Thursday, November 5, 2009

November Movies

Another month brings more movie releases. We're into November now if you can believe it and get ready because the Twilight sequel comes out this month!!!! Sorry, I just transformed into a 12 year old girl for a second, what was I saying? Oh yea...November movies. There are a few releases that I'm looking forward to and a few that I'm not...

What to see:

-Disney's A Christmas Carol (11/6) - The feel-good holiday movie of the year. I enjoyed The Polar Express so I think this one will be just as entertaining, especially with the inner child of Jim Carrey doing voices. However, I don't start getting into the Christmas spirit until Thanksgiving is over...

-Pirate Radio (11/6) - Philip Seymour Hoffman, or as I like to call him, "PSH," is in the cast of DJs who fight the man and take to the seas to broadcast a little rock and roll for Britain in the 60's. Also in the cast are Nick Frost and Bill Nighy (from Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz). This will be the second film for director Richard Curtis, the first being Love Actually, which I will confess is a guilty pleasure of mine - definitely the best "chick flick" I've ever seen.

-The Fourth Kind (11/6) - A movie about aliens based on me a geek but that's all I need to know. I like how they appear to use real archived footage and how Milla Jovovich warns you in the trailer that "some of what you are about to see is extremely disturbing." This really looks like it could be one of the best alien movies to come out. My only concern is that it can't be THAT disturbing if it's rated PG-13, but sometimes you don't need violence to get creeped out.

-Fantastic Mr. Fox (11/25) - One of my favorite stories growing up by Roald Dahl and I'm really excited to see how Wes Anderson puts it together. Most people either love or hate the work of Wes Anderson, but I think he could blur that line with an animated film like this. The animation looks unique and creative and the voices come from what seems to be the click of Anderson, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson, along with some pretty recognizable additions in George Clooney, Meryl Streep and Willem Dafoe.

-The Road (11/25) - A great read from Cormac McCarthy if you get the chance. Set in a mysteriously apocalyptic world, the story creates some extremely dark and barren imagery as it follows a father and his son in their struggle to survive and avoid the few dangerous cannibalistic humans that they encounter. Viggo Mortensen plays the father, an excellent actor. Often when I read a book prior to seeing the film, I'm disappointed with the film; I have a feeling that this one may be an exception.

On the cusp:

-Ninja Assassin (11/25) - I love ninjas. The thought of a ninja movie gets me excited. However, I found the trailer to be a little disappointing. It looks like it might be a little too over-the-top and considering it's produced by the Wachowski brothers, that's pretty much inevitable anyway. I did read that the lead actor/ninja trained something like 8 hours a day for 10 months for this film, so that's pretty impressive. For the sake of ninjas, I hope my hesitation is proved wrong.

-The Men Who Stare At Goats (11/6) - Superstar casts don't always make for great movies. I think this film will be entertaining and receive good reviews but it just looks too bizarre for me. Grant Heslov is directing, a guy you might recognize from acting; this is definitely the biggest directorial work he's done. The screenplay was adapted from a British author, which explains why it has a bizarre feel.

No thanks:

-The Box - Let's take a basic philosophical question and make an entire film about it: would you push a button to kill someone you don't know for a million dollars? I loved Donnie Darko, I like Frank Langella and Cameron Diaz, but this plot just looks a little too cheesy for me. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this married couple's decision is tough and doesn't end well.

-2012 - Yeah, yeah, the world's gonna end...we get it already. I'm just a little burnt out on the apocalyptic imagery and cheesy conspiracy themes that constantly get recycled in Hollywood.

-Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans - Aside from a horribly long name, Nic Cage is this so-called "bad lieutenant." A review states that it's his best performance in years, but that sure as hell doesn't say anything to me. Bad Lieutenant was a 1992 film starring Harvey Keitel, a cop that spirals downward with drug addiction. Apparently this isn't supposed to be a remake though. The original director, Abel Ferrara was quoted as saying that directors who make remakes should burn in hell; the director of this film didn't even know who Ferrara was. So it begs the question, why the hell did they name it Bad Lieutenant? I should also add that Xzibit has a substantial role in this film...rappers, can you stick to rapping?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

October Movies

As we dive further into fall, the Halloween season is one that I truly love to celebrate, especially with horror movies. One comedy-horror came out this past weekend: Zombieland. I wish the whole phenomenon with vampires would carry over more to zombies, because let's face it: zombies are way cooler than vampires (especially those whimpy ones from Twilight). Sure, they're much dumber generally, but that's why they're great: killing zombies is now an artform. This artform has been communicated through Zombieland, a comedic film set in an apocalyptic world run over by zombies stemming from mad cow disease. With some laughs, some romance, plenty of epic zombie kills and an amazing cameo (you'll have to see it to know), Zombieland is very entertaining.

Appropriately, there are some horror movies coming out in the next few weeks, however, there are also a handful of other releases to look forward to as well...

What to see:

-Where the Wild Things Are (Release: Oct. 16) - Two words: wild rumpus. Interestingly, Spike Jonze, who is best known for his work in music videos, is directing. The cinematography looks pretty amazing as it should be for paying tribute to such a wonderful children's book that many of us grew up with. Plus, the kid who plays Max...his actual name is great is that?

-Ong Bak 2 (Release: Oct. 23) - Hell to the yeah. Tony Jaa makes most martial arts stars look like choir girls. I've seen Ong Bak about 10 times and I'm still amazed at the fight choreography and stunts. This release is somewhat of a prequel to Ong Bak but rather than being set in modern Thailand, it's set in ancient could be set in Hoboken for all I care as long as I can see Tony Jaa wreck house.

