Friday, March 25, 2011

Battle: Los Angeles - Movie Review

Battle: Los Angeles (PG-13) 112 minutes D-
Aliens Invade Los Angeles blah blah blah - who cares

Starring Aaron Eckhart, Ramon Rodriguez, Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, Ne-Yo and Michael Peña

The more I think about this film the more I hate it.  Unless you like bad sci-fi, gooey aliens, nonstop gunfire, endless explosions, loud and obnoxious video game-like films, don't waste your money. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lone Dinosaur Ponders Why (Music Review)

First Impression Music Review
J Mascis - Several Shades of Why B 
Release Date: March 15, 2011
Music critic Steve Labate (Paste magazine) wrote, "J’s lazy, just-rolled-outta-bed croon set against the stripped-bare backdrop of acoustic guitars and cellos and jingling tambourines is pure magic."  I think that pretty much says it all. 

I knew this album wouldn't disappoint, solo acoustic is about the closest we'll get to knowing J Mascis.  The dude is a total mystery but I dig the way he sings with an every-man-vulnerability and plays guitar like a god.

Favorite tracks - "Not Enough", "Very Nervous and Love" and "Where Are You"

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Adjustment Bureau - Movie Review

The Adjustment Bureau (PG-13) 99 minutes C
Two lovers attempt to change their fate while eluding men in fedoras

Starring Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, John Slattery, Michael Kelly and Terence Stamp

When I first saw the trailer for the The Adjustment Bureau about a year ago I was floored! It looked like a smart, intense, romantic action adventure starring two of Hollywood's biggest and most talented stars. Then the September 17, 2010 release was pushed back to March 4, 2011... Uh-Oh! It turns out that The Adjustment Bureau needed some adjusting and I can see why.

The film wasted a perfectly good love story by wrapping it in a dull, poor man's Inception-like plot (minus the slow motion dreams). The central idea of free will vs predestination is intriguing but executed flatly and somewhat predictably. Based on a short story by Philip K. Dick called The Adjustment Team, this adaptation feels like a small collage of films that have combined elements of sci-fi with romance to appeal to a boarder audience. By no means is this a bad thing; Damon and Blunt are jive decent and the concept is worth pondering. But the story and the direction falls short.

My recommendation for this one- rental.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Hall Pass - Movie Review

Hall Pass (R) 105 minutes C+
I Want You to Want Me
Starring Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Jenna Fischer, Christina Applegate, Nicky Whelan, Richard Jenkins

Yes. Hall Pass is a dimwit comedy that is predictable, bordering on offensive and immature. But it's not without truth, sporadic humor and the underlying sentiment of wanting to feel desirable. Sure, it's all potty mouth, gross out jokes and juvenile humor but at the core is something legitimate. Yet unfortunately (or fortunately?) the film is too goofy to explore such game changers.

Hall Pass is directed by the Farrelly Brothers of Something About Mary and Dumb and Dumber fame. However, I also liked Fever Pitch, Me, Myself and Irene, and the heavily panned Heartbreak Kid (all Farrelly Brother films). Therefore I was bound to like this stinker at least a little bit.

Two suburban dads get the proverbial hall pass from marriage and after a little reluctance they attempt to make the most of their week of freedom with near disastrous results. Meanwhile, the wives enjoy a little pass of their own...

The film is uneven and laugh out loud moments are few and far between. For whatever reason Jason Sudeikis (SNL) never seems comfortable here and I'm not sure how I feel about the Farrelly's casting Richard Jenkins as the ultimate swinging single (Jenkins is a premiere actor but an odd choice). Nevertheless, I have to admit I sort of enjoyed the film.

If you like the Farrelly Brother and you're a fan of Owen Wilson I say see it! For everyone else, I say wait until it to arrives at your local discount/second run theatre.
Bonus DVD Review
The Answer Man (R) 95 minutes C-
I Can't Be Your Answer Man

DVD Release Date: Novemember 2009
Starring Jeff Daniels, Lauren Graham, Lou Taylor Pucci, Kat Dennings, Olivia Thirlby, Max Antisell, Nora Dunn

In 1988 Arlen Faber (Daniels) released a popular self help book called Me and God. It became a massive best seller and international sensation. Now with the 20th anniversary edition about to be released Faber is nothing more than a cranky, reclusive and miserable human being. Struggling with insufferable back pain he meets a good looking chiropractor (Lauren Graham) and proceeds to fall for her if he can only keep his OCD at bay.

I applaud this film for not taking the easy way out and wrapping everything in a neat and tidy bow which it had the opportunity to do several times. But overall it isn't very good despite Jeff Daniels winning me over in the end.

This might be worth renting if you're a big fan of any of the cast listed above. Otherwise skip it.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Walking the Line Between Illness and Insanity (Book Review)

The Unnamed - Joshua Ferris B-
Publication Date: January 2010

I almost gave up on this novel about a man who can't stop walking. The protagonist is Tim Farnsworth, a well-to-do lawyer with a lovely wife and young daughter. He has an undiagnosed illness that randomly makes him walk until totally exhaustion. Often times passing out from fatigue and waking in strange/undesirable places (like the time he woke up in an alley with a homeless man trying to rape him).

At first I didn't care and wasn't enthralled by the story. But about a quarter through this journey there's a scene where Tim's wife meets a handsome stranger at the grocery store (or maybe it was a liquor store?), it really has no bearing on the rest of the story but it's the point where Ferris grabbed my attention and the story began to matter.

After that things got edgier, sexier and sadder. Tim's illness kicked into high gear and it really took a toll on him mentally and physically, while his wife developed problems of her own. Essentially the once happy and loving family is torn apart by the unnamed illness and brought together by an unrelenting love.

I liked that Ferris kept me guessing through the latter part of the book, yet I was torn between thinking his prose was pretentious and thinking it was amazing. Finding his story intriguing yet cumbersome. It's a mixed bag but one that might be worth staying with until the end.