Tuesday, August 31, 2010

HBO Sunday Night - 8/29/10

Porn Scenes From An Italian Restaurant

Season 7, Episode 9

Johnny finally agrees to become a cartoon gorilla. Turtle offends his Mexican tequila contact by getting Mark Cuban interested in the business. Peter Berg decides to direct "Airwalker". And Vince professes his love for Sasha Grey. Adrien Grenier has been surprisingly great the latter half of the season - expressive and honest. Kevin Dillon is equally great, but he always has been. His question to Arnold (the dog) was priceless. So was Billy Walsh's pink bathing suit, tattoo and final line of the episode. Ari's public breakdown was tough to watch, but I did love the Godfather homage. B

Fat Off My Love or I'm the Allergen

Season 2, Episode 9

I've only seen one public breakdown in my life - my very own on Christmas Day 2002. HBO gave us 3 in one night. In addition to Ari, Tanya and Ronnie ruined their professional and personal lives, respectively. Tanya beating her boss with a cheap pink belt was memorable but unrealistic. Ronnie humiliating himself to his colleagues and family was unbelievable and ridiculous. The best moment of the show occurred at the old Tigers' stadium when Ray discussed how the heart of Detroit had been torn out by money. The show stays relevant by addressing the economic hardship the country remains in. Tanya is near rock-bottom, but Ray appears to be getting the only thing he really wants - his whole family back. B

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Monday, August 30, 2010

DVD and Blu-ray Releases 8/31/10

Harry Brown - #
Marmaduke - #
Once an Eagle
Red Riding Trilogy - #
Why Did I Get Married Too? - #

Brothers & Sisters: 4th Season
House, MD: Season 6 - #
NCIS: Los Angeles: 1st Season - #
Parenthood: Season 1
Sons of Anarchy: Season 2 - #
Vampire Diaries: 1st Season - #

Click below for this week's Blu-ray relases

Bad Lieutenant
Blair Witch Project
Deep Blue Sea
The Evil Dead
Hard Candy
High Tension
Open Water
Resident Evil: Extinction
The Score

# - also on Blu-ray

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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Emmy Awards

The Emmy Awards were tonight? Temple Grandin swept the TV movie part. Mad Men won its third straight best drama series. Modern Family and Glee won most of the comedy awards. Haven't seen either. Al Pacino won for his terrific performance as Jack Kevorkian. Jimmy Fallon hosted. The full list is after the jump.

ERIC STONESTREET as Cameron Tucker Modern Family

JANE LYNCH as Sue Sylvester Glee

RYAN MURPHY, Director Glee
Pilot – Director’s Cut

Modern Family, Pilot

JIM PARSONS as Sheldon Cooper The Big Bang Theory

EDIE FALCO as Jackie Peyton Nurse Jackie


Mad Men Shut The Door. Have A Seat.

AARON PAUL as Jesse Pinkman Breaking Bad

ARCHIE PANJABI as Kalinda Sharma The Good Wife

BRYAN CRANSTON as Walter White Breaking Bad

STEVE SHILL, Director Dexter The Getaway

KYRA SEDGWICK as Deputy Chief Brenda Johnson The Closer

DAVE BOONE, Writer PAUL GREENBERG, Special Material Written By
63rd Annual Tony Awards

BUCKY GUNTS, Director Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony


JULIA ORMOND as Eustacia (Temple's Mom) Temple Grandin

DAVID STRATHAIRN as Dr. Carlock Temple Grandin

ADAM MAZER, Writer You Don't Know Jack

CLAIRE DANES as Temple Grandin Temple Grandin

MICK JACKSON, Director Temple Grandin

AL PACINO as Dr. Jack Kevorkian You Don't Know Jack





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Weekend Box Office: 8/27-8/29/10


1. Last Exorcism: 21.3 mil / NEW
2. Takers: 21 mil / NEW
3. Expendables: 9.5 mil / -44% / 82 mil
4. Eat Pray Love: 7 mil / -42% / 61 mil
5. Other Guys: 6.6 mil / -35% / 99 mil
6. Vampires Suck: 5.3 mil / -57% / 28 mil
7. Inception: 5.1 mil / -35% / 271 mil
8. Nanny McPhee: 4.7 mil / -44% / 17 mil
9. The Switch: 4.6 mil / -45% / 16 mil
10. Piranha 3D: 4.3 mil / -57% / 18 mil
11. Lottery Ticket: 4 mil / -62% / 17 mil
12. Avatar: Special Edition: 4 mil / NEW
13. Despicable Me: 2.7 mil / -42% / 236 mil
14. Scott Pilgrim: 2.5 mil / -53% / 26 mil
15. Salt: 1.9 mil / -44% / 113 mil
16. Dinner for Schmucks: 1.8 mil / -49% / 69 mil
17. Get Low: 1.7 mil / +145% / 3.7 mil
18. Step Up 3D: 1.2 / - 60% / 39 mil
19. Toy Story 3: 1.0 mil / -29% / 406 mil

