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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another Year...

Top Film of 2009

(500) Days of Summer
The story of a hopeless romantic, who loves crybaby music, that works for a greeting card company gets his heart broken but eventually figures out this true path. Sounds like the story of my life right? Nope, just Tom Hansen, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt in easily my favorite movie of the year. Everything about this movie spoke to me, and had an unfair advantage over the rest. Even after watching it, I said "that's definitely my favorite movie this year" (or something similar). Besides the fact that it's the story of my life, it also stars the beautiful Zooey Deschanel, has an amazing soundtrack, and a great sense of humor about it. Marc Webb, for your first movie effort, this was a home run for me. Keep up the good work.

Top Album of 2009

The Dangerous Summer - Reach for the Sun
The first time I heard the single off of this ablum, it was acoustic, and it filled me with boyish glee. And ever since that point, I've been in love. I can't say this band is don't anything exceptionally "original" or "groundbreaking", but that's exactly what i liked about them. The CD came around about the same time i was just looking to hear some good ol' fashion pop-punk. And there they were. No keyboards, no forced falsetto, no accents. I had to stick with my gut on this pick, because in other peoples eyes this band might not be so special. But to me, they have a place at the top of my list.

Thanks.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Drowning The Inspired Generation


Top 10 Films of 2009 (2nd-10th)


As far as Oscar candidates go, I don't really feel I have seen a lot of those films this year. But I have seen a ton of entertaining movies. I pretty much went buckwild on the "advanced screening passes" since last December, and most were big budget action flicks. So, a new category this year: all of the movies I missed that had potential of upsetting the order of my top 10 are my "Game Changers":

Game Changers (had I seen them):
Up in the Air
The Hurt Locker
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Moon
The Road
Sherlock Holmes

Despite this, out of the movies I DID see this year, here is my list of favorites (from 2nd to 10th). The order changed dozens of times since I picked out my top 10 favorites, but i think this is pretty close to a correct order. Enjoy.


2nd
Zombieland

Ingredients for my favorite movies: Zombies, action, comedy, art. Done. This movies got it. When I first heard about the movie, the fact it was called Zombieland, intrigued me. And i got my expectation really high when i started seeing the viral videos online. They were actually really funny. So, when i got to the movie, i was afraid all of my high hopes would be dashed. But then, what really hooked me when I first started watching the movie, was the AfterEffects lettering in the scenes. It reminds you that "this is a movie", just have fun. The movie doesn't take itself to seriously and it kinda makes a big joke out of the zombie movie genre (yes, it's a whole genre to me). If this is the direction that zombie movies take in the future, i will be a happy man.
It's biggest flaw was the some of the one liners, flopped. "Nut up or shut up" is fucking stupid. No one likes it. Jesse Eisenberg, the new Michael Cera, was perfect, so was Woody, Emma Stone (hottie) and the girl from Little Miss Sunshine. Not to mention it was a directorial debut for Ruben Fleischer, so nice job. I can't wait for the sequel.


3rd
Inglourious Basterds

Quentin Tarantino has a certain type of movie... and the way I see it is, if you don't like that formula, you are going to hate everything he does. He gets a seriously bad wrap because his films are poorly advertised as action movies. Yes, you will get to see Nazi's murdered in droves, but this movie is much more than that. The characters are dynamic and lovable, even if they are the most despicable type of person. To achieve this, you have to have a TON of dialog. In this 2 and a half hour epic, you maybe have 45 minutes of pure action. There are some seriously intense scenes in this movie, opening up with one of the most intense. The humor is pitch black and the action is bloody. In the end, you get exactly what you want. Definitely not a movie for everyone... but it was a movie for me.


4th
Star Trek

When I think back to Middle School, I really didn't have many friends. One reason was because I was fat... The other, was because I was a nerd. And being a nerd meant picking between Star Wars and Star Trek. I picked Star Wars. This isn't to say i had no interest in it. I watched DS-9 and Voyager. But i never watched the original series, or Next Generation (or Enterprise) as did most Trekkies. But when I heard JJ Abrams (my hero) was going to do a Star Trek reboot, I was pretty faithful that he was going to make something I liked. And I wasn't disappointed. Most people were calling it the "Iron Man" of this summer: a nerdy, action flick, that actually had some wide appeal. It was a great movie all around to tell the truth. This may have something to do with the fact that JJ Ambrams admits to getting most of his inspiration for the movie from Star Wars. Who am I to say.


5th
The Brothers Bloom

I saw this movie really late in the year, and it came out really early. I hope it doesn't get lost in the Oscar race because it's spectacular. Mark Ruffalo and Adrian Brody are honestly some of the most talented actors in Hollywood right now. And it shows through on this movie. I am a sucker for a good con, so the story was tops. It kept me guessing the entire movie, even though I was sure I knew what was going on. This film made it to the top of my list solely based on the fact that it was well rounded. It has action, a very cute love story, and quirky comedy.



6th
The Hangover
This was a really hard cut from my top 5. I really don't have to tell you why i picked this movie though, because everyone I talk to loves this movie. Great original plot, funny as sin, and great performances all around.
7th: Up If it wasn't for the shear ridiculousness of the story it would have been higher.
8th: Where the Wild Things Are I think there is an indie kid clause staying that i must like this movie, but I didn't love it.
9th: District 9 FOOCKIN PRAWNS! Simply wasn't as good as 8 others (hard to knock down).
10th: Drag Me to Hell What can i say, I love Sam Rammi and campy horror.

Honorable Mentions:
Ninja Assassin
Avatar
Adventureland
Ponyo
I Love You, Man
Coraline

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Updates Available

Coming tomorrow: my favorite movies 10th thru 2nd.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Salty Catch

Top Movie of 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

This movie truly is a fairy tale. Most of the classic stories we grew up hearing actually had very tragic origins and didn't always end up as happy as you may think. Slumdog Millionaire is that in it's truest form. By one of my favorite directors, Danny Boyle, this move takes a love story and in my mind, makes it as classic as Romeo and Juliet, or Cinderella. Other than just being overwhelmingly cute, Slumdog was original. Convincing acting, a great soundtrack, and one of my favorite topics of discussion, destiny.