-Antichrist (Release: Oct. 23) - This looks like it can scare the bejesus out of you...artistically. The writer/director has gained international acclaim for his work. The story is basically about a couple looking to solve their problems by staying in a cabin in the middle of the woods, but the woods turn evil on them. And if there's anything you don't want to turn evil on you, it's the woods.

-The Nightmare Before Christmas 3D (Release: Oct. 23) - Sure, this movie came out about 16 years ago, but I still love it: I love the animation, I love the story, I love the music and I love Tim Burton. And we all know that 3D makes everything better, so if you're with me, you'll have to go catch this one while it's out.

-Gentleman Broncos (Release: Oct. 30) - There are some films that I need to see strictly based on the director. This is one of them; Jared Hess, director of Napoleon Dynamite and Nacho Libre, brings his directing and writing back with this film starring Jermaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords fame. This one looks way more drug-induced but it looks hilariously creative.

-The Boondock Saints 2: All Saint's Day (Release: Oct. 30) - Finally, the rumors and discussions of a sequel to the cult favorite The Boondock Saints can be laid to rest this month. Normally, with a release like this that's been so built up in anticipation and expectations, I'd feel pretty pessimistic but other than my hope that it will do so, I do feel that this one will not disappoint. In fact, I think this will be A FIREFIGHHTTT!!!!

-The House of the Devil (Release: Oct. 30) - Another limited release (booooo!) which makes me even more eager to see it. As you can guess from the title, this is another Disney release that'll be great for the whole family. With an old school feel, this movie looks like it's begging you to beware of the lunar eclipse. Just check out the trailer:

The likely disappointment of the month:

-Couples Retreat (Release: Oct.9) - Believe me when I say I'm a huge fan of Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau and Jason Bateman. However, that doesn't mean I'll automatically love this movie. Vince Vaughn's last two movies were Christmas movies (Four Christmases and Fred Claus) and they both disproved what I thought to be a fact, which was that there's no such thing as a bad Christmas movie (and that's based on the fact that I've merely heard HORRIBLE things about Four Christmases without seeing it). The thing that gets me about this one is that it's PG-13; I envision most of the good lines are ones that we've already seen in the multiple trailers.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

September Movies

I'm obviously a bit late with this post, but better late than never, right? I only saw 3 of my top picks from August so far, two of which I'm glad I had as top picks (Inglourious Basterds & Final Destination 3D), the other not so much (The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard).

This past Friday brought us a few releases, none of which I've read reviews of yet. I intend to see Extract because Mike Judge is awesome, but realize that it can't possibly top Office Space. Gamer came out with Gerard Butler, who plays a human controlled by others in battles...a somewhat interesting premise but I'm far from sold on it. All About Steve also came anyone remotely "all about" this one? Bradley Cooper, dude, what are you thinking?

Here's what I'm looking forward to for the rest of the month...

Top Picks

- Jennifer's Body (Sept. 18) - No, I'm not advocating this just because Megan Fox is in it; she's just an extra bonus for what I think will be an amusing horror flick. Diablo Cody wrote the script so it should be full of wit and sarcasm.

- No Impact Man (Sept. 11) - No rush for this one but most documentaries are worth watching over Hollywood releases. I'm no hippie but I could certainly make a better effort with my "carbon footprint." No Impact Man is about a man, his wife and daughter and their year in living extremely green: no electricity, no buying products with disposable paper, plastic, etc., no using elevators, taxis and so on and so on (in NYC no less). The "Man" seems like an average Joe-type and the trailer exposes how the New York Times writes about it being "part change the world, part gimmick for his next book" so collectively, those two things dispelled most of my skepticism about how genuine the documentary will be.

- The Informant! (Sept. 18) - I don't see how this can't be good. It looks like a good role for Matt Damon, giving him a chance at being humorous without being in a goofball comedy. It's directed by Steven Soderbergh who has a pretty impressive resume in directing and producing.

I'd like it to be good but it won't be...

- I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell - If and only if you're a male, do yourself a favor and read this book by Tucker Max. The guy's real life stories make Charlie Sheen's character on Two and a Half Men look like a 40-year old virgin. Congrats to Tucker for getting a movie deal out of his lewd, alcohol-induced sex addiction and aptitude to recount it in words, but there's no way in hell that it can translate well into film, especially after seeing the trailer. But hey, I'd like to be proven wrong in this case.

Honestly, that's about all that I got for the rest of the month...I'm curious about "Splice" but can't seem to find any trailers for it. I'm not really blown away by anything else, but let me know if you feel otherwise...

Friday, July 31, 2009

Summer Movies - August 09

Slow down summer!! It feels like I just posted about June movies, but today is the last day of July and so one last month of summer blockbusters are coming our way. I previously mentioned that I'd be posting only for this summer's movies, but I think I'll be extending this posting trend every month from now on. So what do we have to look forward to in August? I think it's overall the best month this summer in terms of releases. Let's see...

My top picks (yes, there are a lot)

-Paper Heart (Aug. 7) - Michael Cera has a pretty good filmography so far and it'll be interesting to see the other lead of this movie, Charlyne Yi. She had a couple of the best lines in Knocked Up, but she's not playing a whacked-out stoner in this movie...she's playing a love-skeptic. And I think there'll be a lot of fun cameos in this one too.
-Julie & Julia (Aug. 7) - I probably won't rush out to see this one but you can definitely tell that it's going to be good. Meryl Streep is obviously very talented and Amy Adams is definitely making a name for herself.

