Drool on the Frog

Friday, June 30, 2006

Willa's Flic Pic: History of Violence ½*

A History of Violence, 2005, crime
A History of Vilence
2004, David Cronenberg

Tom Stall:I'm here to make peace. Can I do anything to make things right?
Richie Cusack: You can do one thing.
[pauses] You can die.
Richie Cusack: Jesus, Joey.
[Tom/Joey shoots him.]
Tom Stall: [standing over the body] Jesus, Richie

(I like doing reviews without revealing any spoilers. Be warned that this review does contain SPOILERS.)

You may know Cronenberg from Scanners, The Dead Zone, The Fly or, more recently, Crash. The Dead Zone is a great film. I haven’t seen the other three (although I'm a big Jeff Goldblum fan).

A History of Violence was nominated for almost 50 awards, covering every category, from various organizations including the Golden Globes, Cannes, BAFTA and the Academy Awards.

My Geek and I both hated this movie. I just don’t see where these awards came from. I had trouble justifying the ½ star I gave it. I think maybe it’s because we finished the movie and didn’t turn it off.

Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen of The Lord of the Rings and Hidalgo) owns a neighborhood restaurant in small town Indiana. He lives in a nice ranch house with his sweetheart wife, masculine-deprived teenage son, and a Welch's-grape daughter.

Viggo Mortensen as Tom StallDeranged armed robbers attempt to terrorize and rob Tom's restaurant and patrons. It's obvious from their introduction at the opening of the film that the sociopaths do not intend to leave anyone alive. In a great, split-second action sequence (which is ruined by an overly long shot on a bleeding head), Tom disarms and kills both skilled goons. Visibly at this point you see "Uh-oh" cross Tom’s face. Everyone in the restaurant is caught between "Thank God" and "Did he just do what we think he did?".

Ed Harris as Carl FogartyThe incident gets national coverage and unwanted attention by Tom. Soon a mobster, Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris), comes out from Philly to confront Tom as being a rival mob killer, Joey Cusack, with whom he’d like to exercise a little revenge. Tom denies being Joey Cusack or ever having been to Philly. Carl's harassment eventually forces Tom into not only admitting that he is Joey Cusack but also killing Carl and his hinchmen in front of his family.

Many of the rave reviews I read emphasized the story and characters. They didn’t review this as an action film but as a study on how the exposure of our secrets by some catalyst like violence affects our relationships and us.

"as a crackling sense of visual tension"[1]

"explosive power and subversive wit"[2]

"finely wrought and intelligent" [3]

I think this film wanted to be important but failed and nothing the reviewers say can make it so. There are just too many ridiculous and irreconcilable distractions.

Maria Bello as Edie StallFirst of all, the time line doesn't make sense. Tom and Edie (Maria Bello) have been married for 20 years. Tom says that it took him "20 years to forget Joey". That's 40 years before we count the years that Tom lived an effective criminal life. Mortensen is not even 50 and they didn't bother aging him in the film at all. Unless Tom is a murderous criminal at 10, his age causes confusion. Since we are supposed to be reconciling who Tom really is and if it's possible he's Joey Cusack, this information is not merely cursory.

From reading reviews I learned that violence is a signature element of Cronenburg's films. But the long drawn out shots of gore came off like a "B" teen slasher. It just felt awkward. I understand the need for the violence but this was so misused it distracted from the point of the situation. For example, when a man is shot through the head you are shocked at the level of unexpected violence. It comes from nowhere and you begin to contemplate its affects. But when the camera moves in close and lingers on the big bleeding hole in the head, you’re not thinking these things any more; you're thinking, "Ooh, look at that big bloody hole in the head."

During the armed robbery Tom is stabbed in the foot. The next day Edie drives him to work when previously he had walked. (This is the same day that Carl shows up in the restaurant accusing him of being Joey Cusack.) You get the impression it is a long way to work. The next day Tom gets up extra early and walks into work! Huh?

