Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Sometimes there's honor in revenge."

And now I give you my favorite television episodes of the year. These also happen to be a few of my favorite shows on the air right now. Are there any episodes you think I missed? Please let me know in the comments section below!

Friday Night Lights "Always"
I was incredibly sad to see this phenomenal series come to an end. However, the finale was one of the best series finales I have ever seen. They wrapped everything up perfectly and you got to see where each of the main characters was heading in their future lives. The East Dillon Lions win the Texas State Championship, Vince is the captain of the new Dillon Panthers super-team, Coach and Tami move to Philadelphia for Tami's new job, Julie moves to Chicago to be with Matt, Luke heads off to the Army and Billy and Tim start building Tim's house. Over five seasons this show gave us a lot of heart and it will definitely go down as one of my favorite series ever. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can't Lose.

Sons of Anarchy "Hands"
The entire fourth season of Sons of Anarchy was awesome, but this was my favorite because it was the biggest game-changer. The club does not know that Piney is dead let alone that Clay killed him, ATF has Juice in custody and Sheriff Roosevelt is starting to question their methods. By the end of the episode, Tara has lost her career and the only thing that kept her from becoming completely immersed in Old Lady-life, Jax is more determined to take his family and leave Charming and Gemma has lost faith in her husband and knows he must be killed because he cannot be saved. This show is so well-written and even better acted. It has become about so much more than a motorcycle club and every season it just keeps getting better and better. Kurt Sutter might be crazy, but he is a crazy genius.

Happy Endings "Spooky Endings"
It took me a couple episodes to get used to the humor of this show, but now I love it. In this particular episode, Jane and Brad spend Halloween in the suburbs house-sitting for friends and end up having to defend the house against mischievous teenagers. The rest of the gang go to a warehouse costume party where Penny and Max dress as a mother wearing a baby bjorn, Dave dresses as Austin Powers but keeps getting mistaken for Elton John and Alex dresses as Marilyn but is sick and gets mistaken for a man. This show is pretty awesome and I find it even more awesome after each episode.

Friday, December 30, 2011

"I don't have delusions of grandeur, I have an actual recipe for grandeur."

I now present you with a list of my favorite movies from 2011. I do not believe that most of these films will win any awards, but I enjoyed them the most of all the things I saw this year. They were the movies that stuck in my head the most and made me want to watch them again as soon as I walked out of the theater. You may disagree, and that is fine, and I would invite you to share your favorite movies with me in the comments section below.

So now without further ado and in no particular order.....

I am a little Bradley Cooper-biased, but I actually really enjoyed this movie a lot. I especially liked that it was not presented as a science fiction movie but more as an exploration of the human mind. You think more about the moral implications of what it would mean to take a drug like NZT. How would it change the way you interact with other people and how you live your life. This movie was engaging and highly entertaining.

This was the funniest movie I have seen in a really long time. I have been in six weddings, none were quite this hilarious, but I can definitely relate to many of the situations with which these ladies had to deal. The entire cast was great as an ensemble and even better in their individual roles. Each women adds a different level of hilarity throughout the entire movie. Also, I have said it before and I will say it again, I expect puppies to be given as favors at every bridal shower I go to from now on.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Little girls shouldn't be told how pretty they are. They should grow up knowing how much their mother loves them."

Since I have been really bad lately about writing my movie reviews, I have decided to do two in one post. In the past couple weeks I have seen The Descendants and My Week With Marilyn.

The Descendants is about a man whose wife is in a coma after a boating accident. He is having trouble with his youngest daughter so he brings his older daughter home from boarding school to help with her sister. He must figure out how to be a better parent while also dealing with the loss and betrayal of his wife. At the same time, make a decision for his extended family about whether or not to sell a plot of land they have owned through several generations.

It was definitely sadder than I expected it to be, but I also just did not find it particularly interesting at all. Clooney has been getting a lot of attention for his performance in this movie and, while I think that he did a fine job, I did not feel that it was any better than any of his other serious roles. He is a good actor, but I was not blown away by this character. Shailene Woodley, on the other hand, did an excellent job. Her acting skills are clearly getting wasted on The Secret Life of an American Teenager and she could be working on much better projects. I just did not think that this movie was all that fantastic.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"At the risk of stating the obvious, you're insane."

This week's Weekend Movie Preview is a little more complicated than usual. The movies that are out today are: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and The Adventures of Tin Tin. Coming out on Friday is We Bought a Zoo. On Christmas Day, War Horse and The Darkest Hour are in theaters.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is based on the first book in the trilogy by Stieg Larsson. Journalist Mikael Blomkvist is hired to locate a woman who has been missing for forty years. He is aided in his search by a computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander. This movie stars Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard, Robin Wright, Joely Richardson, Goran Visnjic, Joel Kinnaman and Embeth Davitz.

