Archive Page 2

12
Jan
15

American Hustle, Everything or Nothing

American Hustle

American Cleavage.

American Hustle was one of those films everyone raved about. When this happens, the movie is usually extremely overrated with little more than coherent storytelling and passable acting, with Argo being a prime example. I figured American Hustle would be exactly the same. The 2013 movie tells the story of con-artists in the 1970s helping the FBI run a sting operation against corrupt politicians. The movie begins with a very out of shape and balding Batman who has seen better days. He has been a con-man for years, and one day meets the love of his life, Amy Adams, who is a masterful con-woman. Batman and Adams are caught by Bradley Cooper who extorts them into working for the FBI. Their goal is to run a larger operation and take down corrupt politicians and the mob. What follows is a dizzying tale of each character trying to get something for themselves. American Hustle is truly a character-driven film. Each character is almost larger than life, played expertly by fantastic cast members. Every player has a developed backstory and clear motivations for what they want in life. There are, of course, double-crosses and cons along they way to keep the film moving. What else would you expect in movie with con-artists? Fortunately, the movie does not rely on the cons, but rather the characters. The 1970s are alive and well in this movie. I didn’t live in this decade, but I can only imagine this is what it looked like, bright, flashy, and very eclectic. The movie required a lot of juggling on the part of the director to keep each character in the spotlight, to keep the story moving full steam ahead, and to not let the pacing get bogged down. Director David O. Russel delivered on every level. The movie really is as great as the hype claims it to be. It is a rare example of a big-budget, star-studded movie done right.
Verdict: Awesome
Everything or Nothing

Such Bond. So secret agent. Wow.

Anyone who frequents Awesome Shitty knows that I’m a James Bond fan. A documentary titled Everything or Nothing was released to mark Bond’s 50th anniversary. I finally got around to watching it, and I must say it was an interesting look back at the genesis of everyone’s favorite spy. The movie begins with Ian Fleming’s early life, and the events that led up to his creation of the Bond character. Bond is essentially an extension of Fleming himself with the smoking, drinking, and jetsetting. The film follows the failed first attempt to bring Bond to the screen on American TV as “Jimmy Bond,” an American CIA agent, and continues on to failed licensing attempts, and eventual success with the first film, Dr. No. We learn the behind the scenes drama of Connery leaving, returning, and leaving again, Lazenby’s hilarious story as to how he was cast as the second Bond, and more. Like a Bond villain himself, Kevin McClory pops up three different times over the years to attempt to thwart the Bond film producers because he claimed rights to the Thunderball story. While I knew the Bond franchise had its ups and downs over the years, I didn’t know how much backstage battling there really was. I suppose there had to be considering it is a 50-year-long movie franchise. The film features great intreviews with producers, writers, directors, and the James Bonds themselves. Only Connery doesn’t appear, which is disappointing, but otherwise, we get some great insights from everyone else. Brosnan in particular had a rough road to becoming Bond and had an interesting story to tell. For fans of the James Bond series, this documentary is a must watch. Even non-Bond fans will like the movie. Mrs. Brik who has seen some of the movies found the documentary quite interesting. I highly recommended checking this out.
Verdict: Good
01
Jan
15