But wait, there's more. The day Tom walks to work, he looks out the storefront window and sees Carl sitting in his car and then driving away. In fear that Carl is going home to murder his family, what does Tom do? He hobbles all the way home! It would be completely logical for Tom to call the police. He has a good relationship with them. If he's really convinced that Carl will harm his family, don't you think he would have done something, anything faster than trying to run home with a stabbed foot!

There's more but that's enough. I will admit that the closing scene caught me by surprise. I was on pins and needles as to how it was going to play out. It was touching, tense and creepy. Sorry I can't be more specific than that. Although I've treated this film viciously, I won't be so crude as to reveal the ending.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Carving Rubber 1

I've always been fascinated with print. I had a cursory introduction to rubber stamping from my art friend, Cindy, years ago but I didn't pursue it.

In 2001 I got a job at a rubber stamp/scrapbooking store, The Enchanted Cottage. I was a very accomplished scrapbooker by this time but didn't have any further exposure or training in printing. (I had the opportunity to take printmaking while in Dallas and just couldn't afford all the supplies!)

While at the Cottage, I couldn't get enough of rubber stamping. I took home every video and magazine we had. I also signed up for their classes. But rubber stamps were very expensive.

I was thrilled when I found out I could carve my own rubber. This seemed much cheaper and easier than wood, linolium, or metal. I bought a couple of books on the subject but really never found a good teaching manual. As usual, I simply bought the tools and taught myself. The first night I carved rubber and made an imprint I was hooked. I carved 6 more before the night was over.

This weekend, my friend Sue wanted me to show her how to carve rubber. I knew once she made her first imprint, she'd be hooked too.

Sue's hand carved leaf stamp
Carving is so easy. Here's Sue's first stamp.

Sue assembling her printed pieces
She immediately made two cards with it.

Sue tests colors and arrangements
The possibilities are endless, it's such a great pattern.

Sue puts finishing touches on her stamp
Sue's second stamp.

I carved a butterfly in 3 pieces.
I carved a butterfly in three pieces to use in next weeks project: butterfly booklaces as seen in the May/June Somerset Studio magazine.

Have you ever carved rubber? Do you have any tips or tricks for us?

Do you know someone who is a carve artist? Send me a link to their art if it's online.


Friday, June 23, 2006

Willa's Flic Pic: The Woodsman * * * *

The Woodsman, 2004
The Woodsman
2004, Nicole Kassell
* * * *

Walter: [repeated line] When will I be normal?
Vickie: So, are you gonna tell me your dark secret?
Walter: Why do you wanna know?
Vickie: Don't you think I should know before we have sex?
Walter: [looks at her]
Vickie: I don't like to waste time.

I’ll tell you up front, this movie is not for most people. It deals with a terrible subject. But you know why I recommend movies: they are of high quality and/or they are thought provoking. This is both.

In a brilliant performance, Kevin Bacon plays Walter, a man just released from a twelve-year prison sentence for sexually molesting little girls. The story deals with how Walter starts his new life: finding a place to live and getting a job, making contact with his family again, making friends and meeting women, going to therapy and being watched by the police.

I would have a problem with this film if I felt like its agenda was to make me feel sorry for child molesters. This film doesn’t do that. And it offers no excuses for his behavior. What some may find disturbing, though, is that the film portrays Walter as a very seriously disturbed human being - not a soulless, inhuman monster.

Walter is tortured and tempted. He completely knows himself and hates who he is. He is under no delusions that the general public should accept him. In fact, he tries to remain segregated. He hopes that maybe he can be normal. Those who treat him as if he has no hope make him angry even though he completely agrees with them. Pay attention to the things that Walter fights for. What does this tell you about his conscience, morals and choices?

Obviously, this is rated R for the subject matter. There is also strong language and adult sex with nudity. There are no scenes showing inappropriate physical contact with children, but there is one scene where an adult is talking to a little girl in a park. It is unsettling, nonetheless, and absolutely pivotal to the film.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Watercolor Greeting Cards

watercolor greeting cardsI’m not a big fan of watercolors. I’ve just not studied art long enough deal with a medium with so little control.

