Tuesday, December 29, 2009

MMM: More like TMM

Morning stargazers! As you may have noticed, this week's edition of the Monday Mood Music is actually being posted on Tuesday which kind of ruins the whole Monday part of the gimmick. Not having access to a computer makes it impossible to get a new post out in the world, but not remembering you had a post scheduled tends to screw things up, too.

With Christmas behind us and 2010 quickly approaching, my brainpan has been all a sizzle about what I accomplished in 2009 and what goals will migrate into the new year. As the wife knows, I tend to focus on what I have yet to accomplish and forget all the things I did do. I should relish those successes and not fret over the missteps but, for me, that's easier said than done.

While cleaning out my email, I ran across a saved message from 2008. It's one of those "Have you seen this video?" forwards. Specifically, it's a link to the Where the Hell is... Matt website. You know, the dancing around the world guy that was SO last year. Despite being old news to many, his website reminded me of the importance of not beating myself up over those missteps. This revelation came to me when I watched his collage of outtakes. Sure, his Where the Hell is Matt dancing video was an internet phenomenon, but he didn't knock it out the park every time.

So here's to 2009, it's successes and failures. And to celebrate my failure to post a Monday Mood Music on the right day, here's the video that's more about dancing than about the music. The Dancing Outtakes Song used was created by Gary Schyman with the skills of Kevin Dukes, Jonathan Clark, Amick Byram, John Beasely and Chad Norris, in case you were wondering:

Dancing Matt - The Outtakes

How was your 2009? What are your 2010 aspirations? I know I won't be aspiring to dance on a suspended boulder in Kjeragbolten, Norway - that's just insane!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wanna Peek at the Christmas Poll?

With Christmas right around the corner, it's time to see which holiday movie you voted as the must-see holiday classic. Every year I make it a point to watch all my favorite holiday movies, but there's a handful of classics that I've never seen. Here's how seven of the holiday classics ranked in your opinion:

Turns out Miracle on 34th Street and Babes in Toyland, two films I vaguely recall playing on my grandmother's old console TV every Thanksgiving, aren't really interesting to you either. Both received 0 votes.

White Christmas and A Christmas Carol (1951) eked out a third place showing with 1 vote each.

Firmly holding down second place is Tim Allen's The Santa Clause with 2 votes. I watched this for the first time over the weekend. The effects are dated, but it's a good little story.

The number one must-see Christmas movie is actually a 3 vote tie between It's a Wonderful Life and A Muppet Christmas Carol. I expected the shame-inducing for Wonderful Life, but who knew the Muppets had it going on like that?!

I said I would make it my priority to watch the #1 film before the Christmas holiday. I already have It's a Wonderful Life on the DVR, I just need to nestle all snug on my couch and give it a good viewing.

A Muppet Christmas Carol may prove tougher. There are no network showings on the horizon. I'd have it sent from Netflix, but it's not available. Hrrrmm... We'll see what I can do.

This is normally the point in the post where I introduce my next poll. However, I'm going to marinate on my next posit for a week or two and give you folks a break. In the meantime...

Go forth stargazers. Eat, drink and make merry!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, December 21, 2009

MMM: All I Want for Christmas

Morning stargazers! Sorry I've been MIA this past week, but I was on the losing end of a battle against the creeping crud that seems to have infested nearly everyone. Thanks to much OTC medication, I am once again functioning normally, though only for four-hour intervals.

Getting sick sucks, but especially so around the holidays. I had to miss out on a couple of Christmas gatherings. So much good food missed, and the fellowship of course. Now as I claw my way through this curtain of congestion back to the land of the healthy, I really need a kick in my Christmas spirit to brighten the mood.

Who better to provide that than one of my favorite singers? While I try to avoid repeating artists too often in my Monday Mood Music, I think you won't mind indulging me. It'll definitely lift my, um, spirits, and get me in the mood; the Christmas mood that is. I hope it'll do the same for you:

Shakira - Santa Baby

Hopefully, this little pick me up along with another day's dosage of drugs will make me myself again. Too much Christmas joy and too many good movies to try and enjoy with dulled senses.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, December 14, 2009

MMM: The Bestest

You sure can tell the Christmas season is in full swing. House after house glitters with decorations. The radio stations play holiday tunes. Network television's regular programming is being swapped for countless specials and holiday classics.

I caught the tail end of one classic just the other night. The 1964 animated tale Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I was quite pissed I had missed it, but I'm certain I'll catch it at least once more before Christmas. If not, you can be sure I'll watch it somehow before Santa makes his rounds.

