Showing posts from January, 2015

The Andromeda Strain (1971)

I recently saw The Andromida Strain movie that was made for TV, and it was a horrible disappointment. It was so bad that it made me question if I really did like the book when I read it. I remembered liking the book, but here I was watching something based on that book, and the movie was complete crap. So, I did the next best thing to re-reading the book, I watched this, the earlier adaptation of the book.

One thing about this movie is that it was made three years after 2001: A Space Odyssey was made. It becomes apparent pretty quickly that the director, Robert Wise, was following the style of Stanley Kubrick from that movie. The pace of this movie is more artistic than can be justified by the story or the stilted cinematography. It is in no way a pretty film, but it does follow what I can remember of the original storyline pretty well.

The effects are hopelessly early 1970s. The thrust of the story is that a virus of alien origin lands on earth, and a team of scientists are brought i…

Devil's Due (2014)

Writer: "I can't think of a movie idea."
Producer: "How about something scary?"
Writer: "I have no idea how to write something scary."
Producer: "No problem. Just make a found-footage style movie. They're all the rage."
Me: "Dammit!"

This whole thing with the husband / future dad deciding that he is going to record everything is so damn tired. The fact that they have to transition to a body cam and then to cameras covertly inserted in various locations about the house is indicative of the tired and worn out premise and the need for the whole thing to go away. Seriously, I want all found-footage movies to just stop.

I have been bitten by the found footage movies toomanytimes, and I really only have myself to blame at this point. I need to just start filtering out these crappy movies right from the start. I've decided to just watch movies that have at least a 5/10 on IMDB, and this one would probably not have passed that test…

Rampage (2009, 2014)

I have already said that Uwe Boll is the worst director of our time. That he has had this long to finally come up with okay movies is a mystery. These two movies represent 2/3 of the watchable movies he's managed to put out, and I have watched many of them. After watching the crap that he has put out, I wonder what made me watch these tolerable ones in the first place.

Rampage (2009)

The biggest problem with this movie is that there is so much time wasted in flash forwards. I would say it is foreshadowing, but that's not how foreshadowing works. It seems like most of it is just ti extend the run time of the movie by letting us see the same shots three or four times during the movie.

The fact is that this movie isn't actually bad - which is a win for Uwe Boll. There are issues with two-dimensional characters and things like that, but once you get passed the main character's parents and friends, you get at least a certain amount of depth from Brendan Fletcher as the disil…

Southern Tier Imperial Iniquity

I've had Southern Tier beers before, and the two times have been split - one very good and one very not good. I've also had black ales before, and the results have been generally good. So, I don't know what to expect from this one. I certainly hope to like it, but a brewery with a checkered past does not inspire confidence.

The head is never all that big, and it only leaves a few orphan bubbles bobbling on top and a ring around the sides of the glass. With so few bubbles, it's nice to see that the lacing on the sides is still pretty significant as the beverage goes down. The color is pitch black - like a stout. The aroma is of sweet, smoky malt and a lot less hops than I would expect from the average ale.

First sip is pretty damn good. It is very, very smoky with some oatmealy and coffee hints laying around with caramel and even some toffee peaking out. It's actually very good. It definitely smacks of porter more than anything, and even though I've had these be…

Thomas Creek Orange Blossom Pilsner

The guy at my new favorite beer distributor said that he went out of his way to order this for a customer, and he got lots of extras to put on the shelf. I got a six pack, and now, I'm going to write what I taste. I can't tell you how great it is to have found a distributor that cares about his product and his customers.

The clear, light gold/yellow colored beer loses its head faster than a French aristocrat during a revolution. What lags behind is a ring of bubbles surrounding a lilypad of even smaller, thinner bubbles covering the top like an ineffective fig leaf over genitalia. The aroma is sweet and very malty. It's sweeter than I would expect a pilsner to be, but it definitely has the grainy malt I was expecting.

