considering watching and reviewing all of my top ten to justify their ranks (I'd like to mention a great article in the July 13-20 Sport Illustrated that talked about 1989 film Field of Dreams by Tom Verducci and did my favorite movie justice by explaining it's meaning beautifully). Also watched a cute film called Ghost Town with Ricky Gervais and Tea Leoni that I would recommend but don't want to review. Also for those who care I'm on Facebook and yes like everyone else I take many many quizzes...so you can find me by name. Hey in addition would much appreciate it if you became a follower...even if you don't read it frequently it would be cool.

It seems the last few months we have lost many people of significance in our lives from an entertainment or historical standpoint. The loss of Michael Jackson I guess came to a shock to most, myself included. It was a monumental media event that is still on, and yes I am now tired of it. I think the overall performance of the media was less than great at times, and I am Ok with the bringing up of the last 16 or so years where we considered MJ a bit of a crazy person (think Howard Hughes meets Lemony Snicket), however no one can deny his impact on music, MTV, and charities. In sports we saw two awful endings...Steve McNair lost his life in a brutal murder suicide, and Arturro Gatti lost his life to what appears to be his own wife...when something like that happens it becomes hard to remember their heroic efforts in the ring or on the field..but we will try. Others of note include Robert McNamara (see Fog of War...a documentary with McNamara explaining Vietnam), Oscar Mayer, Farrah Fawcett, and Ed McMahon.

Sox Nation: Recently the Nation gave me another reason to love em... with the recent return of a Sox great NOMAH I was proud to see he got a very respectful ovation from a loyal and smart baseball crowd. Smoltz has been shaky and is obviously not more than a 5 or 6 inning guy...which means are recent bullpen struggles are cause for some concern, though not much overall we have the best talent in the game. Lowell returns this week, and there is still a trade in the Sox future, though I'm scared to see what it is and I hope it doesn't shake up this chemistry...unless it's Roy Hallady then go ahead take who you want...he is a stud. We are up by 3 games and clearly still the class of the A.L., not too much to complain about here...WHOOOA Johnny if I were you I'd be worried (Bill Simmons Podcast Reference...it's a great Podcast check it out at ESPN on itunes).

The Prez and The All Star Game: Well Pujols had to sit about 2 feet in front of homeplate to grab that ball before it skipped in the dirt...but really I don't care it wasn't W's strike, but it was a great show from the Prez who chatted up the locker room and came on the field in jeans and a Chi Sox outfit that he claims his wife thinks is cute on him...is this guy for real???? I just hope like Manny or Sosa...he doesn't turn out to be a fraud...like Pujols (the potential irony is they threw to each other) they might be the last two guys on earth I really need to be for real. As for the game just another A.L. victory and boy it was a fast game...I was OK with it, though I really did want Wakefield in there. Also Kudos to the Pregame which celebrated citizen all-stars...and they got to mingle with players on the field, also all the living ex-prez's delivering a very nice pregame charity pep-talk was nice to see.

Rank em up: As you may have noticed I have gone back to rank all my old DVD reviews after some complaints that I didn't give them ranks initially. I also ranked my top ten and may re-review them all as we go along here, so you can understand why I would rank them so high. If you have any other suggestions for this blog please let me know.

NBA: Sheed to Celts is nice...not as nice as Artest to the Lakers, if they keep Odom I fear a repeat. I think Iverson should go to the Bobcats like most people, but it appears he may go to the Clippers instead. I have to admit to being a pretty big Boozer fan, but if he leaves the Jazz, I doubt it will be a big loss...he gets paid too much and Milsap is a more efficient player at this point. Vince Carter to Orlando doesn't impress me anymore since they lost Turkuglu...he will be missed. Now the Shaq-fu to the Cavs, I'm just not smart enough I guess to know if that will have any impact at all, I suppose it makes them better but I need to see it with my own eyes.