The narrator of Rudolph's story, actor and singer Burl Ives, also performs Holly Jolly Christmas which is perhaps my favorite Christmas song. Here's a snippet of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in case you, like me, missed it the other night:

Burl Ives - Holly Jolly Christmas

Now I'm off to check the guide. Got to set the DVR so I'll have no excuse for missing it again.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, December 11, 2009

Trailer Trash: December-09 Oscarbait

As promised, I'm following up last week's Trailer Trash with a closer look at the limited release films which are poised to vie for a coveted Academy Award. That said, it is doubtful any of these flicks will want me to Exercise my Right to Cinematic Celibacy, but here's how they measure up in my mind, from worst to best:

Serious Moonlight (12.04 LA/NY) I will see, and have seen, anything with Kristen Bell, but having to sit through unhappy, neurotic Meg Ryan is seriously dissuading me. The theme of the script by the late Adrienne Shelly draws me in, but the slapsticky elements are a deterrent. While it seems it's an even toss between impressive and disappointing, why do the odds feel more like 30-70?

Verdict: It's Friday, I Don't Want to be Alone.

The Last Station (12.04 LA/NY) This look into the life of Leo Tolstoy has already garnered some award nominations and looking at the acting powerhouses involved, I expect more are on the way. Aside from the yummy James McAvoy, the trailer doesn't really make me tingle...which probably means this'll be the movie to beat come Oscar time.

Verdict: It's Friday, I Don't Want to be Alone.

Crazy Heart (12.16 ltd.) I love Jeff Bridges and not trying to knock him, but how is Kris Kristofferson NOT starring in this?! I suppose he's too old to play Bad Blake, but he could have done the Duvall role. He just seems like a natural choice. But I digress. Buzz says Bridges may get a nod for his role, but the safe bet is on a nod for the song featured in the trailer.

Verdict: Moist With Antici...Pation!

Nine (12.18 ltd., wide 12.25) Let's see... why would the Reel Whore not want to see a movie full of strong and sexy women?! Granted, two of the ladies tend to grate my last damn nerve, but hopefully Daniel Day-Lewis's lead performance will distract my disdain. That, and all the half-naked, gyrating hotties.

Moist With Antici...Pation!

The Young Victoria (12.18 ltd.) Stuffy period pieces aren't usally my thing, but there's something about this. Maybe it's because there's something about a women of power. Maybe it's because I find it comforting Rupert Friend looks as cuddly as Elijah Wood. Or maybe it's because I'm tranfixed by the gorgeous Emily Blunt every time I see the trailer. Who can say, really?

Verdict: Moist With Antici...Pation!

A Single Man (12.11 ltd., wide 12.25) From the trailer alone, I haven't the first fucking clue what this is about nor do I care. It's visually stunning and Colin Firth's performance is captivating. This may also be the film that finally lands Julianne Moore her Oscar; that's reason enough to support it.

Verdict: Moist With Antici...Pation!

Up in the Air (12.04 ltd., wide 12.25) I'm sure everyone is stoked to see Clooney turn in another winner. Heck, I'm sure some are psyched "Claire Farmiga" is in it. I'm tingling to see some great bit parts, but most excited for Anna Kendrick's performance. Since her turn as Ginny Ryerson in Rocket Science, I've been waiting to see her be more than that Twilight chick.

Verdict: Moist With Antici...Pation!

There you have it stargazers. With the gifts unwrapped and your bellies full of holiday goodies, the hardest thing you'll have to do this Christmas is decide which of these great movies you should plant your ass in first.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Quickie: World's Greatest Dad

Release: 08.21.09
DVD Release: 12.08.09
Rated R
1 hour, 39 minutes

Full Price

Lance Clayton (Robin Williams, Dead Again) is a high school poetry teacher who's also an aspiring author with a stack of rejected novels under his belt. He's also a single dad to an abhorrent son, Kyle (Daryl Sabara, Halloween). Neither his son, his students nor even his girlfriend seem particularly fond of Lance, until the tiniest of white lies makes him the center of attention.

World's Greatest Dad is the brainchild of actor-turned-writer-director Bobcat Goldthwait (Hot to Trot). The events created by Bobcat unfurl at the hands of some richly developed characters. Kyle is so disgusting that even the Reel Whore squirmed at some of his sexually-depraved tirades. While Kyle and his issues are obvious, Bobcat more subtly depicts the flaws of supporting characters like Claire (Alexie Gilmore, Descent) and Mike (Henry Simmons, Madea's Family Reunion). As Lance's situation evolves, it's captivating and disturbing to witness his simple, loving gesture mutate into an unstoppable monstrosity outside of his control.

I've always enjoyed Robin Williams' serious performances, and this role is worth remembering. World's Greatest Dad is well-crafted and darkly funny. While entertaining and heartfelt, the balance of the shocking, the ridiculous and the pathetic truth of people's motivations may not be appropriate for the sheepish. If you like to be surprised, be sure not to let anyone give away the plot before you watch it!

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, December 7, 2009

MMM: 'Tis the Season

Have you ever had one thing trigger something else completely unrelated? That's what happened to me over the weekend.

Here in the NC Triangle we've been getting crazy rain for the past few weeks. About the time I thought it would be dry enough to get a little exercise raking leaves, damned if it wouldn't start raining again. To top it off, our cool fall weather turned to friggin' cold ass winter weather on Saturday.

