Monday, August 30, 2010

Why I Don't Care For the Emmy's

Last night were the Emmy’s and even though I watch as much T.V. as I possibly can and consider it one my oldest friends I cannot bring myself to care about the Emmy’s. It’s not that I don’t want to see my favorite shows do well or be rewarded. My main complaint with the Emmy’s is the habitual nominations and wins of the same people and shows. There is so little variety from year to year that it’s not interesting. I mean how many times can Alec Baldwin, Steve Carell, or Tony fuckin Shalhoub be nominated for Best Actor in a Comedy and win? I’m not saying I don’t appreciate those guys in their respected shows I just feel that there is so more out there for people to choose from.

Another thing I don’t like about the Emmy’s is how they ignore the underrated talent. One of my favorite shows, “The King of Queens”, was on air for a decade and it never won a single award. That show, and Kevin James especially, was hysterical. Instead, in 2006 the award for Best Lead Actor in a Comedy went to Shalhoub who had already won the Emmy three times. Furthermore, he has been nominated every year since 2003. Or how about “Lost”? Here’s a show that everyone jerked off to for years saying its so amazing. However, it quickly lost its momentum in the recent years, then had subpar series finale, and was nominated for Best Drama Series, which it thankfully didn’t win.

The Emmy’s need to give other people and shows time to shine. For example, “How I Met Your Mother” is a great show with a funny cast but somehow there’s a need to give another nomination to "30 Rock" or The Office (I love "The Office" by the way I’m just using it as an example). Year after year it’s the same bullshit with the Emmy’s and it’s just not interesting to me. I can appreciate, however, the Miniseries categories, which is always different and unique. This year Steven Spielberg and Tom Hank’s The Pacific won and it rightfully should have. Their recreation of the Marines in the South Pacific in World War II was stellar, accurate, and breathtaking. Another well-deserved win was Al Pacino for Best Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie for playing Dr. Jack Kevorkian on HBO’s You Don’t Know Jack, which was sad, dark, and emotional, but highly moving.

While I’m happy Pacino and The Pacific won I’m still frustrated by the generic nominations of the Emmy’s. In my opinion the Oscars has been and will always be superior.

Friday, August 27, 2010

The Expendables

Summary: A group of mercenaries is hired to take out a corrupt ex-CIA agent who financially backs a military dictator on a small Spanish island

Plot (B): The plot of this film is extremely straight-forward. There are no hidden agendas or meanings. What I liked about the film and its plot was that it didn't pretend to be something it wasn't. This was a action flick to the core. Was it Stallone's best film in terms of writing? No. But it was entertaining and that's what's important. All in all it’s a good action flick.

Action (A): Obviously, this is where the heart of film laid. From start to finish there was a variety of action. Typically, most action films tend to stick with one type fighting style whether it’s gun shoot-outs, hand to hand combat, or sword fighting. In The Expendables you get a strong balance of it all such as: awesome hand to hand/ martial arts fight, amazing kills with blades, and various deaths using guns. The deaths scenes were creative and in some cases explosive. I really appreciated the variety of action in this film because it kept me interested and on my toes.

Acting & Dialogue (B-): For me this was the weakest part of the film but I’m not saying it was horrible. The acting was good but I did feel that some of dialogue was a bit cheesy at moments. However, it’s clearly evident that this film is not meant to be about the dialogue but more about the events taking place. The Expendables practically hosts every action star from the 80’s to today, which was a real treat especially if you grew up in the 80’s. Stallone’s character was not all brawn and no brains. There was a combination of both which added depth to him. Even though Stallone played one of the main characters he did make sure to not dominate the film. He allowed everyone to have time to shine. I really liked Jason Statham in this movie. He played his character with a sense of calmness and coolness, which worked well when teamed up with Stallone’s. I also really enjoyed Dolph Lundgren’s character even though his screen time was minimal. His character represented the civil disunity that can occur among mercenaries even if they are all close friends. I believe that aspect may have spoken some truth about real mercenaries and that you can never fully trust each other. On a complete side note, it should be known that Lundgren is an utter genius. He has a Master’s in chemical engineering from the University of Sydney and speaks seven languages. Nice job Drago! The films antagonist was played by Eric Roberts, the ex-CIA agent. What Roberts’ lacks in physical presence he makes up with attitude and charisma. His character was smart, deceitful, greedy, and just plain bad. Roberts illustrated those traits well much like he did in The Dark Knight.

