Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Daniel Knox "Slowly"

I made a video for the Daniel Knox song "Slowly". Please watch it.

Bloody fun?

33. "Kick-Ass"
I hated the first thirty minutes of dialogue. It was shaping up to be another teen film in which a nerd gets the girl and blah blah blah. Then it got super violent and great. The shitty lines made sense and I enjoyed every bit of it. I won't seek it out again and again but if it's on television I won't turn it off.

Oh, Canada.

32. "The Trailer Park Boys: Countdown to Liquor Day"
Not as good as their other movie or the television show. It's good and it moves the overall story along, but it was just lacking something. Maybe I didn't like it because it's not a Rickie movie. Whatever.

You think he's smart because you're young

31. "An Education"
The rare film that has excellent camerawork that means something in a subtle way. The rare film that uses money as a motivating factor in decision making. The rare film about a teenage girl adapted by a male that turned out well. I can't get over how good this film is, at least the first 90% of it. Even the ending didn't ruin the experience. It's like having the best meal of your life and following it up with a Twinkie for desert. It just isn't needed.

I love, love, love dry British wit.

Love and Spirits

30. "The Awful Truth"
I know I'll enjoy a film if it's in black and white, slapstick, made between 1935 and 1955, stars William Powell or Cary Grant and involves liberal consumption of alcohol. This is not the exception to that rule. I loved it. Each scene stands alone and is funny. Each one liner is excellent. Asta, the dog from "The Thin Man" series plays, or is in, this film.

Let's all wear suits, get drunk but not act drunk, converse with elders and enjoy happy endings.


29. "Mid-August Lunch"
I saw this at the Music Box on a Saturday evening. Besides a young couple on a date, I was the youngest person in the theater by twenty years. Not a bad thing, but I'm not the key demographic for this pleasant Italian film.

I have an Italian mother. She's demanding and 'old school' and dumb. Her beliefs are rooted in ignorance. She means well. My mother would have loved this film. I connected to this film in pleasant and unpleasant ways. Such is an Italian film.


28. "Atonement"
A film that will be taught for years. Giant in ambition and performances. Near perfect (I only use 'near' because I've just seen it and don't want to dub anything perfect without some time but that logic is flawed because everything changes over time). While it's not a film I'd watch obsessively, it's one that hit every note in a memorable way.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fun times

27. "The House Bunny"
You know what you're going to get with this movie but it's not so bad. Yes, the writing and premise and soundtrack and camerawork is formulaic and blah, but Anna Faris is hard to hate. In fact, she's great. I loved her in this film. She carried through with the dumb, innocent ditz throughout and we're all the better for it. Sometimes you want to eat candy for dinner.

See this ASAP, you can stream it on Netflix

26. "We Live In Public"
I sure did enjoy Nine Inch Nails' "The Fragile" and this film reminded me of that. The use of their music was perfect to illustrate the 1999 internet boom.

Josh Harris is crazy. He's a genius but insane. He didn't get hugged enough. He needed more Mr. Rogers in his diet. It would have given him some perspective, the kind that tells you that it's not nice to interrogate people and film everything for no end. It's not art. It's selfish. No one wins. "We Live In Public" is a wonderful documentary with many messages, one of which is no one wins when there's no privacy.

I'm not giving this film enough credit. Watch it. If you liked "Dig!" you'll like this. If you're slightly leery of things like Four Square, see this film.

Tight, dramatic shots

25. "Chloe"
While not awful, this stylized and quiet indie felt like an excuse to see Julianne Moore and Amanda Seyfried topless.

Chloe, played by Seyfried, is a prostitute. She tells and does things people want for money. Catherine, played by Moore, is a gynecologist that believes her professor husband, played by Liam Neeson, is cheating on her. Catherine hires Chloe to see if her husband will take the bait. Lovers quarrels and general unpleasantness ensue. It's not my cup of tea.

All the performances are excellent. It's just the story didn't do much for me. The story is ambitious in scope and wants the viewer to think. It did not make me think.

Not sad and lonely

24. "Whatever Works"
"I saw the abyss."
"Don't worry, we'll watch something else."

"She had a high IQ and a low cut dress."

Whether or not you like Woody Allen as a filmmaker shouldn't take away from his great writing. The man is a genius with a pen. With a camera, he's hit or not as big of a hit. "Whatever Works" is not as big of a hit. Larry David plays a role Allen would have if he wanted. I think Larry David played a better Woody Allen then Allen. I enjoyed David's ire more than Allen's neurosis. Coffee vs tea. You just like what you like.

