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Posts posted by njskaguy33

  1. I too should be writing for a podcast episode I have to lay down tonight. Instead:

    1) The New Amsterdams - Hover Near Fame (live acoustic)

    2) Steven Page - Indecision

    3) Mustard Plug - Summertime

    4) Dean Martin - Little Ole Wine Drinker Of Mine

    5) Skankin' Pickle - Gates Of Steel

    6) Green Day - Welcome to Paradise (Kerpluck version)

    7) Reel Big Fish - I Want Your Girlfriend Too (live)

    8) Radiohead - (Nice Dream)

    9) Radiohead - Bodysnatchers

    10) Mustard Plug - Yesterday

    11) India.Arie - Part Of My Life

    12) Spoon - The Way We Get By

    13) The Beastie Boys - Body Movin'

    14) Gin Blossoms - Cajun Song

    15) Dave Matthews Band - You May Die Trying

    16) The Pouges - If I Should Fall From Grace With God

    17) Suicide Machines - Punk Out

    18) The Decemberists - The Wanting Comes In Waves

    19) Big Bad Voodoo Daddy - What's Next

    20) The Volecanoes - Wont You Try to be Different

  2. Get Him To The Greek was a suprisingly good flick, DiG. Damn enjoyable and Puffy was actually believable in the part of the crazy record producer. The bit when he's watching Biggest Loser with his family had me laughing out loud. I reviewed it a while back in this thread when it first came out, but I'm too lazy to search it out. :D Good movie to watch with friends after having a few.

    Also, while I'm doing my Opening This Week now, I wanted to let all the Scorsese fans out there know that the Film Forum in NYC is screening a brand new, fully restored print of Taxi Driver now through March 31st. Even if you've seen this movie a hundred times, there's nothing like seeing it on a big screen, especially with a fully restored print. The Film Forum had a similar restoration of The African Queen a few weeks back and it was amazing to watch. Definately recomended, especially if you've never seen this Scorsese classic.

  3. Opening This Week – Nationwide

    Battle: Los Angeles – BOOM! SMASH! ALIENS! Aaron Eckhart stars in this Independence Day style invasion flick as a Marine staff sergeant who leads his troops in the defense of the besieged West Coast city. Not much more to say about this other than it cost $100 million to make, had a really awesome trailer and looks to be even worse than the much maligned Independence Day. Critics have been largely negative about this film, with one saying that the trailer should win an Academy Award for not featuring any of the hammy dialogue and making the film look good. Ouch. The positive critics simply enjoyed the sort of explosions $100 million gets you but there isn’t enough here aside from that for me make a serious recommendation. People who need a mindless escape may find some in Battle but everybody else shouldn’t waste their time.

    Mars Needs Moms (Also showing in 3D and IMAX 3D – Another movie that just can’t be good. Seriously, take a listen to this synopsis: Martians steal the mother (voiced by Joan Cusack) of nine year old Milo (Seth Green) who goes on an adventure to the Red Planet to retrieve her. Yeah, this can’t be good! Critics, family reviewers aside, largely agree saying the story is by the numbers, clichéd and really quite boring. If you’re looking for a good animated film, check out Rango (review coming soon).

    Red Riding Hood – Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke directs this modern take on the classic fable yet when you read the synopsis, it seems to have very little to do with the story. Centered around a love triangle between Valerie, the outsider she loves and the wealthy man her family has arranged to have her marry. And then a werewolf the small town has had an uneasy truce with commits a murder and people suspect Valerie’s love interest and sort of sacrifice has to happen and blah, blah, blah. Again I ask, where in all this does a girl take a basket of goodies to grandma’s house. Sure, I guess there’s a Big Bad Wolfman, but what does this have to do with Red Riding Hood? The answer is, sadly, nothing, as critics have been giving this horrible reviews, with mostly everybody saying that even your Twilight obsessed pre-teen will find this dull, confusing and lame. Easily avoidable.

    Opening This Week – Limited Release

    Jane Eyre – One of the best reviewed films of the weekend, this retelling of the classic story of the plucky orphan become governess and the people who shape and define her. Directed by the great Cary Fukunaga (Sin Nombre) and starring a fine cast including Mia Wasikowska (The Kids Are All Right), Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds) and Judi Dench, critics have been both praising the work of Wasikowska as well as the fine direction by Fukunaga. A fine example of how to properly turn a piece of classic literature into a striking film, Jane Eyre is a must see for fans of period drama. Playing at AMC Lowes Lincoln Square 13 and Landmark Sunshine

    Certified Copy – Written and directed by independent auteur Abbas Kiarostami and starring the fabulous Juliette Binoche, Certified Copy is a deceptively simple tale of guy meets girl and the track their lives take in the space of an afternoon together. Don’t want to say more about it as it may ruin some of the fun, but suffice to say, the “twist” may leave some viewers enthralled, some pissed off. Still, critical reviews have been exceptional and Binoche is always worth the price of admission, making this and easy recommendation. Playing at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

    I Will Follow – Tiny little indie about a woman who sees her seemingly wonderful life unravel after the death of a loved one. The film chronicles one day in the life of this woman and twelve visitors who help her shape her life going forward. While the subject matter may seem heavy handed, critics have said it’s a beautifully done film that rarely shows it was done on a shoestring budget. Showing at AMC Lowes 34th St 14

    Opening This Week – Indie, Art House and Small Screenings

    Kill the Irishman – Gritty film about the turf wars between the Irish and Italian mobs in 1970’s Clevland. Critics are split on this rough hewn crime drama with some saying it’s a satisfying take on the genre while others say there’s a lack of charisma in the leads that prevents the audience from connecting with the characters. Still, fans of that era of crime films may find some fun in this one. Screening at Landmark Sunshine

    Elektra Luxx – Story of a retired adult film star who ,while coping with the drudgeries of “normal” life is tasked by a friend to seduce her fiancée. In return, she offers to give Elektra the lyrics of her rock star husbands final song. Supposedly billed a sexy comedy, Elektra Luxx is getting largely poor reviews for being shapeless, poorly structured and oddly meandering. Showing at City Cinemas Village East

    My 3 To See

    Jane Eyre – Yes, this bad boy is straight up period piece, but a classic story is a classic story, especially when in capable hands.

