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  • Jay 11:59 pm on March 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    And the Winner Really Is … 

    It’s time for me to avenge my performance from last year’s picks.

    Best Actor:
    Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club

    Best Actress:
    I’m taking a risk here but I’m voting Judi Dench from Philomena. (I mean, who actually saw that movie? No one.)

    Best Supporting Actor:
    Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club

    Best Supporting Actress:
    Lupita Nyong’o for 12 Years A Slave

    Best Director:
    It’s either Steve McQueen for 12 Years A Slave or Alfonso Cuaron for Gravity. I’ll have to go with McQueen since Pauly picked Cuaron. But I really want to pick Cuaron.

    Best Picture:
    It should be Gravity, but it’ll be 12 Years A Slave

     
  • Jay 10:47 pm on January 18, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Breastfeeding Movie List, Pt. 1 

    Alright. I’m not actually the one doing the breastfeeding, much to your disappointment I’m sure. If I were, this would be a post on Scientific America and I would surely be in the running for a Nobel. Just sayin. And if you thought this was a list of the best movies about breastfeeding, you’ll also be disappointed.

    My wife is doing the majority of the feeding, and I jump in at the end with the bottle. But. Watching movies in the background is a good way for Juliet to stay awake while passing her life force on to the baby. So do the math; an hour of feeding every two hours is … a lot of time to watch movies.

    So here’s what I’m calling, Breastfeeding Movie List … Part One (from worst to best)

    5) RIPD

    If Men in Black had a morbidly obese, uglier, and more ignorant half-sibling, this movie would be it. RIPD should have been RIP’ed (do you see what I did there? Well, me neither). There is one minor twist, but the movie is so banal, you don’t care.13% on Rotten Tomatoes. You’ve been warned!

    RIPD-Screenshot

     4) Flypaper

    McDreamy (the guy from Grey’s Anatomy) and Ashley Judd find themselves in the middle of a bank heist, “Clue” style that is. Who are the real bank robbers? Who is doing all the murdering? Who is the evil mastermind? Will you figure it out before the end of the movie? Probably. Patrick Dempsey occupies the manic Tim Curry role. The problem is, you never really give a shit. 17% on Rotten Tomatoes. Watch it on Netflix

    flypaper-movie-image-01

     3) Price Check

    This could have played out like the sequel to Office Space, but it didn’t. A brilliant Parker Posey is a biting, ambitious, manic corporate director brought in to turn a local supermarket chain into a nationally competitive company. All she’s given is the local crew (picture the Scranton crew from The Office). Eric Mabius (Ugly Betty’s boss) is the only guy with any talent. What ensues is sorta funny.  67% Rotten Tomatoes. Watch it on Netflix

    Price-Check-still-28-Parker-Posey

     2) Drinking Buddies

    Jake Johnson (Zooey Deschanel’s boyfriend/roommate on New Girl) and Olivia Wilde work together; they’ve got some serious chemistry, but Johnson is dating Anna Kendrick (Up In The Air) and Wilde is dating Ron Livingston. The movie is more sincere than the typical Hollywood offering and the conclusion is a refreshing portrayal of the differences between love and friendships. 82% on Rotten Tomatoes. Watch it on Netflix.

    drinking-buddies2

     1) Robot & Frank

    This is a very graceful and endearing  movie about family and aging. Set some short time in the future, the ever adept Frank Langella plays the elderly, semi-retired thief suffering from dementia. Langella teams up with his caretaker Robot, voiced by Peter Sarsgaard, for one last heist. Langella’s family – James Marsden and Liv Tyler – get caught up in the mix. It’s worth watching. 86% on Rotten Tomatoes. Watch it on Netflix

    frank-and-robot_approved_wide-0dcf07b63aed6a99fa7bfe4cf92359e09693f3e6-s6-c30

    Checkout Jay’s other lists:

    Ron Perlman’s Top 10

    Our Favorite Milla Jovovich Movies

    Ranking Movies Across 16,000 Miles

    Sequels That Should Have Been

    Star Trek Movies’ Top 10 Moments

     
  • Jay 4:53 pm on November 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Iron Sky: Black Man Goes to Moon, Comes Back with Nazis 

    If you’re looking for an absurd action/comic book B-movie with more than passable special effects and a not-so-implicit critique of American political ethos, then watch Iron Sky (the movie is a Finnish/German/Australian production. I suspect they’re not our hugest fans).

    OR.

    If you’d like to see a movie where the black guy doesn’t die first, then watch Iron Sky.

    Here’s what you need to know. Nazis escaped at the end of World War II. Where do Nazis go if they don’t want to be found? Well clearly, the dark side of the moon. In the not-so-distant future, the new President of these great United States finds her Palinesque self in a rating slump. So what gimmick does her PR consulting firm suggest? “Yes We Can … send a black man to the moon.” It’s never been done before. (Wait, really??) And it’s something all Americans can get behind.

    So imagine our black protagonist’s surprise when encountering Nazis on the moon. Well, he’s not as surprised as the Nazis who find a black man behind the helmet. I believe their incredulous reaction is followed by the question, “Is this some kind of joke?” Of course, the whole movie is a joke, and some amount of comic hilarity and action follows.

    Admittedly, I watched this movie at 1am in the morning and expectations were low. But it’s worth a try. Yes You Can … watch a black man go to the moon. Stream it now on Netflix.

    Iron Sky

     
  • Jay 2:20 am on September 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dexter, Jennifer Carpenter, Michael C Hall   

    In Support of Dexter’s End (yes, spoilers ahead) 

    Dexter is as close to a comic book superhero as we’ve gotten on television … that is, a comic book superhero who isn’t already a “comic book superhero” (i.e. The Hulk, Wonder Woman, Batman, etc).