In The Adventures of Tin Tin, a young reporter sets out on a journey to find treasure on a sunken ship. Along with Captain Haddock, Tin Tin must find the ship before the evil Red Rackam. This animated feature showcases the voices of Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg, Toby Jones, Cary Elwes, Tony Curran and Sebastian Roche. It was directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson.

Monday, December 19, 2011

"What's the point of being an outlaw when you got responsibilities?"

I know that I have been really bad about writing the last few weeks and I apologize. Aside from the craziness of the holidays, I am also in the process of planning a move to Austin, Texas at the end of January. I have lived in Philadelphia my whole life and I just felt like I needed a change, so I am packing up my things and starting over somewhere new. Do not worry though, because I will still keep up with the blog after the big move :o)

That being said, I have been trying to catch up on shows that I always meant to watch but just never got around to them. I have recently started watching Flashpoint and Breaking Bad. I also plan to start watching the original Dallas so that I can be up-to-date when the new show starts this summer on TNT.

Flashpoint takes place in Canada follows a Strategic Response Unit (or SWAT team). Each episode is about a different crisis that they must deal with ranging from hostage situations to bomb scares. It stars Enrico Colantoni aka Keith Mars from Veronica Mars, which is why I started watching it in the first place. Amy Jo Johnson plays another main character and you may remember her as Julie Emrick from Felicity or the Pink Power Ranger :o) It originally aired on CBS, but now can be found on Ion Television.

They deal with a different case each week but, it's a little bit different than your typical CSI or Law & Order and I really enjoy it. It delves more into the psychological aspects of the subject so that the SRU can talk them out of the situation they are in. They are an elite group of police officers with high tech gear and sniper training. I am halfway through season three and if you usually like procedural shows than I definitely recommend giving this one a try. Plus, they wear such cool pants!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holmes: Get that out of my face.

Watson: It's not in your face. It's in my hand.
Holmes: Get what's in your hand out of my face.

The big movies in theaters this weekend are: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-Wrecked and Young Adult.

Only in limited release last week, Young Adult is from the same writer who brought us Juno and stars Charlize Theron. She is the writer of  young adult novels who decides to return to her hometown after her marriage fails. Her plan is to take back her high school boyfriend. When that plan proves more difficult than she thought, she forms an unlikely bond with another former classmate. Along with Theron, this movies also features Patton Oswalt, Patrick Wilson, Elizabeth Reaser and Jill Eikenberry.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"Nobody wins when pregnant women fight."

The big movies out this weekend in theaters are: The Sitter and New Year's Eve.
The Sitter is about a college student who has been suspended and is coaxed into babysitting the children that live next door. He is the world's worst babysitter looking after the world's worst kids and is completely unprepared for the crazy night ahead of him. It stars Jonah Hill, Ari Gaynor, Sam Rockwell, D.W. Moffett, Bruce Altman, Jessica Hecht and Method Man.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

"No one gets an unwrapped present on my watch!"

Arthur Christmas has been getting such great reviews that I decided to check it out. However, instead of making the same mistake that I made with The Muppets, this one I decided to see on a Monday afternoon. I was one of five people in the entire theater and that is the way I like it. I did not see it in 3D and I have to say, I really enjoyed it a lot.

We learn that the current Santa Claus is actually 20th in the line descended from Saint Nicholas, who reigned from 295-369 A.D., and he is serving his 70th Christmas as Santa Claus. His youngest son, Arthur, runs the letter office while his oldest son, Steve, runs mission command and is expected to take over Santa duties when his father retires. After what they believe to be another successful Christmas, one of the elves finds a misplaced present and realizes that a child has been missed. Along with the help of his Grandsanta, Arthur makes it his mission to ensure that the little girl gets her present before the sun rises on Christmas morning.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Guys, we can't kidnap Jack Black. That's illegal!"

There are actually no new movies in theaters this weekend, except for a few in limited release. Therefore, instead of my usual Weekend Movie Preview, I will give you my review of The Muppets, which I saw last weekend.

While I think that going to the Sunday Matinee was probably not the best idea, I really enjoyed The Muppets a lot.
Two brothers, Gary and Walter, are The Muppets biggest fans. When they take a vacation to Los Angeles and visit the Muppet Studios they are sad to learn that evil oil tycoon, Tex Richman, is planning to tear down the theater and drill for oil. They find Kermit and convince him to track down all the Muppets in order to host a telethon so they can raise the money they need to save their theater.

Monday, November 28, 2011

"No measure of time with you will be long enough, but we'll start with forever."

I was expecting the new Twilight movie to be pretty bad, considering the first three were not that fantastic, but Breaking Dawn was more awful than even I could have predicted. I was not a huge fan of the first movie, but the second and third just seemed to be getting a little better each time. I was, therefore, hoping that this four installment would be even better than the first three. Boy, was I wrong.

This fourth movie picks up the day before Edward and Bella's wedding. We see the ceremony and the reception before they head to Buenos Aires and then a private island for their honeymoon. Bella becomes unexpectedly pregnant but with what, no one can say for certain. The vampires are afriad that the baby is killing Bella from the inside and the wolves are afraid of the unknown creature she is carrying. Jacob must decide whether to side with his pack or side with the vampires and protect Bella's life.

