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Posts Tagged ‘Sanity’

Last week Jon Stewart was chosen as the host of the next Oscar ceremony in February of 2008. I don’t watch award shows very often, because I usually find them boring. For some reason, I saw the MTV Video Music Awards. They weren’t hosted by anyone, but were clearly edited by a six year old on speed, and hence the lack of a host was barely noticed. I missed the Emmys last weekend but heard that Ryan Seacrest was the host, so I can only assume it was as exciting as watching an ironing board with a microphone propped up in front of it. I always watch the Oscars however. I guess I have been watching them for so long, that it is for purely nostalgic purposes that I endure the long, useless ceremony. And now Jon Stewart, after being put on hold for a year in exchange for Ellen DeGeneres’ funny but harmless shtick, is back to host once again. While I like Jon Stewart, I sadly think that even The Daily Show is becoming a little stale and tedious. I think he is an incredibly smart guy, and obviously funny, but one can only remain smart and funny for so long. His last hosting job was humorous at times, but ultimately quite bland.

As a side note, while 2008 has already been chosen, I’d like to make a recommendation for 2009: Zach Galifianakis. I think this would make people watch, and actually get excited about what they might see. Uncomfortable playing even smaller comedy clubs, Galifianakis often resorts to getting drunk on stage, yelling at his audience and making fun of how fat, bald, ugly or boring his audience members can be. Wouldn’t this be great when surrounded by the Hollywood elite? Never content to remain on stage, he would travel through the audience and hound people. He could make Harvey Weinstein sweat, Laura Linney shiver and Renee Zellwegger cry. I can already see him opening with the question “What was it Jack Valenti used to say about eating pussy?”

Zach Galifianakis

Obviously, this will never happen, but why not at least make the ceremony more interesting? Maybe never have anyone host more than once? Billy Crystal might be funny the first time, but after award show number seventeen, he kind of loses his appeal. The Academy Awards will always be a show for old Hollywood, where celebrities go to have their egos stroked. It’s the place where Crash beats out Brokeback Mountain, Celine Dion wins over Elliott Smith and Taxi Driver loses to Rocky. I just wish the ploddingly dull ceremony in which these awards were handed out could at least hold some element of surprise.

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The Brave One: Jodie Foster only acts in a movie every so often. When that movie involves her becoming a vigilante who kills the man who steals her dog, I think it’s safe to say that you should see it. After a brutal attack (the scene in the trailer looks a lot like Prospect Park) Jodie gets a gun and starts hunting people down. Early reviews are pretty good, and there’s already Oscar talk for Ms. Foster. This is playing at the Pavilion and the United Artists on Court Street.

Dragon Wars: Reign of Fire. Dragonheart. Dungeons and Dragons. Eragon. Dragonslayer. Um……Pete’s Dragon. Following in this tradition of awesome dragon epics now comes Dragon Wars. DRAGON WARS! It has something to do with a girl, her reincarnated lover and an old mentor who are being stalked by the forces of darkness, but seriously, who gives a fuck? DRAGON WARS. They’re like dinosaurs but with more teeth and fire-breathing! This is playing at the United Artists on Court Street.

Dragons!!!!

Eastern Promises: Director and professional mind-fucker David Cronenberg’s newest release pairs him once again with Viggo Mortensen (clearly you know him as a horse-riding warrior from a little action epic known as Hidalgo). Cronenberg, the Canadian born director who made you shit your pants last year with his film A History of Violence, is already getting tons of critical acclaim with this new crime drama involving the Russian mafia. It’s also been getting plenty of press for this. That’s right folks, there’s a full on naked Viggo bath house knife fight. Um…..so this is my pick of the week. As far as I can tell, this is only playing at the AMC Loews on Lincoln Square, but I’ll update if that changes.

Mr. Woodcock: I didn’t think we’d get a more obvious title this week than DRAGON WARS, but here you go. Billy Bob Thorton plays a character that he has now played five times (Bad Santa, Ice Harvest, School for Scoundrels, Bad News Bears) in the past five years. Seann William Scott plays an annoying asshole, a character he has been playing since his inception. According to the trailer, the film is about a group of people who are hit with balls, hit in the balls, hit with baseball bats, hit with tables and, in a moment of true artistic audacity, fall off treadmills while running at full speed. This is playing at the Pavilion and the United Artists on Court Street.

Across the Universe: For all those people waiting for a romantic musical set to Beatles tunes, your wait is over. For all those people waiting for a good romantic musical set to Beatles tunes, don’t get too excited. Like Julie Taymor’s other movies (Titus, Frida), Across the Universe is supposed to be visually stunning. Sadly, it’s also supposed to be pretty light on plot and character development. This is playing at Union Square.

