Friday, November 28, 2008

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 4

So what is this one about?
The laughs continue in the fourth season of this delightfully mean-spirited comedy series. Four friends -- Mac (Rob McElhenney), Dennis (Glenn Howerton), Charlie (Charlie Day) and Dee (Kaitlin Olson) -- run Paddy's, an Irish pub in South Philadelphia. Tackling a host of dicey issues ranging from abortion to mental illness, the series co-stars Danny DeVito as Frank, Charlie's father and the gang's shifty partner in crime.
And how much did I pay to watch?
I didn't pay anything. Some gentlemen I know have been yapping on and on about getting on (that is NBC's video site, as an fyi, if you didn't know) because all of It's Always Sunny 4 is on there. Well, I couldn't do that until I had finished Season 3. Well, I did, and fortunately the whole season is already posted.

Seriously, go to hulu. It is pretty awesome.

And what did I think?
Well, as Charlie says in the finale "I will slap your face off of your face"...if you don't agree that this is the funniest season yet! I had so many moments where I really laughed out loud, holy crap. This clip from "Who Pooped the Bed?" was one of those ones...

This episode was one of the most hilarious ones. For serious. Any episode that Artemis was in automatically became funnier. She is hilarious!!

Other episodes that I found ultra hilarious were "Mac and Charlie Die: Part 1" when Mac becomes enamored with, and wears around, a wedding dress. You know, so many episodes in Season 4 were laugh out loud hilarious. I swear to jeebus. Like this one,

and this one,

(yes, I know it is infantile to laugh at something like this)
and this...which I laughed at a ridiculous amount when I first viewed it,

(I swear, if you didn't watch those clips Ima be pissed, I will smack your face off of your face)

Danny Devito is such a creepy little troll in this show that he really makes my skin crawl. To see him padding around in his sleep shirt in like 4 episodes makes me want to vomit. I am pretty sure he must have had some sort of "no pants" clause in his contract, because jesus, he is sans pants a lot!

Did you know that Fred Savage is one of the directors? Yes, Fred Savage from The Wonder Years. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

And as I have said with all the other seasons, man, the men on this show are hot. Dennis (though creepy) is hot. And Charlie too, I don't know why the waitress wont go for him.

I will say one last tiny thing about this season. The finale, where Mac goes to rape Dennis (whoops, SPOILER) and Dennis asks him "dude, do you have a boner?" Jesus, I almost died laughing. I wonder if there is some sort of analysis of that musical on the internet somewhere. Hmmm.... there probably is. You can find all sorts of insane stuff on the internet.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
Well, like I said, this season is hilarious. I may go buy it when it comes out on dvd because the more I watch the episodes the more amazing they get. Not only that, but I've watched the finale on hulu a million times and sing along with Dee's song Which is so weird and creepy, but still so catchy!!

It has been awhile, well, since Flight of the Conchords that I've been so excited about a show. This is great. I can fully get behind that statement now. Season 4 gets a 10!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


So what is this one about?
At first I thought this movie didn't actually exist. But, apparently it does. I have seen it. And Netflix describes it as
Academy Award winner Oliver Stone directs an all-star cast in this satiric retrospective of the life and political career of George W. Bush (Josh Brolin), from his troubles as a young adult through his governorship of Texas and all the way to the Oval Office. Among the key supporting players are Richard Dreyfuss as veep Dick Cheney, Elizabeth Banks as first lady Laura Bush and Thandie Newton as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
And how much did I pay to watch?
Well, I went and saw it with Mike at Cinema De Lux. I think the tickets there cost like $11. We also ate a lot of food. They have a starbucks there and I got some tea. And a pretzel. It was nice, but I think he paid for that because I am wildly underemployed.

And what did I think?
Honestly, I thought it was undignified. So, so, so undignified. I mean, be serious, I don't love GWB. I don't hate him like my mother does (man, she gets INSANE over him!) but it is still the president after all! To paint a portrait of him as an idiot, stunted, developmentally retarded man-child is mental. I mean, be serious!!! Why couldn't Oliver Stone have waited another six months before releasing this movie? It makes O.S. seem like an asshole.

