Me and My Nine Iron

October 20, 2012

Paranormal Activity 4 review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 4:02 pm
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Seen at a pre-release screening in Pico Rivera:

Easily the worst in the once-great franchise, that includes the worst of the four in story development, scares and originality. I’ll coin this The Hangover Effect; though I enjoyed The Hangover 2, I’ll admit everything that made the first Hangover great was contrived and almost lazily executed in the sequel.

Similarly, PA 4 offers up the same style of an in-house, multi-webcam shooting as PA 3; with another random family, a cameo by Katie and exactly the same unanswered ending as PA3. Whereas PA 2 and PA 3 somewhat built off its predecessor, PA 4 was absolutely pointless and proves that this franchise can be endless with random families that have just the slightest association with Katie. It was, more accurately, a do-over of PA3, except not as good.

The tension and scares that made PA a classic and PA 3 watchable were nonexistent in this one. Also, I can’t think of a single scare that wasn’t shown in one of the first three. Overall, a very disappointing installment to a successful franchise. I wouldn’t even recommend it to the franchise’s fans, but if you’re compelled to watch it like I was notwithstanding the ratings, expect to finish the movie wanting more.

Paranormal Activity 4 opened in theaters on Friday.

Rating: 2 stars out of 5

IMDb rating: 4.8
What it should be: 6.3

Pass

BJ

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October 18, 2012

The other side of sports

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 11:28 am
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Trash talk is the mental beauty of sports. And every player bit at the chance to dish some back to Charles Barkley, one of the more controversial figures to play the game. Even if it’s overly enthusiastic over a single play from Kevin Hart Tim Hardaway.

By today’s standards, that excessive celebration would easily be a technical foul. Oh, how I miss the 90’s.

With respect to the NFL, I’m sure fans forget exactly how brutal football really is, and I think this inside look from Brian Cushing mic’d up last year reminds people just how physical the game is – and how tough Cushing is. Oh, and Shawn Lauvao (#66) is a little bitch.

Finally, no sports post is complete without Tim Tebow Jeremy Lin, who last month was trying to get settled in his new home in Houston after signing a 3-year, $25.1 million contract.

Lin texted the above to his new Rockets teammate, Chandler Parsons, who then tweeted

Amusing, yes. Cheap? Are you kidding me? (As the Yahoo! writer suggested.) That’s sad when a million dollars suddenly doesn’t allow you to sleep over at a friend’s place and you have to go to a hotel.

How do hashtags work? Can I just make up my own? #Linsanityforever

BJ

October 16, 2012

Argo review

Filed under: Food reviews,Movie reviews — BJ @ 5:33 pm
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Seen at a pre-release screening in Los Angeles:

If The Town didn’t sell Ben Affleck as a more than capable director, this movie surely will. Argo‘s current IMDb rating would make this the best of his three directorial pictures–hell, a top 50 film, though I wouldn’t go that far–and that’s no shabby feat considering his first two are at 7.8 and 7.6. All the Oscar talks for Best Picture are valid.

Affleck managed to adapt a huge real-life story in the Iran Hostage Crisis into a cinematic masterpiece, capturing perfectly the feel and look of 1980, the tension and chaos in Iran and in the great escape and the funny and cool Hollywood aspects of making a fake movie studio shown by Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine) and John Goodman (Roseanne, The Artist), which shifts a lot of heaviness and tension away from the grave situation throughout the movie.

Well-acted, a great story and an ending that will keep your butt cheeks clenched, Argo delivers as a satisfying biopic with the actors’ resemblance similar to those of the hostages.

Affleck turned down directorial duties for the Superman reboot, Man of Steel, a $175 million movie set to come out in June of 2013. Yes, he’s that legit.

Argo opened in theaters on Friday.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

IMDb rating: 8.4
What it should be: 7.9

Recommend

In another supplement to my pizza posts, I checked out Vito’s Pizza under high recommendation from a friend. I ordered two slices–Pizza Margherita and The Garibaldi, meatballs, tomatoes and jalapenos–which came out to over $8 – a huge difference when I could get fresher pizza for $5.

Location

One, in Los Angeles.

Prices

Regular slice – $2.50, w/ Pepperoni – $3.00, 18″ Cheese – $16.50, 18″ 1 Topping – $19

The most expensive slices and pies of the five places, a big deal when you factor in that their slices aren’t made to order.

Rating

3 stars out of 5

Though tasty, the freshness simply wasn’t there due to the lack of made to order pizza, and you can’t replicate that with any type of re-heating. Catch them during dinner time or catch ’em later. Closes at 11p.

BJ

October 12, 2012

Two Saucy Broads review

Filed under: Food reviews — BJ @ 10:41 am
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In a supplement to my post on the best pizza in the area, I checked out one in my hometown with a Yelp rating of 4.5 stars – higher than all three of my raved and reviewed pizza joints.

In short, Two Saucy Broads is a very good local pizza place. Unlike the Yelp ratings, it’s not better than the other top places, but a great substitute if you’re in the area. I liked it all: salads, the garlic knots, the specialty pizzas. Open ’til 10p.

Location

One, in Fullerton.

Prices

8″ – $5, w/ Pepperoni – $5.50, 18″ Cheese – $13, 18″ 1 Topping – $15

The cheapest whole pies of the four places.

Rating

4 stars out of 5

BJ

October 10, 2012

Rise of the Guardians review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 1:51 pm
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Seen at a pre-release screening in Long Beach:

A hip adaptation about childhood icons led by Jack Frost, it’s a bit similar to Toy Story in how the kids are secondary to the guardians in the story but are essential to the guardians’ task at hand.