    Rango – Saw this yesterday and while it doesn’t hit the heights Pixar hit with Toy Story 3, Rango is a very entertaining if not a bit scattershot animated feature. Well worth checking out.

    Certified Copy – Featuring fine acting and great direction, the film may scream pretentious when you learn of the twist, but enough critics have put me enough at ease for me give this a sold recommendation.

    Confused by the colors? Here’s the guide!

    Green means that reviews are great, the trailer looks great, so this is definitely worth seeing!

    Orange means reviews have been mixed but there’s enough here for me to say, “See It For Yourself”.

    Red means this film should be avoided at all costs! Run, Devil fans, run!!

  4. Nice videos, DiG! Regarding that Cake video, I remember those days, a time when if you had a song with a horn in it, you were required to dress ska-ish in your videos. Loud colors, suits with ties, etc.

    Speaking of ska, as it's kinda my thing and 1997 was the Summer of Ska, here's a couple of classics:

  5. Newish Movie Review

    The Mechanic

    Jason Statham is one bad ass mo’ fo’. Seriously, the keister this guy kicks knows no bounds. From building jumping in The Transporter to hanging from helicopters in Crank to trying not to laugh at Sly Stalone’s lines in The Expendables, Statham has defined himself as this generation’s Van Dame, an action hero for the iPod generation. Trouble is, if you saw his starring debut in Snatch, you knew he could do so much more than bash bad guys and look good with his shirt off. Statham has a likable personality and a quick wit that separates him from his contemporaries, a kind of over-muscled bar keep who can spin a good yarn while at the same time fling you out a window for getting too rowdy. Despite this panache, nobody aside from Guy Ritchie has ever been able to utilize his charm and Statham has been largely regulated to loud, testosterone filled action flicks for the last decade. Does The Mechanic solve this problem and let its star fill the screen with charm instead of bulk?


    But in fairness to the filmmakers, they really didn’t let any of the films characters live beyond the written word and to be honest, I doubt that was their intention. The Mechanic is a by the numbers action flick that while providing some decent thrills and some inventive ways of dispatching enemies, the film is rife with clichéd situations, poorly drawn characters and missed opportunities. Sure it’s not meant to be more than a brisk ninety minutes beat ‘em up, but with a little effort it could have been exceeded that expectation.

    Set in modern day New Orleans, The Mechanic stars Statham as hired gun, tasked by men of power to slay other men of power in sneaky, untraditional ways. However, when sent to kill his mentor, played by Donald Sutherland, Statham inexplicitly takes his mentor’s wild child son under his wing (Ben Foster) and trains him to be the very killing machine that slayed his father. The film immediately starts on the wrong foot, doing nothing to establish any of the characters involved. We get a quick scene between Statham and Sutherland, Sutherland hands Statham some cash for a job well done and just when we start to see an inkling of a relationship, it’s BOOM, right back into another action scene. Using the characters a device to get from one action scene to another, we never feel for the participants in the action and, as a result, cease to care.

    The characters themselves, however, do a very decent job with the slop their given. Statham, as mentioned before, is fun to watch and Sutherland, for the brief time he’s on screen, also looks to be giving it his all. Foster, however, is the brightest star in this bunch, giving a slightly disconnected but grounded performance. The kid can act, as evidenced in The Messenger and 3:10 To Yuma, and he does his best to find something in the paper thin character presented to him. Still, the efforts of the very decent cast is all for naught as the film degenerates into bloodshed, baseless violence. Perhaps the biggest affront is how the character of New Orleans is treated. Despite being filmed almost entirely in the Big Easy, you never get a real feel for the character of the city, something that I label as a huge missed opportunity.

    All in all, The Mechanic is exactly as advertised: a white knuckle thrill ride that never elevates itself above the standard early year action flick archetypes it aspires to. Featuring a dismissible storyline, a cliché ridden script and an ending that makes almost no sense, The Mechanic survives, albeit barely, by the likeability of its cast. Without Statham and company, this film probably wouldn’t have seen a release never alone been viewable. To be fair, there is a place in cinema for pure escapist filmmaking and when it’s done right, it can be damn enjoyable. In the case of The Mechanic, however, the visceral thrills of the action can’t hold up to the pure weakness of the characters involved. Statham and company deserve better than this one noted piece of mid February action flick filler. Here’s hoping, at least in the case of Statham, that they actually get it.

  6. b]Opening This Week – Nationwide

    The Adjustment Bureau – Finally! After being delayed almost a year, this psychological action flick starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt finally makes it to theaters this weekend. Delayed, for the most part, due to the inevitable Inception comparisons it would have received last year, this tale about fate and our roles within it been getting largely positive reviews from critics. While some claim that the film’s heavy handed pandering makes for a tiresomely silly watch, most claim that first time director George Nolfi rarely takes his foot off the gas pedal, creating a very satisfying thrill ride that masks any inherent plots holes. Also, critics are unanimous in that the chemistry between Damon and Blunt really help the story along. For me, reading a few of the reviews spoil some of the overall vibe, so I would recommend checking this out before reading any serious reviews and decide for yourself if the “theme” of the flick is too much or nicely frames the story.