The acting was about the same as usual. No vast improvements in anyone's performances, but nothing too horrible either. I would also say that the dialogue was exactly what you would expect from the first three movies, except that it was a little funnier. It has been a while since I watched them, but I do not really remember the first three movies having very many funny moments. However, Breaking Dawn included a few good lines from Charlie, Jacob and Emmett.

Monday, November 21, 2011

"It's time to play the music, it's time to light the lights...."

Since it is Thanksgiving week, all the new movies out this weekend start Wednesday. I am therefore doing my Weekend Movie Preview a few days early.

The new movies that are out this weekend are: Hugo, The Muppets and Arthur Christmas.

Arthur Christmas is an animated movie about Santa's youngest son. The night of Christmas, Arthur must use his father's high-tech operation for an urgent mission that must be completed before Christmas morning. The characters are voiced by James McAvoy, Bill Nighy, Hugh Laurie, Imelda Staunton, Ashley Jensen, Laura Linney, Eva Longoria, Michael Palin, Robbie Coltrain, Joan Cusack, Andy Serkis, Dominic West and Jim Broadbent as Santa.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"I'm moving up the food chain! I'm gonna go chew on something that has a face!"

The movies that are in theaters this weekend are: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1, Happy Feet Two and The Descendants.

The Descendants is about a man who tries to reconnect with his two daughters when his wife slips into a coma after a boating accident off Waikiki. It comes from the creators of Sideways and About Schmidt, and it stars George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, Amara Miller, Beau Bridges, Rob Huebel, Judy Greer and Matthew Lillard.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"The Gods have given me vision. I cannot change the future. You can."

Even though it did not get great reviews, I went to see Immortals on Friday. I am a fan of Henry Cavill and the special effects intrigued me. I left the movie thinking that it was not that bad and actually pretty entertaining, but the more I think about it, the more holes I find.

Long ago, after a mythic battle, the Gods imprisoned the Titans within Mount Tartarus never again to be released. Now King Hyperion and his massive armies have begun to ravage Greece in search of the one power that can release the Titans, the Epirus bow. Unleashing the Titans would be the end of Mankind and they would destroy the Gods. However, the Gods are not supposed to intervene in Man's affairs. Although, Zeus has chosen Theseus, a bastard and outcast in his village, to lead the people against Hyperion's army.

That is the simplest explanation of the plot, the whole thing is a bit complicated. The storyline and the writing needed a little help to keep everything a litte more coherent. However, the acting and the special effects were great. Even though I am not a fan of 3D, I felt like a movie based on special effects should probably be seen with ALL of its effects. I am not sure that it enhanced the movie for me, but it certainly did not take anything away from it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

"He does not fear danger. He fears only the failure to defend his freedom."

The big movies in theaters this weekend are: Immortals, Jack and Jill and J. Edgar.

J. Edgar Hoover was the face of law enforcement in the United States for almost fifty years. In public, he was feared and respected but in private, he had many secrets. This movie take a look at his private life and those secrets he so desperately tried to keep hidden. J.Edgar was directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Leonardo DiCaprio. It also contains a great supporting cast, including: Naomi Watts, Ed Westwick, Christian Clemenson, Geoff Stults, Armie Hammer, Jeffrey Donovan, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Lucas, Stephen Root, Lea Thompson, Amanda Schull, Jessica Hecht, Jordan Bridges and Dame Judi Dench.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"He's slower than a fat man encased in concrete being drug backwards."

After missing it when it was in theaters, I finally got around to watching Secretariat yesterday afternoon on Netflix.

The movie is based on the true story of Penny Chenery Tweedy and her horse, Secretariat. Her family owned Meadow Farm and when he mother passed away, her father was in such horrible health that Penny decided to take over the farm. She bred Secretariat and in 1972, he was named American Horse of the Year. The following year, he won the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and Preakness to be the first horse in 25 years to win the Triple Crown. He is the only horse to ever grace the covers of Time, Newsweek or Sports Illustrated.

Friday, November 4, 2011

"No matter how powerful, all curses can be broken."

It has been a busy couple of weeks, but I have finally caught up on all of my television shows. I have to say, I do not think I am watching as much this season as previously. Even though I have tried more new shows than usual, I am just being pickier about the shows I watch now.

One show that I am still enjoying is The Walking Dead. The first three episodes have been as fantastic and as disgusting as ever. I watched the first season, which was only six episodes, shortly after they aired on AMC last fall. While I am normally not a zombie person, I actually really enjoyed it. It is definitely different than anything else on televsion and the writing is really good. This second season has been just as good as the first, so far. I can deal with the gore because the storylines and acting are SO GOOD. Although, I really did not need the scene in the premiere where they cut the stomach out of a dead zombie. It almost made me vomit.

