How Bizarre (song title that may or may not be referred to in this post)

So I went to the grocery today. Yeah, ck, great opening sentence. I'm sure this is going to be a great blog post - way to go to draw in the reader. I wonder what they're thinking next: "Gee, why did ck go to the grocery? I wonder what crazy misadventures he had down at the food mall!" Well, let me tells y'all a story. I'm mainly the head honcho in my household, which means that I have privileges - such as first dibs on leftovers (which I'm not terribly fond of - I love me some fresh food, bitches!) and deciding what gets put on the bookshelf (I do not tolerate any books by that pompous bastard Hemingway). And as we all learned from uncle Ben (the Spider-Man uncle Ben, not the rice dude), with great power comes great responsibility - and that involves grocery shopping.


182: Hot Tub Time Machine

Hot Tub Time Machine (R) - 2010 - Runtime: 100 minutes?
Starring: John Cusack, Craig Robinson, Rob Corddry, Clark Duke
Director: Steve Pink

I was hotly (yes, hotly!) anticipating this movie - I was gonna pay money for it, but lo and behold! Maggie got us some free tickets to a screening last night! And holy hell, this movie was effin' hysterical! It's by the same guys who wrote Sex Drive (a very underrated comedy from 2008) and She's Out of My League, one of my favorite movies so far this year! They've been batting a thousand in my mind, and I'm looking forward to seeing what Sean Anders and John Morris have in store for us in the future!

John Cusack pretty much reprises his role from a host of eighties movies. But instead of having a happy ending and getting the girl, Adam is too much of a jerk to sustain any kind of relationship, whether it be with the women in his life or his friends. Okay, dull! Right? Sorry, I'll finish this quick - somehow Adam gets together with his old high school buddies (and one severely isolated man-boy that is Adam's nephew), somehow managing to travel back to 1986 via hot tub. And hilarity ensues. I don't know where to begin - it's just a crude movie (in the good sense of crude, watch for lots of bodily fluid jokes, albeit done in good taste! Not really, though) with a bit of heart. But it all meshes together pretty well to make a funny movie. It's great because like The Hangover, you're compelled to travel along with these lovable dinguses to find out what they can do to change their misfortunes, which basically started on the very same weekend in 1986!

Rob Corddry is great as the insane and wild Lou who knows nothing except for sex and alcohol. Craig Robinson, perhaps one of the funniest dudes working in H-wood today, is great, too. And Cusack is pretty good. Maggie said this must be his idea of redemption from making 2012. Funn-ee! The only thing that I could conceivably say bad about this movie is under-utilizing Clark Duke (from Sex Drive, the aforementioned great comedy from 2008. See it!). It's a problem of his character, really. He's pretty much the straight guy (along with Cusack, but even more so) who gets some good lines, but never really has a chance to be awesome like I know the guy is. Too bad, but otherwise a great, great movie! There's some great running jokes (Crispin Glover as the one-armed bellhop is too much!) and I hope it does well, these guys need to keep pumpin' out the funny.

I would pay money to see this. Twice! It's that good! Go see it this weekend!

Rating: See It!

182: The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon (PG) - 1941 - Runtime: 101 minutes
Starring: Humphrey Bogart, Mary Astor, Peter Lorre
Director: John Huston

Another classic down! The Maltese Falcon has been hailed as one of the greatest of all time and considered to be the first of many, many film noir movies Hollywood would pump out in the next decade. And for what it's worth, I did enjoy the movie, I just don't think it's as great as everyone seems to think it is.

Humphrey Bogart plays Sam Spade, a private investigator who finds himself mixed up with a bunch of aspiring treasure hunters, including the femme fatale, Brigid (Mary Astor). As Sam delves deeper and deeper into the mystery, he finds out that he cannot trust anybody. I guess this movie pretty much set up the construct of the normal film noir: the private detective living by his own rules, the femme fatale with a mysterious background, and, of course, murder. I enjoyed the story - it never reveals too much to spoil the rest of the movie, but always keeping you invested as to what may happen next. There's some great dialogue and Sam Spade pretty much sets the benchmark for wise-cracking, rebellious detectives. As for Mary Astor, I think the femme fatale role was yet to be perfected. I didn't really buy her performance, nor the character. We're supposed to believe that Sam Spade and her are falling for each other, but I found no chemistry between the two. Maybe there really wasn't supposed to be love - Sam Spade is a crudely selfish and independent man, it's hard to believe he would fall for anyone. Up for debate - so I guess this movie got a bit better in my mind now!