    By day, he’s a blood analyst on the Miami Metro Police force. By night, he dispatches bad guys with a syringe, knives, and often hand-to-hand combat. Dexter even has a costume: the cargo pants, skin tight brown shirt, the occasional butcher’s apron, and the black gloves.

    “But he’s a sociopath,” you say. “Not right in the head.” Well, I would venture to say, so our most of our comic book superheroes, who prance around in tights, exacting justice, living dual lives; they are dysfunctional individuals who don’t just resist integration, they are incapable of such assimilation into society.

    What does this have to do with my thoughts on Dexter’s appropriate end? Sorry, very little. It’s just an interpretation of the show I’ve wanted to share for some time.

    Moving on.

    Juliet and I are sad to see one of our favorite television shows end. With the loss of Breaking Bad on the horizon, this is going to be a tough year for us (yeah yeah, woe is me and my first world problems). For many, the Dexter series finale is an unsatisfying conclusion. Some have dubbed it … “worst finale since Seinfeld!” Wow. Harsh.

    But seriously. Could it have gone any other way? (DO NOT READ ANYMORE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW HOW DEXTER ENDS)

     

    (OK, YOU’VE BEEN WARNED …)

     

    Death would have been too good for Dexter.  And life with Hannah and Harrison? C’mon, that’s too easy. Prison for Dexter? Too appropriate.

    In retrospect, of course Deb dies. The result? We see Dexter experience pain, the kind he’s been aspiring to on his trek towards humanity. It’s the kind of pain that comes from having loved … and, wait for it … lost. With the loss of Deb, we see Dexter cry for the first time. Folks … that’s HUGE! And how tragic that Deb might be his last “kill?” For all the “good” reasons (or alibis) for his prior kills, this is the one we perhaps empathize with the most. It’s also a fitting end to the series … a tribute to the central relationship on the show. It would be a mistake to argue that Dexter is solely about Dexter. It is as much about Deb. And through the eight seasons, Deb and Dexter have been a mirror for each other’s struggles.

    As a general rule, we don’t change. We adapt. We grow.  But that’s different from becoming something we’re not (there’s a reason why we can’t just go out and date anyone and live happily after; we’re not so malleable. Think about it.) So who is Dexter now? Unhinged, without the code, without Harry in his head, without Harrison to care for, without Deb in his life? Surprise! He is as he always was. A sociopath. A serial killer. And what of his self-imposed exile? It’s acceptance. It’s even a little selfless, perhaps the most unselfish act of his eight season run. What a torturous end for Dexter, but one that is far more self-aware and enlightened than many of us will ever have.

    Dexter

     

     
  • Jay 1:29 pm on September 14, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alec Baldwin, Angelika, , Woody Allen   

    Movies at The Angelika: Blue Jasmine 

    This has been a rather humdrum summer for movies.

    So I find myself surprised by a couple of flicks that were released towards the tail end of the season. We happened to watch both movies at the Angelika, which historically has been a little too hip for me. However, a popcorn in one hand, and a cappuccino/organic cheesecake in the other is a novelty I could repeat; commercial theaters should consider expanding their food offerings, though I’m sure there’s a financial analysis that indicates otherwise. The crowd at Angelika an odd concoction – Lincoln Center constituents meets Williamsburg hipsters. OK, off topic as usual.

    Blue Jasmine, Wood Allen’s latest, is understandably reviewed by many as a shade of “Streetcar Named Desire.” Most things I would write treads familiar, and Blue Jasmine is certainly deserving of its 90%.

    So what of the manly men who are hesitant to see the movie? Well, see it with a date. It makes for an evening at the theater … except, you’re not at the theater. I’m not saying the movie is cheerful, but guess what, you and your date will have something to converse about at some length (as opposed to the conversations I had with Juliet following the Summer’s blockbusters,  “Sorry. Bad choice. You get to pick the next one.” Though I suppose, that could have been a strategy to secure a second date).

    If you don’t already know the plot, well … life goes wrong for the wife (Blanchett) of a Bernie Madoff type (Alec Baldwin), and she moves in with her adopted sister (Sally Hawkins). Tragic hilarity ensues.

    See it. Because when Blanchett gets nominated for the Best Actress Award, you’ll want to be able to participate in the conversation.

    I’ll review Austenland next, the second movie we saw at the Angelika. But first, I’m going to finish watching Apollo 18 … in fast forward.

    blue-jasmine-cate-blanchette

     
    • CMrok93 4:13 pm on September 22, 2013 Permalink

      It’s one of those rare instances where Woody just let his ensemble do the talking for him, and what a perfect idea that was! Everybody’s great, especially Blanchett. However, I feel like that’s sort of known by now. Good review Jay.

  • Jay 7:00 pm on July 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Tsk-Tsk, Movie Critics 

    The critics are on crack.

    Let’s use rottentomatoes as our aggregator/benchmark. To put my crack comment in easy perspective, the only tentpole summer movies to receive better reviews than Pacific Rim are Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness (I am omitting family movies such as Despicable Me 2 … which I still think should have been titled, Despicable Me Too. I am also aware that FF6 is not considered a tentpole movie).

    Ranking in order of RT percentages:
    Star Trek Into Darkness: 87%
    Iron Man 3: 78%
    Pacific Rim: 71%
    FF6: 69%
    WWZ: 67%
    Man of Steel: 56%

    Read my lips.

    Pacific. Rim. Is. An. Awful . Movie.