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Song of the Day, Betty Davis Eyes, Brandon Flowers

I know, I know, enough with the BF already. This is great, though.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Em's back

Yes, I realize he's got the number one album and song (or did until this week), but Marshall's rap in the middle of this track is in a class by itself. Lil Wayne's none too shabby, either. And here is the rest of it.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Song of the Day, When You Were Young (Acoustic), Brandon Flowers

Brandon Flowers sang this Killers classic last night in New York. Can't wait for his album to come out on September 14.

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A Prophet - A-

On DVD (2009). Rated R, 156 minutes. Trailer.

A Prophet is a French film about a low level criminal, Malik El Djebena, and his Darwinian ascent to the top of the French criminal system. Nominated by the Academy for Best Foreign Film in 2009, the film is a 'think-piece' that will require more than 1 viewing to fully digest. Malik enters prison and his plan to keep to himself is quickly disrupted when the ruling gang (the Corsicans) issues him an ultimatum: either he kills someone for them, or they kill him. After he agonizes over his task, he is slowly accepted by the Corsicans while being spurned by the muslims. He is a French Arab, which means that neither group really accepts him, but that he has a little bit of street cred with each sect. Click below for more on a gritty and lyrical film.

The film is bookended by Malik's entry and exit from prison. His gradual ascent is achieved through hard work, ruthlessness, luck and brains. In that way the film feels like an ode to survival. The film moves into "A" territory with its artful analysis of the impact of his actions on Malik's soul. Throughout the film he is haunted by his first victim, and his best friend's bout with cancer and his young family keep Malik tethered to who he is.

The best sequences are on all of Malik's "day passes" where he gets to leave prison for 12 hours at a time and do the bidding of his Corsican leader and his own empire on the side. All of his interactions (especially the search at the airport) are first rate and show his uncanny knack for survival and strength.

I need to watch this again to really do this review justice. The film started at a B+, but rose quickly to an A- after thinking and reflecting on the film. Several sequences are stuck in my brain and I have grown very fond of Malik's character. One interesting note is how nice and humane the French prisons are. Worth the 2.5 hours.

P.S. Will Priest post in August?

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Song of the Day - Corner of My Room, Turner Cody

Great Dylan-esque bluesy song with super-great lyrics. "I'm counting Lincolns and living in the corner of my room."

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New Trailers

1. 127 Hours - Director Danny Boyle tells the tale of the hiker (James Franco) who had to cut off his arm to save himself. Also with noted actress Kate Mara.

2. Conviction - Hilary Swank, Minnie Driver, Melissa Leo and Sam Rockwell star in this wrongful conviction/courtroom drama that looks cliched and great at the same time. Good trailer with excellent music.

3. Fair Game - Director Doug Liman (Swingers/Bourne Identity) directs Sean Penn and Naomi Watts in the story of Valerie Plame - looks great, but not sure I can get over the politics to enjoy it. The real life Plame is a joke.

4. Morning Glory - Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford in an odd couple dramedy that again looks cheesy but also good. Love prickly Ford.

5. Waiting For Superman - I must be going soft - this looks great. A documentary on education in America from the director of An Inconvenient Truth.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Song of the Day - I'm In Love With You, Jared Evan

Rap/Rock combo is reminiscent of Beastie Boys with a taste of Oasis(!?). Great chorus and delivery.

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HBO Sunday Night - 8/22/10

Entourage: Sniff Sniff Gang Bang
Season 7, Episode 8

Due to the threat of lawsuits and divorce, Ari is forced to be nicer, but he needs some practice. Vince's girlfriend gets an offer to star in a porno. Vince refuses to take a drug test and Eric finally grows a pair. This was easily Eric's best episode of the season as he took on Scott and Phil (William Fichtner). Eric was then forced to retreat as Vince started making demands. Eric Connolly and Adrian Grenier were as good here as they've been in a long, long time. I loved the confrontational last scene. Not to be outdone, Jeremy Piven was hilarious during his sole outburst of the episode. B+

Hung: Third Base or the Rash
Season 2, Episode 8

Ray injures his rotator cuff during a reunion with his pregnant client which puts his participation in a fundraiser, a high school alumni game, into question. Tanya continues to mismanage her business and her life. Ronnie discovers Jessica's rash and confronts Ray. This over-directed episode had many distracting camera angles and close-ups that served no thematic or substantive purpose. I did like Jessica reliving her youth and Gregg Henry's performance (as the lovestruck Mike). My favorite part of the episode was the high school pitcher giving his coach the heads up. There are some kids out there that "get it". B

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Monday, August 23, 2010

DVD and Blu-ray Releases 8/24/10

Abandoned - #
Age of Stupid
Back-Up Plan - #
City Island - #
Dorian Gray - #
$5 a Day - #
The Square - #
Survival of the Dead - #
Titanic II

Click below for this week's TV and Blu-ray releases.