As for the rest of the cast - I thought they were all terrific. Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet give wonderful performances as the "bad guys." I say that in quotation marks because I never truly felt that there was any sense of danger in the movie. Yes, a few people are murdered, but the characters in the movie wield these guns as if they're toys. I never once felt Sam was being threatened - at one point Peter Lorre pulls a gun out and tries to persuade Sam to tell him where the falcon is. But Sam quickly moves in and disarms him, knocking him out. But the next minute, Peter Lorre is up and talking and asks for his gun back, which Sam gives back! What the hell?!? And of course, Lorre uses that to his advantage. But the whole time, I was thinking Sam wasn't in danger. In fact, later on in the movie, they talk to each other as if they've been acquaintances for a long time. The relationships developed in this movie seemed a bit strange and out of touch with reality. As for the ending, it was good, but way too much was revealed through a monologue by Greenstreet about what really happened to the falcon and who deceived who. It's not quite a big deal as I think it should have been, so the movie ends a bit anti-climatically.

Despite the flaws, the movie was good and it's worth seeing for Bogart's and Greenstreet's performances alone. I don't understand why people think this is the best film noir movie out there - I believe that belongs to Double Indemnity, but I digress - it's the first of its kind, but surely that doesn't make it the best. The film has a good story with some great actors and definitely worth a rental!

Rating: Rent It!


182: Easy Rider

Easy Rider (R) - 1969 - Runtime: 95 minutes
Starring: Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Jack Nicholson
Director: Dennis Hopper

I was really looking forward to seeing this movie. It's been referenced in countless other movies and TV shows. So I was ready to delve into this provocative road trip through the American south. Instead, I found an agonizing and painful journey that really seems out of touch with my idea of America and frankly, this movie doesn't hold up too well after forty years.

To sum up the plot - Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper play two counterculture (This damn phrase keeps popping up every time I read about the movie. I hate the word now, it's completely irrelevant today) bikers who are trying to find the freedom, both financially and spiritually, that only America can provide. They travel from L.A. to New Orleans on their bikes and run into several bumps along the way. It seems like this would be cool - some wide open shots of the badlands and mountains of America's southern region and some great songs accompanying those shots while they ride through them. And for the most part, that stuff is pretty good, but the rest of the movie just seems to meander around and only elevates to the level of a bad college film. I mean, there's practically no acting - Peter Fonda just coolly looks around at the scenery while Dennis Hopper bugs out and says "dude" a lot. The only real piece of acting is Jack Nicholson, who probably portrays the only real character with any depth. I can understand why this movie vaulted his career.

I really don't know what to take from the movie, other than that the American dream is dead or never was real. That freedom doesn't truly exist in our country. I guess this movie was supposed to show the counterculture (there's that damn word again!) happening in the country at the end of the 60s. It was such a turbulent time and all that, but I just found this movie to be a bit dull and not at all entertaining. And one of the worst parts of the movie is how they portray the south. Aside from Nicholson's character, every single person portrayed in the south is nothing but an ignorant, racist and homophobic redneck. There's not one redeeming value in all the people they meet. It's pretty sad that they all lumped a huge swath of Americans under this stereotype. I actually read on Wikipedia (thanks useless knowledge database!) that Rip Torn was originally supposed to play Nicholson's part, but after Hopper made some derogatory remarks about southern hicks, Torn (who is from Texas) almost started a fight at their meeting and promptly left the picture.

This movie was written by Fonda and Hopper and I'm pretty sure they wrote it while they were high. I can only hazard that it's on AFI's top 100 list simply because of it's cultural impact. I guess it started a new wave of avant-garde and independent films from American artists. It's too bad because I really don't think it's entertaining at all. There's a really dumb LSD bad trip sequence that looked like it was shot by someone experimenting with a camera for the first time. It was just utter nonsense that went on way too long. Skip this one unless you really want to have your own bad trip.

Rating: Avoid Like the Plague!