Some TV: I really am looking around for some good TV with the summer free time off I have, but I still don't have anything great. Conan is doing OK, and Stewart and Letterman are still my tops...but TV shows like Mental that I wanted to like are just too cheesy. I will keep my eyes open and please let me know if I am missing anything. I spend my time watching History channel stuff, and HDTV concerts of 3rd eye blind from 2004 lol...yeah I need a girlfriend :(

Update: The Podcast will be done before September...that's really all I know...and I have no idea how many we will do, but as soon as we have it I will link it to this blog.

ADD ON: So on a recent podcast with Bill Simmons the Sports Guy (7/15 on ESPN), a discussion was held with Chris Connelly about what was the biggest movie of the 2000's...it brew up an interesting discussion. As some of you know I trust Simmons when it comes to movies as his favorite movie of the 90's is non other than The Shawshank Redemtion...and I was on board with his initial pick of Almost Famous for the 2000's. Connelly said there was no great film of 2000's and that the extended TV drama (Sopranos and so on) comprised the best work. I am not sure about that but in any case it was a good discussion and it had me angry when Simmons started to slide into The Dark Knight territory (good film not a great decade film). So if you have any thoughts on this as the decade is coming to a close I would love to hear them. Let me give you a few to consider...Almost Famous, Gladiator, Lord Of The Rings, A Beautiful Mind, The Pianist, Lost In Translation, The Cooler, The Aviator, Ray, Million Dollar Baby, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Crash, Brokeback, Slumdog, City of God, Syrianna, Black Hawk Down, and The Departed. I wouldn't have a few of these on my list but in considering the question I lean toward 3 standouts in no order...The Aviator (should have beat Million Dollar Baby in 2004 Oscar race), Almost Famous (A golden god of a movie, topped by Cameron Crowe only by Jerry Maguire), and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (absolutely haunting and great). What do you think, which one holds up the best, which is the most re watchable, and which one will we remember the most??

July 10, 2009

DVD Review #14 Revolutionary Road

Revolutionary Road (2008) Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet Directed by Sam Mendes

This film filled with its hopeless-endlessness is very captivating, yet so hard to watch. This tale of a marriage gone wrong, will leave you haunted by the things that we fail at, and the things we ignore within each of our own relationships. I was exceptionally affected by this movie, it was almost like watching a Fincher film like "Fight Club", where after you watch it you really want to get in a fight...except after you watch Revolutionary Road the action you want to take...is to not get married. If this movie doesn't make you take a closer look at yourself within the context of your relationship with your significant other (or even at the actions you took within past significant others), than I don't know what will...you may be in fact doomed like the Wheelers.

Revolutionary Road is the story of The Wheelers, A young, ambitious, idealistic couple set in the 1950's (but make no mistake the problems they face here are not unique to the times...they are universal and very valid today). Frank played very well by DiCaprio is a unhappy add exec, who feels he is destined for a more exciting life, but is shackled by his responsibilities, i.e. family, house, etc... April (as usual played brilliantly by Winslet) on the other hand is a failed actress/housewife, who from the very beginning of the film is noticeably being torn apart by the idea that this is her life. The two face many issues throughout the film that are common within marriage, but the way they fight and communicate is so creepy, and real feeling that the last thing you will think about during these two actors scenes together is the stupid Titanic sinking. The other role players throughout the film are almost invisible while on screen with Kate and Leo, but the one standout is Michael Shannon (John Givings) who steals every scene he is in. This movie is so devastating throughout, that it is hard to recommend and I can tell you I will probably never view this film again. However when a movie twists your insides it is usually good (think Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, great film, which has a few really painful scenes...remember when they had to listen to what they said about each other to other people via recording...kinda like that...but maybe worse) . The fighting scenes are so realistic and awkward you almost want to jump in and tell them to shut the F up (especially you Leo you jerk...lol), but you stay, hold on, and watch it unravel. I recommend this film but not to the faint of heart, and maybe not to the hopeless romantic, perhaps just the jaded people out there...No I think you should see it and I would love to hear your thoughts on this profoundly disturbing movie. Now excuse me I think I have to go watch Anchorman or maybe Spaceballs to cleanse this film off my brain. Enjoy it...and I await your comments...By the way thanks Katie for the recommendation...it was very good, though again painful :)

Up next for Leo is the odd-looking thriller Shutter Island, Inception which is a CIA blackmail thriller, and a little farther down the road he has the Teddy Roosevelt Biopic. Nothing to report on Kate who may be taking some time off, however her husband (Mendes) currently has Away We Go out at the theaters now...and I think it looks cool.

