On The Couch #52: Bad Santa Dec31

On The Couch #52: Bad Santa...

I didn’t mean for Bad Santa to be my movie to close out movies on the couch for 2010. I added it to my Netflix queue in time to have it delivered for Christmas. I thought about doing a Fred Claus/Bad Santa double feature right before Christmas. Unfortunately, Bad Santa went from available to “very long wait” right before Christmas. It went right back to available the day after Christmas, sent to me like a belated gift from Netflix. The Blu-Ray of Bad Santa offers two versions of the movie: the unrated cut, dubbed Badder Santa, and the director’s cut. I would have appreciated a third option, the theatrical release. Choosing between the director’s cut and the unrated cut seemed like a lose-lose. I’m not a fan of unrated edition of movies on DVD. When unrated cuts first appeared, they seemed really cool. Here were all the jokes that were too racy for those prudes at the MPAA. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that the unrated cut is often a bloated mess. The extra scenes ruin the pacing of the movie, making these movies seem overlong. A lot of bits that make it into the unrated cut were cut from the theatrical release for a reason, and it’s not always the MPAA. I wonder how many people bought Badder Santa thinking it was a sequel. I decided to go with the Badder Santa unrated version. A former coworker told me it was his favorite Christmas movie. I’m glad I don’t work with him anymore. It would be hard to tell him that his favorite Christmas movie is garbage. Why? Why did I pick Bad Santa to close out the on the couch movies from 2010? Why couldn’t I have gone with Rambo or One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s...

At The Theater #51: Tron Legacy 3D Dec31

At The Theater #51: Tron Legacy 3D...

If you’re going to see Tron Legacy in the theater, you should really see it on the IMAX. But please don’t take this as an endorsement that you should see Tron Legacy in the theater. It’s really not that good. In a lot of ways, Tron Legacy is similar to another disappointing movie from this year, Alice in Wonderland. Both are new takes of classic stories (Am I stretching too far calling Tron a classic story? I never saw it.). Both were hyped up because of their special effects. Both were entirely too long. And both caused at least person I saw each with to fall asleep during the movie. I’m ranking Tron Legacy just above Alice in Wonderland, but not by much. I guess I just liked the glow in the dark raver gear. The Tron light cycle was one of my favorite toys growing up. I never saw Tron, but GI Joe had no problem co-opting Tron’s gear. Even though the movie wasn’t very good, I bet you’re going to see a lot of Tron Legacy inspired costumes at Halloween next year. Buy your reflector strips now, because there won’t be any come October. If you’ve ever seen Star Wars, a lot of Tron Legacy will have a familiar feel to it. When he is introduced, CLU comes off like Darth Vader on club night. And the only way to tell Jeff Bridges’s character Flynn apart from Obi-Wan Kenobi is that Flynn’s Jedi robes are easier to see at night. CGI Young Jeff Bridges looks more like Patrick Swayze to me. I wonder if I would enjoy Tron Legacy more if I saw the original Tron. Maybe that would explain why Bruce Boxleitner is both Alan and Tron. Unfortunately, Disney won’t let...

At The Theater #50: The Fighter Dec31

At The Theater #50: The Fighter...

“Want to see The Fighter at the AMC 34th St at 5:40?” Can you spot what’s wrong with that sentence? If you live in New York City you might realize it breaks a cardinal rule of movie going here, namely you need to specify which 34th St movie theater you mean. There are two, and unlike the dueling theaters on 42nd St, they’re completely across town from each other. To add to potential confusion, they’re both owned by AMC-Loews. I should have realized the chances of my cousin and I ending up at different theaters were 100% when I texted him the above quote on 12/29/10. After discovering we were at different theaters, we didn’t give up. Giving up would be antithetical to the story of The Figther. It would go against every sports movie ever! And I have three movies to watch in the theater with only three days remaining in the year! We decided to put our fate in the hands of the New York City Transit Authority and headed downtown to the Village East from opposite ends of 34th St. Transit Tip: If there has been a recent blizzard that knocked out multiple subway lines, stick to the line you know in running well, even if it might leave you slightly further away. Wow, two lessons learned today and I hadn’t even bought my movie ticket yet! We made it to the Village East with time to spare. Thank you New York City Transit! If you hate boxing, but have a crush on Amy Adams, here’s your reason to see The Fighter. The Fighter is an excellent movie and is one of my tops for the year. I’m not a boxing fan and knew next to nothing about Mickey Ward or...

On The Couch #51: The Proposal Dec30

On The Couch #51: The Proposal...

