Archive for the '5' Category

The Raid 2

Thursday, April 17th, 2014


It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (2 People gave this 5.00 out of 5)

Bloody Amazing

The Raid 2

The H-Bomb: SWAT officer Rama (Iko Uwais), one of the few who survived the massive raid on an Indonesian drug lord’s apartment block, is recruited into an elite unit of undercover cops. His mission: to infiltrate the largest crime family in Jakarta and expose the dirty cops on its payroll. This syndicate is run by the aging kingpin, Bangun (Tio Pakusadewo), and in order get on the inside, Rama is sent to the prison where Bangun’s punk-ass son, Uco (Arifin Putra), is doing time, with the intent of befriending this mafia brat and earning his trust.

After saving Uco’s life during a prison yard riot, Rama gets the “in” that he needs, and upon his release some two years later, Uco takes Rama to introduce him to his father, who hires him on as an enforcer. From here, Rama gets more than he ever could have bargained for, as he dives headfirst into the ruthless, dog eat dog cesspool that is Jakarta’s underworld. While living the life of a gangster, Rama will have to cling onto every bit of his humanity in order to keep himself from being completely engulfed by the muck and madness that surrounds him.

That’s where I’m going to end my plot summary. Naturally, there is far more happening than I described, with all sorts of betrayals and back stabbings and mafia power plays going on, but for the sake of keeping this review spoiler free, and palatable, I’ll end it there. What I can say, having just gotten back from seeing The Raid 2, is… holy shit, I can’t feel my brain!

Sweet freakin’ Jesus… I don’t even remember the last time a movie did this to me. The Raid 2 didn’t simply entertain me with it’s exhilarating action, inventive fight choreography, and epic scope… it knocked me flat on my ass, dragged me outside, and stomped the living shit out of me until I was nothing more than a sniveling little bitch lying broken and bleeding in the gutter. And I was more than happy to pay for the pleasure.

All violent hyperbole aside, there are no words in existence that can do justice to what writer/director Gareth Evans has accomplished with The Raid 2. He hasn’t simply made a sequel to The Raid: Redemption, which is itself a masterpiece of pure carnage cinema, he has taken everything that made that film so great and placed it on a much grander stage. The original Raid was essentially a 90 minute action scene with an ultra-simple story that mainly served to set up the onslaught of fist fights and gun fights that follow.

This sequel could have gotten by on simply being more of the same. It could’ve pulled a Taken 2, essentially rehashing the basic plot of the first film, with maybe a few twists and turns thrown in, and it would’ve worked, giving the audience an entertaining, albeit not-quite-as-fresh experience. But Evans isn’t interested in doing that. Instead, he gives us a movie that is certainly a sequel to The Raid, but that also stands on its own, and tells a far, far more ambitious tale.

The Raid 2 is not an action movie about cops trapped in a building full of killers. It is a gritty, operatic crime saga that rivals The Godfather in terms of its narrative expansiveness. It’s not simply a story about an undercover cop infiltrating the mob, it’s also about the power struggle between rival gangs, the power struggles within a gang, the resentful, love/hate relationships between fathers and sons, and, most crucially, loyalty amongst lowlifes.

The narrative is multi-faceted and ensemble oriented, often leaving Rama’s point of view to focus on other characters and their stories, such as the hobo hit man with the mean machete, who remains loyal to Bengun up until his brutally bitter end (if one thing is for certain, nearly every character who passes through The Raid 2 has an ugly fate in store for them). The fact that Evans was able to balance so many story threads without turning the whole thing into an overly convoluted, incoherent cluster-fuck is a testament to the caliber of filmmaker he could very well become.

There is indeed far more plot and far more characters in The Raid 2, which could put off fans of the first film, who loved it for its bare-bones scenario and non-stop action. But fear not, for even though there is a much larger story being told in this 150 minute long film (not a one of those minutes is wasted), the action itself is jacked up several notches. How can that be possible, given how insane the first Raid was? Well, remember The Crazy 88 scene from Kill Bill? Imagine a movie with about ten of those scenes, in which each successive confrontation upstages the one that came before, and that might give you some idea as to the pulverizing mayhem contained within this movie.

