Sunday, August 29, 2010
All summer, I have consistently been Johnny on the Spot with at least a review a week. Well this week I took off to celebrate. My son, JACKSON, turned ONE this past week, and we had the occassion to PARTY with friends and family today (Saturday).
This has been a rough week. Jackson was sick and Tracie and I toggled time off to stay with the boy. He also had his 1-year wellness exam, which included three shots, which he did not enjoy all too much. I have been jammed at work with 12-14 hour days every day this week, and come this morning, we were not prepared to party.
The lawn was not pretty, the house was a mess...for most of the morning there was a Jack Bauer clock ticking in the bottom left corner of where ever I was walking. In a series of perfectly sequenced events, it came together. Much in thanks to my darling wife, who had asked me all week, how was I going to handle the lawn. Well I secured a mower on Friday and I bought a weed whacker on Sat morning. She whipped the house into shape, with a little help from a friend, and with miracle like proportions, the house was readied and decorated.
Again, angels were sent to help, as two of Tracie's friends, Amy and Ann, showed up early and took on the role of caterer. The little guy is worth every moment of it and Tracie and I are both so grateful to him for a great first year of life.
Happy Birthday Jackson...Daddy Loves You!
They say the internet is forever...I hope that it is so that the Reel Rhino Jr. will always be able to learn from papa and one day take up the mantle. Love ya, son!
Monday, August 23, 2010
There are nuances that I missed out on my first go around that I caught this time, but perhaps most importantly, this viewing in digital, which I recommend for anyone checking out the flick.
Without letting this film fade into the distance, and much like I did for my other favorite this year, INCEPTION, I wanted to point out some great supporting roles and talk just one more time about the movie.
Liking this movie 100% depends on whether or not you like Michael Cera. He is Scott Pilgrim and the things that he does are so fantastical, that if you do not like him, it will likely annoy rather than entertain you. His fighting persona is more along the lines of NEO from THE MATRIX than the scrawny guy that he is. That is not a shot at him but rather an observation. I am a Michael Cera fan and while I thought he was great as Evan in Superbad among many roles, BUT...if this movie didn't exist, I can't think of a scenario in this world where I would have debated his kung-fu ability or his potential value as a sword-fighter.
Enjoying this movie is about having an OPEN MIND. This movie is hip to the level of being self-aware and almost congratulatory, but the film deserves it. Many love the masterpiece that is INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, but we don't hold Quentin Tarantino in a bad light for self-declaring it a masterpiece. Remember the scene where Aldo Raine actually says "I think this just might be my masterpiece." This is Q's self-declaration of perfection and I think that Wright too realizes that he is toying with perfection as a product of EVERYONE who worked on Scott Pilgrim. This movie is self-congratulatory enough and it is deservedly so.
My favorite FIVE supporting performances in this masterpiece were these:
KIM PINE played by ALLISON PILL. I think it is her sarcastic and fiery attitude that makes her so attractive as a character. She is an ex-girlfriend to Scott from their high-school days, and she has the spitfire attitude to get past it, but also to support Scott, albeit using sardonic comments or witty remarks about NOT giving a care one about him.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
I am not nearly as big of a fan of the torture porn that has found a niche today. There is a strong distinction between the MAN v. Beast/Zombie/Slasher/Serial Killer fun in more traditional horror fare and the MAN v. (bound) MAN scenarios that we get in Hostel and others like it. I will say, though, that I do love ELI ROTH'S CABIN FEVER. Great movie! Cabin Fever 2, I heard not so much, but I will be checking it out soon.
SAW was a great first entry into that series, but the follow-ups got less creative and more commercial in terms of jamming out a yearly title. I do have high hopes for Saw 7 aka Saw 3-D. "They" say it is going to be a much better effort than 2 through 6, but we shall see. At the very least, "they" also say it will definitely be the last. I'll be writing more on SAW in a few weeks,
On to Piranha 3-D...what a great time at the theater! The piranha themselves were decent on-screen villains, but their "digitality" was screaming each time they showed up. Of course they looked like digital creations, because they were, but were they used too much? It is a little debated fact that one of the things that made JAWS so iconic was that it was a shark movie that barely showed the shark. I promise, less fish on-screen with the level of gore we had here, and no one would have been disappointed.
Piranha's practical effects are some of the best of recent years and the volume of blood in this movie rivals the Crazy 88's fight scene in Kill Bill Vol. 1. I believe I heard at some point that there was LITERALLY a tanker truck of blood brought onto the set.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
This is the MAJOR SPOILED SCENE from the trailer. I don't even want to repeat it here, but two MAJOR STARS are in the meet scene when the next job for our heroes is being laid out. What a stupendous BONEHEAD move by the marketing department. If you have seen the trailer, you probably know what I mean. At least they didn't spoil the big gag of the scene....the joke in that scene almost made me forgive the original reveal.
Sly is our guy for this big gig down in South America where a former CIA agent is running the drug market through a dictator General, played by David Zayas (my guy Batista from DEXTER as well). His heavy is a guy named, Paine, rocked out by STONE COLD STEVE AUSTIN. The former CIA slime-ball is James Munroe, played by ERIC ROBERTS.