Top Album of 2008

Sigur Rós - Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust

Sigur Ros isn't for everyone. But i have realized that the people that love them are die hard fans. I can't really consider myself any different. This CD isn't a far departure from most of Sigur Ros' past, but with the addition of a big booming percussion section on some songs, guitars (especially acoustic) that stand out over the other instruments, and i swear i heard a song sung in English, you get the impression they are trying to keep it interesting. Sigur Ros is my most played artist on Last.fm solely because they make excellent background music.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

I Would Travel the World For You (But You Are Always Close)

Top Albums of 2008 (2nd – 5th)

I saw a lot of movies this year. From my initial standpoint i wasn't really sure if there was enough movies to make a list this year, but after looking it over it was hard to only do a top 5. I realize that i am missing out on seeing other critically acclaimed movies such as "Synecdoche, New York", "Rachel Getting Married", and "Milk" but out of the list of movies i HAVE seen, these are my picks:




Tie for 2nd
A Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Everything was phenomenal about this movie. With shades of Forest Gump, this movie was easily a modern day fairy-tale cutting it's way through decades of our history. Benjamin Button seriously put Edward Cullen to shame with his charm and chivalry in this movie. While this was an extremely well rounded movie... (see below)








Tie for 2nd
The Dark Knight

...this is just the most kick-ass movie i have ever seen probably. I saw it 4 times in the theaters after all. Look for it rereleased this January. In all seriousness though, it's always a surprise when an action movie is not only really entertaining but has a good story arch and realistic acting.









3rd
Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Side spitting funny, with a good story about getting over lost loves. Some stories hit closer to home than others ;) I wasn't so sure how it was going to turn out, by i knew that no matter what Kristen Bell and Mila Kunis would be gorgeous.










4th
Iron Man

How do you take the super hero formula and make it awesome? I still don't know. But, somehow, Iron Man was REALLY, REALLY good. Jon Favreau makes great movies, and this is no exception. He just has the comedic timing a comic book movie needs. It has to be able to make fun of itself.








5th
Wall-E

Today, animated features tend to rely to heavily on their voice talent, and not enough on a good story. But this story was great, modern and original. AND it didn't need the voice talent to make a lovable character. I don't typically like movies that are preachy and spend their whole time on the soap box, however, Wall-E was subtle in trying to get it's point across.






Honorable Mentions
Burn After Reading (the Coens never disappoint, but it couldn't compare to "No Country")
Pineapple Express (hard to cut)
Be Kind Rewind (it was missing a little something, but otherwise right up there)
Sex Drive (funny, it was probably best suited for a younger audience)
Quantum of Solace (not as good as Casino Royal)
Zack and Miri Make a Porno (hard to cut)
Choke (i think i needed to see this a second time)
Role Models (hilarious talent, but too formulaic)
Step Brothers (seriously awesome, but not quite top 5)

Biggest Surprise:
Twilight

Biggest Disappointment:
X-Files: I Want to Believe

Stay tuned for my top movie of '08, my list of music, and games.

list master, Josh

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Death and Anarchy

Ghost Town - A plot that was done a million times over, usually doesn't make a for a good movie. The "help an angel get his wings scenario" and "the unlikely man tries to get the out-of-reach woman". This movie is the exception. I think that mostly has to do with Ricky Gervais and Tea Leoni. The movie is downright adorable and laugh out loud funny at parts. But without Gervais, i don't think i would be enjoying it as much. His cold wit and use of what seems like improv, shape his character of a stuck up dentist who dies, and comes back only to see dead people. One of the dead continuously follows him forcing him stalk his now widowed wife and breaking her up from her new love interest. In other words, it would be a great uplifting movie to bring a date to.

out,
Josh

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Perceived Beauty

I would really like to start doing movie reviews in time for the movie debut... but i feel like i a) don't have the time with all the other stuff i am doing, b) i watched the movie too far in advance and i forget when the movie actually comes out, or c) i am just too damn lazy. Usually, it's C (at least lately).

Here is some "Entertainment Catch-Up":

Burn After Reading - As far Coen Brothers movies go, i have to watch them twice to see if i really like them. I have now scene this movie twice. If you are looking for an uplifting movie. This one isn't going to be for you. Basically, it's a bleak commentary on love, marriage, relationships, and self-image set to an espionage soundtrack. The commercials and trailers make it seem like a laugh out loud comedy, and it is at some points, but for the most part it is a subtle humor. Not as funny as The Big Lebowski, not as dire as No Country for Old Men. And i wouldn't say as good as either as well. But, all in all, i think this is another great movie for the Coens, you just have to know what you are getting into before you go. If nothing else, the poster is a Saul Bass look-a-like and is fantastic.

Babylon AD - Sci-Fi Vin Diesel movie. I really don't need to say more than that. If you happen to like this kind of movie then go see it... Otherwise...

The Rocker - I thought it was funnier the second time around. I still feel it's tuned more toward high school kids. I still think Teddy Geiger is a bad actor, and Rainn Wilson is always good for a laugh, but Jason Sudeikis steals the show.

On DVD:

The Savages - More bleak. It was about a brother and a sister that had an awful relationship with their dad. But when he is stricken with dementia they are forced to put him in a home. The experience eventually makes them better people. The movie made me bummed out, and inevitably solidified my plan for being dead at age 50, so myself and others don't have to go through all of the terrible stuff. Laura Linney is really cute, and the acting all around was great though. Cute poster design... that has nothing to do with the movie.

Other:

- Mad Men is pretty awesome.

- i have been listening to the Harry Potter books on tape... and it's messing me up. I love them so much it gives me something more to look forward to during the week (i only listen to them at work). I listen to them so much, that i was to start using the words of the book in ever day speech... but then i would just be crazy... so i won't... for now.

