Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Contagion - Movie Review

Contagion (PG-13) 105 minutes B
Shaking the Disease

Starring Laurence Fishburne, Matt Damon, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Jennifer Ehle and Gwyneth Paltrow

Who ever decided to release this film right before cold and flu season is a genius.  I think about Contagion every time I touch a public door handle, faucet, elevator button, etc...  This smart, creepy, contagious disease thriller will make you want to smack anyone in close proximity who doesn't cover their sneeze.

I didn't find a lot of engaging characters here, and RW is right when she said, "it sorta has a TV movie feel to it."  But nevertheless, Soderbergh continues to be a favorite, and one of the most intriguing filmmakers around.  I hope to god that nothing like this ever happens.  Scary stuff!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Higher Ground - Movie Review

Higher Ground (R) 109 minutes A-
Losing my religion and reaching a higher (emotional) ground

Starring Vera Farmiga, Joshua Leonard, Norbert Leo Butz, McKenzie Turner and Donna Murphy

This film is based on the 2002 memoir, This Dark World: A Memoir of Salvation Found and Lost by Carolyn S. Briggs.  This film really struck a chord with me; it almost brought me to tears.  It reminds me of the Counting Crows song, "Rain King," and the lyrics to that song best encapsulates the film:

When I think of heaven (Deliver me in a black-winged bird)
I think of flying down into a sea of pens and feathers
and all other instruments of faith and sex and God
In the belly of a black-winged bird
Don't try to feed me
I've been here before and I deserve a little more

I recommend this film to general moviegoers, and anyone who has ever questioned religion and/or spirituality.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

First Impression Reviews - Another Girl, Hot Sauce & a Sabor Tooth Tiger... Oh My!

Juliana Hatfield - There's Always Another Girl C+
Release Date August 2011

I really want to like this one, but so far I haven't been able to sink my teeth into it.  As soon as I read that the album's central theme was failure, the title track was inspired by Lindsay Lohan, and the project was initially called Speeches Delivered to Animals and Plants, I was uber-excited to hear these songs.  Unfortunately, this has been a slow burn with only one song standing out so far, and a few others bubbling under.  Favorite tracks - Someone Else's Problem and Thousands of Guitars

Beastie Boys - Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 B
Release Date: May 2011

A playful and fun party record that I haven't taken too seriously.  Lots of old school hooks and clever beats.  It occasionally sounds cluttered, but ultimately satisfies.  File under: Sounds like summer, smells like cayenne pepper.  Favorite tracks - Lee Majors Come Again and Nonstop Disco Powerpack
Sean Lennon & Charlotte Kemp Muhl - Ghost of a Sabor Tooth Tiger: Acoustic Sessions D+
Release Date: October 2010

I like Sean Lennon, I was excited to see he had a new project, but this one is nothing more than boring background music.  Favorite track - Rainbows in Gasoline

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Celebrity Rehab

Wishful Drinking - Carrie Fisher B
Publication Date: September 2009

This one feels like a guilty pleasure, but a pleasure nonetheless.  I actually didn't know much about Fisher's life, yet my weakness for scandal-ridden celebrity memoirs made this one too tempting to pass up.  The Princess Leia thing is interesting, however it is the substance abuse and her relationships (with Paul Simon and Bryan Lourd) that were most intriguing to me.   

Wishful Drinking is humbling, amusing and a little annoying.  But it is hard not to like Fisher, who I suspect left out some of the juicer bits and darker moments.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Answer Key - NFL Preview 2011

My annual picks and predictions for the upcoming NFL season.

AFC East
1. New England  12-4 
2. NY Jets 10-6*
3. Miami  6-10
4. Buffalo 5-11

AFC North
1. Pittsburgh 11-5
2. Baltimore  10-6*
3. Cleveland  6-10
4. Cincy   3-13

AFC South
1. Houston 10-6
2. Indy  8-8
3. Tennessee 7-9
4. Jacksonville 4-12

AFC West
1. San Diego 11-5
2. Kansas City 8-8
3. Oakland 7-9
4. Denver 6-10

Wild Card
(3) Pittsburgh over (6) NY Jets
(5) Baltimore over (4) Houston 
Divisional Round
(5) Baltimore over (1) New England
(2) San Diego over (3) Pittsburgh
AFC Championship
(2) San Diego over (5) Baltimore

NFC East
1. Philly  10-6
2. Washington 8-8
3. NY Giants 8-8
4. Dallas 6-10

NFC North
1. Green Bay 11-5
2. Minnesota 9-7*
3. Detroit 7-9
4. Chicago 7-9

NFC South
1. Atlanta  11-5
2. New Orleans 9-7*
3. Tampa Bay 8-8
4. Carolina 3-13

NFC West
1. St. Louis 10-6
2. San Francisco 7-9
3. Arizona 6-10
4. Seattle  5-11

Wild Card
(3) Philly over (6) Minnesota
(5) New Orleans over (4) St. Louis
Divisional Round
(1) Green Bay over (5) New Orleans
(2) Atlanta over (3) Philly
NFC Championship
(2) Atlanta over (1) Green Bay

Super Bowl
San Diego 17
Atlanta  14

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Tree of Life - Movie Review

Tree of Life (PG-13) 138 minutes C-
Like watching a tree grow- beautiful but boring

Starring Brad Pitt, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken, Sean Penn and Laramie Eppler.

Maybe I would like this film more if I watched it a second time?  Maybe I would like it more if I took the time to consider how gorgeous, imaginative and profound it was?  But as it were, I found the film to be overdone, overlong and overrated.  Tree of Life is Passion of the Christ for the IMAX set. 

If you dare, watch it on the big screen.  It is a sight to behold if nothing else.