I came to this movie after digesting the first season of Veep over the course of two days with my wife on DVD — Veep and In the Loop share the same creator, if you didn’t know.
Anyway, think of In The Loop as being like Veep, only with a different cast of characters, and where the stakes aren’t whether the vice-president is pregnant or getting a clean jobs bill passed – in this instance, it’s war.
For those who haven’t seen Veep, think of In The Loop as being The Office – American or British version – only more insane, and instead of selling paper, they’re selling war.
Also, as a creepy, there-are-some-thoughts-you-should-keep-to-yourself side-note — definitely into Anna Chlumsky.
I know this is going to sound absurd, in the same way as saying that of all the mass murders in the world, one of them is not as bad as the others — because can any mass murderer truly be better or worse than another? — but seriously, Pain and Gain might just be the best movie Michael Bay ever directed.
In the past I’ve had a mixed relationship with Michael Bay — see this for proof — and I had good reason to feel the way I did. After all, of late he’s done nothing to really inspire me to change my mind. I mean, with three straight Transformers movies to his name, it was starting to look like he’d basically given up any shred of integrity he ever had. If he ever had any to begin with.
But with Pain and Gain, which I only saw because the tickets were basically free, I was pleasantly surprised — I guess that’s the advantages of lowered-expectations. Sure, it’s got all the usual over-the-top excess and fetishization of women and cops and guns his other movies have, but for once Bay’s style and the subject matter come together perfectly. And as much as I loved The Island, and as much as I liked Pearl Harbor — I’m not ashamed to admit I liked it, even if I might’ve been the only one — Pain and Gain might just be better than both. It’s energetic, it’s witty, it’s fast paced, has chemistry and charisma to spare, all held together by deliriously-unhinged and intensely-watchable performances from Mark Wahlberg and Dwayne Johnson, and catchy supporting turns from Stanley Tucci and Rebel Wilson.
My only issue: it’s too long. Sordid excess has it’s limits and in this case, clipping out about ten minutes of the film wouldn’t have hurt it at all.
Directed by William Wellman
Written by Hope Loring and Louis Lighton, from a story by John Monk Saunders
Starring Charles ‘Buddy’ Rogers, Richard Arlen, Clara Bow and Gary Cooper
Some movies deserve the scorn heaped upon them. After all, they’ve been given every chance to succeed, been given all the money to succeed, and failed and deserve to whither on the vine and die. These would the pretentious, the superficially-important, and the later-career Michael Bay movies — in other words, films that could have — should have — been better, but just weren’t. Continue reading
Well, actually not a double feature, given that it would have made for 8 hours or more of viewing in one day if I’d taken in these two films back-to-back, though I did watch them over a successive number of days during the course of one week. Still, it was close enough. Continue reading
All right, so here’s the cover for my latest book. There isn’t quite a timetable yet on a release date — still have to write a blurb and coordinate other stuff — but as always, I will let you know when I have it.
To see the evolution of the cover, you should look at the pics on my Facebook page and especially my comments on them. It’s a little clearer why I chose this over other, abandoned ideas.
In the meantime, follow the Best Picture Project. Or, go here and buy my other stuff — my advice, buy Goliath. You won’t be sorry.
This might honestly be the most terrifying movie I saw in recent memory — and there is not one speck of blood, nobody hits anybody else, and no threats of grievous bodily harm were made. If not for the fact that the ‘based on actual events’ tagline turning out to be true, you’d think this was a far-fetched joke.
But knowing that not only did it happen in real life, pretty much as it happened in the movie, but that it has a scientific explanation behind what went on, makes it all the more shocking.
Oh, but the real kicker: the perp on the phone was acquitted.
It will never be mistaken for a ‘great’ film, but given what Shepard — co-Director, writer, star — set out to do, it’s great for what it is. Uncomplicated, unpretentious, breezy, silly, fun and filled with good repartee and dialog. Plus, the soundtrack is fabulous, not to mention a show-stealing performance by Bradley Cooper.
I’ll just say it: better than Smokey and the Bandit.
I don’t know what gave me the idea to do a list of the best movies with severed digits – in this case, digits is not meant in a mathematical way, but in the fingers and toes way – but since all lists are inherently arbitrary constructed and a little stupid (AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs, anybody?), it seemed all right just to embrace these lists for all their stupidity and pick something outre.
So, here it is, the ten best movies that prominently feature a severed finger. Or toe.
(Incidentally, I thought about calling this ‘pieces and parts’ but chose an equally silly title.)
The most fascinatingly wacky movie I think I’ve ever seen — who would have thought it so interesting to listen to a bunch of stupid theories for two hours about a movie I love? And yet, it was.
Honestly, though, I think the movie might’ve been more disturbing than The Shining itself. Because the music in horror movies is usually what does it for me — if you’re itching to see me turn a little lily-livered, play Tubular Bells around me and it just might happen — the music used in this doc gave me the eerie, creeping feeling throughout. And all that without considering how the blend of classic horror and holocaust-film footage worked on me.
As much as I loved the wackiness and audacity of some of the theories, the real triumph is in the editing. If ever I’ve seen a movie where I can say the editing deserves an Oscar over all others, it’s this one.
BTW, since this didn’t make it to an actual theater in my town, I gotta give some love to the Amazon Instant App on my Blu-Ray player — I might wear that thing out with all the VOD movies I’m itching to see.