Me and My Nine Iron

July 31, 2011

27 Club

Filed under: On the 6 o'clock news — BJ @ 11:56 pm
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Robert Johnson. Brian Jones. Jimi Hendrix. Janis Joplin. Jim Morrison. Kurt Cobain. Amy Winehouse. They all did drugs. They all died at the age of 27.

This famous list of seven is and will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, despite countless awards and on numerous lists as one of the greatest artists of all time. Winehouse herself was the first British female to win five Grammys.

She definitely had a unique voice that many say was the first in England for years to come by. Sadly, she’ll be better known for her abusive relationship with her imprisoned husband, her drug and alcohol addiction and her disastrous live performances. It was just last month I saw her on the news, when on her European tour, she was so high she could hardly even utter a lyric as she was booed all night.

I haven’t heard more than a few songs of hers, and while this is my favorite, the irony is piercing. Even in a music video, I’ve never seen the lip syncing so off.

BJ

July 29, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love. preview

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 1:08 am
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Every couple of months, a movie commercial will get me to say, “Damn, that looks exceptional.” Out of all the great movies coming out this month, it wasn’t any of the following.

  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon (Interesting historical concept, same old robots)
  • Horrible Bosses (Really? I feel like the ideas for comedies lately has been cheesy and kind of lazy. see: The Change-Up)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (Finally, it’s over! One franchise down, x to go.)
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (Another superhero movie?)
  • Friends With Benefits (Another No Strings Attached?)
  • Cowboys & Aliens (Olivia Wilde does not look attractive at all in this movie. Neither does this movie. Hopefully, Jon Favreau has some Iron Man magic left over to make this the amazing sci-fi Western we were all pumped to see at the beginning of the year.)

No, there was one movie that matched star power with wit, a great song and perfect “trailer” moments. Notable cast and crew with comments below.

Dan Fogelman (screenwriter) – Just his second live action screenplay (Fred Claus), the mainly-Disney animation writer seems to have beautifully written this script, which Warner Bros. purchased for $2.5 million. Fogelman also recently sold Imagine, starring Carell, for $3 million and pitched an idea with Tom Cruise attached for just under $2 million with a little over $3 million upon the film’s completion – both to Warner Bros. I look forward to his 2012 comedy, My Mother’s Curse, starring Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand.

Mekia CoxBeyonce who? Heather Morris of Glee fame got recognition for dancing for Beyonce, but Cox, who I know from 90210, danced alongside Michael Jackson in his This Is It documentary two years ago.

Kevin Bacon – When Bacon is your sixth star and Marisa Tomei is your fifth, you know you have a star-studded cast.

Emma Stone – Loved her in Easy A. Don’t know if I love the overconfidence from what I see in this trailer. Still love her. And a definite cutie from this interview with Conan O’Brien Monday night.

Ryan Gosling – I thought the real life age gap between Stone and Gosling was noticeable on screen, but 30 and 22 isn’t that bad. Response to cries over Gosling being an overrated actor? Hardly. The Notebook bad boy may have some off-the-field issues, but he always brings his A-game and held his own alongside Oscar-nominated Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine. Love his role as a believable womanizer.

Steve Carell – I thought the real life age gap between Gosling and Carell was interesting for “friends” on screen (48 and 30). Response to cries over Carell being an unfunny actor? Please. Maybe, because he’s my favorite comedic actor, but you have to admire how humorous his subtleties are and how sometimes they’re more powerful than something done over-the-top.

BJ

July 28, 2011

Harry Potter is new box office king

In three magical days, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 became the highest-grossing opening movie ever. In three countries. The new records below.

Best opening weekend (domestic): $169.2 million
Previous best: The Dark Knight – $158.4 million

Best opening weekend (international): $307 million
Previous best: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – $260.4 million

Best opening weekend (Great Britain): $36.6 million

Best opening weekend (Australia): $26.7 million

Best opening day (domestic): $92.1 million
Previous best: The Twilight Saga: New Moon – $72.7 million

Best domestic gross for debut midnight shows: $43.5 million
Previous best: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – $30 million

Best domestic opening in huge-screen IMAX theaters – $15.5 million
Previous best: Alice in Wonderland – $12.2 million

Best worldwide IMAX debut – $23.5 million
Previous best: Transformers: Dark of the Moon – $20.4 million

Best non-holiday weekend for overall domestic revenue: $263 million

Best Harry Potter film: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – $968.7 million
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – ??

Top domestic movie of the year: Transformers: Dark of the Moon – $302.8 million (and counting)

Top international movie of the year: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – $1.02 billion

Expected to top $1 billion worldwide, that would make the last Harry Potter movie just the ninth movie to join the $1 billion club. And it’s no brainless blockbuster either. The IMDb ratings of some of the other highest-grossing movies below.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon – 4.5
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse – 4.7
Alice in Wonderland 
– 6.6
Transformers: Dark of the Moon
– 6.7
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – 6.9
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest – 7.3
Titanic – 7.4
Avatar – 8.1 (T-147 all-time)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 – 8.3 (T-76)

BJ

July 14, 2011

Movie reviews

Just Go With It

Allan Loeb, who was the guest host of the recent The Industry Insider Screenwriting Contest, wrote this Adam Sandler movie and like his two other comedies (The Switch, The Dilemma), it was critically disappointing. No hate though. He’s a true sellout, and I don’t mean that negatively in the least bit. He knows how to get his work sold and is in the midst of having 11 of his feature-length works released in a four-year period. Now that’s success.

