03 3 / 2014

Seeing PSYCHO for the first time after years of being a movie nerd made watching it a weird experience.

It took me until I was 28 to see Hitchcock’s Psycho. Because of that, it’s hard to write about, because I see it now having seen thousands of other movies, many of which were inspired by this one. It’s not a bad thing to catch up on canon films, to be sure, but its hard when a movie is as ubiquitous and over-discussed as Psycho is. Watching it was the most ‘cultural vegetables’ experience I think…

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18 9 / 2012

My review of Resident Evil: Retribution.
At this point you know whether you care about this franchise or not. If you don’t, god speed; you probably have better sense than I do. If you do, though, then know this: this is the best one in quite a while, and actually manages to be totally entertaining in new, kind of excitingly dumb ways. 
I’m actually excited for another one. And that’s saying something.

My review of Resident Evil: Retribution.

At this point you know whether you care about this franchise or not. If you don’t, god speed; you probably have better sense than I do. If you do, though, then know this: this is the best one in quite a while, and actually manages to be totally entertaining in new, kind of excitingly dumb ways. 

I’m actually excited for another one. And that’s saying something.

10 9 / 2012

My review of Sleepwalk With Me. 
When This American Life contributor Mike Birbiglia takes his funny life story about his mid-20s crisis and discovery of comedy and turns it not only into a one-man show, but a movie, you kind of know what to expect: lighthearted warmth, lots of cameos from nerdy folks, and a funny movie that doesn’t shy away from emotional nuance.
And that’s exactly what you’re getting. Sleepwalk With Me is great. Check out the review for more.

My review of Sleepwalk With Me

When This American Life contributor Mike Birbiglia takes his funny life story about his mid-20s crisis and discovery of comedy and turns it not only into a one-man show, but a movie, you kind of know what to expect: lighthearted warmth, lots of cameos from nerdy folks, and a funny movie that doesn’t shy away from emotional nuance.

And that’s exactly what you’re getting. Sleepwalk With Me is great. Check out the review for more.

08 9 / 2012

My review of Celeste and Jesse Forever. 
This one’s complicated, because I feel like it’s a decent movie that struggles to define itself. There are great performances, but a story that never manages to be more than middling. Still worth your time just from an actor chemistry standpoint, but you can find more details in the above review.

My review of Celeste and Jesse Forever. 

This one’s complicated, because I feel like it’s a decent movie that struggles to define itself. There are great performances, but a story that never manages to be more than middling. Still worth your time just from an actor chemistry standpoint, but you can find more details in the above review.

08 9 / 2012

My review of ParaNorman! Sadly, a few weeks late because I’ve been busy and have forgotten to cross-post everything here. It still should be playing near you, though, and after you read the review (or before, even!) you should rush out to see it. It’s lovely, the kind of smart family movie that we get only every few years.

My review of ParaNorman! Sadly, a few weeks late because I’ve been busy and have forgotten to cross-post everything here. It still should be playing near you, though, and after you read the review (or before, even!) you should rush out to see it. It’s lovely, the kind of smart family movie that we get only every few years.

10 8 / 2012

My review of Beyond the Black Rainbow.
It’s garbage, don’t see it. No, seriously, that’s it. Yeah, I have some thoughts on deliberate cultiness beyond the link there, and lots more words about why it sucks, but just realize that it DOES suck. I don’t use words like ‘pointless’ or ‘pretentious’ but … well, they’d apply.

My review of Beyond the Black Rainbow.

It’s garbage, don’t see it. No, seriously, that’s it. Yeah, I have some thoughts on deliberate cultiness beyond the link there, and lots more words about why it sucks, but just realize that it DOES suck. I don’t use words like ‘pointless’ or ‘pretentious’ but … well, they’d apply.

23 7 / 2012

So while the rest of you were off watching Batman last week, I was home being very very sick and wishing I was able to go out and see a movie. Pulling up Amazon VOD, I decided to take a look at Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz, knowing little about it other than it existed and had Michelle Williams and honestly what more could a person ask for? 
Thankfully, I made a great choice, as Take This Waltz is a really great movie. It’s the kind of romantic drama that edges near comedy without being actually silly or stupid, and takes the kinds of plots that we’ve seen before and does such wonderful things with it. It is an actor’s movie, full of lots of things to chew on and make work. It also has one of my single favorite moments in a movie so far this year.
So yeah, check out my review, or check out the movie. You can rent it for less than the price of a movie ticket on Amazon or some other VOD service of your choice.