Gossip Girl: 3rd Season
Lost: Complete 6th Season - #
NCIS: Season
The Simpsons: 13th Season

Long Good Friday - *
Machine Gun McCain
Mona Lisa
Shogun Assassin
Time Bandits
The Universe - Our Solar System - *
Withnail and I

# - also on Blu-ray
* - Doctor approved

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Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Girl Who Played With Fire - B

In theaters. Not Rated, 129 minutes. Trailer.

The Girl Who Played With Fire is the second film in author Stieg Larsson's Millenium trilogy. Fire is a continuation of the excellent first film, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, furthering the story of the enigmatic Lisbeth Salander, now more normal looking and in search of a regular life in Sweden. After her old tormentor Bjurman hires a treacherous criminal outfit to find a damning DVD that Salander has, things get very complicated for Lisbeth. Click below for more on a thrilling film:

She sets up shop in Stockholm but is soon accused of 3 murders tangentially related to her, so her old friend Michael Blomkist from the newspaper tries to help her. She doesn't want any help, so her friends get targeted and victimized by the thugs, including a thug that has a nervous disorder where he feels no pain. As with Fire, this film has dozens of mysteries and reveals, so a substantial discussion of the plot really isn't possible.

The film is extremely tense and puzzling the whole time, but lacks the depth and classic mystery of the first film. Noomi Rapace's performance as Lisbeth agains carries the film - her intensity and portrayal of a panoply of emotions in a very understated way is magnificent. Even though it is a B, I really enjoyed it and the progression of her character. I especially loved the scene that ends with her riding the motorcycle and the scene where the boxer follows the thug to the barn.

Worth your time. Up next is the last film in the trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest - Trailer.

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Weekend Box Office: 8/20-8/22/10

5 new movies seemed to hit their target audience with minimal crossover. Stallone and company took their second weekend - obviously hitting the pre-NFL male audience at the right time.


1. The Expendables: 16.5 mil / -53% / 65 mil
2. Vampires Suck: 12.2 mil / NEW / 18.6 mil
3. Eat Pray Love: 12 mil / -48% / 47 mil
4. Lottery Ticket: 11.1 mil / NEW
5. The Other Guys: 10.1 mil / -42% / 88 mil
6. Piranha 3D: 10.0 mil / NEW
7. Nanny McPhee Returns: 8.3 mil / NEW
8. The Switch: 8.1 mil / NEW
9. Inception: 7.7 mil / -32% / 262 mil
10. Scott Pilgrim: 5 mil / -53% / 20.7 mil
11. Despicable Me: 4.3 mil / -38% / 231 mil
12. Dinner for Schmucks: 3.5 mil / -44% / 66 mil
13. Salt: 3.4 mil / -45% / 110 mil
14. Step Up 3D: 6.6 / - 58% / 30 mil
15. Cats & Dogs: 1.5 mil / -63% / 39 mil
16. Toy Story 3: 1.4 mil / -35% / 404 mil

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Song of the Day - Bulletproof

By La Roux

Straight of the 80s and catchy as hell. A little too catchy - haven't been able to get it out of my head. Also out of the 80s are the singer's hair and make-up. Avoid the official video, she may ruin it for you.

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Four more from Hitchcock


After an accident at his factory, a worker is falsely accused of sabotage. He follows clues across the country to clear his name. Hitchcock has some startling visuals (the umbrella scene Brian De Palma ripped off in Bonfire of the Vanities for starters) and the ending at the top of the Statue of Liberty is superb, especially given the technical limitations of 1942. B+

Shadow of a Doubt

Hitchcock's reportedly favorite film of his own is slow and deliberate, but still interesting and bold. Joseph Cotten plays Uncle Charlie who lives in the big city. He comes to visit his family in a small town as news of a serial killer spreads. You have to admire Hitchcock creating territory that David Lynch would make a career out of 40 years later. But since there is very little mystery, you're left with the characters and their psychoses. That's basically enough mostly due to Cotten, who delivers several misogynist speeches very well. B+

The Birds

Tippi Hedren visits a small town in mid-California and birds of different feathers begin attacking people. Hedren and Rod Taylor's back-and-forth is terrific and Hitchcock's set-piece at the gas station is one of the very best scenes of his career. The shock-cut with all the birds on the playground equipment is still stunning. The discussion about the end of the world and how people react to it gives the film enough substance to get by, but the last 30 minutes or so in the house are more dull than claustrophobic. And the film is frustratingly open-ended. B+


