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Thursday, August 28, 2008


I'm not going to go on a long rant about this. Decide for yourself. The organization called Party Unity My Ass (P.U.M.A.) is a group of disgruntled Democrats who believe Hilary Clinton was railroaded into not getting the nomination because Barack Obama played unfair. I'm sure this is referring to Florida and Michigan. If I remember correctly, Hilary Clinton made the decision to not count those delegates when they "didn't matter". Whatever, pointing fingers at this point, is futile. The idea that they will not vote for a member of their own party because of harsh feelings like this, seems like a temper tantrum that is just a futile. I'm sure it's to make a point, to send a message, to teach a lesson. But, if the outcome of said lesson puts our country in a sadder and worse state, what kind of lesson/message/point will that be? That we are sore losers who have lost site of the bigger picture and what Democrats, as a party, stand for?

The idea that hurt feelings because the person you wanted didn't get the nomination would in turn make you not vote for the candidate that did get the nomination just because of semantics such as those makes me sad and worry. To not vote or vote for the other party's candidate makes me want to run face first into a wall. It's almost like giving up.

Here's the site I'm referring to:

And just for the record, if Barack Obama didn't get the nomination, I'm sure people would be claiming it's racism instead of sexism. But if he didn't get the nomination, I'd still vote for Clinton. It's just simple logic.

Notes On A Scandal

Wow. Holy crap. This movie was amazing. I was not expecting how great this movie was going to be. I suppose, if I was, I would have seen it in the theater. Judy Dench blew me away in this movie. Seriously. She really grasped the element of how a state of solitary depression can translate into obsessive and manipulative behavior. The thing I loved best about this movie was that it was mostly told through her quiet, thoughtful, and justified narrative. As if we were not only hearing her thoughts on what was happening, but seeing things through her eyes. Cate Blanchet was also awesome. I loved how they threw a tiny tidbit about her past being a punk and had an obsession with Siouxsie and the Banshees. For some reason, that little tidbit made this movie feel more honest and real. With the stories, like this one, that have been seen on the news and in tabloids before, it was interesting to see how this fictional story played out with all the different elements and angles.

Definitely a movie to check out.

If I had stars, I'd give it 4 1/2 out of 5.

Straight To Hell in some Paper Planes

When I first heard Paper Planes by M.I.A., I found the song slightly annoying but slightly catchy. Actually, the only thing I found really catchy about that song was the riff that repeats itself over and over in the song. There was something familiar about it but I couldn't put my finger on it.

Lo' and Behold, here I am today listening to The Clash after watching "The Future Is Unwritten" last night and the song Straight To Hell comes on. I haven't heard this song in quite a long time. And there it is! The same riff!

So, I'm kinda torn now about how I feel about Paper Planes as a song. I still find it catchy. But it's the same thing I found catchy about Straight To Hell. Now I'm curious if she is paying homage to The Clash and their message as well, since there are similarities in her's. Of course, they are definitely two different songs if you listen to the structure but that riff...without it Paper Planes would be damn boring to listen to.

As an addendum, I'd like to add that I find it a bit disconcerting that people think the song "Paper Planes" is about getting high and smoking weed. To quote M.I.A. from a recent interview: I was having this stupid visa problem and I didn't know what it was, aside from them thinking that I might to fly a plane into the Trade Center - which is the only reason that they would put me through this. I actually recorded that in Brooklyn, in Bed-Stuy. I was thinking about living there, waking up every morning - it's such an African neighborhood. I was going to get patties at my local and just thinking that really the worst thing that anyone can say [to someone these days] is some s--t like: 'What I wanna do is come and get your money.' People don't really feel like immigrants or refugees contribute to culture in any way. That they're just leeches that suck from whatever. So in the song I say 'All I wanna do is [sound of gun shooting and reloading, cash register opening] and take your money.' I did it in sound effects. It's up to you how you want to interpret. America is so obsessed with money, I'm sure they'll get it."

Monday, August 18, 2008

Tropic Em Effin' Thunder

Well leave it to Tropic Thunder to finally push The Dark Knight out of the top slot at the box office. I went and saw this movie on Saturday. I was really really really looking forward to this movie. I have mixed feelings about Ben Stiller, but that's mostly from personal experiences I've randomly had with the man. But over the years, one thing he has proven is that he writes well and is a truly funny guy. Apparently Tropic Thunder was something he was working on for the past decade.

I enjoyed the movie alot. I'm going to give one spoiler because it has to be said, and was already touched on when he was the guest on The Daily Show last week. Tom Cruise was the best thing about this movie. I am not a big fan of that man but I think his turn in this film just may have revived his career.

A close second is Robert Downey Jr. He seriously is one of my favorite actors out there now, again, like he was in the 90s with Chaplin and Short Cuts. Sure, there's this controversy of him wearing the black face. But the depth of the character that is playing another character is amusing and what keeps this performance in check, in my opinion, is that it's overtly theatrical. His character as Kirk Lazarus, the 5 time Academy Award winning Aussie actor is remeniscent of a cross between Daniel Day Lewis and Russel Crowe. His character that the aussie is playing in the fictional movie of Tropic Thunder, seems to have been based on bits and pieces of African American culture from blacksploitation films and sitcoms from the 70s. I believe that offers enough of a disconnect, given the time that has gone by, that it keeps this as entertainment and doesn't go into the racism category. At least for me. Plus...having the character of Alpha Chino there to keep this fake black man in check added a hilarious element to the film. It's almost like Ben Stiller acknowledged how wrong this was and put a real black man in the movie to stay on his ass.