182: Do the Right Thing

Do the Right Thing (R) - 1989 - Runtime 120 minutes
Starring: Spike Lee, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Danny Aiello, John Turturro
Director: Spike Lee

It's been twenty years since this movie came out and while, for the most part this movie holds up, I would like to be naive and think that the issues addressed in this movie have not necessarily been resolved, but at least are not as prevalent or bad. Call me naive and/or ignorant, but I'd like to think that this movie couldn't possibly have dreamed of America having a black president. I don't think time has diminished the significance of this movie - it's almost just as important to understand the racial tensions in this movie now than it was back in 1989.

For those ignorant of the plot - it takes place in a small section of Brooklyn on one of the hottest days of summer. We follow Spike Lee's character, Mookie, around as we see everyday life unfold in this part of America. There's quite a bevy of characters that float in and out of the movie, but the center of the story is Sal's Pizzeria that Mookie works for as a deliverer. It's hard to explain the plot more than that without going into a long paragraph, but tensions are running high and things only get worse as the day goes on. It's a great story and filled with some great characters. I really enjoyed what Lee did for the most part. Although I will have to dock some points for the opening credits - it's just Rosie Perez dancing around in leotards and boxing. It's not quite the set up to what the movie is and seems rather silly and out of place compared to the ending of the movie.

But the main question (that only white people ask, according to Spike Lee) is did Mookie do the right thing? I will spoil some things here to explain! Mookie decides to take a trash can to the pizzeria after one of his friends gets killed by the cops. It basically sets in motion the riot and the eventual torching of the place. It's quite chaotic and you're left wondering if only... But I don't think that's the right question. Everyone is at fault in this whole story - I don't think anyone did the right thing - everyone was partly to blame.

This is probably the best thing about the movie - you can have a serious discussion about the issues addressed. I would like to watch it again and see what other people's opinions are about how they feel. It's not a divisive movie, in fact I think it's quite the opposite. It can lead to great discussions and honest dialogue about racial issues and community. Not only was this a great movie, it's also an important one and something that shouldn't be missed!

Rating: Rent It!

182: An Education

An Education (PG-13) - 2009 - Runtime: 95 minutes
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Peter Sarsgaard, Alfred Molina, Dominic Cooper, Rosamund Pike, Emma Thompson
Director: Lone Scherfig

Another Oscar Best Picture nominee, I was eager to watch this one as soon as I saw this come in. And the wait was worth it - this is a very genuine and thoroughly captivating story of growing up. And it takes place in the 60s, possibly my favorite time period in history. It's definitely worthy of all the accolades and I can see why it was nominated for Best Picture.

Carey Mulligan plays Jenny, an eager and intelligent student who's ambition is to read English at Oxford. By chance she keeps running into David, a charming, older man played by Peter Sarsgaard. As their relationship deepens, Jenny has to choose the free-wheelin' lifestyle that David represents or seek out what she considers to be the death of her life at Oxford. I won't say this is the most original tale - it's a very straightforward coming-of-age story where Jenny gets an education, a real-life education that can't be taught in her boarding school. And although the story may be typical, the performances and the setting are what stand out in this picture.

Carey Mulligan most definitely deserves her nomination. She's never had any formal training as an actress and held her own against such wonderful actors like Molina and Emma Thompson. At times it's amazing how she can go from wide-eyed student to a woman who seems like she knows it all. But really, Jenny doesn't even know what she's getting into and you know that her relationship with David is wrong and not just because of his age. David has a lot of secrets that are revealed very craftily and handled exquisitely throughout the movie. He's so charming - Peter Sarsgaard was quite brilliant here - that he even has time to seduce Jenny's parents. They're practically in love with him just as much as Jenny and they fall under his spell.

I really enjoyed this movie, it felt like only thirty minutes had passed by, so kudos to the pacing. It's a great story and definitely worthy of a rental to check out the performances. It comes next Tuesday so rent it!

Rating: Rent It!


182: Brothers

Brothers (R) - 2009 - Runtime: 104 minutes
Starring: Tobey Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaall, Natalie Portman
Director: Jim Sheridan

I had been wanting to see this movie when I first saw that provocative trailer. It sounded like such a good story - brother against brother and the lady between them. Throw in some crazy gun-toting creepiness from Tobey Maguire and what seemed to be some promising, as Maggie would put it, "boning" between two very hot actors and that's a saucy recipe for movie greatness. Alas, this movie is not what was advertised and I was somewhat disappointed as to where it went.