Silk: A love story set in Japan that centers on finding uncontaminated silk worm eggs. Are you hot yet? Despite this, it’s directed by the under-appreciated director of The Red Violin and stars Keira Knightley. This is playing at the Angelika.

In the Valley of Elah: From the director of Crash (or as those in my circle of friends call it – “Trash” – I know, we’re crazy funny) comes this new film about a veteran who is looking for his son. Paul Haggis (or as we call him, Paul Shmaggis) won the award for best picture last year, and this new movie is already getting some Oscar buzz. This is also playing at Union Square and Lincoln Square.

Paul Shmaggis, Director of Trash, after winning two Shmacademy Shmawards.

December Boys: Daniel Radcliffe tries to branch out from his Harry Potter fame in this Australian independent film about a boy in an orphanage who takes a trip to the beach. The movie is rated PG-13 for “sexual content, nudity, underage drinking and smoking.” While it’s not this, I’m sure pizappas, recklesley and johnbaptisedme just got boners. This is playing at AMC Loews Village 7 in Manahattan as well as the AMC Loews at Lincoln Square.

*Update: The park in The Brave One is not Prospect Park sadly, but Central Park. Snore. Is Jodie too good to exact her revenge in Brooklyn? What gives?

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Last Thursday some Brooklyn Skeptic members tried out a bar called The Cherry Tree, located on 4th Avenue and Bergen Street. When first recommended we try this place out, my first thought was, “I like that name. The Cherry Tree.” Then my second thought was, “I’ve never been to a bar on 4th Ave.” Then my third thought was, “will the trek be worth it? It’s pretty humid out.” The answer to this question is yes, it is so very worth it.

The Cherry Tree has some great offerings, including a nice collection of draught beers ($5-$6). And although they turned the tap off of my first two choices at a fairly early hour (Blue Point and another good beer that I can’t remember), they still had a nice variety to choose from. (I went with the Brooklyn Oktoberfest. Delish.) But more importantly, drinks here are served in nice, big mugs. I thought the mugs looked bigger than regular pint glasses, but plainclothesman argued they’re just shaped differently. Either way, these drinking devices will 1) get you drunk, and 2) are comparable to the glasses used by the residents of Middle Earth, bringing us all that much closer to Tolkien.

But the rustic influence does not end there. The Cherry Tree’s back patio has Medieval Times written all over it. And honestly, who doesn’t love that? Nice long wooden tables are provided, along with lit candles creating a lovely, almost poetic, feel. In addition to this are two stone pits, which may or may not be used for TCT’s monthly pig roasting…that’s just a (hopeful) theory of mine. And right in the middle of the backyard is the biggest chess board these mortal eyes of mine have ever seen. Had I felt as ambitious as Ron Weasly in The Sorcerer’s Stone, I might have tried my hand at the game. I don’t care if it’s just there for show, someone, somewhere, will play that chess board and I will be there to witness it in all its oversized glory, as I take sips from my oversized mug, with my oversized head.

All in all, I have no ill words to say about The (Cherie Johnson) Tree, only that perhaps their outdoor patio could stay open a little later…the BK Skeps were kicked out at midnight. But I suppose it was for the best, since we all had our day jobs to go to the next day. (Boo.) (Tear.)

PS. I just realized Cherie Johnson used her bio name for her “Punky Brewster” character, Cherie Johnson. Hot.

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3:10 to Yuma: Christian Bale and Russell Crowe face off in a “who can mask their foreign accent in exchange for sounding like Sam Elliott” competition in this remake of the 1957 Western of the same name. While most were impressed with director James Mangold’s Walk the Line, I am excited that he also wrote and directed the underrated Cop Land, as well as wrote Oliver & Company. Oliver & Company! Dogs and cats getting along and singing Billy Joel songs! Cheech Marin! This is playing at the Park Slope Pavilion, United Artists on Court Street and Cobble Hill Cinemas.

The Brothers Solomon: Will Forte and Will Arnett star as the two titular brothers who attempt to honor their father’s dying wish by producing a grand-child. This has a great cast, including Kristen Wiig, Bill Heder, Bob Odenkirk (who also directed) and Jenna Fischer. On the other hand, the last time Will Arnett and Bob Odenkirk teamed up, the result was Let’s Go To Prison. At least Dax Shepard isn’t in this one. Because of my undying love for all things Gob, I will be seeing this. This is playing at the Regal Battery Park 11, AMC Loews on 19th St. and the AMC Loews on 3rd Ave.

