Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Vault: "Blow" [Blu-Ray]

This is one of my favorite movies. Despite the mixed reviews that were written after its debut in 2001, I stand behind my man. Johnny Depp's portrayal of George Jung is one of his best performances. He adds depth and compassion to the notorious drug dealer, not to mention a lovable aloofness and witty sense of humor.

As he grows up and sees his father (Ray Liotta) struggle with finances, he makes a promise to himself that he will never be poor. George starts off small, selling weed in Manhattan Beach, California. There he meets Barbara (Franka Potente), his first true love and partner in crime. Sadly, she dies of cancer shortly after George is caught with 667 pounds of marijuana. He skips bail to take care of her, and winds up a wanted fugitive.

Once he's caught, George is thrown in prison where he meets Diego (Jordi Molla). Diego has ties with the Colombian cocaine trade, and convinces George to start working for Pablo Escobar's gang. George is not only introduced to Pablo, but also to Mirtha (Penelope Cruz), a Colombian vixen who turns out to be just a teeny bit crazy.

Like any other major drug dealer, George has trouble staying out of the game. The money is just too good to turn down. And he's good at what he does. Cops don't stop being cops, right?

Johnny Depp is a character actor, and almost every character he plays is unforgettable. George's rags-to-riches story is inspiring, despite its illegal nature. He truly lives the life he promised himself he would, which most people don't ever have the balls to do.

Great film, beautifully shot, well-cast, and fun to watch.

Monday, August 23, 2010

"True Blood" S03E09: The fairy tale begins...

Yes, Sookie is a fairy.

So after almost 3 full seasons, we finally learn that Sookie Stackhouse is, in fact, a fairy - and thus, the disappoint sinks in. I really am upset that it's come to this. I mean, I've dedicated some serious hours to this show and its story, and I can't believe that Sookie turned out to be Tinkerbell. Ok, not exactly Tinkerbell, but you know what I'm getting at. Really? That's supposed to explain her telepathy, her flash-of-light thing, and her sex appeal? According to Bill, her blood allows vamps to temporarily walk in the daylight, if only for a few minutes. Her blood is also the most desirable amongst vamps, thus explaining the heated competition between Bill and Eric since the beginning.

Speaking of Eric...thank goodness that he finally hooked up with Sookie! The sexual tension between those two has been driving me mad! Poor Eric knows he's not coming back from his confrontation with Russell, and just wanted to give Sookie a proper good-bye. Bravo, Eric!

Tara and Jason also had a "they-finally-make-out" scene of their own, only to be ruined once Jason fesses up about shooting Eggs. Talk about bad timing!

This episode also revealed a huge chunk of Sam's past. Since the beginning of this season, Sam had been waiting in the wings. After he killed Mary-Ann, he's been out of the picture. But now, with only 2 episodes left, we learn that Sam has some skeletons. Two, in fact. Sam gets conned into falling in love and living the Mickey-and-Mallory lifestyle with his then-girlfriend only to be robbed by her and her real boyfriend. Sam goes for revenge, and in middle of the gunfire, he kills her. I always kind of thought that Sam was a wimp, and that I didn't feel that bad for him in his times of woe. But now I think I look at him differently, with more sympathy for what he's been through.

Crystal turns out to be a...panther? She arrives at Jason's and shifts in front of him. I really hope there's more to this, because Sam's already the resident shifter. I think that Crystal and her family are something more powerful, because Crystal's dad makes a comment about Sam, saying "that shifter kicked my ass." So they must be something else.

Jesus and Lafayette go on a V trip together. They visit some kind of alternate universe, in which they can visit their ancestors. We learn that both of Jesus's grandparents practiced magic, but it was his grandfather who practiced the Black Arts. Jesus says that "he had something planned" for him to take up the family business. They also visit Lafayette's great-great-grandmother and her daughter, Winnie, as they practice voodoo (the good kind). Jesus and Lafayette both have a mystical, magical past. It's an interesting side-story that I'm excited to see more of!