Tobey Maguire plays Captain Sam Cahill, who is forced back to Afghanistan. His brother, Tommy (Gyllenhaal) is just released from jail and is a bitter disappointment to his father. After being shot down, Sam is taking as a POW and forced to do some horrific things. Tommy and Sam's wife, Grace bond over the supposed loss of Sam and things get more and more complicated as Sam comes back from the dead. I don't want to spoil anything for people who want to see the movie, but the film focused more on Sam's struggles than the relationship developing back home. It's somewhat jarring as the trailer is totally deceptive to this fact. It's not a bad movie, I just wish they could have "gone there," but the movie is just a tame (despite the R-rating) tale of the demons that haunt veterans.

It's hard to delve into the problems of the movie without giving away too much about the plot, but I would have been more satisfied in the end if they had revealed Sam's capture and his subsequent imprisonment as a flashback near the end. I think that revelation would have been, well, quite revelatory. It's too bad - I enjoyed the performances and the premise, I just think it was hit and miss with this one. I would rent it if you're on the fence - it's not a long movie and it went by fairly quick, which is always a plus in my book.

Rating: Rent It!

182: The Men Who Stare at Goats

The Men Who Stare at Goats (R) - 2009 - Runtime: 94 minutes
Starring: George Clooney, Ewan McGregor, Jeff Bridges, Kevin Spacey
Director: Grant Heslov

This movie was a big question mark as to whether I wanted to see it in theaters. I thought the trailers were fairly funny and definitely intriguing, but part of me thought something was a bit off about this movie. It seemed like a harmless, movie and something that would at least be entertaining. And although the movie was highly enjoyable, it misses the mark from becoming a great movie.

The story is about Bob Wilton (McGregor), a journalist living in Michigan who has pretty much hit a wall in his life. His wife wants a divorce and he's struggling to be a real journalist instead of pushing fluff pieces with his pencil. Until he finally breaks out of the mold and goes to Iraq looking for a story that will break him out of his rut. There he runs into Lyn Cassady (Clooney), a former soldier trained to be a psychic warrior by the Pentagon and uncovers a truly weird tale. The movie says most of the story is true (which sounds plausible - the government, and particular, the Pentagon have always been doing weird shit) and it's such a bizarre tale that you're left wondering what was made up and what wasn't.

I found this movie to be a lot like Clooney's directorial debut, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. I really enjoyed that movie, too. It involves crazy people and the secret operatives, just like TMWSAG. Whereas Confessions is told through a series of flashbacks and scenes, TMWSAG is straightforward, following a linear path toward it's very inevitable and quite unfinished ending. I enjoyed all the crazy stuff Jeff Bridges' characters was bringing into the army and how Cassady got caught up in the brotherhood of the New Earth Army. It left me wanting to read the book this movie is based to find out the details and how much of it was true. It's a good story, I found myself wanting to find out where it was going. And I did care enough about the characters that I wanted Wilton to redeem himself at the end.

But the ending isn't quite as satisfying as I'd hoped it to be. It's kind of a let-down, as if the writer couldn't figure out what to do now that the main story was finished so he tacked on a out of place monologue at the end with a rather unsettling scene. It just doesn't fit with the rest of the movie and there could have been a more poignant ending somewhere five minutes before it actually ended. So I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth, but I had thoroughly enjoyed the main course.

It's worth a rental just to see how crazy these people are about their psychic abilities and how they thought they were creating a new era in warfare and world peace, to an extent. I laughed quite a bit and found myself wanting more details. It comes out Tuesday - check it out!

Rating: Rent It!

182: Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire

Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire (R) - 2009 - Runtime: 109 minutes
Starring: Mo'Nique, Gabourey Sidibe, Mariah Carey, Paula Patton
Director: Lee Daniels

I have a rule I live by. I have to watch all the Best Picture nominees. It's just something I've done the past couple of years and I've held to it. I've tried to watch them all before the Oscars every year, but since they've expanded to ten, it's been tough. The only movies I haven't seen were this one (I refuse to write out the whole title ever again), The Blind Side and An Education. Out of those three, I really only was looking forward to the last. So it was with great dismay and much pulling of the teeth that I popped in the disc to see Mo'Nique's portrayal of a monster and her fugly turn to win an Oscar. And I'm still left wondering why this movie was a critical darling when I was left contemplating how ho-hum the story was.

