Archive | June, 2012

5 Reasons Why Straight Guys Shouldn’t Be Embarrassed About Seeing “Magic Mike”

29 Jun

If you haven’t heard or seen, Magic Mike hits theaters today.

Yes, that’s the Channing Tatum stripper movie.

I’ve seen it, and as expected, the movie features lots of voyeuristic pleasure for anyone who likes seeing shirtless, often pantless, men. (The things I’ll do for my blog readers.)

If you’re like me, and that’s not something you typically enjoy, then you might think you should stay far away from Magic Mike. But surprisingly, there is good reason to pay up and check out this flick.

Actually, here are five of them:

Continue reading

Thunder Buddies for Life

28 Jun

When it comes to Ted, Seth MacFarlane’s talking teddy bear movie, there’s only one question that matters: Is it funny?

Yes it is.

Holy crap, is it ever.

If you know nothing about this movie, then let me fill you in: It all opens in a Boston suburb in 1985, at Christmas — “that special time when Boston children gather together and beat up the Jewish kids.”

John Bennett, an 8-year-old boy who has no friends, receives a teddy bear and makes a wish that the stuffed animal was real. Lo and behold, the next morning, Ted is a walking, talking, live teddy bear. (“Look what Jesus did!” a TV newscaster exclaims.)

Fast-forward a few years, and John is now 35 years old, played by Mark Wahlberg, living in Boston, dating a hottie named Lori (Mila Kunis), and still best friends with Ted (who now has the voice of MacFarlane — clearly, even teddy bears go through puberty).

Over the years, the bear became a minor celebrity, appearing on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and multiple magazine covers, but as the narrator explains, no matter how famous you get, “eventually, nobody gives a shit.”

Perhaps that’s why these days, Ted has a bit of an attitude.

He speaks with a heavy South Boston accent. He drinks beer. He smokes pot. He makes 9/11 jokes. And somehow, he has sex with prostitutes and other attractive ladies.

Ted is no Chucky. But he’s no Teddy Ruxpin, either.

If you’re thinking Ted isn’t exactly a family film, then you’re damned right. And that’s a good thing. Continue reading

Let Me Be Your Brother

28 Jun

There are two nice things about being an amateur film critic.

One is that I don’t have to see every movie that comes out. Only the ones I want to see.

The other is that when I see a movie that leaves little to no impression on me, I’m under no obligation to fake it through a thorough and intelligently written review.

That second thing is why this review of People Like Us won’t be my longest, best, or most thorough one.

In the film, Chris Pine (Star Trek, Just My Luck) plays Sam, a guy whose estranged father has passed, and who learns he has a sister, Frankie (Elizabeth Banks). Sam is short on cash, when his father leaves Frankie a bunch of it, Sam befriends her and her son, hoping he’ll be able to score at least some of it.

Also in the cast are Michelle Pfeiffer as Sam’s mother, who may or may not have known about Frankie, and the lovely Olivia Wilde, as Sam’s long-suffering law-student girlfriend. Continue reading

The End Can’t Come Soon Enough

21 Jun

What would you do if the end of the world was three weeks away?

We’re not talking some crazy Harold Camping theory that won’t come true.

We’re talking a 70-mile-long asteroid that’s three weeks away from hitting the earth, and not even Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck can save us.

This time, it’s really gonna happen.

That’s the scenario facing the characters in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.

When the movie starts, Dodge (Steve Carrell) and his wife are hearing the news that the end is near — but don’t worry, there are still plenty of classic rock tunes left to play! (That’s the first of a few good laughs.) She promptly opens the door and leaves him.

Lost and distraught, Dodge keeps on keeping on. He continues to go to work selling insurance (apocalypse package not included), continues to work out, and just keeps operating like nothing’s wrong. After all, what else is he gonna do? Continue reading

I Have Only Done This Once Before

18 Jun

True story: In 1997, the editors of Backwoods Home Magazine were struggling to fill space in their classifieds section.

