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Category Archives: Reviews

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

captain-america-the-winter-soldier-title_25Yes, of course, I’ve been waiting to see this movie from the moment they announced it was going to be made.  Captain America (Chris Evans) is easily my favorite Avenger, apologies to the very hot Hawkeye.  Prior to seeing the first Captain America movie I hadn’t read a comic or seen a cartoon with this character, but after viewing I was completely a fan.  You see the reason I like Captain America more than other heroes is that he doesn’t fit the trend.  There are just too many, fast wheeling, irresponsible guys who suddenly have a great tragedy befall them then they grow up and become super.  Think Iron Man, Green Hornet, Thor, etc.  Then you have the born supers, Wonder Woman and Superman.  But Captain America, he was just a kid from Brooklyn.  He had hero qualities even before the serum; it just enabled him to be able to use them on a grander scale.

Anyway back to the movie.  I’ve seen several places where people have written that this was the movie that Captain America deserved, basically dissing the first movie.  I’ll correct them; this definitely was the sequel he deserved.  Without the first movie laying the groundwork, and still excellent in its own right, the sequel wouldn’t have meant anything.

Of course I’m not going to spoil it for you but I will tell you some of the reasons why this movie is probably my favorite Marvel sequel to date.

Read more at my new blog here.

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Posted by on April 10, 2014 in Movies, Reviews

 

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Bingewatch – Supersize vs Superskinny

Supersize_vs_SuperskinnyThere is no end to shows and specials on TV addressing the obesity “epidemic”.  Between game shows likeThe Biggest Loser to documentary style shows like Heavy and Extreme Makeover – Weight Loss Edition, we seemed to be obsessed with watching people lose weight.  The problem with the majority of these shows is that they feature people losing massive amounts of weight fast; often losing upwards of 10 – 20 lbs. in a week.  There is no practicality to these shows for the viewer, it’s just a sideshow.

But I have to admit I’m still drawn to them.  There is a part of me that still wants to believe that I too can shed half my size in less than six months. Plus, you have to admit that there is a bit of Schadenfreude when you see people that easily weight one to several hundred pounds more than you.  You can take a small comfort in the fact that you may be fat, but you’re not THAT FAT.

This is the reason I started watching the BBC show, Supersize vs Superskinny (SSvsSS).  However, the first thing you notice about this show doesn’t just focus on the morbidly obese but also the dangerously underweight.  They don’t directly deal with people with anorexia, just people whose bad eating habits leave them painfully, damagingly underweight.

Read more on my new blog, here.

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2014 in Reviews, TV Shows

 

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The Wolf of Wall Street

TheWolfofWallStreetAnother excerpt from a new post on Petals from a Lily; 

I’ve been wanting to see this movie for awhile, not really sure why because I knew very little about it. Maybe it’s because of Leonardo DiCaprio. Ever since seeing him in Django I’ve seen him as a more mature actor. Although he wasn’t bad in Shutter Island or Inception.

However, it’s a wonder I made it to the end of this movie. It’s not bad… although I would argue that it’s a bit too long. But the writing is good, the acting well done, and more than enough going on visually to keep you more than interested. But seriously I was ticked off or nearly nauseous most of the film even though no there are no gross scenes really… Read more here.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2014 in Movies, Reviews

 

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Pontypool – 3rd Movie of 2014

pontypool_xlgNothing is scarier than the unknown. The movie Pontypool does a very good job at illustrating that. Set in a small radio station located inside a church basement, the day starts out pretty mundane. Then the station starts getting reports of an incident. At first it just seems a like a random small thing but as the reports come in it becomes bigger and more bizarre. The problem for Grant Mazzy (Stephen McHattie), the on-air disc jockey and radio station employees Sydney Briar (Lisa Houle) and Laurel-Ann Drummond (Georgina Reily) is that they have no way of telling if what they are hearing is true or a hoax. And if it is true, what exactly is going on?

You may find Pontypool labelled as a zombie movie and in the strictest sense it’s not. It’s more of an outbreak movie and even then that’s not quite right. The source of what’s going on I don’t think I’ve ever encountered in a movie before. And no I’m not going to tell you what that is, of course.

downloadWhat I will tell you is what I think of the movie. I thought it was pretty awesome, if for no other reason than being different. Some may find it slow cause there isn’t a lot of action for the majority of the film, it takes place in one location, and there is a lot of dialogue. But there is still a good amount of thrills and it makes you think.

