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The Best Bad Idea They’ve Got

12 Oct

There are few things the folks in Hollywood like more than making movies about making movies.

And if the movie puts the filmmakers in the role of hero, then that’s even better.

So no wonder everyone — on both coasts — is going gaga over Argo, Ben Affleck’s excellent new film about a rescue mission disguised as a movie-location-scouting mission.

True story: In 1979, during the early days of the Iran hostage crisis, a group of six American officials escaped the U.S. embassy and hid in the home of the Canadian ambassador. But they couldn’t stay there forever; if they were found by the Iranians, they’d be executed in the street.

Enter Tony Mendez (played in the film by Affleck himself), a CIA operative who comes up with the hair-brained idea to “send in a Moses” who will dupe the Iranians into thinking he and the other Americans are part of a Canadian movie production crew. That way, he’ll not only extricate the six and bring them home, he’ll be able to do it partly with the Iranians’ cooperation.

Will it work? Who knows. But it’s just crazy enough that it might. And besides, the CIA has run out of plausible schemes. This is the best bad idea they’ve got. Continue reading

The Odd Movie Review of “Timothy Green”

17 Aug

What’s the point of giving a bad review to The Odd Life of Timothy Green — or of even reviewing it at all?

This is one of those critic-proof, middle-of-the-road movies that arrives in theaters just as quickly and quietly as it will disappear. It has no intention of being a blockbuster (no chance, really), and no great ambitions other than being an audience-pleasing film you can bring your family to.

At that, Timothy Green succeeds. Sort of.

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

Love Stinks

15 Feb

If you don’t already hate Valentine’s Day, you will after seeing the movie Valentine’s Day. A film seemingly devoid of purpose after February 14, this cinematic waste of time employs practically every romantic comedy cliché in the book: Best friends who realize they’re attracted to each other! A hot chick who can’t find love! An old couple who learn a secret about their relationship after all these years! A precocious kid who pines for an older woman! A naive woman who realizes her boyfriend is still married, and exacts revenge in front of the wife! Two virgins who are about to have sex for the first time — until one of their parents catches them! A cynical man who hates the holiday but somehow manages to fall in love anyway! Stevie Wonder singing “Signed, Sealed, Delivered … I’m Yours” on the soundtrack! Characters singing “I Will Survive!” A sassy black woman played by Queen Latifah! A sassy Latino sidekick (played by George Lopez)! An unseen radio DJ doing voice over! Oh, and this being 2010, two characters who turn out to be gay and a Bollywood-style dance number! (Whoops. There’s a spoiler or two in there. I guess I just saved you $10.)

Yes, Valentine’s Day, with its holiday-centric story and large ensemble cast (including Julia Roberts, Bradley Cooper, Shirley MacLaine, Anne Hathaway, Hector Elizondo, Jessica Biel, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Alba, Topher Grace, Taylors Swift and Lautner, Grey’s Anatomy stars Patrick Dempsey and Eric Dane, and my beloved Jennifer Garner), wants to be Love, Actually. But it’s not. It’s not even as good as last year’s large-ensemble rom-com, He’s Just Not That Into You (which I actually kind of liked). Rather, it’s over-stuffed, overly long, really obvious, predictable, and pandering, and just an embarrassment for nearly everyone associated with it. Sure, I didn’t groan as often as I thought I would, and for the first third or so, I thought this was actually kind of a light, fun flick, but some plot twists (such as the ones mentioned above) you can see coming from miles away and director Garry Marshall (Pretty Woman) takes his sweet time letting them play out. Ultimately, this is a film that’s even more of a chore to get through than the day on which it’s based.

Neither a good date movie nor a worthwhile anti-holiday movie, Valentine’s Day instead confirms that February 14 is the stupidest of days, the most Hallmark of holidays. (And I actually like Valentine’s Day!) That’s why the movie gets a D from me.

