Search This Blog

Thursday, February 10, 2011

2011 post 4: Revenge of the Nachos

Entry relating to 1/22/2011 – 1/28/2011
Movies Seen: First Time Viewed*
Escape from L.A. (1996 John Carpenter)
L.A. Confidential (1998 Curtis Hanson)
Spies Like Us (1985 John Landis)*
Exit through the Gift Shop (2010 Banksy)*
No Strings Attached (2011 Ivan Reitman)*
The Siege (1998 Edward Zwick)

Even amount of revisits and brand news. I think I am going to try to watch a documentary every week. That way I’ll feel edu-ma-cated. Uh helk! I have the machinations to start a project soon. I would like to tell you about it when I have more of the details nailed down. It will include an audio portion, so if you hate my voice, tell me now.

Escape from L.A.:
What a stupid movie. Do I need to write anymore? Seriously? Fine. A revisit for me, I remembered this movie being bad. So far with these revisits I actually seem to recall things perfectly well. I understand that this movie was supposed to be over the top fun, BUT COME ON!!! Bad stereotypes, stupid characters played by great actors, and NO BOOBS! Ok, it didn’t need boobs, I just wanted something to spice up my complaints. If you want to see Peter Fonda playing a surfer… who rides tsunamis… and…. You know what? There’s no reason to watch this movie. Just erase it from my mind now.

L.A. Confidential:
I didn’t do the double shot of L.A. on purpose, I swear. This movie is still really great. I don’t think I have to go into what makes this movie so good. You other love it or you don’t. I’ve been hearing a lot about how Kevin Spacey is an over-rated actor lately, and honestly I don’t see it. He may not have very many notes, but he is always very solid. Another thing that occurred to me while watching this, the whole casting foreign actors as Americans? Nothing new. Never was. The complaints that foreigners always play Americans just does hold any water, because it’s all about the acting. Stellar movies, great cast, beautiful cinematography.

Spies like Us:
Ha! Oh sorry, I was just remembering that part, with that guy? Yeah, yeah, that was good. I was warned that this movie would be bad, and you know what? I guess I like some BAD movie, because I really liked this one. It had some pacing issues for sure. Every time they left Aykroyd and Chase, there was a bit of a lull, but what can you do. In my opinion it was a pretty solid comedy. Looked terrible off of Netflix, but whatever.

Exit through the Gift Shop:
So, I am not an advocate of street art. Even after seeing this movie I can’t really get behind it; sorry if that makes me seem like a prude. Anyway, the doc was great. A little slow to start, in my opinion, but after it got going I couldn’t look away. It was really very funny, and I think that because no one is really sure if it’s a real doc or not there was an added charm. Either, it’s funny because this is the way it really is, or it’s funny because it is very creative and pokes fun at the right people. You should watch it, not because it’s education, but because you’ll get a kick out of it. Fer reals.

No Strings Attached:
Don’t make fun of me! I wanted to go see True Grit, and Sarah and I were all set to go, when I decided I might be hungry. Mistake. Meal took to long to get to us, all my fault, yadda yadda yadda. So, I wasn’t just going to let the evening escape me, and I knew Sarah wanted to see No Strings Attached, so we went. I’ll tell you know, prepared for you to laugh at me, it wasn’t that bad at all. Unlike the Apatow stuff, there weren’t any way out there situations thrown into the plot to add a sense of goofyness to the movie. Nothing too unrealistic. Sure, Ashton Kutcher being charming seems kind of unrealistic, but I digress. It had a lot of laugh out loud moments for me. Just good dialogue driven humor. No boobs though. It’s a sex comedy! Where is my nudity!?

The Siege:
Every time I type “The Siege” I spell it wrong!!!! Sigh. Another revisit for me, I remember this movie being pretty good. I also remember the plot being more complicated than it actually was. He did this, she didn’t do that, Denzel wins the day, bam. My question is, did anyone go back and revisit this movie right after 9/11? There were some pretty scary ideas in here, certainly the kind of stuff that would make people fearful and ignorant. Or was that the point? Anyway, Bruce Willis did it. There, I said it.

I am feeling kind of bored with the films I have been watching. I need to watch something that will wow me, blow my socks off, you the sort of thing. Have any suggestions for me? Please email me and or write me on Twitter @JDTMovies. Also, I have that facebook page so people can tell me what to do. I need direction and structure!!!

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Post 3 for 2011. Am I writing these too short?