Overall this movie gave me the feeling of a feature length Twilight Zone episode, but in a good way. Sure the acting probably could be better, I suppose, although I really did like the character Grant Mazzy. And the small amount of special effects aren’t Hollywood gold, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still a damn good story idea and that’s what’s important here.

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Movies, Reviews

 

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The Boat That Rocked (Pirate Radio) – 2nd Movie of 2014

PirateRadioPosterHave you ever watched a movie and the whole time you are thinking, “Why didn’t someone make me watch this before now?”, and then when you finish it you wonder if it’s too soon to watch it again? That’s how I feel about Pirate Radio (originally titled The Boat that Rocked).  Seriously.  I don’t know if it’s because of the cast, the music, or the fact that people are thumbing their nose at convention, but I’m seriously in love.

Set in 1966, Pirate Radio is a fictional retelling of a time period when rock-n-roll didn’t rule the airwaves, well not in Britain anyway.  British radios stations could play very little of it and  the only way you could hear more it was from one of the many “pirate” radio stations housed aboard ships in the North Sea.  As much as the government wanted to they hadn’t quite devised a way to shut them down so they played what they wanted.  The ship this movie focuses on is Radio Rock, ran by Quentin played by the ultra-suave Bill Nighy.  Radio Rock is staffed 24/7 by a varied and somewhat motley crew of DJs including The Count (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Simon (Chris O’Dowd), Dave (Nick Frost), and others.

On the other side is the British government intent on taking down Radio Rock and the other pirate stations, because, of course, rock music is evil, anti-establishment, and all that.  Hired by Sir Alistair Dormandy (Kenneth Branagh), Mr. Twatt (Jack Davenport), feel free to giggle, devises many different schemes to dismantle radio freedom.

The movie doesn’t technically have a main character, although the story tends to be presented from the view of “Young” Carl (Tom Sturridge). Carl is a 17 year old boy who is sent to Radio Rock by his mother after he is expelled from school to spend some time with his godfather Quentin.  It’s a coming of age time not only for him but seemingly everyone on the boat.  This movie is not just about the fight to bring music to the masses, but the changes they all go through, both on and off the air.  They find love, or lust, their voice, their purpose, and the play some damn fine music.

It’s hard to convey why I love this movie so much. I think the biggest thing is character investment.  There are just so many different personalities and it doesn’t take long for you to forget they are actors and think of them as people, some of which you wouldn’t mind having as friends.  It also blends the seriousness of the fight with a nice feel good atmosphere.  The highs aren’t too high and the lows are just enough to hit home without depressing the hell out of you.

Now this movie is not without flaws.  There are many glowing anachronisms, particularly if you are an audiophile or a history buff and parts of the movie requires some suspension of disbelief.  But you know, who cares, this movie isn’t about as much about accuracy as it is the experience, the feelings, and to illustrate what can happen not only when you are passionate and believe in something but also when you are brave, or crazy enough to stand up for it.

Long live rock-n-roll.

 
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Posted by on January 8, 2014 in Movies, Reviews

 

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Bingewatch: Extreme Cheapskates

extreme-cheapskates10% Practicality in a Bucket of Crazy

I’m a bingewatcher.  If something is really good or just really hard to believe I’ll easily find myself watching between three and a dozen episodes in one sitting.  You are just drawn in by the good, the bad, or the ugly and just can’t stop yourself.  So I figured if I’m going to spend my hours on the couch with the remote, I might as well share the experience with you.

My first bingewatch for the year is Extreme Cheapskates that airs on TLC.  The Learning Channel seems to be just teaching us all about the crazy.  I don’t have cable or satellite so I had to be content with the seven episodes (pilot plus six regular episodes) of season one available on Netflix streaming.

(Very minor spoilers ahead, there is still much crazy to be seen)

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Roy G. Haynes on Extreme Cheapskates

Now I didn’t go into this expecting a sane discussion of practical ways of saving money.  I expected a freak show and I wasn’t disappointed.  However, it still did piss me off, a lot, and I found myself screaming at the TV more than once.  I have no problem with frugality even in extreme cases, but I don’t feel it gives you the right to be a jerk or steal and that is what I had a problem with.  Often the extreme cheapskate’s spouse and family were victims to their ways.  In one case, Roy and Lisa are celebrating their 25th anniversary and as a present he gets her flowers out of a dumpster.  Not even decent looking flowers. He also takes a greeting card she had received from someone else, scratches out some of the information and writes in new. Seriously?  I’m not saying he needed to spend hundreds of dollars in some extravagant display of affection.  But for less than $10, Roy could’ve purchased Lisa fresh flowers and a nice card.  After twenty-five years of putting up with his ass that was the least she deserved.