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) Who knew Kate and Leo's marriage would go down harder than the Titanic...this film gets a very good 7.0 rating...and I hope I don't see it on cable.

July 6, 2009

DVD Reviews 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Ok I had a few days off and I am a sad little man who has nothing better to do than catch up on my movie viewing and my blog reviews. Don't feel bad I deserve every minute of it. I am going to review in a more brief format here. The films will be reviewed in the order of their rank (kids love the ranks), and one of the films is in the Best Picture Nominee from 2008 category...and I will again defend Slumdog against it.

(2008) Sean Penn, James Franco Directed by Gus van Sant

Milk is the story of Gay Activist and San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk, it is a sad and complicated story that is told very well by Gus Van Sant (he directed Good Will Hunting). Sean Penn earns his best actor trophy (with apologies to Mickey Rourke and Frank Langella) making us forget that he is Sean Penn, and becoming Harvey Milk. It runs about 128 minutes and it is a fascinating story. But Milk, isn't great because of the story, and it isn't great because of the direction and pace...this film is great because it is filled with tremendous acting from top to bottom. Josh Brolin, James Franco, Emile Hirsch, Alison Pill, and Sean Penn...all act their asses off so we can believe that they are these very real people, who did these very important things. I give Kudos to Van Sant for being able to again handle a film the was so true to life and filled with so much painful material, yet he still manages to make it so entertaining. I thought Milk ranks just slightly below Slumdog...although not that far behind. I highly recommend you see this film.

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) This film gets an 8.0 a really moving tale of courage and tenacity that was entertaining, and well acted. For those keeping score in order the 2008 Oscar best picture nominees rank for me like this: Slumdog 8.0, Milk 8.0, Button 7.5, Frost/Nixon 7.0, The Reader not reviewed.

Flash Of Genius (2008) Greg Kinnear, Lauren Graham Directed by Marc Abraham

Marc Abraham is best known as a producer in Hollywood, so why a guy who produced countless great films like The Family Man, The Emperor's Club, A Midnight Clear, and Playing God (
to name a few these are all great though) would tackle this story as his first Directing gig is a good question...that is right up until you watch it. It is a straight forward right and wrong story...my favorite kind. There is no fuzzy line here to battle for us viewing this ordinary man who battles one of the great motor companies (a la Ralph Nader...but Kinnear way more likable of course...sorry Ralph)...it is clear this man was hosed by the big boys, and he is willing to lose everything to claim what is his. Kinnear plays Bob Kearns the inventor or the Intermittent Windshield Wiper, who has to battle in court defending himself (yeah I know seems like somebody wrote it but nope this is a true story) against Ford Motor Company so he can get his due. He is a man obsessed and he does lose much of his family, and happiness in this pursuit of justice, but we like him...and so we watch and root for the man. I will give Kinnear most of the credit here, there are good role players everywhere in this film, Alan Alda and the beautiful Lauren Graham do a great job in both their roles, but to like this film you have to like Kinnear playing Kearns. Half the movie you want to yell at him and say just take the God Damn money and go home, but you don't, you sit and watch him fight it out. This movie is for the stubborn, and for the people who think they are always right...namely I guess this movie is tailored to jerks like me, who think they have a great sense of right wrong...(of course I'm wrong all the time...I just need to be convinced I'm wrong...anyone want that job?) Flash of Genius is a good film, that is both entertaining and poignant...go out and pick it up (though you might have a hard time finding it...I had to rent it on Itunes).

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) It gets a notable 7.5 for among many things being a good first film by Abraham.