Entry Regarding 1/15/2011 – 1/21/2011

Movies Seen: First Time Viewed*
Encounters at the End of the World (2007 Werner Herzog)*
Almost Heroes (1998 Christopher Guest)
The Social Network (2010 David Fincher)*
The King’s Speech (2010 Tom Hooper)*
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009 Wes Anderson)

I’m finally catching up on some 2010 hits. Two winners in this group fer sure.

Encounters at the End of the World:
Obviously a beautiful doc to look at (almost any nature doc will be), this doc was great for another reason. The documentary focused on the people who choose to come to and live in this strange snow covered land. People that work hard every day, choosing to be so far away from “civilization” for their own varied reasons. It’s really interesting to hear Verner interview these people. Most of the time it they give off a sense of loneliness, and a strange sense of humor and morbidity. One of the most memorable parts is when Verner is interviewing the man who studies the penguins, and he choose to ask him about penguin sexuality. Why did he do that? I really liked Encounters, and I think you should watch it, then go out and make your own doc. Seriously, we should all do one in our lives. It can be about whatever you want.

Almost Heroes:
Can you believe this movie is directed by Christopher Guest? Crazy huh? Not at all like any of his “mockumentaries”, the movies does at least scrape at faux-history. This was another re-examination for myself. I always remembered this movie being pretty funny, but I almost never hear anyone talk about it. And it was funny, but there are some pacing issues I suppose. Chris Farley steals the show as usual, but everyone else in the movie are very good too. I especially liked Eugene Levy playing the stinky French man. I am not used to seeing him play anything but the awkward Jewish guy. As for Matthew Perry, well, I am biased. I seem to have a fetish for the man as I love Fools Rush In, Three to Tango, and The Whole Nine Yards. You just want to be friends with him! Maybe someday he and I can braid each other’s hair and have a sleepover.

The Social Network:
So, yeah, I like Aaron Sorkin’s work. I am a big fan of Sports Night, I can’t really say why. Something good about the rhythm. Yeah… anyway. I imagine a lot of people have already made their way to a theater to see this movie. The paint a really interesting story based on the court transcripts alone. Maybe we should give Sorkin some more stuff that would normally be considered boring. Jessie Eisenberg is just amazing. He finally steps out of the Michael Sera shadow some many people have been seeing him under. I suppose I could list some complaints about the movie, if I have any. Let me see… yeah, I got nothing. Just, watch the movie. There’s nothing more to say.

The King’s Speech:
Excellent movie. We knew it was going to be excellent right? I mean, was anyone really worried that Colin Firth couldn’t pull off King George VI? Or that Geoffrey Rush wouldn’t be as good as he always is? I would watch him in anything (and have. I’ve seen House on Haunted Hill. BARF). Sarah (my girlfriend and movie companion) tells me that people in England seem to be lukewarm on the film. Is it because they all know the story already or something? Maybe they hate Australians or something? The film is a great period piece that is funny and interesting the entire time. And features, like, half the cast of that 4 hour Pride and Prejudice. You know the really good one? I dare say I liked this movie better than The Social Network. But I have a thing for English men. Who doesn’t?

Fantastic Mr. Fox:
This is pretty much my favorite Wes Anderson movie at this point. I’ve watched it 4 times, including the time at the theater. I like to put it on when I become the default baby-sitter during family gathering. The kids love it, and I love it, so it’s win-win. The music is great, but that’s pretty standard for Anderson films. I just love the jokes. And don’t get me started on the animation. It’s totally Sarah’s fault, but I am starting to like stop-motion better than CG stuff. She gets all the credit. Is there a reason why you haven’t watched this yet? Oh, it didn’t look good to you? GET OVER IT!

I need to go watch an action movie or something. My heart needs to get pumping. Exercise? YOU SHUT YOUR MOUTH.

Questions, comments, or soliloquies, please send them to Follow me on Twitter @JDTMovies.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Week 2 2011. And things just got a little hotter!

Entry relating to 1/8/2011 – 1/14/2011
Movies Seen: First Time Viewed*
The Town (2010 Ben Affleck)*
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets (2007 Jon Turtletaub)
Taken (2008 Pierre Morel)
Winter’s Bone (2010 Debra Granik)*
Horror of Dracula (1958 Terrence Fisher)*
Arlington Road (1999 Mark Pellington)

The Town:
So, everyone expects great things from Ben Affleck now right? I think he is a fine actor, I might even go to say a MIGHTY fine actor. This movie was not that good. I feel like I had seen the whole thing before. And what was the Chris Cooper appearance? Talk about wasting your talent. The only thing good to come out of the movie is my continued admiration for Jeremy Renner. He’s good. Good in a way that makes me question my sexuality. Wait, that came out wrong. Obviously The Hurt Locker was my favorite movie of 2009, so I may be biased. Not much else to say. Not even a very good heist movie.

