Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Holiday movie reviews

Christmas time means two things in my house: going to the movies and eating Chinese food.

I'll save my review of steamed shrimp with mixed vegetables for a different blog, although major props to my wife Debbie for making a reservation one week earlier allowing us to stroll right past a long line of hungry Jews.

Let's go to the movies...

Christmas Eve


I didn't see this movie, but my daughters did. Based on that conversation, here's my brief review.

"How Do You Know" is a James L. Brooks comedy. "James L. Brooks comedy" used to be all I needed with with "Terms of Endearment", "Broadcast News", "As Good As It Gets" and a ton of classic TV under his belt.  But he also directed "I'll Do Anything" and "Spanglish", and sadly this movie falls into that category.

How do I know? I dazzled both of my daughters by knowing that (SPOILER ALERT) Reese Witherspoon would choose Paul Rudd over Owen Wilson without even seeing the movie.

My daughters' lukewarm reviews and my ability to guess the plot translates into a formulaic romantic comedy. I expect more from Mr. Brooks.


"The Fighter" is a really good flick.  The story is compelling, and the acting is top notch.  Christian Bale is your best supporting actor.  Mark Wahlberg, Melissa Leo, and Amy Adams are excellent.  There's plenty of family struggle (which kept Debbie entertained) to go with the pugilism (which made me happy).  All that's missing is anything from the Ward/Gatti fights, but that doesn't ruin the film.

I didn't even have to battle to see this movie. Debbie was looking through Newsday and...

DEB: Do you want to see "The Fighter"?

All married guys know when your better half suggests seeing a movie you actually want to see, you need to play it the right way.

ME (nonchalantly): Yeah, well, if that's what's playing, uh, yeah sure.

DEB: Okay. I want to see "Rabbit Hole", but it's not out yet.

And there it is.  The offer. I'll see a movie you want to see, if you see one playing at an arts cinema about a 4 year old dead child starring Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart.

I made the deal. Can't wait to suffer through "Rabbit Hole".

Christmas Day


I took the entire clan to see "Little Fockers", and we were all disappointed for different reasons except for my youngest daughter who also liked "Burlesque".

Robert Deniro. Dustin Hoffman. Harvey Keitel. You all disappoint me for doing this dreck.  Ben Stiller looks miserable and I don't think it's his character. Go cash that check. Owen Wilson is funny but we've seen it before. Jessica Alba is gorgeous but so damn annoying that it kills her sex appeal. Almost.

My girls felt the movie "tried really hard to be funny". That's "Little Fockers" in a nutshell, and a much more concise review than mine.

Day After Christmas


Three movies playing at the Cinema Arts Centre - "The King's Speech". "Black Swan". "Rabbit Hole".

I had to keep my end of the bargain that I made with Debbie, so I suffered through this Nicole Kidman/Aaron Eckhart angst fest. John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig) shoots the film beautifully and the acting is very good, but I don't get why you'd want to spend 97 minutes watching parents grieve over their 4 year old son who gets hit by a car.

This movie is depressing. I don't go to the movies to be depressed. That's why I've never seen "Ordinary People". It's why I don't watch the news on TV. I want to be entertained. That might be immature, but it's the way I feel.

Now if you enjoy this type of film, my wife thought it was a good one.

Overall Ratings

"The Fighter": A minus

"Rabbit Hole": C minus

"How Do You Know": C minus

"Little Fockers": D

Friday, December 24, 2010

I'm here

I enjoy posting on Twitter and Facebook on a regular basis, but some events call for longer diatribes. I try to answer everyone's questions on those sites, but I'm limited by character length or constant web design changes.

I miss writing at length about TV, sports, work, family life, or any other whim that might strike my fancy. Maybe there's another book in me. Maybe not.

Thus, this blog. Hein Kampf.

I hope you like it.