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Blu-Ray Quickie: Frank

Posted by jargononline on January 27, 2015 at 10:20 PM Comments comments (0)

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"Frank" is full of some of the weirdest characters and moments you will ever in a recent movie. But the message behind is that it is the goals and fears of those who are considered "normal" that will destroy not only creativity but the soul as well. Sounds very bleak, but it is actually funny, sweet, intoxicatingly quirky and very well acted.

 

Michael Fassbender continues to prove he cannot be stopped in his oddest, funniest and most vulnerable performance he's ever given as the title character Frank, the leader of a band whose genre is indescribable and who always wears a giant paper mache head. He seems totally crazy but movies like this always make the case that those he seem the most looney are in fact the sanest of the bunch.

 

That dynamic switches as we watch the other central character, Jon (Domhall Gleeson), try to push his agenda on the group and ends up bringing it all down in a quest for fame and fortune. A terrible songwriter brought into their odd, unique band he is focused on his own plans than making "great" music and forgets the whole purpose of the process: freedom.

 

There are also great performances by Maggie Gyllenhaal and Scoot McNairy as other band members who have their own quirks but are truly tragic underneath. But it's not all gloom. It is consistently funny and embraces its true sense of odd, mostly thanks to Frank himself. You have to expect that much from a guy who always wears a fake head, even when eating and showering.


Blu-Ray Quickie: Tusk

Posted by jargononline on January 7, 2015 at 3:55 PM Comments comments (0)

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Never has a modern horror comedy been so unfunny or unscary. Not only was I left unhappy by “Tusk” I also slept like a baby without even the slightest nightmares. That is no way to live!

The story of a man who is turned into a walrus by some weirdo is the most recent foray into cool ideas leading to undeveloped movies by Kevin Smith. Sounds interesting, but it’s nothing more than a sick, cringing and often boring feature length version of what should’ve been a short film.

Justin Long is here as the most obnoxious character in any movie this year. He is supposed to be that way but humble enough to pity him. In the end I just wanted him dead. Not suffering as a walrus, just dead. Michael Parks is the weirdo who clearly was supposed to be given the Hannibal Lector treatment but is instead just as bug-eyed loon. The most notable appearance is by Johnny Depp as a surly French-Canadian detective. I was having a lot of fun watching him play in such a goofy role until Smith and his tendency to over-write made me wanna throw a remote at the screen.

Then there is the Smith script with every other word a profanity and all the characters thinking they are so much wiser than they are with their slacker mentality of the world. After so long everyone becomes so detestable to watch I wanted them all to become walruses.

Then there’s the actual gore and blood which is all disgusting and in no way entertaining. This is most likely because is Smith’s shifting from broad comedy to utter darkness and violence. He doesn’t know what path to take or how to mesh the two so the result is an unfunny, gross mess that is likely to leave the audience confused and scared, just not in the good way.

 


Blu-Ray Quickie: The Monuments Men

Posted by jargononline on December 11, 2014 at 6:40 PM Comments comments (0)

 

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You would think that with all the Oscar winning movies George Clooney has had his hands in that The Monuments Men (directed by Clooney) would be a sure fire winner. Sadly, this movie seems like an amateur effort compared to anyone's standards.

 

 

Dry, long and far too episodic, this movie featuring a stellar cast squanders all its gifts on a story that would seem interesting as a WWII-meets-Oceans 11, but actually raises the question as to why it was even made in the first place. As a story about a group of soldiers hunting for stolen art pieces, Monuments Men gives its great cast little to other than engage in random sequences meant to be funny but usually fall flat, meanwhile never actually finding any art. Just as well the characters are drawn so thin they have little definition beyond the occasional wisecrack.

 

 

The Monuments Men has so little going for it despite its excellent cast it cam easily be considered a poster child for movies made about historical stories that should be told as dinner party facts.

 

 


D

 

Blu-ray Quickie: Blue Jasmine

Posted by jargononline on January 29, 2014 at 5:45 PM Comments comments (0)

By Matt Rooney


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After watching a recent documentary on Woody Allen and learned most of his scripts come from brief ideas written on anything from napkins to toilet paper, I remain surprised when he can come out with such fleshed out and wonderful stories like that of Blue Jasmine.