National Treasure: Book of Secrets:
Was there something really wrong with this movie? Sure, it wasn’t as good as the first movie, but sequels hardly ever are. I am very fond of the National Treasure franchise, and I hope it continues. When it comes to these movies, you either agree with me or you don’t. I think they are pretty good adventure movies with a rich history to back them up. Maybe the problem is this film jumped a little too far into fiction? No, that doesn’t make any sense. Never mind. I liked it.

This movie is pure guilty joy for. Something about Liam Neeson, of all people, kicking copious amounts of arse just makes me grin ear to ear. The fast pace of the movie keeps the entertainment factor at a constant momentum. People who enjoy old fashioned butt-kicker movies need to watch this one.

Winter’s Bone:
This is a film where I do not possess the writing ability to surmise its goodness. See? I just used the word goodness. Enough self-deprecation, I really loved this movie. I don’t know if it was the way it showed me a life style so alien and yet REAL, or the amazing acting all around, but the movie is bittersweet and tragic and just plain good. I know I am just repeating what I have heard from a hundred other sites, but John Hawkes is amazing. You want to know what I am talking about? Watch You and Me and Everyone We Know, then watch Winter’s Bone. I did not believe those were the same people, but that is in fact the case. If you like good movie, please watch this. If you decide you don’t like it, maybe you don’t like good movies? Did you enjoy Wild Wild West?

Horror of Dracula:
I was actually pretty excited to watch this movie. I have heard a lot about Hammer and their horror movies. Unfortunately I left the movie feeling disappointed. Dracula has like 6 lines in the whole movie, which I guess shouldn’t be a big deal. It is a “horror” movie after all. But everyone else in the movie (that is a man) has so many eloquent lines. Peter Cushing is just wonderful to watch, but I wanted more Christopher Lee! Sigh, you can’t always get what you want. Maybe the next film in the series will be better?

Arlington Road:
This is another of those movies I watched when I was younger and can’t really remember what happened. All I remembered from before: I HATED IT. Now having watched it again, I can see the root of that hatred, but I no longer feel that way. See, like my father before me, I used to prefer movies with happy endings. I have always been all about drama, but if the movie didn’t at least end on a hopeful note, it got the old thumbs down. I still give the movie a thumbs down, but only because I thought it was dumb. No one believes the paranoid college professor with ties to the FBI. Why not? There wasn’t a good reason not to at least look into what Jeff Bridges character was saying… jeez. Still not a fan of this movie.

I’m late, I’m late, I know. Starting off the second week like this was not my plan. Hell, the new year hasn’t been going according to my plan at ALL. I am determined to keep this up though. Hopefully if you are reading this you aren’t bored out of your mind. Just slightly insulted.

Please send questions, comments, and letters to Penthouse to

Also, follow me on twitter @JDTMovies. I’m quite boring on there too!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Back by popular demand!!!! Or not.

I know it seems daunting, looking at all the movies I have written about, but I assure you I have the language skills of a 7th grader, and so it should be an easy read. Just look at that run on sentence!

Entry Relating to Week 1/1/2011 – 1/7/2011

Movies Seen: *First Time Viewed
Unforgiven (1992 Clint Eastwood)
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943 Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger)*
Laura (1944 Otto Preminger)*
Stagecoach (1939 John Ford)*
Gilda (1946 Charles Vidor)*
Black Narcissus (1947 Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger)*
The Bicycle Thief (1948 Vittorio De Sica)*
The Red Shoes (1948 Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger)*
Red Sonja (1985 Richard Fleischer)*
The Third Man (1949 Carol Reed)*
The Searchers (1956 John Ford)*

