Monday, February 25, 2008

Movie Reviews

Well it's the day after the Academy Awards, and I'm not ashamed to say I am one of the few men on this planet that actually watch the whole thing. I really am interested in seeing what movies and actors win the Oscars. This year I was pleasantly surprised as the show was actually tolerable thanks to Jon Stewart hosting the show yet again and the debut of the non-Edith Piaf-ed, Marion Cotillard, which was good.

Typically, it would make sense for me to have done some sort of Oscar predictions or something, but I haven't seen nearly enough movies to do anything other than regurgitate things I had heard from critics. As far as I was concerned the best movie of the year was down to There Will Be Blood or No Country for Old Men. Although I did think Zodiac was overlooked for Best Picture and especially Best Cinematography. Anyway, like I said, not much more I could add due to the lack of movies I saw this year. With that said, here are two movies I did get to see.

In Bruges

From Oscar award winner, Martin McDonagh, this movie sort of came out of nowhere for me. The flick stars Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, and Ray Finnes based off of the play of the same name. Popularly described as "Waiting for Godot," only Godot shows up, I prefer to think of it more as Seinfeld with guns.

Set in the medieval town of Bruges, two hitmen are stuck awaiting their next assignment from their boss. During this time, the overly anxious Ray (Farrell) and touristy Ken (Gleeson) spend their time seeing the sights and meeting unique characters. What this all amounts to is a series of random events and sharp dialogue that makes every moment of this film funny, sad, entertaining, and dark in some way or another.

Filled with that dark humor I love, this movie did not disappoint. Every scene had some significance and meant something in the grand scope of the film. Then, in the Seinfeldian fashion, everything came together in the end to serve the film's moral and comedic scope beautifully.

What really was a surprise was the acting of Colin Farrell. You know what you're getting from Gleeson and Finnes, but in a rare moment of brilliance Farrell executes his job with near perfection and none of the annoyances that made you hate him in movies like Miami Vice and The Recruit. Granted the writing was about 98% better than those two projects, still it is a nice change of pace that could have crippled this movie.

Acting: 7/10
Plot: 7/10
Re-Watchability: 8/10
DVD Purchase: 7/10

Overall: 7/10

There Will Be Blood

Being a Paul Thomas Anderson fan, I previously mentioned how eager I was to see this film. The two main things you know about going in are Daniel Day-Lewis's performance and the "controversial" ending. First off, you're going to see a Paul Thomas Anderson film. Have you ever seen one? Every one has a controversial ending.

Boogie Nights (Penis)
Magnolia (Frogs)
Punch-Drunk Love (Car Crash)
There Will Be Blood (Bowling Pin)

Not too much to be shocked about. Also, another popular criticism was Daniel Day-Lewis supposedly over acting to a point that it was a sin and verged on ruining his whole performance. Without giving too much away, I feel like the way Daniel Plainview acted in the final scene is a perfect epitome of what he had become. All that he had he got from fury and hatred for others and it has now boiled over to the point of insanity and self-destruction. There is even a shot that pictures Plainview as an almost Godzilla type creature destroying fleeing Japanese.

Enough about the ending, but as for the actual film it was spectacular. Visually and thematically the movie takes you on a journey through the depths of this character of Daniel Plainview and at the same time critiques capitalism and what someone so motivated by personal gain can become.

Daniel Day-Lewis does dominate the film, and rightfully took every best acting award this year. He was fierce, and truly developed a character that was once in a lifetime. Sometimes he dipped a little bit into his Bill the Butcher from Gangs of New York (complete with moustache), but I felt that character was underused anyway.

The supporting cast sort of fails DDL, but he is definitely up for carrying the whole film. To be honest, along with PTA's vision of the film and his adaptation of the Upton Sinclair novel, "Oil!" that is really all you needed to have the 2+ hour movie fly by. You really had no choice but to take in this movie for all that it was worth. Hopefully this will spring PTA back into form and he'll get his next movie out a little quicker than this one.

Overall, this movie was the first true departure for PTA from his past flicks. It was not originally written from PTA, and also some of his famous tracking shots and memorable soundtracks take a back seat to a much more stripped down and cinematic movie that gives him a place of his own with movie directing elites. It wasn't better than No Country, but definitely lived up to my expectations.