Ben Stiller and Jack Black delivered, as usual. I wasn't too impressed beyond what I had already expected from either of them. That's not a bad thing. Like in Pineapple Express with James Franco, I feel Tom Cruise and Robert Downey Jr are the main reasons anyone should really see this movie.

The action was great. Nick Nolte was surprising, coming back to comedy after like three decades. I loved the elements in this film that obviously poke fun at Hollywood and the way things work behind the scenes. Now, given that last statement, I find it absurd that there's this controversy over the use of the word retard in the movie. Sure, retard is not a complimentary word. Ben Stiller's character "Tugg Speedman" had made a movie called "Simple Jack" about a mentally disabled person that went horribly wrong at the box office. This character reminded me of Of Mice And Men.

So what I gather is that people are up in arms about the use of the word retard and how Ben Stiller, and the movie, are mocking mentally disabled people. Where it seems to me that the movie is mocking those that use that term, the way Hollywood treats actors who play those types of characters, and is not necessarily making any direct insults or comments focused towards these disabled people.

Did that make sense? Hell, I don't care if it didn't. People will boycott what they wanna boycott.

Rounding out the cast is Danny McBride. Yeah that guy who was in the Foot Fist Way and Pineapple Express. Keep an eye on this guy. I think he'll be doing some really cool things in the coming years.

If I had stars, it'd get 4 1/2 out of 5 from me.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Brave One

The Brave One was the latest dvd I received through Netflix. I remember when the movie came out, I was not very interested in seeing it. There's something about Jodie Foster that makes me either really want to see a movie or really not. So I passed this one by. I did hear, however, from my best friend that this movie was really worth my time.

It was.

Damn this movie kicked ass! Neil Jordan is a great director and really has this talent for making fear and an impending sense of doom into some twisted romance. Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard were great. Above that, I loved the story. I think you pretty much get it from the trailer. This movie explores the human psyche of a woman who loses everything in her lover who is murdered and gets fed up with the law, therefore taking matters into her own hands. It had me questioning if I'd be able to do such a thing.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think this is a romantic movie. But there were moments where it did feel dreamlike. I can only imagine how it would feel to murder people, how things would work in one's head. Possibly a dreamlike state? Whatever....this movie pulls no punches, literally. It's also a bit dark and violent, so for those out there with weak stomachs like my mother (who walked out of the room), this ain't for you.

4 out of 5 stars

Pineapple Express

Yep. I saw it. I loved it. From start to finish, this movie was great. I may have never smoked weed, but that doesn't stop me from appreciating the story and the talent of the actors. I just really now want to work with both Seth Rogan and Judd Apatow. Someone make this happen!

James Franco and Danny McBride were the highlights of the movie to me. I really need to check out The Fist Foot Way. I hear McBride is awesome in that movie.

I didn't get to hear Paper Planes by M.I.A. during the movie which is now one of them songs that I can never get sick of. I did, however, get to hear a new Huey Lewis song during the credits which also brought me some sort of nostalgic joy.

4 stars, if I had em.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Before The Devil Knows You're Dead

I heard about this movie through a co-worker of mine a couple of months ago. He started a conversation with me about movies and asked me if I ever heard of this one, which I hadn't. It apparently is one of those gems that never got theatrical distribution. I added it to the Netflix queue and just had the time recently to sit down and watch it.

I think Philip Seymore Hoffman is one of those actors that I can watch in almost anything....Capote was too boring. Him and Ethan Hawke star in this one as brothers who get involved in some not so brotherly activities. Albert Finney plays their father. Also in the movie is Marisa Tomei who is topless alot. So you get to see Tomei Ta-Ta's!

I think it's also worth pointing out that this is one of Sidney Lumet's last films before he passed away. In case you're wondering, he's the director that is responsible for gems like 12 Angry Men, Dog Day Afternoon, Serpico and Network.

I really enjoyed this film. But I'll say this, it's one fucked up movie. It is kind of in the same vein as Happiness and A Simple Plan in regards to how the events unfold into worse and even worse circumstances. Both Hawke and Hoffman are excellent in this one. I think the story was presented in an interesting narrative. The film jumps back and forth into different characters' time lines which I like if it's done well.

Overall, I'd if I had stars, I'd give this movie 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Step Brothers

I've been a fan of Will Ferrell for quite a while. His comedy and timing is always spot on for me. I believe he understands how comedy works. I also have become a fan of John C Reilly's work in recent years. Walk Hard had me rolling.

Yes I've seen Talladega Nights. I wasn't a huge fan of the movie but I did leave with the funny catch phrases and one liners still in my mind. That movie gave me a fair share of chuckles. I figured I'd have the same experience with Step Brothers.

I was right. The movie didn't amaze me. I wasn't blown away by smart writing and hilarious situations. But I did find the movie amusing. I did find myself laughing at the rivalry between the two men, as well as the other side stories and characters. But I was also reminded of this thought that the movie's story was by both actors and Adam McKay who also directed Talladega Nights. I felt, much like when I was watching Dude Where's My Car, or Harold And Kumar for the first time, that they just went wherever the funny took them when writing the story. Kinda like they were phoning it in. I felt the same way with Talladega Nights. Sometimes just relying on the funny, isn't enough. At times, it was a bit absurd. I kind of expected that, though.

All in all, I enjoyed myself and did get to see the Pineapple Express trailer on the big screen.

If I had stars, this one gets 3 out of 5.