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njskaguy33

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Posts posted by njskaguy33

  1. Go out for dinner together, go bowling, cuddle in the hotel and watch Titanic together....just WIN baby WIN!

    Agree, but given how the season has played out thus far, maybe Titanic isn't the best choice in films. Perhaps Hoosiers or Varsity Blues would be more appropriate.

    Not to be a jackass or anything, but our record against Western teams right now is 0-1-1. Not great, but I wouldn't call it dismal just yet. B )

    Also trying not to be persnickety, but I think he meant historically the Devils have had bad luck on these West Coast swings, not the small sample size of this season. Just sayin'!

  2. I'm a huge horror/gore/etc fan and Ugh I hated the first movie. I thought it was pure garbage. I don't know how anyone was scared by that movie. It was two annoying characters with "did you hear that noise" moments. I was rooting for them to both get killed just so I didn't have to watch anymore. Hell nothing even happens in 98% of that first movie. I refuse to see the second one.

    btw if anyone was legitimately scared by the first movie, I'm sorry but you're a pansy.

    Interesting take on the first movie. While I've never seen the movie myself, as I will fully admit I am one of those aforementioned pansies when it comes to horror movies, I can see how the hardcore horror buff may not be swayed by the "bump in the night" scares of PA. That being said, if you need a really good scare this weekend, check out the lesser known REC and the newly released REC 2. My brother enoys the genre much more than I do and has said that the first REC is pretty fantastic and offers up a good amount of scares. That and the Japanese horror film Audition would be a great choice if you need the snot scared out of you for Halloween. Let's just say Rob Zombie found it disturbing and had a hard time getting through the movie...Rob freaking Zombie!

  3. Yesterday, when we were talking in person, I clearly remember saying that I felt Johnny Mac was going to get a ful chance and that a Thanksgiving firing would be detrimental to an already incohesive team. After watching his reactions during the Ranger game, I think I have to change my tune. It looks as though he's just throwing sh!t against the wall to see what sticks at this point and his facial expressions just look lost. While I don't agree we need to be a Cup contender "NOW", I do think Johnny Mac may just be in over his head. Then again, the Devils haven't faced ineptitude like this in almost twenty years, so I don't think anybody knows quite what to make of this.

    Good write up, by the way!

  4. Ahhh, manly movies! You have sone good ones on there, DiG, but here are a few thoughts:

    Flicks You May have Missed But Most Likely Have Seen

    The Good, The Bad and The Ugly - One of the best westerns ever made, maybe one of the best movies ever made

    Reservoir Dogs - Even if you've seen it, it's totally worth seeing again.

    Death Wish - Two words...Charles Bronson! Only added this because you already had The Dirty Dozen and The Great Escape listed.

    Die Hard 4 - Yes, you listed Die Hard, but alot of people panned the most recent sequel because of the PG-13 rating. They shouldn't have, because this is a very satisfying flick!

    Cape Fear - I love me some over the top DeNiro, what can I say!

    Dog Day Afternoon - One of my favorite Pachino movies of all time.

    The Deer Hunter - Long but totally awesome, plus it has Christopher Walken in a main role.

    From Dusk 'Til Dawn - One of those movies I hated when I first saw it but now have come to dig it for the pure campy goodness of it.

    Heat - Not my favorite film in the world but has some exceptional gun fights.

    More Obscure, Just As Manly

    Oldboy - Weird ass movie but has some ridiculous fighting scenes and gets pretty graphic, all the while remaining really good.

    Paths of Glory - You mentioned a few war movies, so this is definately one of my favorites. One of Stanley Kubrick's first and best films.

    Bridge Over The River Kwai - Fantastic film...another Top 100 ever made.

    Carlito's Way - Much better than the overrated Scarface.

    Requiem For A Dream - Added not for violence and explosions but for naked Jennifer Connoly and...well, do you really need anorthe reason? Also, a very well made movie.

    King of New York - A bit cheesy but over the top Walken in a starring role plus lots of great gun fights equals win.

    The Outlaw Josey Wales - Not sure if this should be labeled as obscure, but it's still fantastic.

    Just a few I thought up after scanning my DVD shelf. I'll add some more as I think of them!

  5. Opening This Week – Nationwide

    Paranormal Activity 2 – Also showing in IMAX – BOO! How does one know were smack in the middle of fall? By getting ready for a fresh new crops of spooky movies just in time for Halloween. This year has been a huge let down in that department but the sequel to last year hugely popular low budget spook show has been getting great early reviews, with most critics saying it actually improves upon the original. While I think I’ve been pretty clear on here that I’m not a fan of scary movies, the fact that a little indie that could is spawning quality sequels gives me hope for the future if filmmaking. If you need a good Halloween scare, skip next week’s Saw 3D and check out Paranormal Activity 2.

    Opening This Week – Limited

    Inhale – Odd sounding flick about a father so desperate to save his daughter from a degenerative lung disease, he delves deep into the world of illegal organs to find a donor. Framed as a family story of a sick child and presented like a graphic thriller, Inhale doesn’t seem to know what the heck it is and critics have been equally negative about it. Not worth running out to see but if you want to, it’s showing at the IFC Center.

    Kalamity –Another teen style indie thriller about a brokenhearted kid who returns home to Northern Virginia to find out something strange is going on in his hometown. Watched the trailer the thing still makes no sense but good god, that kid who plays the lead is ugly. Only a few reviews on this and none of them are good…skip it! Playing at City Cinemas Village East

    Knucklehead – Another piece of junk from WWE productions, this one starring The Big Show and Dennis Farina as a couple of cons who go through a whole convoluted money making scheme involving orphanages, criminal ringleaders and an MMA tournament. None of it sounds even remotely interesting, funny or cohesive, so give that shiz a skip! Showing at Quad Cinemas

    The Taqwacores – Story of a Pakistani-American engineering student who moves off campus with a group of Muslim punk rockers who introduce him to the Muslim punk rock scene. Not getting great reviews, if you need a well done foreign music movie, I recommend seeing Nobody Cares About Persian Cats instead. Screening at City cinemas Village East

    Boxing Gym – AAAAaaannd finally a good movie! The documentary simply chronicles the training and discipline displayed by boxers who train at a local Austin boxing ring. Simple on setup but getting rave reviews from critics, this film is promising to be much more than a simple scenario. Finally a flick I can recommend! Playing at the IFC Center.

