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, June 29, 2011

P McG's 2011 Mid-Year Movie Recap

At the beginning of the year I decided to make a list of all of the "new" movies I saw this year. Whether they were new 2011 releases or older movies I finally got around to see, I wanted to see how many movies I could watch in a year. I decided to track the name of the movie, year of release, date of viewing, mode of viewing, director, and actors. What movie theater did I go to the most? How many Netflix movies did I watch?

Here's the List
Rabbit Hole
True Grit (2010)
Viva Las Vegas
Blue Valentine
Connie and Carla
Joan Rivers: a Piece of Work
Wendy and Lucy
About a Boy
The Town
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Capturing the Friedmans
Jesus Camp
Food, Inc.
Solitary Man
Red Riding:1974
The Fighter
All About Eve
An Affair to Remember
Animal Kingdom
Patrik 1.5
Then She Found Me
The House Bunny
Red Riding:1980
Red Riding: 1983
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Source Code
Cedar Rapids
Eat, Pray, Love
Scream 4
My Soul to Take
I Spit on Your Grave (2010)
Love Story
The Hangover 2
Dinner for Schmucks
X-Men: First Class
Sunset Boulevard
The Last House on the Left (2010)
Jackass 3
Super 8
Bram Stoker's Dracula
No Strings Attached
The Pride of the Yankees
Midnight in Paris

That's a grand total of 50 movies so far that I saw for the first time in 2011. Is that a lot? I don't know for sure. I do feel like I've seen more movies so far than I normally do by this time. The number of times I've gone to the theater seems pretty light. I may have to increase that for the second half of the year. We'll see what my budget is looking like and how much they increase ticket prices. I feel like ticket prices are always on the rise. I'm a little embarrassed by the number of classics on this list that I had never seen until now.

Random Stats:
17 in various movies theaters
13 via Netflix discs
12 via Netflix Streaming
the rest came by buying, renting, or borrowing

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Monday, June 27, 2011


I decided to take a break from the summer blockbusters to check out a smaller movie. I chose Woody Allen's newest, Midnight in Paris. His movies definitely aren't what they used to be, but there have been some winners recently like Match Point and Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Even though I'm a big Woody Allen fan, I don't rush to see them in theaters. After hearing good things, I decided to check out the new one.


Director/Writer: Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Manhattan, Match Point)
Starring: Owne Wilson (Wedding Crashers), Rachel McAdams (The Notebook), Kathy Bates (Misery), Michael Sheen (The Queen), Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose)

Gil (Wilson) and Inez (McAdams) are traveling in Paris with Inez's parents. Gil is a screenwriter trying to write his first novel. He's contemplating moving to Paris to find inspiration for his novel. Inez's stern priveldged parents are less than thrilled with this idea. One night while strolling the streets of Paris, Gil hitches a ride with some strangers for some midnight fun. He ends up at this party which he thinks is a costume period party. There's a gentleman at the piano that looks like Cole Porter and is playing Cole Porter music. His new friends introduce themselves at Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda. Scott introduces Gil to his friend Hemingway. Gil is really confused and thinks he's now traveled back in time to meet these literary geniouses. Hemingway tells Gil that he will introduce him to Gertrude Stein (Bates), and she can critique his book.

Gil is just beside himself. He tries to tell Inez about his wonderful night, and she thinks he's come down with a brain tumor. Each night, Gil goes to the same spot at midnight and picks up a ride in this mystery car. He goes on to meet Dali, Picasso, T.S. Eliot, and Toulouse-Latrec. He also starts to fall in love with one of Picasso's muses (Cotillard).

Midnight in Paris
is a fun little movie. Woody Allen has made one movie every year for the last 30+ years. Not many people will say that any of his newer movies are as iconic as his classics like Annie Hall, Manhattan, or Hannah and Her Sisters. Owen Wilson is wonderful to watch. I think he's better than he has been in awhile. He plays the role very truthfully. He's not over-the-top like he sometimes falls back on. His reactions to meeting this historical figures are quite funny. Unfortunately, Rachel Adams seems a little off at times. She's not bad, but she isn't as strong as usual. Kathy Bates and Marion Cotillard turn in terrific supporting roles as well. No surprise there.

Rating: *** 1/2 (3.5 out of 5 stars)

Woody Allen Highlights
The '70s
Annie Hall

The '80s
The Purple Rose of Cairo
Hannah and Her Sisters
Crimes and Misdemeanors

The '90s
Bullets Over Broadway
Mighty Aphrodite
Deconstructing Harry

The '00s
Match Point
Vicky Cristina Barcelona

The '10s
Midnight in Paris

Also in theaters
Thor ** 1/2
Submarine ***

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Sunday, June 12, 2011

Movie Review: SUPER 8

Director/Writer: J.J.Abrams (Star Trek, "Lost")
Starring: Kyle Chandler ("Friday Night Lights"), Elle Fanning (Somewhere), Joel Courtney, Ron Eldard (Sleepers)

When you think of your standard summer popcorn flick what do you think of? Huge explosions in a Michael Bay movie? Comic book adaptions like X-Men or Spider-Man? A terrible Will Smith movie? A terrible sequel to one of last summer's biggest hits? Unfortunately, summer movies lately have gotten to a point where they don't mean terrific amazing movies. Brainless fun or just down right stupid movies. Super 8 is a summer movie of the classic sense. The basic idea that a small town is shaken by unknown force. A movie that has fun characters that seem real and flawed that are just trying find out what is going on to save each other.