I have not figured out yet whether or not I like Once Upon A Time. I think that the plot of the show is interesting and I have no problem with the acting, I just think the dialogue is a little cheesy. I realize that fairytale dialogue usually is cheesy, but you would think they could upgrade it a little for the show. I will give it another episode or so before I make a final decision. Grimm, on the other hand, is not making the list. I watched the first episode and, while I thought it was an interesting concept, I just did not really like the show.

Another show that is definitely not making the list is American Horror Story. I have now watched the first four episodes and I will not be watching anymore. I really wanted to like it, but it is just too weird for me. I do not even think it is scary, just weird. I am also giving up on Revenge. I do not really understand why all the critics are so obsessed with it. I find the "Count of Monte Cristo" theme to be interesting, but I just cannot get into this show. I do not think the acting is very good and each episode gets worse and worse. Luckily, Top Chef: Texas has just started so that will fill my Wednesdays at 10pm time slot :o)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"I will blow your face clean off your face!"

The two big movies coming out this weekend are: Tower Heist and A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas.

A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas comes six years after their Guantanamo Bay adventure. In this 3D installment, Harold and Kumar cause a Christmas disaster when they accidentally burn down Harold's father-in-law's prize Christmas tree. Even though they have grown apart over the years, the join together again to try and find the perfect replacement. Along with John Cho, Kal Penn and, of course, Neil Patrick Harris, this movie also stars Patton Oswalt, Danny Trejo, Thomas Lennon, Jake Johnson, David Krumholtz and Paula Garces.

Monday, October 31, 2011

"Can't you at least pretend to be scared?"

Another weekend that lacked any new movies I wanted to see and an unexpected snow storm meant I was able to catch up on DVDs I had not yet had a chance to watch. As a fan of Taylor Kitch on Friday Night Lights, I decided to check out his most recent film, The Bang Bang Club.

The Bang Bang Club is based on the true story of four South African photojournalists who captured the last days of apartheid, from when Nelson Mandela was released from jail to the 1994 election, on film: Kevin Carter, Greg Marinovich, Ken Oosterbroek and Joao Silva. It is based on the autographical book by Silva and Marinovich called The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War. The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2010 but was only ever in limited release in theaters.

The story was very moving. It did not give you a whole lot of background on the characters, but you get a glimpse of how they experienced the violence in South Africa between 1990 and 1994. These four guys are basically the way that the rest of the world knew exactly was going on in this country at the time. During this period, two of them won Pulitzer Prizes for their work. Unfortunately, also during this period, two of them lost their lives - one while taking pictures during a firefight and the other took his own life.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"No one should be immortal if even one person has to die."

The big movies in theaters this weekend are: Puss in Boots, In Time, and The Rum Diary.

Based on the book by Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary is about an American journalist, named Paul Kemp, who takes a freelance assignment for a newspaper in Puerto Rico in the 1950s. While there, he struggles to find a balance between island culture and the expatriates who live there. The cast includes Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli, Amber Heard, Giovanni Ribisi and Richard Jenkins.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"To me, being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It's not about winning....

It's about you and your relationship to yourself, your family and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn't let them down because you told them the truth. And that truth is you did everything that you could, there wasn't one more thing you could've done. Can you live in that moment as best you can, with clear eyes, and love in your heart? With joy in your heart. If you can do that gentlemen, then you're perfect."

The Philadelphia Film Festival is going on from now until Monday, November 3rd and last night I got the opportunity to see the film Friday Night Lights. After the screening, there was a Q&A with director Peter Berg and H.G. "Buzz" Bissinger, who wrote the book on which the movie was based, moderated by WIP radio host Glen Macnow. I thought I would share some of this experience with you.

I have to say, and I think I have said this before, I did not like the movie the first time I saw it. I watched it when I was in college and I just do not think that my taste in movies at the time was developed enough to enjoy it, if that makes any sense. And, even though I knew that it was based on a true story, the ending really irritated me at the time. I liked the movie much better after the second viewing. Knowing how it ended and understanding the pace and tone of the film from having watched the TV show really helped a lot. It is not your typical light-hearted sports movie, it is actually more realistic and genuine. If you have not already seen it, I highly recommend checking it out because it excellent.

If you are a fan of the TV show but have not seen the movie, you will see a few cameos. For starters, Connie Britton plays the coach's wife in both, although they are different characters. You also see Brad Leland aka Buddy Garrity as one of the Boosters and Timothy F. Crowley aka Coach Crowley as one of the referees in the championship game.

Monday, October 24, 2011

"This country was built on bandanas!"

None of the new movies out this weekend was particularly appealing to me. I think I will eventually see The Mighty Macs, but it is not on the top of my list. There are few other movies that have been out for a while that I would like to see first. One of those movies was the Footloose remake, which I saw yesterday.

For those of you born after the 80's or for some unknown reason have never seen the original, this movie is about Ren McCormick, who moves from Boston, Massachusetts to Bomont, Georgia to live with his aunt and uncle after his mother dies. When he gets to Bomont he learns that dancing in public and playing loud music are illegal. Ren challenges the law and in-turn makes an enemy of the local pastor, Reverend Shaw Moore, while simultaneously falling for the pastor's daughter, Ariel.