    Rango – Word of warning: while this flick is rated PG and stars a talking chameleon, Rango is most certainly a film adults will appreciate more than the kiddies. Featuring the vocal talents of Johnny Depp and directed by the great Gore Verbinski, Rango is the story of a household pet that leaves the comfort of his cage to discover his true self. Taking place in a weird western setting, Rango features enough film geek references, dry humor and madcap situations to entertain kids and adults alike, although adults will really appreciate the richness of the story. Verbinski rarely makes a misstep and it’s nice to see him do well in an unconventional medium.

    Take Me Home Tonight – Wow, enough 80’s throwback flick! Didn’t we get a decent version of this flick in Hot Tub Time Machine? Set in 1988 California, Take Me Home Tonight is the story of a recent college grad who eschews his responsibilities of beginning his work career for the chance to score with his high school crush at an epic, one in a lifetime end of summer party. Consisting of dated references, booming 80’s music and a quip happy script, Tonight is neither clever enough or nostalgic enough to warrant a viewing on the big screen. And yes, I could have spelt warrant with a capital W, but I’m trying to squash the terrible 80’s references vibe one sentence at a time. Join me in my quest!

    Beastly – Another film that has sat on the studio shelf for eight months, Beastly actually deserved it’s banishment. Think Twilight mixed with Beauty and the Beast, Beastly is the story of a popular guy who disses a goth girl causing her to turn him into a monstrous beast…or at the very least, an ugly guy. Critics have been brutal, saying the film has terrible dialogue, worse acting and ham-fisted story that even your tween children would roll their eyes at. Easily avoidable given all the good movies coming out this weekend.

    Opening This Week – Limited Release

    Carmen 3D – The classic tale of Carmen retold in all sorts of 3D fashion! Very limited reviews say it’s a decent retelling of the story so 3D aficionados may do well in checking this out. Everyone else can avoid it. Playing in select theatres throughout New York and New Jersey.

    Happythankyoumoreplease – Doesn’t that title just scream quirky indie? Written and directed by Josh Radnor, of How I Met Your Mother Fame, Happy is yet another story of New York twenty somethings trying to find their way in the big city. Being shellacked by critics, Happy has been described as aimless and entirely too easygoing to emotionally engage the viewer. While some of the film’s supporters actually like the low octane feel of this indie romantic comedy, for me there needs to be something to bit einto if you expect me to run out and see it. Showing at the Angelika

    Opening This Week – Indie, Art House and Small Screenings

    I Saw The Devil – Grotesquely violent South Korean film that follows in the footsteps of directors like Chan-wook Park, Devil is a classic revenge tale that asks the question when fighting a monster when do you become a monster yourself. Critics have agreed that while the film is sick, unsettling and graphic in its depictions of violence and torture, its all done with a style and cinematic flair that’s hard to dismiss. Brave souls can check this flick out at the IFC Center.

    Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives – Arty experimental film about Uncle Boonmee, who decides to spend his last days surrounded by his family. The odd thing is that people who he felt long removed from his life come back in unexpected ways and forms. Critics have been giving this movie high praise saying that it’s meandering, extremely weird and quite unlike anything you’ve seen before. The more adventurous film goer can check this out at the Film Forum this weekend.

    Opening This Week – Worth Waiting for

    Bereavement – Another nasty piece of slasher cinema, this film has not been released yet on this coast but has received average reviews from critics. While it definitely serves up buckets of the red stuff, critics say it strays too much on the sadistic side for their taste. Still, genre fans may eat this up.

    My 3 To See

    Rango – Finally, some good movies coming out in wide release, Rango features enough comedy, winks and madcap situations to appease kids and adults alike.

    The Adjustment Bureau – While uneven and heady, fine performances by Blunt and Damon propel this thriller to a satisfying conclusion.

    Uncle Boonmee Who Can’t Recall His Past Lives – Magical, soft and deliciously strange, this Thai export will astound you with it’s oddness. Not a film to be deeply analyzed, rather experienced.

    Confused by the colors? Here’s the guide!

    Green means that reviews are great, the trailer looks great, so this is definitely worth seeing!

    Orange means reviews have been mixed but there’s enough here for me to say, “See It For Yourself”.

    Red means this film should be avoided at all costs! Run, Devil fans, run!!

  7. This had to be one of the most predictable Oscar nights ever. Roger Deakins not winning in the best cinematography category was the only real surprise. With all his snubs he is really starting to look a bit like Alfred Hitchcock.

    Now that I've seen all nominated movies, I have to say that True Grit is the best movie of 2010 for me. The Coens never seem to disappoint and this is another instant classic. Better in every way than the original, great characters, perfectly acted, funny and beautiful cinematography from Deakins. Quite disappointed that it did not win in any of the 10 categories it was nominated in.

    I definitely liked The King's Speech though and it's the sort of film that the Academy typically votes for. Despite the great performances of Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush, it just falls short of my personal top 3 of 2010 (True Grit, The Social Network and Blue Valentine in that order just in case you're wondering). But it's definitely a worthy winner.