Oh, To Be David Letterman

24 May

As the ZZ Top song goes, “She’s got legs … she knows how to bruise them.” (Or something like that.)

Jennifer Garner was on The Late Show recently, and David Letterman got the chance to play doctor for her. Suffice it to say, he made me really jealous. 🙂 Watch for yourself.

http://www.cbs.com/e/CwGhXfH7nckEBOgDFS3T2OgSMU9IMw8Y/cbs/2/

Jimmy’s "Revenge"

25 Feb

You may recall a couple weeks ago that Sarah Silverman announced on her boyfriend Jimmy Kimmel’s show that she was, ahem, sleeping with Matt Damon. Well, last night on his post-Oscars show, Jimmy got his revenge with the help of guest — and Matt’s best bud — Ben Affleck, not to mention a boatload of big names (watch for the cameos by Brad Pitt and Harrison Ford). Check it out.

Not to state the obvious, but if this has any shread of truth (and yes, yes, I know it’s a big joke), then that certainly paves the way for me and Ms. Garner.

Good Show!

25 Feb

What can I say about this year’s Oscars? It was the best, most enjoyable show in quite some time. The winners were spread out across a few films (even The Bourne Ultimatum won three), and most of the winners spoke very well. Of course, I was very happy about Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova winning Best Song for “Falling Slowly,” the song from Once (and I loved what Glen and Marketa had to say — and that Marketa got a second chance to speak), and I liked that There Will Be Blood won not only for Best Actor but also for Best Cinematography. I liked the “surprise” of Tilda Swinton winning Best Supporting Actress for Michael Clayton too; that category could have gone any one of four ways, with all four deserving of the award. But really, my favorite part of the show was not Jennifer Garner (surprise!) or even Keri Russell but Jon Stewart, who simply rocked as the host. He had so many great lines, he had a lot of confidence, he was hip and cool, and he just did a really nice job. I loved when he came back from a commercial break and was playing Wii Tennis. (Here’s a link to the text of his very funny monologue.) The show felt like it moved very quickly, even if it did last about 3:17, and I just had a great time watching. I even enjoyed the montages — especially the Bee one (me! me! me!). Props to Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen for their presenting. And on the subject of Jen Garner, no one knows what was up with that Gary Busey ambush, but here’s how he defended himself. So, another year over. Now onto a new year of movies.

Whoa … Pretty Woman

24 Feb

People, look at this photo and tell me now you understand why I’m just a little obsessed with Jennifer Garner. Wow. She looks amazing. Click on the photo for a much bigger version. (Thanks to Jen-Garner.net.)

So Close, and Yet …

21 Feb

Dear Cat,

Just thought I’d write to say I hold you personally accountable for the fact that Jennifer Garner and I are not together right now.

As you know, Ms. Garner holds a special place in my heart — despite her already having a husband and a child — and when I heard the news that she would be filming a movie, Ghosts of Girlfriends Past, not just in Boston but right on South Street in front of Les Zygomates, a short walk from our office, you knew what a big deal this was for me.

At last, this would be my chance to meet the former Ms. Sydney Bristow in person and profess my love to her.

You agreed to walk with me at lunchtime today to check out the set, and that was very nice of you to keep me company. And how exciting was it when we got there and we could just walk around and see it all — the lights, the cameras, the New York City cabs, and even better, the fake snow and Christmas decorations. (It was Christmas, Cat! My favorite time of year! How perfect!!)

Suffice it to say, I was giddy. Jen was nowhere to be seen, but she would be out soon, and I would see her acting right there a few feet in front of me. How cool is that??!

All the fates were aligning; it was actually going to happen. Jen would see me from across the street, watching her, smiling my adorable smile, and she’d be too distracted to even look at her costar, the shirtless wonder himself, Matthew McConaughey.

