Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Having ignored this blog for almost 2 years, I'm wondering if it's time to start things up again. We shall see.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Media of 2010 - Movies (on DVD)

1/1/10 - Is Anybody There - ★★★ - A bit of a depressing movie. Which if anyone has followed any of my previous reviews you know I don't really like depressing movies. That said, it was some nice acting on behalf of Michael Caine and the young chap Bill Milner (who was in Son of Rambow). At times it was rather difficult understanding the thick English accents. All in all a decent movie, just not the right genre for me.

1/2/10 - Pond Hockey - ★★★★ - A documentary that I stumbled upon on Hulu.com of all places. I'm also not a big fan of Hockey (or sports in general), so for it to keep my interest for about 2 hours was saying something. Of all topics I would not have thought you could fill 2 hours on a subject of "Pond Hockey" but they did a nice job with this. I'm not sure if this link will work in the future but this is where I saw it:
http://www.hulu.com/watch/118204/pond-hockey

1/3/10 - Seven Pounds - ★★★★★ - wow, this was a good movie. A bit of a chick flick I suppose, but a really good story telling. Will Smith pulls through with this acting talents yet again. Oh and yes... you might need a box of tissues for this one. I'm glad I didn't see it in the theater so as not to have to explain that I had some dust in my eye!

1/3/10 - The Take - ★★★★★ - An Amazing documentary. I had seen Naomi Klein interviewed on C-Span, and she (or the interviewer did?) mentioned this documentary that she and her husband worked on. I thought she was a very interesting person so I decided to look into the dvd. (Netflix pulls through again!) What an interesting (though somewhat sad to see the levels of poverty and hardships these people were/are living through). But the concept was so foreign to me... in a nutshell... Argentina used to be a manufacturing hub and they were prosperous with a strong middle class. Along came some politicians who under the name of Capitalism, decided to sell off everything to the big corporations. Then things turned sour. The big Corps simply closed down the factories and moved away leaving the factory towns with 60% unemployment. Now here's the kicker... The workers decided to TAKE back the factory buildings and re-open them! No management at all, just completely run by the workers (who all got the same pay). There is a lot more but I don't want to give away too much of the film. If you like documentaries and politics, I'd highly recommend this one.

1/7/10 - 30 Days: Season 2 - ★★★★★ - So I actually watched the first 2 parts in 2009, but finally got around to finishing this last disk of season 2. Tonight's episode was about going to jail. I really tip my hat to Morgan Spurlock for putting himself (and others) through these experiences so that someone like me can get a glimpse into what life is like in places I don't get to see. His commentary is thoughtful and thought provoking. If you like documentaries, you must check out all of these series.

1/30/10 - Transformers 2 - ★★ - I won't go into detail here, it's not worth it. It's a movie with punching, kicking robots, and lots and lots of explosions. The entire movie is people yelling, like they all just drank a case of some sort of energy drink. At times it was also a terrific advertisement for the armed services. Logic and physics is thrown out the window, and the girl is smokin hot (though I had to Laugh-out-loud, when they showed her posed sexily on a motorcycle trying to airbrush a gas-tank... it was clear she (or the director) had no idea how to use an airbrush - but who cares right? She looked good faking it. ugh. I'm giving it one extra ★ for the effects and especially the sound effects. There was absolutely no reason this movie should have been 2.5 hours long.

1/31/10 - Once - ★★★★★ - A Fantastic film. It has an Indy feel to it. Rather simple storyline, but that doesn't detract from the film and in fact actually adds to it. The music was fantastic (about to purchase the soundtrack now). The cinematography was really nice at times. The only small complaint (which is a reflection on me, not the film) was that the Irish accent was a bit tough to understand at times (especially the first scene). This is one of those movies that I consider a gem in the rough.

2/6/10 - Ricky Gervais: Out of England - ★★★ - Meh. There were some funny parts I guess, but lots of "blue" material - and rather graphic too. I didn't need to hear all that.

2/7/10 - Away we go - ★ - I tried. I really tried to like this, but it was just laced with too much estrogen.

2/17/10 - A Perfect Getaway - ★★★ - Not a great movie, and not terrible either. I was entertained. The plot was a little thin at times, yet that wasn't enough to make this a bad movie. Perhaps if I had paid $9.75 for a ticket, I would not be so kind, but for a dvd rental on a night where the only other thing on tv is bad re-runs then this movie fits the bill. Oh, I should say too... that I'm a fan of Steve Zahn, so take that for what it's worth.

2/x/10 - House - Season one - ★★★ - I'm basically enjoying this new series on dvd. (It originally aired in 2004, but it's new to me). The storyline is repetitive though - patient comes in, they can't figure out what's wrong, they diagnose something, and it usually ends up being wrong... then Dr. House thinks of something (usually from one obscure fact that was overlooked, or unknown at the beginning of the show), then Dr. House looks like the genius for rescuing the patient's life. But, that's really no different from any other TV show with a basic formula. And... I've learned some medical items that I found interesting.

2/?/10 - The Cove - ★★★★ - I'm late in writing this review, so I'll just keep it short. A documentary, that tries to uncover a small cove in Japan that sells dolphins to aquariums around the world, then whatever dolphins don't sell they attempt to slaughter. While, tragic, and brutal at times, my only complaint was that the tone of the movie seemed to be off, in regards to the subject matter. For example... This is a serious problem of a hidden and possibly illegal slaughter, yet the filmmakers seemed to have a lighthearted sometimes joking around, about the technology involved with trying to capture film footage. Like they were all enjoying playing the role of an undercover spy, rather than being serious about what they were doing. I don't doubt, they are serious, but the film portrayed them at times as if they were just out for some fun.

2/28/10 - Charles Darwin: Genius - ★★★ - An ok documentary. Only 50 minutes long it seemed to just barely scratch the surface of Darwin's life and endeavors. Also, the production value was on the cheap side (though perhaps that was because it was dated and more a sign of the times - I just looked it up and it says 2000, I would have guessed about 1983, so I will put the blame on cheapness). I feel like the script just highlighted a few important facts about his life without delving too deep. Reminded me of a 4th grader's book report. That sounds a bit harsh, and I will say, that I did learn some new things about Mr. Darwin, and it was a good 50 minutes spent on a Sunday afternoon.

2/28/10 - Taking Woodstock - ★★★★ - I'm being generous with a that last "★", because I can see underneath, that this had/has the makings of a good film. First off, it wasn't exactly what I was expecting, I thought it was just going to be a slapstick sort of comedy (Demetri Martin is pretty funny), but underneath some of the comedy and goofiness there were some heavier topics. All in all, I enjoyed the movie, and I can't quite put my finger on why it just wasn't a solid 4★ film. I suspect it may have been the directing, or a feeling of not really delving too far into any of the other characters (other than Demetri's). I don't expect everyone will like this movie, but that's ok. Everything is groovy man.

3/19/10 - Paper Heart - ★★★★ - A fun quirky little movie. Filmed in the style of a documentary, but I'm abou 76% sure it was just a movie made to look like a documentary. The movie did have moments of awkwardness (perhaps intentional), but all in all, I enjoyed the ride. The few scenes of puppetry were actually really well done - yet I can't put my finger on what made them so well done. Perhaps the combination of great lighting, and sound and creativity.

3/24/10 - Coraline - ★★★ - A strange movie. While I enjoyed the animation and visuals, the storyline was just a little too far out there for me. I'll just leave it at that.

3/25/10 - Precious - ★★★★★ - A really difficult movie to watch, regarding the subject matter, but wow, what a film. I can't comment on the story at all at this point. Words fail me. As to the acting it is top notch, all around. The main reason I rented this film, was because of all the recent Oscar Buzz, and I was curious... I'm glad I rented this.

4/14/10 - Moon - ★★★★ - Almost a 5★, but I just couldn't be generous enough for that last ★. Sam Rockwell though was amazing! The film was great too, though my only complaint (which may really bother others) was that it was a slow moving film. A lot depended on 'Mood' rather than action. I was able to stay interested and Rockwell never let me look away. I remember missing this in the theater because it just didn't "grab me"... but I'm really glad I gave it a second chance on dvd.

4/18/10 - The Jacket - ★★★★★ - I was really pleasantly surprised with this movie. I wasn't sure what to expect, It was a recommendation from netflix and I took a gamble. It paid off. I really enjoyed this psyche thriller, with elements of sci-fi. If you like somewhat unusual films, this is it. Go rent it now.

4/18/10 - The Fourth Kind - ★★★★ - I'm being generous with the last ★. I was entertained by this movie, but I would certainly understand if others thought it was bad. I think because I like the subject matter, explains why I enjoyed it. The acting at times was good, at other times... not so much. Basically the story is what carried the movie for me.

5/10 - Northern Exposure: Season one - ★★★★★ - I was really hesitant to watch this series. I was a big fan of the show back when it first started, and it has been quite a few years since last I saw an episode, but I was not disappointed. I've had movies and TV shows like this in the past, where the memory of you liking something is worth more than actually watching it a second time and seeing how "cheesy" it was. But I gotta say, the writing still held up for me. Granted some of the 80's fashion was cheesy, but for the most part, I am enjoying the series (again).

5/5/10 - Saint Ralph - ★★★★ - I don't recall how I heard of this movie (perhaps it was a netflix recommendation), but I'm glad I gave it a shot. It was a typical "underdog" movie for sure, meaning the story has been told 100 times before, but I still enjoyed the ride of the show and got sucked into rooting for Ralph.

6/?/10 - Beautiful Losers - ★★★★★ - a really nice indie-film about 'underground' art.

