Movie recommendations


#snl #saturdaynightlive

Over the past two weeks, we’ve watched a handful of movies. I thought I would pass along which ones and a quick yay or nay about checking them for yourselves.

Buck

Buck is a documentary about a horse whisperer. It’s a good way to spend an hour and a half. It won’t blow you away, but it won’t leave you feeling empty.

I talked a little bit about this movie before, and it makes a good case for how treating animals and people with respect and dignity goes a lot further than treating them like shit.

Carnage

Carnage  is a movie from Roman Polanski with Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly.

This is one of those way-homer movies. I was entertained, but the more I think about it, the more I liked it. I liked the performances. I liked its criticism of social etiquette, and how no matter how up-to-date you are on the liberal or conservative views of raising kids, things have a way of working themselves out without parental interference.

I give this movie a solid recommendation. It’s funny, tragic, nuanced, and boring … all at once.

My Afternoons with Margueritte

My Afternoons with Margueritte is a Gérard Depardieu picture in which he falls in love with a 95-year-old lady. Keep in mind, it’s not falling in love sexually. Depardieu is a country bumpkin who finds a love affair with words and literature through his friendship as well. It’s a solid little piece of work. At one hour twenty two minutes, you can’t beat it.

Plus, the French is beautiful throughout, and if you’re learning the language or need a refresher, Gerard reads slowly and somewhat enunciative. The script flows like a poem, and is fun to listen to.

An Invisible Sign 

An Invisible Sign is a pathetic little independent film with Jessica Alba. If you want to watch this movie, watch the trailer. It’s better, more intriguing and thoughtful than the entire movie.

The production lost its vision somewhere along the way. And it looks like it’s a cobbled pieced together movie of disparate chunks, re-shot scenes and a script that lent itself to no comprehensible concept.

It’s poorly acted, and — like I said — the nuts and bolts are in the trailer. So save yourself from wasting your time. Rent something else.

Saturday Night Live

I’m throwing SNL in the mix for a couple reasons.

Primarily, because I want to ream it a new asshole in its own post. But I don’t think it deserves that much of my precious time.

First, let me say, I’ve been a big fan of the show — through thick and thin — since I can remember. The current cast is not good. And some of the characters are pissing me off, and may prevent me from watching all together.

Jay Pharaoh is the THE worst hire in a long time. And he’s being pushed on us fans like Romney on the republican voting block. I hated him as a minor character, and now I loathe him for getting more airtime. I haven’t laughed at one of his jokes. He’s not funny. He’s pathetic.

Perhaps the best new hire is Kate McKinnon. At least she’s funny, and I can already tell she’s going to grow on me as a cast member.

Other shitty members are Nasim Pedrad and Taran Killam.

The veterans need much more screen time and the up-and-comers need less screen time and more observational experience or something. They suck. Meanwhile, the show suffers, because the older members are getting crappy roles and shitty writing.

Seth Myers and the news portion was probably the best part of Saturday Night’s show.

 

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Snapseeded iPhone photos


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You know what I say, the best camera is the one in your hand.

When I’m waiting around for Talulah to poop, I spend time taking photos with my phone and editing them with Snapseed. It’s a $5 app that is well worth it, IMHO.

Anyway, here are a couple photos I’ve taken and edited lately.

Both shots were taken using HDR Photo Camera, which I picked up for free, but is now priced at $1.99. I’m not convinced HDR Photo Camera is the best app out there for HDR on your phone, but it’s a pretty damn cool app. At full resolution, there’s a long wait time to process the images. The setting I use takes six shots and fuses them together.

You aren’t supposed to take photos of moving images with HDR, but the train happened to go by when I was aiming at a sunset. HDR takes a series of images at different exposures and puts them all together to make a single, evenly exposed image (in theory).

I liked how the CTA below looks double exposed and then a three-year-old sneezed all over it.

Enjoy!

A Christian take on James Bond: Jimmy Valiant … the clever name machine must be broken.


@jimmyvaliant

Once in a while, a movie so bad must be made. The last one was Fireproof with Kirk Cameron. 

And then there was Jimmy Valiant: Scions of Danger, a movie made by kids for kids. Spreading the so-called good word shouldn’t always be considered a good thing.

The American Family Association, those bastions of destroying families despite having family in the title, are distributing this turd of a film for a $14.99 donation. Why a donation?

Who knows? To avoid paying sales tax?

Whatever. If the acting and action in the entire movie are anything close to what’s featured in the trailer, the movie is destined to carry on in the footsteps of Fireproof validating that Christian filmmaking is destined to follow in Christian music’s footsteps … mediocre at best.

The least the filmmakers could have done was get a kid who’s voice has changed to be the main actor.

More about the film here.

Absolutely Despicable Me


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Last night, T-love, T-dog and I watched Despicable Me. I’m a sucker for kid movies and animation.

It’s a good movie and worth a watch (or two).

After watching Despicable Me and talking about it with Tina, I’ve discovered that I have a few issues regarding adoption that I may need to tackle. I’m adopted, in case you didn’t know. And adoption is part of the movie. And apparently, the topic of adoption sends little rain drops down my cheeks if it’s presented in a despicable way.