What am I doing here? I have already seen this movie. Any western or Eastwood fan has. This is what I’m doing, listen for a second and I’ll tell you. I am a addict, always spending time rating movies, looking for my favorite (right now it’s High fidelity). Every once in a while, a movie would pop up that I was not quite sure how I felt about, or even remembered seeing. This became my second disk in the Netflix shipments: Movies that I couldn’t quite remember the plot of. Having said that last part, I am sure someone has spit out their drink, thinking “YOU FORGOT! HOW CAN YOU CLAIM TO KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT MOVIES!” First of all, I have never claimed that. Second, watch the movie again. Ok, you’ve done that, now imagine you are 15. I thought I was smart when I was a teen, but I didn’t know shit about movies. This movie moves at a slow and steady pace. The dialogue is wonderful, giving you a real feeling for the characters. Where is all the action? Last 20 minutes of the movie. See, my parents didn’t really encourage me to watch rated R movies as a youngling. The first rated R movie I can remember seeing was The Ghost and the Darkness. Wooooooo…… Anyway, R to me was still in my mind all the blood and guts and swearing and boobs that my teenage mind was demanding, waiting behind the MPAA’s stupid rating shield. Unforgiven was not the movie I was looking for. Now that I am an adult, I can appreciate the pace, the language, the emotion and motive behind each character’s actions. I can see that there are no good and bad in this movie, with the exception of the whores, who are mostly good. When Little Bob (Gene Hackman) does what he does in the movie, it isn’t out of spite or evil nature, he’s just a man doing his job. The movie hands a large morale conflict to the viewer, and based on what I know of some people’s opinion of No Country for Old Men, with its ambiguous ending, I am surprised how many people like Unforgiven. Maybe they just remember how badass Eastwood becomes at the end, and that paints the whole movie for them. All this talk, what it comes to is that I really liked the movie and it is much deeper then I remembered.

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp:
The amount of movies pre-1970 that I have not seen could fill the Grand Canyon. No surprises, I’m just sayin’ is all. This movie is so SO good. I begins with young upstarts racing against the rules of a war game to find a stuffy old man who OBVIOUSLY doesn’t know what real war is like. And then you find out all about the old man, the Colonel Blimp of the title, and you realize that has life is so full and was so filled with tragedy and joy, that his reaction at the beginning of the movies is well deserved. The story is just an absolute delight to watch unfold, and I may now be in love with Powell and Pressburger films on the whole. Just, do yourself a favor and watch this movie. The only other thing I want to point out is that in the beginning the film opens following a swarm of motorcycles and I immediately recalled Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I love seeing shots that inspired other shots!

In the fantasy movie expert version of myself, I am a lover and connoisseur of film noir, knowing how to tell the best from the worst and loving them all anyway. In reality, I don’t think I’m too hot on them. I think I have only seen about five in all my movie watching, so perhaps it’s too early to say. Laura was a bit of a mess to me. It starts off with a voice over with a character that I assumed would be the viewer’s POV, but by the end that was not the case at all. I thought it was a good story, although it gets confusing unless you start off just believing that everyone is a damn dirty liar. When I realized that the tall ugly man in the movie was Vincent Price, I did one of my patented “HA!” sounds. If his goal was to make me hate his character, DONE. If you are anything like me, you will want to smack the shit out of him and scream “stop being so thick!” The movie was alright, I don’t know if I’m in a hurry to see it again though.

Want to hear something shocking? This is only the second John Wayne movie I have ever seen. Oh, you aren’t shocked. Well, never mind then. I watched True Grit in December in preparation to see the new Coen brothers version (which I have not seen yet). I loved it. Stagecoach was not quite as good. For a movie only following around the occupants of the title, it really went all over the place. Spoilers: Someone steals money, a lady has a baby, John Wayne falls in love, the drunk doctor redeems himself, and Wayne then shoots a couple of other cowboys in the street and is set free. See, that’s a lot to hold onto in your head. A long enough movie to cover it all for sure. What I remember most is how worried I was for the stunt men playing the Indians (I almost wrote Native Americans there). Horses were trampling them and they were falling off moving horses and one guy had to fall underneath the moving stagecoach! Jeez, I hope everyone was ok after that. Probably not.

Remember what I just said about film noir? This was a good one. You meet the main protagonist in the beginning, and you follow him all the way through. Wait, I’m not saying it has to be that way, I’m just pointing it out about this movie. Johnny Farrell (Glenn Ford) is a rat. A peasant as one person repeatedly calls him, just plain low class. But you start to like him and by the end you are invested in his future. It’s pretty great how one gets swept up in the storyline. There are some many parts were I wanted to yell at Johnny, tell him to pick up what he has and get the hell out of there, but that isn’t the kind of man he is. Despite his initial rat like appearance, Johnny was loyal to his employer, watching his back and ready to take a bullet for him. And that DAMN DAME HAD TO MUSS IT ALL UP! It’s a beautiful movie to watch, a great story, and I tell you all to go watch it. This is the movie that Red and the other prisoners are watching in The Shawshank Redemption when Andy asks for Rita Hayworth. Just a note.

