Big Day Tomorrow On The Tales

Recently, my other job has been requiring more of my attention than normal.  Sensing my stress level rising, Summer Sidekick volunteered to write a guest blog for The Tales.  You will recall SSK shredded “Gangster Squad” to pieces.

Now, Out of Work Hockey Guy has arisen from his slumber and has thrown his hat into the ring.  He has volunteered (volunteered = unpaid) to write a review of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”  I’ve never actually heard of the movie and I hope this isn’t some elaborate hoax he’s concocted during his time off.  OWHG movie tastes range from “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” to “Les Miserables.”  So, suffice it to say, this should be interesting.  OWHG works in the West Coast office of The Tales, so if he submits his work by noon Central tomorrow, let’s consider it an upset.

Side Effects: Reviewed

The other night I went to a movie I knew absolutely nothing about nor had ever heard of.  Sometimes I do that.  It’s pretty hard to be disappointed if you don’t have any expectations.  Well, I did have one expectation.  I expected my invention of combing popcorn and Peanut Butter M&Ms to taste really good. Mission accomplished.

Anyways, I went to “Side Effects.”  Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones are in it.  So is Channing Tatum.  Or is Tatum Channing?  I can never remember.  Whatever, he didn’t need to learn very many lines because he’s not in it very long (spoiler alert.)  Maybe I should have put the spoiler alert at the beginning of the sentence.  I will let history decide that.

Anywho, I loved this movie.  It’s gripping, smart, moving and plausible.  I guess I don’t know a lot about Jude Law but he was enjoyable as a psychiatrist caught in the middle of some shenanigans.

If you need car crashes, explosions, and chase scenes, skip this movie.  If you want a witty film where you find yourself trying to figure out the “end game,” check it out.  Definitely worth it.

Side Effects 3 out of 5 stars

Diet Coke, Popcorn, Peanut M&Ms

Silver Linings Playbook: Reviewed

Good news and bad news concerning my recent trek to see the much ballyhooed “Silver Linings Playbook.”  The good news is that my string of seeing above average movies was extended to six.  The bad news?  It fell short of my high expectations.  Keep in mind that in the last two months I’ve seen “Argo,” “Lincoln,” “Flight,” “Django Unchained,” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”  A pretty impressive list.

This might be a case of when you see a movie.  After seeing all of those, my standards might have been a little askew.  “Silver Linings Playbook” might have been one of the better movies I’d seen if I had gone to it before the others.  But I didn’t.  And it was “just o.k.”

Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro are fantastic in a story about a couple of people battling some mental health problems.  And the movie is centered around the Philadelphia Eagles and their importance in the lives of middle class Philadelphia family.  The movie is equal parts entertaining and predictable.  And while I enjoyed it, I’m really not sure where all the Oscar “buzz” for this movie is coming from.  I left the theater wishing it had been just a little bit better.  I also left the theater wishing I had more Peanut Butter M&M’s.  Those things are awesome.

So anyway, go to this movie.  It’s feel good and harmless all rolled into one.  But keep in mind, all of those other movies mentioned are a better option.

Silver Linings Playbook:  3 out of 5 stars.

Popcorn, Diet Coke, Peanut Butter M&M’s.  They really taste good with the popcorn.  I think it’s some kind of salt and chocolate deal. 

Zero Dark Thirty: Reviewed

“Zero Dark Thirty” is the story depicting the manhunt for Osama Bin Laden by United States forces.  Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, (The Hurt Locker) the debate over just how accurate “Zero Dark Thirty” is will go on for a long time.  But even if it’s only half true, it’s still an unbelievable story.  And an even better movie.

The heart pounding picks up shortly after the events of September 11, 2001.  The film depicts the sometimes not so glamorous world of trying to procure information from detainees.  I will leave the methods used for historians to debate.  If the movie is accurate, they seemed pretty useful.

Bigelow’s use of extremely tight camera shots to heighten your anxiety is incredible.  And Jessica Chastain as the lead CIA agent is award worthy for sure.