Jackson Lamb (Chandler) has recently had to bury his wife. He is the sherriff of the small town of Lillian, OH. He is feeling the stress of being the sheriff and being a single parent to his son, Joe (Courtney). Joe spends his free time with his five friends making zombie movies on Super 8 film. The kids sneak out very late one night to go film a scene outside a railroad station. They need to time it perfectly to get the passing train in the shot. When the train starts to pass by, Joe notices a white pick-up truck drive onto the tracks causing the train to crash into it. The kids have survived and try to make sense of what just happened. Amongst the rubble are hundreds of little white cubes that resemble Rubik's cubes. They make their way over to the white van to notice that the driver is barely alive and he is also their science teacher, Dr. Woodward. Dr. Woodward warns them not talk about what they saw.

The town of Lillian is in uproar. Dogs are disappearing, appliances go missing, people are being abducted, and the Air Force is taking over the town. As sheriff, Jackson is being hounded to have all of the answers to what is going on. Joe and his friends are the only witnesses to the crash. As they try to finish the movie they are working on, they realize that their camera caught all of the crash on film. After their friend Alice (Fanning) goes missing, the gang risk their lives trying to rescue her.

I could go on and write more including additional characters that are pivotal to the plot or describe what that train was carrying, but I don't want to give anything more away about the movie. The less you know about it, the better. The suspense is greater if you find out what is happening at the rate the characters do. Abram's screenplay is fun and suspenseful, and he knows how to write for both the adult characters and the children. The kids don't sound any more intelligent than your average pre-teen does. They bicker, joke around, and curse. The special effects are top-notch when they are used. They don't look like CGI cut and paste images. The scenery and attention to detail for the 1979 look is fun to relish at as well.

J.J. Abrams would have been 13 in 1979. That's a little bit older than the kids in the movie, but you can feel a real autobiographical feel for the movie. You feel like he's living out his childhood times of making low-budget movies in his backyard. Steven Spielberg is one of the main producers of the main. Even though it's a J.J. Abrams movie, you can't help but think about all of Spielberg's classics that might have influenced him. I would say that Super 8 is a mix of four different movies: E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Stand By Me, and The Goonies.

My hope is that this movie is the runaway hit of the summer. Word of mouth will catch on and people will flock to it. I'd be super excited if it came around again for Oscar season.

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

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Voicemail Left for the Alamo Drafthouse

I'm sure many of you have heard this clip by now, but it's too funny not post it. The Alamo Drafthouse kicked a patron out of the theater for texting during a movie. This is her voicemail to the theater complaining about the rude customer service.

Nothing irritates me more than talkers and texters during movies. I've written about it numerous times here on the blog. I think it's great that the theater kicked her out. More people should be kicked out for disturbing the other patrons.

Now, not only does the patron get kicked out of a movie and embarass herself, everyone knows she's dumb as a post after hearing this clip.


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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Movie Review: X-MEN: FIRST CLASS

Director: Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass)
Starring: James McAvoy (Atonement), Michael Fassbender (Jane Eyre), Kevin Bacon (Footloose), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), Nicholas Hoult (A Single Man)

During World War II, Erik Lensherr (Fassbender) is forced to be separated from his mother outside the gates of a concentration camp. As he reaches for her one last time, a rage fueled Erik opens the gates without even touching the gate. His power to move and control metal is witnessed by Sebastian Shaw (Bacon), a sadistic scientist. Erik vows to use his powers to get revenge on Shaw after witnessing him murder his mother.

Time has passed, and it is now 1962 in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Erik has come to the United States to track down Shaw. CIA agent Moira MacTaggart (Rose Byrne) is on the search for a U.S. Army Colonel. After following him into a nightclub, MacTaggart witnesses his sudden disappearance out of the room under the hands of Shaw and his mutant henchman. Shaw has not aged due to his energy absorbing powers. MacTaggart fears the rise of Shaw and tracks down Charles Xavier (McAvoy) who has recently done a thesis on mutation. Xavier agrees to join a special division of the CIA to shed light on mutation and bring down Shaw. After a failed attempt at capturing Shaw and his sidekick Emma Frost (January Jones), Xavier convinces Erik to join this division. Xavier admits to Erik the he is a telepath. They join forces and recruit fellow mutants like Raven (Lawrence) and Hank McCoy (Hoult), AKA Mystique and Beast. They train and strengthen their powers to combat Shaw and Emma Frost.

When I first heard there was going to be another X-Men movie and it was going to be an origins story, I was worried. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) did not live up to the strength of the first two movies. After the cast was announced and the first trailer came out, my faith in the series was revitalized. I would rank this as number three in the series. As a whole, it's a fun summer movie with big action sequences, fun characters, and special effects. While some of the special effects with the mutant powers come off a little hokey, it's still a great ride. While I would have loved to have seen familiar faces like Cyclops, Storm, or Jean Grey, X-Men: First Class does introduce some new mutants to the story. McAvoy and Fassbender stand out amongst the cast. January Jones on the other hand is just awful. She brings nothing to her character, which is her usual style. Bryan Singer who directed the first two movies was involved in the story and produced this entry. His style and ideas definitely help bring the movie back to the tone of the first two. I really appreciate that the movie transitions well into the relationships and story lines we know from the first movie. Too many times prequels or origin stories don't fit into the series well.

RATING: *** 1/2 (3.5 out of 5 stars)

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