6/12/10 - The Bourne Identity - ★★★★★ - I saw this a long time ago in the theater, and happened to catch some of this movie on TV about a week prior, but with all the added commercials, it was driving me crazy. So I stopped watching the movie on TV, and ordered it on Netflix. I really enjoyed this movie again. Perhaps more the second time, as I went back to netflix and boosted my rating from a 4 star to a 5 star.

6/12/10 - Transiberia - ★★ - A long drawn out movie with poor acting. I managed to watch the entire movie, but it was a struggle at times. I mainly rented it because it had Woody Harrelson in it, but even his character was thin. I saw moments in the movie where a couple twists could have made the story-line much better. Ben Kingsley was good though his role was not that large.

7/4/10 - Che - ★★★ - I wasn't sure what to expect with this film. It was more of a historical movie rather than a Hollywood retelling of Che's story (though I suspect even Hollywood couldn't resist some embellishment). This movie - or should I say "movies" had a few strikes against it right from the start... It was LONG. Technically they broke the 4 hour movie into two. One dealing mainly with Che's fight in Cuba, and the second half dealing with Che's fight in Bolivia. Another strike (for many), is that the movie was subtitled. This didn't bother me that much. But what did bother me... the movie treated the viewer like they had some prior knowledge of Che, The struggle of the Cuban fight, historical facts and dates, and geography. I had none of that. So for MUCH of the 4 hours, I was in a state of confusion. The enemies were not clearly defined. It was just told as the "guys (and gals) in green versus the other army guys)". Had it not been for Benicio Del Toro's portrayal of Che and his acting and his commanding presence, this movie would have fallen far short of the generous ★★★'s I gave it. I admit though... towards the end of the second half, I found it almost funny, how the majority of the scenes were just Benicio striking a commanding pose, in front of a handful of men, while sitting in the woods.
But... I managed to stick out the entire 4 hours and that must account for something.

7/10/10 - Doc Martin - ★★★★ - while I just watched only one episode of the British comedy, I did enjoy it. So perhaps it's too early to let this one episode decide the entire series. I couldn't help but notice a similarity to two other shows I'm currently watching too - House and Northern Exposure... it's as if you mashed those two shows up, you'd get Doc Martin. But... I also wanted to mention, that I really enjoyed the scenery of the British landscape as much as the show. Perhaps I'll update the rating as I see more shows. (update: I've now watched almost to the end of season 4 and I'm going to be sad that I finished this series. I've become attached to the characters (and town) which says a lot for a TV show. One thing I should note too... what I thought was going to be mainly a "comedy" series, they have quite a few "serious" episodes as well. I HOPE there is a future for this show and that Season 5 will be out eventually.

7/23/10 - Paranormal Activity - ★★★★ - Ok, I know... perhaps it's not worthy of a full 4 ★'s, but I was entertained and enjoyed this movie. I did watch it on my TV (on DVR actually), and I would imagine it was much more intense and scary in a large movie theater. I admit, I got the willies AFTER the movie was over - you know that ol' imagination can start to get to you after a movie like this. Was it as "scary" as they hyped it? maybe not for me (I used to be a "ghost hunter", so a lot of the things they did in the movie are things I did also - though NEVER with the same results). But all in all, I was glad to have finally gotten around to seeing this movie.

7/30/10 - The Machinist - ★★★★ - I'm not really sure if this was a good movie or not. It was rather twisted, and really had a feel of an old Hitchcock film. A slow moving psych thriller with lots of twists and turns. I enjoyed some of the attention to detail (ie: license plates, dead fish, etc...). Perhaps most disturbing though... to see an emaciated Christian Bale... wikipedia says he lost approx 62 pounds to get down to a weight of 120lbs. Now that's dedication (or crazy - or both).

8/?/10 - Pretty Bird - ★★★ - Not the best of movies, but as a fan of Paul Giamatti, I made it through the entire show. It could have been a good flick, but it lacked something, perhaps direction or better editing. nutshell... a guy with a salesman attitude and gift, tries to put together a team to build a rocket belt. (supposedly based on a true story?).

8/5/10 - Paris, Je T'aime - ★★★★ - An interesting movie, made up of a bunch of "shorts" or approx. 5 minute films, with the common theme of Paris (and love) tying them all together. While I didn't like every single one, there was one that stood out the best for me... "Place des fêtes" - that one blew me away with it's content and range of feelings all pushed neatly into a 5 minute film. I also found it slightly ironic the amount of "American actors and/or directors" involved with this film. (yes most of it is in french so if subtitles bother you, well... learn to speak french then.

8/9/10 - She's out of my league - ★★★ - I'm not sure why I'm giving it a three. There were times where it's a solid one, but there were moments I guess (in-between all the cliché musical montages) that I enjoyed this movie. Some of the jokes were good (some not so much), but there towards the end, it managed to keep my interest, and thus I finished watching the movie. Yes, it has a teen R-rated mentality, but I think it's saving grace... everyone loves an underdog story.

8/21/10 - Quarantine - ★★★★ - for a horror movie this was pretty good. I was entertained, and the overall storyline I felt had a thread of believability. Jennifer Carpenter (who I liked very much in Dexter), was good... well sort of... She has a way of "over reacting" which some might say is a good thing, but for me it's just a bit too over-the-top. So at some scenes where she was screaming and carrying on, I admit, I fast-forwarded it just to get to the next scene. But again, this is a horror movie, so the standard is not too high.

8/23/10 - Youth in Revolt - ★★★★ - All in all and decent quirky movie. Some of the situations... ok... MOST of the situations were rather unbelievable, but hey, it made for an entertaining movie. It was definitely rated R, and it reminded me of a sort of R-rated hipster style "animal house" movie, done as a teen romance/coming of age genre. A good cast of characters though.

9/1/10 - Waltz with Bashir - ★ - I'm not sure how I discovered this movie, but I can tell you that it was the animation that caught my interest. I also liked the fact that it was an Israeli film. But... maybe I just wasn't in the right mood for a foreign film, but I just could not get into this movie at all. Yes, the animation was pretty awesome at first, but then it soon became just another animated movie. quickly after that point, I lost all interest. Which is a bit sad, because I think there was an important message in there, but as I said, I lost interest.

9/3/10 - The Pursuit of Happyness - ★★★★ - Ok, yes... I admit it, I enjoyed this movie. I ALMOST gave it a 5★ rating too... but then I considered two points... 1) it was kinda depressing 2) it was a "typical" underdog movie. But I, like most people, enjoy underdog movies. I won't say much more about the plot, but Will Smith did another good job, as did his son Jaden. Oh... and I really enjoyed seeing all the city and street shots of San Francisco area. I've visited there and it's a fantastic place.

9/11/10 - To Kill a Mocking Bird - ★★★★★ - I really enjoyed this movie. (apparently a lot of people have because it's considered a classic). The acting was well done, and the story was what held my interest. The kids (Scout, Jem, Dill) were fun to watch as well. And one of the things that I enjoy about watching old movies (this was set in the late 30's, but filmed in 1961) is to see how things "used to be". For example, this father of 2 young kids, had a nanny, but for the most part, these kids were free to roam around the small town with no adult supervision. In today's world this would be unthinkable. (unless there are small towns out there who still feel safe in their communities like that). But all in all, this is a classic that everyone should watch.

9/23/10 - The Crazies - ★★★★ - Basically, this movie is a typical zombie genre horror movie, so when you see my 4★ rating, it's meant to be relative. But, I thought it was well done. Timothy Olyphant played a good role as the sheriff, and the other actors did a pretty good job as well. I liked the basic concept of the story in that it had a thread of believability. Worth a rental if you like zombie style movies.

9/22/10 - Aliens vs Monsters - ★★★★ - A kids movie that my friend let me borrow, and it was pretty good. The animation was well done as was the voice acting. I especially liked Seth Rogen's character of "the blob".

I've gotten a bit lazy on updating this list, so a handful of short reviews:

10/10/10 - The Ghost Writer - ★★★ - not bad really, but it just felt a bit on the slow side. The story was interesting and Ewan Macgreggor did a pretty good job of carrying the film, I wished I got to see more of Pierce Brosnan's character.

10/8/10 - The Happening - ★ - I was warned about even wasting my time to rent this movie, and even all the buzz on the internet as to how bad it was, but that made me curious... really how bad could it be? Yep... it was bad. Mark Wahlberg, who I usually like, was pitiful in this film. I don't know why he was so bad (I can only blame the director?). But the combination of a stupid plot-line, with horrible dialogue with poor directing made this movie a real stinker. That said... I watched the entire thing... I supposed I just have to give it some credit for keeping me hooked for the whole movie.

10/9/10 - The Usual Suspects - ★★★ - a classic that I have heard a lot of good things about, that I finally got around to seeing. Maybe I'm being a bit harsh with only 3 stars, but I think the time period really distracted me from enjoying the movie, Filmed in 1995, but it felt so long ago (Benicio was so young looking). Stephen Baldwin surprised me, in that he was pretty good. It was a very strange cast of actors, but for some reason it worked. The story was a bit hard to follow at times (time jumping, between present day and flashbacks), along with some characters not being explained until later, but all in all a decent movie.

10/10/10 - (Untitled) - ★★★★ - a smaller indy film that poked fun at the "art world" of the New York Gallery scene. I heard about this movie from my sister (thanks sis!). I liked it overall, but it's not a movie for everyone. I've had plenty of discussions of "what is art" so I thought I could relate a little more than perhaps the average movie goer. The "music" even, I thought was interesting as was some of the art (they were trying to spoof cutting edge, and I think they may have actually made some decent art i the process). I'm also a fan of Adam Goldberg, so that helped as well. I enjoyed Lucy Punch's character too (who played a secondary character) - and was later looking up her profile on imdb, and was very surprised to see that she was the one who played in Doc Martin's BBC tv series. (she was the secretary from the first season).