I’ve seen so many good movies in the last couple of months I can’t even keep them straight.  “Argo” is still probably my favorite.  Then it might be a toss-up between “Lincoln” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”

“ZDT” is a great movie.  Incredible movie making skills and scenery.  It feels like a real look at the world of espionage and intelligence.

Zero Dark Thirty

4 out of 5 stars

Popcorn, Diet Coke, and M&M’s.

Django Unchained: Reviewed

I’m fairly certain that “Django Unchained” is one of the best, craziest, most shocking, bizarre, and wildly entertaining movies I’ve ever seen.  And now that I’ve had a full twelve hours to digest it, I’m still not quite sure how to describe what I saw.

Even if I didn’t know that Quentin Tarantino had directed it, I would have figured it out within fifteen minutes.  Tarantino loves to cross lines and to turn taboo subjects into almost comical fodder.

“Django Unchained,” in large part, deals with slavery in America in 1858.  Jamie Foxx is excellent as the freed slave, Django.  And Christoph Waltz will probably win an Oscar (Best Supporting Actor) for his effort as Django’s partner and mentor as bounty hunters.  Also appearing in the star laden cast is Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio.  And of course, Tarentino provides a cameo.

The white elephant in the room concerning this movie is its use of the N-word.  110 times to be exact.  I’m not going to lie, it’s aggressive.  And like most Tarentino movies, it’s exaggerated.  But somehow, he’s able to poke fun at some of the strangest things.

So, if you go, brace yourself.  For a lot of action and for a three hour movie that somehow doesn’t feel like three hours.

True Story:  Have you ever gone to a movie and when you’re buying your ticket you momentarily forget what the movie is called?  It happens to me about 25% of the time.  And it happened last night.  My mind raced as I frantically searched for the title on the sign.  After three seconds I blurted out, “Durango Unchanged.”  The kid behind the counter, to his credit, nodded and smiled one of those smart-aleck type smiles.  Wink.  I’m sure he told his work friends about it as soon as I walked out of earshot.  On the tough streets of Stephen, if you made a mistake similar to that, we referred to it is as a “Richy.”

Django Unchained

4 out of 5 stars.

No popcorn, no pop.  Although, after two hours I was mad with that decision. 

Lincoln: Reviewed

My string of seeing very good movies continued recently when I went to “Lincoln.”  Steven Spielberg directs a gigantic cast in this sprawling history lesson centered around the 13th Amendment.

Lincoln fans, history buffs, and people who enjoy high quality movie making will love this flick.  I think I’m a little of each.  Granted, I’m not a great Lincoln “mind,” and Spielberg might have taken liberties that I’m not aware of, I still found it to be a fascinating history lesson.

To be honest, I have no idea who the guy was that played Lincoln.  But he was very good.  Sally Field plays Mrs. Lincoln.  Apparently Mrs. Lincoln was not shy when voicing her opinion to Abe.  The rest of the cast is huge.  And filled with dozens of great character actors.

So if you’re scoring at home, and wouldn’t that be weird if you were, I rank the last three movies as such:

1.  Argo

2.  Lincoln

3.  Flight

Come awards time, Ben Affleck and Spielberg are going to have a battle for best movie and director.

Lincoln

4 out of 5 stars

Popcorn, 3/4 Red Powerade and 1/4 Sprite.

A man of about 65 years sat behind me and was wearing a healthy dose of Brut 33.  But he didn’t talk or doing anything weird so I gave him a pass.

Flight: Reviewed

I went to see the Denzel Washington movie, “Flight,” this weekend.  And, if I hadn’t just seen “Argo,” I would be proclaiming “Flight” as the best movie I’ve seen in years.  But it will have to settle for being the second best movie I’ve seen in years.