If you haven't been told by the countless and depressing trailers, Precious is pregnant with her second child, of whom her own father is the man responsible. She's prepared to change her life, she just needs a little help from a fugged-out Mariah Carey and a lesbian teacher played by Paula Patton. It's not a long movie and the pacing is good - I just felt the whole time there wasn't any new lesson or anything at all, for that matter, to be gained from this movie. It's a story about rising out of the mess that one is born into. It's about overcoming fear and all that stuff. And all that is great - I just found it extremely dull and not at all entertaining. Because the first rule of movies is to entertain and I wasn't at all captivated by the story or by Mo'Nique's performance.

And although it is a powerful story in it's own right, it's just been heard before. I don't know, maybe I had already labeled this movie as a dud on arrival, but it didn't move me in the way that it has done for so many others. I'd skip it unless you like depressing and overcoming-the-odds type of movies.

Rating: Not Worth Paying For!

182: She's Out of My League

She's Out of My League (R) - 2010 - Runtime: 104 minutes
Starring: Jay Baruchel, Alice Eve, T. J. Miller
Director: Jim Field Smith

Holy balls this movie was hilarious! I had a chance to see this as a sneak preview and I would totally pay money to see it again. This movie is in the same vein as Knocked Up and Superbad where there's a lot of crude jokes but the characters have a lot of heart and seem genuine. It's by the far the funniest film so far this year (I know, that's not saying much, but I really, really laughed my ass off!).

The movie is pretty straightforward - the geeky guy somehow lands a dream date with the girl of his dreams. Things get hot and heavy and then a little hairy (in more ways than one) and it seems like this movie might be destined to hit the dump bin. But the movie is endearing and so are the characters. I saw a review from the guys doing At the Movies (terrible film snobs and pretentious douchebags, BTW) and they totally trashed this movie. My guess is that they already had the review written in their minds before entering the theater. There is a lot of laugh out loud scenes and some real honest issues being addressed about self-esteem and body image and all that (it may not be that deep, but those moments are there).

But the real scene stealer is what I would consider the next Jason Lee - T. J. Miller. He sounds a lot like Lee and he has all those one liners that caused everyone to laugh in the theater. His role is so similar to Brody from Mallrats that it was hard to not compare Miller to Jason Lee. And even though that was in the back of my mind, I still thought he was surprisingly fresh and funny. Kudos to that guy and I hope he has a long career.

Not to say that the rest of the cast gets left the crappy lines. Shockingly, all of Kirk's friends are pretty funny and are really good at dishing out the funny. I've always been a fan of Baruchel since the tv show Undeclared (another Apatow-produced gem) and he's only breaking out now - he's the main voice in How to Train Your Dragon coming out next week and he's co-starring with Nicolas Cage in the Sorcerer's Apprentice this summer. So I'm excited to see where his career goes. And Alice Eve, while being a pretty good lookin' gal, does hold her own against the dude-fest on screen.

I'm just so impressed with this movie - it's a must buy for me and check it out in theaters - it's needs some love at the box office!

Rating: See It!

182: The Box

The Box (PG-13) - 2009 - Runtime: 115 minutes
Starring: Cameron Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella
Director: Richard Kelly

I don't care what the critics say, this movie was pretty good. Despite its flaws, I found myself enjoying Richard Kelly's third effort. The movie stars Cameron Diaz (an actress whom nobody likes - at least, when you talk to my customers) and James Marsden who play Norma and Arthur Lewis, a family in the 70s struggling to get by. They find themselves at wit's end when Arthur's attempt to become an astronaut fails. And then along comes Arlington Steward (Frank Langella), who offers them an opportunity. There's a box with a button and if they push the button, they will receive one million dollars (queue Dr. Evil), but someone they don't know will die. Needless to say, they push the button (no, that's not a spoiler alert). And all hell breaks loose. Kind of. Well, not really.

I think that's the main problem. Instead of a big bang of drama and a satisfying ending, the movie ends with a dull whimper. It's a tad disappointing because the set up is too good. I wouldn't say I wasted my time with this one - I appreciate the tone and vibe Kelly was establishing. It was an enjoyable movie despite those hurdles and I totally loved the creepiness Langella brought to his character. There's a lot of weird stuff happening in this movie and some of it doesn't make that much sense (which is partly why I enjoyed it - I like that sense of the unknown). So high expectations shouldn't be had with this one. It's not Kelly's best, but it's just good enough and worth a rental just to see what the hell happens.

