Saturday, August 27, 2011

30 Minutes or Less - Movie Review

30 Minutes or Less (R) 83 minutes D-
Bungled buffoonery

Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Aziz Ansari, Nick Swardson, Fred Ward, Dilshad Vadsaria, Michael Peña and Bianca Kajlich.

An asinine action-comedy about a pizza delivery boy (Eisenberg) forced to rob a bank with an explosive strapped to his chest.  The film is shockingly unfunny and surprisingly disjointed considering how much I like Jesse Eisenberg, Danny McBride, Michael Pena and director Ruben Fleischer's last film, Zombieland

Don't waste your time or money on this one.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Future - Movie Review

The Future (R) 91 minutes A-
Full of possibilities... or not

Starring Hamish Linklater, Miranda July, Isabella Acres, Joe Putterlik, Angela Trimbur, David Warshofsky, Mary Passeri

Miranda July is an artist in every sense of the word.  Sure, she's a little quirky and her art is an acquired taste.  But whether you like her or not, there's no denying that she's an original.  Her latest film may seem whimsical, and probably a little strange to those unfamiliar with her work.  Yet, below the surface, The Future is a telling anecdote about loneliness, missed opportunities, and yes... the future.
Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but several things in this film felt symbolic of current society, as well as our not so distant future.  Paw Paw (a stray cat and the film's narrator), for example, could be interpreted as a symbol of those who are wounded (literally or figuratively) and waiting for that big break, that something or someone who will change their lives. 

The story follows Sophie (July) and Jason (Linklater), a non-assuming couple who have been together almost 4 years.   They live a low-maintenance/low impact lifestyle; she's a preschool dance teacher and he does tech support from home.  In 30 days they will be adopting a stray cat (Paw Paw), but before they become pet parents they've decided to take advantage of their freedom and live it up. They quit their jobs and vow to do whatever and go wherever life takes them.  They begin to explore future possibilities and in a dramatic twist (because these two seem made for each other) they find that the future is not at all what they expected or hoped (such is life, that's for sure).

Funny and intriguing, I recommend this film for those seeking something a little different.  General audiences proceed with caution.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Chemicals Between Us (Book Review)

The Wait of Atom - Jessie Carty B
Publication Date: November 2009

I discovered Jessie Carty via YouTube a couple years ago. After watching her videos and browsing her website, I recently decided to buy one of her (chap)books. It was something I’d been meaning to do for a while and I’m glad I finally did. The Wait of Atom really surprised me. For whatever reason I didn’t expect these poems to resonant with me the way they did. Furthermore, I liked the periodic table theme despite my complete oblivion about all things science.  Favorites here included: "The Wait of Atom", "House Haunting" and "Pink was the color of his weakness".  I look forward to reading more of her work.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love - Movie Review

Crazy, Stupid, Love (PG-13) 118 minutes B
The rebirth of cool

Starring Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Analeigh Tipton, Josh Groban, Jonah Bobo, Marisa Tomei and Kevin Bacon

As the title suggests, love is crazy and stupid, especially when you act like these characters.  This bittersweet romantic comedy follows three relationships: a thirteen year-old and his seventeen year-old babysitter (Bobo and Tipton), a couple of good lookin' twenty-somethings (Gosling and Stone), and a forty-something couple (Carell and Moore) whose relationship has dissolved after 20+ years of marriage.

On the surface this film isn't much different than other star-studded, it's complicated, adult romantic comedies of its genre.  But here the cast rises above the material and makes the film worthwhile, despite grandiose notions of soul mates and everlasting love withstanding the obstacles (age, womanizing manwhores and infidelity). 

Crazy Stupid Love runs about fifteen minutes too long, features one ridiculously stupid fight scene and is slightly predictable.  However, there's at least one twist you won't see coming, a great cast and enough sexy and cute to keep you interested.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Beats, Rhymes & Life - Movie Review

Beats, Rhymes & Life (R) 95 minutes B+
Beats, Fights and Forgiving

Starring Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Jarobi White

In 1988 the Jungle Brothers dropped Straight Outta the Jungle.  The album was straight dope and an instant favorite.  Q-Tip was featured on two of the album's best tracks, "Black is Black" and "The Promo".  Yet, it was still all about the JBs- Mike Gee, Afrika Baby Bam and Sammy B.

In 1989 De La Soul released 3 Feet High & Rising, an album that literally blew my mind and changed the way I viewed rap forever.  So when ATCQ released People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm in 1990, I liked it but didn't love it as much as the aforementioned albums.  

I didn't buy 1991's Low End Theory despite all of the great things I was hearing, and 1993 I was lukewarm about Midnight Marauders (which eventually grew on me and became a personal fav).  Consequently, I skipped Beats, Rhythm and Life in 1996, and by 1998's The Love Movement there was no love left among the three remaining members.  The constant bickering had taken its toll and the band broke up.  

This documentary details the rise and fall of ATCQ.  It sort of vilifies Q-tip as a passive-aggressive control freak/creative force behind the music, and apparently Q-tip was none too pleased.  As far as I know he has never done any promotion for the film.  Nevertheless, this was an enlightening and highly entertaining look at one of the most important hip hop groups of a generation. 

Highly recommended for anyone who likes hip hop.