Washington probably places himself in Academy Award conversations with his portrayal of a talented but troubled airline pilot.  In fact, his scene piloting a commercial aircraft at the beginning of the movie is so realistic that those of you who are afraid to fly might want to skip the first ten minutes or so.  The word that comes to mind is gripping.  There are some impressive movie making skills portrayed early on.

I won’t bore you with the details, but this film takes several turns throughout and some of the subject matter is so intense that it sometimes is even humorous.

On a side note, I don’t recall ever being at a movie where more people in the audience “talked back” to the screen.  Included in that group, but not limited to, was the guy two rows behind me who felt it was his job to add narration for the other 300 people in the theater.  And it wasn’t even insightful narration.  It was unnecessary narration.  For instance, at one point, Washington is unscrewing the cap from a bottle of vodka.  It is a very pivotal point in the movie.  The theater was dead silent, when Mr. Narrator Guy announced, “He got it open!”

Anyway, it’s a very good movie.  It carries an ‘R’ rating most likely due to a ton of alcohol and drug use.

Flight

4 out of 5 stars.

Medium popcorn and a large Fruit Punch Gatorade and Sprite Combo.

 

Argo: Reviewed

I finally went to see “Argo” the other night, and, it was worth the wait.  In fact, it’s probably the best movie I’ve seen in the last three or four years.

Based on a true story resulting from the American hostage situation in Iran in 1979, Ben Affleck’s ability for storytelling has most likely ascended to the ranks of Academy Award status.

This movie features the best fifteen minute opening sequence since “Saving Private Ryan.”  And the final fifteen minutes are just as riveting.  In between is movie gold.  It’s one of those movies you hope never ends.

Affleck directs and stars, and Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, and Alan Arkin are sensational.

Run, don’t walk, to see this film.

Argo:  4.5 out of 5

Carmike Theater

Popcorn, Diet Coke, Chocolate Covered Almonds (Don’t judge me.  The lady did a masterful job of upselling me on some kind of combo deal.)

Random Thursday

*Delmon Young is in the World Series.  Repeat that sentence three times.  You die a little bit each time you say it.

*Hats off to Jimmy From Accounting.  He was the only person I know who correctly predicted that the Giants would beat Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers last night.  Keep in mind, that JFA is currently preparing for what promises to be one of the busiest tax seasons ever.  The mere thought of him taking the time to think about baseball for even just a minute is impressive.

*Is it just me, or does FOX announcer Tim McCarver get crazier every year?

*I still haven’t seen “Argo,” but I’m being told that it’s award-worthy.

*Reggie Tales shout out to Kevin in Arlington.  Virginia, that is.

*Finally had Noodles and Company.  Mac and Cheese.  With meatballs.  Very, very good.

*For those of you keeping track, I have watched every episode of “Boardwalk Empire” and am now willing to discuss specific scenes and characters.

The Campaign: Reviewed

I went to “The Campaign” starring Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis last night.  It had been so long since I laughed in a movie theater that I almost forgot what it was like or if it was even socially acceptable.  Well,   I laughed more in the first five minutes than I have in the last five movies combined.

“The Campaign” delves into the North Carolina District 14 Congressional race between Ferrell and Galifianakis.  Ferrell plays a cross between Ricky Bobby and Ron Burgundy.  And Galifianakis plays a wimpy, fanny pack wearing dolt.

The political story line and gags are timely and oftentimes hysterically accurate.  The movie takes an obviously exaggerated view of political campaigns but some of the subject matter is very real.

One thing very striking to me about “The Campaign” is that this movie is much more “hardcore” than your average Will Ferrell offering.  It carries an ‘R’ rating for good reason.  The “F” word makes about 200 appearances in the movie and some of the gags go quite a bit further than you expect from a Ferrell effort.  But I’m not preaching and I’m not complaining.

“The Campaign” is very funny and fans of Ferrell and Galifianakis will not be disappointed.

The Campaign

3.5 stars out of 5.

Small popcorn, small Diet Coke, and chocolate covered almonds.  Don’t judge me.  It doubled as my dinner.  Or as we called it in Stephen, supper.