Everything everyone has ever said is true. The best left-turn in cinematic history. Anthony Perkins is so perfect here, he was typecast for life. The low-budget black and white visuals couldn't be improved. The dialogue is playful and smart with the double-entendres flying. And Bernard Herrmann's string score is still shocking and perfect. The film has been often imitated, never equalled - not even close. But you probably didn't need me to tell you that. A+

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Man Who Knew Too Much - B

Several of Alfred Hitchcock's movies have been playing on the high-definition cable stations this summer and in some ways it's like seeing them for the first time. In the case of the 1956 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much, it's like seeing it for the last, at least the 2nd half of the film. An Indianapolis doctor (Jimmy Stewart) and his wife (Doris Day) are on vacation in Morocco with their son when they meet a mysterious man. When he is murdered the next day, he whispers an assassination plot to the doctor with his last breath. The conspirators then kidnap the kid and the parents set out to find him . . .

The film is going perfectly fine while in Morocco with Stewart's lackadaisical charm providing enough humor to keep things interesting. Hitchcock creates a nice set-piece when the marketplace murder happens where he is strongly aided Bernard Herrmann's typically hypnotic, mesmerizing score. But when the film shifts to England, the pace grinds to a halt and there is basically no plot advancement for nearly an hour. Hitchcock also has a difficult time keeping control of the tone. An attempt at humor at a taxidermy shop fails to due to its overt silliness, especially when a parent's worst nightmare - a child's kidnapping - drives the plot. One of the major critiques of Hitchcock's filmography is its lack of moral seriousness and that is definitely true here.The casting of Day, one of the biggest stars of her time, also feels like a lost opportunity. She's completely out of place in a Hitchcock film, evidently put there to only sing a song (Oscar winner "Que Sera, Sera") that sticks out like a sore thumb - just like Day. Hitchcock would cast his post-Grace Kelly blondes better. Stewart is terrific as usual, but is much better in his Hitchcock collaborations both before (Rear Window) and after (Vertigo) this one. And that's sort of the problem with The Man Who Knew Too Much (Hitchcock's only remake) - it reminds you of much better films. At its very best, the film feels like a dry run of Vertigo, with Stewart following people around as a similar musical score pushes him forward. Most directors would kill to make a film as good as a "bad" Hitchcock film. B

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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

New Trailers.

1. Love and Other Drugs - Jake Gylenhaal and Anne Hathaway do a romcom. Maybe. Update - New recut trailer that reveals the Parkinson's angle.

2. Freakonomics - Documentary from Alex Gibney based on the fascinating book of the same name.

3. Black Swan - Director Darren Aronofsky directs Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis in a pyschological ballet thriller.

4. I'm Still Here - Weird documentary about Joaquin Phoenix directed by his brother in law Casey Affleck. Not sure if this is a hoax or what.

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The Expendables - B-

In Theaters, 103 minutes
Rated: Hard R for violence

A mercenary team (including Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren, Jet Li, Jason Statham, and Terry Crews) returns to America after a successful trip to Somalia. One is starting to crack (Lundgren), one is having girl problems (Statham), and one is needing money (Li). Their handler (Mickey Rourke) finds them new jobs, the next being through a CIA agent (Bruce Willis) who wants the team to go to a Caribbean island to overthrow a dictator. Ross (Stallone) and Christmas (Statham) go to the island for recon and surveillance only to find a hopeless situation. After Tool (Rourke) tells Ross about a decades old incident that he still regrets, Ross decides to return to the island to set things right . . .

The first 35 minutes are rough with every character mugging for the camera and jokes that fall incredibly flat. The much ballyhooed cameo appearances of Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger are fine, but the writing goes for the obvious jokes that take you out of the movie and remind you of films when everyone was fitter and younger. Li is mostly wasted and the butt of short stature jokes. The quick cutting doesn't mesh well with Li's incredible physical martial arts talent which deserves to be seen with the camera pulled back in long shots. Steve Austin (a bad guy henchman) and Lundgren are impressive with their physicality and strength, but neither are given enough lines to create an actual character. Yet another 80s icon, Eric Roberts, has some good (if derivative) scenes as the main bad guy.

Much of the story relies on the chemistry between Stallone and Statham that just isn't there. They both have terrific charisma and charm separately and can obviously carry a film on their own. They seem willing to share the screen with each other but the relationship feels forced. Since Rourke and Stallone are friends in real life, their pairing works much better on screen. Rourke's first scene is awkward, with the actor flailing as he improvises, but he knocks a crucial scene out of the park. When he describes losing the last little bit of his soul and pupose, you can't help but feel writer-director Stallone saying the same thing about America (in the context of a retro-80s action film).