- tell me this poster isn't awesome. (and something you could see in my portfolio.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Half in Hell


GO SEE THIS MOVIE!
You won't regret it.
It's the best superhero movie i have ever seen. Hands-down.
-Josh

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Green M&M's

Contrary to what i said in my last post (and almost all of my masculinity)... i played the nice guy, and went with my friend Lindsay to see Sex and the City last night. Here's what i thought:

Sex and the City First of all, i am no stranger to the series. My ex-girlfriend really enjoyed the show, so naturally, i had to watch it enough times on TBS to know what the characters name were at least. The intro is a segue from the TV series to the movie, explaining the characters, and the basic premise of the show... sex, and New York City. From there, anyone who was not a fan of the show before, will probably not be inthralled. It was a movie in which i compared it to a fashioned up version of "the Heartbreak Kid". But i'm told, "not as raunchy as the the HBO version of the tv show." Woh. Anyhow, i digress. If you enjoyed the show, you will undoubtedly have a great time. I found the movie to be predictable, but with a couple twists that felt like they were out of context to the characters of the tv show. Fan's of the show answer these questions: Mr. Big and Carrie get engaged, what do you think happens? Maranda isn't giving it up to Steve, what does Steve do? But everything that you want to happen for the characters, does. Go figure. The girls looks like old wrinkled skeletons. To me, not attractive. But, there is plenty of boob, and unfortunately, a cock (to balance it out of course). It's about two and a half hours long, and it takes place over about a year (maybe more). Parts feel like they are getting episodic, and kinda of cuts into the overlying story. To me at least. Listen, i could sit here all day and nitpick the movie... From most guys' perspective, this movie couldn't be anymore revolting... i found it to be OK. I thought the movie would be convoluted and boring, but it turned out to have a decent story about love lost and found. Girls, if you love the show... which is pretty much all of you. Go see it. Guy's be good to your girl and go see it with them (at least you will see boob). You might actually enjoy it. FIN.

Taking one for the team,
Josh

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Sunday, June 1, 2008

What it Takes to Rule the World

This weekend i actually accomplished (and by accomplished i also mean just start) almost everything i set forth in doing. Mind you, the tasks were mundane, and to most, stupid. One of the last things on the list was blog, because it's been a while. Here it is.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Will contain Spoilers, do not read on if you intend on being surprised. To anyone who actually might read this blog and say "man i know he watched 'Indy 4', it would be helpful to know what he had thought of it", i'm sorry. Because know one actually said that, it doesn't matter. I liked the movie. Yes, there is an epic battle right now between the people who liked the movie and the people who hated it. Like most (unless you are a total closed-minded jerk), i can see both perspectives. The major criticism is coming from the unbelievability of scenes in the movie. But, i mean come on! Indiana Jones road a mine cart through miles and miles of cavern, jumping on and off tracks on two wheels, just after a man rips out a heart with his bear hands... And though, religious in origin, a face melting box and 200 year old man are also pretty far out. In my mind these are no more "out-there" than aliens, and surviving a nuclear blast. Honestly, the only scene that bothered me when i watched it the first time was the "Tarzan" scene. After the second time (yes i saw it twice, before thursday evening), i realized this was yet another B-movie commentary on the time period. The Crew had to update Indy for a modern audience, while still holding the integrity of the original. Each person, Lucas, Speilburg, and Ford, had their fingerprints all over the final product. It was like Close Encounters meets American Graffiti in and Indiana Jones movie with CG gophers... wow. What i really feel the movie was missing was subtlety and tact. Everything was plainly spelt out for you, to the point where you felt it was stupid. For example, they didn't need the CG alien, it was pretty obvious what was happening. Also, my biggest complaint of the film was the fact that there were too many characters trying to share the spotlight. Marion, Mutt, Ox, Indy, and Mac were just to many good guys. If they could have found a balance as they did in Last Crusade, it would have made a better film for me. These things however did not stop you from being entertained. And thats what the movie was all about! The action scenes were, well, bad ass, the wit and humor was spot on and it was over-all and "Indy" movie. So what, i loved it. Give me a break!
Sexy and the City I don't need to see it to tell you it sucks. You can't pick up after a series has a good finish, and make a 2 hour movie out of it. It becomes boring and predictable.
The Strangers i feel as if i am alone on this one, but i loved the movie. I would definitely recommend it to classic suspense lovers. Right down to the promo posters it was set up to be "retro". Admittedly, while doing a "classic" movie feel, it also had the classic pit-falls too. The ending got a little sloppy, where the killer gets away (straight to video sequel?), and of course people make decisions that are not rational even for a normal person. But, this makes it fun and exciting for me. The fact that it didn't need gore to thrill you and keep you nervous was awesome. Putting a masked killer in the background where only the audience can see them and not the victim, just standing there doing nothing, that's brilliant to me. It was "based" on true events, and by that, they mean, two people were killed in a house, and there was no killer found. They are trying to give an easy scare to suckers, so they made it pretty clear "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" style, how it went down. It definitely could have been better, sure, but off the top of my head... i can't think of something to truly complain about. If you are looking for a cheap, ol' fashion scare, this is your film. If you are looking for something innovative and different this isn't your film.

this gives me a big movie boner.


Signing out for now,
Josh

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Friday, May 2, 2008

Never Dark

Iron Man All of a sudden the hype for Iron Man went supernova, and that's the only movie you hear about now. Well, the movie lives up the the hype in my eyes. "Elf" Director, Jon Favreau, did a superb job of retelling a story that originates as a comic from the Vietnam War era. Where the Spider-man movies went for a very comic-booky feel of movie making, i felt Iron Man was just a "movie version" of the story. Other than an action movie, the humor was sharp as a tack, and as corny and as snarky as it needed to be. This, and the fact that Robert Downey Jr. could pulled every line off believably. Robert Downey Jr. was born to play the role of Tony Stark (Iron Mans alter ego); a witty, alcoholic, billionaire playboy that finds himself at the top of his weapons-peddling-game before he has a life threatening change of heart. This movie has everything. Take a super hero that relies on gadgets/technology to help him out, pepper in some war movie action scenes and big one-on-one fight in the end, some big laughs and you have yourself a winning formula. Even Gwyneth Paltrow, as “Pepper” Potts, plays into a teasing kind of love story (but just enough to keep it interesting, not enough to make you sick (which is good because it wouldn't fit for Stark)). The CGI, which most people worry about. Totally killer, and very convincing. Shaky camera action helps in places where you want to thing the action is fake. I'm stoked for the sequel, which has already been green lit. In short, i think MOST people will really love this movie, just as most critics already have. If you go, be sure to stay until the end of the credits for a cameo appearance, a hit at another movie project, and more comic book nerdiness. (sorry of the late review)

