Dave’s one-line movie reviews XVI

January 2, 2016 at 9:58 am | Posted in Daily blogs and thoughts, movie reviews | Leave a comment
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The summer of 2015 has been tough on me.  I promised you all a review of Reality Television, and it turned into the hardest writing assignment of my career.  “Reality” TV consists of entitled, spoiled upper middle class trashy people whining about their problems, or making up problems so we’ll watch their escapades.  However, one unexpected problem I encountered was my inability to watch any of the drivel for more than two minutes.  Since the Writer’s Regurgitant Code of Journalism Ethics demands that I watch a minimum of 5% of any movie before writing a review, I have been unable to complete my task.  I seriously contemplated not watching the shows and just giving a “brian williams” review, but felt that would be unfair to the three mental patients who read this column regularly and who depend upon me to tell them what’s worth watching.  The Writer’s Regurgitant Code of Journalism Ethics Committee has been exploring the problem and is trying to devise a new formula to reduce the viewing burden on me, but until the results of their work can be published, I will be unable to review any Bravo television programs.  But, dear follower, have faith, as we are diligently working on a compromise to appease my Writers Regurgitant fans and provide the intellectual guidance and discussion that my readers crave.  All three of you.

But the title of this post is “One Line Movie Reviews XVI” and movie reviews is what we’re all about.

“Joy” follows Jennifer Lawrence and a wonderful ensemble cast as she perfects the kitchen mop.   The advertising is billed as “from the team that brought you American Hustle,” but there is no nudity or sex in the film.  I don’t think any of the cast is even shown wearing anything that would be considered risque.   From a plot standpoint, it is a touching story of innovation and discovery, and shows the importance of American consumerism and shopping.  While not a “chick flick” for story or thematic elements, his movie gets a high “date-night” rating for all its behind the scenes footage of Home Shopping Network.

I caught up with an older film on cable this past week that was also a touching story of innovation and discovery.  “The Theory of Everything” only explores the creation of the universe and has no tie-in to any shopping networks, so you can’t give it the same high regard as the movie Joy.  It follows some science guy named Stephen Hawking, which would actually be a good name for a Home Shopping Network character.  (He’s hawking his jewelry – get it?)  Hawking catches Lou Gehrig’s disease, which is why I wanted to see the movie.  Imagine my disappointment when there was no baseball in it at all.

“Creed,” or “Rocky 6” as I prefer to call it, was one of my favorite movies of the holiday season.  It’s not so much a sequel to Rocky as it is a retelling.  It was a fun movie to watch, the story was kind of believable, in a Rocky kind of way with its whole Underdog versus Champ formula.   This is one of the first movies where Sylvester Stallone got to be an actor, which was refreshing.  Even Jodi liked the movie, which is quite a triumph for a boxing film.  The lead character, Adonis, is the son of a character from the first Rocky movie, Apollo.  With dozens of Greek Mythological characters to use as names, look for many more boxing movies from Hollywood to capitalize on the formula.

Speaking of formula’s and capitalizing, “Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens” has taken over half the movie screens and television commercials in the United States this holiday season.  I liked it, but I must admit there wasn’t a lot of originality in the story.  Okay, you could say it was original because in Star Wars 4 (which was really Star Wars 1), the bad guy’s name was Darth Vader, but in Star Wars 7 (which is really Star Wars 7) his name is Kylo Ren.  But that’s the kind of innovation you’ll see in this movie.  My recommendation:  don’t waste your money on 3D, just see it in the theater with the biggest screen you can find.  I thought the 3D looked very fake.  That whole numbering system that Lucasfilm’s came up with, where SW1 was SW4 and SW4 was SW1 was really confusing to most Americans, and I’m happy that Disney has once again returned to chronological numbering of all sequels.

“The Martian” is the story of an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars and is thought dead by his crew and the entire world.  Originally to be titled “MacGyver in Space,” they played around with names such as “Castaway 2,”  “Duct Tape Martians” and “I Eat my Feces” until stealing the 1949 Ray Bradbury short story title “The Martian.”  Actually, they stole the idea too.

Frankenstein’s Army” was on television a few weeks ago.  After seeing “The Walking Dead,” you thought that a story telling couldn’t get any gorier or sadistic, right?  After watching only 20 minutes of Frankenstein’s Army, I had to wash my eyeballs in saline for half an hour to clean away the revulsion.  The mad scientist in this movie is splicing pieces of industrial machinery to POW’s in a Nazi medical “experimentation” facility.  Although I’m not sure if the words “medical,” “experimentation” or “facility” really apply here.  Definitely a movie to be watched with a support group instead of alone.