As I sloshed around in the mud and rain, this one song got stuck on mental repeat. The song has absolutely nothing to do with anything I recounted above other than the title, which happens to also be the first line:

The White Stripes -
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground

Sifting through my archives I was surprised I'd never featured Jack and Meg in a Monday Mood Music. Shameful, I know.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Sunday, December 6, 2009

More Than a Mouthful: Rihanna on SNL

For those who don't watch SNL, here's a still of Rihanna performing Russian Roulette:

I bet she wishes she had that chainmail headwrap back in February.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, December 4, 2009

Trailer Trash: The December-09 Gang Bang

Can you believe it, stargazers? It's time for the final Trailer Trash of 2009. It feels like the year has flown by. Then again, thinking back to some of the horrid movies I've sat through, it didn't move nearly fast enough.

That's all in the past, let's talk about the future. Specifically, the fourteen major releases being crammed into theaters this holiday season. Here's the December lineup according to IMDB. I've sorted them from best to worst for your reading enjoyment.

Exercise the Right To Cinematic Celibacy.

Transylmania (12.04) If they really wanted to cash in on the vampire craze, why not try selling New Moon bootlegs to the lines of moist Twilighters outside of the theater. As far as I'm concerned, copyright infringement is way more legal than wasting money producing this crap.

Did You Hear About the Morgans? (12.18) The recession's hit everyone hard. That's the only way to explain why Sam Elliott's slumming it. He should have done the math; Sarah Jessica Parker = Fingernails, Hugh Grant = Chalkboard, Parker + Grant = Shrill, shudder-inducing annoyance.

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (12.23) Speaking of excruciatingly shrill, what's worse than having to hear Beyoncé's horrifically bad Single Ladies song for the one-zillionth time? Having to hear it sung a la Chipette Auto-Tune! My undying affection for Anna Faris is the only thing keeping me from burning this fucker to the ground.

It's Friday, I Don't Want to be Alone.

The Slammin' Salmon (12.11) Though Club Dread isn't a favorite, you can count on the Broken Lizard fellas for a few good laughs. Michael Clarke Duncan may steal their thunder, but as long as I'm laughing at something stupid I'll be a happy camper.

Everybody's Fine (12.04) Remember the delightfully funny English flick Waking Ned Devine? I do, and I'm excited about its creator's latest. The attractive cast is being sold with a perfectly acceptable home-is-where-the-heart-is tale. However, methinks a weightier premise than an inoffensive Christmas with the kids awaits.

The Princess and the Frog (12.11) "After 75 years of Magic, Walt Disney" figured if a black man can be President, they can finally have an animated black princess. The days when the most one could hope for was a Peabo Bryson song on the soundtrack are long gone. This'll get my patronage just to show support for finally doing the right thing.

The Lovely Bones (12.11) Visually, this appears spectacular. But...Having read the book, my biggest hang ups are Rachel Weisz and Mark Wahlberg as the Salmon parents. Seriously? I guess we will have to trust in Peter Jackson on this one.

Armored (12.04) Eight months. For eight months this trailer has preceded every gorram movie I saw at the theater. At first the idea of Fred Ward, Skeet Ulrich and Larry "Crazy Laugh" Fishburne gave me a little action chubby. Now I just want to go to see if I've sorted all the twists out.

Avatar (12.18) Honestly, the story isn't all that compelling. The main draw is seeing what a rumored half-billion dollar budget looks like in amazingly innovative 3D. If it weren't for that curiosity, M-Rod would still give me reason enough to see this.

Sherlock Holmes (12.25) Robert Downey, Jr. as Sherlock Holmes initially had me stoked. Then I was barraged by trailer after Cheez-Whiz-saturated trailer. You'd think the sexy cast would help, but be prepared for another Van Helsing.

Moist With Antici...Pation!

It's Complicated (12.25) After the roast beast feast, why not liberate the grandparents from the home and treat them to a Meryl movie? While laughing at sex jokes may be awkward with Nana and Pop-pop present, with Baldwin and Martin also starring this complicated romance promises good, simple fun.

The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (12.25) Terry Gilliam films can be hit or miss, and we all know his last project with the late Heath Ledger was DEFINITELY the latter. Still, Imaginarium looks fantastic and the concept of the multi-actor Tony character holds promise; sweet, sexy promise.

Invictus (12.11) With Eastwood behind the camera directing Morgan Freeman AND Hilary Swank again, this is sure to be an award-winning reunion. Isn't it amazing how much she bulked up to play a South African Rugby player?!

Brothers (12.04) What better way to stay warm in winter than to cuddle up with the combined heat of Natalie Portman and Jake Gyllenhaal? Like a cardboard insulating sleeve, a crazed, fuglified Tobey Maguire promises to temper their fire and add some heady, popcorn-munching drama that's not to be missed.


