Established May 2010.

Gordie: Do you think I'm weird?
Chris: Definitely.
Gordie: No man, seriously. Am I weird?
Chris: Yeah, but so what? Everybody's weird.

Film Critic for Twin Cities Live

Member of THE LAMB: The Large Association of Movie Blogs LAMB #1588

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Restaurant Review: Pizza Nea

It's been quite some time since Claire Schafer and I tried out a new restaurant in the St. Anthony Main area where we both resign. Our latest choice was Pizza Nea. It's located on East Hennepin Avenue right across the street from Surdyk's. How convenient!

Date: February 9th, 2011
Time in: 5:30pm
Time out: 6:30pm

We got there just in time for Happy Hour. Half off wines and tap beers. There were only two tap beers to choose from, so I went with the Surly. Claire opted for some Prosecco. It's hard for me to turn down beer when I'm having pizza.

Appetizer: Bruschetta
Bruschetta is one of those appetizers that has very basic ingredients yet is made differently no matter where you go. I found the bruschetta at Pizza Nea to be very tomato heavy. The heaping pile of diced tomatoes sat on top of the mozzerella and covered the the entire piece of bread. I thought it was too much tomato, but Claire had no problems with the ratio of tomato to everything else on it. There were six pieces which was just perfect to split between the two of us.

Claire's pizza: Caprino e Treccione
Ingredients: goat cheese, artichokes, smoked mozzerella, sun-dried tomatoes

Paul's pizza: Salsicce
Ingredients: Spicy Italian sausage, roasted red pepper, cracked red pepper, fresh mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, and basil

Ambiance: Pizza Nea has a small dining area. Luckily there were only four other parties there, so it didn't seem loud or crowded. The pizza is made similar to the styles of Punch Pizza or Black Sheep Pizza. There was also quiet, peaceful background music as well.

Interesting fact: They have various red pizzas and white pizzas to choose from. Both of ours were from the "red pizzas" side of the menu. All pizzas can be made into calzones as well.

Overall: We both felt it was a great place to unwind and have a good dinner and catch-up. There wasn't the feeling of a busy, crowded, rushed atmosphere like some other trendier places have. Our waiter was very friendly and gave us various recommendations as it was our first time. I would definitely go back.

Rating: 4 out of 5
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Friday, February 11, 2011


The trailer for X-Men: First Class was released today. It looks like it will be a great entry in the X-Men canon of movies. Hopefully it will be far better than the dreadful X-Men Origins: Wolverine and the disappointing X-Men: The Last Stand

James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, January Jones, and Kevin Bacon lead this big cast.

Due in theaters June 3, 2011

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Friday, February 4, 2011

Movie Reviews: Exit Through the Gift Shop

Exit Through the Gift Shop
Director: Bansky
Starring: Thierry Guetta, Bansky

Exit Through the Gift Shop is a documentary following the world of street art and the graffiti artists that make up this culture. Thierry Guetta is a simple man. He's obsessed with filming all aspects of his life. He gets the idea to start following street artists and document their undercover approach to making art on public buildings.

Thierry Guetta meets and follows several artists like Invader, Shepard Fairey, and Borf. The more he follows these artists around the more intrigued by these individuals he is. He learns about Bansky and is destined to meet him. He has no idea about how to contact him or how to film him though. Bansky is a very secretive, seclusive British artist. Even though he is featured in the documentary, his image is blackd out and his voice is modified. Bansky arrives in L.A. to start an exhibition. Thierry meets up with Bansky through Fairey, and they form a bond together. Bansky agrees to let Thierry document his road to opening an exhibition under strict guidance. After the exhibition opens, Banksy asks Thierry to make a movie out of all of the footage that was shot.

SPOILER ALERT!!! Bansky is less than impressed with the movie Thierry ends up making. It is amateur at best due to the fact that Thierry really had no intention of ever making a movie out of the footage. Bansky turns the tables on Thierry. Bansky tells Thierry to try street art and that Bansky will document that journey.

The rest of the movie follows Thierry and his road to opening a massively popular exhibition making tons of money. Thierry was never an artist. He never took classes or spent time making art. He opens his first exhibition to over four thousand people and makes millions selling his art.

The movie succeeds at many levels. Documentaries can either tell you all of the facts and tell you the opinion you should be feeling. Other documentaries give you the information and let the viewer have their own opinion about it. Exit Through the Gift Shop is that kind of documentary There are theories that Thierry's exhibition was a huge hoax. Could one person randomly decide to create art, open an exhibit, and have the success that Thierry randomly had? Was the movie a ruse of Bansky as part of a bigger piece of art? What is art? Is art really in the eye of the beholder?

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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Movie Review: The Town

What happens when you fall in love with a man that just happened to rob your bank and hold you at gunpoint? That's just one of the many interesting ideas that happens in The Town. Ben Affleck directs, stars, and co-wrote the screenplay for The Town. It belongs in his set of Boston themed movies (Good Will Hunting, Gone Baby Gone). It seems he has found a niche he's good at.

The movie opens with suspenseful bank heist led by Doug (Affleck), James (Jeremy Renner), and some other hooligans. After they realize the silent alarm has been triggered, they take one of the workers, Claire (Rebecca Hall), for hostage while making her open the vault. Doug later runs into a vulnerable Claire at the laundramat and sparks heat up. Claire has no idea who Doug is, as the thieves wear creepy character masks to conceal their identity.

I don't want to give too much away as that might give up some of the suspense that the movie has going for it.

John Hamm plays the lead investigator that has been following Doug and his crew and will stop at nothing to bring them all down. Chris Cooper, Blake Lively, and the late Pete Postlethwaite have supporting roles as well.

The Town is a sharp, edge of your seat, action/mystery/thriller that has more character and brains behind it than you would assume. I found myself glued to it over my Sudoku puzzle. Needless to say, I never finished my puzzle that night.

4 out of 5 stars ****

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