    I did not know The Fighter was nominated for Best Picture when I saw it this weekend. And I was a bit surprised when I found out to be honest. Yes, Christian Bale is fantastic (although I like him less and less with each film he appears in for some reason) but the movie was never groundbreaking. Still, I found it impossible not to root for Micky Ward. So it has to be good I guess, but definitely not great.

    All in all, 2010 was a good year for movies, definitely a major improvement over 2009. But then again, you know a year has to be bad when The Hurt Locker is voted for Best Picture.

    Yeah, this was a very easy Oscars to pick, so easy I can't even feel good about my 75% correct rate! While I can't agree that True Grit was the best movie of 2010, you really can make an argument for Deakins in cinematography as True Grit was beautifully shot, especially the final sequence. Still, I think the Academy got mostly everything right, except for Cinematography (Inception? Seriously? Either True Grit or Black Swan should have snagged that one).

    True Grit is a fine film but ranked pretty low in my Top 10, mostly because I honestly enjoyed John Wayne's Rooster Cogburn to Jeff Bridges interpretation. Not taking anything away from Bridges performance, which was fine if not a touch on the hammy side, but I think that's the key to the whole "which Grit is better" argument. My personal opinion goes to Wayne, but that's solely personal preference. Also, I felt the Cohen's True Grit had some pacing issues but I loved the way they straddled the line between homage and inventiveness. Very good flick.

    As for The Fighter, I pretty much agree. The film does alot of things really well but nothing exceptional, Bale and Leo aside. Like you said, though, much better presige season than last year where The Hurt Locker wins Best Picture. This year, it may get a Best Picture nomination but in the bottom five for sure.

    Hey man since you watched "City of God" you got watch "Tropa de Elite ( Elite Squad)" the film shows exactly the opposite side of the coin, the side of cops who battle not only crime, but corruption within the own Police Force.

    Thanks for the recommendation! Consider that one added to the list!

  8. My favorite Lou quote from that interview:

    When asked if he believed Arnott when he said it wasa difficult descision, Lou replied, "I do believe Jason. I believe any descision you have is hard. Easy descisions are only malcontent descisions."

    I don't know what that means, but I freaking love it!

  9. Just fine with this deal. To me, this looks like a classic hedge your bets type of move. If the Devils were still dead last and out of the playoffs, you would have seen someone gone for picks but the Devs are statistically the hottest team in the league and have the chance to make history. By moving Arnott for Steckel, you get a cheap roster player who can fill in, win facoffs and play the PK for a plyer who was going to fly the coop in July anyway. That way, you get some sort of return and you still have an NHL ready player to hopefully keep the miracle run alive. Yeah, not annoyed at all by this deal.

  10. 2011 Oscar Winners and Run Down

    Yaaaaawnn…are they over? Well, the biggest night in movies ended in probably one of the more boring Oscars in recent memory. No huge surprises, no big upsets and not much energy to speak of, the 2011 Oscars will forever be remembered for The Kings Speech, Melissa Leo’s f-bomb and James Franco in a dress. Meh, at least most of my picks came out! If the winner is highlighted in green, I nailed the pick and if it’s red, I missed it. Here are some of the highlights, lowlights and all the winners.

    The Winners

    Best Visual Effects - Inception

    Pretty easy one to pick as Inception was damn near groundbreaking in the way it treated visual effects. Also, I quite liked Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law presenting together as they were funny without being forced and provided a small bit of entertainment in a show that had already gone on way too long.

    Best Sound Mixing - Inception

    Yeah, another easy pick, especially given when one film wins a technical, they generally win them all. Oh, and if Matthew McConaughey had said, “Sound” one more time while presenting, I was ready to but my foot through the screen. Or just turn it off and play Red Dead Redemption.

    Best Sound Editing - Inception

    Not much more to say about the flick that pretty much swept the technicals.

    Best Makeup – The Wolfman

    Hard one to pick as I hadn’t seen any of the nominees, but good for the Academy for eschewing the usual “make someone look older, hand ‘em the Oscar” thought process and give it a to a poorly reviewed action flick that looked awesome. One of those movies that only had visuals going for it, I was glad to see it get recognized for what it did best. Also, Cate Blachett’s little quip about the Wolfman being “gross” made me chuckle.

    Best Film Editing – The Social Network

    My pick and the eventual winner, The Social Network was definitely the best edited film of the year for me, a pick that the Academy got right. Without the superb work of Agnus Wall and Kirk Baxter, The Social Network just wouldn’t have held together but they managed to not only connect the three different storylines but do so in a way that was easy to grasp and more importantly, totally engaging.

    Best Documentary – Inside Job

    While I can’t comment on the winner as I haven’t seen it yet, I’m going to be shocked if it’s anywhere near as gripping or emotionally evocative as my pick, Restrepo. Still, this a hard one to gauge if you haven’t seen them all.

    Best Original Score – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for The Social Network

    When this got announced, I stood up and cheered. Not only have I been a huge Reznor fan since the early nineties, his music has evolved from angst ridden techno-rock to something more subtle and more beautiful. Sure the man still loves to rock, but the main theme of The Social Network is haunting, beautiful and undeniably Nine Inch Nails. And seriously, does Hans Zimmer really need another Oscar?

    Best Costume Design – Alice In Wonderland

    Damn, should have picked this one as it really is the natural choice. Another flick that really only has stunning visuals going for it, Alice has beautifully vibrant costuming and was probably an easy pick for the Academy.

    Best Art Direction – Alice In Wonderland

    See the above!