The first act was a bit of a drag, particularly the office scene, and probably more than anything, it just wasn’t a very funny movie overall. Brooklyn Decker does just fine in her acting debut, Jennifer Aniston shows that she’s still got a rockin’ bod, Sandler is Sandler but Nick Swardson steals the show as Aniston’s character’s fake husband. His and Aniston’s character’s daughter’s fake accents are out of control, and I’ll admit one part with Swardson due to the whole fake buildup is laugh-out-loud funny.

Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Your Highness

This movie got murdered critically and commercially, making just $26 million against a $50 million budget, and I think the critics should get off their high horses. I would’ve thought they had it out for Kenny Powers, but they ripped everything, from the low brow humor to how Natalie Portman‘s acting was as bad as her Star Wars days and how a body double was used because she didn’t want to dive into a stupid lake to Richard Roeper criticizing the action sequences and special effects (in a comedy, mind you) to how James Franco looked high the whole time. Really. They picked apart everything.

A few more reviews:
Andrew O’Hehir of Salon.com was more negative, noting that “For a few hours after having seen Your Highness, I considered the possibility that it was the worst movie ever made.”Both Roger Ebert and Peter Travers gave the film one star out of four; Ebert likened the film to a “juvenile excrescence” while Travers concluded “Nothing works. Nothing.”

You can imagine as I went to go see this how bad I thought this would be. I honestly have no idea how people think high schoolers could’ve made a funnier movie. Those people should be shot. Worst movie ever made? This guy doesn’t still work there, does he? I didn’t think any of the jokes were unclever, juvenile humor, and it’s exactly what it claims to be: a fantasy quest. How you rip the special effects in a comedy is nitpicking and uncredible, not that I even had a problem with it.

David Gordon Green does a fine job teaming up with Danny McBride again (Pineapple Express, Eastbound & Down), who wrote a great outline as a vehicle to star in, and the cast pulled off the whole improvising. I enjoyed Portman’s flirtations and loved Justin Theroux as the antagonist. People recommend Just Go With It over Your Highness, but I couldn’t be more the other way.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Food, Inc.

I was recommended this documentary while being told that I would never see food the same way again. Being a big food guy, I was utterly disappointed. Besides the short segment of the inhumane animal handling and operating, this documentary was rather boring and didn’t at all live up to all that it could’ve with its interesting subject.

Besides learning about how four companies run the entire meat market in the country under different names and how former company execs are now FDA board members, it got way too caught up in an extended segment on a soy bean patent, which could be as important in the industry as the amount of time it was shown in the documentary (the last third of the movie), but didn’t make for an interesting food topic. A definite pass.

Rating: 2 stars out of 5

Limitless

I was blown away by this movie, and it’s my current favorite movie of the year as we just pass the halfway point. Adapted from the novel, The Dark Fields, I was surprised to find that this relatively low-promoted and talked-about thriller brought in $155 million. Almost as much as I was to find that Shia LeBeouf was originally cast as the film’s star. Way to almost blow that one, Universal. Eagle Eye was okay, but no way could LeBeouf have carried this movie the way Bradley Cooper did. Fortunately, they just handled distribution and gave the development to Relativity Media, who cast Cooper.

Much credit to Neil Burger‘s directing vision on this movie, the first one that he didn’t also write, as he made this movie as cool and intriguing as the genre and premise called for. Ebert is such a douche, giving it 2.5 stars and calling it “not terrifically good.” Insert Shawn Marion fist-shaking motion here.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Insidious

One of the scariest movies I can remember watching, and the second time I watched it a week later wasn’t any less scary. From the collaborators of the Saw franchise, including Chinese director James Wan and Leigh Whannell, who also has a role in the movie, and co-produced by the creator of Paranormal Activity, this movie managed to bring in the audience without showing a single scary part in its commercial preview. It made $88 million against a $1.5 million budget.

Ebert again uses the words “not terrifically good” with another 2.5 stars, but this is a very tense movie with an insane first half of the movie. Only problem is there’s nowhere to go but down, but it’s still a good movie with an awesome twist at the end. Yes, a twist in a horror movie. Mike Hale of The New York Times calls it “a less poetic version of an M. Night Shyamalan fairy tale.” Um, no. Night can learn a thing or two from these new kings of horror.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The Pretty Reckless – Light Me Up

17-year-old Taylor Momsen of Gossip Girl-fame fronts this rock band, and their debut album is a lot of fun. All the user reviews say it’s about an angry girl venting, which sounds awesome, and I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t as angry as I expected. There’s several slow songs to keep us balanced, and at times, it sounds Kelly Clarkson/No Doubt-ish. Nonetheless, great replay value, headed by their hit single featured in the end credits of Kick-Ass, Make Me Wanna Die.

Favorite tracks: Make Me Wanna Die, Miss Nothing, Goin’ Down

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Bad Meets Evil – Hell: The Sequel EP

What do this EminemRoyce da 5’9″ collaboration have in common with The Pretty Reckless? They both have as a lyric a tiger in the bathroom. Ha! This nine-track EP is long enough to be a double EP, and Eminem kills it with his fast raps, showing Busta Rhymes a thing or two about doing more than just mumbling and using simple one-syllable words. Royce is an above-average rapper with solid lyrics and could be a good fit in D12 with the loss of Proof.

I heard Lighters playing on the airwaves. To me, an Eminem-Bruno Mars collaboration sounds as bad as it looks on paper. It doesn’t quite work. For the most part, the angry stuff is a good listen.

Favorite tracks: Welcome 2 Hell, Fastlane, Above the Law

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Can’t beat a girl in thigh-high stockings rolling around on a table with food. Did I mention her voice is incredible?

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