5 Quick Reviews of 5 New Films on DVD in February

In honor of the Academy Awards I’ve decided to…

*Hey! I just met you. And this is crazy.*

Hold on I have to take this.

Particular Set of Skills

“I don’t know who you are but I hear you’re reviewing Taken 2. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money.”

Then call me after you hit an ATM, damn.

*Click*

Wrong number.

Anyway what I was saying was that I finally saw the…

*Hey! I just met you. And this is crazy.*

Hold on.

what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.

“What I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you.”

No hablo Ingles. No hablo. K? Thanx bye.

*click*

Telemarketers… Am I right?

I finally got to see The Master. Is what I was trying to say before I got interrupted…

*Hey! I just met you. And this is crazy.*

Gotta take this. Bitches be crazy. Am I right?

Hola.

If you give me a good review, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.

If you give me a good review, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.

Dude. It’s just a blog. Chill the fuck out Qui-Gon. You bloody psychopath.

*click*

Let’s just get right to the reviews.

The Master (The Weinstein Company)

The Master Poster

Written & Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson

Starring Joaquin PhoenixPhilip Seymour HoffmanAmy Adams

The master is superb film-making and sensational acting. Paul Thomas Anderson is a master of the cinematic art form. In this work he reminds me at times of David Lean and at others of Stanley Kubrick (I do not throw those names around lightly) It is astonishingly original and rich and engrossing.

Philip Seymour Hoffman The Master

The writing however is sub par. The story itself annoyed me somewhat. And the lead character is very frustrating and also annoying.

Joaquin Phoenix The Master

Even though Joaquin Phoenix brings the goods once again, his character rubbed me the wrong way; Like nails on a chalkboard. But the film is beautiful in every other possible way. Music, Photography, Acting, Pacing… just gorgeous. A master class in film-making. The entire cast is amazing especially the always wonderful Amy Adams.

Amy Adams The Master

Rent it

I’ve heard that The Master is a thinly veiled history of the creation of Scientology and of it’s insane founder, L. Ron Hubbard. I don’t want to get on the bad side of these extremely litigious and bat-shit crazy cultists so I won’t say anything disparaging about their moronic pseudo religion.

But I used to run a bookstore near one of their centers and every day I would have to chase them out of the Science Fiction section with a broom… like vermin. And what were they doing over there, you might ask? Making sure that the L. Ron Hubbard books were face-out on the shelves. Geez.

“Mel, we got a tolly in SciFi again.”

*grabs the broom*

“Get out of here ya damn tolly!”

*Hey! I just met you. And this is crazy.*

I gotta change that fucking ringtone.

“I don’t who you are but I hear you’re reviewing Taken 2. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money.”

“I don’t know who you are but I hear you’re reviewing Taken 2. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you..”

Yeah yeah. You have “SKILLS”. Is this a recording? I could swear we did this already.

*click*

NEXT!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Summit Entertainment)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower Poster

Written & Directed by Stephen Chbosky (based on his novel of the same name)

Starring Logan Lerman, Emma Watson & Ezra Miller

The Perk of Being a Wallflower was better than I thought it would be. I enjoyed this film for its portrayals of teen angst and identity. And for the great 80’s music throughout including my favorite David Bowie song as a pivotal plot point.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The acting is decent to good. Emma Watson is beautiful as the object of the main character’s affection and in time I feel that her acting ability will catch up to her looks.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Much like Sienna Miller or Halle Berry or Charlize Theron before her, she needs to add acting chops to her pretty face in order to be taken seriously.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a flawed film and it takes itself too seriously at times. But I really liked the cast and I’ve always loved stories about outcasts who embrace their status. Add to the cast and the premise some great Rocky Horror Picture Show songs & staged scenes and you have an enjoyable film that just comes up a little short.

But rent it anyway for that great 80’s music.

Rent it.

Taken 2 (20th Century Fox)

Taken 2 Poster

Directed by Olivier Megaton

Written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen

Starring Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen & Rade Šerbedžija

I must admit that I expected to hate this movie and instead liked it a lot. The action sequences, chase & fight scenes are so well-written it makes up for the bad dialogue and all those international spy thriller clichés.

Taken 2

The fights are well-choreographed. Car chases are intense and Liam Neeson’s “man with a particular set of skills” this second time around is a more complete character.

Taken 2

A very flawed character. Bad at personal relationships. Full of mistrust, OCD, emotionally crippled and distant…

Taken 2

but still severely kick-ass. Taken 2 was good. It was very good and now I want a third.

Rent it

Liam Neeson

No you. You psychopath.

…speaking of which.

Seven Psychopaths (CBS Films)

Seven Psychopaths Poster

Written & Directed by Martin McDonagh

Starring Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Woody Harrelson, Christopher Walken, Tom Waits, Abbie Cornish & Olga Kurylenko

Seven Psychopaths was an interesting, fun and quirky crime drama, black comedy with an all-star cast. Every character is three-dimensional and well-acted and of course… psychotic.

Seven Psychopaths

I enjoy this genre of film. The thriller where the writer is an unwilling main character. Where the plot falls into his lap and it’s like he’s writing the movie as he goes along. I love these movies because they create a sense of jeopardy for the writer. Where traditionally the narrator lives to tell the tale. When the story is writing itself, all bets are off.

Seven Psychopaths

I liked this film. It might be a little too quirky for some people but I like strange criminals. And the casting is outstanding. All of these actors are among my favorites and they are in their element.

Seven Psychopaths

…playing crazed but likable bad guys.

Rent it

Wreck It Ralph (Disney)

Wreck It Ralph Poster

Directed by Rich Moore

Written by Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee, Rich Moore & Jim Reardon

Starring  John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer & Jane Lynch

This is a good movie. What makes a good animated feature you ask? Good story, good characters and good voice acting. Wreck it Ralph has all three in spades.