The movie was ridiculous. It was incredibly hard to tell if the movie was supposed to be serious or if it was supposed to be mocking Bush, his entire life, and his entire administration. I thought it might have been a dumbing down of the Bush Administration so idiot Americans who don't read newspapers could understand what has been happening for the last 8 years. It was impossible to tell.

But, the casting was awesome! Again, it was hard to tell if the castings were somehow supposed to have been jabs at these actual people. For example, Mike and I actually laughed out loud when "Karl Rove" first appeared. He was such a troll it was impossible not to laugh. That casting, I am going to assume, was a total joke. See...Richard Dryefuss played Dick Cheeney like an evil gremlin, James Cromwell played GHWB...but with absolutely no accent or change to his voice or mannerisms, Ellen Burstyn played Barbara Bush as a HUGE grumpy-ass, grandma beyatch, ROB CORDDRY played Ari Fleischer (another casting that I laughed out loud at) and beautiful Elizabeth Banks was the most realistic portrayer of her person--Laura Bush. Well, I take that back. Thandie Newtown portrayed Condi Rice. And holy shit!
She completely physically transformed herself. Her mannerisms, the way she walked, the way she helf her mouth, all of it! It was extraordinary!! Now, of course, there were times I chuckled to myself because all in all, it was just so entirely ridiculous. I mean, Condi is a professional woman, and to have her portrayed by a glamazon Brit actress picking apart all of her mannerisms was just undignified.

And like I said, that is how I would describe the entire film. Just unnecessary and entirely undignified.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
Well, if this movie were a mockmentary, or mockufilm I would give it a 9. But I don't know that it was supposed to be. It was interesting to watch, especially with a big politico like Mike, but it was absurd. If I were rating it as a regular movie I would give it no more than a 5.


So what is this one about?
Netflix tells us,
An American couple (Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer) seeking to smooth out their rough marriage buys a ticket on the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway. But a chance meeting with two other passengers ends in an accidental murder and high intrigue. Ben Kingsley and Thomas Kretschmann co-star as two Russian police officers trying to solve the baffling case in Brad Anderson's taut and gritty thriller.
And how much did I pay to watch?
I didn't pay anything. Last week, after my mom got her endoscopy, before I got my colonoscopy, we went to the biggest dang blockbuster I've ever seen! Well, at least since the days of the huge BB at FairCity Mall (aka: the dirt mall)...anyway, I rented all three John Adams dvds and then I saw this one. Now, I had wanted to see it at Cinema Arts, and fortutiously, there it was, conveniently on a day where I had nothing else to do but sit and starve. So, she rented it, and it cost her a lot (I think like $20 for four dvds), but it cost me yay!

And what did I think?
Now, interestingly enough I didn't really know what this movie was about when I decided I wanted to see it in the theatre. I figured that a movie called Transsiberian would be right up my alley. I was suprised when I read the back of the disc at BB and then even more suprised when I realized the movie was about drug trafficking, NOT human trafficking. Then, after I watched the movie and was writing this I was even more suprised that the netflix description was much more accruate than what I thought it was about. har. All this demonstrates is that I can really be an idiot sometimes.

So, this leaves the question of what did I think about this movie? Well, I thought it was really good. Much much much better than that stupidass movie Eastern Promises. You know, I feel like I can say I am somewhat of a knowledgeable person regarding Eastern Europe and all that shit (what, with the MA and stuff)..and what I saw in Transsiberian is much more realistic for an American, uneducated in the ways of Eastern Europe, audience. A land of understated beauty, sadness, and mystery with a people who have had it tough, but somehow have made it work (wether that is good or not)--now, of course, I sound like a guidebook or somesort of Russo-phile...which I don't think I am.