Think of any sick way in which you could violently take a person’s life, and odds are there’s some depiction of it in here. Shooting, stabbing, slicing, dicing, hacking, chopping, beating, bludgeoning, burning, strangling… these are not just random verbs I’m throwing at you, these are all the various methods in which the lovely people in this film are dispatched. Life is fucking cheap in The Raid 2. Human beings are basically pigs waiting to be slaughtered, and man, do they get slaughtered. It’s not just the extreme violence that makes the movie what it is, it’s how it’s depicted.

The fight sequences are among the most visceral and imaginatively staged that I have ever seen. In fact, there are no fights in this movie, there are battles. And none of these battles are treated as throwaway skirmishes. Every single one is a major set piece. Be it the beat down in the bathroom stall, or the royal rumble in the prison yard, or the Hammer Girl knocking skulls on the subway train, they are all so ferocious, I could practically feel the punches, and the kicks, and the bones snapping. Take the insane choreography by Yayan Ruhian and star Uwais, and combine it with the stunning cinematography by Matt Flannery and Dimas Imam Subhono, and what we get is ultra-violence turned into an art form. A beautiful, crimson tinted art form.

Hot damn, this flick is fan-fucking-tastic! It whooped my fat ass up, down, and sideways, and when it was all done, I was utterly and completely exhausted… in the best way possible. This is hands down one of the very best action movies I have seen in years. Probably one of the best I’ve ever seen in my life… and I do not say that lightly. As a martial arts/gangster film, it is a masterpiece and a game changer. I don’t like to oversell a movie unless I think the film can measure up, and in the case of The Raid 2, it measures the fuck up. It is bloody amazing, bloody brilliant, and just plain bloody.



Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014


It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (Give us your rating!!)

“The price of freedom is high . . . and it’s a price I’m willing to pay!” – Captain America

Winter Soldier

Swift shot: Cleveland born veritas pioneers, the Russo brothers, direct a stunningly grounded super hero film that is really an homage to the 70’s thriller. Captain America: The Winter Soldier has been referred to as Avengers 1.5, and it’s a fair assessment. Teaming up with Falcon and Black Widow, Captain America has to cope with an evolving threat from within SHIELD Headquarters, the Triskelion. For a man who is rooted in honor, Cap has a hard time dealing with the betrayal, while his partner Black Widow, has no grasp on her truth anymore. An enemy from Cap’s past appears and presents a chilling reminder that suppressing freedom because of fear is really just a new form of enslavement. Take away free will, and what do you have?  A machine.

Chris Evans returns as Captain America, two years after “New York,” Cap has become a full-fledged agent of SHIELD.  It’s appropriate, because he is known for carrying an iconic shield. I was happy to see he employed it throughout the movie, as an offensive weapon, as a defensive barrier, and he isn’t afraid to let that baby fly when it is needed. In one scene, he takes down a Quinjet in a fashion right out of the “Ultimate Alliance 2” video game, bouncing the thing off the tail-fins to cause it to crash.

Scarlett Johansson is more than just a sexy spider woman this time.  She has a bit more depth.  It is explained that she and Cap have been teaming up for awhile now on SHIELD strike missions, and their banter before, and during, missions gives us a little insight into the dynamic between them. She is constantly trying to get him laid, and he is evading all attempts . . . being unable to connect with modern women.  There is a bit of an age gap, with him being 95 and all!

Cap crosses running paths with Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie), a former Air Force para-rescuer who now runs a PTSD support group for returning combat veterans. I was glad they showed this, and I was glad they didn’t hem and haw on it forever trying to make Cap seem like someone who couldn’t deal with his past. It is evident Cap is having a hard time fitting in, but in true Steve Rogers fashion, he has a plan to deal with those gaps. In one scene he produces a little notebook that lists all the things people keep bringing up that he has yet to see or experience . . . Star Wars being one!

Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) heads SHIELD and reports directly to the World Security Council, which is helmed by Alexander Pierce (Robert Redford). Interesting fact, Redford played the protagonist in Three Days of the Condor (which Winter Soldier is loosely based upon). Getting Redford involved in this film was what really makes it less a super hero flick and more a genuine thriller. What was more interesting, to me, was the fact that he agreed to be in a movie that promotes freedom over security; I thought he was a dyed-in-the-wool liberal, and their mantra stems from big government . . . not less intrusive measures. Still, for whatever reason he joined this non-indie film, it made all the difference! Every scene he is in, the actors pick up their game, you can feel the atmosphere in the theater change when he’s on screen. It’s palpable; he is an incredible actor.