    Movie Notes

    Matt Damon’s latest film Hereafter goes wide this weekend, so check it out at a theater near you!

    My 3 To See

    Paranormal Activity 2 – Not my cup of tea, but horror fans and scare mongers alike will get another dose of quality low budget thrills from this blossoming franchise.

    Jackass 3D – Saw it yesterday and laughed my butt off, this is a disgusting but very entertaining piece of pop cinema. While not as good as the first two, it’s still Jackass and it’s still great for all the wrong reasons.

    Hereafter – Adding this for one more week now that it has hit wide release, so check it out!

  6. New-ish Movie Review

    Catfish

    Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, children of all ages: I am happy to report that the documentary is officially cool again. Ever since it became required to have at least one B list actor in your five million dollar “indie film” in order to get into Sundance, talented filmmakers with limited resources have turned to real life subjects to break into the biz. As a result, over the last few years, the documentary has made a turn from boring history film strips to actual pieces of cinema art. Estranged from a broken festival scene, filmmakers have started creating films that blur the line between doc and drama. Movies like Exit Through the Gift Shop and Paranormal Activity are prime examples of this shift and Catfish is just another example of this growing trend. While the movie is definitely more doc than drama, Catfish is a small yet intriguing mystery that’s wrapped in a crunchy documentary shell and the resulting concoction is a tasty morsel indeed.

    The bare bones plot starts with the documenting of Facebook friendship between twenty-something New York photographer Nev and an exceptionally talented eight year old painter named Abby. Via this friendship, Nev gets to know her mom Abigail and her musician sister, Megan. When Nev starts getting romantically involved with Megan, all via online chat and phone, Nev and his filmmaker buddies decide to take a trip to Michigan to finally meet Meg in person. What follows next is an almost Hitchcockian mystery of false pretenses that provides equal parts suspense, humor and intrigue on its way to a shocking finale.

    The filmmakers do a fine job with what they were given, which was basically a standard doc about a Facebook friendship that went strangely awry, much to the delight of the directors. While the first half hour feels like a passively shot affair, once the fimmakers realized, “Oh snap, we actually have a real movie here”, the film takes a turn in tone during the final hour. The result is a sense of shared discovery amongst the filmmakers and the audience, not only of the big surprise, but also over the fact they actually have something interesting to shoot. This spontaneity of the moment is what gives Catfish its energy and focus, enhancing the fascinating twist and making the film more interesting than it had any right to be.

    Also, many critics have labeled this film as overly exploitive in the way it handles its central subject. While I agree to a point, the tone of the film turns almost apologetic in the final twenty minutes which, in my mind, forgives the many hidden cameras and sneaking around the filmmakers utilize to get what they want. Another minor gripe is that the movie has a good deal of filler in it, understandable considering the subject matter but still disheartening. Also, while some people may disagree with me, I really feel half the film was shot “after the fact”, which grates against the whole “shoot from the hip” style the movie was going for.

    Minor gripes aside, Catfish is a fully engaging and entertaining docu-story about privacy, relationships and being careful when meeting people via social networking. Even if a friend has spoiled the twist for you, the movie is still worth checking out as it does its best to be more than the sum of its parts. While it’s most certainly not the best documentary I’ve seen all year, Catfish still manages to provide ample surprises and in the end treats its subjects with the kind of empathy and respect they deserve. Although it can be viewed as a bit on the exploitive side, I see it more of an open window into what makes people tick inside this sheltered box we call social media. Accepting a random friend request will never be the same.

  7. I think part of why Medal of Honor isnt being received as well as it may should be(despite some flaws) is that they took a rather different approach to the story and gameplay than Modern Warfare has taken. COD 4 went for a cinematic experience in gameplay and story telling. It walked a very fine line between an engaging storyline, but with gameplay grounded enough in reality to make it difficult(forgetting the eternal grenade spam by enemies on harder difficulty levels). That game shined on the multiplayer side through how customizable the gameplay settings were. You could have a deathmatch style game play, or you could turn it into a tactical shooter through hardcore mode. The game could be all things to all people.

    They killed that feel with Modern Warfare 2. When they claimed that everything was taken to the next level, they were right. Yet it was just more of the wrong things and totally ruined the balance and feel that the original modern warfare perfected. The single player was just a disjointed over the top experience that could have been done by Michael Bay. The multi player went far too much to the arcade style game play, and don't get me started on how they fvcked the PC community by getting rid of dedicated servers with customizable settings.

    So how does this all relate to Medal of Honor? EA seems to have taken what Infinity Ward did wrong with MW2 and gone in the opposite direction. They gave the game a more gritty in your face feel, rather than looking at worldwide events it deals with a small group of individuals and their experiences. Those expecting a story encompassing events beyond the scope of the main characters will be disappointed. The game as they claim is dedicated to the guys on the ground, and how their experiences impact them. The single player as whole was rewarding. But the 2nd half of it had a tension and pace that is rarely accomplished in the industry anymore. Its a shame that many reviewers would rather nitpick about the graphics engine or ragdoll physics than stop to think about what the game is saying.

    Now, the multiplayer will not suit everyone. It is more akin to COD4 hardcore mode than anything else out there. Guns kill, and kill quickly. They also hit what they are pointed at. Something that the MW2 crowed will surely bitch about. This creates a slower pace than COD, you cannot just run around in the open and expect to live. This creates more of a thinking game, where flanking, using cover, using smoke, and teamwork become much more important than some 12 year old running around with a speed perk knifing everyone in the face from 15 feet away. You could say i got rather frustrated with MW2 multiplayer pretty quickly because of the obvious balance issues. While many will bitch and moan about the lack of customization in loadouts, it prevents the balance failures that exist in MW2, keeping the game far more playable for new players.