-The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard (Aug. 14) - People will go see this solely because Jeremy Piven has created one of the best personas in TV history. Jeremy Piven plays a blue-collar Ari Gold in this one with a backup of other comedic actors. I hope and truly think that this will be better than The Hangover.
-The Final Destination (Aug. 14) - This is in my top picks solely because it'll be in 3D. I've yet to see a 3-D movie outside of Disney world. Grotesque death scenes in 3 dimensions is worth paying 9 bucks for.
-It Might Get Loud (Aug. 21) - This one probably won't be showing near me unfortunately, but it looks interesting. It's a documentary (by the director of An Inconvenient Truth) about Jack White, The Edge and Jimmy Page, their guitar styles and a get together that they have.

-Inglourious Basterds (Aug. 21) - You either love or hate Tarantino. I love him. I'll go see his movie even if I don't see a trailer for it (which is unfortunately almost unavoidable). Love him or hate him, you gotta love the premise: a troop of Jewish men killing Nazis in WWII.
-Five Minutes of Heaven (Aug. 21) - Liam Neeson is a badass. This story is badass. Enough said.
-The Marc Pease Experience (Aug. 21) - I have not heard nor seen anything about this movie yet, but it stars Ben Stiller and Jason Schwartzman and Schwartzman plays a guy 8 years out of school who is living in the past when he was a high school musical star. It's a bit reminiscent of the characteristics of Max Fischer, Schwartzman's character in Rushmore.
-Taking Woodstock (Aug. 28) - It's about time they made a movie about Woodstock (aside from the documentary). Woodstock is a magical piece of history, for people who lived through it, went to it and even people like me who weren't even born yet. And Demetri Martin is cool.
-H2 (Aug. 28) - Kind of like Tarantino, people probably either love or hate Rob Zombie. I love him. I was generally pretty pleased by the first Halloween remake he did so I'm looking forward to this one.

On the cusp:

-A Perfect Getaway (Aug. 7) - Weird casting. Steve Zahn and Milla Jovovich? As a couple? It's a thriller about a honeymoon couple (Steve and Milla) who get dropped off on a tropical island to go backpacking and run into some trouble via 4 other people. It looks like Steve and Milla might throw down in this movie, so it could be entertaining.

-GI Joe (Aug. 7) - I just get the feeling that this one is going to be a CGI-headache with dumb jokes surrounded by explosions and rock music...but I guess that's the point. I'm probably in the minority in my hesitation toward this one, but there's a lot of hype surrounding it, and I just don't think it'll meet that hype. I think GI Joe would have been better made as a movie in the 80s or early 90s.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Wu-Tang Lego

This is the best Lego interpretation I've seen...a replica video of Wu-Tang's "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'"

First of all, if you've never seen the actual video, here it is:

And now here's the Lego video version:

Awesome job to whoever made this.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Three Sheets Coming Back This Month!

The one topic that I've followed up on over a few times on this blog is a TV show called Three Sheets, a travel show about drinking customs and hangover rituals. Based on that fact alone, it's obvious that I'm contributing to the formation of geniuses.

In short, the show was solely on an HD-network called MOJO which ceased operations, thus ceasing the operations of the show itself. However, it was easily the most popular program on that network and through rallies to save the show and get it signed to a different network, it found a new home. Back in April, I posted about that good news.

This month, starting July 20th the fourth season of the series with the amusing, fun-loving host by the name of Zane Lamprey will begin airing on its new home, the Fine Living Network. Lamprey has gone from sharing a network with gambling addicts, technology fiends, and demolition enthusiasts to one with a Martha Stewart show. So obviously he's more at home on FLN. Joking aside, I'm definitely happy that Zane Lamprey found a new home to continue his career of getting tipsy on TV and hope that it continues for seasons to come.

Tune in July 20th if you have FLN! This season includes trips to New Zealand, Tanzania, Lithuania, St. Martin, Cape Town, Hawaii, Iceland, Poland, Barbados, Panama, Namibia, Tuscany, Barbados, Tahiti, New Castle, Hamburg, Lesvos, and Amsterdam.

Cheers Zane!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

RIP Billy Mays

Billy Mays, famous for yelling at us to buy things that we don't really need, has unfortunately passed away according to reports that his wife found him dead in their Florida home this morning. The police found no break-ins and suspect no foul play. If there were foul play though, I'd know who to blame...let me elaborate...

Billy Mays and fellow pitchman Anthony "Sully" Sullivan appeared on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien just 5 days ago, largely to promote their new show on the Discovery Channel called Pitchmen.

Conan humorously brought out some of the products that the two guys had pitched and had them demonstrate their use. Conan also fueled some fire by bringing up the ShamWow, knowing that Billy Mays had a bone to pick with the annoyingly hypnotic pitch of fame done by an odd-looking fellow named Vince Shlomi.

Why "a bone to pick" you ask? Well because Billy Mays pitched the "Zorbeez" before the "ShamWow" came onto the scene and they're both pretty much the same product. Watch below and see the Zorbeez vs. the ShamWow:

Obviously this Vince character is a sham (*cue the rim shot*) Basically the only difference between the two pitches is that Vince is wearing a headset...but why?? Looking into the end-all be-all truth that is Wikipedia, it turns out Vince has had his fair share of legal battles...

Shlomi made a comedy of sorts called The Underground Comedy Movie which was met with horrendous reviews. Vince accused the Farrelly brothers of stealing scenes from his movie for There's Something About Mary, to which the brothers basically said "We don't even know who you are." Vince also sued Anna Nicole Smith for not committing to the movie.