After leaving the island the first time by plane, Ross and Christmas decide to double back and take out (with spectacular flair) a bunch of bad guys who are still on the pier from which they just left. Not coincidentally, the film immediately turns from forgettable, sloppy, and mindless to exciting, respectable, and mindless. Stallone stages one of the best car chase scenes in recent memory and nicely delivers the climactic attack on a villa. Statham has a rousing scene all by himself, taking on several civilian basketball players. Stallone plays it completely straight with obvious plot points, even more obvious twists, and a predictable ending; but what he lacks in originality, he makes up for in execution. It doesn't hit the testosterone bullseye like his last film Rambo, where a group of similar mercenaries similarly go on a similar rescue mission. He was helped in that film by having a specific (and iconic) character that he created over several films. That specificity gave the film a distinctive personality. In The Expendables, character is indeed expendable - there's too many dudes given too little time to matter. But it really won't matter to the audience that liked Rambo.

First third: C
Last two/thirds: B
Total: B-

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Songs of the Day - Brandon Flowers

Tracks from his new album keep trickling out. Here's a remix of "Only the Young" and a link to "Playing With Fire" and "Hard Enough".

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HBO Sunday Night - 8/15/10

Entourage: Tequila and Coke
Season 7, Episode 7

Turtle starts distributing tequila around LA but overextends himself. Vince's downward spiral deepens which creates uncertainty with the powers that be. Billy Walsh has a TV show idea for Drama. And Ari's negotiation with Lizzie (and the NFL) finally reaches a conclusion. Walsh's return to the show has provided a mid-season spark, mostly due to his new moral compass. Jeremy Piven and Kevin Dillon continue their excellent work in their signature roles. They're able to give energy and interest to any line of dialogue. The show is the best place for guest celebrities with no less than Mark Wahlberg, P. Diddy, and Lenny Kravitz in single, brief scenes. I'm glad the NFL thing is over and hope Ms. Ari allows Lizzie to join the Miller-Gold agency. B+

Hung: The Middle East is Complicated
Season 2, Episode 7

Ray clearly shows how little he understands about Mideast politics when his new Lebanese client questions him about his Israeli next door neighbor. A scorned Lenore acts out at a ladies' book club meeting (about Cormac McCarthy's The Road!). A stressed Jessica develops a rash, and Tanya asks for more than advice from Charlie. Ray learning how to relate to women through a political discussion way above his head is an unusually satisfying way to go. One of the season's best lines (from his male neighbor Koontz, who's cheating on his wife with hookers) explains a lot about the show and everything else: "I like my wife more than the hookers. I do. But I like myself when I'm with them." The show remains surprisingly skillful at using questionable behavior to expose universal truths about human nature. B+

PS: Since Ray is forced to choose sides, I guess I will too: Out of respect to the 3000 people who died on 9/11/01 at the hands of radical Islamic terrorists, a mosque should not be built on Ground Zero. Radical Muslims will view it as a victory and it may encourage future attacks. 68-73% of the country thinks along the same lines, Mr. Obama. Not that you care what your constituents think - or want.

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DVD and Blu-ray Releases 8/17/10

Cemetery Junction - #
City of Your Final Destination - #
Furry Vengeance - #
The Good, the Bad, and the Weird - #
The Last Song - #
Temple Grandin - *

Click below for this week's TV and Blu-ray releases.

Cougar Town: 1st Season
Dexter: 4th Season
Friday Night Lights: 4th Season
One Tree Hill: 7th Season
Ugly Betty: 4th Season

Black Orpheus (Criterion) - *
Hamlet (1996) - *
Nanny McPhee

# - also on Blu-ray
* - Doctor approved

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Song of the Day - Glitter in the Air

By Pink (!)

A beautiful song with interesting chord changes and inspired lyrics. Unlike her modern counterparts, Pink appears to have quite a bit of talent and no longer relies on shock value. Plus, since she named herself after Steve Buscemi's Reservoir Dogs character, she gets a pass. It appears to be over a year old, but I just came across it recently.

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Christopher Hitchens on Charlie Rose

Worth your time.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weekend Box Office: 8/13-8/15/10

Sylvester Stallone extended his recent career resurgence with a who's who of recent action film history (minus JCVD). Julia Roberts's return looks like it should be titled "Sleep Snore Leave" instead. As the Edgar Wright fanatic around these parts, even I thought Michael Cera's latest looked suspect.


