Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)

Directed by Francis Lawrence
Runtime 136min. - Rated PG13
2.5 Stars (out of 4)

I generally don't go to the theater. Especially not to new releases. I know that seems counterproductive for a movie blogger, but the price is outrageous. Then there's the line, the crowds, the concessions, and all the other stuff I could do without. The screens are awesome, but I'm capable of enjoying a movie on my TV just as well as a theater.

So why make an exception for "Catching Fire"? Two reasons: 1. I had free tickets 2. My wife and I were celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary.

So how was this rare trip to a real live movie theater? Pretty good, actually.

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" does a lot of things right. It manages to project a sinister tone without the need for grisly on-screen violence. And of course the costumes and sets are amazing, especially the scenes in the capital. The cast is top notch. Really, the talent is over-qualified for the material. Woody Harrelson is one of my favorite performers and Phillip Seymour Hoffman I consider the greatest actor alive. Jennifer Lawrence is always stunning and a prodigious thespian in her own right.

So now lets get to the important stuff. The stuff I didn't like.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Mike Case in: The Big Kiss Off (2013)

Directed by Justin Baird
Runtime 76min.

So I'm guessing you haven't seen the trailers advertising "Mike Case in: The Big Kiss Off" during the Sunday Night Football games. And maybe you didn't notice it on the front page of IMDB. And possibly even missed the Mike Case blimp on it's 12-city tour.

No, none of that happened. What I'm driving at here is that "The Big Kiss Off" is a low-budget movie that may have never came across my radar if not for a Facebook friendship with the folks at IndieRights Distribution. It's a surprising friendship since they sent me a literal box full of DVD's of which I've only watched and reviewed a few.

But "Mike Case" didn't end up in the DVD box. I was actually contacted by a producer/star/co-writer on the film who'd hoped I might take a look and offer a review. Of course, if that producer had visited this site he may have not even offered. It's not like I've been active lately. And I confess, my first instinct was to politely decline. But, I was in the mood for something different, and in the mood to write, and I'm a big nut for noir. So I said yes. And the result is as follows.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Movies I've Watched Recently

As opposed to the movies I'd like to have watched recently. I think you'll see a pattern emerging here pretty quickly.

  • The Little Mermaid
  • The Little Mermaid 2
  • The Little Mermaid 3
  • Back to the Sea (Direct-to-video cartoon)
  • Rio
  • Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
  • Despicable Me
  • The Croods
  • A Turtle's Tale: Sammy's Adventures
  • Epic
  • Escape from Planet Earth
  • Wreck-It Ralph
  • Koala Kid
  • The Monster in Paris
  • Mars Needs Moms
  • Megamind
  • Wall-E
  • Up
I think you get the idea. I also end up watching a lot of Curious George on Netflix and there's bunches of Land Before Time movies that my wife watches with the kids when I'm not home.

So, if the reviews come slow. This is why. Not that I couldn't review kids movies, but I really don't care too.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Bless Me, Ultima (2013)

 Directed by Carl Franklin
Based on the book by Rudolfo Anaya
2.5 Stars (out of 4)

Watch instantly on Vudu or Amazon

Better yet, buy the book!

For whatever reason, I didn't read many novels growing up. Hell, I didn't read many novels ever, until the last couple of years. But now I read constantly. Can't get enough.

"The book was better." is what I've always heard about adaptations. But I've had no first hand experience of this phenomenon until now. I happened to catch Roger Ebert's review of "Bless Me, Ultima" about a year ago and decided to check out the novel. I'm so glad I did. It's an excellent piece of literature that added much to the Chicano culture it celebrates.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Why My Blog Sucks

Yes. My blog sucks. I mean, it's a movie review blog and I haven't posted a movie review since May 9th. What gives?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Silver Tattoo by Laura Treacy Bentley

 The Silver Tattoo
by Laura Treacy Bentley
Published April '13

Having writer/editor/publisher friends on Facebook often comes in handy. Sometimes an author will make their book available for free on Amazon for a 24 hour period. I've gained a few books that way. But, The Silver Tattoo is by far the best free pick-up I've made.

This book is excellent. Voice is something authors are told to develop constantly, but it almost seems like a myth. Bentley's voice, however, is strong. I think I could pick her writing out of a lineup of samples. Part of this is likely due to her poetry background, though admittedly I've yet to read her poetry.

The book is more sentimental than I'm used to, but LTB is so good at building intrigue that you never lose focus. You just have to have those answers. A lot of my reading consists of horror-fantasy and sci-fi. And while I'm a huge fan of Joe Hill and Mark Lawrence, it's nice to expand one's horizons every so often. So there's no beheadings or monsters, The Silver Tattoo still left me completely satisfied.