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

Monday, November 2, 2009

MMM: Hot off the Press

How exciting, it's the first Monday of November! Sorry if I'm a bit too peppy for you, but my day has gotten off to a great start. Actually the ride into work was great, work itself - that's another story. I owe my commute's happy happy joy joy feelings to Mz. Kelly and Mick, this morning's djs on my local college station WKNC 88.1. They really know how to set a mood.

For those that don't know, I usually prep the Monday Mood Music the night before. However, Mz. Kelly's selection of jams inspired me to do things a little different. give you a taste of the tunes that set the mood for me this morning. Departing from my routine, I have put my scheduled post on the backburner to give you a taste of the tunes that set my mood today.

In order as I heard them, here's my adhoc commute playlist:

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes - 40Day Dream

Karen O and the Kids - Heads Up

Department of Eagles - Teenagers

Eels - Trouble with Dreams

Noah and the Whale - Love of an Orchestra

Los Straitjackets - De Dia Y De Noche

I couldn't tell you the first thing about any of these artists, but you can be sure I'll be finding out more in the near future. Have a good one.

Large Association of Movie Blogs