HYDRA agents within SHIELD have infiltrated the organization, for decades, and have hatched a master plan to identify and eliminate all people throughout the world that fit into an “undesirable” algorithm. Nick Fury gets close to exposing the truth, but perhaps too close, as it becomes apparent that Captain America and Black Widow are on their own. They manage to enlist (I use that word for specific allusion) Falcon in putting a stop to the extermination plan. If they only had to fight SHIELD, that would be one thing, but HYDRA has their own “asset” – The Winter Soldier. He is like a phantom, an urban legend that only few operators have actually lived to see. While Cap was put on ice for decades, this killing machine was awake, doing HYDRA’s bidding. When Captain America faces him, everything changes.

This film had all the components I love in a great movie. The fight sequences were intense, close-quarters, rough, painful, and difficult to watch . . . for all the right reasons. The opening action sequence on the Lemurian Star is going to be imitated by little kids for months as they imagine running from stern to bow dispatching bad guys without hesitation, like Cap does.

The Markus/McFeely screenplay was decent, and the aspect of the “who can you trust” thriller was handled well and not overbearing. The characters were developed enough for me to care about them, and since this wasn’t an origin film, we really didn’t need tons of exposition.

The special effects, as you would expect, were state-of-the-art, and the gun play . . . oh man, the gun play was OFS! In one shoot-out with a talking car (with a voice that I dare say you might recognize) the whole sequence is reminiscent of the epic Heat bank robbery shootout. There are several “yummy” moments as Amadarwin and I refer to them, with Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp) and Black Widow giving us, let’s say, titillating camera angles. Hey, I am a red-blooded American male, so sue me – we can’t all be saints like Cap!

As the film concluded, I was running through an imaginary checklist in my head of all the things I love in a movie, and I couldn’t think of one that missed the mark. To quote Scarlett Johansson, “Movies are about being able to escape your life or connect pieces of your life and enjoy the experience. I love the movie-going experience from the popcorn to the previews to the film itself. I like having it stay with me afterwards and thinking about it days later.” That is exactly what Captain America: The Winter Soldier did for me.  It provided an escape; I was able to connect with it, and I can’t stop pestering my friends about how they must see it! I will even make this bold statement, if you don’t like this film, we can’t be friends.





The Lego Movie

Friday, February 7th, 2014


It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (2 People gave this 5.00 out of 5)

“Everything is awesome!”

The Lego Movie

Swift shot: For the record, I love Lego – watching my son put a Lego set together makes me the proudest dad.  And now at six, he doesn’t even need my help anymore. But the Lego brand isn’t for everyone, and watching little plastic toys dance around for almost two hours would be considered torture to some.  Thankfully, the writers knew this and actually created a solid story with real drama and compelling characters.  Wait, Rick, we are talking about toys here . . . right?

In Bricksburg, everything is easy, because your entire life is planned out for you.  Everybody fits in.  But not one very unremarkable character, Emmet (Chris Pratt) who follows all the rules, does everything the right way, and still manages to find himself an outcast in a Utopian society designed to accommodate everyone.

Naturally, the whole universe is led by a ruthless dictator, President (or Lord) Business voiced by the insanely popular Will Ferrell.  On the surface, Bricksburg is perfect, but the truth is everything is held in place by brutal secret police that spy on the citizens and keep them lulled into complacency by always maintaining their need to be happy.  The citizens repeatedly enjoy “Where Are My Pants?” – a sit-com that entertains the masses so they don’t ask questions.  Those that do ask questions get to meet Bad Cop (Liam Neeson).

Of course, whenever there is a dictator, there is a resistance, and Elizabeth Banks voices the rebel leader, Wyldstyle – a pupil of one Master Builder Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman).  There is an ancient prophecy that binds the characters together (getting sick of these puns yet?) and shatters the illusions of the people of Bricksburg.

Enlisting the help of Batman, who Will Arnett plays as a straight-up dick, they team up with just about every pop-culture Lego minifigure ever created to do battle with Lord Business and his secret army.  Emmet is mistakenly labelled the chosen leader. But, he has a special skill that none of the other Master Builders possess.  And it is his uniqueness that ultimately makes him special.  Perhaps he is the chosen one.

