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Posts posted by njskaguy33

  1. I hate to be the wet blanket in this, but I'm really questioning how good Brave is going to be. Pixar is at their best when they were independent, making great stories with great characters. Brave looks a little too Disney to me. I'm sure I'll still see it, but I'm hoping it livs up to the other Pixar classics.

    Also, I'm with NJ, I'm pretty stoked about Prometheus, Dark Knight and the Avengers. Early reviews of the Avengers have been outstanding, so I'm looking forward to it.

  2. Where is Bulletproof's review of Goon? :saddevil:

    HA! Haven't seen it yet! Once it hits Netflix, I'll be sure to ssee and post my thoughts on it just for you all :D

    As for reviews, I'm still doing them, just been sloppy about posting them here. I'll start posting again once the summer movie season gets ramped up.

    Click here if you want to catch up on my stuff: Link

  3. RD???? Wow, haven't seen you here in awhile!

    Also, if you're looking for a place sorta close to Penn Station, Gossip is a good option. It's on 9th between 49th and 50th. 15 minute walk from Penn, but my girlfriend and I go there all the time, so the 'tenders know to put Devils hockey on. Just ask and they are cool about it. No sound, but you'll have a good seat. Good is great there too, which always helps and the bartenders are good with buybacks. Very good Guinness pint as well.

    Another option!

  4. Maybe this isn't the best thing in the world to admit, but I've walked into many a bar in Manhattan, plopped myself down, ordered a drink and asked the bartender to put on the Devils game. I rarely get told no. Sure, the sound isn't on but they'll throw the game on for you, so long as it's not a busy night with 5,000 other sports going on.

    As for a Devils bar in the city, you also have to consider the 200 other nights there's no hockey. Devils / Rangers is one of the biggest rivalries in sports and if a bar were to market themselves as a Devils bar, the majority of NYC dwelers who are Rangers fan just won't go and may not go to that bar at all out of principle. If there was a strong contingent of Devils fans who got together and said, yes, we want a Devils bar, I'm sure a bar owner would love to have the extra traffic of 50 people drinking for three hours. The problem is, there's a risk that they'd lose more people wanting to watch Yankees/Mets/Rangers so 50 Devil fan can watch the game.

    Moral of the story is, if the NYC dwelling Devil fans desire a bar, we could definately get one! We'd just need to organize.

  5. Thursday is a popular going out night in the city, so it'll be tough to find a place that's just going to show Devils hockey. I have a local on the UES that I'll be watching at, but only because I know the bartenders and they'll put it on for me. Your best bet would be to find a small hole in the wall with nobody watching the tube and ask the 'tender to put it on for you.

    You can also try Kelly's on Avenue A. They are a Sabres bar in the regular season, but they generally play all the local hockey games. My friend has been hosting Caps parties there and while it may be chock full of Rangers fans, they'll definately have the Devils game on.

    You also may want to try the Flying Puck on 7th between 30th and 31st. It will be jam packed with Rags fans, as it's a stones throw form the Garden, but they play all the local hockey games as well.

    That said, if you want the best chance to avoid Rags fans, do option one. Pick someplace out of the way, make nice with the bartender and they'll put the game on for you.

    Good luck!

  6. Hi Bulletproof!

    Howdy! Feel weird, as I haven't been posting naything in here for easily months. Still doing reviews, but I've been taking a break due to my podcast and fiction writing. Haven't seen mnay movies in theaters, though, as there's nothing good out, even in the indie sphere. My girlfriend has mentoined seeing Thre Stooges, so I may see that. If it stinks, at least it's a bad review I can write!

  7. The 2012 Oscar Nominations and Picks

    The holidays have passed, our waistlines have rebounded and the prestige season is in full swing. This year’s Oscar nominations run the gambit from surprising to expected, making this a much more difficult ceremony to pick than last year. But first, here are the particulars:

    When – February 26th, 7:00 EST on ABC

    Where – The Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California

    Hosting – After Eddie Murphy stepped down due to a gay slur scandal involving former producer Brett Ratner, Billy Crystal returns as the sole host of the ceremony. This will be his ninth Oscars, a safe bet from producer Brian Grazer. Will his hosting be classic comedy or the same old thing? My guess is the same old thing.

    Category Changes – The Best Picture nominees can now range anywhere from 5 to 10. In the past two years, the board named 10 Best Picture noms, a few of them questionable. The board now reserves the right to only pick films they feel deserve the recognition without having to “round out” the number. Also, the Best Animated Feature category is now permanent. In the past, the board could decide to not include the category based on merit but it’s now an every year fixture. There were also eligibility changes made to Best Documentary Feature and Best Visual Effects.

    NOTE: Of all of the big ticket films nominated, I have not seen The Iron Lady or Albert Nobbs. I’ll be seeing at least one of these before the ceremony and if I comment on them, it will be based on buzz and hearsay only. If my opinion changes after my viewing, I’ll update the guide. Also, I will not be picking any of the Short Film categories nor the Documentary categories, as I didn’t get a chance to see any of the nominees.