After gorging myself silly on Christmas deserts on the 25th, I returned home, plopped down on the couch and realized I had just enough energy to pick a movie on Netflix Instant Streaming. I wanted to watch something light-hearted because it was Christmas. After browsing Netflix’s choices for far too long, I think I was at the 25 minute mark before I picked  something, I settled on Amy Adams in Sunshine Cleaning. An Amy Adams comedy is the textbook definition of something light-hearted, right? Two minutes into Sunshine Cleaning a guy shoots himself in the face with a gun. There goes my Amy Adams theory. Back to the drawing board, er I mean back to the instant streaming queue. I almost saw The Proposal during the great Red Box experiment of August in Cape Cod. I think I saw When in Rome instead. I should have rented The Proposal. It’s much better than When in Rome. I gave The Proposal an “I liked it” rating on Netflix. The ending cost me rating it “I really liked it.”  I thought the ending was completely ridiculous. The whole movie set up that Ryan Reynolds should have ended up with his non-psycho ex-girlfriend, Vince Vaughn’s wife from Couples Retreat, not his completely psycho boss. But once Sandra Bullock skips town, Ryan Reynolds and Betty White announce that Ryan Reynolds now loves Sandra Bullock, so it must be true, the previous hour and a half of The Proposal be damned! The one redeeming quality of the ending is that it provided the opportunity for the INS interviews that take place during the credits, which were some of the funniest parts of The Proposal. The Office’s Oscar Nunez has the best scenes in The Proposal. He seems to be...

At The Theater #49: True Grit Dec29

At The Theater #49: True Grit...

True Grit might be the best movie you see this year. I thought it was better than every other movie likely to receive a nomination come awards season. Black Swan and Winter’s Bone, please say hello to the movie that will cost you some golden statues, True Grit. I never saw the original True Grit starring John Wayne, so I can’t comment on how well Jeff Bridges’s performance holds up against his. But Jeff Bridges is wonderful as the mush-mouthed US Marshall who is the hero of True Grit. Matt Damon is as charming as you’d expect Matt Damon to be, which is plenty, playing a Texas Ranger on the hunt for the same man as Jeff Bridges. Damon’s best line, “…or should I say, your eye?” is in the preview, but he delivers it so well that I still laughed when I heard it during the movie. With a sub-two hour running time, going to see True Grit won’t seem like a chore. It seems like it’s an unspoken rule these days that westerns, period pieces and fantasy movies all need to clock in at the three hour mark. I’m glad that the Coen brothers made a very tight two hour movie here. After reading an excellent biography on the Coens last year, I planned on watching all their movies in order this year. That didn’t happen, and with only two movies to left to watch on the couch, won’t happen this year. Maybe next year? If you’re planning on seeing True Grit, I recommend catching it at the Brooklyn Heights Cinema at Henry and Orange. They have the best popcorn in the city and it’s playing all day there. Treat yourself nice and follow it up with dinner at nearby Noodle Pudding...

At The Theater #48: How Do You Know Dec26

At The Theater #48: How Do You Know...

To end Super Tuesday, I caught a 7 PM screening of How Do You Know at the AMC on 19th and Broadway with some friends. The final movie of Super Tuesday was also the most disappointing. Oddly, it was also the only movie where I felt no regrets before the movie started. Don’t worry, those came afterwards. Lesson learned from How Do You Know: Just because I find Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd and Owen Wilson adorable does not mean the combination of the three of them guarantees a good movie. The three of them were adorable in the movie, but they all played adorable but annoyingly dumb characters. Reese Witherspoon is a cute as How Do You Know is annoying. How Do You Know is also about a half hour too long. There was no reason for this film to be two hours. I’m still trying to figure out what the plot of the movie was. That’s the look of an actress who regrets saying yes to a movie role. Watching How Do You Know felt like watching the filmed version of a first draft of a screenplay. Who greenlit this movie? A friend told me the rumored budget of How Do You Know was $120 million, roughly the same price as Terminator 3. How does he know? I didn’t ask. Big name actors carry big number price tags. Unfortunately they didn’t spend money on a good script. Or was this a case where a movie was rewritten so many times that it ended up a complete mess. Who knows?  How do they know? “Why are we in this terrible movie?!?” So that’s it for Super Tuesday. I went from 44 movies at the theater to 48 in one day! I’m feeling good heading...

At The Theater #47: The King’s Speech Dec25

At The Theater #47: The King’s Speech...

The most packed movie of the day was the 3 PM showing of The King’s Speech at Clearview’s Chelsea. This movie was way more packed than any 3 PM weekday screening had any right to be. Once again, regret immediately hit me as the movie was about to start. Should I have seen I Love You Phillip Morris instead? I didn’t even know what The King’s Speech was about. Two friends recently raved about it on Facebook, but one of them is a huge Colin Firth fan and might have just been happy to see him in a new movie. The other was her boyfriend, who might have been just trying to score points. Plus, isn’t a Colin Firth movie something I should be seeing with my girlfriend? Wasn’t there a thriller out that I’d be better off watching alone?   When The King’s Speech started and Colin Firth stammered his way through his speech, I thought “This is going to be a long one. Crap.” But once the film got underway and they showed his first attempt at having his speaking corrected, I realized this movie was going to be great. If King George doesn’t get his speaking skills corrected, his wife Bellatrix Lestrange will cast crucio on him!   Definitely see The King’s Speech. Colin Firth is his usual charming self, but it’s Geoffrey Rush as speech therapist Lionel Logue who steals the show. Every time he called Colin Firth’s King George VI “Bertie,” I was rolling. You can do it, Bertie!   If your girlfriend wants to see a movie together this holiday season, steer her towards The King’s Speech. It’s got Colin Firth, so it should work if she’s anything like most girls I know. The King’s Speech is a charming movie that will...