Role Models (2008) Paul Rudd, Sean William Scott Directed by David Wain

Rudd has hit his stride...with early work like Clueless and The Object of my Affection, he set the tone as a cool Rat Pack like actor who is dorky..yet so ridiculously confident...you can't help but like him. He is what would happen if Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis had a kid who was raised by Sammy and Frank...does that make sense? Whatever, what I am saying about Rudd is he is not only moving up the ranks as one of my favorite actors, but in fact 70% of the time...he works 100% of the time (
shame on you if you don't know that is from Anchorman). Role Models is a hilarious film (also co-wrote by Rudd) that offers not only laughs...but a shit load of laughs. It isn't going for much else, but why would it, the premise is awesome and the cast hits a homerun. Every bit as good as I Love You Man (movie review #4). Two guys Scott and Rudd are sent to do community service where they have to befriend two young kids, and act as Big Brothers. Both Bobb'e J. Thompson (awesome as potty-mouthed little Ronnie) and Chris Mintz-Plasse (McLovin from Superbad) nail their parts. The chemistry between the guys and the kids is awesome. Watch for both Jane Lynch (as the lady in charge who is here to service these young boys) and Ken Jeong (small penis guy from the Hangover)...as they both steal scenes. This really is a laugh fest and I feel bad it took me so long to see it. If you are ready for a funny flick go out and get this film.

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) Role Models gets a deserving 7.0, but I'm so close to giving it something higher...I just don't want to offend I Love You Man.

Definitely, Maybe (2008) Ryan Reynolds, Abigail Breslin Directed by Adam Brooks

This film was a nice surprise to me as I am not a big Ryan Reynolds fan, though after this I can say he is growing on me. Definitely, Maybe is a cute film that tells the story of a father trying to help his daughter (
played so well by Breslin) cope with the pending divorce of her parents. Reynolds (the dad) decides he is going to tell the story of how he got to the point of now, via bedtime tale to his daughter. I thought it very cool that the story takes place in the nineties so I can relate...um cause I'm getting old I guess. He works for the Clinton campaign which is fitting given his character. Reynolds really plays likable but flawed very well here. For the first time, it's not the wisecracks that we like about him, but its the vulnerability and realness that we like. Rachel Weisz (always good) is my favorite of the three women (Elizabeth Banks and Isla Fisher play the other two and do fine) who are tangled up in the story of his life. A nice cameo by one of my fav's, Kevin Kline really upgraded the movie for me as well. Warning this is a bit of tearjerker with a nice happy ending...that although was a bit too happy for me I understood how you had to write it that way. I recommend this film to anyone who thinks love is easy and not complicatd...take that back...to anyone who thinks relationships are uncomplicated...love is probably not tackled in that way in this film...and it's better for it.

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) Definitely, Maybe gets a worthy 7.0, and I will stop saying Ryan Reynolds wears eyeliner now :)

The International (2009) Clive Owen, Naomi Watts Directed By Tom Tykwer

I fell asleep twice trying to watch this film, when I finally made it all the way through, I had wished I would have just watched Syriana again. I liked the message this movie was trying to send (
big banks bad...with all that power), but it was done lazy, and lacked the necessary plot points to make us care. A few decent scenes with Owen as a cool Interpol Officer, Watts is completely wasted here, and nobody else...even the bad guys, do much to keep you from going to the fridge and grabbing...um another cheese hot dog (I hate myself). I don't want to call it a total waste of time...so I won't call it anything. I highly recommend that if you want smarts in a film about corruption get either The Insider, or The Pelican Brief. Clive you can do better.

(The Shawshank Scale 1-10) The International will receive a paltry 4.5 rating.

July 4, 2009

DVD Review of Reviews #'s 1-8

So I was sort of poked at for not ranking my DVD movies like I rank my regular movie reviews, so I took the time (because I have nothing else to do) to go back and rank them all (also I fixed a few movie rankings in there that I was too hard on...I originally gave Taken a 6.5...a clear 7 movie...so I fixed that). I will post this review and from now on I will give DVD rankings. (also went back and fixed them in the review). I listen them here with the Review number at the end in case you wanted to go back and yell at me, except those of you who thought Zombie Strippers was better than a 1.5 please keep it to yourself. As always ranks are done in the The Shawshank Scale a 1-10 scale that reflects the ten most memorable lines from one of the best films ever made.