1. The Expendables: 35 mil / NEW
2. Eat Pray Love: 23.7 mil / NEW
3. The Other Guys: 18 mil / -49% / 70.5 mil
4. Inception: 11.4 mil / -39% / 249 mil
5. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: 10.5 mil / NEW
6. Despicable Me: 6.8 mil / -27% / 222 mil
7. Step Up 3D: 6.6 / - 58% / 30 mil
8. Salt: 6.4 mil / -42% / 104 mil
9. Dinner for Schmucks: 6.3 mil / -39% / 59 mil
10. Cats & Dogs: 4.0 mil / -41% / 35 mil
11. Toy Story 3: 2.2 mil / -31% / 401 mil
12. Charlie St. Cloud: 2.1 mil / -56% / 28 mil
13. Kids Are All Right: 1.4 mil / -48% / 17 mil

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Mosque at the World Trade Center

Doc has posted extensively about the World Trade Center in film, and I can't help but comment about President Obama's comments on the planned mosque near Ground Zero, the place where radical Muslims attacked the United States, its way of life and its economic system. Click below for more on the mosque and Obama:

Let me be clear - I agree unequivocally that the muslims have the right to build a mosque on private property anywhere they want in the United States, including close to Ground Zero. The fact that our country would allow such a mosque to be built close to such a sacred location is part of what makes it great and infintely better than Islamic countries. But to do so is extremely inappropriate and an aggressive provocation by a religion that includes zealots that celebrate that attack.

Being allowed to practice your religion freely is different than having the President of the United States embracing that religion, which BHO is clearly doing in his remarks (linked to above). I disagree wholeheartedly with even hosting an "Iftar Dinner" at all and honoring a religion that a not insignificant percentage of hates America. And I say this as someone that can't stand watching Glenn Beck and has a decent amount of respect for Obama. His comments whitewash Islam and hyperbolize any contrition and patriotism that has been shown. Video of some of the comments here.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Insane Clown Posse - Gathering This Weekend

If you loved Miracles, click here for more unintentional comedy.

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Song of the Day - We Could Fall In Love Again Tonight, David Gray

Another new song of his forthcoming album in a cool format from the Guardian. DG + an acoustic guitar = perfection.

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HBO Sunday Night - 8/8/10

Entourage: Hair
Season 7, Episode 6

Turtle has trouble sealing the deal with his new girlfriend, Ari tries to fend off a lawsuit, and Eric tries to manage Vince's terrific new job offer as the star's self-destructive streak deepens. The discussion about female grooming patterns became surprisingly interesting when the "professional", Sasha Grey, entered the swimming pool and subverted all previous discussions. The cliffhanger ending would have meant more had they not included Vince on the preview for next week's show. Rob Morrow and Carla Gugino were terrific as Ari's lawyer and Ari's rival, respectively. B

Hung: Beaverland
Season 2, Episode 6

My winner of the least subtle metaphor of the year. Jessica finds a beaver in her basement and tries to get Ray to capture it since her current husband (Ronnie) won't deal with the "beaver problem". Elsewhere, Ray has trouble making his latest client happy which adds to the recent emasculating event where another client preferred his balding, overweight colleague (Mike) to him. Just as Ray is doubting his abilities, Lenore shows up at his door, ready for action. The writing was almost back on track with interesting interplay and history between Ray, Jessica, Ronnie, and Lenore. The emasculation of Ray is an interesting direction to take the show. B

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

DVD and Blu-ray Releases 8/10/10

Date Night - #
Death at a Funeral - #
The Diplomat - #
The Good Heart
Helen - #
The Joneses - #
The Killing Room - #
Letters to God
La Mission - #
Multiple Sarcasms - #
Triage - #

Click below for this week's Blu-ray releases.

Crumb - Criterion - *
In the Shadow of the Moon
National Lampoon's Vacation
National Lampoon's European Vacation
What's Up, Doc? - *

# - also on Blu-ray
* - Doctor approved

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Monday, August 9, 2010

In the Loop - Revisited

I reviewed In The Loop last August and gave it a B+. After watching it about 5 more times over the past week on pay-cable, I need to revise that to an A-. The film's full throttle cynicism, vulgarity and creativity get as close to my own sensibilities as any film I can remember. I love the toxic disregard of incompetence and sycophants and blatant scoffing of "principled stands" and false morality. The film recognizes and celebrates that we're all fallen and provides great cutting (i.e. brilliant) dialogue. If you haven't seen it, do. If you have, do yourself a favor and watch it again.

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Other Guys - B+

In theaters. Rated PG-13, 107 minutes. Trailer.