Note: I became lax in writing my reviews so I may have missed a handful of dvd's here.

10/?/10 - Baghead - ★ - I gave this small indy movie a chance, but it was basically horrible. I won't even bother getting into it.

10/?/10 - face/off - ★ - and older movie (1997), that I had missed, and finally got around to watching. I like Nicolas Cage and Travolta, but this was bad. Maybe in 1997 I would have liked it more? But just a typical action movie, with bad acting, and lame plot, depending too much on computer graphics.

10/?/10 - The Box - ★★ - Another pretty bad movie. It wasn't horrible, but it was close. It had its moments where I found myself enjoying it, and being sucked back to the 1970's (not sure why it was set i that time period though). But for the most part, I was just left scratching my head wondering what the heck was going on.

10/29/10 - X-Files: I want to believe - ★★★ - Perhaps my review is biased since I was a BIG fan of the TV show. So it was good to see these old characters back on my TV screen again. Unfortunately, the entire storyline seemed like a stretch. The acting was so-so. But in spite of the negatives, I was entertained for a bit.

(side note) - a string of bad movies lately. I hope a good one comes along to break the trend.

10/30/10 - Rocky Horror Picture Show - ★★★ - Not much to say on this one. I'm sure you're familiar with this movie in some way or another (from the 70's!). And yes, I've been to a few of the "midnight showings" for this, but I was never the one to get involved with memorizing the lines or bringing props. But... perhaps this was the first time since watching this movie since I was in my late teens, and I gotta say... what a screwy movie! I'm still not sure if it's good or not... in that it's SO BAD, that it's good.
Anyway... I'll just add this... I was on the internet wondering where some of the actors are now... I discovered an odd (to me) fact... that Riff Raff, Dr. Frank, and Brad Majors... all key players in TRHPS, that they have all done voice work for the Disney cartoon Phineas and Ferb. Odd you ask? Well... yeah kinda... an R-rated movie about transsexuals doesn't seem like the pool that Disney swims in for cartoons for kids. Kooky.

11/5/10 - Henry Rollins: live uncut from NYC - ★★★★ - intelligent, philosophy, funny, sad, angry, profanity, life stories = good stuff
A tad long winded though… might be better to watch this in two doses.

11/19/20 - The invention of lying - ★★ - While I like Ricky Gervais (most of the time), this movie just felt too trite. While dancing around the subject of morality, or more directly Religion… The movie skated on the edge of being insulting. I kept waiting for the big "twist" that would explain the movies motives… there was none. At times the movie brought me in, and I had fun, but eventually it just left a stale taste. And!!! the blatant product placement was a huge distraction to me.

11/21/10 - The White Stripes Under Northern Lights - ★★★★★ - at first I wasn't getting into the dvd. But the longer I watched the more I tuned in. By the end, I loved it. While I have to admit, I can't say as I like all of their songs/performances, but I can certainly appreciate the level of talent in both Meg and Jack. I'll say it here too… I think Jack is a musical genius. As to the dvd, I enjoyed some of the "behind the scenes" looks of what went on in the Canadian tour. If you're a fan, I'd rate this as a must see.

11/25/10 - American Psycho - ★ - Stupid. That is all.

11/26/10 - The Universe Of Keith Harring - ★★★ - one of my favorite artists, and I enjoyed learning a bit about him as a person, and about his life, but as a documentary… it left me wanting more. I felt too much focus was spent on holding Keith up as a "celebrity" and not enough background about the art itself. ie: Why the line art? What does the crawling baby represent? What about the dog or the three eyed monster? I still like Keith's art, but I wasn't really interested in the New York social scene in the late 80's.

11/??/10 - In Bruges - ★★★★★ - I have seen this movie before, but decided to rent it again. (I usually don't do that). But yes, I very much enjoyed this the second time around.

12/12/10 - who the #$@% is Jackson Pollock? - ★★★ - I found this movie interesting, and the story a good one, but felt it was just a bit too long winded. While the film presents some interesting "opinions/facts" in the end, I found myself just not agreeing with the premise that this was a Pollock. Don't let that discourage YOU for making up your own mind though, don't view this as a "spoiler" - because I'm sure there are plenty of people who will side with Loraine. But my "gut instinct" tells me that it's not a true Pollock painting. It does highlight the fact though behind the "art world" - in that it's not just about "is it a nice painting" that determines the worth of a piece of art, but rather the story, the signature (or lack of), and which "critic" deems it worth of a price tag. This is how the real world operates and it's a bit of a sham if you ask me.

12/12/10 - Capote - ★★★★ - A rather depressing story. I'm not too big of a fan of movies that depress me, but I have to give this a 4★ for no other reason than Philip seymour hoffman's portrayal of Truman Capote. Just a great performance. That said, I don't really know what capote's mannerisms are/were, I've only seen a clip or two in the past, so all I know is that he had a high pitched voice. But… I do know Hoffman, and the person I watched tonight on my tv screen was not Hoffman. I found the story compelling too, in that I am torn with how to feel about it… But, I guess that's the sign of a good story.

12/16/10 - Splice - ★★★★ - I know! You're saying 4-∆'s?! Yep. Ok, first off… this was not a great movie - but, i have to admit, I was entertained throughout, and enjoyed it. Adrian Brody did an ok job here, the effects were really well done as well. I'm sorry to say though, Sarah Polley, who played Brody's girlfriend was horrible! Almost comical at times as to how bad. The story was interesting as well. Perhaps one of the reasons I enjoyed this movie, was that I had read other reviews that said it was awful, so perhaps my expectations were so low that I didn't hold it to any high standards.

12/18/10 - Ushpizin - ★★★★★ - Sometimes it's a great treat to just stumble upon a movie. I actually don't recall where I heard of this movie, other than I think it was on a previous dvd that I rented and it was in the trailers. The main actor (who I think also wrote the screenplay) caught my attention. That, and I've had pretty good luck with foreign films lately, so I gave it shot. I'm glad I did. It was basically a comedy, in that situations were a bit over the top and somewhat humorous, but underneath the comedy was a really nice story. I liked the scenery too (though I wanted to see more), and that's one of the main reasons I enjoy these foreign films so much, it's like looking into another part of the world. If you enjoy a 'slice of life' film, with a real independent feel to it, and don't mind reading subtitles, then I'd highly recommend this film. note: Ushpizin is an Aramaic word that means "guests".
Oh… and this is one of those movies that the less you know ahead of time the better.

12/20/10 - The day the earth stood still - ★★★★ - A dvd i borrowed from my friend, and I enjoyed it. The audio quality was annoying though, in that, once the conversations stopped, they'd cut to either music or some sound effects, and they boosted the volume really loud. I kept having to reduce the volume, then once they started talking again, I'd have to raise it back up. The story was an interesting one. The effects for the time were pretty good too.
Spoiler…
I later looked up some info about the movie on wikipedia, and read that the screenwriter wanted the "Christ" reference to be "subliminal" - really? Because I thought it was rather blatant :)

12/26/10 - Mic Macs - ★★★ - I suspect I wasn't in the right frame of mind to enjoy this movie. I liked the visuals, and some of the bits were funny, but I just couldn't get drawn into the movie. It was certainly a quirky one. Currently, it's been snowing for about 10 hours and there is predictions that it will continue to snow throughout the night, so I think I've been distracted and couldn't devote my full attention to the movie.

12/27/10 - Fur - ★★ - I actually feel bad for not liking this movie. I can see what they were trying for, but in my opinion they just focused on a narrow window and drew that out into a long winded 2 hour movie. The acting was well done, even the cinematography was nice at times, but I found myself fast-forwarding a couple times just to get on a bit quicker. I will say this, hands down, the strangest movie of 2010. I bet this movie puts me in the realm of a *true* Robert Downey fan as I bet most people have never seen (or heard about) this movie.

12/30/10 - Please give - ★★(★) - So on Netflix they have ratings for each movie based on a 5 star system. You would think that a 3 star would be a "middle-of-the-road" rating, but on Netflix they make it difficult (for me anyway). They have it so a 2 star rating is "I didn't like it" and a 3 star is "I liked it". Me… I like gray areas on certain things. The movie… The subject was a "slice-of-life" type movie with several characters in a New York apartment. Several of these people were just downright nasty and unlikeable. Some of the subjects (like death) were pretty depressing. For those two reasons, I did not like this movie. The world is full of suck, and I watch movies to escape that for 2 hours. That said… I can appreciate that this was a good movie. The acting was well done all around, the scenery was nice, the conflicts of the story was enough to build a good tension… it just didn't make me feel good - so, only 2 stars. Oh, I should mention, this is 100% a chick-flick.

12/30/10 - I Like Killing Flies - ★★★★ - An unusual documentary. Overall I liked it, but like some of the scenes, I felt a bit like I was covered in grease and grime after watching it. I do know this… I'll never eat at a little dive restaurant in New York City. Also, at just over an hour, this was a good "short" movie for a subject like this. There were some pearls of wisdom in this film too, but they were grease covered. I find it also interesting, that this person, and how he lives, speaks, and thinks - was formed by some psychologist for 14 years.


total 63*
I may have skipped one or two and a few of these were TV series where there were multiple shows and dvd's - I only counted the entire season as one dvd.

