Me and My Nine Iron

June 29, 2010

The A-Team review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 9:33 pm
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Mindless action. That’s what most people agree this movie’s about. But, it was more than that to me. I actually liked the story about the group breaking out of prison to finish their mission and simultaneously clear their names from a crime they’ve been set up on. And heck, they offer a couple of fun twists at the end.

I have to say I didn’t watch the TV show so maybe, I can offer an unbiased review, since I can’t compare how faithful it was to the original. I’m glad they decided to go with MMA fighter Quinton Jackson and not Ice Cube for the role of B.A. Baracus; I don’t even want to imagine how badly Cube would’ve failed at trying to be a bad ass.

My knock on the movie? The action was pretty ridiculous, and I like my action to be a lot more believable than what was shown in this movie, especially when there’s no way the characters should have been anything but dead. I had a good time, the humor was unexpectedly great and frequent throughout, but I came out of this movie feeling the same way I did when I went in, and that’s being indifferent to seeing it. In other words, I could care less for a sequel.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4

BJ

June 28, 2010

Toy Story 3 review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 5:22 pm
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I can’t remember ever watching a movie that nearly made me break down in the opening minutes. Andy’s home video in the beginning forced me to look away for fear of shedding a tear in front of my two guy friends I went with. Just for the record, everyone walked out of there saying it was sad, and the little boy sitting next to us had cried himself so there!

I don’t recall the previous Toy Story films having this element of maturity, or suspense! Time after time, the gang finds itself in serious trouble in a fast-moving story that keeps you on the edge of your seat in a flawless movie. The laugh-out-loud humor is there too, with top-notch wit involving the toys. A must-see and hopefully, the perfect ending to the Toy Story franchise.

Rating: 4 stars out of 4

Eminem – Recovery

Boy, was this album hard to grade. Rap fans trashed his last album, Relapse, and raved about this one, even Eminem himself. I actually might be flip-flopped, and my first impression of this album was that it was just garbage – “diarrhea mouth,” as Eminem describes himself in one of his tracks. It’s a tough listen with seven of the 17 tracks about five minutes long, and I spent the afternoon listening intently to give a fair review.

It’s not a bad album, especially with the competition about as weak as heavyweight boxing right now. It’s just that it’s all been said before. Eminem’s lyrics are still up there; the biggest flaw on this album was his decision to make this the first of his six albums under Dr. Dre to not have himself or Dre produce any tracks, save one (Dr. Dre’s So Bad), which is unsurprisingly one of his best songs.

At 37, Eminem has no plans on stopping, and I’m curious as to what more he could possibly have to say in his next album. Granted, he has over 100 songs recorded and could pump out albums every year if he dropped dead right now like the immortal Tupac, but that’s another story. It makes you wonder about artists in general. Do they lose our interest when they get over their drug addictions, heartbreak and what-have-you and become healthy, ordinary people? Reminds me of Friends when Monica gets fun Bobby to stop drinking, and he becomes absolutely lame. By the way, I’m still Em’s biggest fan.

Favorite tracks: Talkin’ 2 Myself, Not Afraid, Space Bound, 25 to Life, So Bad

Rating: 3 stars out of 4

BJ

June 27, 2010

The Stinking Rose review

Filed under: Food reviews — BJ @ 10:40 pm
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I actually went to The Stinking Rose last Saturday, only to have the power go out on La Cienega Blvd. minutes before our arrival. We left after a half hour’s wait, and a $5 valet for nothing but made it back this weekend with no problems. I asked a handful of people beforehand how this restaurant was, and I couldn’t find a single person who absolutely loved the place. Still, I didn’t let that deter me in my excitement to try a garlic-themed restaurant.

For appetizer, we ordered Garlic Soaking in a Hot Tub ($4.95) and a small order of Garlic French Fries ($4.95). A great course made better with reasonable prices. The garlic in the skillet was very well-cooked and went well with the complimentary focaccia bread. The fries were delicious too.

For our main meal, most of us decided to go with the garlic roasted prime rib, which comes in a 12-oz. Regular ($29.95), 16-oz. Large Cut ($34.95) or 20-oz. The Slab ($39.95). I got greedy and went for the Large Cut, which I couldn’t finish. I didn’t taste the garlic roast at all, and there were exactly five cloves of garlic resting on top of the prime rib, which came with garlic mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. But, I have no knock on the beef and found it comparable to Lawry’s Restaurant (gasp!), in my eyes.