Another thing that lent amazing credibility to this movie was the fact that the settings were so authentic. Looking at I learned that this movie was filmed in Lithuania, so there IS authenticity...with the trains and the snow and shite. (another movie that uses authentic trains was Darjeeling Limited and that makes the movie so much more realistic)

I also found myself talking to the screen as I watched this. Especially towards the end of the film when it turned out to be a bit more like an American action film than like a film chronicling what life can be like in EE. I guess that means I cared about the characters and what happened to them.

All in all, it was very enjoyable, and much more authentic than other movies I have seen that purport to be like this one. Stupid Eastern Promises. Don't bother with that one.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
Like I said, it was good. It was really like being trasnported back in time when I rode those trains around Ukraine and Hungary. Train travel in the US is like another world comparitively. Hmm, I should ride more trains.

I digress. This was enjoyable and I would def reccommend it to anyone who wants to watch a film like this. I give it a 7.5.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Season 3

So what is this one about?
I am using netflix, rather than FX, to tell you about this show (like you don't know what it is, already)
The gang from Paddy's Pub return for more offbeat, hilarious humor in this cult favorite's third season. This year, Mac (Rob McElhenney), Dennis (Glenn Howerton) and Dee (Kaitlin Olson) try out for the Philadelphia Eagles, Dennis inherits the ultimate party house, Frank (Danny DeVito) believes Mac is a serial killer, a restaurateur kicks Paddy's off the list for the annual pub crawl, and Charlie makes the pub a prize in a dance marathon.
ta freaking dah.

And how much did I pay to watch?
I would like to point out that I had to wait over a month to get this one on dvd. Stoop netflix and it's dvd sending structure. But, it is three discs, and at $2.83 per disc it cost $8.49 to watch all three. I guess it would have been cheaper (read: free) to watch it on hulu, but i feel like stuff I watch on the internet isn't official and I am afraid I have missed something. I am odd. I admit it.

And what did I think?
Hmm, what did I think. I was entertained. This show is certainly something else. It is so, um, scandalous and offensive (to people who are offended by tv) and yet amusing as well. I love the shit all way that Mac and Dennis (and Frank, and I guess Charlie) treat Dee. You will remember, of course, that I was compared to Sweet Dee by two people from my high school, so of course I feel some comraderie with her. Even when she makes mistakes and is no better than her cruel brother I still like her. I mean, come on, we've all gotten addicted to heroin before, right? right?? and made a crippled preist's life miserable, right? right.

This season was not as good as season 1, I thought. I had fewer laugh out loud times. But, it was still entertaining. There were plenty of quoteable moments, like "Day Man" and "Night Man" and "fatty McGee". I mean, if you have seen the show you know that these guys are trying to basically be in the poorest possible taste. BUT, if that is your scene, you'll like it.

Oh yeah, and the episode where Dennis (hot) tries to be a hippie but just ends up screwing the other hippie's gf and then dumping her....CLASSIC! I like those episodes where you think any of the five might be doing something good but then you are an idiot, because these are the five worst people in the entire world. I mean, yeah, they're tv characters, but be serious.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
I gave season 3 4 stars on netflix, which is what I gave season 1 and 2. Thus, I will give Season 3 of IASIP an 8. It is funny, and amusing, not amazing, but still totally awesome.

The Last Laugh (Der Letzte Mann)(1924)

So what is this one about?
Well, my beloved tells us,
One of German director F.W. Murnau's most brilliant silent films, The Last Laugh uses a constantly moving and subjective camera to capture the emotional anguish of a man whose life is suddenly devoid of meaning. An elderly hotel doorman is demoted to washroom attendant and must give up his prized uniform. Crestfallen, he spends the day wandering the city, getting drunk and trying desperately to hang on to a shred of hope.
Ah yes, depression, hopelessness, and crushing sadness. Sounds just like my type of film.