    And The Nominees Are…

    Best Visual Effects

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2


    Real Steel

    Rise of the Planet of the Apes

    Transformers: Dark of the Moon

    My Take : While I’ve only seen Hugo and Rise out of the nominees, this is one you can pick from the trailers. Real Steel and that Michael Bay abomination may have the eye candy edge, but Hugo and Harry Potter told compelling stories with their computer aided wizardry. That said, Rise of the Planet of the Apes elevated the art form, creating emotionally connected characters with the flick of a computer switch and should get the Oscar.

    Who Should Win: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

    Who Will Win: Rise of the Planet of the Apes

    Best Film Editing

    The Artist – Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius

    The Descendants – Kevin Tent

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

    Hugo – Thelma Schoonmaker

    Moneyball – Christopher Tellefsen

    My Take : All of these films feature fine editing, but my pick always goes to the one that relies on it the heaviest to tell the story. This year’s crop doesn’t have the flash of The Social Network or Black Swan from last year, but still features some fine films with subtle work on the Steenbeck. As if people still used Steenbecks. All good nominees, my pick has to go to Hugo as the editing was just as important as the cinematography in telling the tale.

    Who Should Win: Hugo

    Who Will Win: Hugo

    Best Costume Design

    Anonymous – Lisy Christl

    The Artist – Mark Bridges

    Hugo – Sandy Powell

    Jane Eyre – Michael O'Connor

    W.E. – Arianne Phillips

    My Take : Right off the bat, knock Anonymous and W.E. off the list. The day I pick either a Roland Emerich or Madonna directed film to win an Oscar, is the day I get my head examined. My rule of thumb for this category is to go with either the period piece or the wacky fantasy. Hugo will just miss the mark, making the battle between The Artist and Jane Eyre. While I think Jane Eyre deserves it over the French silent film, I’m thinking The Artist will win out, simply because it has more buzz behind it.

    Who Should Win: Jane Eyre

    Who Will Win: The Artist

    Best Makeup

    Albert Nobbs

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

    The Iron Lady

    My Take : OK, stop me if you’ve heard this one. A crossdresser, a wizard and Margaret Thatcher walk into a bar… This is a close one, but I’m going to pick Glenn Close’s remarkable transformation in Albert Nobbs to just beat out Streep’s take on the British Prime Minister. So why do I think the Academy will pick Streep? For one thing, she’s an Academy darling, at least where nominations are concerned, and I doubt she’s going to win Best Actress, making this a consolation prize.

    Who Should Win: Albert Nobbs

    Who Will Win: The Iron Lady

    Best Cinematography

    The Artist - Guillaume Schiffman

    The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Jeff Cronenweth

    Hugo – Robert Richardson

    The Tree of Life – Emmanuel Lubezki

    War Horse – Janusz Kamiński

    One of the tougher categories to pick this year, every film on the list would be a fine choice. From Kaminski’s sweeping work in War Horse to the inky black and whites of The Artist, every film on this list is more than deserving. Girl was filmed with standard Fincher perfection and Tree had some moments as well, but I think it’s a three pronged race between fantasy 3D (Hugo), stunning use of lighting (The Artist) and postcard perfect sunsets (War Horse). Horse was great, Artist was excellent but only one film turned a technological gimmick into a genuine art form.

    Who Should Win: Hugo

    Who Will Win: Hugo

    Best Art Direction

    The Artist – Laurence Bennett and Robert Gould

    Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 – Stuart Craig and Stephanie McMillan

    Hugo – Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo

    Midnight in Paris – Anne Seibel and Hélène Dubreuil

    War Horse – Rick Carter and Lee Sandales

    My Take : Typically, Best Art Direction goes to the film that features the most imaginative visual eye of the films released this year. Based on previous winners, I’m thinking it’s going to be between Hugo and Harry Potter for this very nebulous award

    Who Should Win: Hugo

    Who Will Win: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

    Best Sound Mixing

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce, and Bo Persson

    Hugo – Tom Fleischman and John Midgley

    Moneyball – Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, David Giammarco, and Ed Novick

    Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush, and Peter J. Devlin

    War Horse – Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson, and Stuart Wilson

    My Take : One of those categories that you can throw in the air and see what lands first, I’m guessing a dark cyber sleuth, a general manager and a horse isn’t going to beat out fighting robots. All that clanking must have sounded brilliant in the theaters.

    Who Should Win: Hugo

    Who Will Win: Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon

    Best Sound Editing

    Drive – Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis

    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Ren Klyce

    Hugo – Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty

    Transformers: Dark of the Moon – Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl

    War Horse – Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom

    My Take : While you can make a case for Drive, given the best thing about the flick was the soundtrack, Sound Mixing and Editing go hand in hand, so I’m duplicating my picks from that award.