My brother-in-law had a medium order of Garlic Steamed Clams ($24.95) and was generously bestowed with over forty clams while my parents only had good things to say about the crab and prime rib.

We had a great dining experience and surprisingly, weren’t overwhelmed with garlic (or so we thought) upon our exit. The bill came out to $45 per person including tip and valet, and I’ll be the first to say that this place was above satisfactory.

Rating: 4 stars out of 4

BJ

June 24, 2010

Movie reviews

I feel like I’ve been going to my local two-dollar theater every night to catch up on the latest flicks, and fortunately, this latest batch was a pretty good one.

Blades of Blood

My dad asked me to go watch this Korean film with him, which was playing at our local AMC theater, so obviously, I had my reservations. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any information about this movie online, and it wouldn’t even show up on movies.com, even though it appears in the AMC theater on that site. Anyway, am I glad I went.

It’s a period drama about the 16th-century Japanese invasion of South Korea, and the internal turmoil arising from the invasion. The leader of the Grand Alliance, the organized rebellion group, seeks to uproot the Korean government secretly to become king while a blind man takes in a concubine’s son, whose father was killed by this leader, with the two sharing something in common – wanting to kill the leader of the Grand Alliance.

A perfect balance of comedic moments between the two lead characters and gruesome sword stabbings, this is Korean cinema at its finest, and a refreshing departure from American special-effects laden movies. Check out this film if you’re looking for a good foreign flick.

Rating: 4 stars out of 4

Date Night

Classic, awkward, straight-edged Steve Carell at his finest. Not to be outdone by his supporting cast, which included Mark Wahlberg, Common, James Franco, Mila Kunis, Leighton Meester (who was prettier than on Gossip Girl), Kristen Wiig and his wife in the movie, Tina Fey.

Two knocks on this movie. The first being that it was about 84 minutes long. There should be a rule where you shouldn’t be charged full price for anything under 90 minutes – credits not included. It didn’t seem short, but the bottom line is it was. The second knock was an awkward strip club scene that went on pretty long. I’ve developed a theory that strip club scenes are never good and decided to avoid one in my own screenplay.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

I thought this movie had an awesome synopsis, and I wanted to see it, but I was kind of turned off by the kid (not that I usually get turned on by boys) and the movie posters. I’m glad I saw this movie. It did unusually well for a movie not heavily advertised ($64 million) and had an awesome morality tale about how karmic justice will catch up with you and strike down upon thee with great vengeance if you’re an egotistical asshole like 11-year-old Greg Heffley is.

Similar to How to Eat Fried Worms, it’s a movie made out of a kids book that adults would also find enjoyable, and I’m looking forward to the sequel, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules, which should come out next year. Also starring Rachael Harris (the bitch in The Hangover) and Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass).

Rating: 4 stars out of 4

Hot Tub Time Machine

A comedic story of the butterfly effect, if you can get over the ridiculousness of the title actually happening in the movie (and it is that ridiculous), you’ll be entertained throughout. It’s nice to hear nice-guy John Cusack dropping F-bombs, and also offers a morose reflection on male friends growing apart through the years. Also starring Clark Duke (Kick-Ass) and Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass).

Rating: 3 stars out of 4

Kick-Ass

As hot as Lyndsy Fonseca is, like one of the characters in the movie says, “I think I’m in love [with Chloe Moretz]…I’m going to save myself.” There might be nothing better than hearing an 11-year-old girl say “cocks,” “cunts” and “fuck” while killing bad guys violently. But if you couldn’t tell of the Kick-Ass buildup I was brewing, this movie blew me out of the water. Easily the best movie in this batch, if not this year, there are tons of gruesome violence depicted in a satirical comic book movie so is anyone surprised Roger Ebert gave this movie one out of four stars?

I’m interested to see the 18 minutes of deleted footage on DVD, which comes out on August 3, and if anyone knows how exclusive my DVD collection is, the last one I picked up is The Hangover. Legendary comic book writer Mark Millar began writing a comic book sequel in April with the hopes to release Kick-Ass 2: Balls to the Wall in 2012. Also starring Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Nicolas Cage and co-produced by Brad Pitt.

Rating: 4 stars out of 4

And I’ll leave you like Kick-Ass left movie-goers with the song in the ending credits. The Pretty Reckless, fronted by 16-year-old Taylor Momsen (Gossip Girl), with their debut single, “Make Me Wanna Die.”