Know what? I'm not ready to say goodbye to the trailers of 2009 just yet. I've got one more gang bang in me. Check back next week for a special Limited Release Edition of the Trailer Trash! I'll take a look at the seven films studios are parceling out to audiences in order to build that Oscar buzz.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Huh, Huh, You Said "Poll"

Seeing as how it's a week after Thanksgiving, guess it's time I wrap up my write-in poll for your favorite Thanksgiving movies, huh? For those who may have missed the half-naked Rachel Ray icon in the sidebar and the accompanying post, my question was, "What's your favorite movie to watch during Thanksgiving?"

I had hoped to uncover some hidden Thanksgiving-related gem, but your answers confirmed my fears. There just aren't that many. Here's the breakdown:

The Mad Hatter finds himself enthralled by Elf.

Fletch watches the football, but will squeeze in time for A Christmas Carol (with George C. Scott) and Home Alone over the holidays if it's on.

Invisible Woman gave the only holiday must-see, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. A Charlie Brown Christmas and a decades old version of A Christmas Carol also rank high on her holiday viewing list.

For me, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is probably my only Turkey Day staple. The two movies that always come to my mind are Planes, Trains and Automobiles and Pieces of April. The latter stars Katie Holmes before she moved into the house of crazy. Even though these are Thanksgiving-centric, I've never dusted them off to watch them every year like I do horror movies at Halloween.

Looks like Thanksgiving will continue to fall in the shadow of the Christmas entertainment empire. Which is a nice segue to my latest poll!


Every Christmas, I settle down with my favorite holiday films which includes Gremlins, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Bad Santa, Elf, Scrooged, and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

Over the years I've caught snippets of the "classics," but have never taken the time to watch them in their entirety. This will all change in 2009. I scoured the interwebs, discovering several holiday classic lists. The Top 10 films according to various sources are:

Chicago Tribune:
10. Love Actually
09. Elf
08. A Muppet Christmas Carol
07. White Christmas
06. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
05. Miracle on 34th Street
04. The Santa Clause
03. It's a Wonderful Life
02. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas
01. A Christmas Story

10. National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
09. Babes in Toyland
08. Home Alone
07. Christmas in Connecticut
06. Elf
05. White Christmas
04. Scrooged
03. Miracle on 34th Street
02. It's a Wonderful Life
01. A Christmas Story

Associated Content (in no particular order):
10. Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas
09. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
08. A Christmas Story
07. Home Alone
06. The Santa Clause
05. Scrooged
04. Miracle on 34th Street
03. A Charlie Brown Christmas
02. A Muppet Christmas Carol
01. It's a Wonderful Life

From these lists and others, I have listed seven holiday classics that I should have seen by now. Over the next two weeks, take a moment and let me know:

Which holiday classic should top my must-see list?

If you don't see one in particular that you consider required viewing, by all means write it in! I'll watch and review the top scoring movie before this Christmas passes.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Give Them a Gift They Can Use

Hey, stargazers! I wasn't too active over the Thanksgiving holiday. After stuffing loads of turkey and fixins down my gullet, I beached my rapidly expanding ass upon the couch to sift through the mini rain forest of advertisements that came with the newspaper.

I had no intention of actually fighting the Black Friday crowds, but I was curious to see what awesome deals I would be missing. It wasn't until the fifty-seventh ad that I ran across this:

Sorry, the original ad was no longer available, but the price is still the same.

O-M-F-G! Seriously?! Christmas is always a time when stores try and hock crazy loot as "the perfect stocking stuffers," but who the fuck needs this happy horseshit? Actually, if you know someone who needs this, maybe you should consider stuffing their stocking with this instead:

Or some similar book, program or series of steps. I don't think I'm being irrational. I'd almost dismiss the personal breathalyzer as a gag gift except I'd never pay fifty simoleons for a joke. Five easily, maybe fifteen if it were really funny, but no way in hell I'm shelling out fifty!

Maybe I'm just overreacting, but this has to be the craziest thing I've seen advertised since the Snuggie.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, November 30, 2009

MMM: 12, 48, 64

As I've mentioned before, I visit my alma mater frequently to enjoy the variety of performances at a nifty alumni discount. It's a can't lose. However, about a month ago I wasn't so sure. I was dragged to a bluegrass show. To be exact, it was the kick-off of the American Revival Tour which featured Sierra Hull, The Dixie Bee-Liners, and Uncle Earl.

Though I was less than excited about going, this was one great show. Every group had tons of energy and I left with several new favorites buzzing in my head. One song in particular has popped back into my mind. It's an award-winning song written by Kristin Andreassen of Uncle Earl and it goes a little something like this:

Kristin Adreassen -
Crayola Doesn't Make a Color For Your Eyes

Is there a better way to end the month than with a fun, catchy little tune?

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Movie Menage: The Brothers Bloom

Sometimes the Reel Whore likes a little company in the dark of the theater. Though the interwebs bring us closer, reviewers cannot always bed down together for a post. With the Movie Menage, I surreptitiously pluck a couple of reviews from fellow LAMBs and other film bloggers. These brief blurbs coupled with the Reel Whore take constitute a critique à trois, if you will. Getting three opinions of a film tossed together should be better than one, right?