This month’s review of a movie I haven’t seen is “Ant-Man, a brian williams review.”   After starring in “Dinner for Schmucks” and “Our Idiot Brother,” Paul Rudd dons the spandex suit to play Ant-Man.   He’s a guy with a magic suit that makes him smaller and stronger and he saves the world.  “Judge me by my size do you?  Hmm?  And well you should not!”  I can’t imagine what kind of Christmas toy this movie’s going to generate next year, but I’ll keep a can of Raid by the bedside, just in case.

“The Intern” pairs Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway in a story about a retired, widowed business executive joining a computer company as an intern to fight boredom.  Along the way, he helps the company grow, saves Anne Hathaway from a drunk driver, saves her marriage, mentors horny young geeks and keeps the audience awake for with funny “old people” jokes about twitter and email.  Not a bad movie, but if you watch this with your girlfriend, I think you deserve the right to choose the next film you see together.  My favorite DeNiro movie about marriage is “Raging Bull,” and “The Intern” is a few notches down on the mellow side.

I missed writing my reviews of “Jurassic World” and “Terminator Genisys” this past summer.  To save some time, I’ll review them together.  There’s a few plot twists, by the middle of the film you pretty much know which characters are going to be around at the end of the film, there’s a lot of loud noise, action and murder/death/kills.  In Jurassic World they ooze creativity by inventing a new dinosaur.  In Terminator Genisys they ooze creativity by inventing an operating system that runs on everything.  Wait a second, isn’t that Windows 10?  Anyhow, plot formula + silly plot twists = entertainment.  Go watch them and have a good time.

I didn’t follow the HBO series “Entourage,” although I did see a few episodes.  They made it into a movie this summer and it came and went with the same splash as an Organic Chemistry activity at a Kardashian summer camp.  I paid $5.99 to see it on pay-per-view and highly recommend that you wait until it’s on HBO so you can save that $5.99 for a six pack of Rolling Rock.  As far as the movie goes, it’s a bunch of zany rich kids putting on the big show.  Sort of like “The Little Rascals” with a little bootie thrown in.

It was great finally catching up with some one-line movie reviews, and I’ve got tickets to go see “The Big Short” tonight so I’ll be back here soon with more insightful observations.  I really appreciate when you, dear reader, share this column with your imaginary friends and family and welcome your comments.  Well, I don’t really welcome your comments, but please tell the other patients in the ward to read this column.

Dave’s one-line movie reviews XVI

June 4, 2015 at 7:10 pm | Posted in movie reviews, Reviews | Leave a comment
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Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve written any movie reviews.  I guess with all the important news about Bruce Jenner and Deflategate, I’ve been distracted from my obligation to keep my readers entertained.  And now with a Presidential election only 17 months away, the media will be driving me nuts, vying for my attention.  Luckily, I keep a list of everything I watch that’s appropriate for this column, so without further delay, here’s a list of what my eyeballs have been pinned to.

Ex Machina” was really good, and had enough plot twists to keep anyone engaged.  Well, I figured it out about halfway through, but then again, I am a film critic.  (yeah – right!)  Half naked transparent robot ladies are cool to look at too.  Think of this as 2001: a Space Odyssey meets Cherry 2000.

American Sniper” is a gritty thriller about what it’s like to be an Army ranger sniper.  Having never been a sniper, I have no idea how realistic the story is, but it was definitely a good movie.  Jodi sat through it without even complaining, and I didn’t have to watch a chick-flick in repayment, although I’d hardly call this a “date movie.”  Clint Eastwood was fun to watch as an actor, but as a Director he continues to turn out entertaining and thought provoking movies.  And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

Whiplash”  Here the story – J.K. Simmons, who doesn’t seem to have a real first name, is a very intense band teacher at some fancy school for gifted student musicians.  I never thought I’d want to watch a 90 minute film about drums.  Now that I’ve seen it, I still don’t.  Now, a naked lady on the oboe, that’s for me.

Stonehurst Asylum” with Ben Kingsley, Michael Caine and Kate Beckinsdale, was a Netflix ditty a few months ago.  With a cast like this and the set design and costumes, this movie must have cost a bundle to produce, yet I believe it went straight to Netflix.  Then again, who would pay $14.00 to watch a bunch of dull actors whine away for two hours?