The Lego Movie used “virtual bricks” but I thought they were actual Lego pieces, because it was flawless! Lighting effects were used to add a theatric element.  But even the “bullets” were Lego bricks, the soap bubbles, just about everything in the film was made up of real Lego bricks of one variety or another.

While the conflict (and conclusion) is predictable, there are some plot twists that I dare not reveal, but it will mention that parents will get more out of this film than they bargained for.  Ultimately, The Lego Movie, directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller is a film with lots of action, a sharp sense of humor, and a warm fuzzy hug towards the end – you’ll love it!



Saving Mr. Banks

Friday, December 20th, 2013


It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (2 People gave this 4.00 out of 5)

Sometimes promises can’t be kept

Saving Mr. Banks

Swift shot: A story about a wonderfully complicated woman and a man who wouldn’t hear “no.” Watching both Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, two of my favorite actors, square off against one another was a real treat. I was secretly anxious that Hanks wouldn’t be able to pull off Walt Disney, as they are both my personal heroes for different reasons. I should never have doubted Hanks for a second. Paul Giamatti provides proof to the Stanislavsky quote, “there are no small parts, only small actors,” as he masterfully cements the film together with very few lines required.

Imagine telling Walt Disney, “No!” – before all the theme parks went up across the world, there was just the magical Disneyland in California and Walt Disney Studios. Known for Mickey Mouse and cartoons world-wide, Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) fascinated millions of people with his wonderful stories and endearing charm. P. L. Travers (Emma Thompson) was not one of those people.

Set in the early 60s, while Walt was busy working on “The Florida Project” – he was also desperate to keep a twenty year promise to his daughters, to bring their beloved child-hood fantasy character, Mary Poppins, to life. If you know a little about Walt (as he insisted on being called) you know he struggled early on with losing rights to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, and what I didn’t know, but learned in the film, was he almost lost Mickey Mouse as well! So, he was very understanding of Travers not wanting to give her character away – he personally went through what he was now putting her through. For twenty years, I might add. But, finally, money, ever the villain in Travers’ life, comes knocking on her flat, and she reluctantly agrees to meet with Walt and his team in California.

The Marry Poppins creative team of, Robert Sherman (B.J. Novak), Richard Sherman (Jason Schwartzman), and Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford) are immediately taken aback when they meet Ms. Travers (as she insisted on being called) because they are plucky and upbeat where she is clearly trying to be such a pain in the neck that they (and Walt) will just give up and toss the whole idea. Her Disney assigned chaeffeur, Ralph (Paul Giamatti) is an affable character that refuses to allow Travers’ dour gloom to bring him down.

As Travers reminisces on her life in Australia, the film methodically transitions from her past to the present, as we see glimpses of how Mary Poppins came to life. If you are a huge Mary Poppins fan, this may shatter you, but sometimes we need to see the truth to understand the fantasy. Her father, played by Colin Farrell, struggled with money and alcohol his whole life, and when you meet the real Mary Poppins, you’ll understand why sometimes promises just can’t be kept.

The Australia sequences, where Ms. Travers is flashing-back to her childhood are lacking exposition, but this is by design by Director John Lee Hancock, as she is remembering her childhood. Rarely are streams of dialogue recalled when you think back that far, so the audience is given only thematic perception to understand what is really going on in the scenes . . . again, through the eyes of a child.

With carefully placed homages to Mary Poppins throughout the film, and seeing the creative process of the composers and writers unfold, and seeing a side to Walt that few really knew existed, Saving Mr. Banks may just break your heart and also remind you that tragedy finds us all, but what you do afterwards is what makes a life interesting. Yes, even, and especially Walt Disney. I know some people that “hate Disney” – and I wish I could force them to watch this film, as it is really an invitation to take a second look at the man, the mouse, and the magic. And if they still say “No!” – why – just tell them to GO FLY A KITE!


Captain Phillips

Thursday, October 10th, 2013


It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (3 People gave this 4.33 out of 5)

Captain Phillips

Directed by: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Catherine Keener, Corey Johnson, Michael Chernus

Once upon a time, pirates roamed the high seas and commercial vessels were on constant guard, always leery of being attacked by a hostile ship flying the Jolly Roger. You’d have thought that by now all that kind of stuff no longer existed. If you did think that pirates no longer roamed the seas looking for ships, think again, because off the coast of Somalia modern day pirates run rampant. Case in point: the MV Maersk Alabama, an American cargo ship that was hijacked on the high seas and whose then Captain, Richard Phillips, was held hostage by Somali pirates in April of 2009. The events of that incident and Phillips book comprise the story of this incredibly tense, nonstop nail-biter of a film.