Sex Appeal: N/A

Director (B): Say what you want about Sylvester Stallone but that guy is talented and I don’t think enough people give him credit. His scripts are well written and structured. His directing abilities are strong enough that he can balance giving suggestions and commands to others while focusing on other aspects of the film. Most of all he’s vision orientated and smart. He knows what he wants and understands how to achieve it in a manner, which audiences will like. Towards the end of them film I made connection and while its unofficial it makes sense. I think Stallone named The Expendables from Rambo: First Blood Part II. During that film there’s a part where Rambo’s Vietnamese contact asked him why they picked him for the mission. He simply responded that he was expendable and his life didn’t really matter. As I said, this isn’t his best work but it was good enough for me and kept me entertained.

Overall: B

Monday, August 16, 2010

George Lucas Reveals Never Before Seen Opening to "Return of the Jedi"

For a Star Wars nerd such as myself this is as good as porn!!! While it's not a whole lot it's very cool and explains when Luke gave R2-D2 his new lightsaber. Enjoy! Also, as reported that all six Star Wars movies will be going on sale as a package in the Fall of 2011 on Blu-Ray. I think I just went from 6 to midnight!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Other Guys

Summary: Detectives Allen Gamble (Will Farrell) and Terry Hoitz (Mark Wahlberg) are two mismatched partners serving in the NYPD. Both men seize the opportunity to become a pair of New York’s Finest by solving a case no one else seems to care about.

Plot (B+): In this world of the NYPD there are many different types of cops. There are the go-getters (played by Samuel L. Jackson and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) who chase down criminals at whatever cost and are idolized by everyone. They never do any paper work and leave behind millions of dollars of destruction. There are the suck ups and wannabe’s who desperately ache to be like their heroes but fall a bit short. Then there are the other guys who everyone makes fun of and pushes their paper on. Obviously, I’m talking about Farrell and Wahlberg’s characters. The Other Guys is a funny movie with creative and diverse comedic scenes, which properly lives up to previous Farrell/Adam McKay movies. What I liked about the film was how far fetched certain things were. It was clear that The Other Guys was making fun of other cop movies but this was done with such creativity and humor that it worked. The plot itself is pretty easy to follow but it didn’t grab me completely. What I really liked was each character’s past, especially Farrell’s because it was pretty outrageous. It is clear that Hoitz and Gamble are partners who have not been together for years. It seems that they’ve been working together for weeks or a few months so there is a lot of tension particularly stemming from Wahlberg’s Hoitz. It is this aspect that sets the tone for their rocky relationship.

While I’ll definitely say the film was funny I was expecting to laugh harder and/or more. Don’t get me wrong I laughed throughout the entire film and so was the rest of the audience but I guess I was expecting something closer to Step-Brothers where I would have lost my breath at one point. However, I think this film may suffer from the Tropic Thunder Syndrome, meaning it was SO MUCH funnier the second and third time than the first. What definitely hurt the film was its rating. The film was rated PG-13 and I think it would have been a lot better if was rated R. Even though the characters were saying “shit” all the time there wasn’t one F-bomb. Now dropping fuck bombs doesn't mean a movie will be better or funnier but I feel that they could have crossed the line a few times and it would have been golden. But all in all a good film.

Action (B): There was nothing overly fancy about action in the movie. Although I appreciated what was delivered it was relatively standard. Like I said above, certain things were far fetched but worked well for the type of movie it was.

Acting & Dialogue (B/B+): At first people may think that Will Farrell and Mark Wahlberg would not work well together as a comedic team. Well, let me be the first to tell you that’s certainly not true. I really liked their chemistry since it was so fresh. Wahlberg is an underrated comedic actor who really knows what he’s doing. He played Hoitz as the traditional tough ass New York cop who was on his way to becoming one of the best the city has to offer until he committed the most unthinkable act against a man who’s so revered and so loved in the Big Apple. As for Farrell, well he’s Farrell. He was great as usual and played Gamble as the most plain and straight-laced detective due to some past experiences in his life. Gamble would rather clean his desk and organize his filing cabinet instead of chasing the bad guys. What will perplex you, as much as it does Hoitz, is that Gamble is the biggest chick magnet ever. Super hot women just flock to him and he’s is completely unaware of his mystical powers, which makes his marriage to Eva Mendes’ character so funny. Their relationship is normal but not normal at the same time. It was this element, which made Farrell’s character so unique. There are also other pairs of comedic team who were funny and entertaining such as Rob Riggle (Step-Brothers, The Hangover), Damon Wayans Jr. (who is a spitting image of his father), and Jackson and Johnson. However, in my opinion, the unofficial shinning star of this film was not Farrell or Wahlberg. It was Michael Keaton. Keaton played Captain Gene Mauch and if you watch his scenes closely you'll laugh pretty hard. He speaks his mind on just about everything and somehow unknowingly relates it to a specific 90’s female R & B group. Keaton has become extremely selective over the past few years with the movies he stars in so I felt it was a real treat to see him in a comedy again. I’ve always believed he has done a fantastic job with comedies and I was happy to see that he still has it.