She’d stop filming, would walk right over to me, we’d introduce ourselves, I’d say something witty and charming (of course), she’d smile and laugh, all the other bystanders would wonder who this random guy in the crowd was, but they’d be so overcome with emotion watching us and our love blossom that they’d burst into spontaneous applause, and, well, the rest (including Ben Affleck) would be history. We would go off and live happily ever after, in Newton.

I was thisclose to making my dream a reality. Oh man, it was actually going to happen …

… And then you asked me to leave, and you denied Jennifer and me a love that would have inspired others. A love that was fated in the stars. A love that was destined for greatness.

Why did we have to leave?? Were you really too cold standing there on the sidewalk? Was the production assistant really that rude to you when she asked us to move over?

I was hungry too, but some things are more important than lunch. I missed my chance at true happiness.

You broke my heart, Cat. And now, Jennifer Garner and I will never be together. I hold you responsible for this tragedy. 😉

Sincerely,
Martin

Bright Guy, Big City

9 Dec

So yeah, I took a couple days off from work last week and spent them down in New York.

And for the first time in a long while, most of the time was spent in the city, playing tourist.

Here are some snapshots from the weekend.

O Christmas Tree: Bean, meet the Christmas tree at 30 Rock. Decided to get my Christmas on, so I spent a bit of time at Rockefeller Center trying to take the perfect picture of the big tree (after all, it’s never too early to start working on next year’s A Very Marty Xmas CD). But as I kept learning, it’s hard to take a picture of a lit-up tree at night. My damned camera didn’t seem to want to focus. This one here is probably the best one I took.

Number one or number two, it’s completely up to you: Best thing ever was Charmin’s second annual, temporary, free public restroom next door to the Virgin Megastore in Times Square. That’s all it is. You go up a tall escalator, wait on line, and you get to use one of the 20 or so toilets. They were spotless (cleaned after each use), colorful, and the attendants were having such a good time helping out that it was hard not to smile. As marketing gimmicks go, this one was pretty fun. And it was really convenient, because at the time, I really had to go.

People watching: Mitzi, Fetus, and I had a very very very minor celeb sighting Thursday night when we spotted Danny, from the New Orleans cast of The Real World, in the Times Square Toys ‘R’ Us just wandering around. And it occured to me how none of the current viewers of that show must know who he is. I think I also saw Andre 3000 from OutKast there. Oh, and Sean Dugan, an old college roommate, was on the same train into the city on Friday, but we didn’t get a chance to talk. And though she’s also on Broadway these days, in Cyrano de Bergerac, you’ll be happy to know I did not stalk wait for Jennifer Garner outside the stage door.

Flame on: Turned a corner at 9th and 44th on Friday and saw this taxi on fire. No one seemed to know how or why it happened. And while I knew the thing could have exploded at any second, for a change I did the stupid thing and got out my camera to take a picture, instead of running for cover. (What?! It’s not like the other people doing the same thing were any smarter than me.) Thankfully, the NYFD showed up just in time and put the fire out.

Show time: As I’ve previously mentioned, seeing Spring Awakening was unexpected. Here’s why. After lunch with Anna on Friday, I decided to hang out in Times Square and go to a couple places, then head back to meet up with Mitzi, Jason, and Fetus for dinner. Long story short, a couple guys on the corner of Broadway and 44th were selling discounted tix to a few shows, including Spring Awakening. Of course I was skeptical, and I did some background checks, even asking a cop a few feet away if he knew if the guys on the corner were scalpers. As it turned out, they were totally legit. So I took the chance, changed my plans, and saved $40 on top seats (12th row center) for what ended up being an awesome show. Money well-spent, even if at the time I felt like I was a total sucker buying Broadway show tickets from a random guy on the street.

Hmmmmm…:Believe it or not, I so enjoyed the day and a half that I spent in New York City that for maybe 15–30 minutes I actually thought about moving there. The cold winds snapped that thought out of me quickly enough, but I suppose that only goes to show you how good a time I had in the Big Apple. I need to do stuff like this more often.