Looking back for no reason the most popular posts of all time on this blog are:
- My guest post from author Melissa Foster
- My first A to Z post announcing the blog (it was pretty much downhill from there!)
- My Batman: Knightfall post
- My Spooky Halloween post (involving Batman covers)
- And More Thoughts on The Dark Knight Rises
And now here are some mini-reviews for your viewing pleasure:
Dead Man Down: I saw this in the theater for no reason except it seemed like a relatively competent action movie and I had already seen Die Hard 5. And I wasn't disappointed. It starts out with Colin Farrell working for a gangster named Alphonse (Terrence Howard). He meets his neighbor in a building next door Beatrice (Noomi Rapace) who has a scarred-up face from a car accident. Any hopes of this being a happy little tale are quickly dashed when on their first date she asks him to visit the house of the drunk driver who ruined her face so Colin Farrell can whack him. Meanwhile Colin Farrell has an elaborate revenge scheme going that's sort of "The Count of Monte Cristo" meets "The Departed." It was all pretty decent until the improbable gun battle at the end. There was one really gross part where he tortures a guy with rats, something similar to what the Scarlet Knight does to Don Vendetta in Volume 7. Once again I was ahead of the curve.
The Dark Knight Returns Pt 2: This didn't really make me appreciate the graphic novel any more. The part at the end with Superman always seems tacked on to me. It's more confusing in the movie than the graphic novel why Reagan is still president. Is it like "Watchmen" where they overturned the two-term limit? Or is it supposed to be 1985 really? Of course Reagan's been dead for a while now so that wouldn't make sense in present day. They changed the David Letterman-type talk show host to avoid much similarity so I don't know why they couldn't change the president, maybe to George W instead of Reagan; then they could have kept all the cowboy references in.
The Master: This was an interesting movie, though I'd say it's probably my least favorite PT Anderson movie to date. It never felt like it went anywhere to me. At the beginning Joaquin Phoenix is an alcoholic sex fiend (who even makes a girl in the sand to screw, which was pretty awesome) and at the end...he's still an alcoholic sex fiend. So what was the point of all that time he spent with "Master?" Or was the point that "Master" was really not a master of anything except screwing money out of people? Anderson's previous "There Will Be Blood" had a similarly lethargic plot, but that movie was still better thanks to Daniel Day-Lewis's intensely evil oil baron character.
Take Me Home: This was a nice little indie romantic comedy. It involves an implausible setup where a woman who's found out her dad just had a heart attack finds her husband at home in the middle of the day with his bimbo secretary...but all their clothes are on. Still, she sees the handwriting on the wall and gets in a cab that's actually a fake cab driven by a guy who's just been evicted. She tells him to just drive and decides since she doesn't like to fly they'll just drive to California to see her dad. It's kind of a Pretty Woman setup where she agrees to pay the cabbie a huge sum of money. And thus the road trip begins! You can probably guess how it ends. Really just once the movie should end with the woman staying with the rich douchebag instead of the sensitive poor guy. That's real life. The funniest parts are actually in the beginning and end when the lady's secretary talks matter-of-factly about her boyfriend putting a pillowcase over her head and bending her over for sex or going to a party where everyone gets into a cage and pretends to be animals--like these are everyday occurrences. Maybe in New York they are. Since the two leads in the movie have the same last name I assume they're married in real life. If they were brother and sister that would be really weird. And then apparently their kids (or maybe nieces/nephews) show up in the credits as Brat #1, Brat #2, Brat #3. There's some good parenting.
End of Watch: This compares mostly to "Training Day" except neither cop is actually evil. Basically it's about two beat cops in LA over the course of a few months. They get into a couple of dust-ups with a Mexican gang. Eventually the Mexicans put a hit out on them, which leads to some unpleasantness. It is a good gritty crime drama even with the improbable twist at the end.
The Whistleblower: The UN apparently didn't watch "Lethal Weapon 2" or else they would have realized giving all the peacekeepers in Bosnia diplomatic immunity back in the 90s would lead to a lot of bad shit. In this case, human trafficking. Unfortunately Rachel Weisz isn't Liam Neeson, so she doesn't kill 50 people in the course of 48 hours to free the kidnapped girls. This does help show that all the stuff Halliburton got up to in Iraq in the 2000s wasn't anything new. Government contracted security had been screwing people (literally in many cases) for years! Probably the greatest part is the twist involving David Straithairn's character at the end. It totally suckered me.
Bringing Out the Dead: Probably not the most well-known Scorsese movie, but it was great. Also a great reminder that before he just started to do any lame action movie to pay his bills Nicolas Cage was once a decent actor.
Butter: I can honestly say this is the greatest movie about butter carving I've ever seen. it focuses on two families and the intense rivalry over a butter sculpting contest in Iowa. On one side is Jennifer Garner, who is the wife of a world-renowned butter sculptor who is finally stepping down from the limelight. So Jennifer Garner enters the contest in his place because she has aspirations of becoming the governor and then maybe president. On the other side is Destiny, a little black girl who's been passed around from one foster home to another and eventually ends up in the home of Rob Cordray and Alicia Silverstone, who really needed to pay someone to laser the wart off her forehead. Destiny discovers she has a gift for butter carving, which puts her on a collision course with Jennifer Garner. They finally have an epic butter carving duel thanks in part to Hugh Jackman as a weaselly car dealer. It was fairly predictable but lighthearted fun. Though the Goth stripper played by Olivia Wilde makes it not really a family movie.
And here's another one from the vault. Andrew Leon talked about Tucker & Dale vs. Evil on his blog and I decided to watch it. Ironically it was after I had watched "Reaper" and "Firefly" on DVD as it stars Wash from "Firefly" and Sock from "Reaper." Anyway, it's probably the best horror spoof I've seen since "Shaun of the Dead." What makes it better than the "Scary Movie" type spoofs is that it doesn't just regurgitate the material from popular movies. Like "Cabin in the Woods" it mocks the old set-up of a bunch of college kids going to a lonely cabin in the middle of nowhere. Only unlike "The Cabin the Woods" there's not a surprise twist at the end that ruins it. The movie does a great job of sending up the plucky college kids vs. redneck killers scenario by reversing things. Through a comedy of errors the rednecks (the eponymous Tucker and Dale) aren't actually killing the college kids; it just seems that way to the college kids, whose leader Chad gets increasingly psychotic. Basically if you like horror movies then this is a really fun movie. It is hopefully still on Netflix.
Next month will involve some more shameless plugging and the big reveal of the Scarlet Knight action figures.