    Who Should Win: Hugo

    Who Will Win: Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon

    Best Original Score

    The Adventures of Tintin – John Williams

    The Artist – Ludovic Bource

    Hugo – Howard Shore

    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Alberto Iglesias

    War Horse – John Williams

    My Take : No Trent Reznor for Girl With The Dragon Tattoo? Sham, I say! In all seriousness, while every nominee featured a stirring soundtrack, The Artist wins this easily. The score not only set the time, place and mood, was instrumental in pushing the emotional weight. With no spoken dialogue, the score had to do double duty and pulled off the trick beautifully.

    Who Should Win: The Artist

    Who Will Win: The Artist

    Best Foreign Language Film

    Bullhead (Belgium) in Dutch and French – Michaël R. Roskam

    Footnote (Israel) in Hebrew – Joseph Cedar

    In Darkness (Poland) in Polish – Agnieszka Holland

    Monsieur Lazhar (Canada) in French – Philippe Falardeau

    A Separation (Iran) in Persian – Asghar Farhadi

    My Take : If you follow my reviews with any regularity, you know how I feel about this next category. While I’ve only seen A Separation out of the films nominated, I think it’s a safe bet to pick my number 2 favorite film of the year to win Best Foreign. Based on buzz alone, I feel fairly confident of this pick.

    Who Should Win: A Separation

    Who Will Win: A Separation

    Best Animated Feature Film

    A Cat in Paris – Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli

    Chico and Rita – Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal

    Kung Fu Panda 2 – Jennifer Yuh Nelson

    Puss in Boots – Chris Miller

    Rango – Gore Verbinski

    My Take : Last year, Toy Story 3 was the clear cut winner. This year, not so simple. Given the popularity of the film they chose last year, I have a feeling the Academy will surprise us with an obscure pick like Chico and Rita or A Cat in Paris. Still, The Adventures of Tin Tin won the Golden Globe and it wasn’t even nominated for the Oscar, so I don’t know what to believe. My pick balanced the line between entertainment and emotion nicely, creating a film that adults and kids could equally enjoy. The Academy? Who knows what they’re thinking.

    Who Should Win: Rango

    Who Will Win: A Cat in Paris

    Best Adapted Screenplay

    The Descendants – Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash from The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings

    Hugo – John Logan from The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

    The Ides of March – George Clooney, Grant Heslov, and Beau Willimon from Farragut North by Beau Willimon

    Moneyball – Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin; Story by Stan Chervin from Moneyball by Michael Lewis

    Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Bridget O'Connor and Peter Straughan from Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré

    My Take : Now to the exciting ones! There aren’t many duds in this category, so I’ll take them one at a time. Didn’t see Ides or Tinker, so I can’t comment on them but I can’t imagine them topping Moneyball, Hugo or The Descendants in the screenwriting department, despite critics finding them both taught and gripping. While Aaron Sorkin’s Moneyball is a definite frontrunner for me, the script didn’t have quite the “oomph” of Hugo or The Descendants. Hugo was beautifully written but the drive of the story was achieved largely to the cinematography, making The Descendants my choice. Hugo is wonderfully written but Alexander Payne’s feature lives and dies solely on the strength of the story. A close one, but The Descendants is my pick.

    Who Should Win: The Descendants

    Who Will Win: The Descendants

    Best Original Screenplay

    The Artist – Michel Hazanavicius

    Bridesmaids – Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo

    Margin Call – J.C. Chandor

    Midnight in Paris – Woody Allen

    A Separation – Asghar Farhadi

    My Take : Ahhhh…isn’t it nice to see Bridesmaids up for an Oscar? Hands down the funniest movie I saw all of last year, Bridesmaids certainly deserves to be in this category. Doesn’t mean it’s going to win though. To me, The Artist, Midnight in Paris and A Separation are all deserving choices, but I can’t give the award to a film made up entirely of title cards, amazing as it was. For me, this is another close one but the Academy and I are going to differ. My pick goes to the most intensely simple film I saw this year, and the Academy is going to side with the Globes and give it to the lovely Midnight In Paris. Either way, I’ll be perfectly OK with it.

    Who Should Win: A Separation

    Who Will Win: Midnight In Paris

    Best Supporting Actress

    Bérénice Bejo – The Artist as Peppy Miller

    Jessica Chastain – The Help as Celia Foote

    Melissa McCarthy – Bridesmaids as Megan Price

    Janet McTeer – Albert Nobbs as Hubert Page

    Octavia Spencer – The Help as Minny Jackson

    My Take : And now it’s time for the majors, the categories we slog through the entire ceremony to see. This year’s crop of nominees are all well deserving, including another feel good nod to Melissa McCarthy for her turn as the grotesquely hilarious Megan in Bridesmaids. Once again, she won’t see the podium as she is in tough company. Also, good for Jessica Chastain, who was in almost everything this year, for getting a nom for her role in The Help. Kudos to her, but it’s going to be between the radiant Berenice Bejo as the pluckly Peppy Miller from The Artist and Octavia Spencer for her career defining role in The Help. Bejo was great but, quite simply, Spencer was the better actress and if her snagging of both the Golden Globe and the SAG award means anything, she’s going to walk away with the Oscar as well.

