Thursday, November 29, 2007

Salt Is Death

I saw an item on the news today--wow, Americans are getting twice as much salt per day as they should. Scaaaaary.

It's because of...(dunno, I may have dozed off here)...but if restaurants would just cut in half the amount of salt they put on items, then it would save like 100,000 lives a year.

And yeah, I'm cynical. But I thought, "Really, do we need 100,000 more people in the world than we have? Is there anyone who thinks, 'Man, the answers to the world's problems is MORE PEOPLE!"?

Whenever those kind of stats come up, I just think--Hey, the fewer people, the better.

Then I can hear the old "abortion" argument--what if one of those was Einstein or Mozart? Let's be honest: If one of those was Einstein or Mozart, then five of them were Hitler, twelve of them were Dahmer, 50 of them were pedophiles, etc.

Even trade if you ask me.

I dunno. I think my cynicism has beaten me down. Whenever I see one of those movies/television shows where an alien or something declares that "Man is worth saving--see how noble and loving they can be!"...I just shake my head. I don't believe it.

I honestly don't think that mankind, on the whole, is a more positive force than negative. Am I wrong?

Monday, November 26, 2007

My Team Is The Best

I've been a Miami Dolphins fan since I was a little kid. The reason isn't important.

I used to be rabid, but calmed down after Marino left. They just weren't the same Dolphins--they were just bad.

But this year they're setting new lows. Going into this week they were 0-10. Yep, winless in 10 games. It's actually pretty hard to lose that many games in a row, even if you do suck.

I had forgotten that tonight they played the Steelers. There wasn't much hope of them winning. Guess what? Final score of the game: 3-0

That's weird, as it is. It's the lowest scoring game in Monday Night Football's history.

You know what's weirder? Miami lost.

Yep. Couldn't score 4 points. Man, they are some kind of bad.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Mist

So I really wanted to see this movie--I mean, Darabont doing King stuff again. I'm there even if he does Gerald's Game.

Anyway, Thanksgiving was over and I figured I might take in the late show(11:15pm). I called my buddy that works there and asked how busy the theater was--no way was I going if the place was a zoo. He said they weren't very busy.

Sweet. I called another buddy and he said he'd meet me up there.

We walk in the theater and it really isn't very crowded. We sit down. I'm thinking--hey, maybe coming to the late show wouldn't be so bad. (You know what I mean--they're typically populated by loud, obnoxious drunk people. I figured--most drunk people on Thanksgiving would stay home, right?)

With only five minutes to go before showtime, the theater starts to fill up. A group of loud people come in, but thankfully go sit WAY in the back.

The movie starts--people continue to chatter. I'm hoping they'll settle down.

Nope, still chatter. And not just one or two people. It's hard to zero in on where it's coming from. Someone shouts, "Shut the f*ck up!" and some people laugh.

The movie continues. Most people have fallen fairly quiet as the movie really begins to get tense. But there's this CHIRPING every minute or so. I can't determine if it's someone in the theater's phone or if it's in the actual film.

Then the movie fades to black and the CHIRPING happens--it's someone's goddamn phone. And it's been going on for like 5 minutes. Someone else shouts "Shut that f*cking thing off! and the offending girl shouts back, "You shut the f*ck up!"

I don't get it--this girl knows it's her phone and she hasn't shut it off. I notice people getting up and leaving--I hope to get a manager.

Sure enough, about fifteen minutes later a manager and a cop come in and stand at the bottom. The chirping has stopped, but someone's still talking on occasion.

Finally the manager goes up the stairs--I hear talking, then a loud voice clearly says, "Okay, you're out of here. Let's go!" Someone else says, "Fine." The loud voice: "Now!"

The cop walks up the stairs too. A second later the loud entourage is escorted out--shouting things in the middle of the movie just to get their last annoyance in. (or so I thought)

After they're finally outside I thought, "Hey, we can finally enjoy the last hour of so of the movie."

