Countdown to 9

Just a quick post to show off a few images of the movie “9” which comes out tomorrow. I can’t wait for this one!

Netflix Watch

We took advantage of Netflix on the 360 to watch a couple movies over the weekend. We luckily have enough bandwidth to get movies in HD, so we’ve been working our way through those offerings. I hope they start making more HD content available, but for now there’s enough to keep us busy.

Confessions of a Superhero

Confessions of a Superhero– Confessions of a Superhero is a fascinating documentary that looks at the stories of four people who dress up as superheroes and walk up and down Hollywood Boulevard, posing for pictures with tourists (hoping for tips). That might sound boring, but don’t be fooled. You won’t be able to stop watching.

The film takes most of its time following around the earnest Christopher Dennis (Superman) and splits the rest of the time between the guys who play Batman and The incredible Hulk and Jennifer Wenger, who dresses up as Wonder Woman.

They’re all “aspiring” actors (not sure at what age you go from being aspiring to sad, but a couple of these guys are bumping up against that line) who pose with tourists for tips. It’s compelling to watch these people’s lives and see what level their willing to reach to chase a dream while making ends meet. It’s sad, hopeful and touching all at the same time.

I strongly recommend it.

(Netflix Link)

Primer

Primer– I’d say this review has spoilers, but honestly, I don’t know if that’s true or not, because I’m not really sure what I actually saw as I watched this movie.

The nutshell is this: two guys inadvertently build a time machine. As all red-blooded males would, they use the it to get chicks game the stock market. Things don’t go according to plan. Things get confusing. Movie ends.

I had read/heard a ton of recommendations for this movie, so I had to check it out. We couldn’t stop watching, but we didn’t really understand what the heck was going on. I think this one will take multiple viewings to really understand what’s going on. If you’ve seen it and can make sense of it, do tell.

I recommend this with reservations.

(Netflix Link)

Here… we… GO!

I usually comment here on the site whenever I’ve seen a movie, but recently I’ve been Twittering quick posts after I see a new movie. Usually it’s nothing worth repeating here. Nevertheless, after seeing The Dark Knight Saturday morning, I think I’m done with Summer Blockbusters. I’ve seen just about everything I’ve wanted to see. I still like discussing movies with you guys, so I figured I’d comment on everything in one post.

So let’s do a list of the movies I’ve seen this summer, Top 5 countdown-style. I’ll try to avoid it where possible, but spoilers are possible. (You’ve been warned)

5. Hancock – “One of these things is not like the others.” In a summer full of super-hero movies, Hancock stands alone. Contrary to what the trailers would have you believe, Hancock is not a super-hero movie. That’s not to say it was a bad movie, it just didn’t fit the mold of the rest of this year’s blockbusters.

I didn’t mind Hancock. I’m a sucker for summer movies headlined by The Fresh Prince (although I’ve been disappointed more than once) and Hancock is no exception. This certainly wasn’t his finest movie, but it wasn’t horrible, either. The movie has a lot of flash and eye candy, but was weak in parts.

I’m a big fan of Jason Bateman, who carried this movie for me. His dry humor (somewhat reminiscent of his Arrested Development character) along with his good heart made him a likable character, even when things come apart for him.

Overall, Hancock had everything a popcorn movie should have. But not much more.

4. Hellboy 2 – I’ve sort of adopted Hellboy as a favorite comic book character. I’m not familiar with the comic book itself, but I’m a fan of Ron Perlman’s interepretation of the character. I’m also in love with Guillermo del Toro’s fanciful imagination. (Nat has implored that I see Pan’s Labyrinth). Oh, and Hellboy has a really big gun and likes to punch people with his demon hand.

Hellboy 2 had its moments. Moments of excessive cheesiness and moments of awesome. On a visual level, I loved Hellboy. The Golden Army was a sight to behold and the monsters impressive. Bits of the story weren’t my favorite.

Overall, Hellboy 2 gets a demon thumb up from me.

3. The Incredible Hulk – I didn’t hate Ang Lee’s version of the Hulk. Take away the Hulk Poodles and the daddy issues and you’ve got a pretty good movie. Nevertheless, The Incredible Hulk is better in pretty much every way. Ed Norton was better than Bana, Hurt was marginally better than Sam Elliot and the Tyler/Connelly matchup is probably a push. Roth is a much better villain than the super freak dogs.

Again, Hulk doesn’t disappoint in the SMASH department, either. There is a lot of that. When the Hulk gives Roth’s character (in human form) the big boot, I think I cheered. It was awesome. This version of Hulk has a perfect balance of frenetic running and a tenuous balance between Banner and Hulk. It felt a bit claustrophobic.

I give it an irradiated third thumb sideways (pointed up).

