Alexis' Blog

Friday, February 26, 2010

Cop Out is evidence that less Kevin Smith is more

When I first saw the trailer for Cop Out, I thought it was a parody from 30 Rock. I was almost certain it was a reference to the fictional Tracy Jordan movie Black Cop White Cop. It was only when I saw that Tracy Morgan was billed by his real name that I accepted the fact it was a real movie starring Morgan and Bruce Willis and directed by Kevin Smith.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Shutter Island a hit for dynamic duo Scorsese and DiCaprio

Shutter Island is reminiscent of classic film noir with it’s investigation plot line and hard-boiled detective lead, but contains enough plot twists and turns to keep today’s audiences enthralled with its mental gymnastics. The psychological thriller also serves as proof that Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio are a winning team.

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Youth in Revolt not so revolutionary

Youth in Revolt might not be in 3D, the cast might not be filled with the biggest stars in Hollywood and it might not be playing at all the huge multiplexes in your town, but it’s sure to draw in a few Michael Cera fans looking for a Juno-like comedy with a quirky indie feel.

The film, adapted from C.D. Payne’s Youth in Revolt: The Journals of Nick Twisp, stars Cera as a teenage nerd who falls hard for smart and mature Sheeni Saunders (Portia Doubleday) and invents a bad-boy alter ego, François Dillinger, in a plot to lose his virginity to Sheeni. Cera plays both Nick and François with the only real differences between the two being blue contacts and a barely-there moustache.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Cera, but he always seems to play the same lovable nerd who eventually ends up with the girl when she realizes the hot arrogant guy isn’t right for her. Thankfully, the character of François changes up that formula with over-the-top rebellious crimes and an overall disappointment in his other self. He’s exactly the kind of hero a nerdy teenager would invent for himself, puffing on a cigarette and tossing a slick comment at his female target, and Cera manages to play him simultaneously campy and with his own trademark brand of subtlety. My only gripe with the character is that he is introduced too late and would have been able to hold audiences better if he’d entered the plot sooner.

While Cera manages to entertain as François, the rest of the brilliantly funny cast seems underutilized. Zach Galifianakis, one of the best comedians of our time, plays Nick’s mom’s boyfriend, but is only in a few scenes and doesn’t get the chance to unleash his hilarious brand of weirdness. Steve Buscemi, Ray Liotta, and Justin Long are equally underutilized in their small roles, though they do bring comedy in the few scenes they are in.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Ricky Gervais Guide To... The Future is a must-have

After years of world-record-setting podcasts and best-selling audiobooks, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington have returned with a brand new entry in their “Guide To…” series, “The Ricky Gervais Guide To… The Future”. Though it’s hard to top their previous “Guide To… Law and Order”, delving into the realm of the future offers countless opportunities for Pilkington to muse on such things as internet-connected computer chips implanted in the brain, a new strategy for winning on quiz shows, and the evolution of the little finger. Thankfully, Gervais and Merchant are there to take the piss out of everything Pilkington says.

For newbies to the series, Gervais and Merchant are the creators and writers of the original version of The Office and HBO’s brilliant showbiz comedy Extras. Before they were huge, award-winning stars, they had a radio show in the U.K. and Pilkington was assigned to them to be their producer. Soon they discovered the wealth of comedy that was Pilkington’s idiocy and some of the funniest radio in history was born. The trio continued their show into the realm of podcasting, where they had the most downloaded podcast of all time, as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records. Eventually, they realized how much money could be made from this enormous hit and began releasing audiobooks for sale in the iTunes store. Their “Guide To…” series has covered such topics as medicine, the arts, society and others areas that have allowed Pilkington to ramble on nonsense as Gervais and Merchant try not to die laughing.

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Thursday, December 31, 2009

5 reasons 2009 can suck it

Today’s the last day of 2009 and I, for one, can’t wait until it’s over. Aside from the bad economy, 2009 also brought us such unwelcome gifts as Balloon Boy, H1N1, Kanye’s VMA outburst, and celebrity deaths by the truckload. While some people are writing lists about their favorite moments of the year, I’ve compiled a list of reasons why I’m looking forward to saying sayonara to 2009. So, without further delay, I bring you… 5 reasons 2009 can suck it.

5. Lamar Odom marries Khloe Kardashian:
After becoming a stand out on a championship team, Odom made headlines of another variety when he met and quickly married a Kardashian. The scandalous union seemed like one of the biggest publicity stunts of the year, but it worked, making both household names and propelling the duo to a whole new level of fame. The Keeping Up with the Kardashians wedding special sealed the deal for unadulterated overexposure.

4. The rise of the non-celebrity
Whether it’s Balloon Boy, Octomom or the Gosselins, 2009 marked the year the meek inherited the world of entertainment. Every tabloid magazine or entertainment news show seemed to be filled with random people who had managed to squeeze every last drop out of their 15 minutes of fame. If you’re like me, you were left wondering where all the actors, singers, and actual talented people were.

3. The never-ending healthcare quagmire
Death panels? Public options? Pre-existing conditions? This year healthcare was all the rage as the government sought to make sense of the ridiculous predicament insurance companies and the American people had gotten themselves into. Each day, things got more confusing as compromises were made and the whole thing started to spin out of control. Some have argued that it’s all been a way to take our minds off the war, and that might be true, but the real question is, how can I get a job on one of those death panels?

2. Sarah Palin writes a best-seller
It’s questionable that Palin has ever read a book, but this year she published Going Rogue: An American Life, which became hugely popular with people who liked her kooky antics. Sadly, the book wasn’t just pictures of her holding shotguns standing over dead moose carcasses. As if we needed to hear any more nonsense from this vacuous media whore!

1. The death of the King of Pop
Michael Jackson’s death was a true tragedy that devastated his fans all over the world. After the initial sadness, there was the media storm and subsequent exploitation (I’m looking at you Jermaine!) of everything MJ from This Is It to the countless products baring an image of the late great superstar. The worst part of it all is that the death of such a significant and talented person left a void that the media filled with hordes of non-celebrities from Speidi to the kids from Jersey Shore.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Avatar raises the bar for visual effects

I remember seeing Jurassic Park as a kid and feeling absolutely sure that it was the biggest movie ever. There was no way any computer would ever be able to build something more realistic than the stunning dinosaurs in that film. Of course, then came Titanic and Lord of the Rings and with each film, it seems the standard for visual excellence becomes higher. Now there’s James Cameron’s Avatar, which will certainly go down in history as one of the greatest cinematic accomplishments of the decade if not the century.

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Avatar raises the bar for visual effects

Avatar raises the bar for visual effects

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It's A Very Sunny Christmas

It’s a Very Sunny Christmas

If one of your favorite holiday traditions involves throwing rocks at trains then It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: A Very Sunny Christmas might be just the Christmas special for you. The special, exclusively on DVD and Blu-ray, brings the same TV-MA humor that Sunny fans love to the holiday season as Mac, Charlie, Dennis, Sweet Dee and Frank relive their favorite Christmas traditions and try to understand the Christmas spirit.

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