Wreck It Ralph

Action packed and fun. This is the best animated film of 2012. The most creative and original animated film of 2012 by far. So much better than Disney’s Brave. Which I could barely get through. (She poisons her mother. How is that cute?)

Wreck It Ralph

I know that Tron has already done the human entering a video game thing but this is about video game characters crossing over into other games.

Wreck It Ralph

A great idea. Well executed.

I’ve been disappointed with recent Hollywood animated features. The quality has declined in favor of the easy to merchandise, straight to DVD spin-off ready, simplified morality tale. Kid stuff has been dumbed-down extensively. What happened to the artistic and sophisticated children’s movies? I’m sick of these silly films. Oh sure the kids love the colors and the over-all silliness and the corporations love that they can make lots of money and can inspire easily churned out, straight to DVD spin-off videos. But what about art?

The Motion Picture Academy should stop recognizing these pieces of fluff as works of art. Treat them like they’ve treated blockbusters; with little respect. If the only movies to choose from for the Oscar are pieces of fluffy over-produced spin-off ready adventures in marketing then why not pick nothing. Children don’t care if a film they like wins an Oscar. It doesn’t affect sales one bit. Stop rewarding these movies. Just stop.

Wreck It Ralph

Wreck It Ralph is the best of a very weak field of animated movies in 2012.

But rent it because it’s actually pretty good.

To Recap:

The Master is a fantastic drama about the formation of a cult. Rent it for the fine cast and beautiful photography.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a fun coming-of-age film about teen outcasts. Rent it for the beautiful & likable cast and the great music.

Taken 2 is an exciting action thriller about a man with a particular set of skills. Rent it for the cool fight scenes and thrilling chases.

Seven Psychopaths is a quirky black comedy about bad guys with different levels of psychosis. Rent it for the awesome cast and entertaining story.

Wreck It Ralph is a cute and funny animated adventure about video game characters. Rent it for the great voice acting and the fun story.

"Wait, so did he like us or did he not like us? I'm confused.""Somebody get Liam Neeson on the phone."

“Wait, so did he like us or did he not like us? I’m confused.”
“Somebody get Liam Neeson on the phone.”

Whoops I gotta go…

See you at the movies.

– Mel

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Exhibit A (Try Not To Stare)

I am on exhibit at the Bronx Zoo.

Children stop and stare
Wishing they could grow up
But not grow old.

Adults pass by quickly
Knowing what it’s like to grow old
But not grow up.

I wait to be fed.

I am on exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art.

The guide calls me an important work.
Signed, Certified and Numbered.
A Limited Edition.

The plaque reads:
Unknown Subject Number 3,471,955,134.
Unremarkable.

I am on exhibit at Disney World.

I am an animatronics display
Showing the perils of drug use,
Not staying in school
And not taking life seriously
While playing with fire.
On a track and on an endless loop
Until it closes for repair.

I am a ride with no line and no ticket
And only room for one
That is at times
Thrilling,
Romantic
And fun
And at other times
A straight flat slow trip
From one side of the park to the other
And back again.

I am on exhibit at a Televised Murder Trial.

I am Exhibit A:
The murder weapon
Used to kill the dream

I am the dreamer

I am Exhibits B – E:
The so-called smoking gun
The iron-clad alibi
The powerful motive
And the suicide note

I am every member of the hung jury
And I am the judge that declares a mistrial,
Clearing the court room in anger.
There was no crime.

I am on exhibit at the Museum of Natural History.

Behind a sign that reads,
The Human Being:
Kind, Creative, Complex;
I sit at my computer writing
Whatever comes to mind.

Behind a sign that reads,
The Human Mind:
Anxious, Angry, Arrogant;
I sit at my computer writing
Whatever comes to mind.

Behind a sign that reads,
The Human Animal:
Hungry, Horny, Heart-broken;
I sit at my computer writing
Whatever comes to mind.

Behind a sign that reads,
The Human Spirit:
Passionate, Peaceful, Present;
I sit at my computer,
In a replica of my living room,
Writing whatever comes to mind.

I am on exhibit at the World’s Fair.

Here we see Mel at 10 years old
Not knowing who he is

And this is Mel at 20
Not appreciating who he is

And here’s Mel at 30
Not liking who he is

And if you look to your left,
You will find a mirror on the wall
Placed there for your convenience.
That’s Mel today
Not remembering who he is.

“That’s me?”

Yep

“Hi Mel.”

Try not to stare.

– Mel

Mood Swing (Luscious Jackson)

You come and get me when I’m all alone
On the corner just skin and bones
Fever in and fever out
You’re the swinger who brings me doubt

Loverboy where you comin’ from
Down there, out back always on the run
Cool, cool, deep blues
You’re the shine on my shoes

Is it in the damp heat inside of me
Or is it in the fire that we collide
I feed you mood swing
But you’re never satisfied

Is it in the damp heat inside of me
Or is it in the fire that we collide
I feed you mood swing
But you’re never satisfied

 

Mood swing I can’t let you win
You bring me up,
You bring me down
Mood swing I can’t give in
To your subtle wiles
And your endless miles

You love me now but you’ll hate me soon
In the light of the dark moon
Smiling faces always turn away
You’re the kind that likes to play

Your fun and games take me up and down
With the skill of a circus clown
You see through my truth
I give it up ’cause it’s up to you

You stare me down how you scare me
But my eyes are open wide
And I will rise to fight you
My delight won’t be denied

Mood swing I can’t let you win
You bring me up, 
You bring me down
Mood swing I can’t give in 
To your subtle wiles
And your endless miles

(Jill Cunniff, Vivian Trimble)