Sex Appeal (6): Having Eva Mendes reference and grab her breasts deserves at least a 6 in my book.

Director (B/B+): Six years ago Adam McKay graced audiences with Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy and since that movie we’ve been getting dynamite films from him. His relationship with Will Farrell is something very special. The reason why they continue to work together is that they understand each other and share the same vision when it comes to comedy. While I can’t say this is the best movie of the Farrell/McKay team it was very good and certainly lived up to expectations. Although, McKay doesn’t really dabble in special effects there’s one particular scene that I felt was extraordinary and was labeled by Entertainment Weekly as the Summer Movie Moment. It centers on a night of debauchery between the two main stars. It’s not so much what they are doing but rather how the scene was shot. It was extremely creative and original. Instead of trying to explain it myself I will quote writer Keith Staskiewicz of EW since he wrote it so clearly, “So he (McKay) decided on a single tracking shot that, using a special camera to minimize changes from take to take, depicted the characters’ increasingly drunken revelry in a series of frozen scenes. To film the sequence, the actors had to hold their compromising positions for long periods of time.” This may not make sense to you now but when you see the movie it will and you’ll appreciate it.

Overall: B/B+…Like I said in the Plot section this film may suffer from the Tropic Thunder Syndrome and probably is funnier after repeated viewing so therefore the grade could rise. If you’ve seen it more than once let me know.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Actor of the Month: Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Why: Typically, actors that start their careers as children hardly ever last. Somewhere through the craziness of their teenage years and young adult life they tend to get caught up and lost in the Hollywood lifestyle. Growing up famous leads to an early introduction to sex, drugs, and alcohol thus interfering with their career. Some are lucky enough to avoid that dark path completely or have the ability to work through it i.e. Drew Barrymore. While Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been smoking weed since his high schools and calls himself a “pothead” its clear that he never had real problem with drugs (Levitt admitted this in this months issue of Details Magazine), growing up in the limelight, and is nowhere near the likes of Danny Bonaduce, the walking train wreck. (Danny if you ever read this I'm sorry don't hunt me down.)

One of Levitt’s earliest roles was in Robert Redford’s A River Runs Through It (1991). Under the direction of Redford he played the role of the elder brother growing up in early 20th century America with style, grace, and simplicity. Levitt then came to have one of the lead roles in Angels in the Outfield (1994). For any young child actor that is a major accomplishment no matter how well the movie does. As he entered his teenage years he landed a part on the hit TV sitcom 3rd Rock From The Sun (1996-2001) co-starring John Lithgow. Working for five straight years along with such an accomplished actor definitely helped Levitt polish his skills. Perhaps it was his time on 3rd Rock, which prevented him from trailing down that tempestuous path that swallows so many. In 1996, he starred in the crime thriller The Juror with Alec Baldwin and Demi Moore. Even though he wasn't the main star his performance always left an impression on me. In 1999, he starred in the cult high school classic 10 Things I Hate About You along side with the late great Heath Ledger as well as Julia Styles. This is definitely my favorite film of his from his youth. The innocence in his face and his willingness to go above and beyond for the girl of his dream all clearly represent a teenage boy in love.

During the majority of the 2000’s Levitt worked somewhat consistently but didn’t star in anything the average movie-goer would have seen. However, in 2009 he re-emerged. Levitt starred in the hit indie flick (500) Days of Summer co-starring Zoe Deschanel, which is a wonderful movie about the love and pain of a relationship. The emotions and obsession he displayed clearly hit home for any guy. Also during that year he starred in the action film G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra. The film itself was mediocre but his performance was pretty good as the villain known as Commander. This summer, Levitt starred in the blockbuster sci-fi thriller Inception where he gave audiences another powerful and crisp performance. Working with Leonardo DiCaprio and under the genius mind of writer/director Christopher Nolan solidified him as a quality actor in Hollywood.

Currently, Levitt is being considered for the role of The Riddler in Nolan's Batman 3. His ability to relate to a character and bring the correct emotions and attitude is unbelievable. Levitt is extremely versatile and likes to take on different projects, which help define his career. Hopefully he'll get the part because I know he’ll do a great job. For reasons such as this I name Augusts’ Actor of the Month to Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rumors on the Riddler and Robin for Batman 3

The Movie has reported rumors that three actors are being considered for the role of The Riddler. As of now, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Tom Hardy are the names being thrown around. All three men starred in Nolan's Inception therefore it is no surprise why he may have narrowed it down to those three particular guys. Each actor is highly talented, extremely versatile, have worked with Nolan previously, and can definitely pull it off.

