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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The Twelve Best Books Ever Written

January 10, 2015 at 9:35 am | Posted in Daily blogs and thoughts | Leave a comment
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I ain’t no English Professor.  Don’t know a participle from an infinitive, and Word keeps telling me my writing is passive.  That’s okay, though, because I don’t think any English Professors are following me, just regular people who might like my feeble attempt at wit.  Or is that just my feeble wit?

What follows are the top twelve books that I think should be required reading for everyone. It should even be a law that you have to read these books.  In no particular order, here they go:

  1. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller.  If you think war is nuts, read the backstory.
  2. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut.  Not only is it a critical look at art, but it has really short (bowel-movement length) chapters and little drawings.  I know, a lot of critics say Slaughterhouse Five is his best, but I figure there aren’t many critics reading my blog.
  3. Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift.  Published in 1726, a million times better than the Jack Black movie of the same name.  If you can’t handle something with more than 3 pages, read Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” and then decide if you can make the time.
  4. The Road by Cormac McCarthy.  Answers the question, after the apocalypse, who needs punctuation?
  5. Hamlet by William Shakespeare.  I can hear you all groaning.  This play has some of the best action and inaction ever written.  Get yourself some Cliff’s Notes or Sparks Notes if you need help with the language – but it’s really not that hard if you’ll give it a chance.
  6. The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells.  For a good time, you can’t beat an alien invasion.   The original story takes place in England.  Sorry, movie fans.
  7. The Crucible by Arthur Miller.  Well, it’s a play, not a novel.  The Salem witch trials of 1692, brought to life with all their insantiy.
  8. Lord of the Flies by William Golding.  Great story about power, instinct, civilization and a fat kid with Asthma.  For heaven’s sake folks, read the book, don’t watch the movie.
  9. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  Americans never seem to get enough of picking on the odd guy.  I’ve never seen the movie because it’s in black & white.  Maybe one day they’ll remake it in color with some cool CG.
  10. Rise to Rebellion by Jeff Shaara & The Glorious Cause by Jeff Shaara.  One story, sold as two books to double the publishers’ profits.  A novelization of the American Revolutionary War.  History; humanized and dramatized for the “regular guy.”  If this book was available when I was in High School, I would have done so much better in Social Studies.
  11. American Tabloid by James Ellroy.  Communists, Cuba and JFK.  If you always wondered what it meant when a reviewer called something “gritty,” here’s the answer.
  12. Chasm by David Felder.  Hey, it’s my blog, I can say what I want.  And you can download this soon-to-be classic for only $4.99.

 

Dave’s one-line movie reviews XIV

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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My New and Improved 2015 New Year’s Resolutions

January 3, 2015 at 5:53 pm | Posted in Daily blogs and thoughts | Leave a comment
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Every year, millions of people, myself included, make promises to ourselves, under the pretense of being “New Year’s Resolutions,” to improve our lives.  And most people, once again including myself, fail to complete those resolutions.

Bearing that little secret in mind, I have assembled my new and improved New Year’s Resolutions for 2015, with the assumption that I will once again fail to achieve my goals, and therefore, probably improve myself.

Perhaps the most common New Year’s Resolution is to lose weight.  What a stupid idea.  America is the most obese country in the world.  In fact, while most of the world is starving, we actually have diseases for people who overeat and then throw up.  Why can’t we lose any weight?  It’s time to try to gain weight if we want to be thinner.  My first few goals are about how I am going to work towards that noble goal.

  1. Replace black coffee and EQUAL with sugar and heavy cream.  All those artificial sweeteners taste like crap anyhow.
  2. Consume at least a stick of butter a day.  I’ve been eating “I can’t Believe it’s Not Butter” since it came out.  First of all, I CAN believe it’s not butter, it tastes like creamy salt solution in oil, and second of all, I haven’t lost an ounce.  For me, it’s going to be the fine dairy product that nature has provided, instead of that chemical swill.
  3. Increase my daily alcohol intake.  How come doctor’s use alcohol to kill germs, but I’m not supposed to drink it?  If it’s good enough for the medical industry, it’s good enough for me.  Besides, back to numbers one and two, how many overweight alcoholics do you know?
  4. Start smoking.  If your driveway gets cracked and starts falling apart, you put tar on it, right?  Doesn’t it make sense to coat the inside of your lungs with tar to keep out the germs?  And I’m going to smoke grass.  Not marijuana – I mean the lawn.  That way I don’t have to throw out my lawnmower clippings.  Solve two problems with one hookah.
  5. Stop aerobic exercising.  If running hurts my knees, back and legs, then why the heck am I doing it?

Losing weight is the most common New Years Resolution, according to those organizations who have the time to keep track of that stuff.  My other resolutions are not goals about body weight, but important quality of life issues.

  1. Drive on the highway shoulders.  Driving in traffic really stresses me out.  If there’s too much traffic, doesn’t it make sense to create my own lane?  Instead of adding to the traffic, I’m helping to cut it down.
  2. Sleep later, work less.  This one’s a no-brainer.  Who needs to have a heart attack from the stress?
  3. Turn off my internet filters.  Looking at less porn hasn’t made me healthy, wealthy or wise.  Let’s give it a chance.
  4. Spend more time reading Facebook and less time reading the Newspaper.  The news is all bad anyhow, I think I’ll be healthier watching funny cat videos.
  5. Borrow more money.  I can live off credit cards for at least 3 years.  Then, declare bankruptcy, go on welfare, collect food stamps and eat cheese and drink cheap wine for the rest of my life.  I’ll be much more sociable.
  6. Stop watching documentaries, reading “educational” books and websites.  As a matter of fact, stop reading: period.   Knowledge is way over-rated.  Ignorance is bliss, and I want to be happy.
  7. No more volunteering to help others.  I want to help others achieve their New Years Resolutions about volunteering and giving to charity by becoming a benefactor for them.
  8. Travel less.  Who wants to take their shoes off at the airport anyway?  Pay all that money for airfare so I can be squished into a tiny uncomfortable seat with a fat slob reclining their chair into my face and people yelling at me to turn off my cell like I’m Osama bin Laden for not putting my iPhone into airplane mode?  Rushing around the world to get lousy service and bad food in other countries where they hate Americans anyway?  The heck with that.
  9. Throw out more recyclables.  I’m tired of being told I’m a bad person because I won’t clean out my empty tuna fish cans and pay recyclers to take it away, sell it to Starkist and have them refill it with dolphin meat and sell it back to me.  You’ve got the scientists working for you, you figure out how to manage your own garbage.  How about bigger cans at a lower price so I don’t have to buy so many?  And the junk mailers – stop sending me your crap so I don’t have to worry about recycling it.

What do you think about my ideas?  Just imagine what I wonderful person I’ll be if I fail once again, as I have for the past 30 years, to fulfill my New Years Resolutions.

And, Hi Harry.

Dave’s one-line movie reviews XIII

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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