It has been a while since I have seen the original starring Kevin Bacon, but I really enjoyed the new version. It was a lot of fun. They really tried to reinvent the moments you love from the first movie without trying too hard to copy them exactly. While the dialogue was a little corny at times, I think they really captured the spirit of the original movie.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"This is so unlady-like"

The movies out in theaters this weekend are: The Mighty Macs, Paranormal Activity 3, The Three Musketeers and Johnny English Reborn.

In the newest version of The Three Musketeers, young D'Artagnan joins forces with three former legendary Musketeers to defeat a beautiful double agent, Milady de Winter, and her evil employers, the Duke of Buckingham and Cardinal Richelieu. Buckingham and Richelieu are trying to take over the French throne and start a European war. It stars Christoph Waltz, Orlando Bloom, Milla Jovovich, Logan Lerman, Luke Evans, Matthew MacFayden and Ray Stevenson.

Monday, October 17, 2011

"All the reporters love you. Even the reporters that hate you still love you."

It took me a little longer than planned, but I finally saw The Ides of March and it was totally worth the wait.

Ryan Gosling plays Stephen Meyers, a press secretary for Democratic Presidential primary candidate, Governor Mike Morris, played by George Clooney. He takes a meeting with the opposition's Chief of Staff Tom Duffy, played by Paul Giamatti, and everything starts to fall apart after that. He finds out that his friend and candidate is not as perfect as he once thought that that sometimes you have play dirty to stay in the game.

Along with starring in the film, Clooney also co-wrote and directed it. We also see Philip Seymour Hoffman as Morris's Chief of Staff Paul Zara, Evan Rachel Wood as Meyers' love interest Molly Stearns and Marisa Tomei as journalist Ida Horowicz. It is based on the play, Farragut North, by Beau Willimon which was loosely based on the 2004 Howard Dean campaign.

Friday, October 14, 2011

"Gettin' knocked up and kidnapped kinda wipes the slate clean."

Sadly, my beloved Philadelphia Phillies have made an early exit from the post season. The only good thing about this is that I do not have to worry about catching up on all my TV shows because I am not watching any more playoff games, watching any baseball is just too heartbreaking :o(

But I digress...

Last week, I checked out American Horror Story on FX and I am not really sure what to say about this new show. Parts of it were interesting and parts of it were just weird. I cannot tell where the plot is going or how they are going to make an entire season out of it. I have not yet watched this week's episode, but I will give it another chance before I stop watching, if only because I really like Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott. As we all know, horror is not my thing, but if the story and acting are good, I might be able to enjoy this regardless.

Against my better judgement, and mostly only because I could fit it onto my DVR, I also tried to watch Last Man Standing, starring Tim Allen. I could not even get through the first episode. I made it to the first commercial break and then I had to turn it off.

As expected, I am loving the new seasons of Parenthood, The Vampire Diaries and Sons of Anarchy. In fact, Tuesday night's episode of Sons of Anarchy totally blew my mind. I am ridiculously excited to see what Kurt Sutter does with the rest of this season.

And I think I can now officially say that Prime Suspect is my favorite new show of the season. Maria Bello is fantastic as New York City Detective Jane Timoney. I especially love the scenes when she is antagonizing the ex-wife of her boyfriend, played by Kenny Johnson. I also enjoy the other detectives in her office played by Kirk Acevedo and Tim Griffin because they make me laugh a lot. I can also now say that New Girl, starring Zooey Deschanel, is my favorite new comedy and I am a little sad that it will not return until November because of the MLB playoffs.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"They're men, dear. If they ever stop competing, they die."

The new movies coming out this weekend are: Footloose, The Big Year, The Thing and Fireflies in the Garden.

In Fireflies in the Garden, Julia Roberts plays the matriarch of The Taylor family. Decades after leaving college to raise her family, she goes back to school and on the day of her graduation, dies in a devastating car accident. The film is about how the family deals with the tragedy and shows us how even a family that looks perfect from the outside is often not-so-perfect on the inside. Along with Roberts, it stars Willem Dafoe, Ryan Reynolds, Emily Watson, Carrie-Anne Moss Ioan Gruffudd and Hayden Panettiere.

Monday, October 10, 2011

"You got me an old dog?"

Based on the true story of and written by Will Reiser, 50/50 is about a 29 year old guy named Adam who goes to the doctor because of back pain and finds out that he has a tumor and must undergo chemotherapy. It is about the way the he deals with his cancer and how the people around him react to his cancer. His best friend uses it to try and get girls, his girlfriend cannot deal with the pressure of being a caregiver and cheats on him, and his mother wants to move in with him.

I enjoyed the movie, but it was not as funny as I was expecting it to be. There were funny lines throughout the whole movie, but it was actually quite depressing at times. I would characterize is more as amusing than funny. However, it was well written and a very moving story.