More recently, Vince was arrested in Florida for felony battery against a prostitute (see frightening mug shot at above-left).

My point is that this ShamWow guy doesn't have his morals in check and looks pretty damn sketchy. It turns out that the Zorbeez and ShamWow are distributed by the same company, which led to Billy Mays and Vince Shlomi sharing a box at the most recent SuperBowl. Mays was on Adam Corolla's radio show soon after the game and challenged Vince to a threatening pitch-off:

A long audio clip, but of most importance is the end, around the 4:00 mark or so, when Billy gets real heated and makes the challenge.

Did Vince Shlomi accept the challenge and take it too far? Did jealousy and greed escalate in this battle of absorbent towels?

Obviously, I'm exaggerating and don't seriously believe that there was any foul play. Ultimately, however, I'm sure this whole incident added some unneeded stress to Mays' life. My sympathies go out to his family and may he rest in peace. The world will never have a television pitchman of his caliber ever again.

Also, don't buy anything that's pitched by Shlomi.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Summer Movies - July 09

June is winding down already. Have you seen any of the new releases this month? I like to think that my opinions on the June 2009 movies have been fairly accurate thus far, so I figured it was about time to preview what's in store for next month*...

What to see:

- Public Enemies (Release: July 1) - Johnny Depp is in it...he plays the legendary bank robber John Dillinger from the 1930's...and it's directed by Michael Mann, who wrote, produced and directed The Last of the Mohicans and Heat. That's all that you need to know. I didn't even need to see a trailer to get excited about this one.

- Bruno (Release: July 10) - Vatsup? or Isch don't think so? You'd probably pick up on that reference if you've seen this "Bruno" character in Da Ali G Show, which showcased Ali G, Borat and Bruno played by Sacha Baron Cohen. Most of the world knows and most of the country of Kazakhstan hates the character Borat, which is definitely a testament to how well Cohen can shock people. Bruno was always my least favorite character of the three on the show, but he was definitely still funny at times. I'll definitely go to see this one purely for the shock value; it was originally rated NC-17 by the MPAA, but Cohen re-edited it to receive an "R" rating.

- 500 Days of Summer (Release: July 17) - I'll admit right off the bat that about 30...ok, maybe 45% of my interest in this film is due to my celebrity crush on Zooey Deschanel. And yes, it's a pseudo-indie-romantic-drama-comedy with a no-name director, but I can honestly say that it looks good based off of the trailer. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (who I believe will become a big(ger) name in the coming years) is the male role and the story structure looks creative.

- Funny People (Release: July 31) - Judd Apatow established his name before everyone could identify by name the large group of actors that he's basically made famous or atleast brought onto the scene. Two of the guys that are included in that group are in this movie: Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill. Apatow's real-life wife stars in this film as well, Leslie Mann, as do their two daughters (who also appeared in Knocked Up). A few other superstars are included though: Adam Sandler, Eric Bana and Jason Schwartzman. And this is only the main cast, because I've heard that a large number of cameos are made in this movie.

In Apatow's two other big directorial hits, Knocked Up and 40 Year Old Virgin, there were some serious tones thrown in among the comedy. Funny People keeps that same formula, with death being the serious undertone. And Adam Sandler is the perfect actor to do that with because although he's considered largely to be a comedic actor, he's done a pretty good deal of serious acting too. Also, Apatow must know Sandler pretty well, considering the two shared an apartment back in the late 80s.

"On the Bubble":

- Shrink (Release: July 24) - If Kevin Spacey wasn't the lead role, I'd probably toss this one aside. Even so, however, I can't form a solid opinion on the quality of this film. The director, Jonas Pate, has mostly worked on TV and the writer is pretty new to the scene it seems. Spacey plays a Hollywood shrink who develops some problems of his own, which obviously start to affect his work. If it's good, it's because of Kevin Spacey, but he hasn't had an impeccable track record, especially in recent years, so we'll see...

- The Ugly Truth (Release: July 24) - Gerard Butler playing anything other than a jacked-up warrior with a yell that rumbles the Earth is something worth seeing, even if it's just for a scene or two. A romantic comedy with Katherine Heigl though? Wow...didn't see that coming. It could be worth taking a date to see, though it's a predictable story mold that will probably fall short on laughs.

Probably a disappointment:

- I Love You Beth Cooper (Release: July 10) - I'm confused about this one. It's based on a novel by Larry Doyle, who has written for The Simpsons, Beavis and Butthead and Daria. And the director, Chris Columbus, wrote movies such as Gremlins and The Goonies, and directed movies such as Home Alone (1 & 2) and Mrs. Doubtfire. Based on that, it should be awesome. Based on the trailer, however, it's not even really worthy of a giggle. I also don't feel right "wooing" over Hayden Panettiere (who plays the "hot girl" in this film) considering she was the little girl in Remember the Titans.

*I didn't include the new Harry Potter film in this selection because I haven't kept up with those movies...anyone who has can feel free to express their views for the new one coming out this month (or any other release that I missed)...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Eddie Van Halen is Lame

Pablo Picasso once said, "Bad artists copy...good artists steal." In a recent case involving Eddie Van Halen's company and Nike, that quote has absolutely no relevance.

Occasionally, we hear about lawsuits between artists claiming musical or design theft, some of which are valid, but most of which are pretty vague or even ridiculous.

Coldplay's last album had the hit single, "Viva la Vida." You may have heard about the case that Joe Satriani brought up, claiming that the melody of that song was strikingly similar to his own song called "If I Could Fly" (released years before). Click the following button and you'll hear Coldplay's song first, then Satriani's...then just for fun, the two mashed together. It's easy to hear a very similar tune.

