The Town

I remember seeing the trailer for this and being excited for exactly one thing: Don Draper layin down da law.  The other thing I remember is the theater’s collective groan (or maybe just mine) when the trailer revealed the movie’s central twist: “Affleck kidnappin his own gf!  She dunno nuffin bout hiz dark, dark crimez0rz!  He so conflictedsss!”  Yeah, well, at least the movie didn’t try to retread this big reveal.  That is probably the biggest accomplishment of this movie!

Nudity = we get to see a lot of Affleck’s manly torso, but no Don Draper.  I would think in a movie with a contemporary setting, the moviemakers would finally get Draper out of that monkey suit and into a bikini thong—sadly he rarely leaves his flak jacket.  Most memorably for Affleck, he does a pull-up and his superhuman abs are perfectly lit to emphasize his tortured soul.  I think he’s preparing for the second of three heists.  I could be wrong. The three were very distinct, but all the drama-rama going on between them mushed together for me.  Sorry, that was outside the scope of this section.  Point is Affleck’s rippedness is the main skin attraction here.  The above photo is pretty much the biggest spoiler for this movie.  The pretty gf of the movie eventually gets laid by Affleck’s machine body, but… was she even naked?  I don’t even remember side boob.   She looked like the lead lady from Gone Baby Gone – Director Affleck has got a type fo sho.  No Amy Ryan brilliant sexiness/nastiness here though.  The blondie in the rightmost box of the poster vies for that spot, but she ain’t nowhere near.  Oh yeah, I think we do see her boobs.  At least a nasty naked back.

Draper action = he gets a couple classic Don moments in there: touching his watch just so, a line to motivate his troops into action, a quick look revealing his deep frustration with the situation but only seen by us, his only possible empathizers.  He does lay down some law eventually but we don’t get to party with him at all.  Remember that California vacation ep in Season 2?  Holy… Don got down.  Four chicks in some mod house in Santa Monica, infinity pool, smokin a joint with his one free pinky.  This season, season 4, Don is STILL gettin down, even when he doesn’t wanna anymore!  I guess that’s how it goes moving into movie work—John Hamm’s gotta do a coupla these straight parts before they give him something nice and nasty.

So here’s how the movie goes = heist, talking, heist, talking, heist, forced bittersweet sadness.  For those who didn’t like all the talking during the heists in Inception, this movie is not that.  No talking during the heists!  It’s all separate.  When dudes in Boston heist, they fuggin heist, no chit-chat.  The most “whoa-that’s some real shit” moment in the movie is the very beginning when a title card appears (perhaps with a deep ominous boooom?) stating that more bank robberies occur in Boston that any other city in da wooorld!  Nothing else in the movie really matched that realness.  Except Affleck abs.  Oh, and there’s this guy from The Hurt Locker who plays the only real emotions in this movie; I didn’t see The Hurt Locker but I’m pretty sure it’s the same character—real masculine aggression: you just can’t say where it comes from!  It’s hurt and shame; it’s fear and evolutionary RAGE!

I read an interview this morning with Mindy Kaling and the interviewer revealed that the producer of The Office discovered her after reading a play she co-wrote called “Matt and Ben,” all about how Damon and Affleck came to write “Good Will Hunting.”  She actually played Affleck on stage!  That should DEFINITELY be made into a real film starring Damon and Kaling.  Affleck could direct again, just how he likes it now.  The premise alone gets $8 from me.  As for this movie though, The Town, $5.

Recommendations from Joe Joe:

  • The Sting
  • Dead Again
  • “Brian and Stewie,” Season 8, Episode 17, Family Guy

Dear John

I know what you’re thinking cause I thought it too.  Here is how I got to seeing this movie.  I saw the trailer for it and I was like oh HELL no.  Then, I heard the song from the trailer on Pandora.  My ears perked up to this vaguely familiar, melancholy song – and I thought – hey, that’s a good song!  I had to listen to the song on repeat for a few days and then watch the trailer again.  That’s when I decided I actually needed to watch the movie.  And I’m glad I did.  Despite the horrendous preview (for my tastes), I sat through the movie, suspended by the good-looking actors and decent love story!  I do like to surprise myself from time to time, keeps me on my toes.