    Who Should Win: Octavia Davis

    Who Will Win: Octavia Davis

    Best Supporting Actor

    Kenneth Branagh – My Week with Marilyn as Laurence Olivier

    Jonah Hill – Moneyball as Peter Brand

    Nick Nolte – Warrior as Paddy Conlon

    Christopher Plummer – Beginners as Hal Fields

    Max von Sydow – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close as The Renter

    My Take : Probably the easiest to pick of the majors, the big story of this category is the snubbing of Albert Brooks in Drive. Although many critics were taken in by his performance, I simply didn’t get it and for once, I feel the Academy got it right. As far as the nominees go, I didn’t see Daldry’s Extremely Loud or Warrior but I can’t see either film walking away with it, based on reviews alone. Jonah Hill was fine but not spectacular as the number crunching whiz kid in Moneyball and Branagh was good but not brilliant as Sir Laurence Oliver in My Week With Marilyn. This leaves the great Christopher Plummer walking away with his third award in as many ceremonies for his heart warming turn as a newly admitted gay man loving life in his elder years. Beginners was one of my Top 10 movies of the year and I’m very glad to see Plummer get some much deserved recognition for the role.

    Who Should Win: Christopher Plummer

    Who Will Win: Christopher Plummer

    Best Actress

    Glenn Close – Albert Nobbs as Albert Nobbs

    Viola Davis – The Help as Aibileen Clark

    Rooney Mara – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as Lisbeth Salander

    Meryl Streep[ – The Iron Lady as Margaret Thatcher

    Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn as Marilyn Monroe

    My Take : It seems like I’m saying this a lot, but you could make a strong case for nearly every nominee in this category. While I’ve yet to see either Close or Streep in their respective roles, Mara was a revelation as the hard as nails Lisbeth in David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Williams was marvelous as America’s Sweetheart in My Week With Marilyn. Despite that, nobody touched Viola Davis when it came to pure acting brilliance in her turn as Aibileen in Tate Taylor’s The Help. Streep won the Globe and Davis won the SAG but while I could see the Academy giving Streep the nod as more of a “lifetime achievement” than anything else, I think the right woman will win out in the end. Nuanced, brave and heartbreaking, Davis cemented her already impeccable reputation in the role and more than deserves to walk home with the trophy.

    Who Should Win: Viola Davis

    Who Will Win: Viola Davis

    Best Actor

    Demián Bichir – A Better Life as Carlos Galindo

    George Clooney – The Descendants as Matt King

    Jean Dujardin – The Artist as George Valentin

    Gary Oldman – Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy as George Smiley

    Brad Pitt – Moneyball as Billy Beane

    My Take : Another category that didn’t include a Drive nomination, the Best Actor slate boils down to a two horse race between George Clooney as a Hawaiian father trying to keep it all together and Jean Dujardin as a silent film actor avoiding the talkies. No offense to Brad Pitt, who was nicely restrained as Moneyball’s Billy Beane or Gary Oldman as a retired British intelligence agent, but the close race deserves to go the former ER star. Although Dujardin was wonderful in the role, his performance bordered on kitschy given the 1930’s setting, creating a feeling that touched on parody, not personality. Clooney, on the other hand, hit a height I didn’t think he ever would in The Descendants and while I didn’t think as highly on it when I saw it in theaters, it really is one of the best performances of the year. When all is said and done, the race is a nail biting one but I think Dujardin will win it despite Clooney deserving it.

    Who Should Win: George Clooney

    Who Will Win: Jean Dujardin

    Best Director

    Woody Allen – Midnight in Paris

    Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist

    Terrence Malick – The Tree of Life

    Alexander Payne – The Descendants

    Martin Scorsese – Hugo

    My Take : Terrance Malik’s laborious Tree of Life aside, you could make a strong case for every one of the nominees for Best Director. To me, the award should go to the director whose vision influenced the film in the most positive way. From getting the best out of actors, to shot selection, to the physical telling of a story, the director is the helmsman behind the great ship called film. Without a strong director steering the vessel, the movie is bound to run aground. This year’s nominees all had a singular vision in bringing their respective films to life but one director not only elevated a simple fairy tale about a boy and his robot to classic status, he elevated an entire genre. Sometimes directing is pure magic and in case of Scorsese’s Hugo, the rabbit he pulled out of his hat was the most beautiful one of the year.