    Despite Groomsman Pauly’s warnings, I saw Pacific Rim anyways.  Even with the lowest of low expectations the movie sucked  hard, so much so that I walked out an emaciated emotional shell of my former self. Pacific Rim is poorly cast, poorly acted, and visually obtuse. My penance? Juliet, who comes with me on these excursions, gets to pick ANY movie for us to watch next. Previous such occasions have yielded the following titles:  Beauty and the Briefcase, The Princess Protection Program, I Love You I Love You Not, Princess: A Modern Fairytale, Read It and Weep, and Geek Charming, among others. Never heard of these movies? Exactly. And keep in mind, I can’t just sit on the couch while I scan my iphone for useless information. I must give my soul to these movies; my undivided attention is the most minor requirement. (To be fair, my penance for Pacific Rim was Water for Elephants, staring Christoph Waltz, Reese Witherspoon, and that vampire guy from Twilight. It’s “Weekend Watch” worthy)

    But I digress.

    Man of Steel, FF6, and WWZ are sub 70% movies.

    Man of Steel is the most egregious mistake, with an abhorrent 56%. My mini-review of Man of Steel goes something like this: Man of Steel … Post 9/11 origin story; yes! We finally experience Krypton; General Zod isn’t just a villain/backup musician for ABBA; Lois Lane is NOT annoying; and Clark Kent struggles to find his moral center … he is at once more alien than the Superman we’ve known, and yet far more human than any prior big-screen depiction.  The critics would have preferred a more jovial light-hearted Clark Kent and a Superman who manages to save everyone, everywhere, every time. Oh right, that movie was already made … and it was TERRIBLE (yes, I’m looking at you, Superman Returns).

    FF6 and WWZ are extremely entertaining movies, the former being a “laugh-out-loud, clap profusely, fist-pumping, jaw dropping” exercise in excess and ridiculousness, and the latter a “nail-biting, heart-racing, jump-inducing” thriller. Maybe they deserve the sub-70% ratings, but if we use Pacific Rim as the benchmark, this is how the movies should have been ranked:

    Man of Steel: 110%
    Fast and Furious 6: 97%
    World War Z: 96%
    Iron Man 3: 92%
    Star Trek: 90%
    Pacific Rim: 71%

    movie posters

     
  • Jay 2:02 am on July 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Weekend Watch : Warm Bodies, a Zombie Chick Flick 

    There’s been a plethora of zombie movies of late. Don’t believe me? Well, just google “How many zombie movies have been made” and the first link is to a wiki list of 641 titles since Victor Halperin’s 1932 movie, White Zombie.

    That’s the first part of the math. Here’s the second part: If you tally the number of zombie movies from 2002 till the present, you arrive at approximately 463 films. That means nearly 75% of all Zombie movies have been made in the last 10 years or so.

    For those of you wondering why I chose 2002, well, that’s the year of Danny Boyle’s 28 Days Later.

    Yes. Resident Evil also came out in 2002.

    No. Resident Evil is not the impetus for the undead avalanche at the movies.

    And since I’ve got the numbers in front of me, 17 undead movies were released in 2002. After 2002? 42 movies. In fact, an average of 45 zombie movies a year have been released since 2002.

    So, what does all this have to do with Warm Bodies?

    Nothing. I just thought the math was remotely interesting.

    Ok. Given the surfeit of undead, originality is certainly an arduous task. Warm Bodies sorta succeeds. I say “ sorta” because Zombieland is a superior movie in every way, except that a chick doesn’t fall-in-love with a zombie, which is the promise of Warm Bodies. I’m not saying that actually happens, but it’s no secret that a zombie tries to initiate a relationship. It’s a cute concept. Are people in love really that different from zombies? They ogle. They stalk. They chase. They obsess. They moan. They speak in fragmented inarticulate sentences.  And Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class & Days of Future Passed, Jack The Giant Slayer), the love-struck zombie, is compelling enough opposite Teresa Palmer (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice), the heroine and female crush.

    If you’re a zombie movie fan, you should see this one, preferably with a significant-other who would rather watch The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. Sorry. That’s not fair. In total transparency, it was Juliet who suggested we watch Warm Bodies. Be patient with the movie. Don’t expect so much from it and you’ll appreciate the cheese –ball answer to the question, “How do you kill a zombie?”

    Warm Bodies is directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50), and also stars John Malkovich and Rob Corddry.

    Warm Bodies

     
  • Jay 2:55 pm on June 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Weekend Watch : Butter (me up) 

    (this is my first attempt at a mobile post)

    Starring: Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, Hugh Hackman, Alicia Silverstone, Olivia Wilde, Rob Cordry, Yara Shahidi

    If you listen to Rottentomatoes, then you’d probably skip this movie; that would be a mistake. Think of Butter as The Simpsons meet Family Guy meet The Boondocks meet Election. Butter isn’t as good as any of those shows/movies alone, but its certainly entertaining enough not to warrant a 35% on rotten. So what’s the complaint?

    I can see why a majority of critics didn’t like Butter, but the reasons are circumstantial and convenient. Released in October 2012, Butter was marketed by the Weinstein brothers as political satire. Strip the movie of that burden, and its just plain fun watching an ambitious housewife compete in a butter carving contest against a little girl (Yara Shahidi) and a scene stealing stripper (Olivia Wilde, who is certainly more to me now than just the Tron girl). Wilde happens to be infatuated with Garner’s husband (Ty Burrell). Throw Hugh Jackman in there as a sleazy car salesman and Butter is a perfect lazy weekend matinee movie before a mid-afternoon nap.