One of them came up with the idea to write a mock ad that began “WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me,” and it was printed in the magazine. (Intentionally, for all you quality- and/or process-minded folks out there.)

Years later, the ad gained attention thanks to internet pranksters, who spread it around, adding their own photos, videos, and interpretations.

And now, five years later, there’s a movie, Safety Not Guaranteed, that takes the premise of the ad and dramatizes it. Continue reading

Do You Wanna Rock?

14 Jun

Ladies and gentlemen, this is how you do it.

So much more than simply Glee for Grownups, the big-screen version of Rock of Ages features a cast of big-name stars (mostly) letting out their inner rock gods and giving audiences what may be the most fun movie of the summer.

I mean, what else do you expect from a movie that’s set in 1987 on the seedy side of the Sunset Strip, and features actors like Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin, Tom Cruise, Paul Giamatti, and Russell Brand singing classic cheesy hair-metal songs by Whitesnake, Poison, Def Leppard, Bon Jovi, REO Speedwagon, Foreigner, and others?

I’m not sure I’d say “it don’t get better than this,” but if you’re looking for “nothin’ but a good time,” then Rock of Ages is damn near close to, yes, Paradise City. Continue reading

People Who Don’t Like Social Media Must Not Like Birthdays Either

11 Jun

Thursday was my birthday.

Maybe you heard me mention it once or twice.

Not that I’d ever avoid the Day of All Days, but these days, when it’s your birthday, you couldn’t even if you tried. Continue reading

Sometimes to Create, One Must First Destroy

8 Jun

In space, no one can hear you scream.

But in a crowded movie theater, they can hear you say, “Wow.”

And if you go to see Prometheus, Ridley Scott’s unofficial prequel to his Alien series, you will no doubt say that quite a few times.

It’ll start with the gorgeous opening credits sequence, shot in Iceland, which is just amazing. See this film in 3D and you’ll instantly know you’re in the hands of a master filmmaker, one who not only understands the value of another dimension, but who knows how to use the technology effectively. (In that respect, it’s reminiscent of Martin Scorsese’s Hugo.)

We’re plopped down pretty quickly in Scotland, in the year 2089, where two archeologists, Elizabeth Shaw and Charlie Holloway (played by the Swedish Lisbeth Salander, Noomi Rapace, and Logan Marshall-Grant, previously best known for playing Trey Atwood on The O.C.), have stumbled upon a star map that they think will lead them to the secret of life. They interpret this as an invitation to go find the so-called Engineers, who “created” the human race.

And so, we’re whisked up, four years later, onto the scientific space vessel Prometheus, where Shaw and Holloway have joined with mission director Meredith Vickers (Charlize Theron) and her crew to travel to a distant moon to find the Engineers. “It’s a scientific mission,” they say. “No weapons necessary.”

Suffice it to say, things go wrong.

Horribly, horribly wrong. Continue reading

Two Great Gifts for My Birthday This Year

7 Jun

How is it possible that an entire year has gone by since I turned 37?

Not that I’m complaining, of course, because today is the Day of All Days.

It’s my birthday!

Woo hoo!

Anyone who knows me knows that I love my birthday.

Still.

Yes, despite being 38 — not 40 — and past the age when I should probably stop making a big deal about it, I still love my birthday.

The truth is, it’s hard not to celebrate when there’s so much to be happy about.

And this year, I am in a particularly good mood on my birthday. That’s because I’ve received two great gifts recently. Continue reading

38 Is Not the New 40

4 Jun

I’m turning 38 this week.

(Thursday, to be exact.)

I don’t tell you this so you can run out and get me a gift and/or a card and/or a cake and/or plan a party for me — though yes, any or all of that would be appreciated.

It’s more that I need to remind myself that I’m not turning 40 this year. Because all of a sudden, I feel like 40 is right around the corner and I’m not ready for it just yet. Continue reading