Rating: Rent It!


182: Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia (PG) - 1963 - Runtime: 216 minutes
Starring: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Omar Sharif, Anthony Quinn
Director: David Lean

I don't know what happened, but watching long movies back to back is a dangerous thing. I watched this movie the day after watching Sound of Music and I don't know how I survived. Spanning over three hours, the movie seems as long as those treks in the desert in the movie. I kid, I kid, but seriously, it's quite an epic picture.

I was completely unfamiliar with this movie - I thought it might have something to do with Persia and treasure, but I was so wrong. Peter O'Toole (who has never won an Oscar, BTW) plays T.E. Lawrence, a flamboyant and controversial figure who helps the Arabs revolt against the Turks during World War I. But there's more to the story, so I would just direct you to his wikipedia page to get the scoop. There's so much happening in this picture, you almost have to have knowledge of the British Empire's role in the Middle East before the war and during it to fully appreciate what's happening on screen. Epic is the perfect word to describe this movie and apparently, the movie is best appreciated watching it on the biggest screen available. Maybe I would have enjoyed it more - but I found myself trying to figure out when the movie was going to end.

Don't get me wrong, the movie is great. It's just that there's so much desert. And people riding camels through the desert. And people walking through the desert. There's practically no dialogue during these sequences and they are long. I most undoubtedly would have enjoyed them more if I was watching it on a big screen - as the film was shot using Super Panavision 70, a more highly detailed and bigger cinema experience. But when this movie is shrunk to the size of my thirty inch TV, a lot of that is lost and you start to wonder when the next part of the story is going to happen. I get that the director wanted to capture life in the desert and what it feels like to move through it, but he got the point across the first time. The next ten or so scenes like it felt a little bit like torture.

Despite the length and the tedious shots of the desert, I found myself thoroughly enraptured with the story of Lawrence. Here's a man who became divided - originally his loyalty was with the British, but after spending months in the desert, fighting alongside what he considered his brethren,  his Arab sympathies became more and more ingrained into his soul. The movie doesn't skirt around the issue that Lawrence was a controversial and enigmatic figure - as shown in the very first scene when a reporter was trying to find someone at his funeral that could tell him more about the man, not the political figure. And the film portrays Lawrence as a man not only with ambitions, but a selfish desire to be more than just a leader, but a god to the Arabs. How much of that is true is up to debate, but I still found his story and motives intriguing.

Lawrence of Arabia is epic movie-making at its best and if you can find a local artsy-fartsy theater playing it some night, I would no doubt tell you to go see it, I might just be there myself.

Rating: Rent It!

182: The Sound of Music

Sound of Music (PG) - 1965 - Runtime: 174 minutes
Starring: Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer
Director: Robert Wise

As Maggie would say, Julie Andrews is a national treasure. I would have to agree with that sentiment. I had never seen this movie (oh why do most of the classic movies I have not  seen are more than two hours?) and it's pretty much blasphemy according to some. I just don't like musicals. But I had fun with this one, despite its length. It's a fun movie - and obviously the best parts of the movie are the music numbers. These are classics in their own right. It's amazing how much of this movie had seeped into our culture.

For those not in the know, like me, the movie centers on Maria, a nun who longs to sing and have fun rather than being a dull servant of God. The nuns realize this and send her off to be the governess of the ruggedly handsome (according to Maggie) Captain Von Trapp, played by Christopher Plummer. Of course like all good governess stories dating back to Jane Eyre, she falls in love with the captain. But things are complicated because the Nazis have taken over Austria and the family must flee or face worse consequences. It's a good story and I was surprised to find out that it was based on the real story of the Von Trapp family who escaped Nazi-occupied Austria. I'm sure the love story isn't all that true, but whatevs, it works.

Obviously the highlight of the movie is the music. And there's some great musical numbers that, surprisingly, I found myself enjoying. "My Favorite Things," "Edelweiss" are two of my favorites and I sometimes still get them stuck in my head. I always think the best musicals (not that I'm an expert) are the ones that strike a balance between the musical numbers and the story. Sound of Music is no exception - the music never overwhelms the characters and the music fits into the story very well. The songs never felt out of place.