    Now, on to the “convenient” reasons. The critics jumped off the self-hatred bandwagon and onto the self-righteous parade float. The story equally centers around Garner and Shahidi, a young African American girl moving from foster home to foster home. Cordry and Silverstone play her most recent (and loving) foster parents. And Shahidi slings a plethora of one-liner attacks articulating the ‘craziness’ of white people. I clearly thought it was funny … the kind of politically incorrect jokes that my close circle of racially diverse and inclusive peers make. But many of the critics are personally offended. Suddenly, making fun of others is not funny. Really??

    Maybe the critics shouldn’t have taken the movie, or themselves, so seriously.

    Butter is available to stream on Netflix.

    20130601-105547.jpg

     
  • Jay 2:33 pm on May 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Weekend Watch : Side Effects … no nausea or rectal bleeding here. Just good fun. 

    Starring: Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Rooney Mara, and Channing Tatum. Directed by Steven Soderbergh

    This is a good movie. It might even be a great movie. If you have two hours to spare to watch a thriller this weekend, this is the film.

    There’s nothing new I can add that hasn’t already been said by the critics who enjoyed the film (85% on rotten).

    Channing Tatum and Rooney Mara are married. She suffers from depression. Jude Law prescribes a drug. Shit happens. I’m not saying any more than that. Just watch the film, preferably with someone else to facilitate witty and investigative banter. Don’t take the movie too seriously, be patient, and you’ll have fun.

    Look to rent Side Effects on Vudu and Amazon.

    side_effects_ver3

     
  • Jay 9:14 pm on May 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Top 10 Star Trek Movie Moments 

    I’ve got my Star Trek Into Darkness IMAX 3D tickets for this Saturday. Given that we’re the most popular movie blog … in the world … you’ve already read Groomsman Justin’s plot predictions. Well, in anticipation of what many are saying is a spectacular addition to the Trek canon, I’ve made my list of top 10 Trek Movie moments.

    —–

    10. Pointy Ears (Star Trek VIII: First Contact)

    How did we not see this coming? Of course Vulcans are the first aliens that humanity encounters. It’s fitting. It’s sweet. It’s logical.

    first contact vulcan

    —–

    9. Nuclear Wessel (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

    This scene sums up the comedic chemistry of the original crew. Chekov, the Russian navigator of the Enterprise, asks a woman where the “nuclear wessels” are located, while a San Fran cop looks on. (There are many other scenes … LDS, Vulcan neck pinch, transparent aluminum, “hello computer,” “double dumbass,” hospital rescue)

    Chekov_nuclear_wessels

    —–

    8. Any Picard Monologue (Star Trek VII – X)

    You know the ones: speech on the bridge of the crashed Enterprise; the, “We fall back” monologue as the Borg take the ship (brilliantly referenced by South Park); words of encouragement to Wolverine; the heroic plea with his younger self, played by Tom Hardy; etc. etc.

    first-contact

    —–

    7. Final Flight (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

    We see the Enterprise do one last battle with a Shakespeare quoting, bald-headed, one-eyed Klingon (Christopher Plummer). Captain Sulu comes to the rescue. The Enterprise crew facilitates intergalactic peace. And the fans are given a wonderful send-off into the sun(set).

    ConstitutionBrücke2293

    —–

    6. Ricardo Montalban’s Chest (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

    No, it’s not a prosthesis. AND. Montalban was 61 at the time of filming. Uh huh. I bet you feel fat now, and you should.

    Khan-Noonien-Singh-star-trek-the-movies-13224126-1200-775

    —–

    5. Birth of the Son/Death of the Father (Star Trek XI, JJ Abrams)

    With the death of Kirk’s father (you know, the guy who plays Thor), this prologue single handedly re-boots the franchise. In a matter of minutes, JJ sets the emotional tone for the movie, aided by a mostly recycled “Lost” theme from Michael Giacchino.

    Jennifer-as-Winona-Kirk-in-Star-Trek-2009-jennifer-morrison-5973765-2000-1333

    —–

    4. Zero Zero Zero, Destruct, Zero (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

    This is a big deal, folks. The death of the Enterprise … and rivaled by what is possibly Christopher Lloyd’s finest acting moment, “Get out!!!! Get out of there!!!! Get out!!!!”

    Enterprise_destruction

    —–

    3. Reliant vs. Enterprise (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

    The fact that this is one of the best space battle sequences in cinema is only undermined by, once again, Khan’s chest. And a word of advice to Kirk … General Order 4 is a Starfleet regulation for a reason. One other little tidbit – Khan and Kirk never actually meet face-to-face, in person, throughout the entire movie. Think about it. Deep stuff.

    Movies2b

    —–

    2. Theft of the Enterprise (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

    Kirk & Co. disobey Starfleet orders and steal the Enterprise. (I know, right? How do 5 people hijack and pilot a Starship). And they’re pursued by the superior USS Excelsior, in all its transwarp glory. C’mon, for a moment you thought those space dock doors weren’t actually going to open.

    tsfshd0604

    —–

    1. The Death of Spock (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

    OF COURSE THIS IS NUMBER ONE … the imminent destruction of the Enterprise and her crew, the “no-win” situation (and source material for both JJ Trek movies), monologues and Herman Melville, life, death, rebirth, and a glass wall.  Did I cry when I watched this at age six? No. Do I cry now? Yes, yes I do. All of this drama is coupled with James Horner’s breakthrough score, which was responsible for a career that has spanned three decades.

    death-of-spock-in-stii

     
  • Jay 12:24 am on April 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 40 Year Old Virgin, Judd Apatow, Knocked Up, Leslie Mann, , Megan Fox, Paul Rudd   

    Weekend Watch: This is 40 

    This-is-40-2012-Movie-Title-Banner

    OK, I’m doing my best here to be as consistent as possible. I’ve tried lists, netflix reviews, and other sordid gimmicks to remain somewhat stable with my movie reviews. Fail.