Release: 05.15.09
Rated PG-13
1 hour, 54 minutes
Full Price

Ever since they were children, Stephen (Mark Ruffalo, Zodiac) and his little brother Bloom (Adrien Brody, Hollywoodland) have been running cons. Stephen is the maestro; he has a knack for crafting the most elaborate and successful cons. Though, much of the credit goes to Bloom and his ability to embody the character Stephen creates, thus swindling their every mark. Over the years, Bloom feels he's lost his true identity and retires. Stephen refuses to let Bloom rest and convinces him to join in one last great con to swindle the eccentric Penelope Stamp (Rachel Weisz, Confidence) out of her millions.

The first of our lovers trio:

... The Brothers Bloom, Rian Johnson’s follow-up to 2005’s Brick, is kind of a difficult film to assess because it is equal parts enjoyable and frustratingly over-plotted. It’s like a sketch on Saturday Night Live that’s really good and funny but then just doesn’t know how or when to stop and so fizzles itself out. That being said, while its weaknesses keep it from being a really great movie, its strengths are enough to qualify it as a good movie. Besides, anything that starts with a voice-over by Ricky Jay can’t be all bad.

Let's go get cozy with this chick and her flick.

Joining in the fun is our second partner:

... The critical success of Rian Johnson’s Brick gave him a lot of freedom for his second feature film The Brothers Bloom. Unfortunately, like a lot of other directors, with this new found freedom of better actors, and a higher budget, this writer/director fell into some of the same pitfalls as directors like Guy Ritchie: all style, very little substance. Johnson himself stated that he based his three main characters on those of Homer’s Odyssey. If this isn’t representative of his expectations for his film, I don’t know what is.

See Blake make Brothers Bloom his bitch.

Writer-director Rian Johnson (Brick) creates the cleverest of tales in Brothers Bloom. Excellent performances are given all around. Brothers even helped improve my low opinion of Brody and Weisz.
Bang Bang (Rinko Kikuchi, Babel), the brothers' silent prodigy with the eccentric fashion sense, is funny, foxy and easily my favorite.

Brothers suffers from the same problem that plagues many a heist film; the creator twists the tale one time too many. Someone should have told Johnson that when you spare the editing, you spoil the film.

Johnson's last flourish didn't ruin Brothers, he just throws thee tone and rhythm one comes to expect in a heist off kilter.
Still, the dialogue and situations presented in Brothers are exciting and amusing. For that, I'd easily watch this again (well, and for Kikuchi, too).

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, November 23, 2009

MMM: Did It Again

FINALLY! Today is the day. It's been four months since the video for the title track appeared. For two months I've watched her appear on various talk and variety shows performing her new songs. Everywhere else in the world, folks have been grooving to her album since mid-October, but today is the day us Americanos are let in on the fun.

Shakira's latest album She Wolf is in stores and available for legitimate download. Having her album released on a Monday is no mere coincidence; I'm certain she waited until the holiday week in order to sync her album release with my Monday Mood Music feature.

Just last week, her new video for Give It Up To Me was debuted and features the mandatory collaboration with Lil Wayne to which apparently every artist must now satisfy. This looks to be her big follow-up to She Wolf. However, I am a LAMB, not a sheep and I will not blindly jump willy-nilly to whichever song the promoters designate as radio-worthy.

For those casual Shakira fans, you may not know she released another song between those two. Did It Again was released in September 2009 and it's awesome. Of her three releases, it's easily my favorite. I was unconditionally in love with this track by the first chorus. The accompanying video is equally exciting. Granted, I'm not thrilled to see her rolling around with another man, but I know she did it for promotional purposes only and would never intentionally hurt me. All that hard work did result in an amazingly choreographed bedroom dance sequence! Don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself:

Shakira - Did It Again

Great beat and great lyrics wrapped in a stupendous and steamy (no pun intended) video. I don't know about you, but this little tune is going to be on repeat for the rest of the day.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Revolutionary Road...With Latkes

A Serious Man

Release: 10.02.09
Rated R
1 hour, 45 minutes

Full Price

Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg), a Jewish physics professor in Minnesota, confesses to his Korean student that despite teaching the physics behind Schrödinger's cat, even he doesn't get the story. Larry doesn't get a lot of things; why his wife wants a divorce, why her new man is so considerate, why the junior rabbi really likes the parking lot. Larry just wants things to go back to the way they were, but once you've looked inside the box, you can't make a dead cat live again.

I watched A Serious Man several days ago and have been scratching my head ever since. Thanks to earlier Coen Brothers films, I have learned to absorb every onscreen detail because it's all important. That's probably why it came as such a shock when the credits abruptly rolled. I was engrossed by the myriad of untimely events unfolding for Larry and his family, and then, nothing. I felt like shouting in my best Professor G.H. Dorr impersonation, "We must all have closure, forthwith!"

It was irksome to be left hanging. Obviously, while analyzing the amazing visuals I had somehow missed the big picture. I retraced my viewing experience, trying to decipher the dybbuk tale that preceded Larry's story. I started to just let it go and accept my co-worker's assertion that A Serious Man "is a little too Jewish." Deep down I knew better. I broke down and read the review posted at Movie Reviews by FAQ. Her brief but concise Q&A limbered my mind; my thinking about the film, man, had become uptight.