A great movie that no doubt is still good today and its themes of discrimination, family and music are timeless. If you were hesitant on checking out this movie like I was, don't worry, it has my seal of approval.

Rating: Rent It!


182: Sorority Row

Sorority Row (R) - 2009 - Runtime: 101 minutes
Starring: Rumer Willis, Carrie Fisher, Briana Evigan
Director: Stewart Hendler

This movie delivers exactly what it promises. This isn't made for the oscars, nor to please critics, but I had a lot of fun watching each sister get offed. It has it's fair share of suspense and the kills are actually pretty good - they're not too gory but they're not tame, either. And despite a few flaws, it's definitely worth seeing.

So the basic premise is that the sorority girls decide to pull a prank on a cheating boyfriend. And it goes horribly wrong because the douchebag boyfriend decides to actually kill her for no good reason. They decide to make a pact to not tell anyone - but at the end of the school year, someone decides to get revenge on all the girls. It's pretty cut and dry - but like I said, the best parts of the movie are the kills. I was mad they killed the most interesting sister first - because, well, she seemed like she had more depth than the other girls. Especially when the rest of them fill most stereotypical sorority sister roles: the ethnic, the dork, the cheerleader, the sporty one. But none of those cliches really matter because the movie is kind of winking back at the audience. And I will be honest, I really didn't know who the killer was until the reveal.

Despite all it's flaws, it's a good horror movie that will keep you in suspense (and you get to see some nudity! Hooray for boobies!) and you don't have to invest too much time or effort into watching it. Maggie and I enjoyed it for what it is and you should too!

Rating: Rent It!

182: Shutter Island

Shutter Island (R) - 2010 - Runtime: 138 minutes
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley
Director: Martin Scorcese

Returning after his first Oscar win in 2007, Martin Scorcese tries to change up his normal routine of crime and gangsters with spooky islands and crazy people. When I first saw the trailer, I was so intrigued that I immediately went to the library to pick up the book by Dennis Lehane (the same guy who wrote Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone). And while I felt the book was better (when is it not?), this movie stands up really well on its own.

Shutter Island is a facility for the criminally insane. And one of the patients has vanished "straight through the walls." DiCaprio and Ruffalo are two federal agents appointed to the case to try and find out where this patient has gone to. But all is not what it seems and they have to find out exactly what the island is hiding. The island is the perfect setting for Scorcese to work the mood and deliver some classic scares. This is by no means a scary movie, but there is a good amount of tension and suspense. DiCaprio is pretty good as the main cop, but Kingsley delivers the creeps as the doctor who is in charge of the island.

It's hard for me to decide whether the movie is too easy to follow and figure out the twist at the end or if Scorcese plays it cool. But I thought the atmosphere and the performances were all excellent. And the movie does not stray too far from the novel - it hits all the right beats that the book does. This one is worthy of checking out!

Rating: See It!

182: Spice World

Spice World (PG) - 1998 - Runtime: 98 minutes
Starring: umm, the Spice Girls, duh!
Director: Bob Spiers

You have to take this movie with a grain of salt. This isn't a masterpiece, but this isn't the worst movie ever made, either. So why this movie? Well, Maggie absolutely loves the Spice Girls. And I decided during this whole project that she could get one movie that I must see. And this is it. I will admit that I was dreading the idea of sitting down and watching this movie.  But I actually enjoyed the movie for the most part. Don't get me wrong - this is more of an extended music video than an actual movie. It's pretty much The Beatles' Hard Days Night with hot chicks instead of fine-cut British lads.

I won't try to elaborate on the plot (what plot?) because, well, there is none. However, there is an abundance of funny moments and off-the-wall crazy, absurd scenes that it made me laugh. Having Meat Loaf as their tour bus driver was genius and the girls are so vapid and dumb that it works as a pretty funny satire. And while I'm not in love with the Spice Girls, I do enjoy their singles they released in the 90s. So if you absolutely hate the Girls, this movie is not for you. There is some insanely weird shit going on in this movie at times (aliens!) so there were times where I just wanted to fast forward. But in general, I had a good time and it doesn't hurt that they are all pretty ladies that are easy on the eyes.

So, if you like the Spice Girls, this is pretty good. Otherwise, you might as well pass this up.

Rating: Rent It! (who knew I would give this rating?)