Despite this, I decided to make some watercolor greeting cards based off of the designs I came up with for my parade t-shirts. I thought watercolors would give them the ethereal look I was after and would also be quick. They took a little longer than I expected but I think that’s a control issue on my part.

Arches 9x12 140 lb watercolor padOn a 9” x 12” sheet of Arches 140 lb. watercolor paper, I used a ruler and a HB pencil to quarter the sheet up to make four cards. Using masking tape, I secured the paper around the edges onto a piece of old matte board. The green background to my cards was suppose to go all the way to the edge so I only taped down two edges and I tried to cover as little of the Archers as possible.

With the HB pencil, I lightly sketched out my design in each quarter. The design is really loose so all I really needed was make sure it was composed well in the space.

The first time I ever heard of watercolors in stick or pencil form of any kind was in my Introduction to Illustration class. A student presented an ad cover that was so vibrant and colorful. I asked her what she used and it was watercolor pencils. Pencils? That’s fabulous. What a great idea.

Lyra Aquacolor crayonsI used yellow green, purple and orange Lyra Aquacolor crayons on my cards. This is a surprising choice for me because I could get a lot more control out of the micro sharpened thin lead pencils than I could from the quarter inch crayons. But I try to force myself to let go.

I usually work from lightest to darkest. I put down the green background first and used a large flat watercolor brush to blend it in really well. Next I put down the gold. I blended it just enough to make it solid. Lastly I put down the pink. Once I had it blended into a smooth line I went back with more water and thinned out the edges more.

Koh-l-Noor RapidographsI set my sheet aside to dry overnight before putting down the black detail with India ink and a rapidograph pen. Then I simply cut the four cards apart and mounted them on a matching gold card.

I really like this technique for a greeting card. I’ll have to come up with some new designs.


Friday, June 16, 2006

Willa's Flic Pic: Layer Cake * * *

Layer Cake
2004, Matthew Vaughn
* * * 1/2

Morty: Why did you keep the gun?
Gene: I know it sounds silly now, but it was my favorite.
Morty: You better not let the other guns know you have a favorite.

I’ve always found it interesting when movies get you to cheer for someone who is considered a bad guy. Typically everyone in the story is bad but to varying degrees, so the protagonist, although a criminal, is really a nice guy, trying to get out of the business or so down on his luck he can’t afford to quit. The “hero” in Layer Cake is a drug dealer - someone who in civil society is considered a despicable person. But I found myself whining, “Why is everybody picking on him? I wish they’d quit beating him up.”

Bond. James Bond.
He also has a very practical business view on being a drug dealer. That’s where the money is. One day, everyone will figure this out and make drugs legal and then they will get all the money. So until then, he’s just going where the market is.

Probably due to boredom more than ethics, he decides to retire early. Unfortunately for him, he’s in the middle of the layer cake – the hierarchy of drug dealing. The guys on top aren’t ready for him to quit. Leaving the layer cake turns out to be extremely difficult.

You look lovely today Miss Moneypenny.
The big guys on the layer above have a job they want our hero to do. He doesn’t like it but he doesn’t have a choice. Wouldn’t you know it, the deal goes terribly wrong. Who couldn’t see that coming? But since we like our nice guy hero so much, we can’t wait to see how he’s going to get out of this mess.

A little help, Q?
What makes this different from all the other drug dealer movies, which are purely about action, is that it’s told like a methodology of the drug running business. It’s like an employee handbook for bad guys. It discusses the roles, their hierarchy and responsibilities. This is entertaining because the how-tos and who’s who are disclosed through all the things you should never do. Lines like “If you have to kill a person, never ever tell a living soul” aren’t delivered like cheesy quips but like they appear on page 91 in How to Handle a Problem Employee, which carries its own air of humor.

Shaken, not stirred.
Eddie Temple: England. Typical. Even drug dealers don't work weekends.