I am not sure that anyone besides Joseph Gordon-Levitt could have pulled off the dark humor as well. Similar to his character in (500) Days of Summer, he is good at making light of typically sad situations, but can also transition very easily into more serious scenes.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"I'm either coming with you or you're fishing for your keys in the sewer."

The big films in theaters this weekend are Real Steel and The Ides of March.

Real Steel is set in the future when the sport of boxing has gone high-tech and been taken over by robot boxing. Charlie, a former boxer and struggling promoter, thinks he has found a new champion in a robot he finds in the junkyard. With the help of his estranged son, Charlie teaches the robot his old moves and takes one last shot at a comeback. The film is based on the 1956 short story "Steel" by Richard Matheson and stars Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie, Kevin Durand and Hope Davis.

Monday, October 3, 2011

"He's heavy for half a guy."

For the past five days I have been visiting friends in the great state of Texas and was FINALLY able to go to the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin. For those of you who do not already know, the Drafthouse is basically a movie theater where they serve you food and alcohol in your seat during the movie. They show mainstream movies, but they also show the more artsy movies and cult classics. There are several of them in Austin, but there are also locations in Houston and San Antonio, as well as in Virginia and Colorado. Going to this place was number one on my list of things I wanted to do while in Austin and it totally lived up to my expectations.

Part of it living up to my expectations was the movie that my friend and I saw, which was Tucker & Dale vs Evil, because it was awesome!

Tucker and Dale are two good intentioned hillbillies who are headed to their new vacation home. While trying to fix up their cabin, they run into a group of college students who are camping. One of the girls ends up falling into the lake and hitting her head while Tucker and Dale are fishing, so they bring her back to their cabin to fix her up. The rest of the teenagers think that these hillbillies have kidnapped their friend and plan to kill her. While trying to save her a lot of funny misunderstandings occur, including several of the teenagers accidentally killing themselves and each other. Tucker and Dale are completely baffled by what is going on around them.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

"That girl doesn't exist. If she did, I'd be sleeping with her."

The big movies in theaters this weekend are 50/50, Dream House and What's Your Number?

What's Your Number? stars Anna Faris and Chris Evans. Anna plays a woman who goes back through all previous nineteen guys she has dated in her life to see if maybe one of them is her one true love. Some of the actors player her past boyfriends include: Joel McHale, Chris Pratt, Andy Samberg, Zachary Quinto, Mike Vogel, Thomas Lennon, Dave Annable and Martin Freeman. This movie looks kind of cute, but has not been getting stellar reviews.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Better buckle up. Adventure calls."

I watched a lot of television again this week, including the premieres of The Good Wife, Pan Am, Hart of Dixie, Suburgatory and Happy Endings.

Of my returning shows, the premiere of The Good Wife was so good. It started out a little slow, you were not quite sure what was going on with Will and Alicia and then BAM, the best scene happened. If you watch the show, you know what I am talking about ;o) And if you do not yet watch the show, get with the program! I cannot wait for the rest of this season. Also, the first episode of season two of Happy Endings was just as great as last season. While I do think that each character has their annoying moments, I mostly find them hilarious, or ah-mah-zing, if you will.

Pan Am was good, but there was a twist in the premise of the show that I was not expecting. There were a few too many flashbacks for my taste, but other than that I enjoyed the plot. The characters are interesting, but I need them to be developed a little bit more before I make up my mind. Christina Ricci is not my favorite actress, but I like Kelli Garner, Mike Vogel, Michael Mosley and Annabelle Wallis. The other actors I do not really know, but I am interested to see where this show goes.

I did not love the first episode of Hart of Dixie, but I think that it definitely has potential. I like the characters and the actors, I just think they need to fix a few things. For one, someone needs to remind Josh Schwartz that this is not Gossip Girl or The O.C. and he needs to tone down the music a little bit. I have no problem with the actual song choices, but when you play a song too loudly over someone's dialogue it kind of kills the mood of the scene. You are trying to portray the Deep South, the music needs to be a little more subtle, in my opinion. I also hope that the voiceover was only for the first episode and does not continue in further episodes. It kind of got annoying after a while. Like I said, I think this show has potential, but I was not completely sold by the premiere.

Monday, September 26, 2011

DJ: What's your biggest fear?

Scott: A baseball getting hit in my general direction
DJ: That's funny. Seriously, what is it?
Scott: No, seriously. That is..
(Scott walks away)
DJ: Well, hey, good luck with that!

One of the reasons that I love baseball is there is no time clock. Both teams get three outs per inning and at least nine innings, regardless of how long it takes to play. Sometimes the pace feels slow and sometimes the game seems to fly by. There are no plays where the only purpose is to stop the clock or waste time. One team cannot take time away from the other team. Each game takes as long as it takes and each team gets the same amount of outs to make something happen.