A Serious Man follows Larry, a man who assumes life is good until it's proven otherwise. Larry can't find a logical explanation as to why his life seems cursed; it just is. Faith and family provide him with answers yet he refuses to see them. This seemingly abrupt look into the life of Larry is simply saying life is what you make of it. It's an especially poignant statement at a time in our country when folks find themselves with less and less.

The Money Shot
There are those of us who say when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Others will say, unless it gives you sugar, your lemonade is going to suck.Still others will say, fuck lemons! I am probably still only scratching at the surface of because it's not an easily accessible film. That's the beauty (and frustration) of A Serious Man: you have to accept the mystery before the answers reveal themselves.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, November 16, 2009

MMM: When She Waggle, It Don't Wiggle

This year I have rediscovered my local Comedy Club, Charlie Goodnights with a vengeance. I've been to see Kevin Pollack, John Oliver, Greg Giraldo and most recently the fellas of Broken Lizard. In the past I might have stopped in for a show once or twice a year, but Goodnights has been making a mint off me lately; and the trend doesn't show signs of slowing.

Especially considering this week's performer. This awesome lady is actually the reason why I've become such a comedy fiend this year. She had originally been scheduled to appear back in the spring. When I went to buy tickets for her show, it had been canceled. Once there, I discovered Pollack was coming to town. When I went back to buy his tickets, there was John Oliver! And each time I returned to purchase tickets, yet another interesting show awaited.

But the rescheduled show that started it all has finally arrived! Funny girl Aisha Tyler will be in Raleigh, NC from Thursday to Sunday. I tried to entice her to come earlier with sweet treats. I'm fairly certain she was tempted, but too busy with her new show Archer to oblige me (BTW, that's an FX show coming January 2010). Hmmm, I wonder if she remembers my offering of goodies? I best find out - I'd hate to show up empty-handed and disappoint Ms. Tyler.

If you're a local reader, I highly encourage you to come out for her show. If Raleigh, or NC for that matter, is too far of a haul, check out her site to find out when she'll be headed your way. To tie us over until she arrives, here's a funny little tune from her Live at the Fillmore dvd:

Aisha Tyler - Nowassitall

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On a Different Note...

Contrary to popular belief, the Reel Whore cannot survive solely on movies and music. I do require sustenance from time to time. Like my taste in movies, I sometimes choose to sample foods outside the norm.

At the North Carolina State Fair a few weeks back, such an opportunity presented itself. To paraphrase Ron Swanson of Parks & Recreation, it was my #1 favorite food dipped in my #3 favorite food. Actually, chocolate is nowhere near my #3 favorite food, but I just really wanted to give a shout to my fave character from that show. But if I had to chose a #1 favorite food, bacon would probably win. That's right; I'm talking about chocolate-dipped bacon.

These dubious treats were dubbed "pig lickers" by the fair folk. Really? Pig lickers? Even if the swine flu weren't rampant, naming a foodstuff in such a way as to conjure images of running your tongue across the bristly, filthy skin of a swine isn't a sure-hit marketing plan. Still, for $2.25, what the hell? Here's the infamous pig licker:

I'll spare you the gruesome details. All you really want to know is the verdict:

It was actually pretty tasty. I'd describe the first bite as chocolately, then bacony. The two don't really blend, but the sweetness of the chocolate and the saltiness of the bacon is just yummy. It's kind of like dipping potato chips in cake icing. What, you've never done that? A pig licker is the perfect party snack. Instead of littering your table with cookies and chips and the like, just dip some bacon in chocolate and it'll be sure to satisfy.

In honor of the fair, The Cupcake Shoppe Bakery offered a chocolate-bacon cupcake as its flavor of the week. Since I was on my pig-lickin' kick,

Sadly, I was not impressed. I liked the look; the bacon bits atop the mountain of frosting was a nice touch, but the flavor just wasn't there. The frosting sort of glazed the roof of my mouth. Its flavor vaguely reminded me of bacon grease, but without the bacon texture it wasn't as enjoyable. The chocolate cake was good, though. By the way, the Cupcake Shoppe's cupcakes are very good. I highly recommend the Pretty in Pink strawberry cupcake. It is awesome. The chocolate bacon cupcake...not so much.

I hope you enjoyed this little diary of my digestive decisions. I'll return to my movie musings now.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Monday, November 9, 2009

MMM: I'm Driving You Over

I hope you didn't mind last week's impromptu tune barrage. We now return to our regularly scheduled Monday Mood Music. My blog buddy, Invisible Woman, revisited this flick over on Soul Sis-Star Reviews a few weeks back. Since then, the ridiculously funny spoof songs from the soundtrack have been stuck in my head. It didn't help that I also watched the film's star in his new documentary last weekend either.