Awesomest/Shittiest Things of 2014

It’s that time once again, people. Time to look back at the awesomest and shittiest things of 2014. As always, it remains a struggle to find things for the awesome category, and to keep the shitty category to a minimum. Check it out:
Awesome
  1. I Procreated - Yes, that’s right, I procreated. Mrs. Brik and I have welcomed Baby Brik into the world. We are now evolutionarily fit. She’s a happy, funny, cute bundle of joy with the most discerning taste in films you’ve ever seen in a six month old. Expect a post from her soon.
  2. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford - The crack smoking mayor of Toronto provided nothing but laughs this year. Whether it was being found drunk in public, running away from television cameras, or dancing in Canadian parliament, this guy was a parade of hilarity. I love the fact that he was an actual elected official. It’s a nice change from what we get in the U.S., the typical holier-than-thou, super-corrupt but pretending to be squeaky clean assholes. The fact that Rob Ford let it all hang out and didn’t seem to care was rather refreshing.
  3. The Cool Pope - The head of the Catholic Church still has a lot of dusty old beliefs about homosexuality, women’s participation in the church, or any number of things. However, this pope has been pretty progressive, as far as popes go. He acts more like a regular guy and less like a reclusive king than any pope in recent memory. He is cool with welcoming unwed mothers into the church, he called for homosexual to no longer be shunned, he’s all right with contraception as long as it prevents spread of disease, he’s anti-poverty, anti-death penalty, and is pro-environment. He even stated that it is completely possible for there to be alien life, and he’d gladly baptize an alien. Sounds great to me. He’s trying to bring the world’s most craggy, immovable institution into the modern era.
  4. China Anal Probes its Pigeons – As a part of China’s National Day celebration, they planned to release 10,000 pigeons over Tiananmen Square. Fearing a possible terrorist attack, each pigeon was inspected: under the wings, under the legs, and inside the anus. Now, if any terrorist has the capability to put high-grade explosives inside a pigeon’s butthole, he has an unparalleled dedication to his job. Also, I feel sorry for whomever had to stick their fingers inside 10,000 pigeon anuses. It seems like nothing good ever happens in Tienanmen Square.
  5. New Zealand Man Fights a Shark - A New Zealand man was spear fishing with his friends when he was attacked by a shark. Being a crazy New Zealander, and probably using an enchanted sword, he stabbed the shark until it fled. When he got out of the water, he saw his leg was lacerated, so he did what anyone would do: stitch it up himself and go to a pub. He wrapped a towel around his bleeding leg while he continued to drink. Pretty baller move.
  6. U.S./Cuba Relations Re-open - After 50 years of a pointless, idiotic policy of punishing Cuba for being Communist, the U.S. announced they are going to thaw the long-standing frosty relations. Cuba will again be a vacation destination, and a more valuable member of the international community. I’m sure cigar aficionados will also be thrilled.
Shitty
  1. Everything about North Korea - The People’s Republic of North Korea has been a joke for years, but now they have reached the level of self-parody. Their leader Kim Jong Un leaves the spotlight for a month, only to be found later, hobbling around on a cane after an attack of gout and/or an eating binge. They hacked into Sony Pictures, leaked several films, and a metric ton of the executives’ correspondence, then threatened a 9/11-style attack on the U.S. if the film The Interview was release in theaters. It was released to way more attention than if North Korea had said nothing about it. The 9/11-style attack never happened. Finally, the U.S. government stated it would respond to North Korea’s hacking shenanigans in kind, with North Korea threatening an apocalypse if this happened. After their internet was shut off, North Korea called President Obama a monkey. That’s it. That was their big threat. North Korea is the national equivalent of the boy who cried wolf.
  2. Russia Invades Ukraine - All hail glorious leader Putin! Comrade Putin, out of the kindness of his heart, decided to unite the people of Crimea and Russia by invading Ukraine. They innocently annexed Crimea just like Hitler innocently reclaimed Austria. Putin’s provocateur’s continue to battle it out with Ukrainian forces, and they even shot down a commercial jet. Putin denied all involvement, and, let’s be honest, nobody believes him for a fucking second, and he knows it. Russia has started a modern war they thought they could get away with it, but only alienated themselves from the rest of the world in the process. Thanks a lot, Tsar Putin.
  3. The Colbert Report Ends - After 9 years on Comedy Central, Stephen Colbert ended his show. He will be taking over The Late Show on CBS once David Letterman retires. I’ve been a longtime fan of Colbert, and I’ve been watching his show since the night it premiered. I’m very happy for him. However, I’m also extremely disappointed. His show was satirical and subversive, and provided humorous, intelligent discourse into the affairs of the world. Colbert could get away with anything from testifying to Congress about migrant workers, bashing President Bush to his face, and creating his own Super PAC. If his own network told him not to do something, he would go ahead and do that thing. I shudder to think of Colbert on CBS, with him doing lame standup and pandering to two guests pimping their current movies. Blargh.
  4. Ebola Will Kill Us All - If you don’t live in one of the African countries affected, chances are, Ebola isn’t going to kill you. 24-hour news networks would beg to differ. They want you to cower in fear, and continue to stay tuned so they can generate ad revenue. 24-hour news networks are like the North Korea of the journalism world. They talk a big game about scary stuff that will kill you, but ultimately nothing ever materializes.
  5. CNN Can Only Cover One Story at a Time - Malaysia Airlines flight 370 seemed to be the only news story on CNN this year. To be fair to CNN, they also talked about race riots in the U.S., ISIS/ISIL/Whateverthefucktheywanttobecalledthisminute, and Ebola. So, they covered a grand total of 4 news stories this year. Thanks for wasting everyone’s time, guys.
  6. Death Eaters Take Control of U.S. Government - OK, so Lord Voldemort hasn’t taken the presidency yet, but his cronies now control the U.S. House and Senate. If that isn’t one step closer to total evil domination of the world, I don’t know what is. The only person worse than Voldemort running the country would be Putin.
  7. Shitty Bonus)  Winter Olympics - I already wrote a full post about the shittiness of the Sochi Winter Olympics here. Feel free to read it again and reminisce.
Well, another year has come and gone. 2015 is just getting started. I’m sure there will be many more awesome and shitty things happening during the Earth’s long trek around the sun. Let’s hope, no matter what happens, we can ridicule them with reckless abandon.
21
Dec
14