In order of Rank:
Slumdog Millionaire 8.0 DVD Review #1
Benjamin Button 7.5 DVD Review #7
The Wrestler 7.5 DVD Review #5
Frost/Nixon 7.0 DVD Review2 #6
Seven Pounds 6.5 DVD Review #2
He's Just Not That Into You 6.5 DVD Review #8
Yes Man 5.5 DVD Review #3
Zombie Strippers 1.5 DVD Review #4

Incidentally Slumdog with an 8.0 is the highest ranked movie on this blog with many 7.5's reviewed, but keep in mind all the movies in my top ten list are all 9.0 or higher...so if you need a better barometer to go off of, there it is.

Fantasy Update # 8.5


Ok so it is getting to be that time to do a little preseason/pre-draft ranking. I am bored and hibernating in the summer right now and I did my first mock draft...I don't do too many of these, but I thought it was interesting to see where some other people were at. I am just going to throw a few thoughts out and give some rankings. Just like baseball I will be posting updates on my league status, and just like baseball I will be participating in only two leagues...maybe three. Hey I have to do other things, schoolwork and maybe a date or two...c'mon settle down.

Ok my top 25 period...in order.
1.Brady 2.M Turner 3. A Peterson 4. MJ Drew 5. S Jackson 6. D Brees 7. DeA Williams 8. Chris Johnson 9. M Forte 10. L Fitzgerald 11. R Moss 12. Steve Slaton 13. F Gore 14. Calvin Johnson 15. C Portis 16. M Barber 17. L Tomlinson 18. A Johnson 19. Thomas Jones 20. S Smith 21. B Westbrook 22. K Smith 23. B Jacobs 24. Roddy White 25. T Romo

Ok Now top ten's
Qb's 1.Brady 2. Brees 3. Romo 4. A Rodgers 5. K Warner 6. C Palmer 7. P Manning 8. M Hasselbeck 9. M Ryan 10. McNabb/Orton
RB's 1.M Turner 2. A Peterson 3. MJ Drew 4. S Jackson 5. DeA Williams 6. Chris Johnson 7. M Forte 8. S Slaton 9. F Gore 10. C Portis
WR's 1. Larry Fitzy 2. R Moss 3. C Johnson 4. A Johnson 5. S Smith 6. R White 7. M Colston 8. W Welker 9. Houshmandzadeh 10. G Jennings
TE's-J Witten-Listen some people say you can wait to get a good one like Owen Daniels...yeah he is good but I'm telling you on this blog there is one single guy you want that will hold great value in a trade and on your roster...get Witten, reach for him then get another guy like Scheffler or Daniels late...you won't regret it.

Look out for: Donald Brown I don't trust Joseph Addai much and this kid looks good, I like all Denver Running Backs Torrain and Moreno mostly, Wells for Arizona is looking solid. Also if you can get em late...I'm telling you Crabtree WR for SF is the real deal. Again with McDaniels in Denver even without Marshall they should be solid offensively so Orton, Royal, and Scheffler all jump up high on my board.

Mock Draft:I picked in this order(I had 2nd pick in a snake system draft): Brady QB, Barber RB, T Jones RB, Witten TE, Lynch RB, B Berrian WR, E Royal WR, O Daniels TE, C Palmer QB, M Crabtree WR, M Hasselbeck QB, Eagles D, Jets D, T Scheffler TE, J Gage WR, M Prater K. I was totally happy with this mock draft...let me know what you think.

Ok that's it for now, the rankings are for you to think about and the thoughts are for you to scrutinize. Please comment, fix the things I am mistaken about before I draft !!

July 1, 2009

Coming Soon!!!

Ok so I have seen several DVD's lately, but because I have been late on most of them I have not reviewed them. Role Models, The International, and Definitely Maybe to name a few but I will post some mini reviews and due to some complaining I will go back and post ratings (1-10 The Shawshank Scale) for all of the old DVD reviews. Another Week In Review where I will touch on The King Of Pop, and the rest of the celebrity deaths that occurred, the governor who went to Argentina, and oh yeah Fantasy Football on the way, I'll give you some early rankings. Next up at the movies is Public Enemies...we shall see. As always please comment and yell at me...god knows I deserve it.