“Lee Daniels The Butler” was a great film, but I don’t know why Director Lee Daniels had to put his name in front of the title.  I mean, if everyone did that, titles would become so long that it would make it impossible to get movie memorabilia key chains at Universal Theme park.  Forrest Whitaker gave a great performance and Oprah Winfrey doesn’t get beat up in this film.

Speaking of Oprah Winfrey, “Selma” is a fantastic movie that you must see.  Reprising her role from “The Color Purple,” Oprah again gets beat up.   “Selma” was one of the best movies I’ve seen this year, although I must admit that it makes me a little bit ashamed to be Caucasian.

Bad Words” is Jason Bateman’s directorial debut, and I think he plays a great straight man in Arrested Development.  However, Bad Words was a snoozer for me.  I couldn’t make it through the entire film, I tried for three nights, and I like foul mouthed cursing movies.  There are definitely a bunch of belly laughs in there, it just couldn’t hold my interest.  But then again, maybe I couldn’t stay awake because of my drinking problem so you might like it better.

3 Days to Kill” has Kevin Costner portraying Liam Neeson.  You know, an old grey guy running around with a gun killing everyone in sight.  (I don’t know if Costner follows that up with any public statements condemning gun violence.)  It was an okay action movie, some kind of plot about secret cancer cures or something like that.  Think of “Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit” with Amber Heard instead of Keira Knightly.

“Avengers – Age of Ultron – a brian williams review.”  Welcome to this week’s review of a movie I haven’t seen.  In “…Ultron,” a bunch of old guys in Spandex blow stuff up and save the world.  A few funny lines, lots of fights and explosions, and Scarlett Johansson looking pretty.  There’s some character named the Masked Asgardian, and as I haven’t seen the movie, I don’t know what that means, but I don’t want him standing behind me on the line at the snack stand.

I know that in my last column I promised a series of reviews about Reality television, but I’ve been so busy watching test patterns on the high channels that I haven’t had a chance.  Patience grasshopper – patience.

As always, please share this column with your friends, family and the guys in the cells around yours.

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Dave’s one-line movie reviews XV

February 8, 2015 at 1:36 pm | Posted in movie reviews, Numbskull observations, Reviews | Leave a comment
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As far as trips to the cinema, it’s been a light month, so to prevent my loyal followers (both of you) from having to go another month without hearing from me, I hit Netflix and Cable TV to find some fodder for my frivolous comments.  Then it occurred to me, do I really have to watch a movie to review it?  So, I’ve decided to use the branding “a brian williams review” to identify reviews of films I haven’t seen.

Paddington – a brian williams review.”  In this amazingly original concept, a talking stuffed animal lives with a family and gets into trouble.  Sort of a PG rated version of “Ted” where they say “darn” instead of “f*ck off.”

Making the rounds on cable television is “The Legend of Hercules,”  which must be the worst Hercules movie ever made.  Herc is played by a surfer dude on steroids, there are no monsters, bad stutter motion fighting effects, and no sex.  I mean, come on, Hercules is running around in a diaper and all the women are wrapped up like they were going to a church social.  At the end, Hercules gets an electric sword and good triumphs over evil.  Yeah, like that was really a spoiler.

The Other Woman” is a snorefest about a sleezy husband cheating on his mistress with a younger woman.  Besides a couple of shots of Kate Upton spilling out of her bikini, there is nothing worth watching.  Now that I think about it, it’s not worth watching the movie when you can find the Kate Upton bikini scene on YouTube.

Two Guns” benefits from the presence of Denzel Washington, but they won’t be putting this film in the American FIlm Institute Hall of Fame anytime soon.  Mark Wahlberg plays the same character as he did in “Ted” in this harmless shoot-em-up action film.  The credits say no chickens were harmed in the making of this movie, but it certainly looked real.

It seems I can’t get through a weekend without being coerced into watching a chick flick.  Last weekend it was “Begin Again.”  There’s these two people, they fall in love, then it cools down.  And I’m subjected to two hours of Keira Knightly singing folk music.  Where’s that bottle of Absolute?

The Miracle Worker” was on TCM Classics the same time as “Housewives of Beverly Hills.”  Luckily I DVR’d Miracle Worker so I didn’t have to miss either.  Although lacking in explosions, nudity, chase scenes, zombies or gun battles, Miracle Worker is a great drama that should be on everyone’s “must see” list.  Mrs. Robinson stars as a partially blind teacher come to help a deaf, blind mute who grows up into Catherine Margaret Rowan Lane.