I bet you're wondering what celebrity could have starred in a spoof and a documentary? Well, I'm talking about Chris Rock whose documentary, Good Hair, I'll be reviewing later this week. The spoof to which I'm referring? CB4. The film CB4, which stands for Cell Block 4 for those who haven't seen the film, is the story of three aspiring rappers who are looking for the gimmick they need to skyrocket themselves to fame. The winning gimmick they discover is gangsta rap and they use the recently incarcerated, neighborhood crime boss's m.o. as their shtick. Can't you see where this is going?

There are a lot of great and under appreciated things about CB4, including the very cute Rachel True in her first film role playing Chris Rock's girlfriend, but the thing I will always remember is the group's ridiculous songs. This song, a riff on NWA's Straight Outta Compton, was a particular favorite. I can't tell you how many times I've set folks up with the phrase "do you know where yo moms is at?" It's just silliness, but sometimes silly is a good way to start the week.

CB4 - Straight Outta Locash

All this CB4 talk is making me want to watch it again. Don't you hate when that happens?

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Friday, November 6, 2009

Trailer Trash: The November-09 Gang Bang

I hope my track record is better in November than October. Of the eight films I most wanted to see last month, I only found time to catch two. Granted three of those (A Serious Man, Black Dynamite, Boondock Saints II) never opened in the area, but still, two out of five is pathetic for the Reel Whore. After all, I have an average to uphold.

Luckily there are fourteen releases guaranteed to open in this area this month. There's also a number of limited releases that, fingers crossed, may also open here by Thanksgiving. Here's the complete November lineup according to IMDB. Now time to trash these trailers (ranked from worst to best)!

Exercise the Right To Cinematic Celibacy.

2012 (11.13) I'm so excited this opens in just one week! That means within two weeks this festering taint pimple of an advertising blitz will finally burst. Sorry Johnny boy, but don't be surprised if the DVD doesn't end up for sale before Santa comes to town.

There's nothing you can do, John. Your career, just let it go.

Planet 51 (11.20) The best thing I can say about this tired, one-joke movie is at least it looks more compelling than 2012. Honestly, who would pay to hear Dwayne Johnson voice a character when he's so much hotter to ogle?!

A Christmas Carol (11.06) Never saw Polar Express or Beowulf. I don't care much for watching CGI renderings of actors playing characters when they could just as easily be filmed in live-action. Besides, Scrooged was the last version of A Christmas Carol worth watching, period.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon (11.20) Got to admit, Twilight 2: The Bark and Bite of Bella's Beefy Beaus looks really exciting. Maybe if the original's insufferably dull memories weren't still lingering, I'd at least consider renting this on DVD.

It's Friday, I Don't Want to be Alone.

The Blind Side (11.20) You can always count on the end-cap months (Nov-Feb) to deliver a based-on-a-true-story-yet-somehow-formulaic-but-surprisingly-heartfelt-sports movie. Though an appearance by Kathy Bates takes it up a notch, I'll get to this once I knock Miracle and We Are Marshall off my NFQ.

The Fourth Kind (11.06) I'm a devoted patron of Milla Jovovich movies, but what the fuck is going on here? Is this is a dramatization of alien abduction stories, or a faux documentary of filming a dramatization based on "actual footage" clips? Basically, how much is fuzzy video and how much is sexy Milla?

Old Dogs (11.25) Though I was less than amused by Wild Hogs, something about the Old Dogs trailer has me believing it won't be nearly as lame. If Seth Green and Justin Long can make this a winner, maybe next year we'll get Bold Frogs starring Bill Nighy and Stephen Fry.

The Box (11.06) I trashed this trailer a while back, but since then my interest has waned a tad. It's still a shit-hits-the-fan thriller with a creepy vibe akin to The Shining, there's just a couple of more interesting flicks on the market.

Moist With Antici...Pation!

Ninja Assassin (11.25) An assassin so badass you have to repeat it in two languages. The stylized action may be less than dazzling, but the snippets of violence and gallons of blood promise good mindless entertainment for your Thanksgiving weekend.

Pirate Radio (11.13) Don't get the Boat That Rocked confused with Hoffman's directorial debut. His flick, Jack Goes Boating, had him sporting a knit beanie at the Oscars. In this one he's shucking and jiving alongside Nighy, Ifans and Frost which looks hilarious, but even if horrible we'll still get great music.

The Men Who Stare at Goats (11.06) What the hell are Verbal Kent, Obi-Wan Kenobi, The Dude, and Ulysses Everett McGill doing in a movie together?! I haven't got the slightest clue, but I guarantee you I'll find out ASAP!

That goat's got devil eyes!

Fantastic Mr. Fox (11.25) Fall '09 is Clooney's time. Producing, acting, and now voicing Mr. Fox who, by the way, does look fantastic. I'm a sucker for Wes Anderson's eccentric movies, so I can't wait to see what kinds of fun he'll have with an animated tale.

Precious (11.06 ltd., 11/20 wide) Whoa...just whoa. This looks depressing as hell, but I'm compelled to see it. Casting Mariah Carey makes me wary, but if anyone can get a good performance out of her, I trust Lee Daniels can.