My traditional first sip is actually pretty simple. It's sweeter than the average pilsner, but it has the same grainy malt that I smelled. It's not bad; as a sip, it's very clean and certainly easy on the mouth. I am actually reminded of the recen…

The Prince (2014)

On the face of it, this movie starts off on the right foot - it has Jason Patric, Bruce Willis, and John Cusack. Hell, it even has Korean pop sensation Rain, who did a great job in Ninja Assassin, a movie I thoroughly enjoyed as a fusion of styles from Tarantino and Frank Miller (although neither man was actually involved in the movie). With this kind of star power, how can things go awry? Well, they do.

I have no idea how much they payed these actors to be in the movie, but the complete budget was only $10 million. I read that Bruce Willis turned down four days of work with The Expendables 3 because he wanted $4m instead of $3m, and having seen that movie, I understand why he didn't really want to be in it, but what would posses him to be a focal character of this movie?

The general idea is that Jason Patric is a bad, bad man who everyone is afraid of. He had retired from a life of being a professionally bad man, but his daughter (played by Gia Mantegna) disappears, and he decide…

Child of God (2013)

This is the story of an outcast in 1960s Tennessee. It features a rather repulsive human being who appears to have pretty significant mental retardation in addition to his other personality... quirks. I think the audience is supposed to sympathize with him on some level, and I guess I do, but his actions are pretty damn horrific.

Let's start with the movie poster: Four stars - out of what? Jaw-Dropping - I suppose it depends on if your jaw can drop from disbelief that you just sat through this movie. Scott Haze - Yup. He was the main character, but through the entire movie, I don't think he picked up a revolver once. He had a rifle, and they sure as hell went on about it and how he had it since he was a kid, and he could shoot the top off a dandelion at 1000 yards and everything, but no pistols were used (also, they never explained where he got his ammo or where he stored it). James Franco - he was the reason I watched this movie in the first place, he's featured on the po…

Calvary (2014)

Brendan Gleeson is the priest of a very, very small parish in Ireland. The movie starts with a dire threat in a confessional, but that threat - which would seem to be the focus of the movie - really dies away and sits on the back burner for most of the movie. Yes, there is tension increased in quiet moments when you think about the impending confrontation, but the story just kind of unfolds around it.

This movie has a similar feel to it as The Guard, and that movie was fantastic. This movie doesn't quite measure up to that movie's awesomeness, but this is also a different kind of movie. They both are basically dramas with heightened dark comedy intertwined within, but The Guard definitely had more comedy, and it was generally more engaging. While we learn to like the main character, and even a few of the ancillary characters in this movie, we don't really get enough to make a decision on them one way or the other.

One character in this movie that is not listed in IMDB is t…

Smuttynose Finestkind IPA

The Shoals was an excellent beer, but the Bouncy House was right down the middle of the road - which is still not bad, but I expected more when the knowledgeable guy from City Sliquors said to give it a go. This is another Smuttynose beer, and I'm expecting it to hit the sweet spot that the Shoals did.

This beer is the latest in a run of beers lately that is sporting a very sticky head. This one even stays around a lot longer than the others - it leaves a good 1/3 inch of head bobbling on the top. The color is a cloudy straw with an aroma of biscuits, citrus, honey, and hops piled on high. The hops are mostly floral, and they compliment the biscuits very well.

First sip is not bad at all. I was afraid that the bitter bite of the hops would take over the entire beer, but it is tempered well by the biscuit malt. The hops have quite a bit of flower taste about them, but they seem balanced with a bit of pine. As a sip, it's a nice, simple beer with even a hint of sweetness from th…

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

I was not a huge fan of the reboot of this franchise. I though the Marky Mark movie had a lot of deficiencies, and it seemed to rely too heavily on the movies that came before it. I expected a reboot like Christopher Nolan did with The Dark Knight trilogy, where he took something that had become a parody of itself and completely re-imagined it in a darker, more gritty, more realistic world.

When the second movie came along, I didn't have high expectations, but I was surprised at how much I liked it. James Franco did a very good job with a compelling story and a very well done bunch of CG monkeys, and it made me wonder why the first movie was so bad. It also made me wonder if they were going to invest in a sequel. Well, it turns out that a profit of about $400 million is a good motivation to make another movie.
The CG monkeys are still very good in this movie most of the time. The fact that they are on screen so much means that flaws in the algorithms becomes more and more clear, a…

Smuttynose Bouncy House IPA

I liked the last Smuttynose beer I had. Presumably, this "bouncy house" beer is made for fun and it should be light and frivolous. That will work for me, because I'm not in the mood for a really heavy beer. This is an IPA, though, so it may be a bit hoppy. As an American IPA, though, it should be much more drinkable. I guess we'll see.