    Best Cinematography - Inception

    Somehow I missed this one when doing my njdevs picks, but I had labeled Black Swan for this award, simply because it’s the best example of visual storytelling out of any film released this year. Kind of surprised they gave it to Inception but the Academy has been recently giving this award to technically proficient films, not necessarily well shot ones. Remember, last year Avatar won the award and most of that flick was animated against blue screen. Inception isn’t as bad but Black Swan featured stunning camerawork and should have walked away with the award.

    Best Adapted Screenplay – The Social Network

    Far and away the best script written this year, The Social Network not only encapsulated a phenomenon but took a look inside the mind of the genius who created it. Alan Sorkin’s brilliant screenplay was slick and stylish while still allowing the viewer into the motivations behind the polarizing Mark Zuckerburg. While I’m sure there are inaccuracies abound in the movie, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s an extremely enjoyable film.

    Best Original Screenplay – The Kings Speech

    Can’t really disagree with this pick and while my personal choice was The Kids Are All Right, Speech blended just the right amount of humor, class and emotion to propel the film to elite status. Also, had to appreciate the very nice speech writer David Seidler gave as it was witty, quick and quite heartfelt. But then again, as my brother said, he is a writer!

    Best Foreign Language Film – In A Better World

    Another tough one to guess, but at least that means this Denmark import will most likely get a stateside release now, allowing us film snobs to check it out!

    Best Animated Feature Film – Toy Story 3

    Yeah…you knew it was going to win too!

    Best Supporting Actress – Melissa Leo for The Fighter

    The toughest category to pick but the Academy went the safe route and picked Golden Globe winner, Melissa Leo. While you could make a case for any of the actresses nominated, Leo did a great job connecting both the boxing world where she managed and the family she ran, seamlessly integrating the two worlds in her performance. That being said, she couldn’t have been less prepared for her speech than she was, plus her alleged f-bomb just makes for a good story in an otherwise bland Oscars.

    Best Supporting Actor – Christian Bale for The Fighter

    Another win everybody saw coming a mile away, Bale was easily the best performance in The Fighter and deserved the award. The being said, I still maintain the best work of the year was done by Rush for The Kings Speech but Bale is certainly a close second and definitely Oscar worthy.

    Best Actress – Natalie Portman for Black Swan

    Very deserving of the Oscar and the easy pick, Portman has finally reached the level where many critics thought she would reach way back when she first starred in Leon the Professional. Just a brilliant performance that gets better every time you see it, Portman nailed the role of a troubled ballet dancer. Not only that, but she gave a very sweet speech and looked great as well.

    Best Actor – Colin Firth for The Kings Speech

    Probably one of the biggest slam dunks in Oscar history, what can one say that hasn’t already been said about his portrayal of the Duke of York. Just a wonderfully connected performance that not only wowed audiences, but is the sort of thing the Academy eats up.

    Best Director – Tom Hooper for The Kings Speech

    A bit of a surprise here for me, but once this award was announced you knew how the rest of the night was going to go, especially since the film had also won Best Original Screenplay earlier in the evening. While my vote went to Fincher for his outstanding work in The Social Network, you could have made an argument for any of the films nominated. To me, this sounds like the Academy put a premium on directors working with actors which is a good move in my opinion.

    Best Picture – The Kings Speech

    Glad this won so I can stop wasting post space in praise of this excellent film, The Kings Speech is simply the best movie to come out this year and more than deserved the win. Congrats to everybody involved with the creation of this movie as it’s truly an amazing piece of cinema.

    Highlights and Lowlights

    - Anne Hathaway actually did a very nice job hosting the show. She was relaxed, self deprecating and looked like she was actually having a fun time hosting the show. James Franco, on the other hand, was wooden, awkward and looked high as a kite throughout the entire broadcast. Just really strange.

    - The opening bit about going through the different levels of Alec Baldwin’s dream was well done but lacked any sort of real spark. Still, as an intro to the show, it was fine. The auto tune musical bit was also pretty funny but nothing had any sort of spark.

    - And how about Kirk Douglas?? Yes, the man rambled on, bringing the show to a screeching halt and yes, he has giant earlobes but the guy is 94 and is recovering from a stroke. I say let him blather on incoherently! Easily the most entertaining presenter of the evening, if maybe for all the wrong reasons but he’s a legend. Legends get a long leash. Also, you have to love his whole dirty old man thing …while walking away, he was an inch away from coping a feel on Melissa Leo, and I say good for him! A good example of living life while you still have some to live.

    - James Franco in a dress was more uncomfortable than funny and Hathaway’s Hugh Jackman bashing song was her only real misstep of the evening. My favorite Hathaway moment was when she flubbed a line, stopped and then said, “Whoops, that’s a flub. Everyone at home, take a drink”, an obvious reference to the “Oscar drinking game” that was all over the Internet. Well played!

    - And then there was the musical numbers. Whew, those were tough. Paul Newman was fine, aside from you couldn’t hear a word he was saying and the song from Tangled was well sung but bland. Then we get treated to If I Rise from 127 Hours, which is actually a very pretty song but ill placed as we were already in the third hour and most people were already nodding out. And do I even need to talk about Gwyenth Paltrow singing the tune from Country Strong? Yeeesh.

    - The finale also felt very staid and forced, despite the cute factor of the PS 22 kids singing Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Having all the winners trot out for one last hurrah is a good idea in theory but felt rushed as the event had already gone over time. Oh, and Melissa Leo is a whack-a-do.

