Archive | September, 2010

All Creation Myths Need a Devil

29 Sep

Whatever your feelings regarding Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg before seeing The Social Network, you’re bound to have them intensified.

That’s because the film, which details the early days of the site, portrays the guy as both a nerd superhero and total jerk, and it’s up to the viewer to decide which label sticks.

For me, it’s not an all or nothing answer, and I suspect I won’t be alone when I say I started on one side and moved more to the middle by film’s end, but never crossed all the way over.

Regardless of where you come down on the debate, however, it’s hard to deny that The Social Network makes great entertainment out of one of this generation’s biggest Internet success stories. Continue reading

No Perks, No Power … No Point?

27 Sep

I became the mayor of another place on Foursquare yesterday, and again, when that crown badge showed up on my iPhone screen, I thought it’d be accompanied by an explosion of confetti, balloons raining down on me, flashing lights, fanfare, a banner unfurling from the ceiling with my name on it, applause from the other customers, and the manager of the store rushing over to congratulate me on the achievement.

Alright, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration (maybe??), but after the smile went away from my face, and I was done mentally patting myself on the back, and I realized there wasn’t any benefit to being the mayor, the same reaction I always have set in: So what? Continue reading

The Other Facebook Movie

24 Sep

The new film Catfish raises a few questions.

Among them, which will be the bigger PR threat to Facebook, this movie or The Social Network?

And perhaps more importantly, is this film even real?

That second question hangs over this entire film, a “reality thriller” (don’t call it a documentary) about a guy who meets a girl and her family on Facebook and comes to realize they are not exactly as they seem.

I don’t want to spoil too much about Catfish because most of the movie’s appeal comes from watching things develop. But suffice it to say, where you come down on the “is it real?” debate definitely affects how you feel about the movie. Continue reading

It’s Not About the Money. It’s About the Game.

23 Sep

When a sequel to a much loved movie comes out many years after the original, the chance is always there for it to suck, and for the characters to fall victim to too much nostalgia.

For every Toy Story 3, for example, there’s a Rocky Balboa.

Thankfully, 23 years after the original, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps falls mostly in the first camp.

Yes, Gordon Gekko is back in business, and does he ever make greed look good. Continue reading

Tough Decisions Will Be Made

22 Sep

It’s Wednesday, which means we’re halfway through one of my least favorite weeks of the year.

What? You thought I’d actually be happy about the start of the new TV season? Well, you’re wrong.

This is the time of year when there’s too much on, and my DVR gets an extra-good workout.

It’s the time when I have to make some really tough decisions about what to watch, what to commit to, and what not to bother with.

Most every year I post something here about which shows I’m going to try and watch, but it’s always with the expectation that I won’t stick to the plan. Which is fine, of course; there are movies, and sports, and, well, life to keep me busy otherwise.

So that’s why I generally have a two-strikes rule: If I fall two episodes behind, chances are good I won’t catch up on that show, so I don’t even bother.

Unfortunately, I’m already behind: I forgot to record Lone Star Monday night, so I’m hoping I can watch the pilot before episode two is on (thankfully, the pilot’s re-airing over the weekend).

What else am I planning to watch this fall? Here’s my week at a glance: Continue reading

Hands Up

21 Sep

It’s been pretty well documented on this site that when it comes to music, I’m no expert.

However, like any fan, I know what makes my ears happy.

This week, it’s Maroon 5’s new album, Hands All Over.

I was able to download the album more than a week ago, and have had it on constant “rotation” nearly ever since.

Notable about the album — other than its provocative cover — is that while the band’s funk/rock sound is still present, it’s almost overtaken by a more overt pop sensibility that results in Maroon 5’s most enjoyable studio album yet. Continue reading

This Side or the Other

20 Sep

Proving that Gone Baby Gone was no fluke, Ben Affleck’s The Town is an excellent addition to the Made in Boston canon of films.

Mr. Jennifer Garner — who co-wrote, directed, and stars in this Charlestown-set story of a bank robber trying to go straight, even though he’s in too deep — may get criticized for only making movies that are based here in Beantown, but hey … why mess with success? Clearly, the guy knows the town and he makes movies that have a real sense of place and look, sound, and feel authenticious (to use a great made-up word from this film). Continue reading

Not the Sharpest Christian in the Bible

16 Sep

I’ll apologize in advance.

The new film Easy A marks the big-screen return of one of my favorites, Ms. Amanda Bynes. Here she plays Marianne, a devout Christian high school student who likes wearing short, short skirts and argyle sweaters.

Alright fine, and she is the antagonist of Olive (Emma Stone), who lies about her sexual activities and brands herself a modern-day Hester Prynne — minus the Demi Moore part.

(Full disclosure: the movie’s really about Olive, and how she goes from nobody to somebody based on those lies.)

Thankfully, Amanda is not just nice to look at in the movie, she’s also genuinely funny. So take that all you Chicky haters. (I’m hoping a few other positive reviews will convince Amanda to stay unretired from acting for a while longer.) Continue reading

Twice Is Nice

14 Sep

Minnesota has them. Doublemint has them. Jennifer Lopez has them. The Olsen family has them too. And in March, so will my sister and brother-in-law.

That’s right: I’m going to be an uncle again — and again — because my sister is pregnant with twins! Identical ones. Continue reading

The Facebook Book

8 Sep

I finally finished reading Ben Mezrich’s The Accidental Billionaires last week.

I say finally because it only took me, oh, about a year to do so. That’s not indicative of how much I enjoyed the book. Rather, it’s just that the book fell victim to my lack of reading time and my laziness about finding time to read.

Actually, this summer, as I got more and more excited about seeing The Social Network, I made the time to read, and I spent a number of Sunday afternoons outside reading the book.

And I’m glad I did. Continue reading

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