Saturday, July 31, 2010

Jazz Casual

Friday, July 30, 2010

Let's All Go to the Lobby!

Dinner for Schmucks

Steve Carrell and Paul Rudd goof around in this French remake directed by the man who also helmed the Austin Powers films. Rudd is a corporate hot-shot who's invited to private dinner thrown by his boss. The catch is that Rudd must bring along a 'winner' as his guest to entertain the rest of the group.

Though he's reluctant at first, Rudd relents when he meets Carrell's Barry, a nebbish, awkward fellow who takes things literally and spends his free time create mice filled dioramas. In the process, Rudd's Tim ruins his relationship with his art curator girlfriend, jeopardizes his career trajectory, and enrages a former one-night-stand. The film is filled with simple comedic bits, peppered with genuinely funny moments from Carrell and Zach Galifianakis, an IRS employee who possesses mind control abilities.

While I found the film fun and laughed quite a bit, it seemed to be more of a showcase for Carrell's goofy, slapstick humor. Rudd was bland and rather forgettable, though the supporting cast was strong with Galifianakis and Jemaine Clement providing plenty of laughs. While the end presents the moral of not using others to get ahead, which Tim learns by nearly losing his girlfriend, the film doesn't really chastise the corporate characters for the actions. Instead, in our YouTube world, the film almost makes it seem like it's natural to make fun of the different, odd, or weird. Because of that, the movie felt devoid of any real character and just a vehicle for chasing empty laughs. Skip it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

What Shapes A Young Brian Spath?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cool Covers

A nice throwback to the Emerald Twilight storyline.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What Shapes A Young Brian Spath?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Friday, July 16, 2010

Let's All Go to the Lobby!


Christopher Nolan's latest film takes the viewer on a mesmerizing ride that questions reality, memory, perception and makes you wonder if your thoughts are your own.

A great ensemble cast takes up the task of trying to plant an idea in someone's mind while that person dreams. The film is tense and thought provoking, all while being an action heavy summer blockbuster. I won't go into much further detail, as most folks have already decided whether or not they will see it based on Nolan's previous work.

What I find to be interesting is the concept of the film. Infiltrating dreams seems like a standard science fiction premise. This, coupled with the magic and fantasy infused in "The Prestige," show a supernatural tendency that Nolan seems reluctant to introduce into the Batman universe he has carefully crafted five-plus years. It is intriguing that the projects that Nolan develops between bat-films feature plots that bend reality while Nolan strives to keep the Batman as realistic as possible.

"Inception" is an intense film that moves at a brisk pace from beginning to end. There are several well planned action sequences and it's the type of action film that doesn't come around very often - one that makes you think. See it.


Jean-Pierre Jeunet
brings whimsy and ephemera that lifts what could have been a bland revenge tale in "Micmacs." Bazil, a video store clerk, barely survives an errant bullet during a drive by shooting. He discovers the weapons manufacturer is the competitor of the company that produced the bomb that killed his father. Bazil then sets out to bring both companies down.

Bazil soon falls in with a street performer who introduces him to an underground group of circus-esque vagrants who pledge their support and particular skill set to help Bazil exact his revenge. Jeunet has proven his knack for utilizing quirky characters, extravagant sets, and peculiar stories in an entertaining and dazzling fashion. See it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Wednesday Filler

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What Shapes A Young Brian Spath?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

Let's All Go to the Lobby!

Despicable Me

Steve Carrell leads a comedic cast list who lend their vocals to the latest 3D animated film. While the 3D effect doesn't do much for the experience, there's little else to keep an adult audience entertained for 95 minutes. "Despicable Me" tries to do for evil villains what "The Incredibles" did for superheroes: show a human fragility behind otherwise epic feats.

The film follows Gru, a would be nefarious mastermind who finds his career being eclipsed by a young upstart known as Vector (voiced by Jason Segel). To regain his spot as an evil genius, Gru decides to shrink and steal the moon. He soon becomes saddled with three orphaned girls who complicate matters as they complicate his heart.

There isn't much plot to the film and it's riddled with weak plot devices. The overall concept is basically "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" meets "Annie" with scifi elements mixed in. The story is simple, even for a kids movie, and most of the action and the comedic lines seem to pander just to get a reaction out of the audience. I expected more, especially with Steve Carrell on board, but the film just didn't deliver. Skip it.

Casey Affleck delivers a stirring performance in an otherwise disappointing film from Michael Winterbottom. Winterbottom is a director who likes to push the envelope, challenge the audience, and open a dialogue about the film's subject matter. "The Killer Inside Me" meets all three criteria in explosive fashion.

Affleck plays Lou Ford, a deputy sheriff in a small town who's all smiles and yes, ma'am's. Throughout the film, we discover the dark persona hiding behind the sparkling eyes and wide grin. Ford has a long history of conducting physical abuse against women and he's never able to bring himself to stop, no matter the cost. The film features several visceral scenes of intense physical foreplay and sexual content. You can see Ford delights in the displays, but is tormented at the same time. By the time the film starts, he realizes he's reached a point he can't turn back from and hatches a plan to settle a grudge with the town's richest man.

There are quite a few things I like about this movie. The cast is strong, the design is flawless, the music and opening title sequence are both enthralling. Based in Texas, the film plays on the moral ambiguities prominent in the Old West and leaves the viewer with many questions. Some of those questions, however, would have been better answered in the film. Certain sequences left me puzzled and Bill Pullman's performance didn't mesh with the rest of the film. Those questions are part of the allure of the story, however, and makes it worth revisiting. See it.

Robert Rodriguez is sure to sucker a few folks into watching the newest incarnation of the Predator franchise. Going the route of Guillermo del Toro (not actually directing a film, but instead presenting or producing it), Rodriguez's Troublemaker Studios put Nimrod Antal in charge of revitalizing the property after two stalwart installments that featured the eponymous creatures facing off against the aliens from the Alien series.

Adrien Brody, with chiseled abs and grizzled voice, leads a cast of mercenaries, assassins, and all around bad people who find themselves stranded on a distant planet, hunted for sport, and limited on options. Once this ragtag group gets its bearings, they try to turn the table, to little avail. Guided either by supernatural intuition or an extremely weak script, Brody is able to discern his compatriots pasts and the Predators plans. Topher Grace plays a supporting role in the film with little to no apparent means of defending himself, let alone ability to take on creatures such as the Predators - but that doesn't stop him from being involved an extremely weak third act plot twist that soils much of the film to that point.

Luckily, there wasn't much to ruin. The structure is generic: the cast is whittled down one-by-one, plot devices are showcased in overt fashion, and the ending is confusing as it is disappointing. "Predators" had decent action and special effects, but it didn't sustain interest like the original film. The Predators weren't as frightening, the cast wasn't as engaging, the film not as good. Skip it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Wednesday Filler

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

What Shapes A Young Brian Spath?

Monday, July 5, 2010