    All in all, the 2011 Oscars were very predictable and fairly boring, despite the best efforts of Anne Hathaway to make it lively and fun. Part of me thinks it’s just a relic of times gone by and every effort by the producers to modernize the show is stymied by the old school drama of it all. While I do think the show could use some new blood and fresh ideas, I think an MTV Movie Awards style Oscars would leave me just as annoyed. There’s something timeless about the old school Hollywood glamour of the show and too much rock concert hutz-pah would ruin that side of it. If somebody could just mix the old school Hollywood charm with a quickening of the pace while giving it a shot of energy, the Oscars may become relevent again. Not a bad show but if you just caught highlights, you saved yourself three hours and probably made a wise choice.

  11. It's funny, I've been a hockey fan since 1993 and, probably naively, never really thought a coaching change could make all that much difference to a hockey team. Maybe help the team eek out a few victories here, shake up chemistry there, but in the end not make a whole mess of difference. Lemaire and this years Devils have completely changed my outlook on that, admittedly, ridiculous line of thinking. Good for nhl.com is realizing how amazing this run really is.

  12. Opening This Week – Nationwide

    Drive Angry 3D – You know a movie is admittedly mindless when the published synopsis reads, “A vengeful father chases after the men who killed his daughter”. That’s it! No further explanation, no intersecting plot points, no clarification. Expect only guts, profanity, nudity and some sort of amazing car chase. Oh and Nicholas Cage evidently has sex with a waitress whilst fighting a slew of bad guys. That alone may be worth the price of admission but the whole 3D thing actually turns me off to the whole thing. Critics have been pretty mixed on this with some saying it’s a mindless, gratuitous joy ride of a flick with others claiming it’s misogynistic and unsettling. Still, there is room in the world of cinema for simple and pure ass kicking, so long as it doesn’t delve into Kick Ass realms of sadism. May have to check this out just so I can form an opinion.

    Hall Pass – The first film by the venerated Farley Brothers in almost four years, the team returns to the gross out humor that made them famous with films like There’s Something About…but with a sweet side? The film centers around two married forty-somethings, played by Own Wilson and Jason Sudeikis, who are given a one week reprieve from their marriages to indulge in their wildest fantasies. A film that critics are either saying is too slapsticky gross for it’s own good or too meandering and wimpy for a Farley Brothers flick, leaving the film wallowing in comedic mud. Sounds like the directors tried to cater to everybody and ended up pleasing nobody, an easy mistake to make. Sounds like a skip to me.

    Opening This Week – Limited

    The Grace Card – Christian charged film about a bitter ex cop who travels a road of redemption in racially charged Memphis. Critics have blasted this film as being pandering, formulaic and so badly clichéd, Lifetime would have a hard time showing it. Sounds like a snooze fest to me. Showing in select theaters

    Of Gods and Men – And to transition from heavy handed pandering to an honest look at faith and the power it can have in ones life, here’s Of Gods And Men This very well reviewed film is about a group of eight monks who, while stationed in North Africa, has to decide to flee a raging conflict or stay, threatening their own life for the sake of their faith. Critics have praised this movie as being the first truly brilliant film of 2011 featuring fine acting, beautifully patient direction and a stunning story. Playing at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and Landmark Sunshine Cinema.

    Opening This Week – Indie, Art House and Small Screenings

    Heartbeats – Getting mostly good reviews from the critical circle, the latest film from growing Montreal director Xavier Dolan tracks a love triangle and all the sex, comedy and tragedy that goes along with it. While most critics have been hailing Dolan as a brave new voice in the world of independent cinema, still others label the film as being too thin to support its running time. Still, there’s enough good reviews from critics I respect to label this as a strong see it for yourself. Showing at the IFC Center

    Public Speaking – Martin Scorsese’s latest film, a documentary about the wild and sometimes controversial humorist Fran Lebowitz. Critics have been giving the film great reviews, saying the author is goes on a tour de force, providing hilarious insights to almost everything. Showing at the Film Forum

    My 3 To See

    Cedar Rapids – This offbeat comedy starring the excellent Ed Helms who plays a shut in insurance salesman who is invited to a conference in the “wild” world of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Problem is, he’s never left his tiny Midwestern hometown, promising all sorts of awkward misadventures. Getting great reviews, this is a comedy worth seeing

    Of Gods And Men – An intriguing story, rich acting and great direction all lead to a must see for indie minded moviegoer.

    Aaaand there is no three this week...sorry kids!

    Confused by the colors? Here’s the guide!

    Green means that reviews are great, the trailer looks great, so this is definitely worth seeing!

    Orange means reviews have been mixed but there’s enough here for me to say, “See It For Yourself”.

    Red means this film should be avoided at all costs! Run, Devil fans, run!!

  13. Alright, just a couple more now that I'm in 90's video mode:

    This one was rated the best video of the nineties by Pitchfork and while I don't agree, it's pretty stunning. Also, this is NSFW, not for anything lude but for overall creepiness. Oh yeah, it's Aphex Twin.

    Ten shades of awesomeness:

  14. And while we're on the subject of music videos, my favorite director, Michel Gondry had some good ones in the nineties. In case you don't know his work, he's the director of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Science of Sleep and most recently The Green Hornet...well, OK, he's allowed a stinker now and again.

  15. Smack My Bitch Up (unedited) will always be one of my favorite videos.

    Smack My Bitch Up was directed by Jonas Ackerlund, a very good Sweedish director who primarily does music videos. Still works today and is most recently famous for doing Lady Gaga's Telephone (terrible video), Paparazzi (pretty damn good) and her latest Born This Way (very average). In keeping with the 90's theme, here is some of his other work from the late 90's.