The episode ended with Sookie being taken prisoner by Eric. After their heated make-out, Pam talks some sense into Eric and convinces him that they need to use her. So, being the asshole that he is, Eric swoops Sookie into his arms only to lock her in chains in his dungeon. WTF? Every time I get close to falling in love with Eric Northman, he pulls a stunt like this. I don't think he will ever be good, despite our wishes. He really is a cold-hearted bastard.

The promo for next week's episode is getting me so amped up! Until next week...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

"Scott Pilgrim" breaks new ground, but makes a huge mistake with Ramona Flowers: B

Almost everything about this movie was awesome. Let's start off with the awesome:

- The special effects were practically perfect. It's hard to explain, really. The fight scenes were definitely reminiscent of Super Mario, Street Fighter, and the like. Everything from the actual moves to the traces of blue that shadowed each punch and kick. Visually, this movie was really well done.

- The music kicked ass! I found myself tapping my feet to the sound of Sex-Bob-Omb, the fictional band that Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) plays bass in. I am definitely going to download the soundtrack and bump in the car on my way to work in the mornings.

- Michael Cera, as always, was hilarious. Ever since I watched "Arrested Development," I knew this kid would be huge. His awkward moments are nothing short of comedy gold. Jason Schwartzman was pretty funny too, although he's had better moments (I Heart Huckabees). The real comedic surprise came from Kieran Culkin, who plays Scott's gay roommate.

- Even though I have a vagina, I appreciated the tale of one boy's quest to fight his way to love. Scott's battles are a metaphor for what almost every boy goes through when dealing with the baggage of newfound love. Even though most guys in the real world won't have to duel the League of Evil Exes, it must feel like that, right? Especially if you spend a lot of your time playing video games.

Ok, let's move on to the only issue I had with this movie (please prepare, I'm about to rant):

- I'm really over the whole "mysterious-girl-who-dyes-her-hair-different-colors-but- she-really-intrigues-me" thing. Did anyone else see Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind!? Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and others like her are purely fiction. I've known girls like her, in fact, my ex-best friend was one such girl. Pretentious, quirky, shy, with hair as damaged as Mel Gibson's frontal lobe.

"That little bitch stole my schtick! I'm going to read Sylvia Plath now."

The idea that she's so unique and NOT insane is a lie. She's been abused in some way (most likely sexual) and she's 100% crazy. Now, I can understand when nice, non screwed-up-in-the-head guys go for that type, if she's got a rockin' body and a pretty face. But Ramona was plain, unattractive, and had a horrific sense of style. (You know, wearing leggings under a perfectly cute black dress to let the world know how insecure you are). In the end, Scott chooses Ramona over Knives Chau (Ellen Wong), which really left me with a bad taste in my mouth. If you had to fight off 7 evil exes that nearly took your head off, wouldn't the sweet and non-dangerous Asian girl start to look like your best option?

In the end, "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" was a really fun movie to watch. All the elements came together and worked, which a lot of people (including myself) were skeptical of. Go see this movie.

Monday, August 16, 2010

"True Blood" - S03E09: 'Everything is Broken' but no questions are answered!


So we still don't know what Sookie Stackhouse is. But Bill does, and the episode ended just short of him revealing the information to her. Curses!

The central story line in this episode focused on King Russell and his plot to rid the world of human beings. After the death of Talbot and the discovery of Nan Flanagan's interest in Eric, King Russell decides to send the world a message. That poor TBBC news anchor had his spine ripped out from behind him! (One of the goriest scenes of the show so far). He assures the world that vampires are indeed nothing more than a gang of evil bloodsuckers. He accuses the A.V.L. of selling a lie to the American people: because vamps drink Tru-Blood, they pose no threat and thus they deserve the rights of humans. (*Nan is guilty of this lie, as she watches Russell's broadcast as she's gorging on the blood of an exotic, busty beauty.) So it looks like Russell is serious about his plan, and Nan Flanagan may be going down...

That is, unless, Eric kills him in time. Eric informs Nan of his true intentions and reveals to her the long history he has with Russell. With the official non-acknowledgment of the A.V.L., Nan tells Eric to do it quietly. Eric and Pam have a tender moment in this episode, when Eric tells her that he may not survive his confrontation with Russell, and that she is ready to be a Maker.