    Regarding what has happened to fps games over the years. There has been a branch off in style. There are still puzzle based shooters that feature great stories, the half life series and bioshock come to mind. So do some really good third person games such as Uncharted or Assassin's Creed. But as a whole the focus for FPS games has switched. The real replayability is in Multiplayer. No matter how sophisticated the AI or compelling the storyline the unpredictability of human opponents will outdo anything scripted. The movement really started about 10 years ago with Counter-Strike on PC, which almost singlehandedly kept Half Life alive. Then came Halo, which moved that experience to console(well other than the pinnacle of the N64 that was Goldeneye). Its the multiplayer that now keeps sales moving past the initial release period, and allows titles lifespans far greater than a single player alone would allow them.

    Very nicely articulated! Your opinions of Medal of Honor almost makes me want to give it a rental. Your points about CoD multi vs MOH are also well noted. I know alot of people who feel the same way about CoD as you do with the whole balance issue.

    As for your whole playing online argument, I actually agree that combating a live opponent does nothing but increase replay value. For me, however, I enjoy games more for the story and once that story has been told, my first instinct is to shelf the game and find another story to experience. I suppose that comes from my love of movies but that's just the way I choose to enjoy games. Hope my little joke about the rampant 12 year olds didn't come off like I was knocking multiplayer...just really isn't for me, mostly because by the time I get to a game, it's a few years old and the people still playing it are super experts. Sounds like MOH may be something I would like to try, especially if it's more balanced.

    And kudos for bringing up Goldeneye and Counter Strike. Not to date myself, but I was in college when Counter Strike was first released. Since I went to a tech school (NJIT to be exact) and all the kids dorming had T1's running into their rooms, that game was monstrous back in the day. As for Goldeneye, that was really the first FPS I actually got addicted to, despite playing Quake, Wolfenstein and Doom. Just a classic game and kept the N64 alive much longer than it should have.

    *Note - While I keep up with modern gaming as I find the industry fascinating, I just recently started spending time playing games for the first time in probably 7 years. As a result, I'm still catching up with the classics from the last generation. For example, I just finished Shadow of the Colossus last week and I'm starting God of War...the first one! Just so you know my perspective comes from a more "classic" point of view*

  8. Saw The Social Network today and I was expecting a boring movie, but it is actually a very intense character drama with great acting (Jesse Eisenberg steals the show as the Facebook founder, but even Justin Timberlake plays his part well), a great script and dialogue written by Aaron Sorkin in true West Wing style, beautiful cinematogaphy and an interesting soundtrack by Nine Inch Nail's Trent Reznor. Although it is meant as a serious movie, it is actually very funny at times. Even if Facebook means nothing to you, The Social Network is a great movie about student life and the world of internet entrepreneurs. Definitely a must see.

    Thanks for your review of Social. The movie is getting Best Picture type buzz and I'm a huge Fincher fan, so I'm glad to see it's exceeding expectations. I'll be seeing it on Thursday, so I'll let you know how I felt about it.

    Jackass 3D was a freaking riot, as expected. I laughed literally the entire time. A must see, especially for Jackass fans. Don't let the 3D turn you off, you don't notice it at all, though it wasn't necessary in the least.

    And I may be seeing this tomorrow, so I hope I agree! To me, Jackass is one of those things that brings me back to high school and there is somthing about that reckless abandon that makes me die laughing. Yeah, it's juvenille but there's a place for that sort of thing in the world. Looking forward to it!

  9. Thanks for the review, DiG! Despite the mixed reactions to the food, next time I'm at the Rock for a game, I think I'll give it a go, despite the mixed food reviews. As long as the beer is tip notch, I can deal with standard bar fare.

    By the way, I was running late for the home opener and stopped in BCB&G for a drink while waiting for a friend and they wanted $11 for a Makers on the rocks. That's whiskey poured over ice in a glass. $11?!?! Their prices have been jacked up since last season and although they have a good food selection, especially for people who needs someplace close to the arena and want more than pub fare, that's insane! I live in Manhattan and wouldn't pay that much for standard whiskey. Now if that was a single malt scotch, OK, but those are Meatpacking district prices!

    Maybe Port 44 will be my new pre game spot!

  10. Lots of responses to choose from, but I'll just start with each point brought up.

    1) Medal of Honor surprisingly got a 7 out of 10 from Game Informer, with the review saying that it's OK, but doesn't stand up to the CoD's of the world. They were very meh about the whole experience, including the much talked about multiplayer. Stick with the CoD series.

    2) To game, I agree that I'm not the biggest fan of first person shooters, but CoD Modern Warfare is the exception. Now, I'm not the type to take anything online, as I don't have the time nor the patience to hang with 10 year old kids who have nothing to do but play all day, but the single player story is pretty fantastic. Like Aznjsn said, it's a very interesting story and the levels are quite varied. Very entertaining game with a story MUCH better than Modern Warfare 2.

    3) Also, I agree with Aznjsn in that game may want to give Bioshock a try. I consider that a thinking man's shooter...basically take Atlas Shrugged, twist it so the ending isn't so "happy" and make an incredibly interesting game.

  11. Opening This Week – Nationwide

    Jackass 3D – Aren’t these guys too old to be lighting firecrackers out of their rear end and pranking the elderly? Evidently not and even better, this time it’s in 3D! We all know what to expect from Knoxville and the boys and Jackass 3D promises the side splitting potty humor we’ve come to love over the years. I’m not ashamed to say that will definitely be seeing this in theaters and I’m sure I’ll laugh my butt off at it, so I say you should see it too. Not surprisingly, this was not pre-screened for critics, so no reviews have been posted as of yet.

    Red – Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren star in this film adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name. The story revolves around Willis and company as a team of ex CIA agents who, after being framed for an assassination, has to clear their name by blowing the snot out of everything around them. Despite the obvious story, critics have said it’s has a charm, class and wit about it that most of the other action films released this year severely lack. Having Helen Mirren toting a sniper rifle would seemingly lend itself to that kind of critique, but this just may be that end of the season action flick that actually achieves all it set out to do. Check it out!