There are several crucial elements to this movie that makes it a good romance.  First of all, the leading lady, Amanda Seyfried, is a charming and intelligent young woman.  I can actually see why a stallion like Channing Tatum would fall madly in love with her in two weeks.  That’s the problem with many of these movies (eg The Notebook), I just don’t see what there is to love, but a pretty face.  Secondly, it’s not just about two lovebirds, but about other important relationships and priorities.  Channing Tatum’s father, played by Richard Jenkins, is a neurotic shut-in with autistic tendencies.  I appreciated the inclusion of people with disabilities with subltley and grace.  Fourth, I enjoyed the incorporation of 9/11 in the film.  I haven’t seen very many movies where the writer/director successfully includes an important, recent historic event.  Usually, it’s a complete distraction and utter failure (eg Benjamin Button).  But here, it fit well and flowed with the story.  I even enjoyed the moment it happened – a creative and subtle reenactment of the experience.  Maybe because it’s personal for me, but that’s almost exactly how I found out – on my way home from class in college.  Lastly, there’s an element of keepin it real that I like – I don’t wanna spoil anything, so I’ve got to limit it to that.  I think this movie is under-appreciated.  If you like romantic movies, go for it, watch Dear John… $5

If you like Dear John:

Recommendations from Yolkie:

Roman Holiday

Robert Rodriguez & Ethan Maniquis’s Machete

Damn dis movie wiz da bomb!!!! First I wuz like what da hail Danny Trejo you old as fuck! What are you – like ninety? You don’t need a machete you need a food processor cuz you prolly have no more fuckin teeth son. But then he started slicing muthafuckers and I was like okay this Mexican can still make moves man. He be dodging all varieties of honkeyz in this movie from redneck KKKs (Don Johnson) to rich-ass political (Robert De Niro) to Steven Seagull (some kind of half-Chink assassin I don’t know). Especially in this final showdown against Seagull – that Injun got his belly poked through like a BBQ skewer son. And he could barely feel that shit! I was like damn you muthafuckaz copied Monty Python and the Holy Grail fuckin hangers-on muthafuckers. It was still cool though becauze with the knife all inbred in his belly, Seagull committed Seppuku – the Japanese art of suicide.

The other thingz was bitches be getting hella stripped in this movie ya’ll. And all up ons Danny Trejo’s penis bacon or should I say chorizo. There’s this scene where Lindsay Lohan, her moms, and Danny Trejo are all up in a swimming pool drinking hella Patron and fucking each other and videotaping the whole thing. And when Lindsay Lohan showed her titties I was like damn Fez you wuz a lucky muthafucker man and I’ll bet you still strokin it off to that. And that wasn’t even the hottest shit in the movie cuz! Michelle Rodriguez, Jessica Alba, these fine-ass nurses – by the end every dude in the theater was holding his dick in his hands. Until Cheech got his ass crucified which wuz a major boner killer. I didn’t want to see him go out like that G I shed a little tear.

So also there were parts of this movie that sucked cat nutz but it wuz like they meant it to be that way. I was like why you make yur movie suckz on purpose player that shit is like lying to your own brain. But the political messages about wetbacks crossing the border and Texan vigilantes – that shit is for real though. Because I know hella Latinos without papers and they are still good people though. They drive kind of slow but that’s okay. Stay up my Chicano bruthaz!! Better than those Enron muthafuckers trying to pillage our shit and that dirty Jew Bernie Madoff. This movie will get to the heart and is bawler son!!! . . . $6

If you heart Machete:

Recommendations by DJ Gun-Ray
Black Snake Moan
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

Exit Through the Gift Shop: A Banksy Film

O Banksy! Is there another human being on the planet even remotely as cool? There was Kurt Cobain I suppose. There is Miranda July. Dave Eggers. David Thorne. And maybe my friend Gautam. So I guess there are people nearly as cool. But not many. Maybe like eight people. Exit Through the Gift Shop you are the bee’s knees. You are the apple of my eye! I cannot imagine a more impressive project nipping at the asses of the artistry-commodity complex.

So here is how I conceive of your creation: Over a million dollars worth of counterfeit art was sold in a demonstration of the American art buyers’ naivete. When I say counterfeit I do not mean merely that the art purchased from Mr. Brainwash’s exhibition was constructed to simulate the look, value and effect of actual street art. I also mean that the intellectual work that is generally understood to precede the production of art was absent.

That is, generally there is a trust manifested between an art buyer and an artist that the artist will have agonized critically over the piece she/he is selling. She will have conceived of an idea, figured the most novel and effective way of portraying it, then rendered it masterfully. Furthermore the piece is a selection – that idea has been given precedent over all other ideas. That rendering has been put on a pedestal over other renderings. One might consider J.A.M. Whistler’s quote –

Holker: “The labour of two days is that for which you ask two hundred guineas?”
Whistler: “No, I ask it for the knowledge I have gained in the work of a lifetime.”