We watched some of the movie with subtitles on because this British film has an international cast (Romanian, British, West Indies, Ireland, Scotland) and some of the dialects were difficult for us to understand. The cast is superlative. The movie is rated R for all the obvious reasons: language, violence and sex.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Parade Coutoure

t-shirt I made for the paradeI had intended on designing t-shirts for all of us to wear in the parade but I ran out of time. The designs had to be digitized, uploaded to CafePress and then ordered. They would never arrive on time. But, anyone who knows me knows that I don’t let ideas go that easily. It started when my friend said, “Just get matching green t-shirts.” Simple, ehh?

I had five days. I went to AC Moore during my lunch hour. They had t-shirts in OLA green. Perfect. But, lo! What is this? T-shirt spray paint? My mind started churning.

“That looks quick and easy. I just need to come up with a design, make a stencil and spray paint the t-shirts.”

Famous last words – “quick and easy”.

Tulip Cool Color Spray paintTulip 3D fabric paint
I bought four t-shirts, white and pink Tulip Cool Color Spray paint and Tulip 3D easy flow tube paint in black. For the next four days, I spent my lunch hour and evenings coming up with four designs. (Yes, four. I thought each t-shirt should be different.)

My parents were coming in from TN for the parade (so sweet). They would arrive the day before. I wrote mom earlier in the week and said I had a little project for us to do. She’s just like me. It was an insane idea but we’ve done crazier things. She was game.

If you would like a list of the products I used, instructions, tips, tricks and things I learned, click here for the long version. To make the story short, I was able to paint only two t-shirts because of a paint bottle malfunction. I don’t recommend buying the white paint but the pink worked fine. As you can see, they turned out pretty good.

Cat in the Hat tieAs a back up (in case the spray paint didn’t work), mom and I made Cat in the Hat ties. I knew these would be fast and easy. I bought four sheets of stiff red felt. I sketched out the pattern on butcher paper. Mom cut them all out. We made them in two pieces so they would be dimensional. I glued them together with E6000 and used large safety pins as a fastener. I thought these would really pop against the green t-shirts.

My Geek and I at the parade with Sam and WillaSo at the parade I wore one of the painted t-shirts and a Cat in the Hat hat. My Geek wore a green t-shirt with a Cat in the Hat tie. And there you have the appropriate coutoure for escorting SAM in his parade.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Out of Control Movie Trailers

The Lakehouse, 2006More and more you hear grumblings at the number of movie trailers shown at theaters before the main feature. I have never complained. I love trailers. I want to be in the theatre early, before the lights go down, to make sure I see all the trailers.

My Geek is kind of the opposite. He prefers to read about movies. This way he has more control over the amount of information he gets about the film. He wants to be surprised and develope no presuppositions. I'm beginning to see it his way.

The Lake House is coming out June 16 starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. The premise is that Kate (Sandra Bullock), a lonely doctor, lives in an unusual lake house. Somehow, she is able to exchange letters via the lake house mailbox with Alex (Keanu Reeves) who lives in the same lake house... two years in the future. They fall in love but how can they ever get together? This is impossible, right?

Then, late one night on TV I saw a trailer for The Lake House that appears to answer these questions! I was furious!

Romance is a very difficult storyline. There aren't many films that stand out in the romance category (e.g.Notorius, Casablanca, The Princess Bride). A romance must have two people that you care very much about and that you want to see get together. They also must struggle to overcome obsticles that keep them apart, either physcially, mentally or emotionally. In the two hours you're in the theatre, you want to experience the building of desire and anxiety for the ultimate payoff in the end. Will they make it? I don't want the answer before I enter the theatre! It's about the experience, studip!

I really like both of these actors (yes, I like Keanu Reeves) and I'm still looking forward to this film but I may start changing the TV the next time a trailer comes on.

So how do you feel about movie trailers? Like, dislike, indifferent?