Speed Racer I feel as if i might need to see it again because i am getting some conflicting ideas in my head. For those who are unfamiliar to the original Speed Racer Japanese animation cartoon, the story goes like this: Speed Racer (yes, thats his first and last name, obviously named with one thing in mind), is the professional driver of the "Mach 5". And each week he always seems to get into some sort of trouble from driving hitmen or treacherous courses. But with the help of Mom and Pops Racer, his younger brother Spritle, their monkey Chim-Chim, his girlfriend Trixie, the shop hand/bestfriend Sparky, and the mysterious Racer X, he is able to survive (for crazy amounts of info, go here). The movie keeps right to this story right down to what the buttons on the wheel do. And if anyone can bring an anime to life, it's DEFINITELY the Wachowski Brothers. But the problem was, the beginning was gimmicky and boring. The Wachowski's new trick was to use unique swipes (scene transfers), and they used it over and over until i was sick of it. Had it been later in the day, i might have enjoyed the exposition, but at that point it was drivel, and probably hard to follow for the kids (PG rating). The swipes did give a manga feel, and so did the vibrant super saturated colors. The explosions were all pretty cartoony, and the action/driving scenes included "motion lines" in way or another. The costuming and set design was so good it should be nominated for an Oscar. All of which showed the true dedication to the genre that the Brothers have. There is about 30 minutes of the movie where Speed wore a suit that looked just like the cartoons, there was an awesome fight scene, and it was the longest continuous race of the movie. That scene could have been the whole movie for me. It was SO good. I would have to say, i feel like i would have enjoyed this movie more if i was on drugs, but because i'm not, it was good... it didn't blow me away, but it was still good.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

Farce and Fallacy

88 Minutes Grant it, it's been a while since i have watched a "mystery/thriller", but i thought it was a good movie. Not a great movie, but an entertaining one. The figuring out the killer wasn't too hard, it was sorta Scooby-Doo; the movie made you suspicious of everyone, but in the end it was predictable. But maybe figuring it out for yourself makes people feel smart, and i think that works. Al Pacino out acted everyone on the cast just by showing up to film. Alicia Witt, a Molly Ringwald look-a-like, had me overlooking her bad acting (apparently) for her obvious cuteness. Leelee Sobieski was terrible. Maybe the most entertaining part of the movie for me was the fact the it was running in "real time". Dr. Gramm (Pacino) has 88 minutes to live, and you are there for each minute of it (give or take a couple minutes difference).

Dan in Real Life This came out on DVD a couple weeks ago, maybe a month now, but i finally picked it up. It was well worth my time. First, the soundtrack to the movie was well thought out but the director and the amazing, Sondre Lerche, and i really appreciate that. Maybe more importantly, it was a relatable comedy that doesn't bore. You emotionally connect with Steve Carrell as life collapses on him. Everytime something works out for him, it gets snatched away. For me it was tough to watch without welling up at times. Steve plays that downtrodden pathetic character all too well, and you can really see sadness in his eyes when he shows it to you. From Michael on the Office, to his upcoming Maxwell Smart. Don't worry though, there is a happy ending. Not so happy you throw up rainbows, but an ending that leaves you fulfilled. Dane Cook also plays a big role in the movie too. Personally, i think he should stick to stand up, but he wasn't too bad. Even with two powerhouse comedians, the comedy was soft and subtle. It was a prefect movie for a rainy Thursday evening.

Prepared to be Surprised,
Josh

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Goblin

Last night when i returned home from seeing Smart People, i returned to darkness. When the power is out, there is pretty much nothing to do. I used to like to light some candles and just listen to the rain fall, but it wasn't even raining anymore. BALLS! Anyhow, with no computer, or tv, or video games, you would think i would read, or at least sketch by candle light? NOPE! i just went to bed at 10:15... so, so, sad. Here is the review i couldn't do last night...

Smart People Pretty much everyone who knows me, knows i am in love with Ellen Page. So you would think this movie was a shoe in for a good review from me... Well, as always Ellen played the sassy high school girl. This time as a very straight-laced, stuck up, Junior Republican with no friends and an awful fashion sense. What can i say, she plays her roles very well. In this film she looked emaciated though, which made her less attractive looking. But believe it or not, by how this review started, the move wasn't based around just her. When watching the movie you find yourself among a family "run" by a widower, Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid) who can't seem to let go of his wife. No one likes him because he is an a-hole, he is writing a book no publisher will take, and he is losing touch with his son. I mean, down right depressing sh*t. When he loses his ability to drive, his mooching adopted brother Chuck (Thomas Haden Church) moves in to help out. The little clone daughter, Vanessa (Page) who sorta plays mother in her mothers absence, is left to uncle Chuck trying to get her to loosen up (maybe becoming TOO loose due to her sheltered life) when her Dad is out trying to date his doctor/former student played by Sarah Jessica Parker. This is around where it fell off for me. Toward the middle the movie felt depressing and awkward (off-color), and i found myself slightly bored. But, in the end, i chalked this up to the realism. The middle was the only rough part for me and i feel like it resolved itself in the end. The movie was extremely well written, and ran smooth. But i guess you should come to expect that from the writer of Sideways (of course i haven't seen it, so i don't know) Church carried the movie for me from start to finish, and though his character was a total shubb, he was the only really likable person. Even though Ellen's cuteness was a close second. Moral of the story; loosen up? it's more fun to be dumb than be smart? Whatever, it was, it wasn't as good as i was expecting... but not a bad movie by any of my standards.