    Well, here’s my new one … attempting to post every Thursday so you have a movie suggestion for the weekend. Welcome to the first edition of Weekend Watch.

    This Is 40 … is not as funny as I wanted it to be, but funny enough. Worth watching this weekend? Sure, especially the unrated version, but there are some caveats.

    We’re reunited with a couple of cast members we’ve grown to love since the 40 Year Old Virgin, and who reprise their characters from Knocked-Up. Yes, this is a Judd Apatow movie, so once again we expect some earnest sweetness bundled with humor centered around bodily functions. We get to watch a married couple come to terms with … dun dun dun … turning 40. The problem with this movie is … it all seems a little forced, or perhaps a little too long. But perhaps the significance of turning 40 is wasted on me. When Juliet and I recently asked one of our friends how his 40th birthday turned out, he told us it was the worst birthday of his life. Well, I guess we’ve got something to look forward to.

    By the way, if you’ have never seen Lost and were hoping to watch the series soon, or let’s say you’re only three episodes from the finale, then DO NOT WATCH this movie. Unless you’d like to listen to the fate of every main character in a brilliant twenty-second bit.

    Also, this is Megan Fox’s best performance to date. But I digress …

    Actually, not really. I have nothing more profound to say. You’ll laugh a bit. Get bored a bit. Find a couple things brilliant. Ogle Megan swimming in the backyard pool. And ultimately forget the movie.

    PS – Who doesn’t like Paul Rudd?

     
  • Jay 11:03 pm on April 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    G.I. Joe, A Review in Two Sentences 

    Yes,  I plead “Guilty” for crimes against humanity.

    I did, knowingly, pay money to see what might be the worst movie ever made.

     
    • paulywalnuts 11:34 pm on April 1, 2013 Permalink

      Jay beat me to reviewing this movie. I won’t call it the worst movie ever made, but it isn’t a good movie. It is slightly entertaining, though. Not much of a plot, and you have to do more than suspend disbelief – you have to forget that anything like science, logic, or reality exists entirely … but Jon Chu directed a horrible movie pretty well.

      Two fight scenes – the ninjas on the mountain, and the Rock (ahem, Dwayne Johnson) going one-on-one with Firefly in close quarters – were about as awesome as action movie sequences get. Not too heavy on the CGI (aside from the whole ninjas on a frikkin’ mountain thing) and well choreographed. The movie was worth it alone to see those two scenes. Of course, I paid half price …

      Bruce Willis punched it in. I’m disappointed with the Rock because movies like Snitch or the Rundown shows he can actually halfway act (I said halfway, give him that) … but this one is all muscles, smiles, and catchy one-liners.

      Adrian Palicki also showed me why her pilot for Wonder Woman never got aired.

      3 out of 10, but watch it on cable and fast forward to all of the action scenes. While the rest of the movie is on mute.

  • Jay 10:55 pm on February 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    And The Winners Will Be … 

    Some of the Groomsmen share their picks …

    BEST PICTURE

    • Justin:  My hope and money is on Argo. Everyone generally has fallen for Affleck’s period rescue thriller as of late, and Zero Dark Thirty just doesn’t quite fit the mold for best picture.
    • Pauly: Argo, if for no other reason, to say sorry for not nominating Affleck for Best Director.  
    • Jay: Zero Dark Thirty. The most tense 2 hours 40 minutes I’ve spent in theaters in a while. 
    BEST ACTOR
    • Pauly: Daniel Day-Lewis, because life isn’t fair and some folks do win all the time.
    • Jay: Joaquin Phoenix … he probably won’t win because he treats the Oscars as an institution anathema to his art, but everyone loves a rebel.
    BEST ACTRESS

    • Pauly: Jennifer Lawrence, as a nod to her body of work in Winter’s Bone and the Hunger Games.  Not so much X-Men First Class or the House at the End of the Street.
    • Jay: Quvenzhané Wallis … I know, highly unlikely that this little 9-yr old girl will win for her portrayal of Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild, but she’s riveting. She’s incredible. 
    BEST DIRECTOR

    • Pauly: David O. Russel, though not as good as the Fighter, it was a powerful picture.
    • Jay: Benh Zeitlin all the way. Beasts of the Southern Wild is a beautiful movie, a rare hybrid of drama and fantasy.
    BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
    • Pauly: Robert De Niro, who made every father or son cry during Silver Linings Playbook.
    • Jay: Christoph Waltz, because I want Django to win something, and once again, Christoph makes the movie.
    BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
    • Pauly:  Anne Hathaway, as a nod to her talent and ability to bring relevance to the Oscars among the younger viewers.
    • Jay: Anne Hathaway. Fantine should never steal the show from the Cosette love triangle, so when it happens, you deserve an Oscar.
     
    • paulywalnuts 5:14 am on February 25, 2013 Permalink

      Justin was right 100% of the time, but gets no award for not being brave enough to guess in every category. Jay rushed out 2 for 2 and with a lead over Pauly when best supporting actor and best supporting actress were both announced, but ended the night 2 out of 6. Our first ever winner, and biggest trash talker of the year until next year’s Oscar’s, goes to Pauly who went 4 for 6!

      See you all at the movies!

  • Jay 6:26 pm on January 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    groomsmen list | Sequels That Should Be Made 

    Well, if you have not already heard, the metachlorians are strong with JJ Abrams (by the way, the idea that the Force is a genetic disposition took a beautiful, egalitarian fantasy, and turned it into a class issue … that was the appeal of the Force, that if you worked hard enough, the smallest of us could levitate a car). Anyways, I digress. With a new trilogy on the two moon horizon, I got to thinking of all the sequels that were never made … but SHOULD have been. Well, here’s my first take … feel free to add or disagree.
     