Tons of action, an awesome premise and great voices lent by Hugh Jackman as E. Aster Bunnymund, Alec Baldwin with a tough-sounding Eastern European accent as Nicholas St. North (Santa Claus) and Jude Law as the evil Pitch (the Bogeyman).

But what made this animation stand out was probably how they brought out these recognizable icons in a new light – as badasses. A fun movie brought to you by Dreamworks Animation, who’s putting out their first original (non-sequel, non-spin off) feature in over two years.

Rise of the Guardians opens in theaters on November 21.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

IMDb rating: 6.7
What it should be: 7.7

Recommend

BJ

October 9, 2012

Here Comes the Boom review

Filed under: Food reviews,Movie reviews — BJ @ 11:24 am
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Seen at a pre-release screening in South Gate:

Taken from P.O.D.’s eponymous song, which also serves as Kevin Jamesentrance song to his early fights, it’s simply a solid feel-good movie. Enough giggles throughout and some surprisingly emotional scenes make this a watchable PG-film for adults. An adequate amount of MMA action, with the only knock coming from the realism and absurdity of the underdog story.

Henry Winkler provides some laughs as the whacky music teacher whose job James is trying to save, and Bas Rutten plays an immigrant who trains James with spouts from his popular self-defense videos. Co-written by James and Mr. Big Time, Allan Loeb (Rock of Ages, Just Go With It).

Here Comes the Boom opens in theaters on Friday.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

IMDb rating: n/a
What it should be: 7.0

Consider

I’ve been to Porto’s several times to pick up a birthday cake or have their popular potato balls and cheese rolls, but I finally tried their sandwiches. The prices are very reasonable ($4.15-$6.70), and I had the Cubano sandwich and the Pan con lechon (roasted pork sandwich). (Half of each, not both.)

The latter is the traditional Cuban shredded pork and doesn’t offer as much variety as the Cubano, which has pork and ham, mayo/mustard and pickles. And the fried maduros (plantain slices) makes a good complement as a substitute for chips.

Definitely worth checking out at any of their three locations.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Recommend

BJ

October 5, 2012

Seven Psychopaths review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 12:10 pm
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Seen at a pre-release screening in Los Angeles:

I was pretty turned off from the trailer–a gangster coming after a screenwriter because of a kidnapped lapdog–but I’m so glad I watched it because it was one of the surprise hits of the year. From the opening scene, you get a feel for the witty dialogue a la Quentin Tarantino, followed by a shocking shooting – pretty much the winning formula for this movie.

Written, directed and produced by Martin McDonagh, who I will say right now is a guy to watch for the rest of his career. A living legendary Irish playwright, McDonagh has four Tony Award nominations; as far as his film credits go, his 2004 short won an Oscar, In Bruges got an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay and now, Seven Psychopaths, which deserves another one.

A highly entertaining crime comedy, with Sam Rockwell (Iron Man 2) stealing the show, and a very intricately well-written story that doesn’t let down in the slightest. Colin Farrell is refreshing in his Irish accent, Christopher Walken is classic and Woody Harrelson plays the scorned dog owner who’ll kill anyone to get his dog back. Tons of shootings, a little mystery and suspense and a great denouement. A perfect guy’s movie.

Seven Psychopaths opens in theaters on October 12.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

IMDb rating: 7.3
What it should be: 8.3

Recommend

BJ

October 4, 2012

Looper review

Filed under: Movie reviews — BJ @ 4:55 pm
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I’ll admit I wanted to hate this movie so much after critics and friends all called it the best movie of the year. While I won’t share that claim, I can’t deny that it was close. One of the better science fiction and time travel movies, Rian Johnson‘s third feature is an impressive one, and he’s quickly solidifying himself as a remarkable writer-directors.

I did not like Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s facial prosthetics to more closely resemble Bruce Willis, his older self in the movie, as it was noticeably distracting. But when that’s all you have to criticize a movie, you’ve done well.

I love Roger Ebert‘s review on the time travel aspect, saying “Looper, a smart and tricky sci-fi story, sidesteps the paradoxes of time travel by embracing them. Most time travel movies run into trouble in the final scenes, when impossibilities pile up one upon another. This film leads to a startling conclusion that wipes out the story’s paradoxes so neatly it’s as if it never happened.” A great thriller, indeed, with likable actors. Definitely lives up to its billing.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5

IMDb rating: 8.3
What it should be: 8.3

Recommend

BJ

October 2, 2012

November review

Filed under: For your pleasure — BJ @ 3:40 pm
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I was fortunate to go to my first play, with free tickets courtesy of Edge Los Angeles to go see November opening night last Wednesday. It’s a 90-minute profane, political comedic play written by David Mamet (two Oscars, Tony, Pulitzer Prize) and starring Ed Begley Jr. as the unpopular president desperate to be re-elected and Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) as his lesbian speechwriter.

The play makes jabs at almost every racial group as well as the gays, and with a turkey lobbyist and a Native American in the picture, there isn’t a shortage of ridiculous situations. Entertaining throughout with laugh-out-loud moments, however, it wasn’t the sharpest display in acting (no knock on Begley Jr., I can’t imagine the difficulty in leading a 90-minute live performance with no breaks), costume (Huffman was an ugly, dressed-down hippie half the time) and writing.

November is playing at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles until November 4. Tickets are on sale for $40 or $50.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Pass

BJ

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