But no. Loud shouting outside of the theater can be heard--the group is apparently arguing with the cop or the manager. It goes on for another couple of minutes.

Staggering. But after that it was quiet.

The movie was pretty good. It's stays relatively faithful to the story(I think--been a while since I read it, but now I'm gonna re-read it) but the ending of the movie is a doozy. It's not too open-ended like King's short story, but prepare yourself--it's pretty tough.

That's three good movies I've seen lately. I don't know how this trend can continue unless all those bad Netflix movies I've been renting are generating good karma for me.

Next from Netflix, unsure why: I Spit On Your Grave, Cannibal Holocaust, and Rescue Dawn.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

No Country For Old Men

Reviewing a lot of movies lately--maybe I should just turn this into a movie critique blog...

Anyway, didn't know much about this flick other than the Coen's did it.

Without spoiling much, let me say it was pretty great. Funny dialogue--I mean, the most ridiculously simple conversation turns into very funny stuff. Javier Bardem--who I always kind of thought was a goofy older guy--turns in one of the most chilling portrayal of a sociopath I've seen in a long time.

Good performances all around, from Josh Brolin(anyone who's considered a joke needs to look at how this guy turned his career around; remember when he was in nothing but crappy direct-2-dvd flicks?) to Bardem to Tommy Lee Jones.

My only gripe is that the movie has no climax. There's lots of buildup all around, but the ends just kind of meanders in, and culminates in the off-screen death of one of the main characters. It's a little strange, and really the only thing keeping me from saying this movie is the best movie I've seen in a couple of years.

Go check it out--it's along the lines of Fargo more than The Big Lebowski, if you're trying to gauge the Coen-ism of it.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I Am Beowulf(Or How 3D Is Back(And Cool))

Saw this Tuesday night. Gotta say, it's a lot of fun.

The 3D is very cool--none of that red/blue stuff.

Not gonna say a lot about it, but I do want to see it again so maybe I can pay more attention to the 3D. I'd recommend seeing it, but it's a pretty hard PG-13, so I wouldn't take any real youngsters with you.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Afterdark Horrorfest: 0 for 2

Case in point: Tooth and Nail.

This movie is some kind of bad. The script is so so sooooooo laughably bad...I just don't know what to say.

Let's start. It's a post-apocalyptic world. Why? Well, we ran out of gas faster than we expected. I can't tell you, however, why that means the end of the world. Ever heard of electricity? (and for those that don't know, we can actually get electricity without gas...)

But no--we ran out of gas so now no one has electricity or power, the world is in chaos! I mean, I guess it is. That's what they tell you. But really, all we see are ten or so people stuck in a hospital--it's where they've decided to try to live out their existence.

95% of the flick takes place here. You've got your cliche'd characters: Tough guy(you know this because his name's Viper), smart guy(you know because his name's Darwin). I'm not kidding--those are the names.

I'm surprised the rest of the cast isn't named 'Tardgirl, Slut, Grumpy, Newgirl, Mexican, and All American.

So tough guy leaves--he doesn't like how stuff is run. Then some rejects out of Road Warrior show up. Seriously, I think this was supposed to be like a year after we ran out of gas. Is there a How To Dress In the Post-Apoc World For Dummies that says you paint your face, put on leather, and carry bladed weapons?

And what we learn is--they're cannibals! Ooooooooh, so scary. But it leads to this gem of dialogue, and I swear I am not exaggerating.

Girl1: "They're cannibals. They eat people. They came, they took my family and friends, and they ate them."

Guy: "What do you mean?"

I actually started laughing in the theater. How much more clear could the girl have been? What about her three sentences in a row could be misinterpreted?

Did I mention Michael Madsen's slumming in this thing? He shows up, tries to be menacing, but he's whistling "Whistle While You Work"--yeah, the 7 Dwarfs thing. Is it scary? No. Is it funny in the wrong kind of way? Yeah.

