Tuesday, August 26, 2014

When The Game Stands Tall

Too little passion
Caviezel speaks in whisper
Throughout the whole flick

Still . . .

I choked up a bit
At Chris Ryan's late game stand
Brotherhood trumps self

Sunday, August 03, 2014

The Other Woman

An open letter to Mark King, the cheating husband who serves as the comic foil for leading ladies of the film:

August 3, 2014

Dear Mr. King,

After spending nearly two hours with your wife, Kate, I have to say:

I understand.

The Film Geek

Friday, August 01, 2014

Guardians Of The Galaxy

Back in the mid-70s, when comic books cost a quarter and stories were thirty - plus pages long, I'd buy a dozen or more each Saturday from the Ben Franklin and spend an entire afternoon reading.

The X-Men. Hulk. The Avengers. The Defenders. Tons of DC stuff. The fantasy world of comics was intoxicating; I read any and every title I could get my hands on.

Except Guardians Of The Galaxy.

Because I didn't like the first few issues of the comic,  I plunked down my two-bits for other titles. My memory  of the first run of that comic -- summed up pretty well as "Meh,"  -- made me doubt I'd enjoy this flick.

Boy, was I wrong.

James Gunn's space opera wastes no time drawing the audience into the story of Peter Quill. Quill loses his mother to cancer and gets abducted by space pirates within the first few minutes of the film. What follows is 115 minutes of pure popcorn fueled adrenaline. Guardians is a balanced blend of melodrama, romance, suspense, humor, action, 80s pop songs, and references to Kevin Bacon.

And it's the most fun I've had watching a Marvel flick since The Avengers.

Sunday, July 27, 2014


For several years an on-going series was posted on this site called "Flashback! Bad Movies That Haunt Me." The bit generally involved me ripping on some movie I saw as a kid that was so poorly made that I remembered the badness as a result.

Is there a statute of limitations on the number of years before I can add Lucy to that list?

Luc Besson's flick begins with promise. Scarlett Johansson in the lead role is a huge get. Add a plot involving an international drug ring, plan to tell the story with interesting imagery, and sign mega-star Morgan Freeman to co-star and you might expect producers to sit back and rake in the cash and critical praise.

The problem is, Lucy doesn't deliver on its promise.

Freeman -- once an actor's actor who delivered masterful supporting performances -- is used in such a deeply peripheral role he hardly seems connected at all to the movie. The drug ring portion of the plot has no substance after the first half of the flick. And the imagery --especially the quick shot of a mouse about to be captured in a mousetrap -- comes across more pretentious than interesting.

The audience is told over and over again that we humans use only about 10% of our brain capacity. (The 10% bit isn't true science, but it's an important MacGuffin for this plot.) After watching Lucy, however, I'm afraid my brain capacity may have significantly diminished.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter

Four score and seven
Days ago, my wife brought forth
a new DVD

Honest Abe, it seems,
Was obsessed with killing vamps
With a silver ax

Monsters, bloodsuckers,
Civil War and slavery;
In the end, Abe wins

He reconnects states
Gets revenge for his dead mum.
Then heads off to Fords

Monday, September 03, 2012

The Odd Life Of Timothy Green

Dear Wayne LaPierre:

Perhaps I should have written this open letter to the President of the National Rifle Association, David Keene. But presidents seem to come and go at the NRA; you, as Executive Vice President, seem a pretty consistent face in the organization. So, this open letter is addressed to you.

My children and I enjoy movies. We watch a lot of them together at home, but we really enjoy the experience of a theater. The big screen, digital audio, the smell of popcorn, sharing the experience with a large community of people -- that's what going to the movies is all about. On this rainy Labor Day we decided going to the movies sounded better than sitting around bored at home, so we headed downtown for a matinee of The Odd Life of Timothy Green. It was while standing in life for the tickets that it happened.

"I'm nervous, Daddy." My 11-year-old daughter's comment was so outside the norm for the context -- we were, after all, standing in line for a PG-rated flick -- that it didn't register clearly at first with me.

"What," I asked, focused on finding my wallet so I could pay for the tickets.

"I'm scared. I'm so scared I'm shaking."

I signed the receipt at the window, then pulled her to the side so we could talk. "I don't understand, what is making you feel scared?"

"You, know," and she paused, and looked at the ground . . . "What happened in Colorado at the Batman movie. Do you think that could happen here? Today? To us?"

I realized this was the first time she's been inside a movie theater since that tragic July shooting at the Colorado opening of The Dark Knight Rises. She was scared. I grabbed her and held her close, and reassured her.

"No, honey, it couldn't happen here. And always remember: if something bad like that happens, I'll always protect you." But even as I said those words I knew they weren't true. It can happen anywhere, at any time. It's happened once, and it will happen again. And when it does, people will be helpless to protect themselves.

The NRA, Mr. LaPierre, spends obscene amounts of money lobbying members of congress and other politicians to ensure the interests of the organization are looked after when gun legislation is created. The NRA spent nearly $7 million dollars on elections during the last mid-term, and about $75 million on campaigns during the last two decades. That kind of money buys a lot of favor in D.C., Mr. LaPierre, and influences a lot of votes when it comes to decisions made about gun control.

