Tuesday, June 30, 2009

1244 - The Hangover

I've been excited to see this film since I saw the trailer, and it didn't disappoint. It's sadly rare to see a high-concept comedy execute at this level of excellence. Now let's be straight, this is just what it is - it's not a big emotional heavy film - it's just a laugh-fest, and it delivers and delivers and delivers. Really strong from all the cast. No surprise that they're fast tracking the sequel, it'll be hard to live up to it. If you're a fan of comedy this is the film to see.

Monday, June 29, 2009

1243 - Grace is Gone

I had been really excited to see this film when it first came out, but then I saw Strouse's "Lonesome Jim" and it made me completely uninterested in watching anything else by him. Thankfully my wife really wanted to watch this. I'm glad she did. It's a simple film with a simple story. And it takes it time, not because it's trying to be arty, but because something like this just needs time to deal with. As you watch Cusack thinking you're putting him in his place. What would you say? What would you do? It's not hard to empathize with his decisions, as over-the-top as they may seem.
This is a nice little film filled with nice little moments. Cusack does a nice job here and the girls playing his daughters are simply wonderful. Check it out if you're even remotely interested.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

1242 - 30 Rock: season one

Alright. You know what? Just because half the world caught on to this show light-years before I did, doesn't mean I'm not hip and cool... it just means that I've been missing out on the funniest half-hour since 'Arrested Development'. This show is lightning in a bottle. Seriously. There's a great broad comedy aspect that fires along side with this subtle, clever humor. Both work full force if you're into both, and if not - it still works. That's just smart writing there.
The cast is really really great. What can I say about Tina Fey? She's a sex-bomb. A pure geek fantasy. Love that woman, she's fantastic here in all her duties. Alec Baldwin is about as awesome as he's ever been and the rest of the cast falls in line close behind these two hard-hitters.
I can't wait to see if they can keep this momentum up in the other seasons. The nice thing about coming to a show late is that you don't have to wait long for new episodes!

1241 - Fred Claus

I'm trying to make it a habit of watching more high-concept studio comedies as that's the area my writing partner and I are focusing more and more. I was pleasantly surprised by this. I'm a big fan of Vince Vaughn. I think this film hits the structure points really well and has fun while doing it. There's some clever bits with the acid-reflux comment, and just general amusingness. I can go either way on Paul Giamati and here he was enjoyable. Kevin Spacey was quite entertaining as well, and he has a really brilliant monologue about growing in the shadow of greatness. Talk about a brilliant metaphor for the film. If anything, I thought that perhaps Fred could be a little more of an ass, but I suppose they were trying to keep it light. Elizabeth Banks has a small part - which is too bad. She's wonderful and believes all the fame that I'm sure if coming her way. As a Christmas flick (that I watched in the summer - I know, I know) it was just okay, didn't hit that feel-good spot. As a comedy, it did it's job.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

1240 - Desperate Housewives: season four

What an amazing season. This show is really really fun. There's always something going on and it's never dull. There's some story arcs that I like less than others, but by and large this show is almost always spot on delicious fun.
Loved the tornado. Love how they're not scared to throw everything into chaos. I really can't wait to see what happens in the fifth season where everything gets shifted forward!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

1239 - The Taking of Pelham One Two Three

Decided to watch this out of pure curiosity of the remake. It's a really interesting premise, and honestly, I felt like the ending was a bit underwhelming. I was expecting a much more interesting ending than what we got. Either way, the film was quite enjoyable. All of the characters were uniquely drawn and had points-of-view differing to the situation which made it fun to watch. The Mayor thing never came back into play - I guess the joke of him showing up and getting boo'd was the big punch line. Either way, it just felt like they didn't quite service all of the characters as best they could. The opening of the film was fantastic. Watching curiously as it goes along. Definitely worth checking out, if anything, now I'm even more curious to watch the remake.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Video Shop

Above this is a map of the town I grew up in. In fact, I think technically it's considered a village by population standards. As you can see by the map you could pretty much walk it from end to end in about a half hour, probably less actually. My Dad still lives here and I visit a few times a year, and as disconnected as I am to this place, I still feel a connection to it. It's given me a perspective which I take with me in my work and my life. I wouldn't trade where I come from for anything. I never ever plan on moving back there, but I'm happy to have come from there.