    In no particular order …
     
    28 Weeks Later
    Will they please make this movie already? The sequel sported an amazing cast: running zombie #1, and running zombie #2. Oh, and also Jeremy Renner, Idris Elba, Robert Carlyle, Harold Perrineau …

    jid5h6zy8w7y57iy

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Chronicle
    Fox needs to get out of the way and let the father-son team do their work. Apparently an amazing script was penned, but it’s not vitriolic enough for Fox executives.

    chronicle09
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Unbreakable
    OK, work with me here. I know this movie frustrated everyone, and yes, it could have been two hours shorter, BUT, the premise is amazing … a super-hero movie in disguise. It deserved a second issue.

    unbreakable-jackson-willis
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Incredibles
    Pixar, you owe me for Cars 2. What better way to make it up to me?

    The-Incredibles-movie-image-Pixar-2
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Elf
    Is it possible for the sequel to be any more charming than the first? Well, New Line/Warner Bros offered Will Ferrell $29M to find out, but that’s just too much money for Will so he turned it down … comic genius.

    elf3711
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Wanted
    Apparently the sequel is in the works. This is my attempt to put pressure on Universal. Hurry up, please.

    J
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Goonies
    Kids looking for treasure never gets old. If they can wait to release the sequel by the time my kids turn eight, that would very much be appreciated.

    376501_491124797569177_648780733_n
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     


    Any John Woo Hong Kong Action Movie
    If you haven’t seen Hard Boiled or The Killer … well, no Hollywood action movie comes close to these genre defining films. Sequels please.  

    hardboiled-tequila
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Matrix
    This movie came out almost 15 years ago. Isn’t it time for a sequel to one of the greatest sci-fi/action movies of our generation? I’d even entertain a trilogy, but only if it’s done well. 

    Agent-Smith-and-Neo
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    District 9
    The “prawns” must return. They owe Wickus … and us loyal viewers many explosions. 

    District 9
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Enter the Dragon
    An asian guy, a black guy, and a white guy walk into a bar … and kick ass. We’re still waiting for the second coming of Bruce. Sorry Jackie, Jet, and Tony Jaa, you’re not it.

    5231013927_103d1c5d67_b

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Notebook
    What? Did you think I only listed sci-fi/action movies? Well, the long-awaited sequel to one of the most romantic movies ever made sees Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams return as zombies with mutant powers. 

    The-Notebook
     

     
    • paulywalnuts 12:22 am on January 27, 2013 Permalink

      Maybe JJ Abrams will do the new Matrix trilogy after he finishes the new Star Wars trilogy. And produces another Star Trek. And produces another Mission Impossible. Hell, why doesn’t he just do a new A-Team movie as long as he’s at it. I know Liam Neeson’s it underperformed, but for every child of the 80s, but damn if I didn’t love it.

      28 Months Later is apparently on again off again in terms of being possible.

      And … I still love watching the Last Dragon (Bruce Leroy! Shonuff!) even if it isn’t a real sequel.

  • Jay 2:22 am on January 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    What I Watched On the Way to Singapore : Ranking Movies Across 16,000 Miles 

    So, Juliet and I have returned from our epic promenade through South-East Asia. As part of this global trek that took us from one island City to another, we had 20 hours of uninterrupted in-flight entertainment (each way).
     
    Here’s my ranking of the movies watched.
     
    8) The Expendables 2:
    I enjoyed the first. I can’t say anything redeeming about this sequel to the 80’s action-movie throwback. Please tell me there won’t be a third.

    the-expendables-2-50742cc10c3cb
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    7) Taken 2:
    I was not so taken with Taken 2. This time, my favorite bond girl, Famke Janssen (Liam’s on-screen ex-wife) is abducted. Of course, Liam has been trained for this scenario, but the novelty of Neeson kicking ass has worn off. Maggie Grace takes on a more proactive, and annoying, role. Taken 2 is less hardcore and far more predictable than its predecessor. I watched this movie in fast forward.

    121008_taken2

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    6) House at the End of the Street:
    Elizabeth Shue, Jennifer Lawrence. What’s there not to like? Well, how about the whole movie. The mother/daughter team rent a house next door to where a family was brutally murdered by their little daughter (this is not a spoiler). The surviving son lives in the house now. But … dun dun dun … something is amiss … well, it would be except you’ll figure it out in the first 5 mins.  

    jennifer-lawrence-house-at-the-end-of-the-street
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    5) The Grey:
    Liam Neeson returns in what might as well be Taken 3, except this time he battles wolves. Of course, these are fake wolves, so it just looks like Liam is in an epic battle with the wolf from The Neverending Story. OK, it’s beautifully shot, visually arresting, and emotionally exhausting. And once again, Liam knows everything and occupies the moral high ground. Fortunately, the wolves don’t give a shit.

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    4) Space Brothers:
    A live-action adaption of the Japanese manga series of the same name. Unfortunately, the cultural fascination with the series is lost on me.

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    3) Hope Springs:
    Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones have been married for 31 years, and we get to watch them work on their non-existent sex life. Ewwww … right? Except its kinda sweet, brilliantly acted, honest, and enjoyable to watch.

    hopesprings_hero-1344276838
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    2) Bernie:
    It’s a true story of a small town hero so well liked that when he’s accused of murder, no one in the town would convict him. Jack Black adeptly plays the affable Bernie, pursued by an equally well cast Matthew McConaughey, the town sheriff. Shirley MaClaine is the curmudgeonly geriatric.