I'm curious: In a culture that is no longer shocked by nearly 9,000 gun murders each year, and in a society not disturbed for more than a 48 hour news cycle about public shootings that occur in malls, at the workplace, in movie theaters, and at schools, I ask -- Who lobbies for the safety and psychological comfort of my daughter? The rights of American citizens to purchase guns does not supersede the right of my 11-year-old to feel safe -- and be safe -- as she travels about in her home community.

Sure, I know the NRA will continue lobby for broad access to firearms, and it will continue to point the finger of blame at individual criminals who use guns to commit horrific crimes. Many in the American public will continue to blend the Second Amendment with Jesus, and talk about this insane concept called God-given rights.

In the meantime, I'll hold my daughter's hand a little tighter, and tell her more lies about how safe she is on our public streets.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

I wish he hadn't.

I would rather Nolan's Batman ran wounded into the night after defeating The Joker and Harvey Dent -- never to be seen again --  than end a brilliant superhero series this way. Hell, I would have preferred seeing Bruce Wayne die in The Dark Knight rather than be involved in this piece of shit movie.

Motherfucking Hollywood ruined what should have been a great trilogy.

This isn't the rant of a fanboy gone bad. (Although the morphing of DC characters Dick Grayson and Tim Drake into John Blake, an as-yet-unheard-of character created for the flick, should piss off everyone who loves Batman comics.) Nope, this rant is based on one simple fact: The Dark Knight Rises is a really bad movie.

The movie is bloated with unnecessary imagery, cliched dialogue, and plot twists that are predictable and poorly explained. Why must Bruce Wayne use a cane to walk? Why does he have no cartilage in his knee, if he hasn't suited up as Batman since fighting Dent eight years earlier? Nolan may know, but he doesn't tell the audience. Instead, the director uses the film to reflect on the two previous installments; the technique doesn't advance the movie, it causes the movie to drag.

Roger Ebert and others have commented that the second half of The Dark Knight Rises is superb. And I agree, to some extent. Still, the conclusion is wrapped up too neatly, and the multiple plots are resolved in too hurried a fashion.

But, the real reason I didn't care for the second half?

The god damned first half put me to sleep.

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Ted gives us a peek
At life in the Griffin home
When Chris turns forty

Peter -- dressed as Ted
For some unexplained reason --
Gets laughs from fart jokes

Funny for a while,
Ted shows why Family Guy rocks.
It's 20 mins. long

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man

Sure, this isn't Stan Lee's Peter Parker. And this red-and-blue arachnid is more Electric Company-Spidey than Brooding-Tobey-Maguire-Spidey. But the movie is entertaining, and worth a trip to the theater.

Here is MyTop 5 Reasons to watch The Amazing Spider-Man:

1. It's Time To Get A Real Life: As a comic book nerd, you've become sheltered, isolated, and you've developed a very narrow perspective on what's acceptable with the characters you love. I get it, man. I dig comics myself. But the most serious among us are like those snobby wine tasting freaks who sniff the goddamn cork and spit the first sip out before choosing a wine. Fuck that noise! Sometimes it's fun to buy some Boone's Farm Strawberry Hill at the local convenience store, screw the cap off, and just drink every drop from the bottle. Comic book movies are no different. The plot doesn't have to be perfectly in sync with the comic. Get a box of Goobers and a large soda, lean back in the theater chair, and enjoy a show once in a while

2. The Black Cat Rocks!: Emma Stone, who plays Gwen Stacy, should be in every scene. For two reasons: (a) Stone's acting is terrific, and she steals the film, and (b) the boots, high-socks and mini-skirt look she seems to wear throughout. (And those reasons are in no particular order.)

3. Legendary Actors: The crush I've had on Sally Field started during her Flying Nun days (I can't remember Gidget), then really kicked into gear with her sexy role in Smokey And The Bandit. She's still cute, and as Aunt May she now looks cute and wise. Field is terrific in the movie, and gives a meaty performance as the grieving widow perplexed about her nephew's unusual behavior.
(Oh yeah   . . Martin Sheen as Uncle Ben was very good, too.)

4. Avengers Assemble!: This reboot is really a way to get the character into the current Marvel-film universe, and tie him into The Avengers. Period. That would have been difficult to do with the Maguire's Spidey, considering Maguire's age and the isolated narrative of those three films. Andrew Garfield is fine as Spider-Man, and excellent as teen Peter Parker. And he'll be great in the Avenger's sequel, I'm sure.

5. Web-Shooters! I was giddy when I realized in this movie Peter Parker would (as intended!) invent the webshooters used to spin and direct his webs. I hated the story-line from the other three flicks that had webs coming from Spider-Man's wrists. Hated it! One of the coolest things about the early days of Spider-Man comics was the scientific genius of Parker. When I saw the idea teased early in the movie (a scene where Parker locks his bedroom door with a wireless remote) I hoped the web shooters would re-appear. When they did, I smiled from satisfaction.

(Note to self: Grab another Boone's Farm and re-read My Top 5 Reasons #1.)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Magic Mike

Shortest review of all time, from Mrs. Film Geek: " Too much movie, not enough dancing."