-Dusel

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Orange Of City Lights

Pending a format change for my blog, i would like to start posting movie reviews again... but only on Thursday Nights. Luckily i have been swamped with advance screenings lately, and it has made it really easy to have movies to review that aren't even in theaters yet. Let's give it a whirl...

Shine A Light - Some of you might recognize that as the title of a Rolling Stones song. I however did not. Being that my dad was never really into the Rolling Stones, and i wasn't privy to much secular music in my childhood (...early teens), i knew as much as (or maybe less) any other person knew about the Rolling Stones. That is that they have been playing music for almost double the amount of time that i have even been alive, and they have that obnoxious tongue logo that you see everywhere. Almost everyone knows the name's Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (or at least recognize his hair from Johnny Depp thieving it), but hardly know Ron Wood and Charlie Waits. All this aside, i still wanted to see the movie. I saw the trailer and it intrigued me. The idea Martin Scorsese had in mind was a "concert documentary", where he spliced in old interviews of the band into a live recording. I'm going to be honest, i kind of expected more from Scorsese while watching the movie. I feel like anyone could have filmed the same way. One or two scenes were admittedly breathtaking. The Buddy Guy performance stole the show for me. The part i did really like, was the fact that it was a "raw" performance and mistakes where left in. Even Mick dropping the f-bomb a few times for good measure (despite the PG-13 rating). I really felt amerced at one point, and i wanted to be up bobbing my head, stomping and clapping like the people in the audience. Truly an experience you could only have in the IMAX theatre, with amazing surround sound and picture. You could even hear some douche bag in the back screaming out stupid things to Mick. In the end, it was well worth my time, and it would be for you, if you are a fan of concerts in any way. Maybe i'll even buy the "soundtrack".

ouch, that was not short. maybe this one.


The Ruins - When a go to a horror movie now-n-days, i expect certain things; c-list actors, boobs, gore, and a twist. We have all of the above elements here. It was based off of a novel... yes a book! Baffling! This meant the story was actually pretty good, and i suppose for the most part original. The ending however, was cliche — but now they all are. The twist is "the killer", which many of you could already assume what is going on. The gore at points was pretty insane. I suppose mostly because of it's realism. Those who are squeamish, i definitely don't recommend it. All together, it's entertaining.

-Josh

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Black Tie

The Academy Awards are finally here... ... woo? Really when you think about it, the Oscars are pretty boring in comparison to all the over the top awards shows today. Despite this, i will be paying $10 to play dress up and watch the Oscars with a bunch of friends. This year i tried to get really into it and watch all the movies nominated... Unfortunately, i am both cheap and lazy, so i ended up watching maybe half of them. But, without further ado, these are my winners for the 2008 Academy Awards (not like you care):
Best Picture - No Country for Old Men This was a tough choice, I loved so many of the nominee's. And i am actually excited to see the outcome of this category.
Best Director - Joel Coen and Ethan Coen - No Country for Old Men Considering i don't know quiet where the directors job begins and ends this is always hard for me to choose. But the Coen Brothers are unstoppable.
Best Actor - Daniel Day-Lewis - There Will Be Blood It was close, George Clooney did a superb job but Daniel Day-Lewis was breathtaking. Sorry Johnny Depp... and i didn't see, In the Valley of Elah and Eastern Promises as much as i would have liked to have an unbiased opinion.
Best Actress - Ellen Page - Juno I'm not going to lie... i didn't see any of the other movies. and i want to marry Ellen Page, so this one is pretty unfair. All well.
Best Supporting Actor - Javier Bardem - No Country for Old Men - This one was really tough, infact i may have made the wrong choice. As much as i totally love Javier, Tom Wilkinson in Michael Clayton was just awesome. Either will do in my eyes.
Best Supporting Actress - Cate Blanchett - I'm Not There Ruby Dee had such a small role in American Gangster i don't think it would be fair for her to win. And as much as Tilda Swinton pulled off a timid evil, i heard Cate Blanchett will be unstoppable for this award.
Best Original Screenplay - Michael Clayton - Tony Gilroy Juno was a close second... but i felt the lines were a little "overdone" and offensive to a millennial through stereotypes (though funny). Michael Clayton was total pay-off in the end and that makes for good writing in my book.
Best Adapted Screenplay - No Country for Old Men - Joel and Ethan Coen, from No Country for Old Men, novel by Cormac McCarthy I thought this was an original screenplay... but none the less, it was well done. Oil! a novel by Upton Sinclair was definitely a close second.
Less important awards:
Best Original Song - Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova - "Falling Slowly" from Once Even though it's not original... *sigh* it's totally amazing.
Best Sound Editing - Skip Lievsay - No Country for Old Men It was the most interesting part of the movie for me.
Best Original Score - Marco Beltrami - 3:10 to Yuma Even though it should have been There Will Be Blood, even though it was like the only category it wasn't nominated for.

I absolutely loved Michael Clayton and There Will Be Blood despite my predictions here. This is why i could never be on this comity... who are these people anyhow?

Enjoy the Oscars.

Movie watcher,
Josh

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Modern Day Musical

Good-day readers,
By now, i would be half way through the work day, probably staring blankly at a card, distracting myself with AIM and e-mail. But today, thanks to the the passion of MLK, i get to sleep in, make breakfast and be bored and alone at home.

Friday night, i got out to see "There Will Be Blood" with Aaron and John, which is always a good time. We got Aaron's new suit, gorged on Cici's Pizza, and just made it. It wasn't "the best movie of last year." In fact, i feel as if i am still trying to grasp the whole thing. The musical score was amazing, and Daniel Day-Louis is a tremendous actor, so together they did make the movie compelling.

The next morning i got up early to take Aaron to the airport. Basically, sealing my weekend to my apartment.

To go with rest of my brilliant month of January, the only real thing i had planned for this weekend, was play some of my new games for the 360. Of course this was foiled by what they call "the red ring of death". So, i drove all the way down to Best Buy in Oak Park to get a new one... they were fresh out of 360's as of that morning. Best Buy is going to get an ear-full next time i go. So needless to say, that didn't make my weekend outlook very bright.