Joe Satriani is a guitar god and I don't blame him for filing a suit, especially considering he tried to contact Coldplay for months before doing so and his fans were hounding him for doing so before that. However, I think this was coincidental; I doubt Coldplay even listens to Joe Satriani's work.

Moving on, however, to a more recent case involving Eddie Van Halen and Nike. This one isn't about music, but design. Eddie apparently designed a guitar called the "Frankenstrat," pictured at right.

Obviously, a masterpiece. He combined the colors red, black and white??? In a "design" that my 3 year old nephew could replicate with a blindfold??? Man, that's insane...obviously an original idea. Ready to see what Eddie Van Halen's company, ELVH inc., is suing Nike for? Here it is:

You can lift your jaw now. ELVH inc. put out their own line of shoes with the "Frankenstrat" design. I'm going to go out on a limb and not look up the numbers, with a wild guess that Nike has sold more shoes than ELVH inc.

The point being: Eddie Van Halen deserves no compensation whatsoever for this lawsuit. I think he's just bitter that former bandmates Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony formed a "supergroup" called Chickenfoot with (coincidentally) Joe Satriani and RHCP drummer Chad Smith.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Life is Complete

Click here to find out why.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Marketing to the Inner Child of Adults

If you're an adult, do you take a daily vitamin?

If not, why not?

If instead of a rather large pill, it was a gummy, would you be more inclined to take one?

I know I would, which is why I love the new product launch from "One-A-Day" multivitamins. I've gone on spurts on and off taking pill-form multivitamins from this brand (I'm currently on the "off" phase, evidenced by the collected dust on my current bottle) but I have a feeling I'll be kept more on track if I get some of their new "One A Day VitaCravesTM". Now everyone who feels too embarrassed to get the Flintstones gummies at the supermarket can get their playful kick while still "acting as an adult consumer."

Interested? There's even a coupon on their site to try them out: click here.

There should be more products like this - adults shouldn't have to live so seriously all the time. I'm not asking for an "Ages 21+" product line of Nerf Guns (although that'd be amazing), but I'm pretty confident that something fun like some vitamin gummies for adults won't hurt anyone.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Metacritic's All-Time Worst-Reviewed Films

I've expressed before how the process we go through to form an impression of a movie can sometimes be quite delicate. Seeing a comedy in a full theater and hearing roars of laughter may make a movie funnier than if you were to watch it alone. If the theater malfunctions at some point and alters the sound or picture, or if the same thing happens when watching from the comfort of your home, it can ruin the viewing experience. Watching trailers can sometimes give away too much of a film. And reading reviews or hearing buzz about movies can sometimes give you either high or low expectations before seeing a movie. So many factors can contribute.

As far as movie reviews go, however, I never resort to a single source. The power of averages that Metacritic provides is hard to least most of the time. Let's take a look at some of the movies that Metacritic has included in it's "Worst-Review Movies," keeping in mind that they use a 100-point scale...

#196: Saving Silverman (Rating: 22) - No Jack Black movie should be included in this list, and that even includes The Neverending Story III and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. I admit that this movie is one of those comedies that gets funnier the more times that you see it, but some of the reviews are definitely unwarranted, like the ZERO received from The San Francisco Chronicle: "The movie can barely muster the bravery to be even 'Dude, Where's my Car?' stoopid."

#164: I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (Rating: 21) - (See above)

#83: Half Baked (Rating: 16) - My question is did movie critics actually expect to be moved by this movie? It's a stoner comedy, lighten up! A ZERO from the Washington Post: "Someone definitely inhaled too much before making this one." Umm...yeah, that's the point broseph.

#80: Billy Madison (Rating: 16) - For this one, let's look at the deserved low-rated movies that are rated ABOVE Billy Madison: #182: Christmas with the Kranks, #172: Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector, #163: Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj, #141: Corky Romano, #139: Digimon: The Movie, #125: Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, and to top it off, #113: Gigli.

I literally just watched this last night because I feel obligated to put it on whenever it's on TV...and 500 viewings later, I was still laughing out loud!

#51: Kung Pow!: Enter the Fist (Rating: 14) - If you haven't seen this one, it's a spoof of martial arts films. It definitely had some dumb parts (like a Matrix-style fight scene with a Cow), but I found it entertaining.

#34: Cocktail (Rating: 12) - No way! Tom Cruise 80's movie starring Elisabeth Shue? How'd this get on here? My own opinions aside, however, I do like the review that the WSJ gave though: "This one could bring back Prohibition."


#1: Biodome (Rating: 1) - I don't know how this is at #1 because it's the best Pauly Shore movie ever made...oh wait, that's why. Still though...I went to see this movie in the theater for my friend's 10th or 11th birthday party and loved it. Also, Tenacious D made a cameo appearance, so the rating should be boosted atleast 50 points just for that. Honestly though, I couldn't really see a more fitting film to fill in the honor of this title.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Philadelphia Union

My feelings about the MLS, Major League Soccer, the league formed here in the USA, are mixed. I believe that the competition in European leagues, particularly the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League, is far superior. Everyone knows that "football" will always be much more popular in practically every country outside of the US. However, I am definitely pleased to see that the MLS has gained some popularity over the past few years, a defining moment of which was of course the enormous contract signed by David Beckham.

I think that another moment will increase the popularity of the MLS: the addition of a new team based in Philadelphia. Obviously I'm biased because I'm a Philly sports fan, but I don't think anyone can argue that Philly sports fans are some of the most passionate fans in the country. Yes, they may be known more for their aggressive nature which will always be exemplified by the time snowballs were thrown at Santa at an Eagles game. But far worse things happen at soccer stadiums across Europe.