Some of you may not know who Tom Hardy is but he has been around for a while only picking up heat in the last year or so. Hardy also starred in Guy Ritchie's 2008 film RocknRolla, 2008's Bronson (where he put on 42lbs of muscle to play the title role), and the 2004 film Layer Cake (a great drug movie without all the addiction). Most importantly, in each film he clearly stood out from his co-stars. If either Hardy or Levitt get the role of the Riddle King be sure that their career will sky-rocket. While I have no problem at all with DiCaprio being casted as the villain I would rather see it go one of the other guys. Personally, I feel the character of The Riddler fits Hardy and Levitt's style a bit better than Leo's. I'm pushing of Levitt to get the part.

Lastly, IMDB has reported that an unknown actor by the name of Cody Sousa to play Dick Grayson aka Robin. IMDB has listed this as a "Rumor" so you can't take this seriously until its confirmed by Nolan himself and/or the studio. I'm somewhat torn on whether Robin should be in the third film or not. Previously, Nolan has been open with his feelings about Robin and that he would never be in his version of Batman. Has he had a change of heart? Who knows? I just feel that since this is said to be the last Batman film under Nolan's direction it would a bit late to bring in The Boy Wonder. With that being said, I'm very confidant that if Robin is in the third installment Nolan will treat the character correctly.

What do you guys think? Who's going to get the role of The Riddler? Should Robin be brought in or not?

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Summary: Evelyn Salt (Angelina Jolie) works for the CIA Russian Division. Out of the blue a defector walks in stating he has valuable information to share in hopes to gain asylum. He announces that a Russian sleeper spy is going to kill the Russian President in the few days. Unsure of the man’s motives, Salt dismisses his information as false. Things change drastically when the defector says the name of the sleeper assassin is Evelyn Salt. Immediately, Salt goes on the run in order to prove her innocence. As she runs, pieces of her past start creeping up to the surface forcing everyone to question who she really is.

Plot (B): As the movie progressed I became increasingly comfortable with the fact that Salt wasn’t as predictable as I thought it was going to be. There is more to this story than what you see in the trailers. During the course of the movie you will continually question who Salt is and where does her loyalty lie. The more we find out about Salt’s background the more interesting she becomes. Overall, I felt that this was a different approach to a post Cold War spy movie and it was rather refreshing.

Action (B): With her years of experience on the job Evelyn Salt is part spy part McGuyver. Being locked into a sealed room does not worry Salt in the least. She quickly improvises and makes a rocket launcher- like weapon out of a fire extinguisher, cleaning products; I think a coffee filter with crushed grins, and a hollow metal table leg. Twenty seconds later what does she have? A hole in the wall and way out. While that scene was original I felt that the other action sequences were somewhat conventional. I’m not saying they were bad. Just ordinary. Jolie did dominate all the physical attributes her character called for, which I liked because I hate spotting the obvious stunt double ie) Arnold’s in True Lies. However, Jolie’s character could and should have had more cuts and bruises on her body for some of the things she was doing. With each jump, kick, or fall her hair was perfectly in place and conveniently out of her eyes.

Acting & Dialogue (B): You can call her a home wrecker or a thief for stealing Brad away from Jennifer Aniston but when it’s all said and done Angelina Jolie is good actress. (By the way I could care less about that whole situation. It was just a good intro.) Jolie played her character well and I have always enjoyed watching her in these types of roles. Jolie presents Salt as a sexy woman that isn’t afraid to kick ass and get dirty. Furthermore, as any other assassin/spy she is emotionless, self-sufficient, smart, and deadly. I feel these attributes needed to be displayed for such a type of character. I was happy to see she was portrayed this way rather than some emotional wreck clinging to her so called innocence. Jolie did dominate the vast majority of the film leaving little room for her co-stars to shine. I say that with the exception of Liev Schriber (Scream, Defiance). Schriber, who has recently been named one of the Best Actors of Our Generation by Entertainment Weekly (rightfully so), stood out as well. He’s good in anything he does but most importantly Schriber provided a solid supporting cast mate, which complimented Jolie’s style. They would work well together if they both starred in a serious drama.

Sex Appeal (N/A): Typically, we get something worth seeing in an Angelina Jolie film ie) Gia and Wanted. But not in this case. Whaaaaaaaa!!!!

Director (B): Phillip Noyce has a great amount of experience in the spy world genre, which made him perfectly suitable to direct Salt. Some of his professional highlights are: Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger (both starring Harrison Ford and centered on writer Tom Clancy’s character Jack Ryan), The Saint (starring Val Kilmer and Elizabeth Shue, another film with Russian character influences), Sliver, and The Bone Collector (starring Jolie as well). While the last two are vastly different than Noyce’s other work they do have one thing in common: deception. It seems that Noyce is very familiar with it and does well displaying it in his films. While Salt is certainly not better than Patriot Games, or even The Saint in my opinion at least, Salt is a notable film on his resume.

Overall: B