The story isn't great. David lets a homeless teenager stay over one night. She's a rube and he's a genius. They fall in love, get married, things fall apart, NYC plays a big role, talk about baseball, art. sex, etc. It's exactly what you think it will be. It's not bad.

Older directors should not get to name "young bands". I have a theory that the older you get the more you associate loud rock music with anal rape.

Keep it tight

23. 2010 Oscar Shorts
One of the nice things about the Brew and View is you'll see things like the Oscar shorts, the short films nominated for Academy Awards. It's a treat to see such neat little packages of art on the big screen.

See this program if you can. All of the shorts have something to offer. If you have children this would be a perfect introduction to independent animated film.


22. "Youth In Revolt"
I don't mind watching Michael Cera in everything. He's hard to hate. Sadly, he hasn't been in many good films.

The story is bad, the direction seems aimless, there are some laugh out loud jokes but more duds, yet it's not completely awful. I think it has more to do with the performances. Yea, the story is absurd in a boring way and the film plods along, but Cera's two performances are fun. It's a fun movie that I will not remember. Still didn't like it.


21. "Sherlock Holmes"
Guy Ritchie knows how to shoot a fight scene. He does not know how to light, edit, capture great performances, etc. He's not necessarily bad at these things, just not great. Maybe he does know how to do it well and just chooses to make fights look neat.

I saw this at Brew and View. It was a good experience.

Friday, April 09, 2010


4. Stephanie Kuehnert "Ballads of Suburbia"
Stephanie is going to be a guest on the You, Me, Them, Everybody Live Podcast on the last Monday of April at the Hungry Brain. Please come.


20. "2 Days"
I'll watch anything Paul Rudd has a hand in. I should not.

Burton does remake

19. "Alice In Wonderland"
OK. That happened.

Free TV is never really free

18. "Man of the House"
"Why would he do this?"
"He needs the money."
"He has enough money."
"You're stupid."

17. "Under Great White Northern Lights"
The White Stripes are the most important American band of the 00 decade. They revitalized the blues/garage sound, inspiring kids across the world to play guitar (which to me is the best thing anyone with an instrument can do). Their simple songs blah, blah, blah. If you follow rock and roll know the importance of this band. If you like their music you'll like this "documentary" (I use quotes because the band released it and obviously had final say and what went in and there's no talk of their former marriage, Meg's anxiety, the cancellation of the rest of the tour, etc.) If you're not a casual listener, you will like this film. If you aren't into bluesy rock guitar, stay away.


3. Stephanie Kuehnert "I Wanne Be Your Joey Ramone"
Stephanie is going to be a guest on the You, Me, Them, Everybody Live Podcast on the last Monday of April at the Hungry Brain. Please come.

Not Brief Enough! hahahahahahahahadumb

16. "Brief Interviews with Hideous Men"
I wanted to like this film. I did not. Rather than just attack, here are some things I did enjoy.
-The cast was great. A good mix of comedic talent and two well delivered performances from major players in "The Wire".

That's about it. It just didn't work. I put off writing this because I thought I would enjoy it more with distance. That did not happen. I think I now loathe this film.


15. "Moon"
Sam Rockwell should have been nominated for Best Actor for this role. I couldn't imagine anyone else in this role and that is a very rare thing.

"Moon" is a film about the self. Who we are, what we represent, what we hope for, etc. It happens to be set on the moon. See it.


14. "Shutter Island"
What a great adaptation of a very solid book. The only reason I can muster for people disliking this film is it's not a nice, little package. Scorsese doesn't tell you that everything is going to be ok/make sense, and there's no getting around that. You either accept the reality or leave the theater perturbed. I did not.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Book before film

2. "Shutter Island"
My friends Amy and Chuck gave me this book to read around Christmas. They said it would be a good, quick read. It was a good read but I wasn't so quick. I enjoyed this book immensely but would have loved it I consumed it in one week. It made the film better. Read it.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

My 100 Favorite Films released between 2000-2009

I started this list in December. I finished it at the end of that month. I would change most of the spots. Move some things around, take out others, you get the idea. Whatever. I like these films.