Media of 2010 - Movies (in the theater)

1/2/10 - Sherlock Holmes - ★★★★ - A fun and entertaining movie. I will admit though I struggled at times with keeping up with the story and dialogue - it was VERY fast, and then with the English accents I missed some of the words as well. I wanted them to slow things down a little so I could take in more of what was happening. I'd be willing to bet the high speed action of it all was the fingerprint of director Guy Ritchie. I was not familiar with the story-line, so that was nice for me as well. I had read the "Hounds of Baskerville".
All in all, a fun ride.

1/9/10 - Avatar - ★★★★ - Yes, I'm a bit surprised myself that I'm giving it a 4 ★ rating. I think I had something going in my favor though upon going into this event... I knew that the storyline stunk. From all the things I saw on the web, I knew that was one of the biggest complaints over the movie. And I'd have to agree. But... I think the graphics of it all more than made up for it, and I just enjoyed being transported to another world. Yes, my friend and I saw it in 3d as well. I think in hindsight I'm kinda glad I did, but I think in the future I might just choose to forego the 3d effect. I find it too distracting actually. But there as my friend pointed out, of all the movies to see in 3d, this was the one.

1/17/10 - The Book of Eli - ★★★★★ - a rare 5★ rating. Denzel does not disappoint. I was also impressed (again) with Mila Kunis, I think she may have some real talent as an actress, perhaps just needs a bit more polish until we see her in a really great role. And of course Gary Oldman plays yet another great bad guy. The filming and cinematography on this movie was really well done as well. As was the soundtrack. The storyline was unusual, and entertaining and thought provoking. The whole package for me, to make for a really good movie.

1/23/10 - Legion - ★ - Yep, the critics were right on this one. A confusing story-line. Supposedly about the apocalypse, but I suspect the writer had never read the Bible. I would love to understand how semi-big name actors get rolls like this. Is there some sort of contract agreement? I don't get it.

2/13/10 - The Wolfman - ★★★ - So, I realize this was basically a bad movie... but I actually kinda enjoyed it. I think about half-way through the movie I realized I was watching a modernized B-Movie, and then once I accepted that, it was enjoyable. Were there holes in the plot? you bet. Was the acting forced and kinda lame at times? Yep (though some of the acting was pretty good). Was the editing poorly done? Absolutely (my biggest complaint). Was the "background" music IN-YOUR-FACE? YES! But there were some aspects (mostly visual) that just made it a good b-movie horror flick.

2/20/10 - Shutter Island - ★★★★ - almost a 5 start movie for me. I only took off one star, because I did get lost in the story once or twice, trying to figure out who all the characters were. But all in all, I really enjoyed this movie. The one scene with the water glass I will have to watch again on dvd to figure out what that was all about.
What a movie should be... good story, good acting, and nice cinematography.

3/6/10 - Cop Out - ★★★ - I'm being generous with that last ★, but I'm giving it because a few times in the movie I did giggle, and perhaps a laugh or two. Any movie that can do that gets points in my book. That said... the plot was mediocre, the acting was bleh, and Tracy Morgan, while funny at times spent most all his time on screen yelling. Even "Stiffler" (Sean William Scott) was funny but his character was so jumbled I spent all my time trying to figure him out. The other curious thing in this movie was the odd 80's soundtrack or background music. It was like they took the music right from "Beverly Hill's Cop". Good for a few laughs but a pass unless there's nothing else to rent.

3/13/10 - Alice in Wonderland - ★★★ - This movie was just middle of the road for me. While the visuals were fantastic, the story was just kinda all over the place. And... perhaps this is a big factor... we saw it in "2D" instead of "3D", and it was blatantly obvious that there were quite a few scenes that were specifically designed to be viewed in 3D (For example the falling down the rabbit hole). That just kinda turned me off a little. Rather than depend on all the things that are important to the making of a good movie, it's a sort of cheap tactic to depend on the delivery or graphics. The sign of a good graphics based movie is when it's seamlessly woven into the movie. Depp was Depp. Burton was Burton. But I really have to tip my hat to Mia Wasikowska, she did a good job. But overall the movie just was missing something to draw me in.

3/20/10 - Green Zone - ★★★★ - a strong and powerful movie about a difficult subject matter (war). Matt Damon was fantastic, along with a really well done plot. It was a deep storyline without being over complicated. The only reason I didn't give it the full 5 ★'s is due to the filming style - the dreaded shaky camera effect. I understand the reason for it, and it did give a feeling of being in the middle of it all and the chaos involved, but at times it was difficult to watch. The political message did not shy away from having a strong opinion, and while I appreciate it, I suspect people on the other side of the aisle would come away from the movie thinking it was just more "Hollywood propaganda". Which is a real shame if people feel that way, because the underlining message (There were no WMD's) is a real and powerful message. A multi-national war is being fought, in part, due to faulty or perhaps intentionally misleading facts - and no one seems to care.

3/27/10 - Repo Men - ★★ - I won't spend a lot of time on this one. While my brain tells me it was a bad movie - it was... I kinda enjoyed it. There were parts that reminded me of Blade Runner. If it were not for the acting of Jude and Forest, I think this might have gone straight to dvd. But I'm trying not to be too too harsh, since after-all it is a sci-fi film.

4/3/10 - How To Train Your Dragon - ★★★★★ - A rare 5★ for me. I almost took a point off because the storyline was a tad thin and predictable, but I reminded myself that it was a kid's movie. But, for me the animation was fantastic. The details and textures were amazing. I did see if in 3D, but that doesn't really impress me, the animation and 3D models did. The only other negative comment for me was the lead characters voice reminded me so much of Christian Slater, and his voice annoys me. (Jay Baruchel was the voice incase you were interested). I just enjoyed the visuals and yes the storyline too - even though it was for kids.

4/10/10 - Date Night - ★★★ - I'm a few days late in writing this so details are fuzzy. But I just remember laughing a couple times, smiling a few more times, that is an automatic ★★★. Will it win awards? No. But was I entertained for an evening? yep. I do remember some moments were awkward though, and some lines were obviously dubbed in, which really bothered me.

4/17/10 - Kick Ass - ★★ - While there were parts of this movie that I did like, there were parts that I found a bit too disturbing to actually say that I liked the movie overall. I felt like the film kept tearing me from a 'nerdy comic book teen comedy' to a 'Kill Bill" Quentin Tarantino movie. Perhaps if I knew ahead of time that this was going to be a darker movie, I would have been more prepared, but I was uncomfortable. IF the film-makers did this intentionally then it was brilliant of them, and a good social commentary about "violence in films". But I think I may be reading too much into it, and it was just a disjointed movie that had goofy moments mixed with dark violent ones.
The BEST PART of the movie though for me... one of the background songs was a punk rock version of the "Banana Splits" (performed by "The Dickies").

4/24/10 - Exit through the gift shop - ★★★★★ - So glad I got to see this movie in the theater. disclaimer: I'm a big fan of street art. So guess what this documentary is about... yep- Street Art. But it was more than just a movie about the underground art movement. It was also a character study of not only a handful of street artists (Shepard Fairy, Banksy) but more about a person that I had not heard of before (Not surprising, I don't claim to be an expert and know ALL the street artists out there). He goes by "MBW or Mister Brain Wash" aka: Thierry Guetta. What I also enjoyed about this movie, was the way it made you think about art. The age old question "What is art". Which then also begs the follow-up question... "Who is an artist?". And lastly, I enjoyed the comedy scattered through-out the movie. It was mostly subtle or tongue in cheek sort, and I found it interesting that the small theater that we saw it in... it was like the audience was not sure if they should laugh or not. (I did).
I highly recommend this movie if you like art, and want to be confronted with food for thought.
PS> I'm still struggling with this... is Thierry an idiot or a genius? :)
PS2> While there was not a lot of camera time dedicated to Thierry's "Art", there were some paintings that I did enjoy and like. I don't doubt that there is talent there, I only question if it's developed or not.
Sorry one more PS> It was really cool to also see original "Street" art outside of the theater done by Ellis G. (he does chalk outlines of shadows on city streets).

5/1/10 - The Losers - ★★ - While there were moments in this movie that were cool, for the most part it was just another cheap action movie. I tried not to be too hard on it - after-all it is a comic book movie, but still. Perhaps a rental when nothing else strikes you, but just don't expect a whole lot.

5/8/10 - Iron Man 2 - ★★★★★ - I just really enjoyed this movie. Sure it's a comic book action film, but I still enjoyed it a lot. My only complaint... (as with the first movie)... these high-tech half-robots with massive weapon systems, and it always comes down to a fist fight. Minor point for a comic book movie. Also, I wasn't sure that Scarlet Johannsen would be able to pull off a "tough girl" action hero role... uh, she did with no problem. I hope she gets her own film out of this. Lastly... DAFT PUNK!!!

5/14/10 - Män som hatar kvinnor - ★★★ - Also known as "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". A film made in Denmark, with English subtitles, that's about 2:30 hours long... whew, this was a difficult movie to get through. And in spite of it being a REALLY long and drawn out movie, I actually liked it when all was said and done. I certainly wouldn't recommend this to just anyone, but if you want something off the beaten trail, and are willing to work through a complicated plot with a ton of foreign names to follow, then by all means, this is the film for you. I should warn though (minor spoiler alert...) There were a couple scenes that dealt with rape, and the filming of it held nothing back. It was very brutal and difficult to watch. If you're sensitive to this, then by all means skip this film.

