Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dan in Real Life - Movie Review

Dan in Real Life (PG-13) 95 minutes B
About a Girl

Starring Steve Carell, Juliette Binoche, Dane Cook, Norbert Leo Butz, John Mahoney, and Dianne Wiest

With his second directorial effort, Iowa novelist and writer Peter Hedges brings us Dan in Real Life. A fluently understated romantic comedy that is subtly emotional and pleasantly entertaining. Dan (Steve Carell) is a parenting-advice writer and widower with three daughters. He is a likable and engaging character with a sense of pain and longing underneath the surface. Four years after his wife's death Dan is uptight, overprotective and struggling as a single parent.

Like all good love stories, love appears when you least expect it. Unsuspectingly Dan meets Marie (Julie Binoche) in a bookstore and it's instant chemistry. One of those moments when there is physical attraction, a smile, witty banter, and everything falls into place. Problem is, Dan doesn't know that the lovely french beauty he's flirting with is his brother's new girlfriend. Nevertheless Dan feels a romantic spark that he hasn't felt in years.

Julie Binoche is brilliantly casted as Marie; elegant, mature, smart, and witty. She is a perfect match for Dan, while Dane Cook seems oddly out of place as Mitch, Dan's brother. Emily Blunt has a scene stealing cameo as Ruthie "Pigface" Draper. But perhaps the best thing about Dan in Real Life is Steve Carell's comic restraint along with believable vulnerability. At times the film dabbles in cheesy and hokey family silliness, but ultimately this low key charmer is a winner.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Henry Rollins 2007 Spoken Word Tour

Last night RW and I went to the Henry Rollins spoken word show at the Paramount. He was absolutely amazing! Rollins is truly an inspiration to me and a true renaissance man. Whether he's doing spoken word or a rock show, seeing him live is an extraordinary experience.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Why Did I Get Married? - Movie Review

Why Did I Get Married? PG-13 113 minutes C+
The secret lives of successful black couples

Starring Sharon Leal, Janet Jackson, Richard T. Jones, Denise Boutte, Tyler Perry, Malik Yoba, Michael Jai White, and Tasha Smith

I have never seen any of Tyler Perry's Madea movies. Matter of fact, I've never seen anything Tyler Perry has ever done until now. Why Did I Get Married intrigued me because of the subject matter, the cast, and the yearning for a mature, well done, African American drama. When I saw Tyler Perry on Jay Leno he mentioned that elements of this film was taken straight from the lives of his friends (and exaggerated for Hollywood purposes of course).

The film is set in the snowy mountains of Colorado where 6 friends (3 couples) are on their annual couples retreat. The idea is to spend quality time together and re-examine their marriage by pondering the question, "Why Did I Get Married?".

Apparently some of them got married because they love drama. The three married couples are joined by a pair of singles, and the annual seven day vacation turns into a drama-fest. All the usual themes of dysfunction are here- infidelity, lies, insecurity, selfishness, etc... and Perry does a wonderful job of showing us how important interpersonal communication is within a relationship. He also does a nice job of creating some humanistic interaction between some of the couples, even though I found few of these characters very likable.

Janet Jackson is very understated as Patricia, a doctor and award winning author. Jill Scott is sugary sweet and somewhat likable but her hairdo (ugly) drove me nuts during the entire film. Sherrif Troy (Lamman Rucker) was the most likable character, but a little too flawless and perfect. Tasha Smith, who plays Angela is annoying as hell, but effective nonetheless.

Perry is obviously a very talented man, but Why Did I Get Married is a little too unbalanced to get more than a strong C+. As a side note, critics seem lukewarm about this film but audiences seem to really like it. So if you are curious, see for yourself (and let me know what you think).

Monday, October 15, 2007


I am a sucker for a good coupon! The latest coupon I received from Borders Rewards was- buy up to 3 cds for $11.99 each... That's any 3 (single disc) cd's in the store! Not bad considering that a regular cd can cost upwards of $18.99 these days.

So I went to Borders during my lunch hour and bought David Gray - Life in Slow Motion (regularly $18.99). The David Gray cd is a dual disc, but it's technically still one disc... so I saved $7. I also bought Elliot Smith - Either/Or (regularly $15.99). Now I have all the Elliot Smith solo albums except for Roman Candle. Either/Or has been critically praised as his best album, the All Music Guide gave it 5 out of 5 diamonds and called it the best album in his discography. I'm listening to it right now and it sounds amazing.

I've always liked Elliot Smith, and since his death I like him even more. All the heartfelt pain he sang about was real, he lived it. For me that makes the music extremely genuine and consequential. I guess Lash was right, I do like sad bastard music.

Being a Borders Reward Member is one of the best deals around. It cost nothing to join, you get lots of coupons, and you earn store credit with each purchase. Over the last two years I have earned enough credit to get a free cd or two. It's kind of like buying 10 burritos and getting the 11th one free.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."
-George Bernard Shaw

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Book Club, George Clooney, and Heartbreak

The Jane Austen Book Club (PG-13) 105 minutes B
Reading is Sexy

Starring Maria Bello, Emily Blunt, Amy Brenneman, Kathy Baker, Hugh Dancy, Marc Blucas, Chris Burket, and Lynn Redgrave

I don't like using the term "chick flick" to describe a film. The term automatically detours a certain demographic (mostly men) from seeing these films. But what other way can you describe a film titled "The Jane Austen Book Club".