Acting: 9/10
Plot: 9/10
Re-Watchability: 8.5/10
DVD Purchase: 8.5/10

Overall: 9/10

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

My Open Letter To Sports

Dear Sports:

You gave me great times and greater hopes. The pinnacle of those hopes have never been met. No championships in my 24 years on this earth. I have been through so few moments where a championship was even remotely close. A Mitch Williams fastball to Joe Carter, and an errant throw from a physically exhausted Donovan McNabb took those away ever so quickly. Beyond that, I'm subject to the Flyers trying to beat a vastly superior Detroit Red Wings team in 1996, or a weak Sixers team wishing that their megastar, Allen Iverson, could carry them past Shaq and Kobe in 2000. All of which were foolish hopes.

Now in the middle of some kind of sports purgatory, I have no hopes, no aspirations. All of my Philly teams are at crossroads. The Eagles are in disarray. The Phillies think too highly of themselves. The Flyers are a few years away from being a serious contender. The Sixers are dead to me. Where is my team that will transcend the mire that plagues Philadelphia sports and give me a much deserved championship? What have I done to deserve such a long and painful amount of suffering all for giving all my energy to hope that my team will win? Why do things never work out in my teams favor?

As if to add to my pain, the left for dead New York Giants beat the 18-0 New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. Eli Manning, the once physical embodiment of mistakes and an underperforming star, suddenly emerged as a confident and capable QB that led HIS team to the most improbable of championships. Seemingly a nod to remind me, at the same time, how amazing and out of left field a championship can sneak up and bite a team playing at its height at just the right time. The golden venom flowing through the veins of a particular team where winning just happens. As if it is out of their control or power. Like Eli Manning pulling away from 3 Patriots defensive linemen only to chuck a football to David Tyree wearing a Rodney Harrison jacket and come down with the football in a play that will be remembered forever.

Much like when I see a guy with a girl that is way out of league I recoil in horror. The mere sight perplexes me as if to wonder what is wrong with this world, that is how I felt watching this Giants team come out of nowhere to win this Super Bowl.

If I take the time to think about the guy who "out kicked his coverage" by nabbing such a vastly superior beauty, I can take solace in the fact that if this kind of fortune can happen to him, then it can happen to anyone, even me. At any moment my teams' light can click and amazing things can happen.

So where is my championship? My win? My fortune? It hasn't appeared yet, and this loathsome turn of events has pushed me to the edge as to wonder if any sports championship will ever come my way.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Courtesy Flush: Super Bowl Edition

Hours before the big game, it is only appropriate I drop some useless information. ONWARD!

A couple of posts ago I mocked some back up QB's like Todd Collins and A.J. Feely, but in actuality, back up QB's have a pretty good life for themselves. The culmination of all that being a lifelong back up came to fruition a couple of weeks ago when Cowboys Offensive Coordinator, Jason Garrett was awarded $3 million a year to be the Assistant Head Coach. That is as much as Head Coach Wade Phillips makes.

It's no secret that Garrett is being groomed as the next head coach of the Cowboys, but the fact that he is being paid like it already and that he was a bum of a back up QB behind Troy Aikman during the Cowboys Super Bowl years makes this guy the prototype for every Matt Cassell and Jim Sorgi out there. Just keep your mouth shut, learn on the job behind a world class QB like a Tom Brady or a Peyton Manning, then focus all your efforts into coaching. If Garrett works out, there will be plenty of jobs available.

A hilarious LaDanian Tomlinson action figure put out about a year ago by McFarlane toys. Rings especially true after the Chargers lost to the Pats in the AFC Championship Game.

Every year there is one phrase or word that comes out of nowhere and is just used by everyone everywhere. Previous winners include: fruition and it is what it is. So for 2008, here is the word that will dominate the landscape of written and spoken word.

Galvanize. With the upcoming Presidential election and more recently with the Patriots SpyGate scandal, galvanize has been on fire early in 2008. While it may sound as if galvanize means to push apart or separate, it is actually meant to pull together or stir action. Second place word of the year was rigmarole.

Based off my last poll question about Jessica Alba's pregnancy, it's nice to know that at least 3 girls read this thing. I know that three girls do because that is how many votes went towards the "Happy for her" option. No guy would be happy about Jessica Alba being pregnant unless he was the cause of it. That's all I gotta say.

Here are some YouTube clips that everyone should have seen by now, but are fun nonetheless:

Matt Damon and Sarah Silverman

Burger King Spoof

Prediction for the Super Bowl:
Pats 34
Giants 24