The highlight to the weekend most definitely was the movie "Once." On Sunday afternoon (before the disappointing Best Buy trip), instead of watching the Patriots win again, i put in this DVD that i have been putting off watching for weeks. I would have loved to watch it with a girl, but it was probably less embarrassing getting all giddy myself. It was adorable. It wasn't overly emotional, but some how you really connected with the characters. It was filmed to look like it was a documentary following the guy who needs the love of the girl, to get him motivated to make music. I was worried the songs would be awful, being that it's a self proclaimed "modern day musical", but i was wrong. I guess the "modern day" is more predominant than the "musical" in this movie. How i feel about this movie is pretty clear; basically, if you could combine my two favorite things together, movies and live indie music, you get this film. Lets just say, If i would have watched this movie last year, it would have definitely made a run at the number one spot for my favorite movies of 2007. The one thing i didn't like about this movie was the poster... i could have even did a better job.

Back to work and loneliness on this gray winter day.

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Monday, December 31, 2007

Only the Best for Baby


Top Movie of 2007:
No Country For Old Men
Just as most Coen Brothers movies, this movie was a masterpiece. From start to finish you are on the edge of your seat with no music to add tension to the scenes. This is exactly what i mean when i talk about making an old story fresh again. Basically it was a retelling of the age-old, "finding someone else's treasure" story. Movies have become a cookie cutter of the same old story, just substituting characters out and changing the title, but The Coen Bros owned this one.




Top Album of 2007:
Thrice - The Alchemy Index: Fire & Water
Thrice has been around for a while and they have gone through quiet the change since i had first heard them. They are certainly not the hardcore/metal band i got into long ago, but unlike some bands, i was able to embrace their change. This CD (actually a dual EP set) was part of a concept album collection theme-ing music to each of the four elements; fire, water, earth, and air. Right there, is already calling out, "kick ass, baby". Fire was a little less fast paced and a little softer than i would have liked, but still a solid CD filled with good songs. Water was exactly how i envisioned it to be, with the killer track "the Whaler". This being there 4th effort says volumes about the band, and that their music is maturing with my musical taste.

Thanks Aaron for the idea of doing a "best of". i hope everyone wasn't too bored reading it.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

You Caught My Eye.

Top Movies of 2007

#2
Superbad

After seeing it a second time it might be the funniest and most quotable movie i have seen in a long, long while, with the addition of a well executed 70's retro theme.











#3
300

What it lacked in depth, it made up for in everything else 10 fold.












#4
The Darjeeling Limited

This is a close 4th. What can i say, Wes Anderson doesn't disappoint.












#5
Live Free or Die Hard

The entertainment value was through the roof.














Honorable Mentions:
- Knocked Up (really funny, but maybe not well rounded enough to make it)
- Transformers (making my childhood favorite cool again was it's only real appeal)
- Juno (the writing was it's blessing and it's curse)
- American Gangster (too long, but superb acting and decent story)
- Grindhouse (fun, visionary movies from two good directors, just not good enough)

Best Surprise of the Year:
Sweeney Todd

Biggest Disappointment:
Spider-man 3
Pirates 3

Stay tuned for #1. Games next time.

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Dark Parts


Vader in Love.


So, as most of you have undoubtedly heard the Writer Guild is on strike, putting a end to topical humor on TV for a while, and a hold to many of our beloved scripted TV shows and movies. You can't blame the writers for going on strike, but their contracts couldn't have run out at any worse of a time. TV will be taking the biggest hit, where new coming shows, such as Chuck... and... well others that just started, have no chance of taking off because of a prolonged break in their season. My biggest concern is LOST. They have filmed 8 of 16 episodes and the show comes on in February (more likely late February now). The shows producers are concerned that viewers will be frustrated at the 8 show breaking point, where as there is a rather large cliffhanger planned, and seemed to allude that thats where the season really gets good. In other words.... don't expect LOST to be on until 2009 unless the strike ends soon. Maybe i will read a book...








...I know, yeah right. Thats just silly. HA, books...

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

At Misery's End

Halloween Round Up

October, it's a great month for creativity. Halloween just allows so many opportunities. My pumpkin I carved, the one I painted, my rice crispy sculpture, and of course my Halloween costume.

It's also a month for horror movies get ready, reviews comin' atcha!:
Planet Terror - This is a movie for men! This is not saying women won't enjoy it, but it's got the recipe for manliness. Blood, gore, zombies, sick humor, cool cars and bikes, Bruce Willis, and the imfamous hot chic with a machine gun leg. I personally don't ask for anything more in a movie.
Death Proof - Tarrantino makes a certain type of movie; wordy and shocking. I personally loved it, and when it's not compaired to Planet Terror, it's easily as good.
28 Weeks Later - Not as good as the first, but still a good "zombie" thriller. The cinematography wasn't as good as the first, but still better than most movies.
Black Sheep - This is exactly how you want a cheesy horror movie to be. I mean it's a movie about sheep cloning in New Zealand gone horribly wrong, you aren't shooting for Oscars here. But still, the casting was done pretty well.
The Hamiltons - Shit sandwich! NEXT! (ps. all of the "Horror Fest" movies are a waste of your time and money)
I'm sure i missed some movies that i watched this month, but thats all that i can remember.

Autumn is in full force here in the mid-west, and this morning, I even got my first taste of winter. Many of the trees have taken on their beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow. Unfortunately, fall is fast here. The wind makes short work of the dead leaves and rushes them to the ground.

"It’s only love, it’s not real. You’re gonna die in somebody else’s arms and I have to live with that."

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Monday, October 1, 2007

Envy for the Witch and the Beast.

The last couple of days, until today, i was forced to take a break from Halo 3. As for the rest of the world, they didn't forget. Above is a statue at Harvard, thanks to some pranksters from MIT, it looks better this way. (thanks to Josh and Nick for the correction)

Last night, i went out to dinner and a movie with a girl. It sounds like a date, and I thought it was a date, but i might have been the only one. Her name is Jaeeun, and she is Korean, so the two of use caught Dragon War, a Korean movie, and sushi for a late dinner. Steriotype? Yeah, maybe, I think it's safe to say that we both had a really good time though.