    Opening This Week – Limited

    Hereafter – Surprisingly not showing in a few more theaters this weekend, Clint Eastwood’s latest directorial effort stars Matt Damon as a man connected to what happens after we die and three people who are touched by those events. Promising the patient filmmaking that Eastwood has become known for, early reviews have ranged from softly beautiful to vapid and slightly boring but with an actor director team as capable as Eastwood and Damon, I can safely recommend this as a see, even if it’s a rental. Showing at the AMC Lowes Lincoln Square 13 and Regal Union Square Stadium 14

    Conviction – The underrated Sam Rockwell and the slightly overrated Hillary Swank star in this film about a convicted murderer and his sister who spends years becoming a lawyer just to get him out. The trailers look to be interesting enough and critics, while praising the work of both Swank and Rockwell, have said that the film plays very by the numbers. Still, the inspirational story and fine acting should overshadow the very standard presentation. Playing at AMC Lowes Lincoln Square 13 and the Angelika

    Samson & Delilah – Originally released in Australia last year, this critically acclaimed film is finally seeing a screening here in the US. This tale from down under is about two lovers who turn their back on their provincial Central Australian town to strike out on their own. Wonderfully shot, well acted and beautifully scripted, Samson and Delilah has been making critics smile for a while now. Screening at City Cinemas Village East

    Worth Waiting For

    Carlos – Epic independent tale of Ramirez Sanchez, one of the most wanted terrorists in the world in the 70’s and the 80’s. Being screened in both a two and half hour version and a monstrous 5 hour version, Carlos is getting hailed as something wonderful by critics who have seen it.

    Down Terrace – British gangster movie about a father / son crime duo who have the leverage family, associates and the drama of living in a crime family. Sounding much like the excellent Animal Kingdom, critics have been giving Down Terrace similar if not as glowing reviews. Worth checking out when it reaches the Right Coast.

    I Want Your Money – Documentary about the current economic situation and how the Obama regime compares to the Reagan administration when it comes to dealing with crisis. While the synopsis seemed a bit slanted towards the right, this film would still be intersecting for those have a strong interest in politics.

    My 3 To See

    Jackass 3D – Big, stupid, bold and gross, Jackass 3D looks to be exactly the sort of mind numbing eye candy audiences go nuts for. As a fan, I approve!

    Red – Sporting an all star cast, a classic tale of redemption and enough charm to end the Iraqi War, Red is looking to be a great time at theaters this weekend.

    Hereafter – Matt Damon and Clint Eastwood worked wonders in Invictus and hope to do it again in this story of life after death and the effects it has on us all. Check it out!

  12. I'm usually pretty open minded but not this time lol

    hey bullet I dunno if you have answered this before but how do you find the time/money to go to all these movies? Do you get cheap matinees? Even the matinees here are 9 bucks and I have a hard time convincing myself that movies are worth going to see in the theater anymore.

    Good question! The main reason centers around dumping cable about 5 months ago. Without cable, I'm a) not spending 2 hours a day watching TV and b) the 80 bucks or so I save on cable, I can parlay into seeing one film a week, even at $12 a shot. I also see the occasional matinee, some of which are 6 bucks in the city. Couple that with being surrounded by every movie you could possibly want to see, limited or wide and there you go!

    Plus, I would like to eventually get paid to review movies or at least get published, and the only way I'm going to get better at writing reviews is writing a bunch requiring seeing a bunch of movies to do so!

    Edit: Also, I don't think I ever made this clear, but my weekly previews are always based on critical response and any trailers I may have seen. Since I write the preview before the movie comes out, I really don't have any oppurtunity to check them out beforehand, unless I saw it a sneak screening or film fesitval.

  13. New Movie Review

    Buried

    One quick caveat before starting my review: I am not a fan of scary movies. Don’t startle me, don’t attempt the cheap jump out from behind the sink trick, don’t even tickle me. The more scare free my world happens to be, the better. As a result, certain movies like Paranormal Activities and anything in the Japanese horror genre are right out. That being said, I do like a good suspense movie, a film that drags you along and builds apprehension until you’re literally crawling on the back of your seat. Buried, a tight little indie suspense movie about a truck driver who wakes up from an insurgent attack to find himself buried alive in a coffin, largely achieves that goal.

    Starring Ryan Reynolds and directed by first timer, Rodrigo Cortes, Buried does its absolute best to be bigger than its budget and thanks to some fine cinematography and direction, does a fine job of reaching that height. Centering on the aforementioned truck driver, played by Ryan Reynolds, Buried spends its entire 94 minutes in the very coffin Reynolds wakes up in. No shots of the outside world, no flashbacks to better times, no goofy dream sequences, just Reynolds, armed with only a knife, a cell phone and a Zippo. The result is one of the most claustrophobic ambiances I’ve ever seen on film. Naturally the effect starts to wear off towards the back half of the film but the script does a good job of keeping the audience engaged with some smart twists and turns.

    Being the only on screen actor in the film, a lot is riding on Ryan Reynolds in Buried and he handles the job in what is easily his best performance to date. Immediately relatable as the trapped truck driver just trying to figure out what happened, Reynolds goes through the various stages of frustration, fear and despondence with skill I honestly didn’t think he had in him. While there are moments where his performance falls off, they are easily dismissible and never throw the viewer out of the story. Before Buried, I was very anti-Reynolds but now, thanks to this performance, my respect for him has been raised a few notches. Just steer clear of another Van Wilder, Mr. Reynolds. Pleaaase…

    First time director Rodrigo Cortes also deserves some top marks for keeping the film coasting along without despite the limited theatrical resources of a four by seven coffin. The film is also framed nicely with distinct acts and plot points that give the affair a much needed structure. That being said, without the exceptional cinematography, everything would have been for naught. Flickering lights, harsh cell phones and the occasional glow stick all serve to highlight Reynolds striking features with texture and relative clarity. Just as much a part of the story telling as the actual script, Buried is a wonderfully shot film.

    Tense, unnerving and quietly entertaining, Buried is a fine example of what supreme talent can do with little resources and an almost Hitchcockian idea. While not quite as tense as it could have been, especially in the last fifteen minutes, the overall effect delivers the tension in droves. Couple that with a career performance by Ryan Reynolds and an ending that polarized the audience I saw it with, Buried is well worth seeing in theaters with a good crowd. As a matter of fact, I imagine the tight, tense feeling trying to be portrayed is better served on a large screen than in a home theater, so do you best to see this on the big screen. You may never think of tight spaces in quite the same way ever again.

  14. If you gave me the option of seeing the social network or death, I would go with death. Everyones obsession with that stupid website blows my mind.