    Who Should Win: Martin Scorsese

    Who Will Win: Martin Scorsese

    Best Picture

    The Artist – Thomas Langmann

    The Descendants – Jim Burke, Jim Taylor, and Alexander Payne

    Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Scott Rudin

    The Help – Brunson Green, Chris Columbus, and Michael Barnathan

    Hugo – Graham King and Martin Scorsese

    Midnight in Paris – Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum

    Moneyball – Michael De Luca, Rachel Horowitz, and Brad Pitt

    The Tree of Life – Dede Gardner, Sarah Green, Grant Hill, and Bill Pohlad

    War Horse – Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy

    My Take : And now for the big one, the mother of all film awards, Best Picture. This year, nine films have been given the nod and with exception of a couple, they all deserve it in one way or another. Like most years, the laundry list of nominees can be whittled down to three and this year, it’s between The Help, Hugo and The Artist. Will it be the comically tragic story of a group of Southern maids rising up against 60’s era oppression? Will it be the fairy tale about a boy, his friend and a broken down robot that holds the secret to not only his past, but the past of all cinema? Or will it be the movie about a silent film movie actor who deals with loss of his craft, his career and his very way of life. Every movie on the list, even the ones that don’t stand a chance, have something special in them, something that captures the mind, stirs the soul and snares our imaginations. If you’ve heard me speak even three sentences this year, you know my pick for Best Picture but while I think the Academy will go a different direction, don’t think I feel the movie isn’t deserving of the honor. And the winner is….

    Who Should Win: Hugo

    Who Will Win: The Artist

  8. Finished Uncharted 3 a few weeks ago and the game is great but not as amazing as the previous game. While the story is quite good and the antagonist is the best in series, they really try too hard to create those ridiculous set pieces. Some work out perfectly, some don't. Also, the context sensitive animations cause some jerkiness in the gameplay, which is odd considering how amazing Uncharted 2 played. Also, there are bugs. In a heavy fistfight, I got pushed through a background and had to restart the checkpoint. A big plus is how an emphasis is made on melee combat. For the first time in the series, you need to be good with your fists, as some moments require it. Great game, but not quite the masterpiece 2 was.

    Now playing Skyward Sword and depsite the annoyances of the Wii Motion Plus, something I think is based on my TV setup/placement of the sensor, it's an incredible game. The story is fantastic, the characters are whimsical without being annoying (aside from Goose) and the gameplay is easily the most challenging yet. They start you off with six hearts for a reason! Also, flying your bird is incredibly satisfying although it does get a touch monotonous. Only about a third of the way through, but I'm really enjoying it!

  9. Good review of one of the best films of the year! And kudos to the Academy for the nomination for best screenplay!

    Saw The Artist the other day and loved it! I was convinced Hugo would be my favorite film of the year, but The Artist is really making it difficult for me.

    Seeing The Artist in exactly two and half hours! Not sure if I'll get around to reviewing it, but my Oscar Picks and Preview should be done by Tuesday. Will it leapfrog over Hugo as my pick for Best Picture? We will see!

  10. New Movie Review

    A Separation

    In the opening scene of Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation, a modern Iranian couple sits before a judge, explaining why they need a divorce. As an audience, it looks as though these two characters are talking to us, explaining their case as if we were judge and jury. She wants to flee to America with her family intact, he wants to stay to care for his Alzheimer’s addled father. Tempers flare and words exchange, but the conversation never turns bitter. Never turns harsh. The love is there but it’s being torn by time and circumstance and as an audience, our hearts start breaking from minute one. This first scene sets the tone for the entire film, a tone that elevates the film beyond the subtitles and low budget camerawork. A heart-rending combination of acting, writing and directing, A Separation is a perfectly made movie, one that film fans need to seek out any way they can.

    The upper middle class family A Separation examines consists of Nader, his wife Simin and their eleven year old daughter, Termeh. When Simin moves back in with her parents, leaving the exceptionally bright Termeh with her father, Nader hires a devout woman to care for his ailing father. This leads to a series of circumstances and little lies that escalate beyond anybody’s expectation. The film has a number of fascinating themes running through it, all dealt with honesty and emotional integrity. From the white lies one tells to keep a family together to the minor deceits inherent in keeping your ego intact, the film creates tension from insight, not plot contrivance. This is a personal film at the core and the effects are immediately palpable.

    The film also benefits from having one of the best casts you’ll see this year. From the stern nature of Nader (Peyman Moaadi) to the emotionally torn Simin (Leila Hatami), the entire cast is perfectly pitched, creating relatable characters that are easy to root for. Most impressive, however, is the work of Sarina Farhadi as young Termeh. Vulnerable yet wise beyond her years, Farhadi pushes herself to the limit in her performance, creating a sad little center the rest of the cast storms around. The movie is also bolstered by an Oscar nominated screenplay that never wastes a line of dialogue or a second of screen time in telling the story.

    When the Oscars roll around, most people go to the bathroom during the Foreign Language awards. These films rarely get to American theaters before the ceremony and the ones that do are relegated to limited release. Two years ago, it was The Secret In Her Eyes, last year it was In A Better World and this year it’s going to be A Separation. Shame too, as most audiences never get a chance to see these remarkable movies unless they hear the winners over the flush of a toilet and think to throw it on the Netflix queue. The sad thing is that A Separation is not only the best foreign language film released this year, it happens to be my second favorite film of 2011, bar none. A wonderfully made film that examines the little lies and deceptions inherent in the unnatural tearing of a relationship, A Separation is a triumph of international filmmaking.