The news that a team will be formed in Philly is old news, but I bring it up because the team name and logo will officially be announced on Monday. Like practically anything that's trying to be kept under wraps, the information has already been leaked onto the web. The team will be known as "Philadelphia Union" with a blue and gold logo containing a snake (don't tread on me).

I look forward to finally having a team that I can get behind in the MLS next year and seeing the new stadium that they'll play in. Chances are they'll cause heartbreak, but that's inevitable; they're a Philly team.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Karate Kid Remake - A Travesty

The Karate Kid can not be redone...plain and simple. Here's why:
  • Mr. Miyagi is one of the most well-known and well-loved characters in film history
  • Ralph Macchio, I'm sure, can't walk around in public to this day without someone yelling "Daniel-san," "Ay Laruso!" or "Look! It's the Karate Kid!" He is the Karate Kid.
  • A big reason why The Karate Kid is great is the fact that it's so 80's - wardrobe, music, hairstyles, etc. Can you imagine someone trying to remake Top Gun? Also, There's no possible way that you can top the montage with "You're the Best" playing in the background.
And yet...Will Smith can't see these obvious points. By now, I'm sure, you've heard about the remake that he's producing, starring his son Jaden as the star. And Jackie Chan will be playing Mr. Miyagi. I mean...are you serious?

That's not are a few of the other apparent details regarding this remake:
  • There were rumors that it would instead be called The Kung Fu Kid. Sounds ridiculous, but this would actually make sense considering the setting for the movie will be in China. Though it was more or less adapted from martial arts in China, Karate is known to have an origin in Japan, not China. "Kung Fu" translates to Chinese Martial arts. However, rather than respecting this ENORMOUS difference that is understood between the two countries and the rest of the world, the movie is apparently still going to be called The Karate Kid.
  • Though Jackie Chan is basically playing the character of Mr. Miyagi, his character name will be "Mr. Han." Jaden Smith's character name will not be will be Dre. *sigh* Pat Morita is probably rolling in his grave.
Obviously, I will not be going to see this movie, whenever it's released next year. I hope you're with me...let me know your thoughts.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Summer Movies - June 09

It's gradually transitioning into consistent warm weather here in the Northeast...which means it'll soon be the best time to sit in dark, enclosed theaters for hours! It's already May if you can believe it so I'm going to break down the next few months, starting with June, with my humble opinion of the summer blockbusters...

What to see:

- The Hangover (Release: June 5) - You know how sometimes you see a trailer for a comedy and then you see the entire movie and realize that the best part is in the trailer? Well I'm fairly certain that the best part of this movie is in the trailer - see for yourselves below (hint: it's at the end). However, I have faith in this comedy because there are a few hilarious guys in the cast: Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis. And it's directed by Todd Phillips (Road Trip, Old School)

- Dead Snow (Release: June 12) - Kids go on a ski vacation and end up in a battle with Nazi zombies. Give me one reason why you wouldn't want to see this. It's actually a Norwegian comedy-horror movie that obviously has no serious intentions, was shown at Sundance, and it'll be released here in the US next month.

- Food, Inc. (Limited Release: June 12) - A trend has slowly moved across our country that shouldn't be a trend and thus this movie. And that trend is people are starting to pay more attention to what food they buy and eat. Many people go food shopping without putting much thought into it when in reality, what you buy can have serious implications. A good quote in this trailer is, "When we move an item across a scanner, we're voting...for local, or, or not..." You might get a bit more out of this documentary than Dead Snow, but I'm open to debate on that.

- Year One (Release: June 19) - Everyone seems pretty excited about this one and though I tend to be a bit pessimistic approaching movie releases, I'm really pulling for my man Jack Black here. The one thing that concerns me is that this is rated PG-13. However, Nacho Libre was rated PG and that was a masterpiece.

- Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Release: June 24) - Now I'm not going to claim this as the movie to see this summer or anything...but I'm still going to see it. I found the first one entertaining and not just because Megan Fox was in it. Also, I was able to circle the set of this movie last year in Bethlehem, PA (I got Optimus Prime's autograph). Michael Bay's only really good for explosions and action, which I'm 100% OK with.

Will probably be disappointing:

- Land of the Lost (Release: June 5) - I'm on edge about this one. We all know that Will Ferrell is a bit too liberal in his choice of comedies. I'd probably completely dismiss it if Danny McBride (Hot Rod, Pineapple Express, Tropic Thunder) wasn't in the cast. I also am not sure of its rating; if it's PG, forget about it, though I'm thinking it'll be PG-13. When I first saw the trailer for it, I thought what pothead came up with this plot? And then I realized I wasn't alive in the 70's for its inception as a TV series. The other thing that throws me off is the director, Brad Silberling, who's directorial filmography, for the most part, can ironically be described by one of the movies he did: "A Series of Unfortunate Events." [Ay-o!] I also give him extra negative points for directing Nic Cage (City of Angels).

- The Taking of Pelham 123 (Release: June 12) - I hope that I'm wrong on this one, especially in light of the year that John Travolta has had, but I don't have a good feeling about this one. First of all, have you heard of it? Probably not...bad sign considering it's released in about a month. Second of all, I'm definitely not going to completely dismiss the work of director Tony Scott, but that's mostly just because he directed Top Gun and True Romance. Other than that, most of his work has been average action with big-name actors - Days of Thunder, The Fan, Enemy of the State, Spy Game, Domino. Because of that, and because the trailer didn't move me in the least bit, I'm not relying on the superstar cast of this movie: John Travolta, Denzel, John Turturro, Gandolfini. But that's just me.