BJ

June 8, 2010

Get Him to the Greek review

What a hit! Nicholas Stoller (writer, director) has solidified himself as a top-notch movie maker, and I’ll be looking forward to catching his future projects.

From the previews, I was afraid this movie wasn’t going to be all that they had talked it up to be, but boy, was I wrong. The first half of the movie has non-stop laughs, and Sean Combs is a huge surprise throughout the movie.

Those who didn’t like the movie criticized it for slowing down and getting serious at the end, but c’mon, some movies still want to present a morality tale like this film did. I thought the story’s progression was totally fine, and it’s sure to be one of the funnier comedies of the year.

Rating: 4 stars out of 4

Get used to the name. 21-year-old Bobby Ray’s debut album hit No. 1 last month.

B.o.B. – B.o.B. Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray

If I’m not mistaken, Bob’s from the dirty south, but don’t be mistaken. His music is nothing like the assumptive southern rap style; rather, you got some techno, funk tracks that make people challenge it from being a pure rap album. Rivers Cuomo featuring on a song (Magic) only solidifies this remark. That being said, you have a nice music album with catchy piano beats and refreshing lyrics not about guns and money. In fact, I think the most cussing on the album is from Eminem on one verse (Airplanes, Part II), but that’s Bob for you. If you’re looking for some new music in the form of light rap, give this album a spin.

Favorite tracks: Don’t Let Me Fall, Nothin’ on You, Airplanes, Part II

Rating: 4 stars out of 4

Reppin’ FM, from the guys who brought you Girls on the Dance Floor, Far East Movement’s official video to last year’s single, Like A G6.

BJ

June 6, 2010

Movie reviews

Cop Out

One of the worst comedies I’ve ever seen, and I can’t think of anything worse than an unfunny comedy. I had high expectations for Tracy Morgan being able to fulfill the lead role, and let me say to you this: you don’t want his childish way of saying things for an entire movie. In other words, his demeanor that we love to hate should remain in a supporting role. Seann William Scott plays a bizarre character himself, and Bruce Willis isn’t any funnier. Definitely skip this.

Rating: 1 star out of 4

The Crazies

A remake of the 1973 film of the same name, this movie did remake right. A great thriller starring the underrated Timothy Olyphant, the movie keeps at a brisk pace and has an awesome ending. Sequel anyone?

Rating: 4 stars out of 4

Drag Me to Hell

There’s nothing wrong with this movie; it was just hardly frightening for its horror genre. The Raimi brothers, Sam and Ivan, chose to show bizarre terrorizing than actual scaring towards the cursed girl, and that really made you say, “WTF?” more than anything. Stick around for the awesome twist in the end, as it’s worth checking out.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4

MacGruber

Jimmy Fallon, the possession arrow was on you because this was borderline passable. Obviously, you expect an outrageous movie, but those should be the funniest because they’re unreal (e.g. The Hangover). This movie was entertaining and had its moments, but I thought MacGruber could have been funnier. Kristen Wiig was very average, but Val Kilmer was a pleasant surprise as the villain.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4

She’s Out of My League

This is Jay Baruchel‘s breakout year in the lead role (his other two to be released are The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Notre Dame de Grace), and he looked and managed the part as the odd loser. A fresh resemblance to American Pie, it was actually a surprising feel-good movie. Two more things: 1) Where has Alice Eve been all this time? She’s a certified babe. 2) If it’s really that easy to delay a plane, I’ll consider giving this movie 4 stars.

Rating: 3 stars out of 4

BJ

June 5, 2010

Movie rehash

Is there a correlation between a high number of sequels or remakes coming out and a 17-year low at the box office Memorial Day weekend? I sure hope so. With studios releasing 11 of these movies just from May to August, it seems like there are no original movies coming out this summer.

One theory is that studio executives grew up in the 80’s and want to see their favorite movies re-done. Whatever the reason, it’s hard to avoid these titles clogging up the theaters. That’s an increase from nine last year and seven the year before.

With the first wave of sequels underperforming (Shrek Forever After, Sex and the City 2), hopefully, the trend continues, and studios could finally consider stopping the madness. Although that’s likely to stop the pace, as the top five movies at the box office last weekend were all of this category.

You can count on at least one more to be released next summer – Captain America: The First Avenger. For those that are interested, you can check out Captain America’s costume design here, which was to have been confirmed a few days ago. The man behind the mask will be Chris Evans (Fantastic 4, Push, The Losers).

Well, that’s it for now. Time to catch up on a ton of movies, and write my reviews soon.

BJ

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