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Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

I always jokingly say that Speed is one of the best movies ever made. It obviously is not, but there’s something about that film, and the others on this list, that keep me entertained every time I watch them. I’ll preface this list by saying that I do, in fact, have pretty good taste in movies (at least I think I do). But each one of these particular titles tugs on my heartstrings in one way or another—typically, by being a super cheesy chick flick or a ridiculously over-the-top action and/or shark (see Deep Blue Sea) movie. Anyway, peruse this list and tell me which ones I’m forgetting.

  • Speed
  • Face/Off
  • Two Weeks Notice
  • Sister Act
  • Deep Blue Sea
  • The Wedding Planner
  • Twister
  • How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
  • Save the Last Dance
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I don’t usually pay much attention to the Facebook ads that I’m bombarded with on a daily basis, but this one caught my eye as being particularly ridiculous. The ad has correctly presumed that I am a fan of the Kill Bill movies…and since Lucy Liu was in Kill Bill, then, by the nature of the transitive property, I should therefore be very excited about this Lifetime miniseries called Marry Me. I looked up this movie, just to make sure I wasn’t making any improper assumtions about it. According to a blog, “In the lighthearted miniseries, Rae Ann Carter (Liu) doesn’t want to settle for anything less than Prince Charming, but somehow lands herself three of them—Luke, Adam, and Harry—and they all want to marry her. What’s an attractive, yet hopelessly romantic girl to do?”

Why, yes! I would totally be into watching a four-hour (yes, that’s right) made for tv romantic comedy based on my interest in Kill Bill. According to the synopsis of Volume 1 on Amazon, they’re essentially the same movie. “Four years after taking a bullet in the head at her own wedding, The Bride emerges from a coma and decides it’s time for payback…with a vengeance! Having been gunned down by her former boss and his deadly squad of international assassins, it’s a kill-or-be-killed fight she didn’t start but is determined to finish!”

Anyway, I just thought this was one of the worst attempts at direct marketing that I’ve ever seen.

Here’s a great clip from Marry Me—I mean, Kill Bill. Sorry, it’s hard for me to keep track of them now. Warning: this clip contains graphic violence and strong language.

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Those Basterds…

Inglourious Basterds has once again proven that Quentin Tarantino is one of the best directors of our generation. It was a phenomenal movie, surpassing Jackie Brown, Kill Bill Vol. 2, and perhaps Death Proof (By a hair, in my opinion. I loved Death Proof.). I think Pulp Fiction still wins out as his best film, although I will have to watch IB a few more times to have an educated opinion.

Tarantino delivered in all the areas that you would expect him to. The dialogue was great (the vast majority of it being in other languages), albeit different from the other films since this movie was set in the 1940s—no conversations about Quarter Pounders or Superman mythology this time around. Brad Pitt provided wonderful comic relief as Aldo Raine, with that hilarious Tennessee accent that everyone’s been talking about. In my opinion, though, Christoph Waltz (Col. Hans Landa) totally stole the show. His performance of Tarantino dialogue is up there with that of Samuel L. Jackon. He’ll get an Oscar nomination, and has a pretty good shot of winning.

There was a lot of buzz about the “tavern scene,” whose dialogue and subsequent action sequence was supposed to rival the diner and ending scenes of Reservior Dogs. As of the first viewing, I think Reservior Dogs still wins out. But, like I said, I will be watching this movie many more times in the coming months (although I’ll have to wait for the DVD…I can’t afford to see movies in the theater more than once anymore).

There was a healthy mix of action/violence and down time. And when the action did ensue, it was pretty awesome. The Basterds’ combat tactics were badass, although the scalping of Nazis did get a bit graphic, along with a few other choice scenes. Aside from that, the movie wasn’t really filled with gratuitous violence. Another thing to note is the filmmaking in general—lots of great camera movements, including an aerial shot spanning multiple rooms a la Kill Bill.

The music was pretty good, although I prefer the soundtracks to both Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill. A lot of the score came from Ennio Morricone, and certain snippets were lifted straight from Kill Bill. Michael wasn’t a fan of the David Bowie song used at the end (Cat People [Putting out the Fire]); I didn’t really have a strong opinion on that, but the title is pretty applicable to say the least.

I wish I was enough of a film buff to see the relationship between this movie and Sergio Leone’s brand of spaghetti westerns. Tarantino’s movies are always paying homage to other genres and sub-genres of film (martial arts, exploitation films, crime films, etc.), although most of this film was over my head in that regard.

Any critic who said that the climax didn’t deliver is out of his mind. The climax was ridiculous, and I guarantee no one has ever written an ending like that to a WWII movie. One of my favorite scenes was definitely the face projected through the smoke, for anyone else who saw the movie.

All in all, I loved this movie, and I’ve probably only absorbed about 60% of its greatness so far. I’ll be eagerly awaiting the DVD release, which will probably make a great birthday or Christmas present!

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Thoughts on Brüno

I watched a pirated copy of Brüno online yesterday, and it was more or less what I expected.  I definitely laughed at some things and smirked at others, but on the whole I think Baron Cohen’s schtick is getting a little old.  This is mostly because too many people know who he is now.  The old episodes of Da Ali G Show were absolutely hilarious, because no one knew him and he could really trick everyone into talking to him.  These days, he pulls a lot more stunts involving other celebrities—some of which are staged, while others are questionable, which sort of takes the fun out of the whole thing.

That said, I still love Sacha Baron Cohen.  I love the fact that he pushes traditional comedic boundaries farther than they ever usually go.  It’s not that I thought all of the really vulgar scenes were that funny, but who else would even attempt to do that stuff?  I have to give him points for mixing things up a little.  Aside from that, the single best thing that has come out of both Borat and Brüno is the exposure of these horrendous excuses for human beings that live in our society.  I’m talking about the average, non-celebrity people who, I’m assuming, truly have no idea what is going on.  You’ve got the mom in the modeling agency saying that she can get her 30-pound child to lose 10 pounds in the next week if it means she’ll get the job.  You’ve got the PR consultants telling him what causes are “hot” at the moment, and of course the religious folk trying to convert homosexuals to heteros.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  I think Baron Cohen is a really smart guy, not only for his ability to act so stupid, but to be able to tap into the stupidity of others.  So, as much as I appreciate male frontal nudity in movies, the critique of American society is what really makes this movie.

Old School:
Ali G Show – Business Ideas
Ali G Show – Interview with Buzz Aldrin

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