Watching "chick flicks" is like reading Cosmo, it's all about the women but there's still plenty of eye candy for men... not to mention a little insight into the female intellect (granted, Cosmo does not represent all women).

Six Jane Austen novels, six months, and six members (5 women, 1 man) in varies stages of relationship turmoil. The novels imitate life, heals wounded hearts, and brings these six people together.

The film is wrapped up a little too pretty and unrealistically, but I found this Book Club to be highly enjoyable, extremely cozy, and a nice ode to literature .

Michael Clayton (R) 119 minutes C+
The man with one black suit sulks, but gets the job done

Starring George Clooney, Tom Wilkinson, Tilda Swinton, Sean Cullen, Michael O'Keefe, and Sydney Pollack

Perhaps it was the delicious chicken parmesan I ate before seeing Michael Clayton that effected my concentration. But despite it being an entertaining and intriguing film, I was wondering what? and why? for a good portion of this legal thriller.

Clooney was good, and I liked the dark nature of his character and the film. But ultimately I was a little underwhelmed and I kept waiting for something more dramatic to be unveiled. Interestingly enough, I felt the same way after seeing another legal thriller back in 1993, The Firm. In both cases I think that I fell victim to my own expectations.

The Heartbreak Kid (R) 115 minutes C+
The right girl at the wrong time (you know bitches be crazy!)

Starring Ben Stiller, Malin Akerman, Rob Corddry, Michelle Monaghan, Carlos Mencia, and Jerry Stiller

A lot of film critics hated this film. I understand some of their reasoning, but I enjoyed this updated version of the 1972 film starring Charles Grodin.

Some have claimed that the film is mean spirited, but it's the Farrelly Brothers... what do you expect? I admit that some of the comedy feels forced, and that whole sequence of Eddie (Ben Stiller) trying to cross the border is just weird and out of place. But a lot of guys can relate to this film on a certain level, and I greatly appreciate the underlying darkness of the film. The tone of the film reminded me of 1996's The Cable Guy, directed by Ben Stiller.

The story here is simple, a 4o year old Eddie is single and never married. He has reached that point where he's a freak because he's never been married, so after 6 short weeks of courtship and a little pressure he decides to take the plunge with Lila (Malin Akerman), a beautiful blond with legs for days and David Bowie panties. Eddie is vulnerable, and when your vulnerable it's easy to confuse the "honeymoon" stage of the relationship with love.

Eddie and Lila get married, and then Eddie realizes some things about Lila that he wasn't aware of. This is a big flaw in the film; they have dated for 6 weeks, never had sex within that time, yet he didn't know some pretty elementary things about his bride...?

Well, of course Eddie meets another women during their honey moon, they fall in love and the adventure begins. I want to recommend his movie but it's probably best to wait for it on DVD.
It's not for everyone, but fans of Stiller and the Farrelly Brothers might enjoy this "prick flick".

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Music Therapy/Book Review

Music Therapy
I'm sitting here listening to music (the newest albums by Lyle Lovett and Son Volt), and the music feels good, it feels soothing. Sometimes there is nothing better than music therapy. I think my soul craves music if I go too long without listening. Tonight this new Lyle Lovett album has finally clicked with me, it's starting to penetrate my being and really consume me. During the last few weeks I've bought or been given new cds by Kanye West, Lyle Lovett, Guru, Talib Kweli, and Snow Patrol (their debut album and supposedly their best album). Due to everything going on I haven't been able to give some of these albums a proper listen yet. But my early impressions are:

Lyle Lovett B- It's been a slow burn but it's growing on me
Talib Kweli B This one grabbed me right away
Guru C This one has it's moments but he can do so much better
Snow Patrol B- This album is a little soft but I keep going back to it
Kanye West B- An interesting album that hasn't quite hooked me yet

Book Review
I finally finished I Can't Believe I'm Still Single by Eric Schaeffer. Schaeffer is forty something, never married and looking for love. He's an actor, director, producer, and writer...he has appeared in such films as Spanglish and One Night at McCools, he also directed If Lucy Fall starring Sarah Jessica Parker, and My Life in Turnaround.

Having met Mr. Schaeffer in person, I can't imagine I will ever meet a "celebrity" as brutally honest and as real as Eric Shaeffer, in his memoir he puts everything on the line for love.

Yes, he's a little eccentric, neurotic, and borderline obsessive compulsive, but he has a good heart and good intentions. He has a lot of problems... but don't we all. This book is funny, sometimes shocking, and never dull. One of my favorites of the year! A

Monday, October 1, 2007

Fever Pitch

Tonight I was at Coors Field and witnessed one of the greatest baseball games of all time.


Congratulations Colorado Rockies!