Friday, June 09, 2006

Willa's Flic Pic: Equilibrium * * * ½

2002, Kurt Wimmer
* * * ½

Mary: Let me ask you something. Why are you alive?
John Preston: I'm alive... I live... to safeguard the continuity of this great society. To serve Libria.
Mary: It's circular. You exist to continue your existence. What's the point?
John Preston: What's the point of your existence?
Mary: To feel. 'Cause you've never done it, you can never know it. But it's as vital as breath. And without it, without love, without anger, without sorrow, breath is just a clock... ticking.

Equilibrium has been compared to The Matrix. They have similar massive, rapid fire gun sequences and the main characters go to the same tailor. Some even say Equilibrium is better than The Matrix. Overall, I don’t agree but it is better in one respect.

One of my criteria for judging a movie is whether it sparks a great discussion. In The Matrix, the world, as the human race lives it, is actually only in their minds while their bodies are really warehoused and used as “batteries” for the machines that have taken over the real world. To me, this was an exciting ride but the discussion afterward was mostly about how cool the special effects were. The premise in Equilibrium, as science fiction, on the other hand, was very hard for me to accept but I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the symbolism and message.

In an effort to eliminate mankind’s tendency for war, human emotion is made illegal. “The true source of man’s inhumanity to man is his ability to feel.” It is not discussed in detail but this was not decided and implemented overnight. It started with hate crime laws and evolved rapidly from there to the point that the enforcement includes mandatory inoculations, brainwashing, the elimination of independent thought and creativity, and a religious policing regime.

At first, the film seemed like a commentary on religion. The fascist government has its own symbology that looks very much like a cross or swastika. There is a Father that preaches a brainwashing mantra. He is in an inner sanctum that no one has access to, a holy of holies, if you will. They train cleric, the highest order of their police enforcement. They even burn violators akin to the stake. But after reading some of the interviews with Wimmer, it’s obvious he was not targeting religion. He was motivated by what he feels is “the current trend in America to regulate what people can and cannot feel”.

I recommend watching the movie keeping the religious tones in mind. Even though Wimmer may not have intended it, humanity equals creativity equals God may be inextricably connected. And you might also ask yourself if our various churches and faiths justly or unjustly dictate feelings (guilt, shame, piety, hate, indignation, love, tolerance, acceptance, care, kindness, genuineness).

"I always thought that 1984 was about socialism and Fahrenheit 451 was about McCarthyism while for me this particular film was about numbness. It's about numbness I think as brought on by over saturation potentially from the media. It's about numbness that is brought on by self-medication, whether it be over the counter or under the counter...any of the ways that we have made ourselves insensible to the environment around us." –Kurt Wimmer

NOTE: This is a violent film - mostly gun fights, though, with little to no blood involved, much like The Matrix. I do not consider it violent on the level of Braveheart or Sin City. If I were to rate the violence on a scale from 1 to 5, I only give it a 2.


Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pet Parade Pictures

I finally have my pictures of SAM up on the server so that you guys can see them.

Also, Art Unleashed has three pages of photos showing all the cat and dog forms.


Friday, June 02, 2006

Willa's Flic Pic: Primer * * *

2004, Shane Caruth
Sci-Fi, Drama
* * *

Abe: Aaron, I can imagine no way in which this thing could be considered anywhere remotely close to safe. All I know is I spent six hours in there and I'm still alive... You still want to do it?

I can't believe this is the first movie that I'm going to recommend on the launch of my movie reviews but it is a great mind bending flick. If you rent Primer you may think it’s only for hardcore geeks. But it is as good a drama as it is science fiction. And even if you don’t like the story, you might appreciate what Caruth did in making this film: a $7,000 budget, one take on most shots, filmed in his garage.

Very simplistically, this is a science fiction film about guys who invent a time machine. But this is not a simple film. It is really a drama about the affect of power on the relationship between friends. As Caruth says in his commentary, he’s “interested in trust and how it’s related to risk.”