It’s a tribute to the masterful directing of Paul Greengrass, that even though you know the outcome, it doesn’t matter. You can’t take your eyes off the screen. Another reason for this is a guy named Tom Hanks, who once again proves he is one of the top actors of all time. His performance is flawless, and in the last four minutes of the film he shows us how amazing he really is, you will never forget it.

Can you tell I liked this one? So far it ranks number 2 on my best of the year. Here’s the storyline in a nutshell:

“Captain Phillips” is a multi-layered examination of the hijacking of the U.S. container ship Maersk Alabama by a small crew of Somali pirates. It is simultaneously a pulse-pounding thriller and a complex portrait of the relationship between two men, each with opposite goals; commanding officer, Richard Phillips (Hanks), and his Somali counterpart, Muse (Abdi) who takes him hostage. Set on an incontrovertible collision course 145 miles off the coast of Somalia, both men find themselves paying a human toll for forces outside of either’s control.

The fear, panic and emotional pain every character in this film endures is utterly tangible. Finally, here’s a film that grabs the audience and doesn’t let go until the very last second, if then. It’s also one of those times when the movie outshines the book, not that the book is bad it’s not, it’s just that Greengrass’ vision for the film is just riveting and the performances of Hanks and newcomer Barkhad Abdi are so compelling that it puts you right there in the boat with them. One more word about Abdi, he so embodied the character and endowed him with such humanity that as horrible as the actions of the character are, you kind of liked him as someone forced to take desperate action. Now that’s pretty hard to do. I hope we see him again in an equally good film.

Ok, so my take on the film; sail right on over to that theater, plunk down a few doubloons, and get ready for some high seas excitement. Har-Har!!!


Thursday, October 10th, 2013


It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (3 People gave this 5.00 out of 5)

“Life in space is impossible.”


The H-Bomb: U.S. astronauts Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) and Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) are wrapping up a shuttle mission when they get word that the Russians have blown up one of their old spy satellites and that the debris might be headed their way. Surely enough, the storm of debris does descend upon them, shredding their shuttle and dicing up the other members of the crew, leaving only Stone and Kowalski alive. Stone is a medical engineer and this is her first time in space, whereas Kowalski is a veteran astronaut who must now figure out a way to get them both back down to Earth.

Unfortunately, that’s going to be a wee bit difficult, since they have no spacecraft, they’ve lost contact with Houston, and the panicky, inexperienced Stone is running low on Oxygen. Their only hope is to make their way to the Russian Space Station, where they could maybe use one of the escape pods to get home. However, Kowalski’s thruster pack is almost out of fuel, and the odds of them making it out of this alive seem just as remote as the big black vacuum where they currently find themselves stranded.

I’ll just stop with the plot right there, since saying more would simply ruin what is the single most intense film I’ve seen this year… Perhaps the most intense film I’ve seen in the past five years. Now, I promised myself that I wouldn’t give in to the temptation to say something as lame or obvious as “Gravity is out of this world!” But, well, Gravity is, in every sense of the term, out of this fucking world!

Director Alfonso Cuaron has already made one landmark Sci-Fi epic, 2006’s Children of Men, which, with it’s lengthy, elaborate camera shots, was a true technical marvel. Now, with Gravity, Cuaron has created, with no small help from cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki and a legion of special effects artists, a stunning 360 degree landscape of outer space that would even make the great Stanley Kubrick cream his own panties.

Make no mistake, this is far and away the most immersive depiction of space ever put on film, completely surpassing James Cameron’s overrated tuna, Avatar, and providing a 3D spectacle that demands to be seen on the largest IMAX screen you can find. To think that pretty much every single thing on screen, down to the space suits, was a CGI effect, and that for the entire time it didn’t cross my mind even once that I was looking at a bunch of special effects, is a true testament to the incredible work on the part of the filmmakers. If this doesn’t sweep every technical award at the Oscars this year, I will be truly shocked.