So while the rest of you were off watching Batman last week, I was home being very very sick and wishing I was able to go out and see a movie. Pulling up Amazon VOD, I decided to take a look at Sarah Polley’s Take This Waltz, knowing little about it other than it existed and had Michelle Williams and honestly what more could a person ask for? 

Thankfully, I made a great choice, as Take This Waltz is a really great movie. It’s the kind of romantic drama that edges near comedy without being actually silly or stupid, and takes the kinds of plots that we’ve seen before and does such wonderful things with it. It is an actor’s movie, full of lots of things to chew on and make work. It also has one of my single favorite moments in a movie so far this year.

So yeah, check out my review, or check out the movie. You can rent it for less than the price of a movie ticket on Amazon or some other VOD service of your choice.

29 6 / 2012

Hey, look, it’s a review of Madea’s Witness Protection!
I’m going to assume nearly everyone who reads this doesn’t watch or care about Tyler Perry movies, and I’m not really going to discourage that continued lack of interest. Perry does fascinate me, though. I was convinced to at least give his movies a shot by this wonderful and interesting article over at Badass Digest, and have since gone and watched all of his movies. What is a man to do with so much terrible knowledge? See the new movies in the theater!
Read the review for some thoughts about the movie specifically, I’m instead going to talk about my showing. Friday, 11 AM, surprisingly full (like 30 people?). Woman sits down in my row, pulls out a battery operated fan that she uses to cooler herself off, sounding like she just whipped out a vibrator in public. I already know I’m in for magic. I was right!
She spent the rest of the movie nearly dying with coughing laughter at most of the jokes, turning the fan back on when things really got going, hooting a “Oh lord this is OUTRAGEOUS!” from time to time. Once her phone even rang, which she answered and proclaimed loudly into “I CANT TALK IM WATCHING MADEA! I’M AT MADEA!!” In a prime example of life imitating art, a far less enthusiastic (and also white, if you want to go there, and certainly the movie does so let’s go ahead) woman nearby was not amused by this at all, and proceeded to try to shush the woman, who loudly declared “You go on and quit your shushing? How you expect folks not to enjoy Madea!?” 
Some of you are probably horrified, I was laughing nearly as hard at this exchange as I was at the funnier parts of the movie (which, yes, I found funny even if I thought it was terrible. Assuming I’ll believe Denise Richards would marry Eugene Levy and complain about not getting sex is too absurd not to laugh at). This was basically the perfect showing. That lady loved that movie, and bless her for doing so, and I hope that I run across people just like her every other time I go to one of these movies. I get as fussy as anyone when a crowd is being unruly at a movie out of turn, but … come on. That was AMAZING.
Anyway, that’s my anecdote. I assume nobody cares what I think about Tyler Perry movies (and certainly my editor said as much when I offered to cover it). Click the link above and prove her wrong, even if you don’t stay for my comparisons to Ed Wood. 

Hey, look, it’s a review of Madea’s Witness Protection!

I’m going to assume nearly everyone who reads this doesn’t watch or care about Tyler Perry movies, and I’m not really going to discourage that continued lack of interest. Perry does fascinate me, though. I was convinced to at least give his movies a shot by this wonderful and interesting article over at Badass Digest, and have since gone and watched all of his movies. What is a man to do with so much terrible knowledge? See the new movies in the theater!

Read the review for some thoughts about the movie specifically, I’m instead going to talk about my showing. Friday, 11 AM, surprisingly full (like 30 people?). Woman sits down in my row, pulls out a battery operated fan that she uses to cooler herself off, sounding like she just whipped out a vibrator in public. I already know I’m in for magic. I was right!

She spent the rest of the movie nearly dying with coughing laughter at most of the jokes, turning the fan back on when things really got going, hooting a “Oh lord this is OUTRAGEOUS!” from time to time. Once her phone even rang, which she answered and proclaimed loudly into “I CANT TALK IM WATCHING MADEA! I’M AT MADEA!!” In a prime example of life imitating art, a far less enthusiastic (and also white, if you want to go there, and certainly the movie does so let’s go ahead) woman nearby was not amused by this at all, and proceeded to try to shush the woman, who loudly declared “You go on and quit your shushing? How you expect folks not to enjoy Madea!?” 