    Ah, but maybe the film will help you get an appreciation for how that obssesion came into play in the first place. Plus, it's also one of the best reviewed films of the year. Not so much about Facebook but the college kids who created it. Just a different point of view!

  15. Opening This Week – Nationwide

    Secretariat – HORSE!! Whatever, it’s Thursday and I’m punchy. The latest film from the director that brought us We Were Soldiers and Pearl Harbor, Secretariat is the true story of the horse that won the 1973 Triple Crown and the housewife behind him. Ohhh, stop whining! I didn’t spoil anything with that…was the outcome ever in doubt when you saw the trailer? Didn’t think so. Starring Diane Lane and John Malkovich, this movie is getting cautiously favorable reviews, with most critics saying it couldn’t be more by the numbers but when those numbers are so inspiring, how can you really go wrong. Something I like to call the Blind Side syndrome, sometimes a wonderful story can overcomes its clichés but I still wont be galloping out to see this one.

    Life As We Know It – Katherine Heigel and Josh Duhamel star in this romantic comedy about two single adults who are assigned as caretakers to an infant after the child’s parents are killed in a car accident. Why two strangers are tasked with caring for a child, I’ll never begin to guess but I guess you wouldn’t have a movie without that awful device. The best critics have said about this movie is that Katherine Heigel is entertaining to watch (ok, she’s drop dead gorgeous,) but the rest of the film leans on the same baby poop clichés we’ve seen a thousand times. Naturally, I’m going to say skip but since this is only real “date” movie out there right now, people will most likely run to see it.

    My Soul To Take – Also showing in 3D – How do you mask a terrible movie from the viewing public? Don’t release for critic to screen before its release, that’s how! The latest movie from fright master Wes Craven looks to be a silly spookfest about a killer who comes back from the grave to stalk seven kids for the sole reason that they were born on the same day we was killed. Boring! Not my type of film, My Soul may do well amongst the horror crowd, but that’s about it.

    Opening This Week – Limited

    It's Kind of a Funny Story – A film that will probably expand wide next weekend and practically is already, Funny stars Zach Galifianakis as a mental patient who befriends a confused young man who checks himself in the same hospital. Promising wry comedy and some real emotion, Kind Of Funny seemed like an interesting watch from the trailers and critics have been cautiously recommending this movie as well. In my opinion, while I probably won’t be running out to see this, this is definitely worth an eventual rental. Opening in select theaters in NY and NJ

    Stone – Robert DeNiro and Edward Norton star in this film about a convicted arsonist (Norton) who tries to manipulate a seasoned parole officer (DeNiro) into getting him an early release. With the quality of actors involved, one would think this would be a sure thing but a middling script and odd evangelistic overtones have given this film mixed reviews from critics. Might be worth checking out on DVD one of these days. Showing at AMC Lowes Lincoln Square, Regal E-Walk Stadium 13, AMC Lowes Village 7 and Clearview First 62nd and 1st.

    I Spit on Your Grave – Pa-THEW, Pa-THEW. That’s the literary equivalent of me spitting which was funny when I first thought of it, not so much now I’ve typed it. This sadistic and unpleasant sounding film is a remake of the equally awful 1978 film of the same name and features the same story. A female writer secludes herself in a remote cabin where the locals, unhappy that she’s there for some reason, brutalize to within an inch of her life. Left for dead in a creek, the townspeople go back to their lives but she somehow survives and takes her revenge on her tormentors. Basically, if the synopsis sounds grotesque, there’s little chance I’ll be interested and critics largely agree. Showing at City Cinemas Village East and AMC Empire 25

    Inside Job – Hard hitting documentary about the global financial crisis of 2008 and it’s long range effects. Getting rave reviews from critics, the film is being touted as the first one to deal with the issue in an unbiased yet thought provoking way. Recommended! Playing at the Angelika and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

    Tamara Drewe – Based on the Thomas Hardy classic Far From The Maddening Crowd, this film is about an ugly duckling who comes back to her quirky hometown transformed by plastic surgery and ready to set everyone on their heels. Directed by Stephen Frears (High Fidelity, The Queen), this film promises some quirky fun but some critics have said it’s much too shallow for anybody to really care. Playing at Regal Union Square Stadium 14 and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

    Nowhere Boy – Fictionalized story of John Lennon’s life as a 15 year old boy, Nowhere Boy is getting very good reviews this week. Most critics have said that it’s a touching and very human look into family and how that can shape someone into a genius. Showing at AMC Lowes Lincoln Square 13

    It’s A Wonderful Afterlife – Part story of an Indian rite of passage and another part supernatural love story, this film doesn’t seem to know what the heck it is and a synopsis would take longer than the film is worth. As a result, suffice to say that critics are panning this one big time. AMC Empire 25 and Columbia Park Stadium 12 (NJ)

    Worth Waiting For

    Red, White and Blue – This brutal sounding thriller about a nymphomaniac who has to confront an evil ex after settling down with a mysterious Iraqi vet. While the premise sounds tacked on, critics have been loving this one, despite the overwrought story and gruesome imagery. Horror fans should enjoy this one when it comes out in our area.

    Movie Notes

    The Ryan Reynolds epic to claustrophobia Buried is expanding this weekend, so check it out if you need something suspenseful. Also, Waiting For Superman expands to even more theaters this weekend.

    My 3 To See

    The Social Network – So good, it’s getting a second week, this biopic about the origins and legal battles surrounding everybody’s favorite social networking site is still getting rave reviews from critics and moviegoers alike.

    It’s Kind Of A Funny Story – Critical response hasn’t been amazing, but I’m willing to give this flick a chance. You should too!

    Nowhere Boy – Beatles and Elvis fans alike should get something about this interesting and well acted biopic about the early life of a legend.

  16. You know, they could have used Ben Folds for the Rangers as well:

    You know what hope is, hope is a bastard

    Hope is a lier, a cheat and a tease

    Hope comes near you, kick its backside

    Got no place in days like these

    -- "Picture Window" by Ben Folds and Nick Hornby

  17. Really like Bucci and I pretty miuch agree with his assesments. As for music, he's a Ben Folds fan which is good enough for me.

    OT: Ben Folds + Nick Hornby = Brilliance!

