Archive for June, 2009

Hello everyone and welcome to another edition of Living at the Movies. Because I’ve fallen a bit behind schedule in addition to watching a crapload of movies lately, I will attempt to review each of these ELEVEN films in two sentences or less. Will I be able to rise to the self-imposed challenge? Read on and find out, my friends. Lights, camera, action!

VickyCristinaBarcelona-posterVicky Cristina Barcelona Because of it’s exotic European locale, I found myself constantly (and unfairly) comparing the cinematography to The Talented Mr Ripley. This Woody Allen film is a decent enough rental though despite the fact that some of the characters are not necessarily believable in their given roles. Grade: B


Synecdoche, New York Impenetrable, pretentious, confusing, and boring, I waited in vain the entire length of this film for writer/director Charlie Kaufman to reveal to me, an avid fan of all his previous work, the missing piece of the puzzle that would help make sense of this overly ambitious, bloated enigma of a movie. But he didn’t. Grade: F

soloistThe Soloist It was nice to see Robert Downey Jr in a role where he makes it his mission in life to save one man, as opposed to saving the entire world. Then again, I am kind of a sucker for human interest redemption stories revolving around music and the arts. Grade: B


The Foot Fist Way Anyone expecting this movie to be funny based on the reputation of the names attached to it (Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Danny McBride), I caution you to realign your lofty comedic expectations. There’s a reason why you never heard of this film. Grade: D-

LastChanceHarveyPosterLast Chance Harvey I imagine that Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson were given free reign to imbue their respective characters with whatever level of whimsy and vulnerability they felt was apropos and the results were quite charming. Plus, when your wife really enjoys the movie, score one for the husband. Grade: B+


Star Trek It matters not if you are the galaxy’s biggest Trekkie or you are a USS Enterprise virgin (probably not the first time those two words have been linked together), you owe it to yourself to check out this action-packed thrill-a-minute reboot of the classic television and cinema franchise. ”Outside food” not included. Grade: A

x_men_origins_wolverineX-Men Origins: Wolverine Did the world really need another X-Men movie where the filmmakers took major liberties and creative license with Logan’s already convoluted origin story? The answer is no but at least the stunts were cool. Grade: C+


The Taking of Pelham 123 (1974) I highly recommend catching this ahead-of-it’s-time caper flick on cable either before or after this summer’s remake hits the big screen. At least you’ll know where Quentin Tarantino got the idea for his character’s names in Reservoir Dogs. Grade: B

kung_fu_panda_posterKung Fu Panda Even though I found myself predicting every single plot twist and revelation from beginning to end, I still enjoyed the film immensely. Emma liked the kitty. Grade: B+


Wall E A morally upstanding and environmentally conscientious feature that is entertaining and educational while not being overly preachy and is fun to look at? Check it out in HD next time: Wow! Grade: A-

drag-me-to-hell-posterDrag Me to Hell Obviously intended to be overtly far-fetched and outrageously over-the-top, Sam Raimi has perfected the craft he began with the three Evil Dead movies with this hillarious tongue-in-cheek horror film. The only bummer was that I didn’t see a Bruce Campbell cameo. Grade: B+


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ninja2009-epLast Friday evening, my buddy Dooms and I attended the Nine Inch Nails / Jane’s Addiction show at Shoreline in Mountain View. While it should be noted that yours truly did not ingest any “outside food” himself, there was certainly no shortage of neighboring concert-goers who chose to partake in the more traditional form of the ritual, as evidenced by the unmistakeably pungent aroma wafting around the amphitheater air that chilly evening. Our seats were neither good nor bad, located at the very top row of the reserved section, a pathway-width away from the lunatics on the lawn.

As for the show itself, the co-headliners provided the audience with a definitive contrast in musical style and overall aesthetic. Nine Inch Nails performed their 80-minute set on a relatively small, somewhat claustrophobic stage, backlit only by several columns of stark, white floodlights. NIN leader/frontman Trent Reznor only sparingly spoke with the crowd, instead focusing his voice and energy on the delivery of his lyrics and music.

Although I don’t consider myself a huge fan (I own the first album), it was quite clear to me that Mr Reznor and band had the enthusiastic audience eating out of the palms of their hands. The highlight of NIN’s set for me came during their performance of ”Head Like a Hole”, a song whose lyrics describe the downside of being obsessed with money and material wealth, when every member of the crowd sang along with the chorus.

Head like hole, black as your soul,

I’d rather die, than give you control.

Head like a hole, black as your soul,

I’d rather die, than give you control.

Bow down before the one you serve,

You’re going to get what you deserve.

Bow down before the one you serve,

You’re going to get what you deserve.

After a short intermission, Jane’s Addiction opened with “Three Days”, a sprawling opus of a song from their Ritual album. They performed their 90-minute set on a wide-open stage, awash in purple, red, yellow, blue, and green lights and a pair of video screens. Vocalist/frontman Perry Farrell frequently chatted up the crowd, who, like me, seemed to hang on his every word.

The highlight of their set, for me, came when they played ”Summertime Rolls”, my all-time favorite Jane’s song. And although it wasn’t nearly as noticeably momentous to the ten-thousand strong audience as NIN’s “Head Like a Hole”, having Perry sing those words of that song that night at Shoreline to an audience of one, sent me all the way back to those nights when I would lay on the floor of my room, headphones hugging my ears, and I would listen to songs like ”Summertime Rolls” until I drifted off to sleep.

Fell into a sea of grass

and disappeared among the shady blades.

Children all ran over me

Screaming Tag! You are the one.

Me and my girlfriend don’t wear no shoes

her nose is painted pepper sunlight.

I love her, I mean it’s oh so serious,

as serious can be.

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