Some of you are probably horrified, I was laughing nearly as hard at this exchange as I was at the funnier parts of the movie (which, yes, I found funny even if I thought it was terrible. Assuming I’ll believe Denise Richards would marry Eugene Levy and complain about not getting sex is too absurd not to laugh at). This was basically the perfect showing. That lady loved that movie, and bless her for doing so, and I hope that I run across people just like her every other time I go to one of these movies. I get as fussy as anyone when a crowd is being unruly at a movie out of turn, but … come on. That was AMAZING.

Anyway, that’s my anecdote. I assume nobody cares what I think about Tyler Perry movies (and certainly my editor said as much when I offered to cover it). Click the link above and prove her wrong, even if you don’t stay for my comparisons to Ed Wood. 

29 6 / 2012

My Magic Mike review! 
I don’t actually have a lot to say here that I didn’t say in the review, I just want to point out once again how much I really liked this movie. Soderbergh often has the problem with his smaller films in getting wrapped up in the doing and missing out on a lot of the feeling. Magic Mike doesn’t have any of those problems. It’s genuinely fun and smart, with great performances by an array of actors who deserve reappraisals if this is the kind of work they’re capable of doing in the right hands.
I hope everyone sees and loves Magic Mike as much as I did, because it’s pretty great. If you need more reasons, click the link and check ou the review. 

My Magic Mike review! 

I don’t actually have a lot to say here that I didn’t say in the review, I just want to point out once again how much I really liked this movie. Soderbergh often has the problem with his smaller films in getting wrapped up in the doing and missing out on a lot of the feeling. Magic Mike doesn’t have any of those problems. It’s genuinely fun and smart, with great performances by an array of actors who deserve reappraisals if this is the kind of work they’re capable of doing in the right hands.

I hope everyone sees and loves Magic Mike as much as I did, because it’s pretty great. If you need more reasons, click the link and check ou the review. 

22 6 / 2012

My review for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter!
I try not to pre-judge movies, but this is one I was totally expecting to hate. It looked far too knowing, and came out of the fairly shitty (especially for someone who likes history and literature) trend of kitsch stunt books that shove supernatural elements into things that were interesting on their own.
I was wrong.
That’s right, I actually really dug this movie, specifically because it operates under the assumption that just because the premise is goofy that doesn’t mean the movie can’t be played completely straight. It’s also amazing to see a movie that’s full of the sort of American iconography played mythic that most movies tend to be ashamed of, or misappropriate for right-wing jingoistic patriotism. By turning Lincoln into an axe-swinging superhero, it’s a smart grindhousey wish fulfillment B-movie fantasy, but that’s not bad at all, and it never suffers the too-ironic winking that most movies of this type would be full of. Add to that the always-fantastic Mary Elizabeth Winstead continuing to be fantastic and you have a shockingly entertaining, fully competent action monster movie. Go figure.
Also, a vampire throws a horse at Abraham Lincoln. Any movie that has an idea as beautifully absurd as that deserves some love.
Either way, check out the full review!

My review for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter!

I try not to pre-judge movies, but this is one I was totally expecting to hate. It looked far too knowing, and came out of the fairly shitty (especially for someone who likes history and literature) trend of kitsch stunt books that shove supernatural elements into things that were interesting on their own.

I was wrong.

That’s right, I actually really dug this movie, specifically because it operates under the assumption that just because the premise is goofy that doesn’t mean the movie can’t be played completely straight. It’s also amazing to see a movie that’s full of the sort of American iconography played mythic that most movies tend to be ashamed of, or misappropriate for right-wing jingoistic patriotism. By turning Lincoln into an axe-swinging superhero, it’s a smart grindhousey wish fulfillment B-movie fantasy, but that’s not bad at all, and it never suffers the too-ironic winking that most movies of this type would be full of. Add to that the always-fantastic Mary Elizabeth Winstead continuing to be fantastic and you have a shockingly entertaining, fully competent action monster movie. Go figure.

Also, a vampire throws a horse at Abraham Lincoln. Any movie that has an idea as beautifully absurd as that deserves some love.

Either way, check out the full review!