I Am Santa Claus

I recently watched a documentary that chronicles a year in the life of four professional Santa Clauses. It provides an inside look at what these men go through in an entire year. January through September are lean, boring, lonely months. From October onward, Santa Claus suddenly comes in demand. These men make a lot of money for just two months’ work leading up to the big day.

The four Santas are very different. There is Lonely Santa, Gay Santa, New Jersey Santa, and Swinger Santa. Each has a vastly different lifestyle. What we see is that these are regular guys with the same problems as everyone else. The movie also includes WWE wrestler Mick Foley, who has been obsessed with Christmas since an early age, and documents his first attempt at playing Santa.

Some of the Santas get more screentime than others. Lonely Santa probably gets the most, as he’s got the most sympathetic story. He’s just a single guy, no family or friends to speak of, who toils away in his basement apartment, clinging to the hope that he’ll get hired on for another Christmas. Living paycheck to paycheck is hard on him, and you certainly feel he sadness.

Continue reading ‘I Am Santa Claus’

14
Dec
14

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Money

It’s a good sign when a film’s poster contains multiple characters that were not in the source material.

It’s no secret that I despised The Hobbit Part 1, and I wasn’t looking forward to watching Part 2. In fact, I waited until it aired on HBO, because there was no way in hell I was shelling out my hard earned cash on this travesty. And as impossible as it sounds, Part 2 is actually worse than Part 1. Somehow, Peter Jackson managed to pull it off.
To be fair, I will admit that the beginning of the movie was pretty good. The dwarves and Bilbo enter Mirkwood Forest, get lost, are waylaid by spiders, and eventually are rescued. This hewed fairly close to the source material, and ended up being the highlight of the movie. Similarly, the only good scene in Part 1 was the Riddles in the Dark scene, which again, was the only scene that stuck to the source material. Hey, Peterson Jackson, guess what? Following the source material for the whole fucking thing would have been a good idea.