I feel as if the theme of this weekend was getting to know people better. Whether i liked it or not, or wanted to or not, i did. I have 6 months to figure out what to do with my life.

I just wish i could find the affection i long for. This weekend was an emotional roller coaster and i would like to end it now with some sleep. I guess it's officially October now, maybe this month will be different.

"and it's a shame to walk away from everything i know, and everything i want."

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Marked

This is a tattoo idea I drew up for Nick. I kinda just went at it with a Micron pen without sketching out anything first. Typically, i don't do this because it would turn out like crap. I'm not saying this one breaks that mold, but it's better than i thought. And really, the guy doing the tattooing, Tim Kern, is pretty much spectacular, so all he needed was an idea to go by. I will try to get Nick's permission to post his tattoo when it's finished, so you can see where it goes. Nick, start polishing those guns for pictures.

Last night, I bitched out, and got Halo 3. I played it until about 1 last night, so far, so good. Along with Halo i made these purchases:
• The Weakerthans - Reunion Tour
• Iron and Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
• Free Halo 3 wall sticker
• Knocked Up 2 Disc Edition (with free playing cards)
• Taco Bell Grande Meal

Aaron tallied it up to be 126 or so. (what i forget the official tally?!, so what if it was a lot.)
Then, i painted a cool zombie at Aaron and John's. Lucky for me that was free.

"And I'll tell myself I'm over you 'cause I'm the king of wishful thinking"

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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Odds Stacked Against Us

You Kill Me - Not quite what I expected... It had some redeeming moments, but for the most part, it just wasn't funny. I wish i could think of something witty to say about the movie, but i'm about as unfunny as the movie at this point. The story is about an alcoholic hitman being sent to San Francisco for rehab and to work as a mortician, when he finds love and the will to become sober. Tea Leoni's one liners where the only thing to save the movie. Ben Kingsley and Luke Wilson didn't do anything for me.






City of Violence - More Korean movies! Basically this was a Korean Tarantino film. The story was pretty recycled and predictable, but the action scenes made up for the lack of originality. After the death of the oldest of 5 friends, they are reconnected 20 years later, but not everyone is quite as genuine as they were back in the day.


Work is going well for now. I have obviously been too busy to post at work, but there really hasn't been a lot to report anyhow.

This weekend... Death Proof. I'm excited.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Devil's Happiness.

I'm holding out hope that some people still find joy and/or help in my movie reviews. I am struggling to find an good length to make them too. Here it goes (in the order i watched them):


Drive Thru- Gore + really cheesy lines + bad nonsensical plot line = Crappy horror movie. Good times, I missed these.

The Ex (aka. Fast Track)- A cute comedy about a new father who loses his job and has to work for his father in law at an ad agency. Jason Bateman nails his roll and doesn't disappoint as the cock, crippled, "star" advertiser at the firm. Bateman pretty much makes the movie for me, Zach Braff didn't blow me away. It's not really no stop laughs, but it has it's moments. As a warning towards designers; this movie has a grossly inaccurate depiction of creatives, pretty much calling them crazy and eccentric (well, maybe not completely off...).

Black Snake Moan- Christina Ricci's boobs are awesome. Sam Jackson's singing is awesome. Justin Timberlake... is OK. A really fantastic, original story about an old blues singer that tries to help sex addict break her bad... sexy habits. I can't think of a complaint of the top of my head for this movie. It was the best of the group i am reviewing.

Oldboy- The Korean movie in which the guy that shot up VT apparently imitated a picture from so that give you an idea. This movie is seriously fucked up. It's redeeming values where some cool fighting sequences and proverb like narration. But, the use of incest as a main plot point was a little weird, and kind of a turn off.

Come October, the only movies i will be renting will be horror based; Zombies, Killers, Blood and Gore, Monsters, Paris Hiltons acting (ZING!), etc.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Nihilist Movement


Heather got a brand-new 32' Philips TV (which is really sexy), so we watched:
Blades of Glory - The Will Ferrell movies have been going down hill since he peaked with "Elf" and "Anchorman." When Ferrell and Napoleon Dynamite, err... Jon Heder, team up to take on the most stereotypically gay sport out there, male couples ice skating, you think it would be an uproarious laugh-fest. But you were mistaken. It had it's moments and as a whole it was pretty good, and still funny. However, Will Ferrell once again recycled his Robert Goulet impression for another character, and no matter how much you try it's hard to picture Jon Heder as anything but Napoleon. A step down from Taladaga Nights was Anchorman, and Blades of Glory was a step down from Taladaga... something has to change here. However, Pam from the Office is still in and movie, and is smokin'.

Tonight, alone, i watched:
Bridge to Terabithia - Movies made from books typically end up pretty far off from it's original words. I had hoped this movie would break the mold, unfortunately it didn't. Understandably so, the movie was updated to modern times to appeal to the children's audience. Many things were, added and taken away from the original text, but the story stayed basically the same. Things were mostly added, such as the elaborate fantasy scenes that were clearly added to compete in todays market of fantasy tales, such as Chronicles of Narnia, and the Lord of the Rings. Looking at it now, I feel like the action scenes were necessary because no one goes to see a blockbuster of a heartwarming kids story that would typically find as a Hallmark movie or in the Dollar bin at your local Christian Bookstore. The main character Jesse Aarons was played by Josh Hutcherson (of Zathura), who was slightly colder than i pictured the Jess from the Book. Leslie Burke was played by AnnaSophia Robb (the blueberry girl in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory), who is just so adorable, and really makes you love her character. Zooey Deschanel (from Elf) played Ms. Edmonds, Jesse's teacher crush, and a wonderful singer, which probably landed her this role. In the book she is hippie, but honestly, it was really hard to criticizes the characters by there looks, because the book was originally set about 30 years ago.

if i get the time, maybe i will blog about personal stuff later, as for now. i will spare you.