    (no, these songs may not "rock" but the videos are very visually intersecting...so there :) )

  16. Just Watched

    City of God

    The evening I watched City of God was preceded by a horrid day. One of those days you wish would just fly by so you didn’t have to experience it, it was riddled with bad weather, annoying e-mails and a headache so bad, a lobotomy couldn’t have cured it. Even when sitting down to watch the movie, my Blu-Ray player decided to take the evening off, forcing me to watch it on my old as butt PS2. Such indignities! However, the horrors of my day served as a fine backdrop for a viewing of the insightful and frightening City of God. Why? Because this film, unlike the banalities of my day to day problems, is rooted in something real, something dangerous. City of God is an eye opening looking into the day to day lives of people surrounded by real problems and real danger.

    Taking place in the slums of Rio de Janerio, one of the most dangerous areas in all of Brazil, City of God tracks the life of young Rocket, an aspiring photographer who has family ties to one of the more notorious gangs in Rio. Through the course of the film, Rocket sees friends and family succumb to the trails and temptations of gang life and, through the lens of his camera, does what he can to rise above it. Modeled after real gangs, filmed in real locations and using actors who actually live in the slums the story takes place in, City of God has an authenticity and realism that makes the on screen action feel more like a documentary than a fictional tale.

    While this film garnered four Oscar nominations, impressive for a foreign language film, the most deserving nod was for Best Cinematography. Frantically yet beautifully shot, cinematographer Cesar Charlone captures the hard boiled streets of Rio in stunning, unflinching detail. The direction is also noteworthy as the story of Rocket and the gangs around him is told with harsh realism and palpable emotion. On the acting front, only one of the actors on screen had ever been in a film before, many of whom made their home in the very ghetto being depicted, but everyone does a convincing job in their respective roles. My only complaint would be the part of Little Zie, the most ruthless of the gang leaders. While most of the violence in the film was contextualized, Zie’s character comes off almost too over the top with few references made to why he’s so maniacal.

    That, however, is a minor quibble when stacked against fine directing, cinematography that puts you right in the midst of gang warfare and a story of personal triumph that warms the heart as much as it scares the bejesus out of you. City of God is obviously a personal story as much as it’s a work of fiction and that personal touch comes through in every frame, creating a thrilling and emotional experience that’s a pleasure to watch. Highly recommended!

  17. Have to agree with alot of what dr33 said. Joey and I talked about this on this week's show, but I've always felt Langs got a bad rap from fans and most certainly the media. When he says things like, I was a marytr, he isn't all wrong. The New York media definately painted him as the problem and fans, looking for somebody to blame for the teams failures, picked up on it. My issue with his comments is the timing of them. True or not, now is not the time to start talking smack about a team that up until a month ago you captained, especially given the Devil's surge and Dallas's slide since his departure. Sure, it's most likely coincidence, although I suspect the move helped to "wake up" the team, but it just smacks of sour grapes and an attempt to bolster his team through locker room quotes. He may be right, but the timing just stinks.

  18. I would like a 4th color for movies like Big Momma 3. I don't know what color but it should represent movies that will be talked about as worst of the year/decade. It seems unfair to other bad movies that are just regular bad to be grouped in with Big Momma 3. :lol:

    HA! I was actually thinking that when writing the preview: What color is worse than red?? Maybe like fecal matter brown or something along those lines. Yeah, it seems almost unfair to put Big Momma 3 in the class of "regular" bad movies :D

  19. I agree with everything RD said but I'd also like to mention that your renters insurance covers alot more than most people think. Even if your landlord wont pay to have your clothes and furniture professionally cleaned, it may be covered under your insurance. Also, if you feel the place is unsafe to live in or if they have to come in and start knocking down walls to fix the problem, your renters insurance should also cover any hotel bills if the place is "unfit for habitation". Just call your insurance company first to find out if you need any proof of the problem before making a claim.

    As for your landlord, it sounds like they are doing all they can so I doubt you'd be in a position for a rent decrease but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to ask. Sounds like you have pretty fair landlords, but I imagine the most you could hope for would be reduction in February's rent. As for breaking your lease, if the landlords are doing all they can to fix it, depending on the terms of your lease, they may be entitled to hold on your security. Naturally, this depends on how ironclad your lease is. When I was in Weehawken, my lease was written on a piece of notebook paper with no terms at all but here in NYC, it's very official. So, long story short, if they weren't doing anything to fix the problem, you would most likely have grounds to break the lease but since they are being proactive, all you can really ask for is a rent reduction for February, which they probably would do. I'm sure they'd rather loose half a rent check then have to go through the rental process again, so you'll probably be in good shape to ask for one.

    Hope it all works out!

  20. Sorry for not having a ton of reviews or previews in the thread as of late, but most of my energies have been devoted to my new Devils podcast, DevsCast. (Shameless plug, I agree). Hope to have some new reviews soon!

    Opening This Week – Nationwide

    I Am Number Four (Also showing in IMAX) – Eeehh, still not quite sure what this is about and something tells me, an actual viewing of this film wont get me any close to the truth. The film centers around a young man who is set to be the fourth person killed by a mysterious force, forcing him to roam around the country. After settling down in a small town in Ohio, he meets a girl, gets himself some powers and I imagine uses these new abilities to combat his pursuers. Early reviews have been pretty terrible saying it’s a space age Twilight with even less emotional weight and even worse CGI effects. Sounds like a stinker to me!