Then he shows up and says to one girl: "We can do this the easy way. We can do this the hard way." And I swear to you I couldn't stop picturing his next words being(in the Fat Bastard accent): "Get in mah belly!"

But you see--these cannibals come, kill one person and then sound a horn, and everyone leaves with their one meal. Why? Because they only want fresh meat. So they will be feet away from another victim, but when they hear the horn, they turn around and leave.

And this is the most ridiculous plan I've ever heard. Why not take them prisoner for one night--save the trouble of looking for them the next night, and maybe getting away.

Perhaps they don't have anywhere they could hold them? you might think. Well, later on they DO take the little girl prisoner and hold her in a nice jail-like cell. So there goes that argument.

Also, these cannibals only hunt at night. They come looking for our protags and I was just wondering--are you kidding? This hospital is like the size of Johns Hopkins and the cannibals don't have flashlights of any kind. Hey, pick a dark room and huddle in the back corner of it. There's no way the ten or so of them could check them all--and without light they would literally have to feel around to see if you were in each one.

I could go on. This movie is so full of ridiculousness that by the end I wasn't the only one scoffing out loud. Of course Viper comes back and saves the day. Of course the main chick who got attached to the little girl(who bears a resemblance to Newt) goes all Sigourney Weaver by the end of the movie.(and in another laughably bad part she paints herself up ala Rambo before she goes to kill the bad guys WHO SHE'S ALREADY INCAPACITATED)

Really, I'm now rethinking my whole view of the Afterdark stuff. Counting last years AD films, I've seen a total of six. Four of them sucked and two were okay. Not good odds.

I have a preview screening of Beowulf in 3D I can see tomorrow, or I can take in Nightmare Man and Mulberry Street. Tough call.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Cool Tidbit

A buddy of mine that works at FYE brought me a present yesterday. It's a 6 FOOT by 6 FOOT cardstock posterboard that all FYE's had hanging up for Halloween. It says FAN FRIGHT FEST across it, and features like 100 movie box covers on it.

There's Halloween, Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Scream, The Ring. A lot of big movies.

Why did he bring this to me? Smack dab in the middle of them is my first flick, HH.

No, I can't explain it. There are no other microbudget movies on there. If they were gonna put one of my flicks on there, I'd have bet it would be FOC, since FOC had LGF as a distributor.

HH has a nobody distributor(it's now with a company called Trinity). So I can't explain why they'd put it on there--but it's very cool to be featured on there with some distinguished company.

But I'll be the first to admit that it shouldn't be there amongst those giants...

Friday, November 09, 2007

Horrorfest: 0 For 1

One of the things I love about movies is discovering great writer/directors. There's just something extra cool about finding a M.Night Shyamalan or a Neil Marshall. You figure that whatever they put out is probably going to be pretty good.

Because it's hard to find screenwriters whose movies are always good, just as it's hard to find directors whose movies are always good. I think it's why Spielberg is so popular--he's got that magic touch where he seems to be able to make just about any movie accessible to the mainstream audience.

I hope to be one of those guys--the writer/directors who put out interesting product, so if you like one of my movies then you'll probably like most of them.

With that in mind I went to see Unearthed, one of the Afterdark Horrorfest movies. It's written/directed by the guy who wrote/directed Dead and Breakfast, a pretty original zombie comedy musical. I saw an interview where he talked about Unearthed, a departure into the straight monster movie.

I figured he'd bring something new and fresh to his monster movie. I figured wrong.

The movie has a number of things going against it, but first and foremost is the script. It's just so mediocre that it's hard to believe anyone signed up for it. So many little issues--it seemed like a script that got rushed so they could beat the writer's strike, except that this was written and shot over a year ago.

For instance(and I'll stay pretty spoiler-less): There's a hot, 25 year old sheriff of this desert town. And almost no one mentions how odd this is. But lest they stray too far from stereotype, she has a troubled past and is now a drunk. We're treated to some ridiculous flashbacks to what happened, and they really have no bearing on the story at all.