Continue reading ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Money’

25
Oct
14

Justified Season 5, Louie Season 3

Justified Season 5

Justified is nothing if not consistent. It consistently provides some of the best stories on TV. Once again, we journey to Harlan county, although this time with the first detour to Florida since the first episode. Raylan goes head to head with the Crowe clan. The Crowes are the dumbest, most bumbling group of redneck criminals of all time. Despite their idiocy, they manage to pose a significant threat to the good people of Harlan. Raylan does his usual shtick of talking tough and quick-drawing on bad guys. He’s a fairly straight-forward character, it’s true, but you know exactly what you’re getting with him. The person you can never be quite sure about is Boyd. Once again Boyd weaves his way in and out of the lives of the other various characters in Harlan county. This season sees him travel as far North as Detroit and as far South as Mexico on his quest to become a drug kingpin. Boyd probably kills more people this season than in any previous. Despite him being a despicable criminal, he has so much damn charisma, it’s impossible not to root for him. The biggest surprise this season was that Boyd’s relationship with Ava became the driving force behind the story. The fifth season of Justified continues full-steam ahead, bringing awesome, complex tales week after week. The best part, as always, remains the lively cast of characters.

Verdict: Awesome

 Louie Season 3

I’m not sure what sort of glowing praise I could write about this series that hasn’t already been written. Louis C.K. remains at the top of his game in the third season of the show that he writes, directs, edits, and stars. That’s a lot of heavy lifting for one person. But with near total creative control, he manages to stick to his vision resolutely. It pays off nearly every single time. Each episode is funny, insightful, and somehow tragic all at once. He experiments more with long form storytelling this season than in the previous two. He features a long arc in which Louie is recruited to shoot a pilot to show if he has the right stuff to replace David Letterman. This late night “mini-series” was by far the highlight of the season, and David Lynch was a treat as the “mentor” (if you can call him that). Louie continues to grow, continues to take risks, and continues to pay off in spades. It is one of the best comedies on TV.

Verdict: Awesome

11
Oct
14

Fuck your cinematic universe

This is a movie I never want to see.

OK, we need to have a talk. A serious talk. Why don’t you sit down over there?

*takes deep breath*

I heard you were doing something you shouldn’t be.

*holds out hand to stop a response*

I know, I know, you were probably just experimenting. And that’s OK. When I was your age, I experimented with stuff, too. You’re young, and you want to explore the world. Maybe you want to experiment with the same sex, or drugs, or a different religion. You know what? That’s OK. That’s how you discover yourself and become the person you are going to be as an adult.

*crosses arms over chest*

But there is one thing you should never experiment with. Something that, if you get involved with, can lead you down a very dark path. You might never come back from it.

*narrows eyes*

I heard from a friend of yours, that you…

*sighs*

…were thinking of starting your own cinematic universe.

Continue reading ‘Fuck your cinematic universe’

04
Oct
14

It’s Pilot Season – 2014

The Fall 2014 television season is upon us. And that means we’re inundated with the worst the networks have to offer. Each year brings us new series; a few will be great, but most will be unwatchable trash. There’s far too many horrible series out there for me to review them all. So, I’ve decided to watch the three pilots that had the most promotional advertising of this season and review them. Please note, my reviews are not necessarily what I think of the entire series, but simply my thoughts on the pilot episode.

Gotham

Holy shit on a stick, Batman! Gotham is Fox’s attempt at cashing in on the tiresome superhero craze that plagues the world. Last year, I complained that doing an Avengers show without the Avengers was an idiotic idea. Gotham is more of the same, as it is a Batman show without Batman. It’s a prequel to the adventures of the caped crusader. And, guess what? It sucks. Nobody gives a fuck about the origins of all these villains. What’s the point? None of them are ever going to die, because they wouldn’t live to face the dark knight. So, there is no tension whatsoever. This is combined with a cheap series of sets that look like they came from the 90s, plus an entire backdrop of CGI just for an extra layer of shit. The writers are trying to make this into long-form series by positing the idea that Bruce Wayne’s parents were killed in a conspiracy, rather than a random mugging. I think they are going to be stretching a thin idea too far. There is no way they can keep this going for multiple seasons and make it good. Not that the first episode was good either. It was a huge hunk of gouda, a slice of the stinkiest cheese imaginable. Everyone chews scenery, bringing in over the top performances which also belong in the 90s.  Continue reading ‘It’s Pilot Season – 2014′




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