  18. Amazing how just a month ago there wasn't a single Devils podcast online. Now, with Puck Nuts, there are two! Not a bad first effort, but it sounds like the mic for inlouwetrust guy wasn't powered somehow. Also, from a radio point of view, the host is obviously reading lines, which isn't a bad thing, just takes away from his natural personality.

    I was actually doing the groundwork for a Devils podcast that would have been pretty amazing, but a number of factors delayed it and now it would jus tseem like I'm ripping off these two shows. Still, I may do it at some point...

  19. New Movie Review

    Animal Kingdom

    The genre of quality crime dramas has had quite the resurgence thus far in 2010. From the wonderful A Prophet to the equally excellent The Secret In Their Eyes to even the newly released Mesrine series, crime dramas have been tearing up art houses and mainstreams cinemas alike. Even The Town, a film I immediately panned when I first saw the trailer, is being hailed as one of the best of the year. So what does the Australian import Animal Kingdom offer to the mix? Outside of a bone chilling account of the dynamics of a generational crime family and how one fallen brick can send the whole wall crashing down, nothing much, really. Sarcasm aside, Animal Kingdom just might trump all those other flicks, providing an experience that just might make my Top 10 list this year.

    Starring the understated yet quite good James Frecheville as a 16 year old boy who, after the death of his mother, is taken in by his grandmother and head of the “family business”, Animal Kingdom is more Godfather than Goodfellas. Where the later was more about the rise and fall of one gangster, Animal Kingdom is a tried and true story of how a life of crime can bring together and tear apart a family. It’s this focus on family dynamics and loyalty that separates this film from the standard crime thriller. Well paced and tightly focused by first time writer / director David Michod, the movie, while deliberate in the way it moves, draws the audience in with believable characters and top notch acting.

    While the aforementioned Frecheville is quite good in the lead, the star of the show is Jackie Weaver as the nefariously intriguing Janine Cody, the “Don Grandmama” of the family. Cold, calculating and unnervingly manipulative, Weaver is downright brilliant in the role. With an uncanny ability to be nurturing one second and diabolically cold blooded the next, Weaver is the intrigue that keeps the film moving through some of the slow points. Good work is also done by Ben Mendelson as the wild card of the uncles and Guy Pearce as the detective bent on taking the family down. While the film does suffer from some fairly bland cinematography, good decisions are made by the cast and crew which glosses over any rough spots in the production.

    All told, Animal Kingdom is patiently quiet yet surprisingly bone chilling in the way it tells the story of broken trust and fleeting alliances. Walking out of the theater, I felt disquieted yet sympathetic to the plight of this family, despite the fact it was their choices that put them in this position. To me, that’s the mark of a fine film, one that will thrill, surprise and keep you guessing all the way through. A tough film to define but an easy one to recommend, Animal Kingdom is yet another fine addition to the foreign crime drama genre of films.

  20. I don't think he will elevate his game the way we would all like to see. I don't think he has it in him to be anything other than a good player. That might be good enough centering Kovalchuk and Parise, and maybe these guys get something special going like the A Line and the EGG line. Or maybe it's just another line destined to be split up. No way to tell for sure.

    In short, Zajac will be to Kovy as Zubrus was to Ovechkin. Not to say Zajac is on par with Zubrus, but if Zubbie could net 57 points with Ovie, a player of Zajac's caliber should hit 60 without even trying. That being said, I agree wtih Jerry, I expect a maximum of 70 points out of Zajac this season and that is if he has a monster year. 25 goals, 45 assists is what I project.

  21. Opening This Week – Nationwide

    The Social Network – Well, I’ll bite. What looked to be a fairly standard yet interesting biopic about the creators of Facebook is being acclaimed as one of the best movies of the year. Who would have guessed it! Sporting a gaudy 97% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, The Social Network has been getting rave reviews from every critic who has seen it. I’m talking, this thing is getting Toy Story 3 type response. Written by the excellent Aaron Sorkin (A Few Good Men, The West Wing) and directed by David Fincher(Fight Club, Seven, Benjamin Button), TSN is getting almost Oscar worthy buzz and should be a must watch this weekend.

    Case 39 – And now from critically acclaimed, to critically shamed, Case 39 is one of two spooky features being released wide this weekend. Starring Renne Zellweger, the film is about an abused 10 year old girl who, after being taken from her home by two caring social workers, played by Zellweger and Bradley Cooper, they suddenly realize she has a dark side. Basically Orphan without the scares, skill or camp value, Case 39 is getting terrible reviews all around, with most saying it’s clichéd, boring and fright free, all bad things to have in your scary movie. Skip!

    Let Me In – And now for something not so completely different, if you need a fright fix this weekend, critics recommend this remake of the Swedish film of the same name. Basically a relationship story of a bullied young man who befriends a female vampire living in secret, Let Me In is getting positive reviews all around. Definitely check this out if you need a spook story this weekend.

    Opening This Week – Limited

    Leaving – The latest film by French director Catherine Corsini, Leaving is the story of a woman who leaves everything behind in pursuit of a forbidden passion. Critics have been mostly positive about this film, praising the work of Kristin Scott Thomas despite a cliché laden screenplay. Sounds a bit too melodramatic for my taste, but fans of that sort of thing will find a lot to love in Leaving. Showing at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and the IFC Center

    Chain Letter – Horror movie about a group of teenagers who, after receiving a series of chain letters, get picked off one by one by…brace yourself…the Chain Man! Yeeeuuck. RT is saying this isn’t opening until next weekend yet Fandango has listings in at least 8 NY and NJ theaters, so I don’t know who to believe. I’ll keep an eye on this for next week, but it doesn’t sound promising at all. Opening in select theaters in NY and NJ

    Ip Man (Yip Man) – Fictionalized biopic of Yip Man, grand master of the Wing Chun martial arts discipline and mentor to Bruce Lee. Getting good critical response, critics have said that while the surrounding story is a bit thin, the amazing action sequences make it all worth it. Showing at.the Cinema Village 12th St

    Hatchet II – Taking place right after the original Hatchet, the sequel finds the heroine from the original fighting back against her original tormentor…which, of course, is a fancy way of saying, they needed an excuse to brutally slay more people. Getting miserable reviews, this is an absolute skip. Opening in select theaters in NY and NJ

    Douchebag – The title of this movie just makes me chuckle. A favorite at Sundance, this movie boils down to a road trip between brothers in search of a lost love from grade school. Critics have been mixed, so I would label this as a rent it if you’re interested type of film. Screening at City Cinemas Village East

    Freakonomics – A documentary anthology based on the book of the same name, Freakonomics is an examination of human behavior using often hilarious case studies. With fimmakers such as Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me), Alex Gibney(Casino Jack, Enron) and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp) behind the project, the talent is there. Unfortunately, the film is getting mixed reviews, with some saying it’s quite entertaining and others saying it’s not nearly deep enough to cover the subject matter. Labeling this one as a see it for yourself. Playing at the Angelika and the Clearview First & 62nd

    Movie Notes

    Waiting for Superman, the highly regarded documentary about the trouble the American school system is in, is expanding to more theaters this weekend, including the Clairidge in Montclair, so check it out!