A truck gets in an accident and blocks the only road out of this town. The sheriff goes to investigate, and as she gets out of her car she pulls out her rifle and takes it with her to look over the wreckage. How many cops do you know that pull out their rifles to investigate car crashes?

She finds an unidentifiable piece of animal at the wreckage, so she takes it to this Indian scientist chick, who's also attractive and young. This girl does some ridiculous test and declares that it's a bonafide unique creature, neither animal or plant. How many cops who find a tiny piece of animal at the scene of a wreckage would take it to a scientist to find out what it was? In the movie it looked a little bit like a lizard tail, so I think most would have assumed that's what it was. And how many plant scientists could tell you that much about a piece of flesh within 24 hours?

Little things like that added up. They're being chased by the creature and are having this discussion about it being an ancient Indian god, and suddenly the Indian scientist chick blurts out that No--because it has DNA from other things inside it, it's obviously an alien organism sent out to our planet to harvest our DNA. She's not kidding, and if she's right(they never tell you) then there's NO WAY she could have come up with this given what she knew.

So, ignoring the script, the next problem is the cinematography. This movie is DARK. Crazy dark and shot in crazy closeups during the action, so you have no idea what's going on. I kid you not, there were 30 second increments where I couldn't tell what was going on.

The creature: 1 part Pumpkinhead, 1 part Relic creature, and 2 parts Alien. At times it looked very cool. Some CGI was nice, others were laughably bad. On a big-budget movie like Spider-man you'd assume different FX houses did different scenes, but I'm sure the same house did all of them for this flick so I have no idea why some of the scenes are terrible, while some are decent.

Acting was so so, but it's a case of Episode I. Hard to tell if the actors are crappy or if the script is so bad it's making them look that way.

Anyway, hope to catch a couple of other movies. Fingers crossed they're better than last year's crop.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Things You Didn't Know About Autistic Kids 1

Imagine you see someone pick up some food and try a bite. They immediately gag like they're going to puke.

You probably figure the food is bad or something, or at the very least that they don't like it.

If that person is autistic, you'd be wrong.

We first noticed it a long time ago. First place it happened was Chik-Fil-A. The kid would try to eat his chicken and he'd gag. So I'd tell my wife, "He doesn't like it."

But he'd continue to try to eat it anyway. At first I figured--that's dedication. As it turns out, he does like it. But there are certain textures of food that will make him gag even though he likes the taste, and Chik-Fil-A chicken is one of them. McDonald's chicken won't do it. Wendy's chicken sometimes does it.

Anyway, just thought ya might like to know. We've now got the kid on a weird diet I'll tell ya about later. By the time I'm done with you you'll be more sick of autism than I am...*

*actually, that's impossible.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Halloween Fun

Halloween day came around when my wife woke me at 2pm to tell me that she was going to the emergency room.

The previous day she hadn't felt good and pretty much slept the day away. Got up for about a half hour, but went right back to bed. Her stomach.

So she tells me she's going to get her mom to take her to the emergency room and I should watch the kid. She leaves.

After I get my act together I figure I'll throw Logan's costume on and take some pictures for her so she wouldn't miss that. Logan's game for it, so here ya go:

Anyway, I took the kid up to the hospital a couple of hours later and find out I missed my wife checking out by fifteen minutes. We catch up to her back at the house. The doctors say they think it's a kidney stone; they give her lots of good pain medication.

A quick note on Halloween:
-I know this isn't charitable and all that, but I am so tired of people bringing their effing kids to my neighborhood to collect candy WHEN THEY DON'T LIVE HERE. WTF is that? Vans will pull up, a bunch of kids pile out, and they'll hit the houses, then back into the van to drive to another street.

Hey, if your neighbohood doesn't have trick or treating, move to another neighborhood. Don't come begging at my door. Have some pride.

Anyway, days later and the wife seems to be getting better.