Movies NOT to see:

- Imagine That (Release: June 12) - Eddie Murphy: why did you have to start doing lame movies? I didn't even read the plot on this one...all I saw was that it stars Eddie Murphy and it's rated PG, and we all know where that's going.

- Tennessee (Release: Who Cares?) - If I really need to tell you that a Mariah Carey movie is going to be bad, I exile you from reading this blog.

Obviously I haven't covered EVERY movie that will be released in June, so feel free to comment on anything you're looking forward to (or not looking forward to)! Stay tuned for upcoming posts on July and August releases.

Monday, May 4, 2009

T-Mobile Public Ads

It's comforting and entertaining to see genuine reactions from regular people, which is why hidden camera ads and ads based on guerilla marketing have grown in popularity. T-mobile has launched a couple of creative, inspiring advertisements with the tagline, "Life's for sharing," based on public displays in the UK.

These campaigns were created by the worldwide advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi who follows the motto, "Nothing is Impossible." A quick look through their site shows that this worldwide agency is very creative and their work will definitely grab your attention.

Here's the first video that featured a group of choreographed dancers, performing suddenly in a Liverpool station:

The video, captured by hidden cameras around the station, was cut down and featured on prime time on a UK TV station, as was this second video from London at Trafalgar Square just last week. This video only features one song, though apparently multiple songs were sung that day:

Monday, April 20, 2009

Top 10 Stoner Characters

So today is April 20th, 4/20, a day that has followed from the counterculture term that started merely as a time of the day to light up by some high school kids in California. This term has gained widespread recognition, so I thought it was only appropriate to post a list of what I find to be the top 10 stoner characters from movies. It's hard to portray a stoner in any way other than hilarious, so this list was pretty simple...and I'm not including Cheech nor Chong in this list because that'd be too easy...

10. Shorty (Marlon Wayans) from Scary Movie

Unfortunately, the sequels to this movie have gone down the typical progressively worse direction that comedy sequels tend to follow, but the original Scary Movie was pretty hilarious. I might have to rate him second best to "Officer Doofy," but nonetheless Shorty was definitely one of the best characters of the movie due to his utter stupidity, ridiculous voice and expressions.

9. Ed (Nick Frost) from Shaun of the Dead

Yeahh, boyeeee! A great movie and a great character, Ed is more of just a lazy bum in this role rather than a clearcut stoner, but it's pretty clear that he's a guy who indulges in the ganj. He also seems to be somewhat of a dealer though his response a couple times throughout the movie is that he's got nothing.

8. Jeff Spicoli (Sean Penn) from Fast Times at Ridgemont High

Although I think that this movie is a little overrated, I do have to admit that the fact that a guy who played both Jeff Spicoli and Harvey Milk in his acting career is pretty awesome. Pretty much all of the good parts of this movie involve Sean Penn as the long-haired, squinting surfer-stoner. Here's a little tribute video:

7. Floyd (Brad Pitt) from True Romance

Another big name actor playing a stoner, which might play a little into why I also have this on the list, but I could also say with confidence that this is the funniest role that Brad Pitt has ever played. Here's one of his scenes:

6. Lance (Jack Black) from Orange County

Jack Black as a stoner is just a delight. He plays an overall druggie in this movie, contributing to the dysfunctional family that Sean resents until he realizes they inspire his writing. This scene is when Lance decides he's going to do something with his life:

5. Saul (James Franco) from Pineapple Express

Saul is the lovable pot dealer in this movie who is only dealing so that he can get enough money to get his grandma into a nice retirement home. I need to watch this movie again because he had so many funny lines, such as this one, when Dale (Seth Rogen) and him are in the woods, hiding out from the bad guys who are after them:

Dale: could he find us?
Saul: Um...heat-sinking missiles...bloodhounds...and foxes..barracudas
Dale: I'm just...I'm kind of flabbergasted when you say things like that...

And another one from around the same scene:

Saul: Man, why'd we have to go to the woods?
Dale: Well, you didn't come up with any ideas!
Saul: Yeah, I came up with two! Nowhere and Quizno's!

4. Dante (Peter Dante) from Grandma's Boy

I'll preface this by saying that this movie is so underrated. Coming from Happy Madison productions, this movie features all of the guys that you'd recognize from the other Adam Sandler movies, except they're in main roles because Adam Sandler isn't in it. Here's the premise: a 35 year old video game tester, Alex, has a roommate who spends the rent money on hookers, forcing Alex to move in with his Grandma and 2 friends. Alex has a dealer, Dante, who is a completely whacked out stoner, who befriends an African tribesman who hooks him up with a lion as a pet to guard his weed stash. By now, you can probably figure out why the Academy passed up on this one. Obviously the lion didn't work out (he ends up teaching a chimp karate instead)'s what happened (warning: foul verbiage):

3. Slater (Rory Cochrane) from Dazed and Confused

This is arguably my favorite movie of all time: a story surrounding the last day of a Texas high school, which obviously needs a stoner character: Slater. Here's Slater's theory behind George Washington:

2. Brian (Jim Breuer) from Half Baked

I could include the entire cast of this movie in this list. A group of 4 friends loses one, the kindergarten teacher, to jail, after he accidentally fed a diabetic police horse munchies food and killed him. The other 3 bond together and start dealing to get him out. Here's a good scene with Brian:

1. The Dude (Jeff Bridges) from The Big Lebowski

The Dude is the Yoda of stoners.