    Unknown – As one reviewer put it, Liam Neeson has become the new Harrison Ford, easily slipping into roles that the former Star Wars star found himself in late in his career. Really, couldn’t you see Neeson in The Fugitive, Air Force One, or even What Lies Beneath? Neeson takes on the role of Dr Martin Harris, who awakes from a car accident in a world where nobody knows he exists and what’s worse, someone has stolen his identity. Neeson then goes on a quest to regain himself in what is sure to have plenty of car chases, jumping between buildings and old man fights. And boy, do I love me some old man fights! Still, reviews have been unilaterally poor for this movie, calling it basically a watered down Taken, which was actually quite good. This one, however, just takes that formula and dilutes it down to post Oscar mushy mush.

    Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son – Wow, what a catastrophically convoluted movie title, much like the obvious mess it’s attached to it. You know, did we really need a third installment of a franchise nobody in their right mind found funny or enjoyable? It’s almost not worth mentioning but critics have been brutal of this film, easily the worst of the series. Skip unless you have a friend that needs a good torturing.

    Opening This Week – Limited

    Immigration Tango – Poorly reviewed film about an immigrant couple who, after having their visas run out, switch places with their American born friends. Why this ploy would prevent the INS from knocking on their door is beyond me, but then again, I doubt I’ll ever bother to find out. Playing in select theatres

    The Chaperone – Another movie from WWE films, this one starring Triple H as an ex con on the run from his former gangmates who, in an attempt to elude them, takes a bunch of kids on a field trip to New Orleans. Madcap highjinks and slapstick is sure to ensue in what looks to be another banal family flick with little heart or feeling. Critics laregely agree, saying the movie is poor in pretty much every category. Showing at City Cinemas Village East

    The Last Lions – Documentary about the perilous life of an African lion and her struggle to survive, with her cub, in the harsh jungle. Narrated by the deliciously hammy Jeremy Irons, critics have said that it’s beautifully shot and realized, even with Irons over the top narration. Still, the imagery alone makes this worth a viewing. City Cinemas Paris Theatre and the Angelika

    Even the Rain (Tambien La Lluvia) – Billed as movie about the making of a movie, this film parallels the abuses of Christopher Columbus 500 years ago to the issues plaguing modern day Bolivians. A hard flick to cram into a three line synopsis, the movie has been getting quite good reviews from critics, with most saying that the director does a nice job of connecting the two disparate time periods. Playing at the Angelika

    Vanishing on 7th Street – Starring Hayden Christensen, Thandie Newton and John Leguizamo, this films takes place in present day Detroit where a sudden blackout plunges the city into darkness in which a band of survivors must wait out the terrors in the dark. Despite some decent star power and the director behind both Transsiberian and The Machinist, critics have been giving this average reviews. Still, might be worth a look if you’re a fan of director Brad Anderson’s previous work. Playing at City Cinemas Village East

    Opening This Week – Indie, Art House and Small Screenings

    Zero Bridge – Filmed as both a love letter to his war torn hometown of Kashmir and a fictional story of a young pickpocket making his way through the toughest life has to offer, critics have been very positive about this debut film by director Tariq Tapa. Worth checking out if you’re near downtown NYC this weekend. Showing at the Film Forum

    We Are What We Are – Strange sounding horror flick about a family of cannibals who, after their father passes on, has a horrifying decision to make. Eat him as they have done to countless others or press on without him. While this synopsis screams blech, critics have been surprisingly positive about this debut film by director Jorge Michel Grau. Praising it’s fine mix of horror, fine shot direction and black comedy, this film may just be the thing to sate the tastes of horror fans this weekend. Screening at the IFC Center

    Putty Hill – Documentary-esqe flick about the death of a young townie and the effect his passing has on his rural suburb of Baltimore. Critics have been giving this flick high praise for its documentary style camera work and the pure emotional weight of the subject matter. Worth checking out! Showing at Cinema Village 12th Street

    Opening This Week – Worth Waiting For (Possibly)

    Brotherhood – This 70 minute long crime thriller about an accidental shooting during a fraternity’s induction doesn’t have any screen time as of this posting but has been getting mixed reviews from critics. You may want to wait for more critical opinion before running out to see it.

    Confused by the colors? Here’s the guide!

    Green means that reviews are great, the trailer looks great, so this is definitely worth seeing!

    Orange means reviews have been mixed but there’s enough here for me to say, “See It For Yourself”.

    Red means this film should be avoided at all costs! Run, Devil fans, run!!

  21. Never said it wasn't.

    Just that rappers are NOT musicians, ARTISTs sure ... not musicians.

    Being a musician means mastering an instrument (As voice is) through many years, if not decades, of dedicated study - with pitches, rhythm, and all the skills that go with it.

    It takes years of study - not just writing rhymes with expletives degrading women and encouraging violence (as the majority of hip-hop - NO not ALL - does).

    P.S. ... and yes I am aware of Common, KRS-1, and the linage of legitimate "content-rap"

    Not to hijack this thread or anything, but I would argue that good rappers, like the ones you mentioned in your PS, absolutely spend decades evolving their inflection, timing and most certainly rhythm. If rappers aren't musicians, would you consider drummers musicians? A standard rock drummer doesn't need to know a single scale or note of sheet music yet is rhytmically essential to the music being created.

    My definition of a musician would be somebody who is an active participant in the creation of music, whether they add rhythm, melody, voice or a soft cowbell in the back of the mix. Just my opinion as a musician. :D

  22. Maybe I'm opening myself up to a gang related attack, but I need this guy on my podcast. Five or so minutes of him doing that mess on air screams radio gold!

    And rap is most certainly music. Maybe not this fella's tune, but quality hip hop is absolutely music.

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