But, as I’ve always said, amazing effects will only carry a movie so far. It’s really, when all is said and done, the story that matters above all else, and this is where Gravity really kicks Avatar’s aqua blue ass. In the lead up to Gravity’s release, I read some statements made by a couple of true intellectual giants on the interwebs claiming that the film was going to be nothing more than waiting around for people to die. It took every ounce of self restraint that I could muster to keep from telling these two mouth breathing knuckle-draggers that they were completely full of shit.

Gravity is a story of survival, survival against the most impossible odds, and it is one of the most exciting I’ve ever seen. Fuck After Earth, this is the real deal. Up until the final moments, I was on the edge of my seat, my hands gripped firmly on the armrests, my stomach tied in knots. The movie builds a level of hopelessness the kind I haven’t seen since Apollo 13, which this film naturally reminded me of, and when the suspense peaks, it’s almost unbearable. (H-Man Aside: The head of mission control is voiced by Ed Harris, who played the head of mission control in Apollo 13)

Now, all of Cuaron’s visual razzle-dazzle wouldn’t amount to a pile of moon rocks if we weren’t given characters to get behind. Fortunately, we do grow attached to Stone and Kowalski, and we want to see them pull through. As for the performances, Clooney plays the space ace Kowalski with his usual cocky charm, and he delivers a solid turn. It’s Bullock, however, as the inexperienced Stone, who has to do the real dramatic heavy lifting. As we come to learn, Stone has a tragic past and a very lonesome present, but despite that, she has an immeasurable will to live. Bullock gives a raw and honest performance, and she carries the picture marvelously. Considering she was covered head-to-toe in those ridiculous motion capture dots, and acting opposite nothing but a green screen for the most part, she, without a doubt, nails the role beautifully.

In case you haven’t caught on, me loved Gravity. A lot. It is a true science fiction masterpiece that is, to put it bluntly, downright brilliant. As a technical feat, Cuaron pushes the envelop and takes cinematic wizardry to a whole new level, and if that’s not enough, he, with Bullock, delivers the goods emotionally, as well. You don’t merely watch a film like Gravity, you fucking experience it, and that’s exactly what I’m telling you to do. Buy the ticket, take the ride, experience Gravity, now.

The Artist and the Model (El artista y la modelo)

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013


It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (Give us your rating!!)

El artista y la modelo

Directed by: Fernando Trueba
Written by: Fernando Trueba & Jean-Claude Carriere
Cast: Jean Rochefort, Aida Folch, Claudia Cardinale

There’s no denying that I Love Movies. Been an avid fan since I was knee high to a grasshopper, and I have never stopped being transported to other places and into other people’s lives every time I walked into a theater. Most of the millions of films I’ve seen in my life have been fun to watch, a few have affected my life, many have been an agony to sit through, and there was only one I walked out on. So when I tell you this film, “The Artist and The Model” is one of the best I’ve seen in some time, you can probably take my word for it.

At it’s core the film is about a famous French sculptor’s search for that elusive idea that creates art, yet it traces his love of nature and truth and his discovery of a new muse at the end of his lifetime that once again sparks his brilliance. It is both touching and loving at the same time, yet never looses the feeling that there is real danger surrounding him on every level.

It was filmed in seductive black and white to recreate the period of time, the ivory toned plaster of the sculptor’s work, and to capture the absolute beauty of the female form, as the camera turns it all into a refined and stunning work of art. The choice of black and white was obvious, yet in this day and age, risky. My kudo’s to the filmmakers for taking this chance.

Here’s the storyline:
In the summer of 1943, an elderly sculptor lives with his wife in the south of France, safe from the War that rages around them. Tired of life, he sits out the war in a dour depression, drinking alone at the local pub, and spending the evenings quietly with his wife. Suddenly his desire to return to work is rekindled by the appearance of a beautiful young Spanish woman named Merce, who has escaped from a refugee camp. In return for food, shelter and a small sum of money the wife, a famous ex-model herself, convinces her to pose nude for him in the hopes that it will inspire him to once again work. Merce’s beauty and innocence throws open his creative door and gives him no choice but to undertake his last and most sensual artistic endeavor.

This is a stunning reflection on the 3 most enduring themes of storytelling, the meaning of life, the approach of death and the validity of art. “The Artist And The Model” is itself a sensitive and seductive piece of art in its own right. The film has already been nominated in 13 categories at the 27th Goya Awards, including Best Film and Best Director, additionally; director Fernando Trueba has won the Silver Shell for Best Director.