Changing the channel after catching a rerun of the Wrath of Khan reboot,  Star Trek Into Darkness, who did I find but Captain Kirk/Chris Pine, this time staring in “Jack Ryan Shadow Recruit.”  There’s this Russian bad guy who wants to take down the American economy and Keira Knightly is back on my TV and there’s a bunch of shooting and explosions and car chases and Kevin Costner in his 83rd movie this the year as a benign but crusty this that or the other thing.

The Bag Man” is a straight to Netflix movie with John Cusack as a lovable psychotic killer and Amber Heard as a lovable prostitute with a heart of gold.  She walks around in a whore costume, he kills all the other actors, then Robert DeNiro shows up as a lovable murder-mentor and everybody kills everybody.  It’s the kind of movie you can put on pause while you go to CVS for some Advil and not feel like you’re missing out on the cinematic experience.

The Judge” with Robert Downy Jr and Robert Duvall is by far the gem of this bunch.  I’m not going to make any snide remarks for this review, and I’m going to violate my prime directive by suggesting if you haven’t seen it, you should.

I’m really excited about my next one-line movie reviews column, which I am actually starting to work on advance.  It will be a review of Reality television shows.  If you are looking for inane comments about inane entertainment, follow this blog so you will know the moment I click on the “Publish” button.  Until then, thank you for reading, and please feel free to share my column with your friends, followers and the other patients in your support group.

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January 6, 2015 at 6:20 pm | Posted in movie reviews, Reviews | 1 Comment
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Here we are in 2015.  The past week has been great, I’ve enjoyed a “stay-cation,” which means hanging around the house, doing some chores, sleeping late, eating out and catching up on a lot of movies on TV and Netflix.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been to the cinema since Christmas, but plan to make several visits in the coming weeks which I will share with you avid readers.  But there’s still lots of movies to talk about, so in no particular order, here we go:

her”  The lower case was their idea.  Is this an allegorical tale about current society’s growing addiction to electronic communication at the expense of human interaction?   Or is it a cleverly disguised advertisement for Apple computer products?  Do you really care? A better use of your time would be to shove a pencil into your eye socket and go to the emergency room seeking human interaction from an internist.

Nebraska” is  like that quirky Saturday Night Live sketch that starts at 12:45 AM, only Nebraska is funny and worth watching.  My only concern is I’m afraid all mid-westerner’s are going to think that anyone who lives on the east coast thinks this is what mid-westerner’s are like.

We’re the Millers” is a crude comedy that delivers a few laughs, and not one, not two, but three scenes of Jennifer Aniston, looking darn good at 45, dancing a striptease in her underwear.   Jason Sudeikis plays the same part he usually does and Ed Helms hams it up well, this time with all his teeth.

Walk of Shame” is another crude comedy that delivers a few laughs, but this time we have Elizabeth Banks in a tight dress, looking darn good at 40 years old.  As long as Hollywood has beautiful skinny actresses, I guess we’ll be getting a lot of T&A comedies.  Perhaps some smart movie exec is working on “The Millers Walk of Shame” for next year.

Labor Day.”  Long story about escaped convict James Brolin teaching a young boy how to make peach pies while Kate Winslet gets tied to a chair.  The boy grows up and turns into Tobey Maguire and starts a bakery.  Sorry – I just gave the plot away.  Well, the “entertainment” is in the getting there.

Eternal Spotlight of the Sunshine Mind.”  A highly rated movie by Charles Kaufman, who prefers abstraction to storytelling.  Great cast, enjoyable story.  I’m not sure if it’s a bad Woody Allen movie watched while taking good acid, or a good Woody Allen movie watched taking bad acid.

“The Last Exorcism 2“.  Just because I haven’t seen the film, does that mean I shouldn’t write a review?  All I can ask is how can you make a sequel to something that was called “The Last….”

Thank You for Smoking” is one of the best films of the past decade.  I guess the actors all got paid scale, because they’re all well known talent but the budget was only 6.5 Million.  They obviously spent the money on story, because they got it right.  I’d put this movie in the same category as 1976’s “Network,” and if you want to call yourself a film-goer, you should make sure you’ve seen both.

Draft Day” was a fun movie, even though the visual effects were really cheesy.  While not a fan of football movies, I enjoyed the story about the wheeling and dealings behind the scenes.  This is sort of a football version of “Moneyball,”  and Kevin Costner shows he’s still got it.