Black Narcissus:
This is a tough one for me to talk about. Not because I didn’t get it, not because I am sensitive to the plight of nuns worldwide. While watching the movie, I was simultaneously taking care of a very sick cat. Needless to say the movie didn’t have my full attention. From what I can recall, the movie was beautiful to look at, and despite its somber looking cover and description on imdb it was quite funny sometimes. I can’t say I liked it as much as Colonel Blimp, but it was pretty good. I want to watch it again someday when I am more detached from that time period. Also I now know that the mountains can light a fire in your loins. Just sayin’.

The Bicycle Thief:
Or Bicycle Thieves or whatever you want to call it. GET OFF MY BACK! My second Italian neo-realism film, I loved this movie just as much, if not more so then Umberto D. The suffering and sadness of the plight of the main characters is absolutely POTENT in this movie. If I could reach through the dimensional space of the television I would have thrown money at these guys. You just want them to catch a break, and when they do give themselves a little treat, it ends up tasting so bittersweet. I want to recommend this movie to others, but honestly I don’t know how many American film goers have the patience for the pace of the movie. But if you want to see how emotion can TRULY be translated on to the big screen, please check this out. Dear Lord grant this man some MERCY!

The Red Shoes:
This is a film. Words fail me, I don’t even know where to begin. The first thing that comes to mind is something that strikes me as stupid, but I’ll say it anyway: This is a Mary Poppins for adults. Not because it has the whimsy or joy of escaping our world to enter a fantasy, but because when during the actual ballet of the red shoes one is transported briefly to somewhere new, somewhere fantastic. Now, outside of that 20 plus minute ballet scene (which I assure you is NOT BORING IN THE LEAST) is an excellent story about passion, jealousy, and control. The reason I don’t put up a synopsis of movies in these little diddles I write is because I encourage you, the reader, to look into the films on your own. Please, look into this one. If it sounds remotely interesting, check it out. It’s one of the best movies I have ever seen. There, I said it.

Red Sonja:
And then this happened. No, I did not purposely choose two movies in a row with red in the title. This is another gem that the gentlemen of lead me to. I got the general feeling that those guys hated this movie, but I didn’t think it was so bad, a decent adventure film. My biggest complaint is Sandahl Bergman, who played Queen Gedren. She apparently decided that a minimalist approach was appropriate for the movie. WRONG! You should have been over the top! You weren’t going to make the movie worse, and there was even a chance you could have improved it! Instead she is dry as plain toast. Sigh. Well, otherwise it was a fun little distraction from real life. Ok sword fights, funny dialogue, and a big fat guy who kicks all kinds of butt. By the way, Brigitte Nielsen used to be pretty. Who knew?

The Third Man:
I like Orsen Welles as an actor. This movie? Not good. I mean, he was good, but he is in like 10 minutes of the movie. The rest of it is all over the place with its direction. Is it a comedy? I don’t know, some parts of it were certainly trying to be funny. Is it a drama? Well, I thought so, but the ZITHER makes me think otherwise. I feel like I missed something when I watched this movie, but maybe I didn’t. Maybe I’m just not down with the 3 man group and stuff. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

The Searchers:
And this makes number 3! This movie is probably the second best western I have ever seen, the first being High Noon. Spoilers have to be said for me to explain why I liked it so much, so SPOILERS. This movie spans years of time, and it moves so seamlessly from point A to point B that I was never lost. That takes some kind of magic, because other than a character making a comment about how long it’s been or it make-up changing to make the actors look older, there was no indication of time going by. The title is so apt as to make me want to cry. These men took it upon themselves to find this girl, and nothing stood in their way. No settling down, no giving up, even in the face of extreme prejudice against the search they pressed on. I watched it on Blu-ray and it looked absolutely beautiful. If you’re a western fan at all, this movie needs to be seen. A tale that holds so much hope and sorrow all at once, at times I felt like a glass on the brim of spilling.

How many months has it been? Between school, a play, and large amounts of self-doubt, there was no way I could keep writing the blog like I wanted. Now I am taking a little break from school, and I am determined to get back into writing. Reading over what I just wrote, I am rusty. Hopefully that doesn’t make you readers run for the hills.

Questions, comments, or locations to hidden treasure maps, please send them to Also you can follow me on Twitter @JDTMovies.

Also, I apologize once again for any spelling or grammar mistakes. I am sick as a dog and cannot be bothered with re-reading my own crap. Cheers.