I need to make a spoiler alert, but it’s kids’ movie and there’s not much you can spoil about a kids’ movie, in my humbla-matic opinion.

The movie is about a villain named Gru (voiced by Steve Carell) who needs to get a bank loan for a sinister plan only to be upstaged by another younger, more advanced villain. It’s the old, there’s someone younger than the aging employee twist.

Continue reading “Absolutely Despicable Me”

Inception: A sort of review slash reaction


Photo I took during the filming of The Dark Knight. Christopher Nolan is to the far left.

 

On New Year’s Day, I recommended a couple things to do. One thing was watch Inception for $.99 from Amazon.

Tina and I ended up taking my advice. We never saw it before. I recommend seeing Inception if you haven’t seen it already.

Inception was written and directed by Christopher Nolan (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, Momento). It’s about a guy (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is able to get into people’s dreams to extract information from them.

In a way, it was a lot like the Matrix. Like those movies, DiCaprio’s character can take his crew with him inside dreams. The dreamscapes are designed by one of his team, kind of like how the Matrix was designed by one major Architect and smaller Matrix situations were designed by code writers.

There was quite a bit of exposition about the rules of entering and exiting the dreamscapes, but for the most part, general laws of physics were obeyed inside the dreams. There was gravity, but that gravity could be affected by extenuating circumstances. Time could be bent depending on the layer of dream. It was bizarrely possible. As long as you suspend disbelief, the movie made a lot of sense over time.

The script did a pretty good job at keeping the rules simple so that there could be more characterization. Sometimes movies can get so wrapped up in the alternate worlds that the story is left behind.

All in all, the effects were awesome, and the whole idea is somewhat mind blowing at times.

I want to steal the script!

Inception reminded me of similar fantasies that I had as a kid, and it made me angry for not harnessing the thoughts sooner to develop a script before Christopher Nolan. Nolan took his fantasy world many steps further than I ever did. But in many ways, I had a similar fantasy place where I would go in my spare time.

Maybe you had something similar.

Continue reading “Inception: A sort of review slash reaction”

I know, I know … Leslie died


I know you know that Leslie Nielsen died over the weekend of something or another. Who cares, right?

Well, I do. Kind of. Not that Nielsen did much in the last few years except die. I mean Scary Movie 4, Superhero Movie, those movies didn’t do jack.

But if you’re like me, you spent a lot of time watching Leslie Nielsen movies through tears of laughter. It didn’t matter how many times I saw one of his movies, something always had me in stitches.

I found this web site this morning of his best lines. Here is a clip from youtube of some of his best from Naked Gun and Airplane.

I, for one, will miss him like coo coo nuts.

***EDIT*** Yes, I realize these aren’t only Nielsen clips. Enjoy it anyway.

Pixar, for Pete’s sake … quit with the sap


Last night, Tina and I redboxed Toy Story 3. We love Pixar animations, and do what we can not to miss one of their movies.

The story was okay. If I watch the movie again, I would only do it to listen to it and to watch some of the scenes with the densest art.

Visually the movie was stunning. It was nothing short of amazing.

We got the Blu-ray version, because with animations, Blu-ray quality is worth it. I’m not convinced that all movies should be watched on Blu-ray. It helps when movies are mega-engineered in post (e.g. action films), but run-of-the-mill dramas or chick flicks aren’t worth the higher price tag.

I’ve found that most of the audience who enjoy the latter don’t give two shits about quality.

So if you enjoy Pixar movies or have kids running around, Toy Story 3 is definitely worth a watch. And Blu-ray is worth considering.

That’s all I’m going to say in a general sense about the movie.

***SPOILER ALERT***

I have one message for Pixar, and it’s: “Stop trying to bring your audience to tears in every goddamn movie.”

People who know me, know I cry when a movie is so overwhelmingly great in a scene (sound engineering, music, editing, picture, etc.) that I’ll literally drop croc tears. This isn’t want I’m talking about.

There’s a scene during the denouement of Toy Story 3 in which the characters try really hard to make the audience cry. And they fucking succeed.

We get it. It’s possible to have an animation cause tears. UP should have been the last foray into making your audience cry like abused animals. If I watch animation, it’s because I want to experience every emotion except crying.

But if you think about it, Pixar does it in lots of movies, and I’ve had it to here.

Was it Brad Bird’s influence that brought this trend to Pixar? He proved he could do it in The Iron Giant.

Or maybe I’m the one who must change his perception of animations and what they are good for. Maybe animations need to blur the line of what they have been traditionally. They ask the question, “Do audiences need real actors to induce the variety of emotions movies can bring, including crying?”

Obviously not. If you had dry eyes in UP, you need to get your brain scanned. If you had dry eyes in Toy Story 3, it’s not as big of a deal. Maybe your childhood sucked and you just need to get a brain checkup.

What’s the last movie you watched that brought you to tears? What’s the last movie you watched?

Jeez, I can’t remember the last time I went to the theater. Humph.