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Monday, August 27, 2007

In 1970 (I Am The Killer)

Quick reviews on this weekends movies:
Superbad - Lately, there has been a rash of entertainment that just pushes you to the uncomfortable edge of comedy. This edge is just what the movie industry needs right now to break a streak of stagnant recycled jokes and puns. Seth Rogen, actor in, and producer of; 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, and and Superbad, has now made quite the image for himself. But as the writer of Superbad, i feel he really found his calling. The fast paced conversation type hmor is reminiscent of Larry David (Writer of Seinfeld). The crude language and subject matter also make American Pie look like a PG movie. Judd Apatow had this style down earlier in the summer with Knocked up, and probably did a slightly better job, but all in all, this is the new wave in comedy movies, and I love it. This movie was made with an artistic vision of a 70's movie, made today. Made with a completely original funk score and retro opening credits. Jonah Hill (Seth) and Michael Cera (Evan) really had a great chemistry which gave the movie a certain believability. When Seth, Evan, and Foggle (McLovin'!) find out about a party that could change their total outcome of high school, they go on a mishap filled evening of acquiring booze, sex and status.

Zodiac - When I first heard about the Zodiac Killer long, long ago on the Discovery Channel (or TLC, or something), I was instantly interested in it. He was a killer, who was never caught, that supposedly killed a massive amount of people, in 1970's California. By the time this movie came around, I found out i had forgotten most of the knowledge i had known out the Zodiac and was speaking out of my ass, but i digress. After I heard that my favorite director David Fincher, and actor Jake Gyllenhaal would be taking on the film, i figured it was a "cannot fail". It didn't. It was however a little slow and long at parts. But Gyllenhaal played the part of Robert Graysmith, who researched and wrote a book about the Zodiac, and he played it pretty well. Robert Downey Jr is finding a good place in my heart too. There were some visuals that pointed to the stylings of Fincher, but i felt there could have been more, it could have helps the slow scenes be more interesting. "Based on a true story" doesn't normally say "good movie" to me, but this was definitely up there.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Every Evening

If you get the time, please answer the question below, which i posted earlier today.

EDIT
As always, my mind has been racing. Not really about anything in particular either. All i can do is think about stuff. I am getting comfortable with my surroundings, but at the same time bored. The last couple days... maybe even weeks, have been a struggle. I have reached a point where i am spending most of my time by myself, and watching a lot of movies, hence the movie reviews all the time. Most of this is not by choice. Some people just don't want to have anything to do with me, some people i want little to do with, and others i feel guilty hanging around with. It's weird to have most of my friends in relationships. With my friends from home i hardly had this problem. Ha. Of course the single people back home still wanted to hang with me. I hate being the third wheel. I feel like somedays it's OK, and others I feel like I am taking away their time to be together. I guess the only solution is to find more single friends, or become better friends with the ones i already have. Gah. I am rambling.

I'm sick of complaining all over my blog. Then stop complaining! Shut up assholes, i know thats what some of you are thinking. But, it's not so much that i blog about it, but rather that i have so much to complain about, and i need some place to vent.

TMNT - My childhood Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has received another overhaul to refurbish the franchise. Years ago I heard that the next Ninja Turtles would be CGI, but there where some really ugly looking roughs, and talks of incorporating it into live action. I felt the stylized, sleek look of the Turtles, April, Casey Jones, and the rest of the supporting characters was definitely the way to go. The story was good and action packed. The only downfall, no Shredder, but i felt as if that may have been for the best. I had a good time watching this.

i'm done.

"Stay, cause i don't think i wanna live here dying all alone."

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Red Warrior

I gave blood today. First time. Before I got my blood taken, a girl that was trying to tell me how easy it was, passed out before my eyes. The nurses swarmed quickly around her to assist. They laid her out on an empty bed and let her come to. Needless to say, it kind of made me hessitate. Obviously, i survived to write another blog. Sorry. I felt really good about myself after i was finished. I will be going back in December.

movie reviews (quick ones, promise):
The Godfather - The iconic logo, the horse head in the bed, car bombs. The classic mobster movie that started it all. I finally understand all of the Family Guy references. It was a little long, but that is my only complaint. I hear the second one is even longer, but in general even better than the first. Pacino and Duvall are frightfully young in this film but, spectacular acting from him all of the players. You really grow to know, and like all of the characters, even if they are morally corrupt.


Pathfinder - Generic action blood-fest. Premise is, a boy who refuses to kill as a child, gets left behind in the Americas (before they were what we know today) where an Native American tribe raised him to be a "pathfinder". But when the Vikings come back in 15 years, he somehow becomes a stone-cold killer? There were some cool scenes especially in the beginning. But as the movie moved on, the "pathfinder" started using his "pathfinding skills?" to kill the Vikings. The costumes, sets and action scenes saved the movie for me... but not by much.

Heat - Great, gritty "cops and robbers" type movie with a star-studded cast. There were some sides stories i could have done without, and the 30 minutes to an hour too long. I figure if you get rid of the side stories, you fix both problems. Even though that gets rid of Natalie Portman's story. Basically, Al Pacino plays a detective who is good at his job, but is being foiled by a truly professional group of thieves led by Robert De Niro (with Val Kilmer).

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters For DVD - I wish it was as good as the earlier seasons, but somehow creators Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis have lost there touch. The movie is basically the show, normally 15 minutes, stretched into 80 minutes. Weird, random, off-beat humor with a little racism, metal music, rapping flies, a robot/ghost from the past/future, Plutonians, 2D aliens (Mooninites), roller-coasters, mad scientists, muscles, monsters, an exercise machine robot, fat old men wearing swear pants, rental properties, a watermelon alien, and of course a talking milkshake cup, box of fries and ball of raw meat. Oddly enough, you sort of learn more about the ATHF, but not really, and truly, does it matter? I still loved it of course.

I think the entire internet is broken. I can't sign into myspace, or post pictures on here. Thats my cue to stop.

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