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Dr. Terence Candell on Extreme Cheapskates

Granted, I know some of this stuff is played up for cameras but still you know in every lie/fake there is truth.  Like Terence who couldn’t spare any money to fix the front doorbell of his house or having anything but a card table and broken chairs in his living room.  But on the other hand had ten different bank accounts he was hiding from his wife and children, one he claimed contained over 100,000 dollars.  That isn’t being a cheapskate that’s being a liar, a cheat, and a jerk.  He also took his family to a “special dinner” at a Chinese food buffet, paying with a bag of change he’d been saving all year.  That was unnecessary since I’m pretty sure that any of the banks that hold his secret accounts would’ve converted that into paper bills for free.  I’m just going to assume that was for the cameras, if he’s like that in real life that would’ve been the last time I would’ve done anything with him.

Jeff Yeager on Extreme Cheapskates

I did mention practical didn’t I?  So let’s get off the crazy train and talk about that.  There is some practical things shown and even some of the impractical can easily be made practical with some minor adjustments.  Another couple featured, Jeff and Denise, take a fiscal fast once a year.  For one week they don’t spend any money and make do on what they already have for meals and entertainment.  I think that is an excellent way to stop, look, and appreciate what you already have.  Not to mention a good way of clearing the cupboards before food expires.  Jeff is also into using as much of the animal as possible when cooking and utilizes parts people usually discard.  He makes this great dinner with the heads and carcasses from several salmon.  The soup looked good and I really wasn’t freaked out by the salmon heads.  But then I’ve watched a lot of Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain so I’m used to it I suppose.  But the cost of the meal was a fraction compared to if he had used salmon fillets.

Extreme Cheapskates does have some redeeming qualities but I’m not sure I would readily watch some more episodes if they became available.  The crazy, mean, and the just plain stupid got to me several times and really I watch TV mostly to relax.  But then you now like with a bad car wreck, sometimes you just can’t look away.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2014 in TV Shows

 

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Bounty Killer – 1st Movie of 2014

Just so we are clear, I’m not going to try and watch a movie a day again this year.  Too exhausting.  However, I still love, and plan on watching, a lot of movies, so yesterday I started with Bounty Killer.

Bounty Killer seems like the little movie that could.  It started out as a short in 2011, then was a graphic novel in February 2013, and finally a feature length film in September.  But how is the movie?  It’s actually pretty good.

One thing you will notice about this movie is that it will remind you of other movies. For me it’s a little bit Sin City and a little bit Road Warrior or Doomsday.  But it’s not a bad thing; I actually like how they mixed the elements together to create a pretty clever movie.  The basic plot is this, corporations have taken over the world, literally, as in like running the countries.  Eventually they become involved in wars that plunge the world into a post-apocalyptic waste land. However, the people rise up and now the corporate bigwigs are on the run, with prices on their heads.  That’s where the bounty killers come in.  Tasked by a council, bounty killers hunt down and execute the corporate fugitives for big rewards.  This movie is about two of the best bounty killers, Drifter (Matthew Marsden) and Mary Death (Christian Pitre).  They are celebrities to the regular citizens and are seen as heroes, but both of them are hiding secrets that could get them killed.

Mary Death

Mary Death

If you like guns and over top violence then you will like Bounty Killers. It’s not wall to wall but it gets a bit bloody at times even if it’s unrealistic.  The plot is pretty good,  the costumes are interesting, and special effects are low-budget but not horrible.  I like how they mix in comic book graphics and elements throughout the movie. The dialogue seems like they were going for noir but not quite making it. That’s not to say there isn’t good line or five. Although my favorite lines always seemed to come from Jack LeMans (Barak Hardley) who is Drifter’s caddy; basically the sidekick that makes sure you always have the right weapon at hand and reloads while you keep firing away.

Eve as Mocha Sujata

Eve as Mocha Sujata

Filled with lots of actors you know from other things including Beverly D’Angelo, rapper Eve, and everyone’s favorite odd celebrity Gary Busey, this movie is a pretty decent b-grade action time waster even if it’s a bit cheesy at times.  I could watch it again and not be disappointed.  It’s not fine cinema but most of what I watch isn’t.

The trailer had too many spoilers in my opinion so I leave you with a Red Band clip.  It’s red band because of violence and a minor bit of swearing.

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Movies, Reviews

 

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