    My 3 To See

    The Social Network – Well, reviews are in and they are sparkling! One of the best reviewed movies of the year, The Social Network just may be the biopic that the current generation will ultimately best identify with.

    Leaving – If brilliant acting is your thing, the performance of Kristin Scott Thomas will almost certainly be worth the price of admission. While it sounds a bit overly melodramatic for my tastes, it’s still worth a look for the acting alone.

    Waiting For Superman – Adding this simply because this is now playing Jersey and should be a must watch either in the theater or on DVD.

  22. New Movie Review

    Easy A

    News flash: High school kind of sucks. Unless you were an exceptionally popular kid who sported a varsity letter jacket, a cool hair style and more friends than Facebook, the needless social pressures of high school were a drag for eighty percent of the kids involved. Despite classes, puberty and the inconceivable task of deciding who you were going to be for the rest of your life, high school was the first time most people had to deal with a social strata. An almost arbitrary hierarchy of standards and measures, being hip amongst your classmates requires most people to either risk being an outcast or change who they are in an attempt to fit in. Easy A, the smarty written teen comedy starring Emma Stone, examines the later in what is easily the best teen comedy I’ve seen in quite some time.

    The story centers on Olive, an overly smart high school girl who, after telling her best friend a fib about a weekend tryst that never happened, suddenly becomes the victim of the fabled high school rumor mill. Once a wall flower and now deflowered according to her peers, she is confronted by her gay friend, Brandon, who asks her to feign sleeping with him in order for him to gain some social standing and prevent the daily beat downs by the wrestling team. Olive complies and quickly becomes the talk of the school. Reveling in this negative attention, Olive turns this lie into dozens, making herself into a startup business for the forlorn losers of the school. However, when her little white lies start affecting her friends, teachers and almost her family, she suddenly realizes how important her suddenly sullied reputation really is.

    Once a supporting actress, Emma Stone is clearly the breakout winner in this film. Quick, witty and sassy, Stone wraps herself up in the character of Olive and has made herself a star in the process. The character of Olive could have easily succumbed to clichés but Stone does a remarkable job in keeping her many facets balanced and believable while maintaining a charm that is very reminiscent of Ellen Page’s turn in Juno. The rest of the ensemble cast fills her world with interesting and believable characters; Thomas Haden Church is great as the “cool teacher”, Amanda Bynes is surprisingly believable as Marianne, Olive’s bible thumping nemesis and even Malcolm McDowell makes an appearance as the line chewing principal. Above all, though, are the fantastic performances of Stanley Tucci and Patricia Clarkson as Olive’s parents that really stand out. Playing the cool, understanding parents we all wish we had, Tucci and Clarkson are great together, providing laughs every time they are on screen.

    One of the better written films of the year, Easy A is helped greatly by a fine screenplay, written by Bert V. Royal. Good acting can only go so far and Royal’s screenplay keeps the story moving while giving us an honest yet quirky view of what high school life is all about. While the writing does lean on certain clichés and contrivances, especially towards its neatly sown up end, the sharp dialogue and quick wit make the film a completely enjoyable experience. Minor issues of pacing and an almost over-reliance on smart kid humor are the only real issues I can find and none of them mar the great time I had while watching this movie.

    First time director Will Gluck should be proud. He has managed to create a sharply written film that blends standard teen comedy archetypes with modern day issues that works for both young and audiences alike. Although the ending is fairly clear after the first hour, I couldn’t have walked away from the film if the building were on fire. Emma Stone and company do a fine job of conveying the social issues plaguing kids in high school as well as the trails that go along with discovering one’s self. Wrap that all up in a film that is genuinely funny and at the same time endearing, and you have a great movie that is a worthwhile watch for viewers of all ages. Besides, we’ve all hated high school at one point, right?

    Rating : 8 out of 10

  23. Opening This Week – Nationwide

    Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole – Also showing in 3D and IMAX 3D – Director Zack Snyder (300, Dawn of the Dead, Watchmen) makes his animated debut in this adaptation of the Kathryn Lasky book series of the same name. Adorable owls fight, fly and guard things whist wrapped in your standard coming of age story. Based on the few trailers I’ve seen, the animation looks to be breathtaking but the few reviews that are trickling out right now have been mixed. While everybody agrees this a beautifully made film, feature animation that would make Pixar jealous, critics are mixed on the meat of the story. Recommended for those of you who love quality animation or have small children but beware that the story isn’t going to make you forget Toy Story 3 anytime soon.

    Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps – The loooong awaited sequel to the 1987 classic finally arrives in theaters this weekend. Also directed by Oliver Stone and staring Shia LaBeouf, Carey Mulligan and Michael Douglas in a reprise of his original role as Gordon Gecko, finds Gordon newly sprung from jail after spending twenty years behind bars for insider trading. The story revolves around Gordon not only trying to alert the world of impending financial doom and trying to find out the killer of LeBeoufs mentor. Soooo…no stocks, no dealing, no “greed is good” speeches? Not quite sure but reviews have been very luke warm, with most saying it’s very bland and by the numbers. As a result, I’m going to label this as a see it for yourself type of flick.

    You Again –Kristen Bell, Jamie Lee Curtis and Sigourney Weaver and star in this by the numbers comedy about family, high school rivals and the crazy mishaps that can occur when people try to settle old scores. Even Betty White makes an appearance although according to one reviewer, you know your movie is in bad shape when Betty White can’t even conjure up a laugh. This movie was not pre-released to critics for review, but the few reviews that have been posted have not been pretty. Not something I would run out and see.

