Month: August 2014

Movie Trailer – The Theory of Everything

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: James Marsh
Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, David Thewlis
Release: November 7th, 2014

It’s about time we got a dramatic telling of Stephen Hawking’s life.  This looks a little like A Beautiful Mind but with English people, and I think that’s a good sign.  It’s true, it looks honest, and I for one will be in the theatres to watch it.

DVD Review – Trust Me

Category : DVD Review

Director: Clark Gregg
Starring: Clark Gregg, Saxon Sharbino, Amanda Peet

Year: 2013

You might be asking, who the hell is Clark Gregg?  You’ve probably seen him a dozen times, but he’s not exactly what you’d call a star.  He’s always the federal agent or the army corporal or the TV producer; some guy on the sidelines whose role might not be vital but needs to be filled by somebody.  His biggest roles have come lately, thanks to Marvel, in Iron Man, The Avengers, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  He’s also dabbled in writing & directing, doing both for Choke, the 2008 flop based on the Chuck Palahniuk book (Fight Club).  Anyway, that’s Clark Gregg.  In Trust Me, he tries to do bit of everything; writing, directing, and starring.  A pretty big bite to chew for a C-list celebrity and a fairly amateur filmmaker, so when in doubt, copy.  You’ll get a pretty strong American Beauty feel from this one, but to its credit the film has enough of its own voice to stand out as a solid attempt at drama, an honest story that Clark Gregg was only just talented enough to pull off.

The Movie

Howard is not a very good agent.  Hollywood is all he knows, having been a child star, and he loves his job.  But he can never seem to hold on to his clients, to land the big deal, to make the mark that he’s dying to leave.  He was a failed actor as well, never landing the role of a lifetime, and he’s been chasing that dream ever since, trying to pass it to some kid with a load of talent, someone who will become the star he never was.  But again, Howard’s not very good at this gig.  His rival, Aldo, always sweeps the carpet out from under his feet, and time after time Howard just misses the chance of a lifetime.  That is, until he meets Lydia.
She is the best actress he’s ever come across, the most talented kid he could ever hope to represent.  But she comes with some baggage.  She and her family are from Oklahoma and way out of their comfort.  Her mother is long gone, having run away to Las Vegas with another man.  Her father is a drinker and doesn’t trust a soul.  And that’s the biggest barrier standing in the way of Howard making Lydia a star; trust.  In this business, in this city, you can’t trust anyone, which makes working alongside someone in order to make millions of dollars a very difficult task.  So Howard sets to work getting everyone on the same page, setting up the contracts, building relationships, and attempting to finalize the one & only monster deal of his career, a deal that will actually make a difference.

The number of cameos in this film is ridiculous.  Felicity Huffman (looking terrible, btw), Allison Janney, William H. Macy, Niecy Nash (acting terribly, btw), Sam Rockwell, Molly Shannon; it’s a who’s who of minor celebrities who must have owed Clark Gregg a favor.  Or maybe he’s just the nicest guy in Hollywood, a man everyone loves to work with even if he isn’t really amazing at anything.  Because he shows that in this movie, that he’s OK at writing, directing, and acting, but not great at any of it.  He’s not hunky enough to be a leading man and not quirky enough to be a dark hero.  He’s not brilliant enough to be a big time director but not stupid enough to do throwaway comedies.  He’s a middle-of-the-road guy, and ultimately his film follows suit.
It’s a mediocre movie that has a few things going for it.  It’s fairly funny, especially early on, though the comedy subsides into tragedy pretty quick.  The actors can all do their jobs, but their performances aren’t once-in-a-lifetime.  The story catches your attention, but quickly turns into a American Beauty wannabe.  And the film as a whole feels a bit desperate, a grasping attempt at a depth that can’t quite be reached at this talent level.  I did like Gregg, and I also liked the girl, Saxon Sharbino, what a name.  And Amanda Peet is always cool, that approachable hottie that has just enough issues to make her vulnerable but not crazy.  The cast meshed well together, the plot flowed, but it wasn’t as original as you’d hope.  I guess I can say that I was pleasantly surprised at the beginning but a bit disappointed by the end, leaving me with a mixture of takeaways that might only be resolved by another viewing.  I’m just not sure it’s worth it.


Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the video is top of the line.  There aren’t a lot of chances for amazing cinematography, but the character-to-character scenes are all well-done.  The picture quality is crisp, with a nice color balance, and never detracts from the emotion of the dialogue.
Audio – The audio is done in Dolby Digital 5.1 with an option for English SDH or Spanish subtitles.  The sound quality is fine, with no background problems and a clear resolution.  The music doesn’t add to the film, and actually gives it a copycat vibe, taking away from the believability of the film.
Extras – There are no extras on the DVD.

Final Thoughts

Rent ItTrust Me is a nice attempt at a deep drama.  It makes its points clearly and has some honest things to say.  But in the end, it’s just a good try.  Clark Gregg doesn’t have the talent to pull off such a lofty project, and surrounding himself by a good amount of talented actors didn’t carry the weight enough.  It’s just a good movie but never a great one, failing to reach the goals you can feel the director desperately reaching for.  The video is strong, the audio nice, but there are no extras on the disc.  A mediocre movie that’s just barely worth the 89 minutes it takes to watch it.

☆ ☆ ☆ – Content
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Video
☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio
– Extras
☆ ☆ – Replay

Movie Trailer – Frank

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Starring: Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Fassbender, Maggie Gyllenhaal
Release: August 22nd, 2014

What an absolutely odd idea, but how can we not trust it?  This looks like the strangest dark comedy I’ve ever seen, but I can’t wait to watch it.  Gleeson was perfect in About Time, Fassbender is the biggest thing to hit theatres in the last three years, and Gyllenhall may be the only Hollywood actress that doesn’t make me want to give up.  I’m in.

Movie Review – Thanks for Sharing

Category : Movie Review

Director: Stuart Blumberg
Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Josh Gad, Tim Robbins
Gwyneth Paltrow, Joely Richardson, Patrick Fugit, Pink
Year: 2012

Let’s take a minute to talk about Stuart Blumberg. This is his directorial debut, but he’s been writing screenplays for quite a while. His three films before Thanks for Sharing were Keeping the Faith, The Girl Next Door, and The Kids Are All Right. Those are three very underrated movies with very well-written stories. So this might be Blumberg’s first attempt at directing, but he knows his way around a plot. He also knows Mark Ruffalo, having worked with him on The Kids. Talk about underrated. Ruffalo is a very talented guy, someone who flies under the radar too often and doesn’t get the credit he deserves. We Don’t Live Here Anymore, Eternal Sunshine, Zodiac, Blindness, Shutter Island, and soon Foxcatcher; all films that feature Ruffalo’s talent in a variety of ways. So combine Blumberg, Ruffalo, & a fascinating cast and you’ve got a film that, at the very least, will have you talking tomorrow.
This is a movie about addiction. Adam, a good-looking executive, is a sex addict. He’s been sober for five years, meaning no porn, no prostitutes, no masturbation, anything sexual relegated to a committed relationship only. Mike is his mentor and is also a recovering addict. Add alcohol to his list, a drug that nearly destroyed his family before he regained control with the help of the support group he now heads. Neil is an anxiety-ridden doctor who’s coping mechanisms are sex & food, two things that he just can’t seem to get enough of. This a story of the lives of these three men, how they cope with their addictions, and the events that lead them to change, both good & bad. Adam meets beautiful Phoebe and struggles with dating, Mike can’t welcome back the son has that has been estranged for so many years, and Neil attempts friendship with a female after dehumanizing them for so long. Each character attempts to live one day at a time, controlling an addiction that they refuse to let control their happiness anymore.