5/21/10 - Harry Brown - ★★★★ - Perhaps I'm being a bit generous with the last ★. All in all, I liked this movie, but I did feel like it lacked something. I kept waiting for something more to happen, but it didn't. I do have one complaint in that it was a very slow moving film. While I was able to take that extra time and appreciate some of the cinematography (for example the shot of Michael Cain putting his shoes on, while filmed from under the bed, was nice). A word of caution too... the movie was rather harsh at exposing the underside or dark-side of humanity. The language was horrible, the drug use and abuse of that one woman was difficult to watch, This may not sit well with other viewers. While I understood it from the story point of view, it did bother me. I tip my hat though to Michael as always a great performance.

6/5/10 - Robin hood - ★★★ - I'm writing this review a week late so I'll keep it short. I'm a BIG fan of knight movies, but this film just never seemed to take off. MY biggest complaint was that it was 2 hours and 20 minutes, which is entirely too long. It did have some good moments, but overall, It just left me with a "meh" moment.

7/3/10- Knight and Day - ★★★ - A spoof style movie with Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise. Making fun at times of 007 and all other spy genre action movies. While not to be taken seriously, I was entertained and laughed at a few of the lines. It started to get a bit tedious towards the end, but all in all entertained. (side note: Some of the camera shots of Cameron were rather unflattering as it showed that she may have a bit of age showing, and perhaps a bit too much make-up to cover up those marks of age.)

7/17/10 - Inception - ★★★★ - I'm a week late in writing this mini-review so details will be few... Upon leaving the theater, I told my friend, I did not like this movie so much. I though it was too jumbled. At one point, I likened it to watching television with someone who has the remote, and keeps changing the channels on you every three seconds. At one point, it felt like it was literally three different movies going on all at the same time. The "suspense" was driven to such a frenzy (helped along by the intense soundtrack) that it was a bit too much for me. But then... my friend and I started talking about the film (which by the way, he liked). We started to get into some of the deeper philosophical points and even some of the psychological points (which that I enjoyed), and I started to realize... hey, this was a pretty good movie. So, with bit of hesitation, I changed what was more of a ★★ movie for me, into a ★★★★. Just be prepared for 1) confusion and 2) intense action and suspense. If you're prepared, perhaps you'll enjoy the ride a little more.

7/31/10 - Dinner with schmucks - ★★★ - Well, during this movie, I stopped for a minute or so and was trying to think, what was the stupidest movie I've ever seen. And I couldn't really come up with a list, perhaps I blocked those movies out, or just deleted them from my memory banks. But... this movie I'm sure would rank well up in the top 5 or top 10. The only reason I'm giving it 3★'s is because I will admit that some parts did make me laugh. (I enjoyed the 'play dead' scenes).

8/7/10 - The other guys - ★★★★ - A good comedy pair of Will and Mark. Some parts I thought were really funny, other parts kinda brought the movie down to crawl, but all in all, I was entertained and laughed. If you see it in the theater or rent it, make sure to watch until the end of the credits for a small bonus scene.

8/14/10 - Get Low - ★★★★★ - A solid five star movie for me. (there was one complaint in that it was a slow paced movie and at times a bit too slow, and a couple bad edits, but all of the rest made up for those shortcomings). I'll just say this... Fantastic story and fantastic acting all around. Duvall was amazing as always. Lucas Black has got real talent, I HOPE to see him if good roles like this one more often. Sissy Spacek, again good. Bill Murry, yep... awesome. I wanted to add one other thing here... there was some fantastic lines in this movie that was really deep in some philosophical wisdom. A sign of some great writers behind the story (Chris Provenzano & Scott Seeke). And David Boyd should be commended for some really nice cinematography as well.

8/21/10 - Scott Pilgrim vs. The World - ★★★ - This one is a strange one. While there were things I liked in this movie, there were parts I didn't. The music was great! (very raw punk). The effects were well done too. I really give it credit because it was a creative film as well. But... perhaps where I can't compliment this movie is on the storyline. It just felt stale compared to everything else I was watching. Story is important to me, so I guess that's why I'm being critical.

8/28/10 - Animal Kingdom - ★★★★ - A foreign film from Australia that caught my eye from the trailer. I also was curious to see this because it won some award(s) at Sundance. A very dark movie (not literally), but it showed how some families can just really be messed up, and it doesn't take that much in life for things to turn sour. I did actually have some trouble with the thick Aussie accents, but not enough to detract from the movie overall.

9/4/10 - The American - ★★★ - I'm usually generous when giving an extra ★, but this time, I'm going to stick with my 3★'s. First, it was a good movie. The story was interesting, not overly complicated, but kept you guessing throughout. But, it was a very slow paced film. In my opinion it was too slow. On the plus side, the scenery of the Italian countryside was really nice! The little town that he visited "castel del monte" (assuming it was actually shot there) looked like an amazing place to visit. Perhaps a note of warning too... there was a lot of nudity in this movie.

9/18/10 - The Town - ★★★★ - Very impressed with Ben Affleck's film here. The acting was good all the way around, the story was interesting, and it moved at a good pace.

9/25/10 - Catfish - ★★★ - This is a difficult one for me to judge... I feel like the trailer of the film tricked me. With quotes like "The Hitchcock movie that Hitchcock never made" - I don't think it had anything to do with a Hitchcock movie. They portrayed it like it might be some sort of horror movie or at the very least a murder mystery - It was not. I don't want to say too much, because yes... it was a mystery in a sense, and I think had I not been waiting for some sort of gruesome twist, I would have enjoyed the film a lot more. I will say, I thought the storyline was interesting, the way they used things like "google maps" and "google earth" in the movie (more than a few times), was creative. But I can't help but to wonder how much of this was actually a "documentary" and how much was staged... the fact that JJ Abrams was attached to this movie leaves me suspicious - which I guess is what still makes for a mystery.
(side note: The theater that we usually go to, installed a new "digital projector" and this was the first movie we saw on it... I liked it. The colors were bright, and the lines seemed crisper, I look forward to seeing other digital movies this way and I'm curious to see how it compares with other movies).

10/2/10 - Let me in - ★★★★ - using the "relative" rating for a horror movie here. I had seen the original Swedish version of this movie on dvd (thanks netflix) called "Let the right one in". While the movie did make several changes (mostly to time period, and settings, such as Video arcades), it did stick to the original movie closely. As far as overall feel, I think the Swedish version was a bit creepier, whereas the American version depended a bit more on over-the-top visual effects. But all in all, I enjoyed this movie, perhaps even more than the Swedish version - maybe because I was not reading subtitles the whole time.

10/9/10 - The Social Network - ★★★ - Maybe I went in to this movie believing the hype, but for some reason I was disappointed. I had heard how great this movie was (Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 97%), and a lot of my twitter folks were talking about it as well. While I wouldn't say it was a bad movie, I just expected a little more. Instead it was basically a good story (though I'm not sure what truth was stretched to make for a good movie) - but that's about it. The dialogue was VERY fast, which left little time for something called "acting". Zuckerberg's character, (played by Jesse Eisenberg) was a rather monotone character. I think my biggest surprise was watching Justin Timberlake, who did a pretty good job (although was it really much of a stretch for him to play a rock-star like character?). One other comment... I became very aware at how the women were portrayed in this film... and it wasn't very flattering. Most of them were portrayed as slutty party girls, and hardly any of the women had any significant speaking roles. There was a couple exceptions (the lawyer who took a certain amount of pity on Zuckerberg, and one bit with Zuckerberg's girlfriend, but even that she was "just the angry girlfriend").

10/16/10 - It's kind of a funny story - ★★★★★ - (another review that I'm behind writing on (3 weeks!) so I'll keep it short...)
We took a gamble on this one. I wasn't quite sure what to expect. The trailer made it look like it might be a teen romance movie (which in a way it was), but it was also much more than that. It was well written and well acted. (note: I am a fan of Zach Galinifakis, so that helped). Really enjoyed this one, and could be the highlight of 2010 movies for me.

10/23/10 - Hereafter - ★★ - Sorry, this one just didn't cut it for me. A confusing message (it tried very hard to stay away from any sort of religious message to a fault). Lots and lots of "Hollywood coincidences" that became unbelievable. Acting was ok by Matt Damon though, but still a bit flat. Strange cast (Jay Mohr as Damon's brother?) I usually like Clint Eastwood films, but this one... not so much. (note: it wasn't played up, but Steven Speilberg also had his hand in this movie... that did not surprise me... I think Steven is suffering from the M. Night syndrome).

11/6/10 - Due Date - ★★★ - Just couldn't quite bring myself to give it a 2 ★★ rating, but it was close. While I like all the actors involved, this movie was borderline tedious. Sure, there were some funny moments, and overall I was entertained, but in general the laughs were few. I should note… there was one woman in the audience who laughed (loudly) throughout the entire movie, so I know some people really thought it was funny. As my friend pointed out… Zach Galinafakis is starting to play the same role over and over again.

11/20/10 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows (Part 1) - ★★★★ - Overall I enjoyed this film. I was surprised how much of the story I have forgotten so there were quite a few parts to the movie that left me confused as to what was happening. I should have either rented the previous movie(s), or re-read the book. I can't fault the movie for that point though. I had trouble at times with the dialogue. I'm not sure if it was that I wasn't hearing the words very well or that the English accents were a bit thick. (Yes, I'm aware that those two complaints make me sound like an old man!). I VERY much enjoyed the cinematography. I like a lot of the atmosphere shots, and a lot of the blue or cool tints. This is a strange point, I'll admit: While the movie had a lot of magic and effects in it, I felt like the experience seemed a bit less magical. Perhaps because there seemed to be less fantastical creature or plants, or even characters at this stage.
But again, all in all, I enjoyed the story, the acting, the effects, and I'll definitely be back for the final installment.