    Score - 9.5 out of 10

  11. I watched Greenberg last night. A very uncomfortable character study. Ben Stiller freaked me out a little bit. I imagine a lot of people probably walked out on it in the theaters. But I couldn't stop watching it.

    Wanted to see that when it was out last year and I've heard it's quite mesmerizing. I'm on the fence when it comes to Stiller, but this one seems to be a nice exception!

    Some other movies I've seen at home but didn't get a chance to review. Seeing The Artist on Thursday, Oscar Picks by Monday!

    Dogtooth - Nominated for Best Foriegn Languange Film at last year's Oscars, Dogtooth is a strange yet mezmerizing Greek film about a socially cut off family run by a tyrannical father and his abiding wife. Centralizing on the theme of control and its affect on one's humanity, the families three children learn an alternate version of reality through the teachings of their father, creating an unnerving yet fascinating look into these "clockwork oranges". While the film overdoes it with some graphic incest and the performances are all very stilted, but the overall vibe is like a car crash that's tough to look away from. 7.5 out of 10

    In The Loop - A host of British comedians star in this political comedy of errors about an impending invasion and the misunderstandings that lead two countries to the brink of war. While I didn't find it as gut bustingly funny as the trailer suggested, the film certainly had some laugh out loud moments. Fans of dry British humor will find alot to love as the film is crass, foul mouthed and bitingly funny. It's hard to find good satire these days and In the Loop more than fills that genre void. 8.5 out of 10

    Best Worst Movie - One of the best documentaries I've seen in quite some time, Best Worst Movie tracks the lives of the cast of Troll 2, one of the worst movies ever made. Through the eyes of the film's lead, George Hardy, director Michael Stephenson takes us through the resurrgance of Troll 2 as a cult classic, highlighting the rise and fall of unexpected celebrities. A very human and touching film, Best Worst Movie never comes off exploitive, rather giving viewers an inside look into sudden fame and the affect it has on the people involved. 9.5 out of 10

    Midnight Cowboy - Starring Dustin Hoffman and John Voight, this 1969 classic features two actors at the height of their craft. Voight plays Texas born Joe Buck, a strapping young man who has dreams of being a hustler in New York City. After arriving, he meets a seedy con man by the name of Ratso Rizzo (Hoffman) and two become unolikely friends, eeking out a hargard living in the big city. This is an early career defining role for both Hoffman and Voight, their relationship being the highlight of the movie. Shot in the seediest parts of 60's era New York City, Midnight Cowboy also serves as a time capsule to an NYC gone by, before the city was dominated by Disney, tourists and corporate gentrification. A classic film, one that stills holds up today. 10 out of 10

  12. Review My Collection #16

    Apocalypse Now

    Note: Being this is my 100th review on Rotten Tomatoes, I decided to write a piece on one of the films that helped spur my love of cinema. Luckily for me, one of those films, Apocalypse Now, just happened to be next on my Review My Collection list. While this follows the traditional review format, I look some liberties in talking about my personal connection to the movie. Also note, this is a review of the original 1979 film, not the Redux edition from 2001. Thanks for your continued readership!


    I'm not quite sure when I first ran into the subject of review #100, but my first sharp recollection was a viewing for my Literature in Film class, junior year of college. The opening scene struck me from the get go. The glaze eyed stare of Martin Sheen as helicopters juxtapose with ceiling fans to the drive of The Doors marked a manic, perfect beginning to a manic, perfect film. Like Martin, I was beginning a journey of sorts, his a slow river ride into the surreal world of Vietnam, mine a struggling step into the world of film criticism. I had already brushed against this film once or twice thanks to my father, but this time was different. My goal was to take a scene and dissect it bit by bit. Take a classic piece of a landmark film and break it up into a series of pans, tilts and pulls.

    The scene I chose was the first landing of the PBR on the shores of a Vietnamese colony, the scene where Willard first meets the manic Colonel Killgore (Robert Duvall). The scene always fascinated me but this time it was different. Separated from the drama of the moment, I looked for the first time beyond the story, beyond the frame and understood exactly why it was engaging, why the entire film is brilliant. Technique. Director Francis Ford Coppola treated every shot with a meticulous eye and perfect composition. No shot wasted, no line of dialogue squandered, this five minute scene told me everything I needed to know about how filmmaking could be approached given the hand of a master. Suddenly, it all meant sense.

    The plot itself is a deceptively simple one. Captain Willard (Sheen) is on a secret mission to "terminate the command" of one Colonel Kurtz (Marlon Brando), a highly decorated officer who has gone rouge, fighting his own brand of warfare in the Cambodian jungle. Escorting the captain on his slow cruise down the Nung River, is a tidy cross section of the US forces in Vietnam. From a no nonsense boat commander to a professional surfer just looking for his next tan, the crew captures the random nature of the US occupation. Most of these draftees were bottom feeders, souls nobody gave two ticks about and Coppola perfectly illustrates the dichotomy between the men on a mission and the boys who just want to go home.