And how much did I pay to watch?
Hmm, lets see here....well, its been over thirty days since I got the movie, I got it on September 9 (YIKES) and returned it on October 29. Does that show you how long it is taking me to watch a movie?? I can't even price that out. shooooooooooooooooooot

And what did I think?
One of the things that was so incredible about this film was the lead actor, Emil Jannings (or, walrus mustache, if you prefer), and his ability to change his physical being in order to communicate the utter despair, hopelessness, and humiliation he felt at being demoted, and losing his beloved and respected job.

One thing I really hated about this film was the 'epilogue'. As mentioned, the movie was entirely silent and only twice were intertitles used to explain the movement of the story. The epilogue intertitle says
"Here the story should really end, for, in real life, the forlorn old man would have little to look forward to but death. The author took pity on him and has provided a quite improbable epilogue."
And, let me tell you, improbable is no joke. It turned a movie that was crushing and hopeless into a stupid, trite, "Hollywood" happy ending. (It is of course "hollywood" vs. hollywood, because it is a German film, and they didn't do hollywood. At least as far as I understand) The movie could have ended with the poor old walrus mustasche all crumpled in the bathroom where he is the attendant, with the night watchman's flashlight on him. I mean, he looks like some animal who is trapped in a cage. It was a really striking image. I don't know what it would have said about life, or film, or anything. I mean, if that movie doesn't say that life is totally worthless, that you can lose the only thing that makes your life worth living and then no one will care and everyone will just kick you while you're down, I don't know what will.

Instead, the filmmaker (really?!) decided to add an epilogue where the walrus mustache was an attendant to a rich man and then the rich man dies and leaves all his money to the attendant. Then as the newly rich walrus mustache uses the bathroom he is kind to the attendant and is mean to the rich person who treats the new attendant like trash. While I appreciate that message at the end about being kind to people who are "under" you, it just seemed out of sync with the rest of the film.

No matter, I thought it was pretty good. It would have been much better without the end, but then if it had ended where it should have ended I don't know what i would have thought.

The rest of the film was good enough. It was confusing to not have any intertitles telling me what was going on. It was something I was entirely not used to as afar as silent films go.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
It was interesting to see a film like this. Additionally, FW Murnau is like one of the most famous directors evar. However, the end of the movie really didn't do anything for me. On Netflix I gave this film a 3 out of 5. I think I will give it a 7 here. I mean, it was interesting (which is mostly the reason I get all these silent films, to experience what films used to be like as part of my ongoing film education) but it wasn't extraordinary.

Friday, November 14, 2008

MSNBC's "Witness to Jonestown"

So what is this one about?
I am going to go real lazy on this one and have MSNBC describe this for me. Afterall, it was Lester Holt's preview of the film on Nightly News that made me super excited to watch it!

And how much did I pay to watch?
I didn't pay anything! I watched it on a DVR that my mom recorded on TV. I don't pay for the cable, and I didn't pay for the disc. Because I am a mooch who still lives with my parents. Go me!

And what did I think?
I normally wouldn't review a tv documentary. I really, really wouldn't. However, one thing you might not know about me is my unfailing dedication to NBC and its networks, its anchormen (I'm looking at you Brian Williams), and its programming (except not Dateline or To Catch a Predator...I have to still be picky, I mean, be serious). This one, however, was totally worthy of a review. It demonstrates what happens when people have no more options. It was amazing.

I didn't know anything about Jim Jones or his People's Temple. I only vaguely understood that when people said things like "drink the kool-aid" they meant to fall in line. And one time when I was in middle, or maybe even elementary school, my family went on a trip and stayed in Johnstown, PA. They had a big flood there, and our hotel room looked out over a cemetery. And then I remember that when I heard Jonestown I thought I had been there because I thought Jonestown, Guyana and Johnstown, PA were the same place. What can I say? I am dumb. And then I remember this amazing episode of The X-Files, called, the "The Field Where I Died" that was about a religious cult/commune where everyone ended up killing themselves. It was one of my absolute favorite episodes of that show. So, to actually learn about the event, in the form of a documentary, (which I LOVE) was super cool.