    120427_MOV_bernieJackBlack.jpg.CROP.rectangle3-large
     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    1) The Lord of the Rings Trilogy:
    With nearly nine hours remaining on the trip, I just watched all three movies in a row. They’ve aged well. And I still refuse to see The Hobbit. 

    Funny-faces-D-lord-of-the-rings-25098153-1031-519

     
  • Jay 3:15 pm on December 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Twilight is Over. Sad Face. 

    So, I finally saw the last installment of Taylor Lautner’s abs, and now that I’ve finished shedding my last twi-hard tween tears,  I have a couple observations to share. You can read the previous thoughts here http://wp.me/p15FNy-qI and here http://wp.me/p15FNy-f1

    First, a quick note to Edward, Bella, and Jacob. Thank you. Thank you for letting me into your lives, especially you, Bella. We fondly recall your first sighting of Edward in bio class (gush!). The first time we see your reaction at Edward’s sparkle. Or the elation we felt as you skimmed the treetops on Edward’s back. The tension we felt between you and Jacob. The tears we shed when you had to break Jacob’s heart.

    Second, a kind note to the disapproving critics: I forgive you. Your resentment comes from an understandable place; your narrow intellectual bandwidth provides you with little space to be anything more than priggish and self-righteous. You long to partake in the awesomeness that is Twilight, but you can’t.

    So, let me help you understand why Twilight deserves to be in the AFI 100.

    • It takes brilliance to write the single worst female protagonist in all of film.
    • Twilight is intentionally, unintentionally funny. Do you know how hard it is to do that?
    • Michael Sheen. Two words. Os. Car.
    • People of color are NOT the first to die, which might make this Twilight the most unpredictable movie of ALL TIME.
    • The off-screen chemistry between Robert and Kristen was so intense during filming … that the fact there is zero chemistry between them on screen is a testament to their acting.
    • The movie is a proponent of ethnic integration; when tan people team up with pale people, anything is possible.
    • On a similar note, Twilight is a timely critique of the economic segregation between the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat. When folks in shiny glass houses ingratiate themselves with folks who live in shacks, not even the most evil vampires will triumph (oops, sorry for the spoiler).
    • Uhm, best fight scene ever! Imagine young children ripping the heads off their dolls. It’s like that, except there’s more blood when playing with dolls.
    • I dare you to name a better role model for our daughters than Bella. No sex until marriage = every father’s dream. Seriously. Who really cares about anything else.
    • Twilight teaches us about fairness. If a hundred-year-old vampire can mack on a 15 year-old girl (approximate respective ages of Edward and Bella from the first Twilight), then it’s only fair that a 19 year-old werewolf can mack on a rapidly ageing mutant little girl.
    • Young girls are taught to value substance over shallow considerations. Edward’s power, wealth, and contemporary metrosexuality triumph over Jacob’s abs. And rightly so. Mind over body.

    OK. No movie is perfect. There is one plausible criticism. Twilight Breaking Dawn Part Deux can be faulted for being the last movie in the series. Until ABC decides to turn Bachelor Pad into a five part movie series, nothing as culturally significant will hit the screens for the foreseeable future.

    Oh, and by the way, Team Jacob wins. Just sayin.

    Also, please take of note the most amazing movie poster of all time:

    breaking-dawn-part-2

     
  • Jay 11:36 pm on November 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    My Name is Boring. James Boring. 

    Below are my complaints. Groomsmen critic Pauly has a different take, here. But read mine first.

    In no particular order:

    • Please, no more product placements; it’s not good when Daniel Craig has to compete with the charisma of an ice-cold Heineken.
    • How could Q be so dumb? You know exactly what I’m talking about.
    •  Why is everyone white except the Bond women and some of the villains? Oh, you’re right, the kimono dragons bring some gritty diversity to the plot.
    • Our only person of “minority” botches the mission and ends up in a desk job … seriously??
    • Except for one of the action sequences, they’re mostly uninteresting.  Admit it.
    • Enough with the long pauses and camera pans. We get it. This is a serious movie.
    • Something is wrong if I think Jason Bourne, or that dude (Liam Neeson) from Taken, could kick Bond’s ass.
    • Who didn’t see the ending coming the moment they introduced Ralph Fiennes … in the trailer …
    • Tony Stark should speak with Bond’s tailor because his suits are indestructible … and self-cleaning.
    • What’s with the flashlight?!?!?! C’mon!!!
    • Was I the only one who kept humming the A-Team theme music during the last 20 mins? Probably.
    • A long movie does not necessarily make for a good movie

    OK, to be fair, it’s one of the better Bond movies (the moniker “best” automatically goes to any movie where Christopher Walken falls to his death, super villain style). There are some legitimately good moments (Bardem steals the movie). So what’s my problem? Well, Casino Royale was a risky movie. Quantum didn’t know what it wanted to be (that’s what happens when writers go on strike). And Skyfall restores the Bond franchise to the status quo of yesterday. Yawn.

    Here’s the fundamental problem: I know Bond will never die. He always returns. So, how much high drama can you really create?

    You’ve got two choices. Pile on the cheese. Accept the cheap popcorn thrill that is Bond. Or go the other way. Break him. Kill him. Perhaps start over and take us to his youth (everyone loves an origin story). Pretending to run in the middle usually doesn’t work, for movies or for elections. And yes, I’m aware Skyfall is breaking records and is incredibly well-received.

     
    • paulywalnuts 3:24 am on November 19, 2012 Permalink

      I disagree with the overall conclusion – but your complaints are valid. I fell in love with the movie, I guess.