At The Theater #46: Winter’s Bone Dec25

At The Theater #46: Winter’s Bone...

Once Inside Job ended, I race-walked up Broadway to catch Winter’s Bone at the Quad Cinema. Winter’s Bone seemed to be playing forever earlier this year at Brooklyn Heights Cinema, but for some reason I never bothered to see it, or even find out what it was about. Seeing it at or near the top of so many year-end best-of lists sparked my interest to see it now. I barely made it to the Quad on time. Construction and slow moving tourists can really drag down one’s walking speed. As the theater darkened, I realized my mistake. I was still pissed off from just seeing Inside Job and wasn’t in the right frame of mind for a dark drama. I should have caught a comedy instead. I had a hard time paying attention to the first minute of Winter’s Bone, a montage of images. The ticket’s paid for though. I’m stuck here. Thankfully, my regret quickly passed as the movie got underway. I can see why Winter’s Bone is at the top of a lot of best of 2010 lists. It’s a great movie, a dark mystery about a 17-year old girl who needs to find her father because he’s due in court and if he no-shows, her family will lose their home that he put up for his bond. There are no soft characters over the age of seven in Winter’s Bone. Everyone is hard and no one can be trusted. Winter’s Bone makes me want to stay as far away as possible from the rural south. Also, all the characters have names you’d expect to hear in Los Angeles, not the south. Names like Teardrop and Little Arthur.   Teardrop: 2010’s Scariest Uncle. Go see Winter’s Bone. But maybe see it on...

At The Theater #45: Inside Job Dec25

At The Theater #45: Inside Job...

As soon as Shades of Ray ended, I hopped on the subway into Manhattan on a far too crowded for 9:45 AM A train to catch my first movie at the theater for the day, Inside Job at the Angelika Film Center. I really like seeing movies at the Angelika. I think this has a lot too do with the ground level café area, which is strange because I think that café is overpriced. But it’s a nicer place to wait for friends than most movie theater lobbies. I’m flying solo today, so instead I found it a nice place to walk through on my way to the downstairs theater. The three person audience for the 10:45 AM screening of Inside Job was a nice cross section of viewers. There was me, a female NYU student and an old man who claimed after to movie to have worked for one of the investment banks featured in Inside Job, “though long before any of this went down” he was quick to point out. Waiting for Inside Job to start, I popped open Flixster on my iPhone and experienced something that would occur at the start of three of the four movies I saw in the theater today; I would regret seeing this movie instead of another in the same time slot. It happened here when I saw that I Love You, Phillip Morris was playing at 10:35 AM at Clearview’s Chelsea. I’ve wanted to see that for the past few weeks and cursed myself, thinking that a comedy would be a better way to start the day than a sure to be depressing documentary about the 2008 financial crisis. This regret passed quickly. Inside Job should be on everyone’s must-watch list. It’s bound to frustrate...

On The Couch #50: Shades of Ray Dec25

On The Couch #50: Shades of Ray...

Never give up. That’s what I took away from Rudy and what was going through my mind when I decided I needed to do something drastic to catch up if I wanted any hope of hitting 52/52 at the end of 2010. Thus on Tuesday, 12/21/10, Super Tuesday was born, a day where I would watch movie after movie. To start Super Tuesday, I plopped down on the couch at 8:00 AM and watched Shades of Ray on Netflix Instant Streaming. Shades of Ray was originally recommended to me back in the earliest days of Tuesday Night Movies by my uncle and again by a friend. I said I’d get right on it. Apparently by “right on it” I meant that I would wait until the second to last week of the year to watch it. I should have watched it sooner. Shades of Ray is a great romantic comedy, possibly the best romantic comedy I’ve seen this year. If you like the TV show Chuck, you’ll probably like Shades of Ray as well. Zachary Levi basically plays a slightly smoother version of Chuck. Ray is Chuck minus the video game geekery and with a slightly darker skin tone. Ray even has a Morgan Grimes-esque sidekick in the form of his roommate and best friend Sal. I guess the casting of Joshua Gomez as Sal would have made things too eerily similar for Chuck fans. Also like Chuck, Ray has both a blonde and a brunette vying for his affection. In case this blog has a Secret Santa, I really, really want the pink shirt that both Ray and Sal buy from Lloyd from Entourage. Brian George is batting 1.000 with me. First in his most famous role, as Babu Bhatt in one of the most memorable Seinfeld...