Shoot ‘Em Up: This movie certainly doesn’t win any points for subtlety. From the trailer, these are several things that I have figured out about Clive Owen:

  • Clive Owen can shoot people while on conveyor belts, get to the end, and then shoot them from beneath.
  • Clive Owen can engage in a full-on gun battle while holding infants.
  • Clive Owen can have sex with Monica Belucci while shooting various assailants.
  • Clive Owen can shoot people while falling out of a plane.
  • Clive Owen can teach an army of monkeys to detonate explosives while simultaneously pleasuring the Dallas Cowboys cheerleading squad and making origami swans with his feet.

Alright, I made up the last one, but four out of five isn’t bad. This movie looks utterly ridiculous, and pretty damn entertaining too. This is playing at the United Artists on Court Street, Prospect Park Pavilion and Cobble Hill Cinemas.

Call us, Clive.

I Want Someone to Eat Cheese With: Jeff Garlin, who plays Larry David’s friend on Curb Your Enthusiasm, now has written and directed his own movie. While everyone may not know Garlin, the film also stars Bonnie Hunt, Sarah Silverman and the awesome Amy Sedaris. You have to ask yourself the question: will I pay ten bucks to watch Jeff Garlin and Sarah Silverman eat a wheel of cheese? This is playing at the IFC Center.

The Hunting Party: Richard Gere reminds us that he’s still making movies and not just doing yoga and making enemies in this new film about a reporter who goes to post-war Bosnia in search of a war criminal. It’s from the director of the underrated The Matador, and also stars Jesse Eisenberg (The Squid and the Whale) and Terrence Howard. It’s playing at the Landmark Sunshine.

In The Shadow of the Moon: A documentary about the Apollo Space Mission that has absolutely nothing to do with Ron Howard or Tom Hanks. Thus far, it’s been getting incredible reviews. It’s playing at the Landmark Sunshine.

Romance & Cigarettes: Kudos to John Turturro. After some legal issues with his studio and various other problems, he has finally decided to release this film out of his own pocket. Go see it! Support the guy who has brought us such fantastic characters as: Pino from Do The Right Thing, Barton Fink, Roland T. Flakfizer from Brain Donors, the voice of Monkeybone, Jesus in Big Lebowski, Herbie Stempel in Quiz Show, etc. This is my pick of the week. Even if you don’t like Turturro, the film also stars James Gandolfini, Christopher Walken, Mandy Moore, Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Steve Buscemi, Mary Louise Parker, Eddie Izzard and Amy Sedaris. GO SEE IT! It’s playing at Film Forum.

** I forgot to include the movie Hatchet. Although I can only find it listed uptown at the AMC Empire 25, it is definitely worth the trip. I had the pleasure of seeing this awesome horror movie at the Tribeca Film Festival last year, and it kicks ass. Adam Green, the writer/director, spoke after the screening about how he wants to bring originality back to the horror genre, and this movie is definitely a big step in that direction. Check out the website here.

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Death Sentence: Kevin Bacon seeks revenge on a group of street thugs with the power of….dance! No, he actually brutally kills them or something I think, but wouldn’t it be better if he got the message across by moving his feet and gyrating his hips to the sounds of Kenny Loggins? From James Wan, the director of Saw, comes this update on vengeance movies like Death Wish. Next Kevin Bacon should go after the assholes who plan to remake Footloose with Zac Efron. This is playing at the United Artists on Court Street.

Halloween: While I normally get pissed about remakes of horror movies, this one involves Rob Zombie. As a fan of House of 1000 Corpses and the sequel Devil’s Rejects, I’m looking forward to this update of the John Carpenter slasher classic. Starring every fun C-list actor from Danny Trejo to Clint Howard, this movie promises to be more fun than any of the Halloween sequels (especially Season of the Witch, which didn’t even have a Michael Myers character). This is playing at United Artists on Court Street and the Park Slope Pavilion.

Balls of Fury: I’m guessing that there is a handbook floating around Hollywood on how to make a conventional, successful and unfunny comedy. Judging by the trailer for Balls of Fury, the creators must have read it cover to cover. It includes such obvious points as:

  • Take an unusual sport and use it to spoof sports comedies.
  • Make a lot of jokes about race and homosexuality.
  • Have your protagonist be a tacky slob who still lives in the past (it’s better to laugh at characters than with them, apparently).
  • Get Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant (who also wrote The Pacifier, Night at the Museum and Herbie: Fully Loaded) to forget the wonderful comedy they used to be a part of in exchange for writing broad, cliched humor.
  • Host a competition to determine the dumbest thing you can write that will sound funny coming out of Christopher Walken’s mouth purely because he is Christopher Walken.
  • Employ George Lopez.
  • Dick jokes. Looootts of dick jokes.