Back in Bon Temps, Jason is now protecting Crystal. Not very well, considering that one of her "kin" escapes his ropes and lets loose on of the officers. We still don't know what kind of creatures Crystal and her family are.

Tara decides to get some much-needed therapy. She goes to a battered woman/rape survivor meeting. Doesn't help much, because Franklin is back! Tara decides to do a little reverse-psychology on her ex and beg him to kill her. In the confusion, Franklin lets his guard down as Jason approaches with a shotgun full of wooden bullets. So Franklin dies this time. Definitely dead.

Other stuff that happened:
- Sookie meets Hadley's son, who turns out to be a telepath.
- Jesus and Lafayette are cute as ever.
- Sam beats the crap out of Crystal's dad at Merlotte's.
- Arlene reveals that she doesn't want her baby, because Renee is the father.
- Bill travels to Sookie's dreamscape and meets Claudine.

Friday, August 13, 2010

In Observance of Friday the 13th: 13 Awesomely Scary Movies

13. "Event Horizon" (1997)
Things go terribly wrong for Laurence Fishburne's crew when scientist Sam Neill's black-hole machine decides to go a little crazy. A great cerebral thriller.

12. "The Descent" (2005)
A group of sexy cave-divers get more than they bargained for when they start to get picked off by gangly flesh-eaters. Don't watch this movie alone.

11. "Jaws" (1975)
The mammoth monster terrorizes a quiet beach town. No matter how many slow-motion photographers try to make great whites seem beautiful, I am still afraid - very afraid.

10. "Let The Right One In" (2008)
This Swedish thriller about the vampire-next-door was haunting and beautifully shot. The American version probably won't do it justice.

9. "The Exorcist" (1973)
A classic tale of pea soup and demonic possession. Despite its age, it still manages to creep me out.

8. "Paranormal Activity" (2007)
Even though it was staged to appear like a home video, this mock-doc asserted that I don't ever want to live in a large house. The footprints in the baby powder was perhaps one of the scariest things I've ever seen.

7. "The Strangers" (2008)
There's nothing better than a newlywed couple being hunted down by a masked family armed with knives. The entire is movie is shot without a soundtrack/score/ominous sounds, which makes it that much scarier.

6. "The Shining" (1980)
Stanley Kubrick's interpretation of the Stephen King novel still leaves me with flashes of British twins and REDRUM. One of Jack Nicholson's best performances, and perhaps one of the most intelligent horror movies of all time.

5. "The Sixth Sense" (1999)
Although most video stores categorize this film as 'Suspense/Thriller,' there are some damn scary parts of M. Night Shyamalan's golden nugget. I'll never forget that red sweater and the dumbwaiter. Of the greatest movies (in any genre) of the past 20 years.

4. "Misery" (1990)
There's nothing scarier than Kathy Bates with a sledgehammer. This is a cautionary tale of what happens when psychos fall in love with their idols. Poor James Caan.

3. "Psycho" (1960)
One of the original horror movies, perhaps the on that started it all. Hitchcock's famous fable about hotel owner Norman Bates and his penchant for murder. It will still send shivers down your spine after 50 years since its debut.

2. "Rosemary's Baby" (1968)
I can't think of anything scarier than Satan himself impregnating me with his son. That's what happens to little Mia Farrow in this chilling tale of occultism-gone-wrong.

1. "The Blair Witch Project" (1999)
Before 'Paranormal Activity' burst onto the scene, a group of college kids decided to create the scariest movie of all time. Take a camera into the woods, hang some twigs outside of the tent with some bloody t-shirts, and make it appear as if the Blair Witch is out for blood. Seriously - this movie ruined my life for about two weeks after I watched it. Although we know it's staged/fake, we DIDN'T know it until some time after the movie came out. The ultimate scare.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Things Mel Gibson Says: "What Women Want" Edition

Ok, kids - here we go:

1) "There's way too much estrogen on TV these days."

2) "What am I doing? She's not in the refrigerator..."

3) "Oh, this is nice - I don't understand why women complain about waxing."