It’s a Don’t Miss film!

Rating: 5 Stars (out of 5) “The Artist And The Model” is unrated, Running Time: 104 min. In French and Spanish with English Sub-Titles.

Monsters University

Thursday, June 20th, 2013


It sucked!It'll be on cable.I liked it.It was good!It was awesome!! (1 People gave this 4.00 out of 5)


Have you ever wondered how Mike and Sulley from Monsters Inc met?  Did you ever ponder what it would be like to attend college in the monster world?  Well wonder no more, Monsters University has arrived!

From the first time he experienced the Scare Floor at Monsters Incorporated, Mike Wazowski (Billy Crystal) wanted to be a Scarer.  During the Pixar monster universe’s version of elementary school, while on a school field trip, Mike and his class meet Frank McCay (John Krasinski) a top Scarer at Monsters Inc. Mike is enthralled with Frank.  Frank encourages Mike to follow his dream and even gives him his Monsters University baseball cap.  Frank is an alumnus of Monsters University, a college in the Pixar monster universe.

So Mike spends all of his time reading every book on scaring he can find, learning everything he can about being a Scarer.  When the time comes, following the advice of his hero Frank McCay, he enrolls at Monsters University.  Mike is ready to start his career as a Scarer!!  During his first days at school he meets Randall (Steve Buscemi) and of course, James P. Sullivan, better known as Sulley (John Goodman).

While Mike spends all his time studying, reading, and learning, Sulley would rather slack off.  His father is one of the greatest Scarers ever, so he is riding on his dad’s coattails (side note:  they never showed either Mike or Sulley’s parents in this movie.  In fact, they rarely talked about them except for Sulley’s dad).  Believe it or not, it is hate at first sight.  Mike and Sulley do not get along.  Mike can’t stand Sulley’s arrogance, and Mike’s earnestness and bookishness annoys Sulley.

Right away, Sulley pledges the top fraternity on campus, Roar Omega Roar.  Mike doesn’t have time for fraternities because he is too busy studying how to be a Scarer!!  Unfortunately, despite all of Mike’s studying and Sulley’s father’s legacy, the monsters are kicked out of the School of Scaring by the Dean of the school, Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren), a former top Scarer.  Mike is devastated; he’s worked towards being a Scarer his whole life.

Now enrolled in classes learning about canister making, Sulley and Mike are bored out of their monster minds.  That is until Mike remembers a flyer that he picked up at the beginning of the school year – a flyer for the Scare Games.  Mike finds a fraternity of misfit monsters who live in a house off-campus.  Oozma Kappa is unofficially led by Squishy (Peter Sohn) an awkward, somewhat nerdy monster, and includes Don (Joel Murray) an older gentlemonster who was a former salesman that was let go from his job and decided to attend the university, Terri (Sean Hayes) and Terry (Dave Foley), a two-headed monster who is constantly arguing…with himself, and last but not least, Art (Charlie Day), a purple, furry, hippie-like monster.  Since they need six monsters to form a team, Sulley decides to join their fraternity (he was booted from Roar Omega Roar after he was kicked out of the School of Scaring).

Mike makes a deal with Dean Hardscrabble – if Oozma Kappa wins the Scare Games, he and Sulley can rejoin the School of Scaring.  Along with their new fraternity brothers, Mike and Sulley prepare for the Scare Games, which has events that eliminate the losing sorority or fraternity after each event.

Will Oozma Kappa win the Scare Games??  What will happen to Mike and Sulley??  The answers to these questions and more are revealed in “Monsters University”!!

Basically, Monsters University was a clean, kid-friendly version of “Revenge of the Nerds”.  It was amazing to see how Pixar created this whole college world…for monsters.  Everything you would find on a human college campus, you can see at Monsters University.  I found myself constantly being amazed by both the animation (of course, it was Pixar!!) and the level of detail in each scene.  I loved the addition of the new monsters in the Oozma Kappa fraternity.  Stay tuned for a cute scene after the credits.

The Great Gatsby

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Click the image above for MANY more vibrant shots of this instant classic film.

Check out both reviews!

Madison Monroe (She Said) gave it four stars and Alyn Darnay (He Said) gave it five out of five!

Click here for Madison Monroe's review.Click here for Alyn Darnay's review.