On The Couch #24: Blood Diamond Jun28

On The Couch #24: Blood Diamond...

It’s movies like Blood Diamond that remind me how grateful I am that I live in America. My neighborhood isn’t a war zone. There are no armed rebels driving down my street. The closest thing I saw to a conflict this weekend was this note taped to someone’s car as I was walking to brunch: While Blood Diamond makes me glad to live in America, it really drives home the point that America and other western countries are a major driving force in the bloodshed that stems from the mining and exporting of diamonds with our obsession for big shiny rocks to put on little dainty fingers. The filmmakers never get too heavy handed about it, which I think helps get the message across. Watching the movie, I was too caught up in it as a thriller to feel I was being preached to. After watching this movies, I’m surprised that there isn’t a backlash against diamonds like there is with fur. No one is dipping women’s hands in red paint and yelling “Diamonds are murder!” When I told my cousin that The Departed was the movie that made me like Leonardo DiCaprio, he said that Blood Diamond was the movie that did that for him. When I said I never saw Blood Diamond, he insisted that I see it. Since his last pick was the great The Lives of Others, I quickly added Blood Diamond to my queue. I’m glad I did. It really is a great thriller. The movie is 2 ½ hours long, but it’s a fast 2 ½ hours. And DiCaprio is awesome. I’m really excited for Inception to open up in a couple of weeks. I wonder how many people after seeing this movie go out of their way to buy...

At The Movies #22: Letters to Juliet Jun28

At The Movies #22: Letters to Juliet...

Pop quiz, hotshot. You plan to see Get Him to the Greek with your girlfriend and a friend and get to the theater to discover not only is that movie sold out, but every other movie playing near that same time is sold out too, even movies you have no interest in seeing (like say The Karate Kid). So what do you? What do you do? Shoot the hostage? No! You head 10 blocks south and watch Letters to Juliet at Quad Cinemas! I’m still not sure how we arrived at that decision. Letters to Juliet isn’t that bad. If I caught this randomly on TBS, I’d probably remark to a friend, “Hey you know that movie Letters to Juliet? Yeah, it was on TBS and wasn’t that bad. What? No? I didn’t want to watch it; it was just on. Yes, I could have changed the channel, but what else are you going to watch on a Saturday afternoon? Yes, I could have gone outside; it is a beautiful summer day. You know what, I’m sorry I even brought it up.” Letters to Juliet suffers from two problems. First, if you’ve seen the preview, you’ve seen the movie. How much input does a filmmaker have in what goes into the trailer for a Hollywood picture? Does the blame fall on director Gary Winick or a random guy in marketing? If it’s a random guy in marketing, it must be frustrating as a director to see the studio release a trailer that walks the audience through every beat of your movie. The second problem is that there is no chemistry between the protagonist Sophie and her rival-turned-love-interest Charlie. I think they did such a good job at making Charlie smug and arrogant to establish...

At The Theater #21: Toy Story 3 Jun17

At The Theater #21: Toy Story 3...

Toy Story and Toy Story 2 are my favorite Pixar movies, so it shouldn’t be hard to believe that Toy Story 3 was the movie I was looking forward to the most this summer. With that anticipation comes a bit a fear. Is this the one where they jump the shark? A lot of franchises’ third movies have been lackluster. I’m looking at you Godfather 3, Superman III and Batman Forever. I shouldn’t have worried though, Toy Story 3 is great. Pixar really can do no wrong. What other studio has their kind of track record? My least favorite Pixar movie, Cars, is still a good movie. Cars just doesn’t hold up to the incredibly high bar set by every other Pixar release. But Toy Story 3 definitely does. This is my favorite of the Toy Story 3 character posters. He’s got a 3 for a nose! Toy Story 3 packs more guilt than a Jewish mother (I can make that joke because I started the hora at an Episcopalian wedding this past weekend). The movie really hammers home how lonely your toys get when you grow too old to play with them. They ride this point for the whole movie. It’s enough to make me want to drive straight to my parents’ house, run up to the attic, rip open the Hefty bag full of He-Man figures and reenact the battle for Eternia. Toy Story 3 is very funny. If you enjoyed the first two, you’ll love this one. And if you didn’t enjoy the first two, try to get that stone in your chest replaced with a heart. This poster looks like Woody farted and everyone behind him is shocked by it. Maybe they’re trying to figure out the least awkward way to...

On The Couch #23: Brothers Jun17

On The Couch #23: Brothers...

WARNING: This post not only spoils plot points in Brothers, it also exposes both your eyes to a little explicit language and your ears to a little explicit language combined with some very off-key singing. I recently got into Joss Whedon’s short-lived but excellent TV show Firefly. I know, I’m late to the party on this one. My favorite part of the show has to be the theme song. Anytime I watch an episode, I end up with the theme song stuck in my head for days. It was stuck in my head while watching Brothers and I found myself singing about the movie to the tune of the Firefly theme. I realized the best way to express my thoughts on Brothers here on the blog would be through song and got to work on some more Brothers by way of Firefly song parody lyrics. Please enjoy. “I know you fucked her” is my new favorite line to whisper to people. For those of you who don’t want to keep exposing your ears to my at home karaoke, or really want to sing along with me, here are the song lyrics: “Brothers by way of Firefly” Words by Tuesday Night MoviesMusic by Joss Whedon Take my fam, take my lifeMy brother Tom fucked my wifeThat’s what Bella told meGyllenhall is too sexy Take my love, Take my famI’m stuck in AfghanistanIt’s okay, thought I was deadSo you fucked her in my bed Trashed the kitchen ‘n TVBetter call the cops on me‘Cause Tobey’s gone a bit...