This is playing at the Park Slope Pavilion and the United Artists on Court Street.

The Nines: I saw the trailer for this recently, and didn’t really get what I was watching. The film is getting a lot of hype because it is the feature length directorial debut of screenwriter John August. He’s written some good movies (Go, Corpse Bride) and some bad ones (Charlie’s Angels, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). The film is divided into three stories and stars Ryan Reynolds and Hope Davis. It’s probably best to wait for reviews before gambling on this one. It’s playing at the Landmark Sunshine.

Ladron que Roba a Ladron: This Spanish film tells the story of two thieves who try to rob an infomercial guru. While I don’t know a whole lot about it, I’ve watched the trailer and it looks like a fun heist movie. It’s also being released by Lion’s Gate in the United States, who have a great reputation for releasing interesting movies that most studios won’t touch. The trailer is here. This is playing at Cobble Hill Cinemas, the United Artists on Court Street and CC Village East Cinemas.

Self-Medicated: While this movie looks depressing as hell, it has also won awards at twenty five (!) different film festivals since 2005. The film deals with a seventeen year old kid who becomes addicted to various drugs and acts out when sentenced to a correctional facility by his also-addicted mother. The cast consists of mostly unknowns, including Monty Lapica who plays the main character (he also wrote and directed). This is my pick of the week. It’s playing at Quad Cinemas.

Exiled: I’ve never seen a Johnny To movie, but he’s been called “the Jerry Bruckheimer of Hong Kong.” While I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a really bad one, I also know people that swear by him. The film chronicles the lives of several hitmen living in 1998 Macau. It’s playing at Angelika.

Aside from that, Tom DiCillo’s new movie Delirious is playing at the Brooklyn Heights Cinema, The Princess Bride has been rescheduled to tonight at Brooklyn Bridge Park (thanks, Greg) and John Turturro has announced that he will release Romance & Cigarettes out of his own pocket at Film Forum on September 7th.

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Summer is officially over. There are no big blockbusters to be found this weekend. Unfortunately, there aren’t many limited release movies that look interesting either.

The Nanny Diaries: This looks pretty weak, but people liked Devil Wears Prada which shares basically the same plot line as this. A girl starts working for an absurdly psychotic maniac, they fight, the girl starts to become something she’s not, they learn a little something about each other, and the audience goes home with eleven less dollars in their pockets. Scarlett Johansson and Laura Linney star as Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep. The only thing that could be its saving grace: it’s from the directors of American Spledor. This is playing at the Park Slope Pavilion, United Artists on Court Street and Cobble Hill Cinemas.

Illegal Tender: I saw the trailer for this a long time ago, and apparently it was put on the back burner for a while. Why? Because it probably sucks. A group of drug lords come after a guy and his mother after they’ve killed his father. It’s produced by John Singleton, who brought us the amazing Boyz N’ The Hood and the god awful Four Brothers. Take your chances. This is playing at the United Artists on Court Street.

Mr. Bean’s Holiday: In this installment of Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson finds a time machine and travels back many years ago to the few minutes when the world actually found him mildly humorous. Then he makes a funny face. This is playing at Park Slope Pavilion.

Resurrecting the Champ: Josh Hartnett plays a sports reporter who discovers a boxing champion who is now homeless and presumed dead (Samuel L. Jackson). I like Sam Jackson when he actually decides to act (Changing Lanes, Black Snake Moan) and not so much when he’s annoying and gimmicky (The Man, pretty much every other movie he’s done in the past ten years). This is playing at the United Artists on Court Street.

September Dawn: From the director of the Joe Pesci/Danny Glover classic Gone Fishin (a wacky fish out of water comedy – no charge for the pun), comes this dramatic romance set around the Mountain Meadows Massacre of the nineteenth century. This film is most notable for starring Dean Cain who, quite frankly, I assumed was dead.

War: Is it me, or are action movie titles just getting lazy? I bet the new Steven Seagal movie is called Punching and Kicking Really Hard and Frequently (actually, I just looked it up, it’s called Urban Justice – I’m pumped!). Jet Lee and Jason Statham star in this action thriller about an FBI agent who is determined to kill the guy who killed his partner. And….yes….I’ve checked and that is officially the most clich├ęd action plot in history. The film costars forty explosions, eighteen words of dialogue and Luis Guzman. This is playing at the United Artists on Court Street and Park Slope Pavilion.