This is why the reputation/credibility of the artist becomes valuable. A consumer is paying for intellectual work they do not have to perform themselves (but trust is there). And they can pleasure themselves to those clever ideas. Or they can pleasure themselves to others believing they are clever since they are hanging said canvas upon their wall (i.e. they have demonstrated a modicum of critical work simply by selecting one print over another). The sheer volume of Guetta’s (Mr. Brainwash’s) work turns this into a farce. In order to create ‘unique’ prints, Guetta can be seen wheeled by, crudely splattering paint across identical prints ala grade-school understanding of Jackson Pollock. The artwork beneath the retarded Pollock is an enfeebled impression of Andy Warhol and a mashup (i.e. a plagiarism) of ideas Guetta lifted from studying legitimate street artists.

There is a trick being enacted on the art buyers within Exit. The impression that viable intellectual work has gone into the art is falsehood. Talented artists were no doubt enlisted to create Brainwash’s vision, but the leader at the helm was a monkey. Mr. Brainwash’s reputation was rapidly fabricated on novelty – the way of William Hung or Susan Boyle. This sort of fame is actually sort of cruel since the trait that draws people’s attention is the subject’s sheer lack of likability.

Whether the whole thing is a hoax or if Guetta is simply mentally-ill doesn’t matter. His credit card was still able to produce a rampage of contrived, defaced advertisements that sold like hotcakes. And the people who bought them end up some strange, laughing Ouroboros. The artwork is not counterfeit because it is unreal. On the contrary, its massive size announces itself like a fat kid wearing a superhero outfit. The artwork is merely counterfeit because Banksy’s film strips the intellectual and artistic capitol that was previously attached to it. The multiple layers of illusion being played with here just makes it all the sweeter. Tremendously ingenious . . . $11

If you heart Exit Through the Gift Shop: A Banksy Film

Recommendations by Quispy
Paper Heart
24 Hour Party People

Adam McKay’s The Other Guys

O Other Guys! You are daring! You are brilliant and strange! With the exception of Hot Fuzz I don’t think I’ve watched a more interesting buddy/cop flick satirizing the conventions of the genre. I only have the vaguest impression of the narrative architecture holding you together. I think it is something like The Pelican Brief meets L.A. Confidential meets Beverly Hills Cop meets Boogie Nights. But the overarching plot is really just extraneous noise. You are strongest when examined scene to scene – there you’re constantly surprising, bravely magical, staggeringly funny.

And did I say surprising? Surprise is really an underrated gift these days – what with directors like Michael Bay, Brett Ratner, and Kevin Smith recycling the same tired muck again. One of your greatest strengths is your investment in humor that is startling.

BONUS – Steve Coogan. Not that he did a lot here, but it’s just a tiny joy to see him anywhere. Undoubtedly one of the finest comedians alive.

BONUS II – The credits. So you decided to squeeze in some socially conscious cartoons at the very end, huh? Well it worked for me. I’m ready to go pillage the vacation homes of some CEOs . . . $8

Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

O Scott Pilgrim! At the sound of the synapses firing from reading these words we should be dashing (even if you are a swift walker, still you should dash) to watch the ecstatic playground, the festival of lights, the melting pot of rock, the pinata of quirky mayhem that is your stomping ground.

Edgar Wright! It is no mystery why lesser directors such as Kevin Smith want to suck your cock. If talent behind a camera was cock Edgar, you would be . . . a python . . . that is eating another python. And Kevin Smith would be a vagina. And you would be blowing the steaming moneyshot of your genius all over Kevin Smith’s brow and eyebrows and probably a little bit in his beard too.

Mary Elizabeth Winstead! Who wouldn’t kill themselves to be with you in this one? Your beauty is not merely a novelty (even if they say well in Death Proof you did spend the entire flick running around in a cheerleading uniform – hot). I think it’s just that when asked, you fulfill the roles of caricatures superbly (i.e. it is very easy to project our fantasies on you). But you are beyond scream queen status. I’m looking forward to following you into more complex terrain.

Michael Cera! The greatest presence since Woody Allen who is making awkwardness cool and ostensibly appealing to the ladies. Though I have to say, Ellen Wong! You stole the show! The best dramatic and comedic performance of the flick belonged to you.

There is too much genius to list, but here is a list:

1) Nigel Godrich
2) For making emotional battles – literal
3) For making every guy in that movie theater want to play bass guitar in a garage band
4) For casting the cutest girls, even in minor roles (i.e. Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza)
5) Video games – the oldschool way
6) For making sure almost every cut of the film was so fresh and so clean
7) For not blowing it on about ten million references to pop culture – comics, music, film, refrigerator magnets; for getting them right or right enough
And 8 – Kieran Culkin – King of all Culkins

I.e. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World you are the coolest MFer on the planet at this moment . . . $12

If you heart Scott Pilgrim vs. the World:

Recommendations by Quispy:
Peter Care’s The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
Stephen Frears’s High Fidelity
Tarsem Singh’s The Fall

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