12/11/10 - Black Swan - ★★★ - To be honest, I'm still not 100% sure I'd give this movie the 3★ rating or not. Yes, the acting was very well done. Natalie may even get an oscar for this one. But the story left me feeling a little lost and somehow cheated. I'm not sure how, but i was both confused during the telling of the story, and yet I also felt the storyline was a bit predictable. While I knew the movie dealt with the ballet as a topic, I was not aware that the entire movie was about the ballet. I don't know, maybe that 3★ rating is right down the middle for me and is accurate as to how I feel about it.

12/19/10 - Tron - Legacy - ★★ - I really tried to like this movie. First the positives… The visuals (aka effects) were VERY well done. The sounds also was very well done (lots of attention to detail and subtle uses of effects to make it seem other-worldly). I also enjoyed the soundtrack by Daft Punk (note: I bought the soundtrack, and taken outside of the movie, I did not enjoy the soundtrack as much). Now the negative… the acting was sub-par. I liked Jeff Bridges parts, but even those were a bit one dimensional. Garrett Hedlund, who played the main character, was just borderline too. But most of all, I didn't like the storyline. Maybe if i recently re-watched the original Tron, some of it would have been clearer (netflix does not have the original Tron -why?!). Lastly, the graphics/effects of the digital "Jeff Bridges" (character name Clu) Was nice, but still looked totally fake. It really diminished the movie for me.

12/24/10 - Tangled - ★★★★ - A last minute decision to go see Disney's Tangled in the theater… and I'm glad I went. Of course I rationalized this to myself that I really wanted to go to view the 3d animation, but I'll be honest… I had a good time watching the movie. I won't critique the story, after all it is a kids movie. I absolutely loved the animation though. They made some real progress with computer graphics, and this movie showcased that. Of note: The character design, the hands, needless to say - the hair was amazing, the water, and perhaps most enjoyable - the vibrant colors and lighting. A good movie to end the year on.

Total = 38

Media of 2010 - Books

Wow, almost a full year since I last blogged here. And to think I posted something almost daily before. Anyway - lets get right to it:

BOOKS OF 2010

Makers - by Cory Doctorow - ★★★ - It's odd, but I just had a really difficult time getting into this book. I'm a fan of Cory's. I REALLY enjoyed his last book called "Little Brother". I also liked (though it was a struggle at times) his book previous to that called "Someone comes to town, Someone leaves town". The subject matter of "Makers" was right up my alley too... I'm a big fan of Make magazine, and I've dabbled in the "maker culture", of which I know a lot about the subjects in the book (eg: 3d printers that can be set up in a person's living room). But I felt like the story was just a bit too forced. Like he created an outline first of a few key technologies, and then tried to cram a story in-between. I did finish the book, so that explains the 3 ★'s, as any book that can hold my attention that long means something. I just wish I liked it better.

1/24/10 - Altar of Eden - by James Rollins - ★★★★ - Another Rollins book that I enjoyed. While this one took a slightly different turn than his previous books, I still enjoyed the storyline. A few 'hollywood' moments and odd coincidences, but this is the type of book that were it a movie, it would be an action adventure movie where coincidences are often overlooked. As always, I appreciate Rollins' blend of science into his stories.

3/15/10 - Three Cups of Tea - by Greg Mortenson - ★★★★ - this was a difficult book for me to rate, but I chose to go with 4★'s. It is/was an amazing story about Greg's life and the events and things he's accomplished in his life (and those around him). While I appreciate the well told story, and applaud his efforts of building schools in and around Pakistan, I struggled with the book. I was so glad to have finally been done it. It took me a very long time to plow my way through it. I suspect, the main reason is because of all the tons of names involved and places involved and that there were many foreign language names/places/descriptions. I'm glad I did make the extra effort, and finished the book, it was a struggle for me. That said, though, I would highly recommend this book. It is inspiring how one man can make a difference in the world to bring about good.

3/23/10 - Shutter Island - by Dennis Lehane - ★★★ - Perhaps I should not rate this book... the reason being I only read about 70% of it - But - I did see the movie so I know how it ends :) The main reason I decided to try and give the book a shot was because I enjoyed the movie. I enjoyed it because of the story. I also had a couple questions regarding the characters that I thought that if I took my time with the book, those questions would be answered. Sadly - not so much. I even went back and re-read some pages, but I still didn't get it. Finally, I decided to just stop, and move onto a book that I enjoyed more. And what surprised me, was how much the movie stayed true to the book. There were lines of dialogue that were word for word, and I could hear Dicaprio saying it in his Boston Accent. But when I couldn't get my answers, I just decided to move on. So take my rating for the book for what it's worth.

4/18/10 - The Pawn (The Patrick Bowers Files, Book 1) - by Steven James. - ★★★★ -
This was a free book I picked up on Amazon for the Kindle. (It's not longer free at this moment -sorry).
I enjoyed it. It was a fast read and moved along nicely, like an an action movie. Some interesting plot stories going on as well. I'm not ready to go out and purchase the next book in the series, but perhaps I will come back to the series in the future.

7/10 - The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood - by Howard Pyle - ★★★★★ - (I've since learned that Mr. Howard Pyle is perhaps more well known for being a talented illustrator/artist). I really enjoyed this book, much to my surprise. It was a "freebie" on my Amazon Kindle, and having seen the movie just a week or two before getting this book, I was curious to find out more about this character called Robin Hood. Semi-spoiler alert>>> the book and the movie are NOTHING alike! The book was enjoyable and I liked the somewhat simple stories. It was like reading an "action movie" at times. Now... one thing to mention... at the beginning, I almost gave up on this book. I learned that it contained a lot of "old English" like "thee, thou, mayest, pray they, marry, etc..." - but it was mostly just the dialogue between the characters. I was able to get used to it, and then was able to enjoy it. All in all, a fun book, that takes just a little bit of work to get through.

7/24/10 - The Psychology of Dreams and On the Significance of Number-Dreams - by Carl Jung - ★ - I won't sugar coat this... it was a horrible book, and Carl Jung is probably a quack in my opinion. Ok, to be fair... I've never read anything else by him (though I plan to try once more), so maybe it's unfair to form such an opinion of this man from one small reading. While the first part of the book, had a few interesting points, it was not enough for me to 'enjoy' the read. (also it was written like a college paper, and almost had a lawyer-ish sounding to it). The second part of the book, regarding numbers in dreams, simply stretched all credibility for me. He twisted numbers, and math around into complete hogwash, in order to try and make a connection between points of significance. It reminded me a lot of "numerology". I don't doubt that mr. Jung has insights on dreams (he says he studied between 1500 and 2000 a year!), but I think he might be grasping at straws just a bit much for my liking.

11/25/10 - The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger - ★★★★ - I wasn't sure what to expect with this book… Of course I've heard this book mentioned a lot, but I can't say that I've ever heard what the story was about. So, I was curious why this book is a "classic". Oh, the other obvious thing… I had heard this book was banned (specifically where it was banned from, I'm not sure.) I went to purchase this book, but was shocked at the price. I ended up borrowing it from a friend. It started off not so good. I felt like I was just reading a college kid's modern-day blog. But I stuck with it, and today upon finishing it, I'm glad I did. I'm still not sure why this book is a "classic", but after all was said and done, I enjoyed the story. Well, "Enjoy" may not be the right word… I found the story interesting, and a bit depressing. I can understand why it was banned, but under today's moral ethics, it was fairly tame.

12/25/10 - Draculas - ★★★ - I learned about this book because it was a sort of experiment in ebooks. It was a collaboration between 4 authors, and posted directly to amazon by the authors. The coast was (I think) around 3-4 dollars, with most of that going directly to the authors and a lesser percentage to amazon.com. I liked the whole idea of the project and the price was right. And… it was right around Halloween and i was looking for a nice scary book. I just finished it last night, and while I do have some complaints, overall I was entertained. Especially when you factor in the price. Now here's my biggest complaint… The title was very misleading… the authors took great liberty as to what makes a creature a vampire. If you ask me, this should have simply been a zombie book, but I suspect they called them "draculas" as a marketing decision since vampire movies are popular now. A simple point that I was able to overlook, but for any vampire purest, this will be an important point. The book was rather gory and detailed in it's gore descriptions. Not for the faint at heart. It reminded me a bit like a B-movie. As I said, just don't expect a lot from this book, and if you view it through the lens of a B-horror movie, you should also be entertained.

total = 9

(I know... not all that impressive of a number for the year. In my defense, I spent quite a bit of time this year searching for a good book to read. I even tried to re-read one of my favorites from 15+ years ago (The Illuminatus Trilogy) - but even that book, I had a hard time getting back into it. And... This year I also attempted to learn a new software program, so many a night I spent reading the manuals.)