4) "You go, girl."

5) "Buns of steel...I'd steal her buns if I could."

6) "She thinks you're overpaid - and gay."

7) "It's never too late to do the right thing."

Monday, August 9, 2010

"True Blood" - S03E08: Everyone gets coupled up for a 'Night on the Sun'

What an episode! Bill breaks up with Sookie for her own safety, and Sookie finds herself back at Gran's old house fending off the were-bitch Debbie. Their fight scene was well-done, and I love that Sookie cut Debbie's face a la Heath Ledger's Joker.

I noticed that a handful of the main characters are getting re-partnered; not necessarily romantically, either. Here's my observations:

- Sookie & Alcide: Both of them went a little crazy and fell in love with the wrong person for them. In another life, Sookie admits she would have chosen someone more like Al, and he returns the compliment. Wouldn't they be a cute couple?

- Bill & Jessica: The newly single vampires who are dealing with new-found loneliness. Lots of tears of blood from both of them this episode.

Moving right along.

We're still unsure of Sookie's origin. Seems like Bill and Eric are the only ones who know anything about her past. I'm also a bit unclear on Crystal's origin, too. I don't think she's a were-bitch. She mentioned to Jason that her dad and fiancee could find her if they caught her "scent," but it doesn't really indicate for sure that she's talking about the scent of wolf.

Eric starts to make his move, inching closer to avenging his family. When Russell leaves the plantation to supervise Debbie's hunt for Sookie in Bon Temps, Eric volunteers to stay behind with Talbot. The sex scene ensues, only resulting in an early finish...Let's just say that Talbert gets chopped up into a Cuban sandwich. Just as Russell sears the face of Bill with his silver spurs, he senses Talbert's death and flies away. Sookie lets Debbie get away, too.

And now this is the part where Sookie and Bill have make-up sex. I have to admit, even after 3 seasons of this show, I still cover my eyes during the sex scenes. But it was pretty sexy that they banged with shotgun shells and broken glass covering the floor.

In other Episode 8 news...

- Tara keeps imagining Franklin making a return for her
- Lafayette's mama pays him a visit to ensure that the demons don't get to him
- Jesus gives Lafayette a break for selling V, and a make-out session ensues
- Tommy tells Hoyt to stay away from Jessica because she's out of his league
- Hadley relays a message to Sookie from Eric, that Bill is not to be trusted

Until next week!!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Peacocks may not fly, but "The Other Guys" rocks my glock: B+

Will Ferrell's had a good run - and the shit ain't over. I mean, seriously, this man will never run out of steam. He is pure comedy gold. And let's not forget about Mr. Whalberg, who showed everyone his penchant for comedy when he teamed up with Andy Samberg on SNL. I love the guy. Every time I see a peacock [which is almost every day] I will lovingly remember Mark Whalberg and his fairy-dance routine.

The pairing of Will and Mark is certainly a reward to see. I still think of Mark Whalberg as Reese Witherspoon's psychotic boyfriend from "Fear." And if I manage to get that creepy image out of my head, I'm stuck with 'Good Vibrations.' Their back-and-forth exchanges in the cocaine-covered Prius were hilarious.

And Michael Keaton?! Who knew he was so funny? I mean, "Mr. Mom" was adorable and all, but I never thought the man would be able to pull off the creepy-funny combo. It was awesome to see Batman rockin' the shit out of a Bed, Bath, & Beyond apron.

This is definitely one of the funniest buddy movies since...since..."Step Brothers." Oh shit, that was another little nugget from the genius minds of Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Hmph. While it's never going to trump the classics (such as "Dumb and Dumber" and "Tommy Boy") it certainly has me Googling for quotes that I couldn't quite remember, regarding Dirty Mike's soup kitchen and TLC songs.

I must admit, it's not getting a full 'A' from me because a huge chunk of comedic material was exploited in the trailer (mostly the parts involving Samuel L. Jackson and The Rock). But other than that, it was pretty damn funny. The narration by Ice-T didn't hurt either, it may have actually enhanced the mood a bit.