Talking about Kevin Costner, “JFK” is making the rounds on cable television.  The plot is entertaining but the movie is really a three hour Oliver Stone tirade against the Warren Commission.  If you want a good movie, by all means watch it, but if you’re interested in JFK assassination conspiracies, there are a lot of well researched books out there that will give far more balanced information.

The Godfather“, “Godfather 2” and “Godfather 3” are also making the rounds on cable television.  The original “Godfather” is a classic crime thriller and an engaging character study of the effects of power on a character.  For all you youngsters out there, “Godfather” is one of the pioneer flicks for gunshot wound special effects.  “Godfather 2” is often described by critics as being better than “Godfather 1.”  Without judgement, I’ll say they’re both worth watching.  “Godfather 3?”   Hmmm, I don’t want to say anything bad, the Corleone’s might be reading.

Thanks for reading and please share my blog with your friends, therapists and probation officers.

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December 29, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Posted in Daily blogs and thoughts, movie reviews, Numbskull observations, Reviews | Leave a comment
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At the top of my list for my favorite film this year is “The Imitation Game.”    Seriously, it doesn’t get much better than this.  A great cast and a great story about the world’s first computer nerd defeating the Nazis.  Unlike a Tarantino movie, this one’s true.  My prediction is Best Actor for Benedict Cumberbatch and Best Movie on Academy Awards night.

“The Skeleton Kids” wasn’t my kind of movie.  It was a unique story with an amazing cast who have come so far as actors since their Saturday Night Live days, but when it’s all said and done,  there was just nothing there for the Neanderthal in me except 94 minutes of neurotic characters realizing who they are.

Instead of whining neurotic characters, you might want to check out “Lone Survivor,” a tough to watch dramatization of a small squad of Navy Seals who run into a group of goat herders while on a mission in a remote area of Afghanistan.  This is a tense movie about people with real problems.

When the advertisement prominently displays Jane Fonda with a pair of double D’s that Russ Meyer would be proud of, you run to the theater.  However, after one short scene with a lot of prosthetic cleavage, you realize you’ve been bamboozled into yet another chick flick.  “This is Where I leave You” reminds me of The Big Chill without the 60’s soundtrack, another film with troupe of neurotic characters whining about their personal problems.

For some reason, it was my girlfriend’s choice to watch “Gone Girl.”  I don’t know if the chick network posted some bad info, or she just has a thing for Neil Patrick Harris, but this movie gets a definite thumbs up.  Rosmund Pike deserves an Oscar for her performance.  Gone Girl is about as much of a chick flick as Silence of the Lambs.

If you look at this year’s top grossing movies, you won’t find Jon Favreau’s “CHEF,” because instead of special effects they had a story, which seems to be an unfortunate trend these days.  Or maybe I’m just getting old.  The movie is fun, the Mom’s out there will enjoy it, Dads will empathize, and twitter fans will say “I told you so.”

Following his untimely death, any cable channel that had the rights to a Robin Williams movie broadcast it, so I finally got a chance to watch “Dead Poets Society.”   I’ve been a Robin Williams fan since day one, and I know he received a lot of accolades as an actor for this movie.  I’ll be nice and say check it out for yourself, but I don’t see why comedians also have to be actors to be considered successful.

When I heard about the concept of filming a movie over 12 years as the actors aged and could play the same role at different times in their life, I thought “12 disjointed stories edited into one long dull move.”  I was definitely wrong on that, and I’m glad I was talked into seeing “Boyhood,” an entertaining story following a boy growing up from the age of 5 to 18.  Skip Sons of Anarchy for one night and treat your mind to a great movie.

I’ve often said that any movie with Christopher Walken is a must see.  “Stand Up Guys” also adds Alan Arkin and Al Pacino.  The movie’s not particularly great, another aging gangster flick with Viagra jokes, but still worth a view.

And while you’re on Netflix, you might also take a look at “Inequality for All,” a documentary about the widening income gap in the USA.  If you’re a liberal democrat, you’ll yell “yeah!  just like I’ve been saying.”  If you’re a conservative right-winger, you’ll yell “socalist propaganda!”  I prefer to forgo judgement and just pay attention to the figures, which I found interesting.  If you read the newspaper even once in a while, I don’t think you’ll find any new revelations here, but I enjoy seeing a movie without explosions every once in a while.

This is the last review column for 2014.  Like big deal, right? New Years eve is two days away.  Thanks for reading and please share with your friends, your twitter feed and your parole officers.

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