Good thing the acting was spot of in this one, because the subject matter was intense. It’s labeled as a romantic comedy, but it’s not that at all. It’s an addiction tale, a snapshot of the difficulties of beating & living with a demon that wants nothing more than to rip your life to shreds. It’s extremely honest & forthcoming, leaving no details safely locked away. Disease, court orders, self-hatred, anger, relapses; the naked truth is right here to watch and it’s not pretty. Now, this is still a Hollywood film, it’s not a brutal documentary, but the reality of the situation is here on display and the actors do all they can to portray it. This is a movie that definitely is relevant to the issues of today; many people suffer with addiction, whether that be a sex addiction or something related to drugs and alcohol.

Despite the sensitive issues they’re discussing in the film, Ruffalo is great, as always, Robbins is solid, and Gad is surprisingly good as Neil. He has some really revealing moments that were probably personally difficult, but he holds nothing back with this character. Even Pink was strong in a small role and her presence felt believable rather than a ploy to attract audiences. The same could be said for the film; it nailed its goal, to shed light on addiction, and it never felt like a cheap trick to get us to watch. The story was honest, the actors were committed, and the movie as a whole succeeded.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


Sports – Advice from FanDuel

Category : Sports

Here’s a little fantasy football advice from Ben Ridge &

Philip Rivers Could Make San Diego A Super Bowl Contender

Last season, there were more than a few people surprised that the San Diego Chargers were able to make the playoffs. Many thought it would be a rebuilding process for them, especially with the new coaching staff. However, they made the playoffs and won a game in the wild card round. Philip Rivers is not satisfied, and he is hoping to have even more success individually in fantasy football and collectively with his team.

Rivers has the reputation of a guy who at some times turns the ball over too much and does not get enough protection from his offensive line. However, he is arguably coming off his best season ever with the San Diego Chargers, as he was able to pass for around 4500 yards and 32 touchdowns in 2013. He took control of the offense very well, as he was only picked off a total of 11 times.

In fantasy football, Rivers is considered to be a backup quarterback according to most. He has the chance to put up some pretty nice numbers this year, and he could work himself inside the top 10. That is why he is being slept on not only in fantasy football, but in the NFL in general.

The defense is better in San Diego, and the offense is healthier. Rivers was able to do quite a bit with a depleted roster last year, so theoretically they could be even better in 2014. Yes, guys like Keenan Allen will need to back up lofty numbers from a season ago, but this team is definitely going to be dangerous out West. After years and years of underachieving, it might be time for San Diego to be an under the radar Super Bowl contender. All it takes is a solid quarterback stepping his game up to another level to roll off a few wins.

Movie Trailer – The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Ned Benson
Starring: James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader
Release: October 10, 2014

So, this is actually three movies.  It’s one plot seen from three different points of view; His, Her, and Them.  There will be three movies showing the same love story from different perspectives; odd, I know.  It’s an interesting concept, but a few things make me skeptical that it will work.  A) I don’t like Jessica Chastain.  2) James McAvoy does an American accent? And blue) Ned Benson is a first-time director.  Seems like a few too many red flags.

Movie Review – Great Expectations (2012)

Category : Movie Review

Director: Mike Newell
Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Helena Bonham Carter, Jason Flemyng
Year: 2012