 


Completely hinged on a career defining performance from Cate Blanchett as Jasmine, Blue Jasmine tells the simple, yet bleak, yet hilarious story of a woman causing immense destruction to herself and others when her life glamorous life comes crashing down. She manic, depressed, self-centered, judgemental and an immense joy to watch as she slowly becomes that crazy lady on the subway who talks to herself and has, like, 10 animals living with her.

 


Blue Jasmine has one of the best ensembles of the year featuring the likes of Bobby Canavale, Louis C.K., Alec Baldwin, Peter Skarsgaard, Andrew Dice Clay and Sally Hawkins as her sweet, unflinching sister who takes her in and receives the brunt of the rubble Jasmine brings down. It may end to abrupt and off-putting as some may want, but it's one of Allen's more introspective works and continues to solidify him as a man who can easily blend humor and pathos. Oh, and lots and lots of crazy.

 


A-


Blu-Ray Quickie: Only God Forgives

Posted by jargononline on December 2, 2013 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

By Matt Rooney


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In 2011, the world was given something it had never seen before with the release of Drive: an arthouse thriller. Intense, passionate, well-written with all the trimmings to make a hipster go, “Yeah, I’d watch this”. Director Nicolas Winding Refn’s newest feature, Only God Forgives takes all that throttle and crushes it into an unappealing and ugly slosh which some might mistake for something a pig would eat.

 


Sure that may seem harsh, but Only God Forgives features nothing more than a bleak color palettes, monotonous, bug-eye acting and a razor thin plot that is clouded amongst brooding stares and mopey dialogue. Yes, I actually caught myself fast forwarding through it just to speed up and plot and no it didn’t get better.

 


Like Drive, the so-good-looking-it-makes-me-mad Ryan Gosling stars in this vehicle and tries to channel the silent type in did in that picture (I did in fact say picture. I’m bringing it back). Instead he comes off as flat out boring as he has nothing to do or say of value, and even comes off as just foolish when he challenges a man to fight and gets his ass kicked in a pathetic attempt at revenge.

 


Up until that ‘climax’ is a mystery thriller that poses no thrill and is drained of all its mystery. For some reason the plot points are chalked up to everyone knows everyone and knows where they all are at all times. Characters jump from location to location, creating plans in the background, leaving the audience out of the loop. I consider myself a gossip and don’t take kindly to people not informing me about what’s going on. Refn clearly hates me.

 


The result is a movie with the lack of any clear conflict or villainy. All the characters from Julian’s (Gosling) mother (Kirstin Scott Thomas) to the cop who killed his brother (Vithaya Pansringarm) are treated with the same dry and unengaging presence making a 90 minute movie feel overlong. Most of them do little aside from walk in straight lines with their hands to their sides and heads forward. They look less intimidating and more like people with back problems. In the words of Peter Griffin, “For God’s sake, someone throw a damn pie!”

 


Refn fills the movie with the same visual flair and sense of brutality as the rest of his pictures (bringing it back) and I’m sure in a few years people will reconsider this movie, and claim it’s a movie about cold people simply responding to a violent world. It will then gain cult status and everyone will feel smart for liking it. In reality, it’s just a bad movie about cold people being cold and grim in a normal world. That’s all. Feel cheated out of a conclusion? Yeah, me too.

 


D


Blu-Ray Quickie: Philomena

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Smart, witty and undeniably tear-jerking, Philomena is as human a movie that can be made. Judi Dench is hilarious and often times heart-breaking as Philomena Lee, a woman looking for her son after he was stripped away from her by the Catholic church. Steve Coogan is just as good as Martin Sixsmith, a cynical journalist at a career cross-roads. The two from an unlikely team as they embark on an international road trip of funny and profound levels. It's exactly what you think a road trip movie would be about, if drunken teenagers hadn't pissed on and claimed the genre for itself years ago.

 

 

Despite my male genetic code I will admit I was near tears from the middle of the film onwards. Thanks to a fantastic screenplay, there is never a moment that sinks into dull conversation. The scenes end perfectly, weather with a joke or an affecting statement. There is never a dull moment. Even as when the reveal of her son comes to light halfway through there is still so much heart left in their journey that it embodies a heartfelt detective story. Done as beautifully as any drama could be, Philomena is a sweet and soulful tale with plenty of English wit to spare.

 

 


A+