The bottom line is, this summer has been a total bust for movies. "Inception" and "The Other Guys" are definitely making headway as this summer's best flicks (for very different reasons, obviously). Oh, and make sure you go see this one during the day - sitting in a full theater may sound like fun to some, but there are some really annoying laughs out there.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Vault: "Magnolia" [Blu-Ray]

This was my FIRST time seeing "Magnolia," let's get that cleared up right away. I remember when it came out, I had mixed feelings about whether or not I'd see it. Obviously, I chose not to.

The Good:

- John C. Reilly's performance was surprisingly amusing, and not in the Dewey Cox kind of way. He can act, for real.

- The soundtrack, thanks in large part to Aimee Mann, was near perfect. It's no surprise that Jon Brion also contributed, whom I adore.

- Phillip Seymour Hoffman. (I don't think I need to say more)

- Excellent screenplay.

- "Respect the cock, tame the cunt" seminar.

- William H. Macy's obsession with braces.

The Not So Good:

- The Frogs. I mean, really? So, all of a sudden, the Frogs solve everyone's problems and save lives? I took this to be a bit pretentious. As soon as those blobs started to fall from the sky, Anderson lost me.

- The little rapper. I found it completely pointless.

- Julianne Moore.

- Jimmy Gator's suicide attempt being botched by falling Frogs. It would've made more sense to let him blow his brains out.

The Bottom Line:

This felt like a B-version of "American Beauty." The writing was beautiful, most of the actors did a phenomenal job, and the art direction was much appreciated. But I can't get over the fact that the movie never really came full circle for me. I blame it on the damned Frogs. I get that the movie was supposed to be about forgiving others and being forgiven, but it just felt so trite and over-worked.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

[Even] More Reasons Why Kristen Stewart Sucks

Oh, you poor little thing. Hollywood is a tough place for a young girl, isn't it? All of the millions of dollars you've made in the past 3 years will never make up for the hassle of being famous, will it? I know you'd rather be behind the counter of Amoeba Music discussing indie-rock and the failures of democracy with your fellow hipsters. But you chose the art of acting instead, in which case, you've failed miserably. Thank goodness you've got R-Pats to back you up. Or don't you? You two are together, right?

Let's get to the list, shall we?

- Like Zoolander, you've got yourself a "signature" look. Those droopy eyes, the half-gaped mouth and razor thin lips, the blank all works so well for you, doesn't it? It's too bad that most people prefer Blue Steel to your "I have no idea what I'm doing".

- How the hell did you land the roll of Joan Jett? Oh, that's right. You stopped by your local Hot Topic and decked yourself out in patent leather and black-glitter eye liner. That works every time Cameron Diaz wants a role, too.

- What's up with your shivering? Are you cold? Do you need a Snuggie?

- Your 'quirkiness' is so pretentious. Seriously. So, you hate the paparazzi and all the bells and whistles that come with being a famous Hollywood star. Maybe you should've thought about that before you decided to team up with Jodie Foster. Do you even know who she is? That's Detective Sterling, dear girl, and she is solid gold.

- Would it kill you to ditch the dark eyeliner and long face? Does the inability to smile run in your gene pool?

- I'm pretty sure you never act. I'm completely convinced that, like Jim Carrey, you are simply yourself. But - unlike Jim Carrey - you have no personality, so I'd rather watch the inside of my dryer on the gentle cycle.

You remind me of that raised little corner of my fingernail that continues to snag against my alternative-down comforter. Until I get rid of it, it will continue to annoy me. So, I solemnly swear, from hereafter, that you shall forever be in my heart as The Worst Actress of My Generation.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Vault: "The Sixth Sense" [Blu-Ray]

When I finished watching this movie for the first (and only) time (until last night), I was sure I was never going to watch it again. After all, what's the point of watching it a second time? Bruce Willis is a ghost, and therefore the plot was ruined forever...right?

Even after 10 whole years, this movie still thrilled me. Yeah yeah, I know "the twist" and I remember Haley Joel Osment's big secret - but I noticed so much more when I watched it for the 2nd time.