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Nature of Humanity and parking spots


It's now about 6am on a cold snowy morning. The day after a record setting snowfall in the area.
I write this now, because I can't get back to sleep - for fear of worrying about my truck.
Let me explain...
I live in an apartment complex with a parking lot.
When it snows of any reasonable amount, the parking lot becomes a mess.
The reason being, is that the complex sends a plow around to clear the streets - that sounds good right? Well, what it does is - it plows the snow up and blocks in every person parked in the parking lot. Now here's the thing... when you have to dig out your car (or pick-up truck in my case), there's no place to throw the snow. You have to walk the length of your car for every shovelful and dump the snow in front of (or behind) the vehicle. It's a real pain.
In the years that I've lived here, I've seen people, who are either lazy, or inconsiderate, or just plain both do the following... rather than walk that car length, to dump the snow, they simply throw the snow behind (or in front of) the car next to them! I don't see it happen often, but at least once every major snowstorm.
Now, this brings me to why I'm writing this...
I woke up around 4:45am and couldn't get back to sleep, so I happened to get up, and look out my front window. Wait... let me back up here a minute... I dug out my truck early in the morning yesterday. I have a 4x4 truck - aka 4-wheel-drive. So as a benefit of that, I don't have to spend too much time clearing out the snow behind my truck. I'm able to drive over most of it - within reason. So that's what I did. I cleaned off the sides, the snow actually on my truck, and most of the snow behind my truck.
Ok back to this morning...
I glance out the window, and see that someone has dug out the back of my truck, almost clear down to the pavement! Wow! Was someone that nice to me? helping out a fellow neighbor? As I was sitting here, trying to figure out who that neighbor was... it hit me... The SUV/Van next to me, is completely plowed in - and I realized... They didn't dig ME out to be nice and neighborly, they dug ME out for REVENGE!
I remembered as I was digging out, my neighbor came out too and was digging out his car (I think it was a Prius). I put 2+2 together and saw that the vehicle next to me was a blue/black SUV. That's when I realized... the guy who dug his car out this morning, came back to "his" spot, and someone had taken it. I know, I know... it's not HIS parking spot, but it's like an unwritten rule in apartment complexes that if someone digs out their car, it's "their" spot. Some people put up folding chairs, to "mark their territory" as their spot.
As someone who has been in that exact situation, I've been pissed off too! The nerve of someone taking your spot, after you spent hours digging it out, is beyond frustrating.
So that's when I realized what happened. He's a younger guy, I think there might be a couple of roomates there, and while I didn't see this happen, I can garauntee you they probably were angry, and decide to teach the guy a lesson, and RE-shovel him back in.
So now, I put 2+2+2 together and think - wait a minute... IF the guy comes out later today and sees MY spot empty, and his spot full - he's going to think that I was the inconsiderate person who just moved my snow to behind his vehicle! Would he take some sort of revenge now on my vehicle?! Would he "key it" with a nice long scratch?! Would he smack his snow-shovel into the side and possibly dent it?! Ugh. So these are the thoughts now running through my head, and preventing me from getting back to sleep.
Now, I'll have to try and keep a 24 hour watch on my vehicle to see how the guy reacts, and possibly confront him and try and explain, "It wasn't me!"

The joy's of living in an apartment complex.

Update: All was fine. I decided to go back to bed and not worry about what might happen. In the end, nothing happened, and when I checked out my window around noon, there was a different vehicle parked there, and some heavy equipment had been brought in to actually remove the snow via a backhoe.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

deleting blogger comments

This is more of a note to myself, but perhaps someone else will find it too.

I keep having trouble remembering how to delete spam comments from my blog.
There is "supposed" to be a "trash can" icon next to a comment, that allows the blog owner (me) to remove unwanted comments. But there is a trick to getting to it!
First a special thanks to this original blog post that taught me how to get to the trash can icon.

nutshell...
1) Sign into your account (if not already).
2) view your blog.
3) in the sidebar where the it says "blog archive" and shows the history of your blog posts, click on the MONTH of the post that you wish to delete from.
4) NOW... when you look at the posts for that month, at the bottom of each post is a new link that says "1 comment" (obviously, there may be more than 1 comment). Click that! That will bring up a new page, just with the comments for that post, and THERE will be the missing trash can icon.

talk about hoops. I don't know why blogger makes it so difficult, or if this is a bug.

keywords: delete comments, delete, comments, trashcan, trash-can, trash icon,

Friday, January 01, 2010

2009 - Media Consumed - part 3 of 3 - Movies (theater)

I decided at the beginning of 2009, to keep a list of the media that I consumed. I listed movies that I saw in the theater, movies that I rented on dvd, and books. In hindsight, I WISH I thought to include my music purchases (and gifts) to this list as well.
Since the lists also include short "reviews" they've added up to a lengthy post, so I decided to split them into 3 parts: Books, dvd's, and theater.
Comments are welcomed.

>>>

Movies (seen in the theater):
1/1/09: The Day the Earth Stood Still - ∆∆∆ overall good - last few minutes of ending was lame though.

1/16/09: Defiance - ∆∆∆ I think it was a good movie but Jerk behind me kept talking and ruined it for me.

1/31/09: Taken - ∆∆∆∆ really good for an action movie. Other acting = meh.

2/15/09: The International - ∆∆∆∆ pretty good plot, moved along nicely, good action. One scene bothered me towards end -walking around bazaar with handgun in plain view.

2/21/09: The Wrestler - ∆∆ - Almost a 3 star, but I just can't push it that high. Very predictable character study. Good acting though, and subject was just a bit depressing.

2/25/09: Slumdog Millionaire - ∆∆∆∆ - Good story mostly. Hard to watch with no judgment after winning Oscars and word of mouth buzz about how good it was.

3/7/09: The Watchmen - ∆∆∆∆ - Point off for mediocre acting, and choppy dialogue, but I think I may have been watching "Genius film-making" at work here. Great intricate story.

3/28/09: Knowing - ∆∆∆∆ - Admittedly it was very hokey at times. The acting was so-so. But I really liked this story, and some of the creepiness to the film. There were a lot of different ideas stitched together and for the most part, I think it worked well. Yes, the subject matter was right up my alley.

4/11/09: Duplicity - ∆∆∆ - not really great and not really good either. The ending of the movie was a big let down as well.

4/18/09: State of Play - ∆∆∆∆ - I liked this one. A nice conspiracy movie always gets to me. Afleck was pretty good too (surprisingly).

4/25/09: The Soloist - ∆∆∆∆∆ - a really touching story about a man with mental problems (schizophrenia?) who has a gift of playing the Cello, but ends up homeless. A Newspaper man ends up doing a story on him and becomes friends with the man. Great acting by both Downey Jr. and Jamie Foxx.

5/2/09: X-Men Origins: Wolverine - ∆∆∆∆ - I'm being generous with the last triangle, but I'm giving extra credit for being a comic book movie. (confession: I for got to write this review until 4 weeks later! So not much details here other than - I liked it. Deadpool was awesome, and Liev Schreiber was really good as "Sabertooth".

5/9/09: Star Trek - ∆∆∆∆∆ - I REALLY enjoyed this movie. It was just a fun ride for me. Sure, if you think about some of the plot idea for more than a second you might say "hey, wait a minute..." but all in all I just enjoyed the show. Two complaints... the shaky camera technique... and for some reason the OVERUSE of white "Lens flares" as a special effect.

5/16/09: Angels and Demons - ∆∆∆ - Not really a great film, and I can understand some of the negative comments, but for me the subject matter made it all worth it. I'm a fan of Dan Brown's and conspiracy movies. I think the largest complaint... trying to fit such a complicated storyline into a 2 hour movie is impossible.

5/23/09: Terminator Salvation - ∆∆ - While I was entertained by the robots and cool motorcycles, that's about all I can say about this movie. The paradox of time travel (to quote my friend) was "rubbed in our faces" and still didn't make any sense at all. The acting was less than par. Lastly... a pregnant woman on a helicopter during a bombing and air strike - huh?!
Just a lame attempt to milk this "brand" for all its worth to perhaps hook a new generation. I'm sure that since it did well at the box office, there will be another one with another lame storyline... and I'll probably go see that too cause it has robots in it.

5/30/09: UP - ∆∆∆∆∆ - Pixar does it again. A moving animated feature about never giving up on your dreams. In addition to never be afraid to change your dreams either. A bit sad in the beginning as it deals with loss of a loved one, but still has plenty of laughs later. Well written.

6/6/09: The Hangover - ∆∆∆∆ - First this movie was rude and crude... second... it made me really laugh at times! Don't get me wrong, this movie is not about a storyline, or plot twists, it's about jokes, man butts, and Mike Tyson. I'm only being generous with the 4 stars because it made me laugh, and now-a-days, I applaud anything that can make me laugh (even if it's rude and crude).

6/16/0/: The Taking of Pelham 123 - ∆∆∆∆ - I'm almost giving this movie a 3 star rating, but I'm being generous for two important reasons... The acting was well done on behalf of Denzel (has he ever made a bad movie?) While John Travolta definitely pulled off the "bad ass" look, I had a hard time believing his character with all the cursing. It was either poorly written, or maybe I just know that John is a good gentle guy in real life, and I couldn't get that out of my head. But - the STORY was well done and that's what kept me engaged for the whole movie. The only other thing that really bothered me was a minor technical problem - all of the inconsistencies with the walkie-talkies and microphones. Apparently Hollywood has a hard time understanding that "push to talk" is how most walkie-talkies work ;)
Two minor things but otherwise a good entertaining movie.

Public Enemies - ∆∆∆ - I have to keep this short, because I saw the movie a couple weeks ago and the details have slipped my mind. Johnny Depp was great (as usual). The movie... not so much. I won't say it was bad, but I think first and foremost, it was 2.5 hours long, and they could have easily cut 30 minutes out of that film. There were a TON of characters in this movie to the point where I had trouble keeping track of who was who. Then... After the movie, I looked up some facts about John Dillinger, and learned that the movie took quite a few "liberties".