    Coppola also gives his actors plenty of room to work and build engaging characters. No one cast member, from Sheen on down, is given the short end of the dramatic stick. Be it Chef's wild ramblings about a tiger attack or Lance's slow metamorphosis, the cast is well directed, bringing small snippets of life to the somber journey. Sheen himself is near brilliant in a career defining role, teetering between unhinged and dutiful throughout the feature. As Sheen rolls down the river, he learns more and more about the mysterious Kurtz and with every passing page of the dossier, starts to respect him. The journey is both a physical and emotional one and Sheen does a great job in balancing both sides. Brando is also fantastic as the brooding Kurtz, chilling in voiceover, tape recordings and in the final reveal in the Cambodian compound.

    In writing this review, I find myself feeling connected to this landmark picture in a way I didn't expect. From the patient photography, to the unorganized madness of a bridge embattlement, Coppola poured his heart, soul and finances into a film that can only be called a masterpiece of 20th century filmmaking. From my perspective, the movie is more than a surrealistic ride down a Vietnamese river. It's a statement of human nature, a piercing look into change, progress, and our baser impulses. In Apocalypse Now, Coppola took a short novella written in 1903 and adapted it into one of the most complete Vietnam films ever made.

    My connection is a more personal one. Back on that day in 2002, I looked at a movie beyond the gun fire and explosions, the pure entertainment of it all. That day I discovered a world of art and beauty, a place I felt closest to with a notebook in hand. A journey of my own started that afternoon, a trip that's taken me through a hundred reviews, some glowing, some scathing but all of them honest, heartfelt and a joy to write. Like Captain Willard in Coppola's Vietnam epic, I started out with dim expectations of what was to come and while I've yet to reach my credit roll, I know I'll be infinitely surprised when I get there.

    **Check out my RT blog entitled "Review My Collection" for the rest of the series!!**

  13. My father gave me his Onkyo receiver & sub + 2 Onkyo candlesticks, sounds amazing. The bose speakers work with it, too. Right now, I'm using the 2 candlesticks + a bose speaker while I wait for more speaker wire & an optical cable.

    Awesome! Glad to hear it's working out with the Onkyo and the cubes. I'd be curious to hear which model Onkyo he gave you, just so I could see the specs but if it sounds good to your ears, then it's a home run!

  14. It'll give me an excuse to buy new one's lol. could u suggest a receiver cuz idk what im looking for?

    HA, fair enough!

    Here's a great little recevier that will suit your purposes just fine and it's on sale for $229, so it's right in your budget. To be fair, I may grab this for myself as this is a great price!


    The only thing I have to say is that this, and most receviers run at 8 ohms. Since your speakers run at 6, there is a strong chance that a) speakers will sound fairly terrible hooked up to it and more importantly b) the recevier is at risk for overheating and blowing. Here's a good article that explains the issue pretty well. Just want to make sure you're aware of the risk before hooking up those cubes to a non-Bose amp.


    Aaaannnd, if you do decide to just ditch the speakers and get new ones, I can recommend some great budget level speakers that would match that amp perfectly. May not have "the Bose sound", and certainly not the "Bose look" but they will sound quite nice! Just let me know!

  15. On second thought, the polk sub has speaker inputs. Is the crossover on the sub only for those inputs or can it do what i described in post #8?

    Sorry for the late response! haven't investigated in details, but I imagine the inputs on the sub are only for what they call "speaker level" inputs. Some older recievers do not have a dedicated subwoofer output, so in that case, you could hook up the sub using bare wire, just like any other speaker. You'll probably use the "line in", which requires a standard audio cable.

    As for the crossover on the sub, that will only set the crossover on the sub, not your speakers. You speakers will have to be crossed over from the receiver. Also, if you have a dedicated subwoofer out, you won't need to set the crossover on the sub itself. Just set the crossover on the recevier for everything, set the sub to "full" and you'll be good to go.

    Also, Denon makes great products, so if you can find a 5.1 recevier that accepts optical, you'll be good to go! Just be careful with the resistance on those speakers as 6.6 ohms is tough to match. Receivers usually run at 8 or 4, but genereally not 6. Also, be careful with the peak wattage. If you get a 700W recevier and hook it up to speakers that are used a 350W system, which the Lifestyle is, you run the risk of blowing them.

  16. I've found that the cube speakers can produce 280hz to 13.3Khz @6.6ohms.

    I don't mind that they don't go to 20Khz, i don't like high frequency sounds alas the 10" sub.

    Now, the sub has it's own crossover on it, so if I set the crossover on the receiver to 280 & 80 on the sub, will that work?