The pace of Moneyball felt like a baseball game to me. At some points there was not a lot going on, you were just waiting to see how things unfolded. At other times you were on the edge of your seat, holding your breath, crossing your fingers, hoping for the winning play to be made.

It is based on the true story of Oakland A's General Manager Billy Beane. In 2001, after the A's lost to the Yankees in the first round of the playoffs, they lost their three best players. With a tight budget, he had to find a way to fill the gap that these three left. After meeting Peter Brand and learning about his mathematical player analyses, Beane set out to change the game of baseball and the way players are assessed. Throughout the film, you also see flashbacks of when Beane started out in baseball as a player himself.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"Who doesn't like hot girls who carry guns?"

This week my DVR was extremely busy and I watched A LOT of television. So much that is all kind of mush in my brain right now.

My returning shows that started this week were How I Met Your Mother, Castle, Hawaii Five-O, Glee, NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles, Community, Grey's Anatomy and Blue Bloods.

Glee seems to be reverting back to season one quality, which is a good thing. If it continues on this path I will continue watching it, if it goes back to where it was last season, I may have to stop watching it because last season got a little crazy. Hawaii Five-O is the same quality as last season, which is not necessarily a good thing. I do not love this show, but it is entertaining enough to keep watching for now. However, it might get dropped this season if my schedule gets too crowded. The same thing goes for Grey's Anatomy. I just do not love this show as much as I did the first couple seasons. I mostly continue to watch it out of obligation to the friends with whom I watch it. On the other hand, Castle and Blue Bloods continue to be great, and Community and How I Met Your Mother are both still hilarious.

My only real complaint is with NCIS. This is one of my favorite TV shows and I watch the reruns on USA every time they are on. My complaint is that over the past couple seasons the major plots for each season have gotten too convoluted. The acting has been as great as it has always been, I just feel like they are trying to do too much with the storylines and it is just gets confusing. This also applies to NCIS: Los Angeles.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Helpin' you kids is about the only good thing I've done in this life."

There are a few big movies out this weekend. They are Moneyball, Abduction, Machine Gun Preacher, Killer Elite and Dolphin Tale.

In Killer Elite, Jason Statham plays a retired member of Britain's Elite Special Air Force who is forced out of retirement when his mentor, played by Robert DeNiro, is captured. He must kill three assassins and their leader, Clive Owen. This movie is based on the novel The Feather Men by Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

Moneyball is based on a true story about Oakland A's manager Billy Beane, played by Brad Pitt. Beane tries to put together a baseball team with a very small budget by using a computer program to asses his players. This movie also stars Jonah Hill, Robin Wright, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Chris Pratt.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"If I drive for you, you'll get your money...

You tell me where we start, where we're going, where we're going afterwards, I give you five minutes when we get there. Anything happens in that five minutes and I'm yours no matter what. Anything a minute either side of that and you're on your own. I don't sit in while you're running it down. I don't carry a gun. I drive."

We all know that I love Ryan Gosling, so I would have seen Drive regardless of the reviews, but this movie really was excellent.

Gosling's character has no name, but is simply referred to as 'Driver.' He is a movie stuntman by day and a criminal getaway driver by night. He becomes interested in his neighbor and when her husband come home from prison, he tries to help with a heist and it goes horribly wrong. A contract is put out on him and he now must protect himself and the woman he loves.

I thought that it was fantastic. The tone and style of the movie are totally different than any thing you have seen. Like Gosling's character, the plot is simple and to the point. There is not a lot of dialogue in many of the scenes because the Driver only speaks when he feels it is necessary. It was a little darker and more violent than I expected, but not in a bad way. There actually is not a lot of violence, but in the few violent scenes it is pretty intense.

Monday, September 19, 2011

"Note to self: Hold the trophy like it's The Lion King baby."

I did not watch the Emmys live last night because I was at the Phillies game. Instead, I DVR'd the show and stayed up until 2am watching it. Here now is a list of some of the things I liked about the show and a few things I could have done without:

-All the Friday Night Lights love! I got a little overly excited when Zach Gilford, Jesse Plemons and Michael Jordan were featured in Jane Lynch's opening number, even though you only saw them for about 30 seconds. And, even though I knew they were coming because I had checked twitter from the game, Jason Katims winning Best Writer for a Drama and Kyle Chandler winning Best Actor in a Drama made me ridiculously happy as well.

-Cee Lo Green having trouble with his chair from The Voice made me laugh, probably harder than it should have.

-The Best Actress in a Comedy beauty pageant was hands-down the best part of the show. All the ladies standing onstage holding hands, then all hugging when the winner was announced and Melissa McCarthy actually being crowned and handed a bouquet of roses was awesome. I have loved McCarthy since Gilmore Girls but I do not actually watch Mike & Molly, so I really could not say whether she deserved the award or not, but the presentation of the award was hilarious.

-Clifton Murray, who plays one of Channing Tatum's friends in the movie She's The Man, is apparently one of the Canadian Tenors who sang Hallelujah during the In Memoriam montage. I found this to be incredibly random and I am probably the only person on the planet who realized that. It made me smile though :o)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

"I know there's alcohol at high school parties. I've seen Friday Night Lights."