I bring this up because something very sad happened while I was there this weekend. What used to be one of, if not, my favorite place disappeared. Or closed up shop, as it were. 'The Video Shop". Picture me walking, bicycling, across town - once a week on an extremely busy week, usually a few times a week, to this small shop. And each time I went I'd get at least three movies or more. And this was back in the days where you had to return them the next day. There were yellow tag movies (new releases, $3), blue tag (somewhat new, $2), and red tags (older films, $1). And my combination of money and time available usually dictated how many films I watched and in what domination. I'd always try to get a newer film, and I really liked looking through what seemed like endless shelves for an old gem that I hadn't seen - or one that I had seen and loved. I'd rent some films multiple times never getting sick of them. I loved watching the same films over and over. Even on nights where I'd rent three or four films, I'd probably re-watch one of the ones I liked best the next morning before I had to take them back. I had that place memorized and would often help people find what they were looking for.

When I was ten or so (I can't remember at all) I was sick at home and my favorite thing to do was sleep on the couch and watch movies none stop, and my parents (bless them) indulged me. And in one of the trips from The Video Shop they brought my "Return to Oz" and, I have no idea what it was about that film, but I found myself going back and renting it almost every single weekend for many years, until, the tragic day it was taken off the shelves... See it's a small shop, The Video Shop, and it wasn't really the kind of place that had a 'classics' section, or 'foreign films', or anything really sophisticated (at least not in my time, or that I recall), and so from time to time they needed to purge and get rid of some inventory, which in this purge, included 'Return to Oz'. They'd put the films in a box and sell them off. And when I went in to get my favorite film I was heartbroken to see that it was not on the shelf in it's spot. And then delighted when one of the employees presented it to me as a gift. To be honest, I'm pretty sure I never watched it that much after that. Something about the act of walking to the store made it more exciting to watch that film over and over again.

So I was sad to see that it's gone completely upon a walk with my father. It was such a part of my childhood, and honestly, my life. That was my library. My film-history class. And although I probably haven't stepped foot in there in ten years or so, I miss it now more than I thought I could. In my geek-cave at home I've sort of assembled my own Video Shop in a way. I own thousands of films, one of them, of course, 'Return to Oz' (now upgraded to DVD).

My Dad says that the little shop couldn't compete with people downloading off the internet, and other things. I guess you can't beat free. In it's heyday I remember it was the only way to get films just out of theaters. Back then it would be almost a year before films came out on VHS after it's theatrical release (maybe it just felt like a year), and video stores paid a premium for advanced copies to rent out. Now things turn around so quickly, stores get the rental copies the same day the public does. It's just not the same.

So thank you Video Shop, for everything. I owe you more than you know.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

1238 - Role Models

Paul Rudd can pretty much do no wrong in my eyes. The guy is just fucking funny. It's that simple. This is a pretty formula heavy film, but it's also really funny so the formula doesn't hurt it. There's some really great jokes in here. I laughed often and hard. A comedy that's actually funny. What a novelty! It's on DVD now so check it out!

1237 - The Five Senses

I really wanted to love this film, and I started off doing so. I think that Jeremy Podeswa is one of the more talented filmmakers coming out of Canada, and while this film gave some really wonderful performances (and some really terrible ones) I just left with this 'so what?' feeling. I never felt like this resolved anything. Hell. I don't really feel like it brought up that much either. I think that there were a lot of really nice, clever scenes, but just on a whole... meh. I still need to get off my ass and watch 'Fugitive Pieces'.

1236 - The Incredible Hulk

Hey look! It's the Big Slice! Ha ha. This scene just screams Yonge Street to me, but I suppose those who don't know Toronto will never realize it's not New York.
This film was far better than I expected it to be. I found it to be entertaining, even if in the end, it didn't really tell much of a story or come to any grand conclusions. I think that's the problem with Hulk as a character. Either way it was an entertaining enough flick. Really like how Marvel is building their universe.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

1235 - 21

I really really wanted to love this film, instead I just kind of liked it. As part true story I suppose it's hard in the fabrication of things, although I think that they took a pretty dramatic license with most of this. The film started off really really well and then got a little convoluted by the end. I think that the actors could have been given a little more meat to play with. All of the pitfalls and pratfalls were easy enough to see coming, but there was a great gutteral feeling when they did. I wanted this kid to succeed. So this is a nice little film and worth checking out. I think Bosworth has a great role in here that's yet to be seen.