The program itself was actually very well done. Using former members of the People's Temple and surviors of Jonestown gave the documentary a very authentic feel that wasn't from a judgemental newsperson point of view. And it was just SO fascinating!

So fascinating, in fact, that I had to go and get another Jonestown documentary from netflix.

I will probably go into what I think Jonestown means for society in the review of the other film. But, for now I will say, if you want to borrow "Witness to Jonestown" let me know. It is seriously awesome.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
I know I said it is seriously awesome, but, lets keep in mind that it is an NBC doc. I would never ever slander NBC, but, it is what it is.

I give it an 8.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


(*note* I started writing this review immediately after I watched this film. Weirdly, this was over two months ago, on September 9. I keep thinking I will be able to say something profound about this one, but I just keep turning over the same things in my mind. And if the point of writing this blog was so I could remember what I thought of movies I watched, I guess I should write my opinions after I watch them. So, if some of the stuff in this entry is oddly tensed, or has an odd timeline, well, thats why. Here it goes...)

So what is this one about?
My beloved tells us about one of Heath Ledger's last films. They say,
Two young bohemians hooked on each other -- and on smack -- head down the path to perdition in this potent drama directed by Neil Armfield. Giddily in love, Dan (Heath Ledger) and Candy (Abbie Cornish) soon find themselves swept up in a vortex of addiction that inexorably unravels their relationship and their lives. Geoffrey Rush is outstanding as the indulgent chemistry professor (and functional junkie) who supplies the couple with heroin.
And how much did I pay to watch?
I paid $1.30 with my monthly Netflix. I was shocked to calculate this because it hasn't seemed like I've watched much. Between four discs of The Tudors, two lost/damaged discs, and one movie I got for my mom to watch while I was in New York, it doesn't seem like I've seen much. I guess I have though and I've just been terribly lazy at updating this guy.

And what did I think?
Well, I still can't figure out Abbie know, fat face/skinny body (see Stop-Loss) but she was really quite surprisingly amazing as Candy. She played tortured, conflicted, weak, crazy, and sad so well. it was quite amazing.

In fact, Heath Ledger and Abbie Cornish together were amazing. They had this energy between them. I guess they had good chemistry. But not sexual chemistry, they had this sparking intensity between them. It really was like they were the characters. It was like they had all these levels between them, like the audience would really think they were watching real people with a history. I guess as an actor you can fake that intimacy, but I can't imagine that it is easy. Yet, watching them it seemed like they were so effortless. It was also quite amazing.

It was a little odd to watch Heath Ledger. I guess I probably yapped about that when I did The Dark Knight, but I will repeat a bit here. It is truly bizarre, because I wasn't a huge fan of his. I mean, he is a good actor. Was, I mean. But watching him more closely now because he is dead I see that he is an effortless actor. Everything was so natural, and he was so layered. It was also amazing. I kept thinking to myself, yes, I really was, "wow, it is like watching a fallen angel". And if you know me in real life you'll know I wouldn't say things like that. But that is what I kept thinking.

This movie is based on a book, of the same name, written by Luke Davies. I am going to read it, because the movie was so good, I imagine the book will be just as excellent.
I guess that is how the book was written, really.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
Rating this film is hard, because I can't think of much I would change about it. That leads me to believe that it was a perfect film, which I am sure it wasn't. But the acting was so extraordinary. I mean, it was some of the best acting I've seen in forever. And overall it was just so beautiful.

But hot damn, the acting. The acting deserves a 100. It was fantastic.