    Opening This Week – Limited

    Waiting For Superman – Hard hitting documentary about our crumbling school system and how it’s failing our children on an almost epidemic level. Getting rave reviews from critics, this doc is looking to be a sure fire Oscar nominee come February. Check this out when it comes to a theater near you. Showing at the AMC Lowes Lincoln Square 13.

    Buried – Ryan Reynolds stars in the critically acclaimed thriller about who wakes up and finds himself buried alive. Critics have been raving about this film, which annoys the snot out of me, simply because I think Ryan Reynolds can do no good. Still, critics have said that this a great little movie that could and did. Claustrophobic, creepy and ultimately well acted and directed, Buried is shaping up to a must see, especially when the film sees more national exposure. Playing at AMC Lowes Lincoln Square, Angelika and AMC Empire 25

    You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger – Director Woody Allen’s latest film is a story about one family their attempts to detangle their inter-woven love affairs. Starring Antonio Banderas, Josh Brolin and Anthony Hopkins, this film is following his string of average, forgettable affairs that show, once again, that Allen has completely forgotten how to write interesting, complex characters. Getting across the board mixed reviews, this film is worth a look on DVD but not worth running out to see. Showing at City Cinemas 1,2,3, Angelika and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

    Howl – Biopic of the great Allen Ginsberg, played by James Franco and the aftermath of his seminal long form poem Howl, one of the pieces of work that defined the sixties beat movement. While critics are united in that Franco does a great job as the provocateur poet, some are critical of the director’s decision to boil everything down to a standard court drama. Still, if you’re a fan of Ginsberg, this will definitely be worth a watch for you. Screening at the Angelika, Clearview Chelsea and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

    Enter the Void – Controversial director Gasper Noe’s (Irreversible) newest film comes out this weekend in limited release. Billed as a mind bending and immersive romp through the streets of the Tokyo club scene, critics have been expectedly mixed about the film. While most say it’s indeed visually dazzling and quite a trip, the rest say there’s nothing of interest behind the visual smoke and mirrors. Screening at the IFC Center

    Like Dandelion Dust – Heartfelt drama about two adopted children who, after settling in with their new parents, have their material family want them back. Not much has been written about this film yet, but the few reviews out have been glowing, so this is definitely a film to keep your eye on. Showing at the AMC Empire 25

    A Mother's Courage, Talking Back to Autism – Documentary about a mother’s fight to save her son from the dangers of autism. Playing at Quad Cinema

    My 3 To See

    Waiting For Superman – Been interested in this ever since I saw the trailer a few months ago, critical response has really gotten me amped for this documentary about our crumbling school system.

    Buried – Chilling, claustrophobic and unnervingly interesting, Buried has a huge buzz going for it and should be a must watch for fans of the indie creep show genre.

    The Town – Number One at the box office this past weekend, critical and public response has been outstanding, so check this out!

  24. New Movie Review

    Machete

    Summer 2010 may go down in the ledgers of history as the Year of the Disappointment. Comedies didn’t make people laugh, rom-coms annoyed audiences to tears and action ficks either offered mild enjoyment (Salt, The Losers) or flat out made fans cringe (The Expendables). Even the biggest film of the season, Inception, met with some criticism from critics and fell short of that brilliant category it was all hyped up to be. Only one widely released film, Toy Story 3, has lived up to its expectations; the rest have largely been let downs, regardless of how low or how high those expectations might have been. Luckily, the latest film by grindhouse master Robert Rodriguez finally does just that. Gory yet hammy, violent yet silly, Machete delivers everything that small trailer in Grindhouse promised and is one of the best action movies to come out this year.

    Starring the ugliest man in Hollywood, Danny Trejo, Machete is the tale of a Mexican federale who, after witnessing the brutal slaying of his family, has resigned himself to a life of day laboring in Texas. However, after beating a man senseless one handedly (the other hand is holding a soft taco), he is recruited by a high powered executive to assassinate a controversial senator, played wonderfully by Robert DeNiro. This sets in motion a whole slew of exciting action scenes as well a nicely drawn story of immigration and its effect on hard working people. While the story is largely unimportant, it does give the movie a root in something real as opposed to the standard “army / spy / commando” fare we’ve been seeing this summer.

    For the most part, the cast is spot on featuring fine performances by pretty much everyone. From Jessica Alba as a sexy immigration officer to Michelle Rodriguez as a taco stand owner / underground revolutionary to even Cheech Marin as a shotgun toting man of the cloth, most of the cast plays their parts in a very shallow but always entertaining way. With performances that are admittedly campy and over the top, the film is written with sly winks all around, making them appear more homage than cornball. Only Lindsay Lohan disappoints as the executive’s prostituting, drug addled daughter. While the part hits almost too close to reality, the fact of the matter is she can’t pull it off and the character really has no bearing on the story except for obvious shock value.

    Although many people have been labeling Machete as the Mexican Expendables, nothing could be further from the truth. Where the Expendables was ham handedly written and directed, Robert Rodriguez realizes that even the silliest of action films need to have someone skillful behind the camera and that talent is evident in spades. Not only does Rodriguez create a wonderful homage to the 70’s style grindhouse flicks he grew up with, he peppers the film with his own brand of winking, offbeat comedy. This gives the film a desperately needed shot of style and self awareness, something that was completely missing in that other summer action blockbuster.

    Knowing it’s a complete guilty pleasure and embracing every moment of it, Machete is a pulpy, gory and completely enjoyable good time. While not prestige cinema by any means, Machete is, quite simply, one of the best times you’ll have in mainstream cinema this summer. Ever since El Mariachi, Robert Rodriguez has done great things with very little, mainly because he knows exactly who he is as a person and director. This self awareness penetrates almost everything he does and continues with this, one of his best films to date. While the movie isn’t perfect, the spirit of the picture is. Outlandish and brash yet smarter than expected, Machete is a great summer thrill ride that will have you laughing almost as much it will have you gasping. A confidently and competently made piece of summertime candy, Machete pushes the boundaries yet leaves everyone who sees it yearning for more

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