This week, I have watched the season premieres of Parenthood, The Vampire Diaries and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and the series premieres of Ringer, Up All Night, Free Agents and The Secret Circle.

I get made fun of a lot for liking The Vampire Diaries, but it is mostly from people who do not watch the show. I know I have said this a lot, but it is so good and just when you think that it cannot possibly get any better, it does! The season three finale was fantastic. A few questions from last season's finale were answered, a few were made more confusing (in a good way) and some new questions were posed. I do not like to spoil things for people who do not watch the show yet, but what is going with Mrs. Lockwood?! I am intrigued and excited. This is one of the few shows that I need to watch the night it airs because I just cannot wait until the next day. I am serious, you really should be watching this if you are not already.

Parenthood is another awesome show that just keeps getting better. The relationship between each of the family members is always changing and always full of fantastic drama. Lauren Graham and Mae Whitman especially give great performances each and every week. It may sound a little crazy, but The Bravermans make me want to have a big family of my own. One can only hope that they will be as entertaining. :o)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chris: I don’t know how she does it. All those children…

Kate: I have two
Chris: So impressive
Kate: You have four!
Chris: Yeah, but two of mine are twins

The big movies coming out this weekend are: I Don’t Know How She Does It, Straw Dogs and Drive.

Drive is about a Hollywood stuntman who moonlights as a get-away driver for criminals. He must protect his neighbor and her son after a heist goes south. This movie stars Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Christina Hendricks, Ron Perlman and Albert Brooks. I think we all know that I would be seeing this movie regardless, but it actually has been getting great reviews.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Principal: You're a teacher. You got no business in the ring with those animals!

Brendan: Actually, I used to be one of those animals. I guess I forgot to put that down on my application.

I have to say, I really enjoyed Warrior, a lot. It is getting good reviews, but I still went into the theater not sure if I was going to like it. I am not a huge fight fan but this was FANTASTIC.

The acting was great, the music by Mark Isham was moving and you cannot help but get into these fights.  There were even a few ladies behind me in the theater that were cheering and clapping :o)

The story is about two brothers whose parents got divorced when they were teenagers and each boy chose to live with a different parent. Tommy chose his mother who he ended up taking care of when she gets sick. He is an ex-Marine who has just come home for the first time in fourteen years. Brendan chooses their alcoholic father so that he can stay near the girl he loves, with whom he ends up getting married and having two children. He is a former UFC fighter and is currently teaching Physics to high schoolers. Both brothers individually decide to start training for SPARTA, the biggest winner-takes-all, mixed-martial-arts tournament ever.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

"It's figuring us out faster than we're figuring it out."

The big movies that are coming out this weekend are Warrior, Contagion and Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star.

Warrior is about two brothers competing in a mixed martial arts tournament with a huge prize. One brother is an ex-marine who turns to his alcoholic father, a former coach, for training. The other brother is a former fighter and current teacher with money and family problems. It stars Tom Hardy, Joel Edgarton, Nick Nolte and Jennifer Morrison. This is also my pick for the weekend. It is getting great reviews and looks like a compelling story.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

"And the freak circle is complete."

The season premiere of Sons of Anarchy aired last night and it was everything I had hoped it would be. I will say that it was slow in a few places, but that is mostly because they are setting things up for the rest of the season. Also, the FANTASTIC final montage totally made up for it. I especially enjoyed some of the great dialogue in this episode, which I found to have a little more humor than previous seasons. I will now share with you some of my favorite lines:

Clay: Damn, that was fast
Gemma: Yeah, that's because you're used to speed bangin' Juice in dark hallways
Clay: Hey, don't turn what Juice and I had into something cheap and tawdry
Gemma: I'm sure it was sweet Puerto Rican magic

Clay to Unser: I got a call, Jed Clampett wants his front yard back

Jax to Tara: We should talk about all the chick shit you decked out my house in

I also always enjoy seeing Floyd the barber, even though he does not really do much. I also noticed that the actress playing Opie's daughter had changed and although I recognized her I could not for the life of me remember from where. It took all day, and the help of a Twitter-friend, to finally figure out that it is Kerris Dorsey, also known as Sarah Walker's daughter on Brothers & Sisters. (Yes, I am a dork for being able to recognize her, but I cannot help how my brain works :o) And, even though some of the casting news was announced over the summer, I had forgotten about a few and was happy to see another Deadwood actor and another Shield actor. I am hoping there is at least one scene between David Rees Snell and Kenny Johnson and one with Ray McKinnon and Dayton Callie. There were also a great Deadwood reference, when Clay referred to the new sherrif as "Wild Black Hickock."

Overall, I would say that I loved the episode and I cannot wait for the rest of the season! If you are not watching this show, I am not really sure what else I can say to convince you. It is awesome and you are totally missing out!

And in other television news.....