1. "O Brother Where Art Thou?"
2. "Up"
3. "No Country for Old Men"
4. "My Life as McDull"
5. "Inglorious Basterds"
6. "The Dark Knight"
7. "Dancer in the Dark"
8. "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy"
9. "Punch Drunk Love"
10. "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"
11. "Wall-E"
12. "The Departed"
13. "Conversations with Other Women"
14. "Sin City"
15. "Children of Men"
16. "Waitress"
17. "Lars and the Real Girl"
18. "Kill Bill/Kill Bill: Vol. 2"
19. "Doubt"
20. "Borat"
21. "Hell House"
22. "Shoot 'Em Up"
23. "Freddy Got Fingered"
24. "The 40-Year-Old Virgin"
25. "I Heart Huckabees"
26. "The Wrestler"
27. "2 Days in Paris"
28. "Step Brothers"
29. "X2"
30. "Superbad"
31. "Ratatouille"
32. "Amelie"
33. "High Fidelity"
34. "Zombieland"
35. "Cecil B. Demented"
36. "Good Night and Good Luck"
37. "The Hurt Locker"
38. "About a Boy"
39. "Clerks 2"
40. "The Hangover"
41. "Suicide Club"
42. "Team America: World Police"
43. "Ocean's Eleven"
44. "The Aviator"
45. "Catch Me If You Can"
46. "Being John Malkovich"
47. "Millions"
48. "Closer"
49. "The Cell"
50. "In the Realms of the Unreal"
51. "Mulholland Dr"
52. "Memento"
53. "Revolutionary Road"
54. "Man on Wire"
55. "The Savages"
56. "In Bruges"
57. "Mean Girls"
58. "Stranger Than Fiction"
59. "Synecdoche, New York"
60. "Brokeback Mountain"
61. "Frost/Nixon"
62. "Requiem For a Dream"
63. "Slumdog Millionaire"
64. "Zoolander"
65. "Wet Hot American Summer"
66. "Foot Fist Way"
67. "Ghost World"
68. "Junebug"
69. "Batman Begins"
70. "Knocked Up"
71. "Collateral"
72. "Syriana"
73. "Best in Show"
74. "Fantasia 2000"
75. "Moulin Rouge"
76. "Shaun of the Dead"
77. "Trailer Park Boys: The Movie"
78. "Hard Candy"
79. "Half Nelson"
80. "Death to Smoochy"
81. "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
82. "Be Kind Rewind"
83. "Jesus Camp"
84. "Million Dollar Baby"
85. "The 25th Hour"
86. "Minority Report"
87. "Monsters, Inc."
88. "Old School"
89. "Grizzly Man"
90. "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart"
91. "Return to Me"
92. "Tropic Thunder"
93. "Bad Santa"
94. "The King of Kong"
95. "You Can Count on Me"
96. "Iron Man"
97. "Spellbound"
98. "Milk"
99. "Mr. and Mrs. Smith"
100. "Capote"

The next 56, in order.

"Across the Universe"
"Walk the Line"
"Sugar and Spice"
"8 Mile"
"A Mighty Wind"
"The Proposition"
"American Splendor"
"A Beautiful Mind"
"The Royal Tenenbaums"
"Training Day"
"Donnie Darko"
"Almost Famous"
"The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"
"Bowling for Columbine"
"Charlie Wilson's War"
"The Devil and Daniel Johnston"
"Love Actually"
"Little Miss Sunshine"
"Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street"
"Intolerable Cruelty"
"Lost in Translation"
"The Good Girl"
"Anvil: The Story of Anvil"
"Capturing the Friedmans"
"Big Fish"
"A Certain Kind of Death"
"Deliver Us From Evil"
"Down With Love"
"Hot Fuzz"
"Niagara Motel"
"Hamlet 2"
"Kiss Kiss Bang Bang"
"Monsters Vs. Aliens"
"Lord of War"
"Kung Fu Hustle"
"Observe and Report"
"My Kid Could Paint That"
"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon"
"Spider-Man 2"
"Rachel Getting Married"
"Gran Torino"
"King of California"
"The Motel"

Friday, February 26, 2010

What a great cast

12. "The Invention of Lying"
The first thirty minutes of this film are near perfect. Joke after joke works. A great mix of cynical, smart stuff with broad jokes that would work on a Comedy Central airing at any hour. Then it gets a little weaker. And weaker. Still a great movie, but not at the cult classic it looked like it would become.

I will now watch the entire UK "The Office" and regret not following Gervais ten years ago.

I am the sucker

11. "Julie & Julia"
Nora Ephron is an awful writer. It's insufferable. A waste of great actors. Also, anyone over forty should not use the word blog or have a blog be a major plot point.

This movie sets back feminism.

Watching people laugh and eat food and laugh about eating food is boring.