The Road (11.25) Been ready to take that long walk with Viggo since they first teased us with this trailer a year ago. The Coca-Cola scene reminds me of Tallahassee's Twinkie quest in Zombieland, but I'm thinking the any similarities end there.


So how many of these movies were based on a true story this month? I lost count. I guess if the predictions in 2012 turn out to be true, I'll wish I had seen it so I'll know how to escape the end days. Then again, if I've only got three years left, why waste it suffering through bad movies?

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Huh, Huh, You Said "Poll"

The dye has been cast, or rather, the votes and the result's a split decision! If you missed the previous poll post, I asked you stargazers what you thought of Lady Gaga. The goal was to settle a dispute in the Whore House over Gaga's talents.

17 stargazers weighed in, revealing:

A couple of you responded OMG! I love her!, revealing your paparazzi-level obsession over Gaga. A couple more could take or leave her, believing she's no great shakes, but two others felt she's a crazy chica making crappy tunes. You couldn't ask for a more divergent 2 vote, three-way tie.

Except results revealed an even stronger polarization. 5 votes show that some stargazers *vomit* at the mention of her. Contrarily, 6 votes prove folks dig her music, but admit she's weird.

You can add my vote to the diggin' the weirdo tab. Lady Gaga's creative for certain, but a few of the things she's done, or worn, have even given me pause. With that, looks like the fans eke out a win against you Negative Nellies.

Now onto new Poll!

As Halloween becomes a distant memory, stores are scrambling to bury their tombstones and make the idea of home invasion appealing. Once we stop begging for candy, we start begging for Christmas gifts. But somewhere in the in-between, we used to give thanks.

Same applies to movies. We are inundated with spooky, scary fare on the verge of Halloween which is quickly followed by a barrage of Christmas movies. As the Reel Whore, I relish watching those holiday staples. But in the hustle and bustle of Hollywood, when did they decide not to market Thanksgiving-themed movies?

Sure, Thanksgiving entertainment is typically reserved for football and the Macy's parade, but to you cinephiles I want to know, do you have a traditional comfort movie to fill the void?

To try something different for the new poll over the next couple of weeks, I want you to write in your vote for your favorite movie to watch over Thanksgiving. It doesn't have to be a Thanksgiving film, just one you equate to this time of year.

Large Association of Movie Blogs

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I've Seen Shit That'll Turn You White

Paranormal Activity

Release: 10.16.09
Rated R
1 hour, 26 minutes

Full Price

Have you ever had a mouse in your house? The squeaking, scratching or scurrying about can be heard late at night when your home is dark and silent. Once you recognize those tell-tale signs, there are two plans of action: call a professional exterminator or sack up to do the job yourself.

Basically, that's what's happening in Paranormal Activity, except the mouse is a supernatural creature who has been haunting Katie (Katie Featherston) since she was eight. Now, she's a college student living with her boyfriend Micah (Micah Sloat), who purchased a swanky camera to verify his girlfriend's claims. Once things start going bump, Katie calls in a psychic, Dr. Fredrichs (Mark Fredrichs), who instructs the couple on their options. Micah, however, is determined to run his own house and stamp out the paranormal pest himself.

Buzz surrounding Paranormal Activity has gone nuclear over the past few weeks. By the time I bought my ticket, the expectation that it was going to be the most frightening, panic-inducing thrill ride I'd ever experienced was hard to tamp down. Luckily, the film lives up to the hype. Fledgling writer-director Oren Peli removes all the flash and spectacle and brought his horror story back to the creepy basics. Each night when the couple set up their camera and went to bed, I couldn't help but anxiously await the creaks and whispers that echoed through the house.

During the waking hours, Katie retells memories of the shadowy presence that haunts her and Micah educates himself in the occult. His need to fight versus her desire for flight builds excellent tension as the events intensify with each passing night.

My eyes were glued to the screen, expecting the situation to erupt at any moment, until I thought I was going to spew. For the first time in my movie-watching life, the shaky-cam caused a wave of nausea. The sensation was never intense enough to send me running from the theater, but the constant camera swaying made the last half hour harder to enjoy.

Dirty Undies
They say the lack of a focal point in shaky-cam filming causes the nausea. I think the combination of Micah's unsteady hand and Katie's bouncing bosom made me see-sick. Now that I think of it, footage of some pre-paranormal fornication would have been a plus. Sadly, Paranormal Activity is severely deficient in the gratuitous gore and nudity you might expect.

The Money Shot
Peli knocked it out of the park with his first attempt. If it wasn't been for the camera-induced queasiness, I'd be giving Paranormal Activity a rave review. Peli builds a winning horror story using classic bump-in-the-night techniques in lieu of splattering the screen with a coat of fresh blood. Though the current ending varies from the original (most likely changed in preparation of inferior sequels), neither that, nor the hype, should frighten you away from experiencing Paranormal Activity.


Large Association of Movie Blogs