When I first watched "The Sixth Sense," I was 12 and therefore incapable of recognizing any sort of clues or hints to the movie's ending. But now at 22, I very quickly picked up on the indicative art direction and writing.

Ever notice the hints of red throughout the entire movie?
- The doorknob to Malcom's basement
- The blanket Cole uses for his fort
- The balloon
- The sweater Cole wears when he's attacked in the dumb-waiter
- The color of Anna's dress/blanket
- The trimming of the box containing the video of Kira being poisoned
- The skirt-suit worn by Kira's step-mom at the funeral
- The helmet of the biker who died in the accident

The color was strategically placed throughout the film, but I still haven't figured out if the color red itself was supposed to symbolize anything.

Oh, and the part when Cole is in his hospital bed and Dr. Crowe comes to tell him a bedtime story. Cole says, "You don't tell many bedtime stories, do you?" Malcolm knows his story is boring Cole, and Cole suggests adding a "twist." Hmmm. At that moment during the film, I was thinking the same thing - 'This is getting sleepy, this little kid is starting to annoy me.' And then what happened?! Ah, "the twist" was born.

I forgot how intense that scene was when Cole and his mom are stuck in traffic because of the accident. Remember? Cole tells his mom that Grandma was moving the bumblebee pendant, and that she saw her dance at her recital. OMG - nothing but tears. I cried so hard.

And on Blu-Ray, it looked even better. It was hard to believe that this movie was made over 10 years ago. Today, it's still brilliant and relevant. Too bad I've sworn off M. Night Shyamalan...after "Signs," he completely lost me. Hopefully, though, that new movie 'Devil' will win me back.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Things Mel Gibson Says: "The Patriot" Edition

1) "Before this war is over, I am going to kill you."

2) "Aim small, miss small."

3) "Aren't you a little old to be believing in ghost stories?"

4) "I have long feared that my sins would return to visit me, and the cost is more than I can bear."

5) "I'm a parent. I haven't got the luxury of principles."

6) "I have done nothing. And for that I am ashamed."

7) "My sons were better men."

8) "A dog is a fine meal."

9) "Oh son, that wasn't your fault - that was mine."

10) "This battle was over before it began."

"True Blood" - S03E07: So, what the hell is Sookie?!

The most notable part of last night's episode was definitely Sookie's coma-induced dreamscape. While in the hospital after being fed on by Bill, Sookie sees a white light and arrives in a world of flowers and beautiful people dancing. There's a pond, filled with someone kind of orgasmic, glowing water. When Sookie is offered a drink, she claims it's the best thing she's ever tasted. A woman named Claudine tries to convince Sookie to stay. She warns her that Bill is going to steal the light inside of her. Once Bill arrives at her bedside, the dancers in white flee to the safety of the pond. There's a mixture of mythology going on here: the pond may be the Fountain of Youth, Claudine may be a daughter of Aphrodite, who knows? It's still very unclear what Sookie is and where she comes from. Jason reveals to Tara and Lafayette that Sookie was born onto the dining room table - maybe a clue to her origin? Apparently, Hadley knows why Sookie is an object of interest to Queen Sophie, but she only reveals this to Eric once she's close to death. Tell us what she said, Eric!

King Russell rescues Pam, as promised. His speech to the Magister is fucking awesome, as he reveals that he is the new authority. After some pokes of silver, the Magister is forced to officiate the "alignment" between Russell and Sophie Anne as the new ruling power of vampires. I have a feeling Nan Flanagan isn't going to be pleased...don't be surprised if she pays a visit to Fangtasia soon. Maybe Nan and Eric will team up to take down the King...?

On the boring side of things, Sam infiltrates the dog fight as a bulky pitbull in order to rescue his brother, Tommy. Jason tries to buy meth from Lafayette to persuade Crystal's imprisoned cousin to give him more information about her.

By the way, I'm 2 for 3 on this season's Death Predictions: *ding dong the Bitch is dead* Yes! Lorena is finally nothing but a pile of blood and guts.

Hopefully, the next episode will reveal more about Sookie's origins and why her blood seemed to protect Bill from the sun. I'm also hoping for Eric to confront King Russell about his true intentions.

Until next week!
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