  • Jay 11:16 pm on November 15, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Twittle My Twilight 

    As some of you know, I’ve been in a spiraling, all-consuming bout of deep depression since the tragic end of Robsten. See here for proof … anything in writing is certainly truth: http://groomsmenonfilm.com/2012/07/27/robsten-is-over-nooo/

    Y’all should be happy to know, my dear enduring fans (of which there are tens of thousands of you), that I am currently consuming fluids and on the path towards recovery. Just. In. Time. Forthelastnewtwilightmovieever OMG!!!!!

    I’m hoping this is where the trajectory of the movie deviates from the books, and Bella finally gets with the brownie. I can say that because I, too, am brown. But seriously, for just a brief moment, might we have a more substantive socio-political discussion about the twilight phenomenon? Here goes … why would anyone … ever … be on Team Edward?! Seriously, why? Why do you persist?! Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Illusions! Vagaries of perception. Temporary constructs of a feeble human intellect trying desperately to justify an existence that is without meaning or purpose! (to quote Agent Smith)

    Because anyone in their right mind would choose Team Jacob. Rationale? Simple. He’s tan, all the time. He rides a motorcycle. He’s NOT cold to the touch. He DOESN’T DRINK BLOOD. He communicates. He’s got muscles. He’s NOT a sketchy 100 year-old man with the hots for a teenager. His family is environmentally conscious. OK, perhaps you don’t like democrats. I can appreciate that position. But seriously, you think the whole brooding vampire thing is awesome now? Wait till you actually try to engage Mr. Pale in a conversation that lasts for more than an agonizing minute.  It’ll go something like this:

    Girl/Boy: “Why do you love me?”

    Edward: “It’s destiny”

    Girl/Boy: giggle giggle. “So sweet. But be more specific”

    Edward: “I’m drawn to you”

    Girl/Boy: “Awww. But what specifically draws you to me?”

    Edward: “You’re my only reason for existing”

    Girl/Boy: “OK. I get that. But what makes me different from, say, someone else?”

    Edward: “It might be too late for my soul. But I’ll protect yours “

    Girl/Boy: “OK, I’m not sure what that has to do with everything we’re talking about”

    Edward: “You’re my everything”

    Girl/Boy: “Seriously, be more specific”

    Edward: “I’ve been waiting a century for you”

    Girl/Boy: “You’re starting to frustrate me”

    Edward: “All the men I’ve killed were monsters. And so am I”

    Girl/Boy: “Alrighty then. Will you just pass me the peanut-butter?”

    Edward: “It’s destiny”

    Girl/Boy: “Uhm. Can you just reach over and pass me the fucking peanut-butter”

    Edward: “I can be your peanut-butter”

    OK, one more thing I gotta work through. The vampires live in beautiful, expensive modern homes. We’re talking $1200/sf, maybe a little more or less depending on regional markets. The vampires drive luxury vehicles. They’re clothed in suits. They drink wine. Sorry. They drink blood, out of wine glasses of course. They’re doctors and other bourgeois professions. In fact, how much more bourgie can you get? Then there’s Jacob and his pack. Comparatively, he lives in a “shack,” comes from a “granola” family (“granola” here meaning one with the earth), and dresses in rags (I always thought this was odd. The fact that they turn into werewolves is not an alibi for torn clothes since there wouldn’t be any clothes to put back on). And who does the “pretty” girl in high school pick? The guy with the nice car, the nice house, and the nice bank account. Hmmm …. Whatever. Robsten, we love you!

     
  • Jay 3:32 am on October 25, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Suggestions for the Next Paranormal Activity 

    Well, if the 27% fresh rating on rottentomatoes is any indication, PA4 is not a good movie.  There’s nothing more I can say that hasn’t already been written about, and far more eloquently than I ever could.

    Well, gosh darn it, if I can’t change the past, maybe I can affect the future. So, how about some suggestions for the upcoming Paranormal Activity 5, which Paramount has already green lit for October 2013. In no particular order:

    1)      Stop dispensing with folks the same way. No more broken necks, bodies lifted up, dropped, or thrown at the camera.

    2)      Advance the plot … please.

    3)      We’re tired of the bad guys winning. Time for a demon smack down. 5 movies in, we’re not just interested in being scared. Vindication has a role to play.

    4)      Time to change the formula. The build-up and short climax just isn’t satisfying anymore.

    5)      Speaking of formula, you’re not allowed to open or shut any more doors, garages and kitchen cabinets. No more swinging chandeliers. And no more motion activated lights.

    6)      Reconsider the context. The first house was the most accessible, easily assimilated and empathized with (and therefore scariest). The house in PA4 is hovering closer to the 1%. Hey, how about NOT a single detached house. People live in cities too.

    7)      You have to confront the problem of the camera. When scared, most people drop everything and run.

    8)      Keep your actors and actresses average looking. Folks in PA4 are migrating too closely to glamorous.

    9)      Add minorities. I’m starting to confuse Paranormal with Bachelor Pad. Seriously, it will make the movie more believable (and don’t just add minorities only to kill them first).

    I’m sure there are others. Feel free to add more.

     
    • paulywalnuts 4:14 am on October 31, 2012 Permalink

      Absolute most disappointing movie going experience I’ve had since PA3 last year. That’s it … I’m done.

  • Jay 1:37 am on October 21, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    New York Comic Con, courtesy of Winklevi Twins 

    Our regular commenter, Winklevi, attended New York Comic Con over the weekend. We thought we’d share some of his photos below, as well as his commentary. Feel free to click the images to expand the gallery view.

    Thanks Winklevi!

     
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