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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Monday, May 30, 2011

Movie Review: The Hangover Part II

The Hangover Part II

Director: Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Old School)
Starring: Bradley Cooper (Limitless), Zach Galifianakis (Due Date), Ed Helms ("The Office"), and Justin Bartha (Failure to Launch)

Stu (Helmes), Doug (Bartha), Phil (Cooper), and Alan (Galifianakis) are back after surviving their adventures in Las Vegas for Doug's wedding. This time around Stu is getting married. He will be getting married in Thailand and wants nothing more than a bachelor brunch with Phil and Doug in a Perkins type restaurant. Doug convinces Stu to invite Alan with to Thailand. Stu is pretty skeptical as he blames Alan for all of the crazy mayhem that happened in Vegas. Stu caves in and all four of them are headed to Thailand for Stu's big day.

After an awkward family dinner, the four guys (aka The Wolfpack)and the fiancee's younger brother, Teddy, decide to have one drink by the shore to finish the night off. With this group, one drink is just never enough. Phil and Alan wake up in a random hotel room in the middle of Bangkok not knowing how they got there or what happened the night before. They find Stu passed out in the bathtub. With Alan's shaved head and a Mike Tyson tattoo on Stu's face, they know their Vegas shenanigans happened again. The three of them call Doug to find him safe at the resort, but only to learn that Teddy has gone missing. After finding Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong), a monkey, and Teddy's finger in the hotel room, the Wolfpack must re-trace their steps to find Teddy and get back to the resort for the wedding.

Does the plot sound familiar? Unfortunately, it's almost a carbon copy of the first movie. Replace a cute baby with a monkey and Vegas for Bangkok and you have the formula to the sequel. Even Justin Bartha who went missing in the first one doesn't even get more screen time in this one. There's the infamous phone call from Phil to the fiancee saying they've screwed up again. There's a cell phone of photos that pops up in the end detailing their crazy night.

While the movie has a few chuckles in it, it was nowhere near the laugh quotient of the first movie. To me it just felt tired and that the filmmakers were trying too hard. There are so many ideas and stories that could have been told. It's called "The Hangover" not "The Bachelor Party Gone Wrong". Hangovers happen all of the time due to various circumstances. I just don't understand why the same plot and same laughs were chosen for the sequel. Watch for random cameos by Paul Giamatti and Nick Cassavetes.

RATING: ** (2 out of 5 stars)

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Movies Better in Black and White

I was visiting Rotten Tomatoes the other day and came across an article on Flavorwire (www.flavorwire.com) by Jason Bailey. He comments on recent movies that he thinks would be better in black and white. Click here to read the article. He makes some pretty good arguments on why black and white can make some of these recent classics even better. He includes clips of these movies in black and white and narrates them. Here are a couple of my favorites:




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Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Director: Paul Feig ("Freaks and Greeks")
Starring: Kristen Wiig ("Saturday Night Live"), Maya Rudolph ("Saturday Night Live"), Rose Byrne ("Damages"), Melissa McCarthy ("Gilmore Girls")

Do you ever get asked to be a part of a wedding party? You obviously say yes because you adore the person, but you realize you don't know what you've gotten yourself into? Annie (Wiig) is at a rough place in her life. She works part time at a jewelry store since she had to close down her bakery. She is sleeping with a douchebag (John Hamm!) She may get evicted from her apartment she shares with a weird set of British twins.

When her best friend, Lillian (Rudolph), asks her to be her maid of honor, Annie agrees even though she hasn't a clue of what it entitles. As Annie pulls up to the country club to meet the wedding party and various friends and family, she realizes she is a bit out of her league, especially when she meets Helen (Byrne). Helen is one of the bridesmaids who is the wife of Lillian's fiance's boss. Helen is dressed to the nines in a huge designer dress while Annie is wearing her every day wear. As Helen tries to take over the maid of honor duties, Annie believes she's been pushed aside and that Lillian would rather have the lavish party and dresses that Helen can pull off. After food poisoning, a failed attempt at dress shopping, and getting drunk on a plane Annie pushes her friendship to the limits.

Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40-Year Old Virgin) has produced this movie which Wiig co-wrote. Like most Apatow movies, the movie is a bit on the long side for a comedy. There are many subplots that aren't necessarily vital to the plot. Some work with the story and some don't. Annie's relationship with her mom (the late Jill Clayburgh) and conflicts with her roommates add background and exposition to her character but aren't necessary. On the other hand, Annie gets pulled over by a Irish cop (Chris O'Dowd) and starts a friendship with him. O'Dowd has charm and plays well off of Wiig.

Bridesmaids is a very funny movie. There are many scenes I was laughing hysterically out loud at including Annie's drunken plane rant and a scene where Annie and Helen have numerous failed attempts to get the cop's attention. Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph are wonderful physical comediennes. Melissa McCarthy steals every scene she is in as the groom's masculine sister. She's the polar opposite of what Helen stands for. I will most likely have to see it again as there were many moments I missed due to laughing so hard.

Rating: **** (4 out of 5 stars)

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Friday, May 13, 2011

"Unleash Your Inner Foodie" Guest Blog: FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION

It's time for another guest blog for DeeAnn McArdle and her website "Unleash Your Inner Foodie". This month's theme is focused on movies you might have missed out on due to television obligations. Now that your favorite TV shows are coming up on their season/series finales, you can catch up on your movies.

To read the blog click here and see my recommendations.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Paul Thomas Anderson's Next Film

Harvey Weinstein Buys World Rights To Paul Thomas Anderson's Untitled Next Film

According to Deadline.com and MIKE FLEMING:
"The Weinstein Company has won a quiet but fevered bidding battle for worldwide distribution rights to the untitled next film by Paul Thomas Anderson. The film begins production June 13, with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix so far set to star. Megan Ellison is financing. It is Anderson's first trip behind the camera since There Will Be Blood." For the rest of the article click here

Paul Thomas Anderson is a true filmmaker. Some directors have one or two movies come a year. Paul Thomas Anderson releases movies pretty sporadically. He also writes his owns screenplays as well. A Paul Thomas Anderson movie is a Paul Thomas Anderson movie through and through. His movies are daring, provacativ, and quite shocking at times. He gets very raw performances out of his actors and challenges them to be their best. Burt Reynolds gained popularity again after Boogie Nights. One of Tom Cruise's better roles is in Magnolia as a motivational speaker for men's sexuality. Adam Sandler is at his best in Punch Drunk Love. Many of his actors have received Oscar nominations, and Daniel Day-Lewis won for There Will Be Blood. If you've never seen one of his movies, be prepared for an interesting ride. Some people love his movies and some people hate them. I'm still trying to convince a certain someone to like Magnolia...

Hard Eight (Sidney) 1996
Boogie Nights 1997
Magnolia 1999 --My PERSONAL favorite
Punch-Drunk Love 2002
There Will Be Blood 2007

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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Movie of the Day: AWAY WE GO

I went and saw Hanna last night. It's the new Joe Wright (Atonement, The Soloist) movie starring Cate Blanchett, Eric Bana, and Saoirse Ronan. It wasn't a good movie, but it wasn't a bad movie either. Instead, I would rather blog about a movie I really love. Today's movie of the day is Away We Go.

Away We Go (2009)
Director: Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition)
Written by: Dave Eggers, Vendala Vida
Starring: John Krasinski, Maya Rudolph, Catherine O'Hara, Allison Janney

Burt (Krasinksi) and Verona (Rudolph) are expecting their first child. Verona is six months along even though she looks like she's about to give birth any day. They embark on a road trip to visit friends and family to decide where they would like to call home and raise their child. While on their road trip, they realize that no one is perfect, every one is flawed, and you make due the best way you know how to.

John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph are known for their comedic timing from turns in "The Office" (Krasinski) and "Saturday Night Live" (Rudolph). While they do have funny moments, they reign it in a little more and show off their dramatic sides. They also have wonderful comedic and romantic chemistry. Allison Janney and Maggie Gyllenhaal have hilarious supporting roles as some of the moms Burt and Verona meet up with along the way.

Away We Go is one of those feel good movies that didn't get the notice it deserved. Sam Mendes usually directs really strong heavy material, so this movie is far lighter than his normal fare. You'll laugh, you might cry, and you'll want to curl up with a loved one.

Rating: **** (4 out of 5 stars)

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