I just watched the 1998 version of the same tale, Great Expectations done as a modern love story.  It, of course, was stylized very uniquely, setting the action in New York City, making the main character an artist, changing some names.  It stuck to the basic plot, but definitely made love the focal point, made the relationship between Pip & Estella one of star-crossed-lovers.  This film could not have been more different.  It’s been years since I’ve taken a look at the novel, but here is a version that sticks to the original format, keeps the same time period, and creates a story about one young man’s expectations and the events in his life that lead him there.  This is a period piece where the other was a re-imagining.  It’s hard to compare the two and pick a favorite, since they are so different, but if I were to rewatch one it’d be the 2012 version.  It’s a well-made adaptation, modernly acted but classically set, a movie that will make you want to read what I remember as a fairly boring book.
Pip is a young boy of the English laboring class.  His only aspirations are to become a blacksmith some day, just like his Uncle Joe, who is part father part best friend.  But destiny might have other plans.  Pip stumbles into the life of an escaped convict, a man named Magwitch who is on the run & looking for revenge.  Helping the man isn’t actually very helpful, as the authorities catch him anyway, but Pip will always remember the experience vividly.  He also soon meets a beautiful young woman of his same age, Estella, a girl in the care of the very strange & very rich Ms. Havisham.  Pip falls in love with Estella instantly, but knows he will always be outclassed by the girl who seems to have no heart.  But when a mysterious benefactor pays for Pip to move to London, things begin to look up.  He is trained to be a gentleman, taught the ways of the wealthy, and his entire existence is altered, all at the whim of someone who want’s Pip to have much greater expectations than the ones to which he was born.
If you like period pieces and you don’t mind them not having Keira Knightley, this is the film for you.  It’s a classic representation of the famous novel, a movie that strives for period perfection in all things, from the manner of dress to the accents, the buildings to the vast class differences.  It was even made to look like an older film at times, with a lighting and slight blur that had the feel of a ancient tome come to life.  So, if that’s your thing, you won’t be disappointed.  I wouldn’t automatically say that it’s mine, but I found myself enjoying the movie regardless.  The mood was just right, the plot moved just quickly enough, and the acting was incredible.  I recently saw Jeremy Irvine is War Horse and I thought he was just OK.  As Pip, he was tremendous.  So were Ralph Fiennes as Magwitch and Helena Bonham Carter as Ms. Havisham.  None of the actors ever came off as cheesy English Shakespearean dramatists; they kept the characters grounded and thus made the movie feel believable.  The story is one many of us already know, but it comes to life here in a film that boasts wonderful visuals and strong support, a movie we can learn to love the book through.

My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Movie Trailer – My Old Lady

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Israel Horovitz
Starring: Kevin Kline, Maggie Smith, Kristin Scott Thomas
Release: September 10th, 2014

It’s not that this looks bad, it’s that it looks boring.   I don’t think I want to watch a movie about people slowly dying wild accordions play in the background.  And Kevin Kline just doesn’t do it for me anyway, I just never got around to liking him.

Sports – Pater Familias 2014

Category : Sports

Fantasy Football season is here!
Here is my team:

QBJay Cutler (Chi) – I’m hoping for 30+ TDs and a career year.
QBRussell Wilson (Sea) – Just in case Cutler tanks, or the Hawks play the Bears.

RBAdrian Peterson (Min) – Old reliable in a purple shirt.  AP all day.
RBMontee Ball (Den) – I’m a Broncos fan but I’m not being a homer.
RBBishop Sankey (Ten) – We’ll see when/if he starts, but he’s got talent.
RBFred Jackson (Buf) – Quietly scores much more than people realize.

WRBrandon Marshall (Chi) – Cutler to Marshall should be a nice combo.
WRAndre Johnson (Hou) – He’s not a superstar, but man the guy gets yards.
WRJeremy Maclin (Phi) – The Eagles should score and Maclin should get a piece.
WRReggie Wayne (Ind) – The old man; not a bad off-the-bench fill-in.

TEVernon Davis (SF) – He may not equal last season, but 10 TDs is possible.
TECharles Clay (Mia) – Backup TEs are not a vital necessity.

KJustin Tucker (Bal) – Scored a ton of fantasy points last year.
KDan Carpenter (Buf) – I don’t know why, but I’m rooting for the Bills to succeed.

Def San Francisco – A stout D that can find the endzone.
DefPittsburgh – Not the beast it once was, but not terrible either.

Movie Trailer – Love, Rosie

Category : Movie Trailer

Director: Christian Ditter
Starring: Lily Collins, Sam Claflin
Release: October 22nd, 2014

See, the feeling that What If gave me is completely the opposite of the vibe I’m getting from Love, Rosie.  The two-friends-in-love plot has been redone about a million times, but every once in a while someone gets it right.  I have a sneaky suspicion that these guys are about to get it wrong.