For those of you who don't know, Eric is the elder brother to JULIA ROBERTS and father to the young and lovely EMMA ROBERTS. To that end, this is looking like a sibling rivalry death match this week, with The Expendables opening opposite of EAT, PRAY, LOVE.
The inside-man helping out our Expendables is actually an inside-woman. It is Sandra, played by Giselle Itie, and she is the General's daughter. He has loyalty to family and he lets her continue to live and be the monkey wrench in his operation, even though it costs him so much. Munroe and Paine are not too happy about this and we end up with a three way conflict between the CIA heavies, the General and his army, and our heroes...THE EXPENDABLES.
There were a few moments at the beginning I thought there was going to be too much talkie and not enough rockie...I was wrong. Yes, there were a few talkity moments, but really these did in fact help with character development. What would a movie be without a little backstory? Not much of a movie at all!
There are two main highlights that set this movie apart from other similar flicks, and neither have to do with the exceptional cast.
This movie is a 50/50 flick. The first 50% is set-up. A few action sets with a bunch of character and plot development. Their stories are funny and touching. Mickey Rourke plays TOOL, their tattoo guy and former member of the team that Barney and he were a part of. Rourke's monologue is both moving in content and delivered to perfection.
Tool is our link to the realistic world. When they are stateside, minus a few fights that follow these action-magnets around, the U.S. based part of this story is all about facts we need to be more invested in the story. But, once we hit that foreign soil, let the imaginative fight scenes begin!
Like the weapons, the sea-plane used by the team is a character of its own. Redecorated to keep the auspices of a legitimate reason for being there. This plane is bad ass and is equipped with a nose tip high speed machine gun, of what looks like high-powered .50 caliber.
I can't emphasize enough how visceral and graphic these action scenes are. I actually would say that I would like to have seen this in AMC's new ETX system. They are hyping it as the next best thing for audiophiles. I reviewed it a few posts ago, and while I didn't enjoy the movie, I have held my jury out on ETX and maybe this would have been a great test of that supposed stellar sound system?
Ah, this is strictly academic as AMC Barrywoods is only showing The Other Guys at the ETX, so maybe I can get an idea for its functionality at something I like, sometime in the near future.
I think that is all for now. My dreams of Scott Pilgrim have been fulfilled. The Expendables have upped this to one of my favorite movie weekends of all time . Even if I did like Julia Roberts, I think I would avoid Eat, Pray, Love anyways, just to keep the weekend perfect.
Up next for me may be The Girl Who Played With Fire, depending on how the week goes. Whatever it is, you know I'll be Johnny-on-the-Spot with the review so you can make well-informed movie choices.
The critics are geniuses of all things film...me, I'm just a guy who loves movies. Who are you going to trust? I'm an everyman movie-goer and I am self-admittedly easily entertained. If you like what I have to say, great. If not, let me know. Perhaps the only thing nearly as enjoyable as going to the movies, is writing and talking about them.
Till later, take care...
Saturday, August 14, 2010
...Scott Pilgrim wins...1000 points and an extra life!
The Scott Pilgrim vs. The World trailer has been parked at the bottom of the blog for the past month or so. I have made no bones about the fact that I have been looking forward to this film for some time now.
I was not disappointed.
The Reel Rhino has been accused of being slightly too critical of late. I apologize for nothing...but, I do respect everyone's right to their own opinions about movies. I found DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS, THE OTHER GUYS, and SALT to be only slightly entertaining and I thought they were much more disappointing than anything, based mostly on the super-hype surrounding these star-studded flicks.
The drought is over (THANK GOD!).
The two share an awkward first date and one thing leads to another and Ramona decides to come see Scott and Sex Bob Omb play in the battle of the bands. It is at this battle that the real battle begins. Scott meets his first opponent from Ramona's LEAGUE OF EVIL EX'S. His task, if he wishes to date Ramona, is to defeat all seven of her EVIL EX'S. The first of his opponents is MATTHEW PATEL, played by Satya Bhabha in only his third acting role, per IMDB. This first battle is both exhilarating in its presentation and hilarious in its execution.
From here, things really take off! The full roster of the League of Evil Ex's includes PATEL as well as
- CHRIS EVANS as LUCAS LEE
- MAE WHITMAN as ROXY RICHTER
- BRANDON ROUTH as TODD INGRAM
- KEITA SAITOU and SHOTA SAITO as twins DJ's KYLE and KEN and KEN KATAYANGI
- JASON SCHWARTZMAN as GIDEON GORDON GRAVES
These battles are epic and throw in some year-old heartache thanks to the reappearance of Scott's EX, ENVY, and the pining of the recently dumped KNIVES, and you've got yourself quite an adventure.
Perhaps what is so remarkable is the conversion of Michael Cera into something resembling JET LI in terms of action film fighting ability. It is unrealistic, but it is this hyper-realism that brings us some of the most entertaining moments.
I loved this movie. I think it is worth a trip to the theater. My only regret is that I saw it projected from a film copy and not digital. I think this film will shine on a digital screen and my next trip to see it will be at a digital theater, I promise you that.
The 400 person auditorium was about 1/4 full and my audience was very responsive in both laughs and back-slapping chatter as folks left the theater, so I think the general reaction was good. Perhaps not everyone was as giddy like a schoolboy like me, but it is a fun, fun movie to watch.