Finally a summer comedy that works. Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg create chemistry and laughs in director Adam McKay's (Anchorman) The Other Guys. Ferrell and Wahlberg are workaday desk jockey detectives in the NYPD. Wahlberg is a talented cop pushed into obscurity after an infamous mistake and Ferrell is a geeky straight-shooter with no attitude. After the rock star cops (Samuel L. Jackson and The Rock) get killed, our team takes on a big case involving financial chicanery and their true personalities come out. Click below for more on TOG:

McKay gets the tone just right throughout the film - absurdity with just enough plot to hang the laughs on. Ferrell's character is an extension of Frank the Tank from Old School and Wahlberg reminds me most of his frustrated Marine from Three Kings. Michael Keaton, Eva Mendes and Rob Riggle provide quality comedic support in the film. The film is dense with laugh out loud moments, especially as Ferrell's former life as a pimp named "gator" starts to come back. I also enjoyed the 'frozen' montage set to the Black Eyed Peas, the repeated TLC jokes, any Little River Band jokes, and Keaton.

I can't wait to see this one again.


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Weekend Box Office: 8/6-8/8/10

Will Ferrell is back on top after last summer's terrible Land of the Lost. Inception's holds are actually improving. And Toy Story 3 is quietly closing in on #9 all-time.


1. The Other Guys: 35.6 mil / NEW
2. Inception: 18.6 mil / -32% / 228 mil
3. Step Up 3D: 15.5 / NEW
4. Salt: 11 mil / -43% / 92 mil
5. Dinner for Schmucks: 10.5 mil / -55% / 47 mil
6. Despicable Me: 9.4 mil / -39% / 209 mil
7. Cats & Dogs 3D: 6.9 mil / -44% / 26 mil
8. Charlie St. Cloud: 4.7 mil / -62% / 23.5 mil
9. Toy Story 3: 3 mil / -41% / 396 mil
10. Kids Are All Right: 2.6 mil / -26% / 14 mil
11. Grown Ups: 2.4 mil / -46% / 155 mil
12. Sorcerer's Apprentice: 2.3 mil / -47% / 57 mil
13. Eclipse: 2.3 mil / -43% / 293 mil
14. Ramona & Beezus: 1.6 mil / -58% / 21 mil

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Saturday, August 7, 2010

Songs of the Weekend.

1. The Killers' Brandon Flowers has a new solo album coming out September 14. The first single "Crossfire" is great (video features Charlize Theron). Could be a great album - Priest, please note it features a duet with Jenny Lewis.

2. Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie" finds greatness with another songstress collaboration - this time Rihanna.

3. New David Gray single "A Moment Changes Everything" from the new album "Foundling", coming out August 14.

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Emmitt Smith in Hall of Fame

Ceremony is tomorrow (8/7).

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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Dying Hitchens

And here is his essay on his cancer.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

HBO Sunday Night - 8/1/10

Entourage: Bottoms Up
Season 7, Episode 5

Vince starts seeing Sasha Grey, Turtle tries to get Vince to shill some cheap Tequila, Drama loses his TV role to Bob Saget, and Eric and Sloan try anal sex. You can be forgiven for quitting the series altogether after (during?) this episode. While the porn star part was handled as well as possible and Drama was pathetically humorous, Eric and Sloan went from super boring to super disgusting. Thankfully, as Ari said to Lloyd as they were approaching Jessica Simpson's front door, it was "just like old times" for Ari this episode as he tried to hold onto clients, also including Mike Tyson and Aaron Sorkin. Sorkin seemed to have inspired the writers to try harder during his great scene, but Tyson's reaction after Ari talks about Tyson biting an ear off was the best moment of the night. B

Hung: A Man, a Plan
Season 2, Episode 5

Damon embarrasses his sister with a personal poem, Jessica and Ronnie fight during sex, and Damon unknowingly eats too many pot scones, which causes him to hallucinate. After logically tracing the steps where a divorced gym teacher with twin teenagers becomes a successful gigolo (with a heart of gold), the series took its first unbelievable turn when Ray tries to get Mike to sub for him at a dinner date, thereby potentially exposing his extracurricular adventures to his co-workers and ruining his reputation, career, relationship with his kids, and future plans with his ex-wife. Though you couldn't tell it from the marketing and advertising, the show has never "really" been about male prostitution. It's more about family and interpersonal connections. Even though Ray chose his son over his date, he put everything in jeopardy and there were plenty of other options - like telling the truth for starters. Ray's never had a problem with that before. B-

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bigger, Faster, Stronger - B+

On DVD (2008). Rated PG-13, 105 minutes. Trailer.