As far as a time travel movie, the mood of Primer is extremely realistic. If you’ve ever seen Back to the Future, Time Bandits, or The Time Machine, they are filled with elaborate machines, flashes of light and “portals”. There is only one special effect in Primer and I doubt you’ll even know it when you see it. The act of time travel, as Aaron and Abe have invented it, is boring, laborious and unglamorous. The realism causes you to pause and ask, “Wait a minute. Did I just see what I think I saw?”

Aaron and Abe, with two other friends, run a cottage industry out of Aaron’s garage. They are passionate inventors. Aaron and Abe are the most driven and work without the other two on a particular device. As with most great inventions, this device does something much more than intended – it alters time for whatever is in the device. After only a brief period of disbelief, they soon insert themselves in the machine. At first, it is simply to go back and relive a day so they can make loads of money in the stock market. But very quickly it becomes an obsession with little thought to the side effects.

At first, I was trying to follow the technical dialogue very closely. But the sound track is very bad and I was getting frustrated trying to figure out what they were saying. Although Caruth says he wanted the technical language to be accurate, it is unnecessary to understand what it means. What is necessary is that you follow the change in dynamics between Aaron and Abe throughout the movie and how they respond to what they have discovered.

From the beginning Aaron and Abe realize the importance of what they’ve discovered. They know they cannot sell it or let anyone know that they have it. Governments would go to war over something like this. So Aaron and Abe are left to completely absorb the power of their knowledge. Although traveling back to score in the stock market may seem frivolous, they are constantly coping with having this power. They are limited and limitless.

NOTE: If you are insanely curious (as I was) about the multiple timelines in the movie, you can check out this link.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Movie Review Index

If I've written a blog Review for this movie, the link will work.
To link to IMDB information about the movie, select the Movie link.
If I found a trailer for the movie, the Trailer link will work.

Please let me know in the comments if you find any links that don't work.