I will give the movie a 9, because I don't think it was a 10, but it was sure good.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Les Miserables (1934)

So what is this one about?
Well, as you may or may not know, Les Miserables is not only one of my favorite books but also my absolute favorite musical. It is an amazing and touching story about the goodness of people no matter what their background. It is about forgiveness and absolution. One of my favorite lines of the musical is "to love another person is to see the face of god" and then also, (and this is a line that chokes me up when I have to say it outloud) "He let me eat my fill, I had the lion's share" (because "He" is in reference to a preist who let Jean Valjean--a former convict--stay at his house, despite the fact that he was a convict, and treated him like anyother, "he gave me his trust, he called me brother, he told me that I had a soul...") Anyway. You can read about the actual novel Les Miserables here, and then the musical here. But the movie, well, the movie has many incarnations...including a shittay version made in the 1990s with Liam Neeson as Valjean and Uma Thurman as Fantine (LAAAAAAME)

Anyway, my beloved told me that this movie was one of the most accurate adaptations of the over 1200 page novel. They said,
After serving a prison sentence for stealing a loaf of bread, Jean Valjean (Harry Baur) attempts to start a new life. But relentless lawman Javert (Charles Vanel), driven by Valjean's minor parole infraction, hunts him down in an unending pursuit. Helmed by revered French director Raymond Bernard, this five-hour epic is considered by many to be the finest film adaptation of Victor Hugo's literary classic.
So, I said to myself, sure, I have five hours. I'll get it!!

And how much did I pay to watch?
I've said it one time if I've said it 100. I haven't had as much time to watch movies. Between the two discs of this movie I'd say it took nearly two weeks to watch the whole movie. But, it cost about $5.66 for the two discs. Yikeso!

And what did I think?
Oh, what did I think? Well, I totally agree that it was pretty accurate as far as the book goes. Translating a 1200 page tome to a five hour movie is difficult, and I will admit that there were big chunks cut out of the story. Thankfully, the parts that were cut out had a lot to do with the Cosette/Marius love story plot line. Now, because I am such a terrible hag who hates love and people being happy, it didn't make me unhappy to cut out the superflouos love story plotline. The important plots in this book/movie/musical revolve around Valjean and his redemption and the student revolution.

The adherence to the Valjean storyline was flawless. It was super duper. Just fantastic! (The movie was divided into three parts, the first of which was entirely devoted to Valjean, and the second of which was at least half dedicated to him. The revolution plotline was sort of unclear. If I hadn't already been familliar with the plot I would have been confused as to what was going on. Finally, as for the romantical plotline, they left out a huge chunk. I would be forced to beleive that these two lovebirds met and were just in love automatically--which is what the muscial leads me to believe as well--which is not what Hugo tells us. However, I don't really care. Mostly, because the actress who played Cosette was 100% annoying and ridiculous. Now, as far as the actor who played the other characters, Valjean was amazing. At first I thought the actor was too bulky and ridiculous (because most of the Valjeans I have seen in the musical are more dimuntive and short but stocky and muscular) but I really found him to be endearing. The other actors were only so so.

One of the extraordinary things about the film was the film itself. I have no idea how, who, and when the film was restored, but unlike other movies from the 1930s that I watch on dvd, this one was of such high, clear quality that it easily could have been a movie that was made in the 1970s. The copy was so clear, and fresh.

The quality of the filmmaking was quite good as well. There was this scene that was supposed to be doing an aerial shot of Paris, but it was clearly a model that was filmed. Now, the model and the switching of the scale model to the actual street shot of Paris was flawless. It stands out in my mind as one of the most incredible parts of the film, considering the year it was made.

One of the only problems I had with the acting was some of the characters/actors propensity to yell rather than speak in a normal voice. I chalk that up to the year the film was made and that perhaps "talkies" were still a fairly new type of film.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
It was good. I will give it that. Other than the musical, which takes artistic liberties with the longass stor, it is the best adaptation I have seen. I mean, practically perfect.

The fact that I knew the story made watching this long movie more understandable. My background of the music made me hum the music along with where it would belong in the film. That actually made it more enjoyable.

Now, despite the fact that I have very little negative to say about it, it doesn't stick with me as something extraordinarily amazing. So, I give it an 8.