    Sure it'll technically work, but my only fear is you'll be missing all the midbass, creating a thinner sound than you might be used to. You'll notice it most in the center channel, as dialouge wont have much "punch" to it. Thanks for the specs on the speakers...that helps immensely!

  17. New Movie Review

    War Horse

    An orange glow washes over a boy and horse, framing them in silhouette against the late day sky. The thunder of hooves and hilts as an equine legion gallops towards an infantry unit. The giggle of a small girl as she tries to teach our protagonist how to jump. Two rivals become friends in the oddest of situations. War Horse is filled with glorious moments, expertly crafted by one of the greatest filmmakers of our time, Steven Spielberg. The classic book turned award winning play has been getting a lot of attention this year, culminating in this Oscar season film. Gloriously shot and filled with the filmmaking flourishes only a master like Spielberg can muster, War Horse is a visual marvel. Unfortunately, looks can only get you so far as this film misses great by a number of small missteps. War Horse is worth a watch but don't expect an experience that ranks among the director's greatest work.

    War Horse tells the story of a boy named Albert (Jeremy Irvine) and a horse named Joey. Albert was witness to the birth of Joey and when his father randomly purchases the colt at auction, Albert takes up his training. However, things take a turn for the worse when a little thing called World War 1 breaks out and an attempt to save the farm (yes...that old gag), Albert's father is forced to sell Joey to the English army. The film then chronicles the adventures of Joey as he travels in and around the war, touching a number of people along the way.

    Remember what I said about the movie being beautifully made? Wow, is it ever true. With the help of long time collaborator Janusz Kaminski, War Horse is painted in the award winning cinematographer's signature style. While some may find the textures over bright and unrealistic, I found them to be emotionally stirring. The film is also punctuated with the little directorial flourishes that make Spielberg a master storyteller. From a the turn of a windmill hiding a somber moment to a little girls shocking discovery as she crests a hilltop, War Horse is an easy film to get swept up in based on the visuals alone.

    Oh yeah. Remember what I said about the film being very flawed? Wow, is it ever true. The film suffers from a lackluster first half that's predictable and episodic. While things pick up considerably in the second half, right around when Joey meets a farmer and his granddaughter, the film has already lost momentum due its inherent lack of tension. In a film called "War Horse", it's not too much of a spoiler to say that the horse is going to succeed throughout most of the film. Or course one could say the story is really about the relationship between a boy and his steed but even there the film doesn't quite work. While the movie goes to great lengths to show you the relationship between Albert and Joey, I never quite felt it. To further the issue, Albert disappears from the film 45 minutes in only to resurface towards the end. By the time you pick up his story again, I didn't even recognize the character, a bad sign for a film about a human/equine relationship.

    Through all of the film's faults, there does remain one glimmer that pushes us through the predictable tale. Steven Spielberg loves the material and loves making movies. A perfect example of a director giving his all, War Horse survives solely on the breath of its director. If somebody else had helmed this film, it would have been a clichéd disaster. With Spielberg's direction, War Horse gallops above the contrivances of the plot, and provides an easy to enjoy film that everybody can find something to enjoy in. Just don't expect to get caught up in the tension, rooting for the characters or discovering something you didn't already know. Just sit back, grab some munchies and let the stunning visuals take you above and beyond the plot points. You'll enjoy the movie much better that way.

    Score: 7.5 out of 10

  18. Because 1) it has no subwoofer input and 2) it has a high crossover setting that makes the subwoofer not sound good & you cannot change it. Also, 3) it only accepts coaxial and my pc has optical.

    Ah, that makes sense. Problem is, your Polk sub should be crossed over at 80, 120 at the highest and I'm not sure if those cube speakers will be able to cover the mid bass the module was pumping out. Plus, it's near impossible to find out the effiency or the resistance of the speakers, so I don't want to recommend a purchase that would cause your cubes to blow. I'll ask around to some HT people I know and see if they have some good recommendations for you. I'll keep on it!

  19. Alright, so I did a little research on the system, and I can't seem to find what wattage the cube speakers run at. Problem is, Bose is very cagey about what wattages their systems run at, because you're not really supposed to upgrade with non Bose products. When I get home, I'll do a little more research and see if I cant find a 350W receiver that'll do 5.1 and all the rest you would need to to do.

    One question, why are you tossing the Bose reciever? Just curious if it's because there's no HDMI, etc or if it's something else.

  20. Depends on how much you want to spend on a receiver. Note I said how much do you want to spend, not how much can spend...two different things!

    Generally I stick with Onkyo as they make good products for reasonable prices, but let me know your budget and we'll go from there.

    Oh and I would ditch the Bose speakers but since you said they are 11 years old, they actually might be good. If you give us the model number of the speakers or from what package they came from, I'll be able to help you out further. And I'm not bashing Bose just to do so, it's just their "Lifestyle" speakers are desgined to be very efficient for certain sound frquencies, making them difficult to match with non-Bose receivers. Still, let me know what you're working with and I'll see what I can do!

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