Very little in life is truly black and white. Thankfully, director Chris Bell approaches the topic of anabolic steroids with this perspective in his documentary Bigger, Faster, Stronger. He uses his family as the narrative structure of the film, specifically his older and younger brothers, both of whom have used steroids for years. He tries to examine why they use steroids and whether that is a good thing or a bad thing. Along the way he speaks with athletes (sprinter Ben Johnson, Floyd Landis and sprinter Carl Lewis, among others), doctors, and others about the negative effects of steroids. Click below for more on BFS:

Bell shows great skill as he takes the different sides to task, asking difficult questions in difficult situations. The film doesn't really answer the questions it poses, but I think Bell is saying that steroids shouldn't be illegal. As he presents it in the film, their actual medical danger is minimal compared to most legal drugs and certainly alcohol and cigarettes. He is also saying that we as Americans are essentially demanding it from our athletes (I don't buy this argument). The best scenes of the film are with Floyd Landis (which shows that cheating is relative) and with a grieving father of a kid that committed suicide.

The film plays a little weird because he is having his own family open up and speak frankly abou each other.

Worth your time, especially if you are an athlete.

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Monday, August 2, 2010

DVD and Blu-ray Releases 8/3/10

After.Life - #
Diary of a Wimpy Kid - #
Ghost Writer - #
Heroes: Season 4 - #
Kick-Ass - #
Open House - #
A Prophet - #
SNL: Best of Will Ferrell Vol. 3

Click below for this week's Blu-ray releases.

Blood Simple - *
The Breakfast Club
Bull Durham - *
Charlie's Angels
Elvis on Tour
Escape from New York
Great Waldo Pepper
Humanoids from the Deep
James and the Giant Peach
Road to Perdition - *

# - also on Blu-ray
* - Doctor approved

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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dinner for Schmucks - D+ (!)

In theaters. Rated PG-13, 114 minutes. Trailer.

More like movie for schmucks (rimshot). I don't understand how so many talented people could make a movie this bad. Starring Steve Carell and Paul Rudd with supporting work from Jemaine Clement, Zach Galifinakis, Ron Livingston and Kristen Schaal and directed by notable director Jay Roach, this film is this year's Invention of Lying - a Lawyer dream on paper, a Lawyer nightmare onscreen. The film is an adaptation of a French film and tells the story of an up and coming executive (Rudd) that gets invited to a dinner where dorks are invited and made fun of unknowingly by the 'cool' executives. In our case, Carell serves as the dork and chief irritant. Click below for more DFS:

After Rudd hits Carell with his car, the two suddenly become inexplicably inseparable after Carell reveals his hobby of mouse dioramas. Rudd has found his dupe for the dinner and apparently his new best friend. The dinner comes at a key time in Rudd's career - if the dinner goes well, Rudd will get a huge promotion. He is also trying to get his girlfriend to marry him - but she doesn't approve of his participation in the dinner. What a quandary - he then inexplicably lies to his wife that he is going - makes no sense at all. He ends up going to the dinner after lots of 'hijinks' and then turns on his boss and co-workers in favor of all of the dorks, thereby ruining his career.

At about 30 minutes in, this film was starting to settle in as a B-, but then Jay Roach steered the plane straight toward the earth and it ended at a D+. Why isn't it funny? Because Steve Carell as the lovable dork has been done and redone 1 million times. But, mostly because the script is terrible and the Jay Roach apparently thought he was directing a self-esteem video for sixth graders.

The corporate guys that Rudd tries to impress are all 1 dimensional cliched characters. Rudd's wife is apparently naive enough to think that people shouldn't be made fun of, even if you're whole career depends on it and the people you're making fun of don't know or care in the first place. The film is all over the place tonally, switching from madcap physical comedy to sappy sentimentality in the blink of an eye. The final scene with the bird, the fire, the broken glass and the loser solidarity nearly made me charge the screen. The scene with Carell and Rudd's ex-girlfriend is so unfunny it hurts.

I would've given this an F if not for Jemaine Clement's artist character - he delivers plenty of one liners and weird animal non-sequitirs to at least get you through the film. ZG isn't funny even for one second.


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Weekend Box Office: 7/30-8/1/10

Another incredible hold for Inception, which will hopefully interest the studios to make similar films. 3 new films mostly disappointed. Steve Carell has 2 of the top 4 films - that's the world we live in.


1. Inception: 27.5 mil / -36% / 193 mil
2. Dinner for Schmucks: 23 mil / NEW
3. Salt: 19 mil / -47% / 70 mil
4. Despicable Me: 15 mil / -34% / 190 mil
5. Cats & Dogs 3D: 12.5 mil / NEW
6. Charlie St. Cloud: 12 mil / NEW
7. Toy Story 3: 5 mil / -44% / 389 mil
8. Grown Ups: 4.5 mil / -39% / 150 mil
9. Sorcerer's Apprentice: 4.3 mil / -55% / 51 mil
10. Eclipse: 4 mil / -45% / 288 mil
11. Ramona & Beezus: 3.7 mil / -53% / 16 mil
12. Kids are All Right: 3.4 mil / +33% / 9.5 mil

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