Review • MovieTrailer1408 * *
ReviewMovie • Trailer2 Days in the Valley * * *
Review • MovieTrailer16 Blocks * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerEnchanted * * * *16 Blocks * * ½
Review • MovieTrailer21 * *
Review • Movie • Trailer24: Season One (TV) * * * *
Review • MovieTrailer28 Days * * ½
Review • MovieTrailer300 * * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerA Face in the Crowd * * * *
Review • Movie • TrailerA Few Good Men *
ReviewMovieTrailerA History of Violence ½
Review • MovieTrailerA Scanner Darkly * *
ReviewMovieTrailerAbout A Boy * * * *
Review • MovieTrailerThe Abyss * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerThe Addams Family * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerÆon Flux * *
Review • MovieTrailerAir Force One * * *
Review • MovieTrailerAkeelah and the Bee * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerAlien * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerAliens * * * * *
Review • Movie • TrailerAll That Jazz * * * *
Review • MovieTrailerAmerican Psycho * * * *
Review • Movie • TrailerAmerican Beauty *
Review • MovieTrailerBe Kind Rewind * * * ½
Review • Movie • TrailerThe Black Dahlia ½
Review • MovieTrailerBottle Rocket * *
ReviewMovieTrailerBrick * * * *
ReviewMovieTrailerBubba Ho-tep * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerCapote * * * ½
Review • Movie • TrailerCarnivàle 1 & 2 * * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerCasino Royale * * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerChaos Theory ½
ReviewMovieTrailerChildren of Men * * *
Review • MovieTrailerChocolat * *
Review • MovieTrailerCinderella Man * * * ½
ReviewMovie • TrailerClick *
ReviewMovieTrailerCorpse Bride * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerDan in Real Life * *
ReviewMovieTrailerThe Darjeeling Express * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerThe Dark Knight * * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerDefinitely Maybe ½
Review • MovieTrailerDéjà Vu * * *
Review • MovieTrailerThe Departed * *
ReviewMovieTrailerThe Devil Wears Prada * *
Review • MovieTrailerDexter Season 1 * * * *
Review • MovieTrailerDexter Season 2 * * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerDexter Season 3 TBD
ReviewMovie • TrailerDisturbia * * *
ReviewMovieTrailerDoctor Who: Season 1 (TV) * * * *
Review • MovieTrailerDoctor Who: Season 2 (TV) * * * *
Review • MovieTrailerDoctor Who: Season 3 (TV) * * * *
ReviewMovieTrailerDracula * ½
ReviewMovie • TrailerDrop Dead Gorgous * * *
Review • MovieTrailerElection *
Review • MovieTrailerElf * * *
Review • MovieTrailerElizabeth * * *
Review • MovieTrailerElizabeth: The Golden Age * * *
ReviewMovieTrailerEquilibrium * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerEveryone’s Hero *
Review • MovieTrailerFailure to Launch * * ½
ReviewMovieTrailerThe Final Cut * *
Review • Movie • TrailerFirefly (TV) * * *
Review • MovieTrailerFor Your Consideration * ½
Review • MovieTrailerThe Fountain * * ½
ReviewMovieTrailerThe French Connection * * *
Review • MovieTrailerGet Smart * * *
Review • MovieTrailerGhost Rider zero
Review • Movie • TrailerThe Glass Menagerie * * *
Review • MovieTrailerThe Grifters * * * * ½
Review • Movie • TrailerHamlet * * * *
ReviewMovieTrailerHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix * * *
Review • MovieTrailerHe Loves Me, He Loves Me Not * * * ½
ReviewMovieTrailerHigh Fidelity * * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerHot Fuzz * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerHot Rod * * * ½
ReviewMovieTrailerHotel Rwanda * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerIce Harvest * ½
ReviewMovieTrailerIdentity * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerIdiocracy * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerThe Illusionist *
Review • MovieTrailerIndiana Jones and The Kingdom of the Chrystal Skull * ½
Review • MovieTrailerInside Man * ½
Review • MovieTrailerThe Invisible ½
Review • MovieTrailerIron Man * * * *
Review • MovieTrailerThe Invisible *
Review • MovieTrailerJunebug * * * *
Review • MovieTrailerKiss Kiss Bang Bang * * * *
ReviewMovieTrailerLady in the Water * * *
Review • MovieTrailerThe Lakehouse * * *
Review • MovieTrailerLars and the Real Girl *
Review • MovieTrailerThe Last Mimzy *
Review • MovieTrailerThe Last Sin Eater * *
ReviewMovieTrailerLayer Cake * * *
Review • Movie • TrailerThe Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico *
ReviewMovieTrailerLittle Miss Sunshine * * * *
Review • MovieTrailerLive Free or Die Hard * *
ReviewMovieTrailerLove Liza * * * *
Review • MovieTrailerLucky Number Slevin * * *
ReviewMovieTrailerThe Machinist * * *
ReviewMovieTrailerMan on Fire * * *
Review • MovieTrailerThe Marine * ½
Review • MovieTrailerThe Martian Child * * ½
ReviewMovieTrailerThe Matador * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerMy Super Ex-Girlfriend * *
Review • MovieTrailerMy Left Foot * * * *
Review • MovieTrailerNapoleon Dynamite * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerNational Treasure * *
Review • MovieTrailerNational Treasure: Book of Secrets ½
ReviewMovieTrailerNext * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerNight Watch * * ½
ReviewMovie • TrailerNoferatu * * * ½
ReviewMovie • TrailerThe Notebook *
Review • MovieTrailerOn A Clear Day * * *
Review • MovieTrailerOne Night With The King * * ½
ReviewMovieTrailerPanic * * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerPan's Labyrinth * * * *
Review • MovieTrailerPenelope * *
Review • MovieTrailerThe Philadelphia Story * * * * *
ReviewMovieTrailerPirates of the Caribbean, Dead Man’s Chest *
ReviewMovieTrailerThe Prestige * * * ½
ReviewMovieTrailerPrimer * * *
Review • MovieTrailerPurple Rose of Cairo * * *
Review • MovieTrailerSaint Ralph * *
Review • MovieTrailerSecondhand Lions * * *
ReviewMovieTrailerShaun of the Dead * * *
Review • MovieTrailerShoot 'Em Up * * * *
Review • Movie • TrailerSideways * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerSpellbound * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerSpeed Racer * * ½
ReviewMovieTrailerSlither * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerStardust * * *
ReviewMovieTrailerStranger Than Fiction * * * ½
ReviewMovieTrailerStrictly Ballroom * * * *
ReviewMovieTrailerSuicide Kings * * *
Review • Movie • TrailerTake the Lead * ½
Review • MovieTrailerThank You For Smoking * * * *
ReviewMovieTrailerThr3e * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerTitus * * * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerTraining Day * * *
Review • MovieTrailerThe Transporter * *
Review • MovieTrailerThe Transporter 2 * *
ReviewMovieTrailerTremors * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerThe Ultimate Gift * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerV for Vendetta * * * *
Review • MovieTrailerWalk The Line * * * *
Review • MovieTrailerWanted * * ½
Review • MovieTrailerWar, Inc. * *
Review • MovieTrailerWater * * ½
Review • Movie • TrailerWedding Crashers *
ReviewMovieTrailerThe Woodsman * * * *
Review • MovieTrailerWorld’s Fastest Indian * * * *
Review • MovieTrailerYou Kill Me * * *
Review • MovieTrailerZero Effect * * * ½