The head is full of big bubbles that stick with gusto to the sides to leave a nice webwork on the walls of the glass. The color is a golden straw with the aroma of very light hops and citrus. I am really looking forward to having a beer after the day I've had, and this really smells like it will fit the bill nicely.

A sip brings a beer that socks the back of the mouth with a hop fist. The area around the hops is very watery and fairly tasteless, but that hops is only mildly cut by some malt and a bit of lemon. It's not a good start, as it comes off as unrefined and brutal. It's certainly not a sipping beer, that's for s…

The Equalizer (2014)

They wanted to hearken back to the TV show of the same name, but I have no idea why they bothered. I mean, they could have just called this Man on Fire 2, let Denzel play the same character as that first movie, and be done with it. From what I remember of the TV series, this movie is such a huge departure that it may as well have not been associated with it at all. I would be curious to know how much they spent to get the name.

This role has been played by many other men before. I don't mean the actual role of The Equalizer, but the bad ass who can take out a room full of guys with minimal planning or real effort. You know, the guy who feels compelled to stand up for the little guy when push comes to shove. I'm talking about the guy played by Liam Neeson or Stallone or Arnold or Bruce Willis or Nick Cage or Statham or Jean Reno or any of a bunch of others.

Denzel plays this character very well. I mean, he almost always does, doesn't he? When you score Denzel Washington for …

Sin City - A Dame to Kill For (2014)

The first Sin City was a visual delight and a fairly compelling story done in a kind of updated film noir style and storytelling method. Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez used black and white photography with certain highlighted elements infused with color to increase overall visual impact. Combine that with characters that were over-the-top both in their personalities and in their physical appearance, and you have a movie that is interesting to watch, so long as the story and dialogue can keep up.

This movie isn't hurting for big names, either. Lady Gaga, Christopher Meloni, Powers Boothe, Ray Liotta... the list goes on. Really, though, the headliners for this movie are Eva Green's breasts. The fact that Jessica Alba plays the stripper and Eva Green plays the grieving widow underscores just how gratuitous the nudity is, as Jessica does not have the slightest of nipple slip through the entire movie. Every scene that Eva is in pretty much starts with an establishing shot of her…

God's Pocket (2014)

There is one reason to watch this movie: the cast. This is one of Philip Seymour Hoffman's last movies ever, and I couldn't help but think of him saying that actors should grab at every opportunity to practice their craft - no matter how good or bad the script or big or small the check. He certainly proved it with Happiness. I didn't bother to write a review for it, but that movie seriously sucked.

This movie didn't suck nearly as bad, but not for lack of not trying. The whole movie seemed like it was being cranked out as an art project for a graduate film course - it had the makings of something interesting, but it just couldn't seem to get out of its own way to make the story move well enough or the characters to be likable enough to engage the audience.

Philip is married to the very talented and beautiful Christina Hendricks. She has a son from a previous relationship played by Caleb Landry Jones who is a character with a single dimension who dies quickly. This …

Rage (2014)

Note: This movie was called both Rage and Tokarev - hence the Tokarev picture below.

 At first glance, this would appear to be a half-hearted attempt at a Nicolas Cage-fueled Taken ripoff. Not to worry, that was Stolen. This one starts off in a similar way, but it attempts to bring a bit more to the story. We follow Nick as a reformed criminal who is now a legitimate businessman, husband, and father who struggles with skeletons in his closet.

 Nick brings his terrible acting to the screen big time. There are times when he can seem like a good actor, and then there are times when he shows the acting talent of a 3rd grader in a school play that hasn't studied the lines at all. This was the latter. He tried to cry at one point, and it was not a pretty sight. He tried being angry, and that just devolved into a lot of yelling at full volume. 
Max Ryan plays one of Nick's reliable buddies. Interestingly, he is a significantly better actor than Nick is, and that becomes apparent durin…