At The Movies #20 Exit Through The Gift Shop Jun03

At The Movies #20 Exit Through The Gift Shop...

After weeks of Brooklyn Heights Cinema having movies that I either saw already or weren’t that interested in seeing, it has filled its two theaters with two movies I have been looking forward to catching, Exit Through the Gift Shop and Holy Rollers. The movie poster above and the title of this post may have given away which I went to see first. For those who don’t know, Exit Through the Gift Shop is a documentary about Thierry, a novice filmmaker, and his immersion into the world of street art. Or is it? There seems to be some debate whether this is a documentary or a mockumentary in the vein of This is Spinal Tap. The director of Exit Through the Gift Shop is not Thierry, but is the mysterious street artist Banksy, one of the subjects of the movie, who is from the onset the most enigmatic. He is cloaked in shadow and his voice is digitized, which immediately makes him seem like he’s the only one who knows what’s really going on. No one knows Banky’s true identity. I suspect he’s Chancellor Palpatine. Another reason why this all might be fake: Thierry’s facial hair makes him kind of look like Harry Shearer in This is Spinal Tap. Zey call me zee French Derek Smalls. If it is fake, that makes the art show for Mr. Brain Wash towards the end of the movie all the more awesome, since it was covered by LA Weekly, attended by big stars and fetched high prices for a potentially non-existent artist. Or was it? Whether it’s a real documentary or not, I enjoyed Exit Through the Gift Shop tremendously. It’s highly educational for anyone with even a passing interest in graffiti, or the Obama campaign for...

On The Couch #22: An American Crime Jun03

On The Couch #22: An American Crime...

Wow, I really wish I looked up the info on this movie before starting it. I went into it blind. I was up late and it was on TV. I missed the title, so I had no idea what I was watching, but it took place in the 60s and Bradley Whitford played a lawyer, which is enough for me to not reach for the remote. Bradley Whitford is a JK Simmons level actor. Then Ellen Page came on the screen. I thought I was in for a teenage coming of age story. Juno in the 60s! Yay! I was so wrong. I realized this as soon as Catherine Keener burned her first cigarette out on Page’s arm. Keener plays a woman so effed in the head crazy that Annie Wilkes from Misery has been quoted as saying “That lady’s nutty.” Keener’s kids are just as whacked as their mom. If you ever wondered where the children of the corn came from, it was this house. This is not a date night movie. It’s also not a movie to watch while eating food. This movie is very raw and holds few punches in showing how Indiana mom Gertrude Baniszewski (Keener) and her kids physically and mentally tortured their neighbor Sylvia Wilkes (Page) without mercy. The only person scarier than Gertrude is her pint-sized son Johnny, who burns and beats Sylvia with a very creepy smile on his face. That kid still gives me nightmares. It’s also a very good movie. Keener, Page and Whitford are all excellent. If this is the role that got Ellen Page noticed by Hollywood, I can understand. The saddest thing about this movie is that it’s based on a true story. It scares me that people in real life can do to each...

On The Couch #21: Planet Hulk Jun03

On The Couch #21: Planet Hulk...

Don’t worry, I’m not turning this blog into a comic book movie blog. I was just on a bit of a Hulk kick after watching The Incredible Hulk and decided to follow it up with Planet Hulk, an animated movie from Marvel. Like DC, Marvel is making animated features out of its popular comic book storylines. In this one, the Hulk crash lands on an planet full of aliens as big as he is, and becomes a gladiator. – Hey, you spilled Gladiator in my Hulk! – Hey, you spilled Hulk in my Gladiator! If you’re hard up for a Hulk movie (hey, whatever floats your boat, who am I to judge?) and are stuck deciding between Planet Hulk and The Incredible Hulk, The Incredible Hulk wins. It’s better all around. I guess that’s not really a fair comparison as The Incredible Hulk was a big budget Hollywood blockbuster with cool special effects and top grade talent, while Planet Hulk has the animation style of your typical Saturday morning cartoon. “Hulk, do you like movies about gladiators? Has Hulk ever been to a Turkish prison?” Story-wise, it’s a very faithful retelling of the Planet Hulk story from the comic book. If you’re one to judge a comic-based movie on well it keeps to the original, you’d probably give this movie an A. It’s the meh-quality animation that really hurts Planet Hulk. The animation doesn’t hold up to the art from the comic. In the comic, the Hulk seemed like he was in much more danger than he is here. That’s mainly because the big bad guys in the movie as drawn pretty yawntastically. In the comic, the aliens were huge and menacing, here Hulk is still the biggest kid on the block. “No, Hulk am Spartacus.”...