Hi. I need work.

Dedication: This is about an emotionally challenged, misogynistic children’s writer (Billy Crudup) who has to work with a female artist (Mandy Moore). Justin Theroux directed, and while I like him as an actor, that doesn’t mean he’s going to have that much talent behind the scenes. As far as pop-stars turned actors go, Mandy is by far one of the better ones. She’s no JT though. This is playing at the Landmark Sunshine.

The Hottest State: Remember the last time you were in a bookstore and you saw those books by Ethan Hawke on display, but ignored them despite the large type they used to print the author’s name? Well, because you didn’t read them, he’s gone and adapted one into a movie! And he stars in it as well! I would see it if I were you, because apparently his next plan is to go door to door and act out the dialogue in your living room. For the love of God, pay attention to him! He’s got angst! This is playing at the Landmark Sunshine.

Warning: Author is a douche.

Right At Your Door: I don’t know much about this movie, but I’m going to say it’s my pick of the week. Dirty bombs are set off in Los Angeles after which a guy quarantines his wife and the city basically melts down. It stars Rory Cochrane, the stoner kid from Dazed and Confused. Check out the trailer, it looks pretty crazy. This is playing at the Angelika.

And that’s it sadly, as there are no more outdoor movies. Luckily, we’ve all got a good sports movie to look forward to.

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While Harry Potter mania continues, and half of the population will probably spend the weekend reading, there are still some cinematic diversions worth checking out.

Hairspray: Remember when John Waters released this in the eighties with Divine and Ricki Lake? And then remember when they turned it into a Broadway musical? Well just in case you don’t, here it is again. This recycling process seems to be the new fad, as they’ve done this once already with the Producers, and there are talks of doing it with Spamalot. What’s next? The Wedding Singer? Legally Blonde? Hairspray is getting pretty good reviews, which has to be a surprise for Adam Shankman, the asshole who unleashed Bringing Down the House, Cheaper By the Dozen 2 (how did they think they could top the first one??) and everyone’s favorite Vin Diesel movie, The Pacifier. Somehow, I’m still going to vote nay on this one, and maybe rent the original again. This is playing at the Pavilion, Cobble Hill Cinemas and the United Artists on Court Street.

I Know Pronounce You Chuck and Larry: Two guys have to pretend to be a couple to get their pensions. The problem is…wait for it….they’re not gay! They’re totally dudely and not gay at all! So they have to pretend to be gay, but they’re not! They have to be all gay and stuff, when really they just want to be straight dudes. Get it? Straight dudes acting gay! Are you laughing yet? If the rest of this movie isn’t insultingly stupid enough for you, perhaps you’ll like Rob Schneider’s channeling of Mr. Yunioshi. This is playing at the Pavilion as well as the United Artists on Court Street.

Sunshine: Alex Garland and Danny Boyle team up again for a new sci-fi flick about a team of astronauts who have to revitalize the sun. While this plot sounds pretty stupid and similar to movies like The Core, Armageddon and Deep Impact, I have much more faith in this one. After all, Alex Garland and Danny Boyle brought us the awesomeness that was 28 Days Later (and not it’s inferior sequel). Also, I’ll see pretty much anything with Cillian Murphy. This is my pick of the week. It’s playing, appropriately enough, at the Landmark Sunshine.

There are also three opening in limited release.

All the Boys Love Mandy Lane: I haven’t really heard anything about this movie. All I know is that it’s about teenagers, it’s a horror movie and it has a stupid title.

Cashback: This film is about an art student who works at a supermarket. It’s mounted a pretty decent advertising campaign for an indie movie with no stars, and the preview looked interesting enough. It’s playing at Quad Cinemas.

Goya’s Ghost: Milos Forman has made some great movies in the past, including Amadeus, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The People vs. Larry Flynt. There are talented actors in this like Stellan Skarsgard and Javier Bardem. Goya is an interesting character. But honestly, I really just want to see this because it features Randy Quaid in a powdered wig. This is playing at the Angelika.

And that’s everything opening this weekend. Otherwise, Brooklyn Bridge Park is screening The Muppets Take Manhattan tonight, the Sunshine is playing a midnight show of Back to the Future tomorrow night, Bryant Park is screening The Sting on Monday, and McCarren Pool is screening Ladies and Gentlemen The Fabulous Stains on Tuesday.

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