About Movie Reviews

The Philidelphia Story, 1940, My favorite movieMy friend Sandi encouraged me to start a movie review blog. I love movies and I love to talk about movies. My Geek (lover, friend and dance partner) has a knack for finding movies that are off the beaten path and frequently overlooked treasures. I hope my Friday reviews will be a resource when you simply want to find a good film to rent and need a recommendation.

My view is that Follywood doesn't try to produce a quality product anymore. I absolutely love that home computers have made publishing (art, movies, writing, etc.) easy for the average person and make them available to the world. People simply want a quality product; they don't want to waste their time. Self-publishing is raising the bar. These are the kinds of films that My Geek and I like to find.

I do not review all movies. I only see movies that interest me, but I will hit on almost every genre. Horror movies, westerns, and war movies are my least favorite. If you enjoy these genres, I'm not your source. Frankly, all horror movies scare me to death, westerns are boring and war flicks have too much T (Testosterone). Of course, there are exceptions to every rule (ex “Identity”, “Unforgiven”, and ... nope. I can’t think of a war flick.)

My absolute favorites are Sci-Fi, Action/Adventure, Comedy, Animation, Drama and Romance - in that order. There are so many films I want to talk about that I will not discuss the more popular, main stream films (i.e. "Lord of the Rings") although I may rate them in a short list for your reference. I also rarely see movies in the theatre. I’m a fan of Netflix. So the movies I rate will not necessarily be new releases but, possibly, several years old.

My intention is not to be vulgar but most of the films I watch are rated “R”. There are some beautiful and exceptional films out there that are extreme (ex. "Sin City"). I will try to explain what makes the movie extreme so you can decide if it's outside your level of tolerance. But I don't believe that extreme violence, adult situations/subjects, or language automatically make a film bad. These reviews are about quality filmmaking. I will not review movies that rate beyond an "R" (i.e. NC-17, X, etc.). These are beyond my tolerance.

My dog, Willa, is going to help me rate the movies based on her squabbit scale. How many squabbits would Willa be willing to let get away so she could see this movie.

1 : One measly squabbit would pull me away from this dreck (do I smell squabbit?).
2 : better bring a buddy. This movie’s trashy but hey, it’s better’n one.
3 : A trio of blind squabbits would have a lucky day getting across my yard if this movie is playing.
4 : There better be a randy foursome of squabbits, and one can be gimpy.
5 : OK, it’s gonna take five squabbits... ringing the doorbell... with a pizza.

I typically do not see a film unless it has received some sort of buzz so I doubt if I'll be presenting very many 1 Squabbit movies. But if there's buzz and I think it's overrated, I'll let you know.

There you have it. I hope this comes in handy.