You're probably familiar with the "F'in Short Version" series of videos where people take a movie and strip it down solely to the times when the F-bomb is mentioned. The Big Lebowski was a popular one...but have you seen the Dude Version?

Friday, April 3, 2009

Three Sheets Was Saved!

You may remember I posted about an excellent show, Three Sheets, that was taken off the air because its home, the MOJO Network, was eliminated. Zane Lamprey, the boozin' host of the show called out to his many fans for help, asking them to email networks and join him in some Pub Crawls to fight for a new home for the show.

Well I just checked his website and it sounds like all of it paid off! Hooray! A few weeks ago, Zane posted that a network will be broadcasting the old episodes of Three Sheets and most likely shooting a new season of the show. However, Zane mentioned that said network wants to make the announcement so we'll have to stay tuned; the good news, however, is that this new network is apparently accessed by 65 million homes as opposed to MOJO, which only had 10 million viewers. So chances are I, and you, will see it. Zane also mentioned that the support has landed him some other projects which he will get into later...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Top 10 Funniest Film Cameos (Part 2)

5. Bob Saget - Half Baked

For much of the late 80's and early 90's, most people knew Bob Saget from Full House and America's Funniest Videos as a huge dork. Little did we all know that the joke was on us because over the years, we all realized that Mr. Tanner was as filthy as filthy gets. His dirty humor has been exposed more over the years with comedy specials and such, but for many, there was one shining moment when we all realized that Bob Saget is nothing like the father figure to DJ, Stephanie and Michelle. And that moment came in Half Baked. The scene takes place at a rehab center, where Dave Chappelle gets heckled for the fact that he's there for marijuana. Bob Saget comes in with a couple shocking lines.

4. Charlie Sheen - Ferris Bueller's Day Off

First of all, did you know Charlie Sheen was born Carlos Irwin Estevez? This movie is obviously a classic and I'm sure you are all familiar with the cameo made by Charlie Sheen in this one. It takes place at the police station when Ferris' mother is at the police station because of Ferris' sister. She sits next to a burnt-out looking Charlie Sheen, who proceeds to inquire about why she's there (Drugs?), what her deal with her brother is (Did you blow him away or something?) and after a couple scene changes, we find the two making out. Can you believe that Charlie Sheen made this cameo in the same year that Platoon was released?

3. Jack Black - Anchorman

There were a good number of cameos in this movie (Ben Stiller, Tim Robbins, Vince Vaughn, Luke Wilson), but none were as good as the one made by the one and only Jack Black. This man does not get enough credit for how funny he is. And don't get the wrong idea...I love dogs. In about 70 seconds, Jack Black manages to put out a good handful of memorable quotes as well as probably the most shocking moment of the movie when he punts Ron Burgundy's dog into the river.

2. Anthony Keidis and Flea - Multiple Movies

I had to group these together because these guys not only are members of one of the best bands out there, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but they also are known for some pretty hilarious cameos in a few movies, both individually and collectively.

Starting with Anthony, you may remember he had a small role in the epic Point Break as a member of "The Surf Gang." Keanu was riding on the wrong waves and was met by Anthony and the other BAMF's at the shower for an ass-kicking. As you may remember, Keanu was an undercover cop with Gary Busey and they think this gang is responsible for the robberies, so they go in for the bust, end up shooting Anthony Keidis' foot, and find out they had the wrong suspects.

Moving on to the duo of Anthony and Flea, and connecting them to #4 on this list, Charlie Sheen, you may remember them from a movie called The Chase. The premise of this comedy-thriller is that Charlie Sheen takes a rich girl hostage for a car chase...that's pretty much it. Anthony and Flea play Will and Dale, a couple not-so-bright citizens who felt it was their duty to stop the car chase in their monster truck, but obviously fail in doing so.

And finally, the best cameo of the three belongs to Flea alone for his role as "Nihilist #2, Kieffer" in one of the best movies of all time, The Big Lebowski. He appears in a couple scenes, this one being the main one. By the way, I'd like to thank Kathryn for offering a bunch of old audio casette tapes back a while ago, one of which was just like the tape that the Dude is listening to in this scene, Songs of the Whale.

1. All Cameos in Happy Gilmore

These cameos individually could stand out on their own, but I figured it most appropriate to group them together since they're all in the same movie. Cameos are becoming a signature move for most comedies, especially with the Happy Madison and Judd Apatow groups since there are so many actors associated with each group. Often times, a cameo can become one of the best parts of the movie. In Happy Gilmore, there were multiple cameos that became the best parts of the movie.

I'll start with Kevin Nealon, the "psycho," who tries to give Happy (Adam Sandler) some holistic golfing advice. Interestingly, I noticed his name is "Gary Potter" in the movie, a year before the first Harry Potter book came out. I think J.K. Rowling was harnessing in some good energy.

Next, probably the best known cameo of the movie is with my hero, Bob Barker. This scene with Bob is also probably one of the funniest fight scenes.

Lastly, the best cameo of the movie is interestingly an uncredited role played by Ben Stiller. The handlebar mustache is a key ingredient in what makes the scenes with "Hal," the nursing home orderly, some of the best scenes of the movie. Unfortunately I couldn't find a quality video of my favorite scene so here's the audio:

What I did find was another good scene in quality video. Interestingly, once I sought out for videos of the Happy Gilmore cameos, Hulu had 10 clips, 3 of which contained these cameos. I think that's a testament to the fact that they're sitting at #1 on this list.

Please feel free to comment with your favorite cameos that I may have missed!