I shouldn't write about films while watching them. I seem to want to toss this computer through the television. I want to do that now, around minute 40, because Julie can't kill a lobster. Three lobsters. And Talking Heads are playing. Fuck this. Fuck everything about this. I can not finish this thing without drinking and I don't want to drink.

The only thing that makes this worth watching are the performances of Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci. They're great, like always, like they were in "The Devil Wears Prada".

Amy Adams, why have you forsaken us? Don't you know budgets kill careers. Go back to the small sets of "Junebug" and "Doubt". We all know you're one of the best actors of this generation.

Oh, fuck this. Any movie that explains PayPal should not be watched. I'm done.

I know that place!

10. "Public Enemies"
Not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I don't know it I would have enjoyed this two hour and twenty minute film if I didn't live in Chicago, but I do, so I did.

Mann's 2009 film about, well, some stuff (What exactly is the plot? I didn't really sense one but it didn't matter) about John Dillinger was shot on HD cameras instead of 35 mm. While this isn't revolutionary, it's definitely different than the majority of films made about gangsters in the 30s. Mann's directing really wasn't about the actors but about where the camera was pointing. It's an aesthetic that you either love or hate. I happened to love it.

Could this film have been shorter? Sure. At least twenty minutes aren't needed. It didn't bother me. The style was so pleasant I could've watched another hour without getting bored.

I have a feeling this film will be re-examined in ten years or so and we'll all come to the consensus that it was a lot better than first thought. Mann's style will be copped for other big budget time pieces. It's too inventive not to.

Remember when she got lead roles?

9. "The Truth About Cats and Dogs"
Another laundry movie (a film on network television in the middle of a weekend day that I watch while folding laundry). Another piece of something that makes me sad.

Mookie's lament part 2

8. "The 25th Hour"
A great Spike Lee joint. Ed Norton plays a man about to go to jail. We spend roughly 24-hours with the man before the life he knows ends. Set in New York City in the summer of 2002, the 9/11 attacks play a large role in the tone of this film. Could it be made today? Yea, but it would feel tacked on. See this film.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Please come to the live podcast this Monday at the Hungry Brain. After this recording, I will no longer refer to the event as a live podcast. It sounds boring and it's not. It's like a talk show. It is a talk show. Prizes are given out. Games are played. Fun times.

February 22

You, Me, Them, Everybody Live Podcast Recording with Brandon Wetherbee and Esmeralda Leon, guests Scott Smith, Alex White, Francis White, a special set from White Mystery, stand-up from Brendan McGowan, music from Jeremy Tromburg and more

Hungry Brain
2319 W Belmont, Chicago, IL
Doors at 8pm, 21+, no cover


7. "Mystery Team"
I felt like an asshole watching this film. It's a great indie film with a story that's delightful. The lead, Donald Glover ("Community"), is charming and funny. The other guys in the troupe compliment him well. Aubrey Plaza ("Parks and Recreation," an excellent choice for Daria if a live action film ever happens) has taken the place of Elizabeth Banks as the indie comedy dream girl. Bobby Moynihan ("SNL") steals every scene he's in. I like a lot about this film. I did not like my experience. Why is that? How can someone like what's on the screen but not leave the theater happy? Well, it's quite easy. All you have to do is have a bias against people that enjoy things.

I saw this film at a midnight screening at the Music Box. The majority of the crowd appeared to be superfans of Derrick Comedy, the troupe behind the film. They laughed at exposition. They acted like stereotypical comedy nerds. Before seeing this film I knew nothing about Derrick Comedy. After seeing this film I was not interested in learning any more. Sure, the jokes are good, but I did not enjoy the company of their fans.

In other words, the film is good and I'm a judgmental prick.

Guitar is annoying

6. "It Might Get Loud"
If you don't play guitar and/or aren't obsessed with Jack White, U2 or Zeppelin, do not see this film. I finished it because I was putting away laundry.

Not starring Kevin Bacon

5. "Up In the Air"
Technically this film is great. Every shot, every line, every camera movement, is perfect. But it didn't move me. I'm not alone in this. It's my fault I don't love it but I have no idea why.

Tony and I will be discussing this film in depth on the YMTE Oscar preview episode.

It's gettin' heavy

4. "The Hurt Locker"
It deserves to win Best Picture. I want "Up" to win but we all know that ain't gonna happen. So it's between this and "Avatar," a film I haven't seen. Whatever. I liked the ambition. I liked the story. I liked the weight. See it.

I have a feeling this film will be in most 100 level film classes for the next thirty years. That's a good thing.