The Hurt Locker - ∆∆∆∆∆ - Wow, this was a really good movie. Terrific acting (Big hat tip to Jeremy Renner), great cinematography, strong story-line, the only thing that bothered me was the subject matter... War. I had trouble separating the fact that I was enjoying the movie on an "art" level, while at the same time shocked at the idiocy and horror that man can do to one another in the name of "war". It was also a shock as I was leaving the movie theater, I walked out into a cool summer night, I had my coffee, and a Tastycake as a snack, and yet as I'm watching this movie as "entertainment" there are guys on the other side of the world LIVING this thing on a daily basis. As part of my countrymen are off in a foreign land risking their lives and taking other lives, I'm sitting at home watching it on the big screen - there's something really wrong with that. This world we live in is a messed up place.

Harry Potter - ∆∆∆ - Again, I'm writing this a week later, so some of the details have been forgotten, but I'll try to be brief. I liked the movie overall. But for me it was missing something. It was a tad too long. Pardon the pun... but it seemed like some of the magic was missing in this movie. That said, there were also moments where I was drawn into the movie and was just watching everything as if I were in Hogwarts. I tip my hat to a movie that can do that. Some of the "boy meets girl" story-lines started to grate on my nerves a bit, but I think the fans wanted to see that (I didn't). Lastly... I was particularly impressed with two things in the movie... There seemed to be a great attention to detail in this film. One scene, a girl got up at the end of class, and started to leave, when the teacher stopped her and reminded her to remember her rat's tail. The other item I was impressed with was the camera work of the movie. There were quite a few digital effects, but everything worked smoothly and I actually felt like the camera itself was a character in the movie. Well done.
I hope the next (two) movies will re-capture some of the magic. (I've learned they are breaking the last book up into two movies (marketing!?)).

Funny People - ∆∆∆ - This movie had it's moments, but it also had times where it was struggling. The comedy was not always funny (lots of "blue" comedy). I think the best parts were with Seth Rogan, he did a really good job, and I think he has a future in acting with some additional serious roles.
The ending was really tedious and not pleasant to watch. My best advice... rent it on dvd, so you can fast forward during the slow parts.

Julie and Julia - ∆∆∆∆∆ - I know... I'm being generous with that last "star". I think realistically It might be a 4 star, but I came out of the theater in a good mood so that's why the extra bonus. That said... I enjoyed this movie. I thought Meryl Streep was really spot on with her julia child imitation. (though I'm certainly not a Julia child expert). She conveyed a feeling of a jovial personality that really came across on the big screen. Her costar Amy Adams also did well. The guy who played "Eric" also had a great supporting role (Chris Messina - I don't recall ever seeing him before). So obviously it's a chick flick, but I enjoyed it anyway. Just two good stories told well, which is the main reason I go to the movies. Now... I need to find a cookbook so as I can try some french cooking. Mmmm Butter....

District 9 - ∆∆∆∆∆ - Wow. A really good sci-fi movie! I really enjoyed the storyline, the acting was great by an unknown (to me anyway) actor - who made me love him at times and then hate him, and I was being push a pulled emotionally by his character - well done! The effects - wow. For a sci-fi film this one is up there.

500 days of Summer - ∆ - I came this close to walking out on this one. So sweet and sappy... like a double chocolate cake with extra icing sprinkled with sugar with a bottle of syrup to wash it down. Ugh. At one point, I thought... the only reason they made this movie was to sell the movie soundtrack. To be fair... I went to this movie by myself, and it was a chick flick dating movie, so I guess it makes sense I didn't like the show. Oh well.

9/5/09 - Inglorious Basterds - ∆∆∆∆ - Quintin Tarantino... I give him credit at least for having a certain style to his movies. I'm just not sure I like his style is all. After "kill bill" I thought I'd never watch another Tarantino movie again... but with Inglorious Bastereds I decided to give him another try. Luckily I was surprised that I liked the movie overall. I thought it told a story (or stories) well and I was transported back in time to the 1940's. But two things bothered me abt the movie... 1) The soundtrack! For some reason, I just find Tarantino's music choices annoying! Not to mention how loud they are. 2) But more to the point in the movie... For some reason the ending bothered me. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I just wasn't ready for it I think. But again, overall, I liked the movie. Fine acting all around too.

9/12/09 - 9 - ∆∆∆ - Perhaps under better circumstances I would have enjoyed this movie better... the theater we usually go to is a fantastic theater. This particular night, they had two odd showtimes (9pm - too early - 11:10pm - too late). So we went to the local mall which had a "multiplex". It's a horrible theater in comparison. higher prices, movie didn't start on time, commercials mixed in with movie previews, and at LEAST 15 minutes of commercials and previews, high concession stand prices (I guess that's normal), uncomfortable seats, and small screens in a long viewing room. So... with that mindset it's difficult to put it all aside and enjoy a movie. ALL that said... the animation and graphics were amazing. High marks for that! But the story was convoluted - it didn't really make sense overall. AND to top it all off... the day before I saw this movie, I leanred that it was based on a 10 minute short movie by Shane Ackerson which was his college film project. I made the mistake of watching the short film on youtube the day before... which was the SAME story just condensed into 10 minutes. So that also kinda ruined it for me, since I knew the ending of the movie.

9/26/09 - The Informant - ∆∆ - Just a really tedious and confusing movie to keep up with. I think there was an interesting story in there somewhere, but this movie did not do it any justice. And, the music or soundtrack really annoyed me as well.

10/3/09 - Zombieland - ∆∆∆ - Keeping in mind that this was a "Zombie" movie, it wasn't bad. There were moments where I laughed, so I give it points for that. Will it earn an Oscar? Not at all! But I was amused for my admission fee and what more can one ask from a Zombie movie.

10/10/09 - Couples Resort - ∆∆∆ - I'm being generous with that third ∆. To be fair, the movie did make me laugh several times in the beginning. I'd go as far to say that I liked the movie about half-way through, but then it just kinda went down hill. The jokes were predictable, the scenes were contrived, and Vince Vaughn just couldn't
carry the entire movie with the story line.

10/17/09 - Law Abiding Citizen - ∆∆∆∆ - I really enjoyed this movie. I liked the storyline especially and the acting was great with Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler held his own also. Granted, the plot had a few "Hollywood coincidences" but sometimes you have to put blinders on for those. For what it's worth, I just looked up on the internet how to spell "Gerard Butler" and noticed it looks like the critics are panning this movie. What do they know!

11/7/09 - Men who stare at goats - ∆∆∆ - Overall I liked this movie but it really left me hanging towards the end. I don't know what, but somehow I expected more. Strangely enough, a lot of the "strange" things that the movie talked about, I had already been aware of: Remote viewing, psy ops, lsd, mk-ultra, etc...

11/21/09 - Pirate Radio - ∆∆∆ - Again, this movie barely got that third ∆. Films like these baffle me in the sense that they can gather a cast of so many talented people, but yet the story or directing or editing just falls flat. The editing on this one is what bothered me the most in that it was choppy. Scenes cut back and forth with no smooth transition at all. As my friend put it nicely, "It was like watching a long music video."
The only reason I gave it that extra ∆ was because the ending pulled me back into the movie. They returned to a story-line rather than just showing us a bunch of 'goofy' characters on a boat.
A good soundtrack too.

11/28/09 - The Road - ∆∆∆∆ - A difficult movie for me to rate. While I appreciate a lot of what went into the making of this movie (good story, great acting, fantastic cinematography, great scenery (relatively speaking))... the story was depressing. I'm not a big fan of depressing movies. But because I'm able to see those other items that make for a good film, I'm hitting it with the 4 ∆'s. And... this may shock some people... I had read the book not too long ago. The movie MAY have been ever so slightly better than the book! I won't go into all the in's and out's as to why, but I'll just say that the movie added a few more "human" elements that made the story easier to understand and not so stark. The book left me with feelings of wanting more explanations.
Difficult now for me to say which one.... to watch the movie before reading the book, or vice versa, personally, I think I liked it better having read the book, and knowing a bit of what I was in store for.

12/5/09 - Brothers - ∆∆∆ - Yet another difficult movie for me to rate. I thought the acting was well done all the way around. The talent of Jake, Toby and Natalie is a great combination (Natalie sometimes falls flat, but I thought she did well on this one). A few scenes (key scenes) could have been done better as far as the story goes, but all in all a good movie... BUT - this is another depressing movie about war and the ravages it takes on all people involved. It really bothers me that we have a packed theater with people eating popcorn, date nights, beer bottles (idiots), and generally going to the movies as a form of entertainment, yet these sorts of stories are happening NOW. our country is at war. There are young men coming home from seeing, hearing and doing horrible things in the name of war, and trying to figure out how to survive again in a civilian world. These movies bother me in that sense. I won't say that I will never go to a war movie ever again, as I do think it is important to remind people and to let people know that stories like these are important and tragic. I am both thankful to our soldiers who put their lives on the line everyday and I am also just as angry at our political leaders who make the decisions to put those troops in harms way.

12/26/09 - Up in the Air - N/A - I'm actually not going to rate this movie, because it wouldn't be fair. Perhaps I share the blame too for not being more informed... but... I thought this movie was a comedy! From the trailer, I assumed it was about a guy (George Clooney) who traveled a lot due to his business and the movie was going to be about that. It had co-actors like Zach Galinfinakis (who is a comedian), and Jason Bateman (who is usually known for his funny roles)... but this may have been the most depressing movie I've seen this year (slightly exaggerating, some of the war movies I saw this year were the most depressing). I suppose this movie falls in the category of a "dark comedy" but I just thought it was dark overall. Other people in the audience were laughing at parts that I was not, so perhaps some thought it more of a comedy. So because I was completely misled, I don't feel it's fair for me to give it a one star - instead, I will give the one star to the trailer itself.