2. Iron Man – For me, Iron Man comes this close to super-hero perfection. It just needed that little extra butt kicking, high-tech suit-of-armor style. It just needs moar action. That’s about the only bad thing I can say about Iron Man — if it had a wee bit more action, it would have been almost perfect.

Downey Jr. was great (he sort of played himself, right? He had to be good) and Howard and Bridges were good, too. Acting was good, the story was great and lots of fist pumping action. Just not enough.

It gets a mechanically assited digit straight up.

1. The Dark Knight – And of course, that brings us to Batman The Dark Knight. I’m almost hesitant to write too many words about this movie. Not that I would spoil too much, but that my clumsy words would lessen it’s greatness in some way. That’s probably impossible, it was so good. So good, that after some consideration, I’m thinking of putting it my “Top-5 All time” list of favorite movies.

Where to start? One way my friend and I determine how much we like a movie is whether the movie is “quotable” as in “how often do we quote the movie?” The Dark Knight has some great, quotable lines. It has some memorable moments that also will be reminiscenced over and over again. It jammed so much into one movie that it’s just begging to be seen multiple times.

And let’s get this out of the way — Heath Ledger’s performance stands alone. It’s every bit of amazing that you’ve heard and read. I’m not sure there’s more I could say that would add any more credence to the mindswell. He was maniacally amazing.

And he does great magic tricks.

Everyone else? They did a pretty bang-up job as well. My secret man-crush on Christian Bale probably biases me, but his Batman is probably the best. Aaron Eckhart’s Harvey Dent was also believable. Gary Oldman delivers another underrated performance.

The Dark Knight is an hundred and fifty minute thrill ride that never slows down and barely even lets the viewers relax or catch their breath. I saw the movie in IMAX (my first IMAX experience) and that just enhanced the experience. If you have a chance, this is the way to see it.

It’s my movie of the year for 2008. I can’t wait to see it again.

I give The Dark Knight one demented crazy round of applause.

What a summer this has been for movies!

The Forbidden Kingdom

Jackie Chan and Jet Li, together? With halted, bad english accents that can never quite get it right? And more fighting than you can shake a stick at? Be still, my kung-fu loving heart. I thought Jet Li was done making Kung Fu movies.

If Tony Jaa was in this movie, I would have died from too much hawesomeness. I know what I’ll be doing April 18th.

I know what Cloverfield is

I saw Cloverfield this afternoon. I loved loved loved it. In order to avoid any spoilers for those of you who may not have seen it, I’ll just make three observations that seem to be the common themes of the discussion of the movie:

  • Everyone who had seen it before told me to sit near the back of the theater to avoid getting motion sickness. I call these people pansies with weak stomachs. I sat right in the middle and never missed a beat. Sure it was way frenetic and disorienting, even frustrating at times, but it was essential to the movie. Loved it.
  • I also noticed an interesting reaction to the ending between friends and family that had seen it. The “younger” generation (we’re talking twenty-somethings) hated the ending. Those my age (we’re talking older than twenty-somethings) really enjoyed it. I’m with the latter. The ending was perfect. Loved it.
  • Cloverfield

  • If Hollywood made more chick-flicks like this, I would see them all. Yes, I called it a chick-flick. That’s what it is. It just happened to be made by someone who grew up on Godzilla and Michael Bay movies. Loved it.

Sure, there are things you could nitpick about, but I’m not getting into those. I remember seeing the trailer for this movie on the opening day for Transformers and have been waiting for this since then. I never got sucked into the viral marketing, but I still needed to know what Cloverfield was!

Definitely worth the wait.

Weekend Update

We had a crazy weekend of winter weather here in central Ohio (if you caught a glimpse of the Browns/Bills game on Sunday, that’s a little glimpse we had here on Saturday) but there were lots going on at the Casa Buttonmashing.

Even with the horrible weather conditions, my brother-in-law (here on referred to as the BIL) and I still braved the nasty roads and made our way to the theater to check out I am Legend. I recently finished the book last month (in preparation for the movie, of course) and was very excited about the movie. I enjoyed it. Will Smith does a great job of playing Robert Neville, a man all alone. People are giving the movie bad marks, saying it isn’t like the book. This isn’t fair. The movie, in my mind, is a reimagination of the book. There are a lot of similarities, but things happen in the movie that don’t happen in the book. That is not an indictment of the movie, though. It still explores many of the same concepts the book does: solitude, companionship, despair, horror. They’re all there and they’re done very well. Maybe a little heavy on some of the CGI and some of Will Smith being Will Smith, but it all works in the end. I wasn’t a huge fan of the way the movie ends, but it was still somewhat true to the overall theme of the book.

I Am LegendI give I am Legend a thumbs up

I got an early christmas present from the Sis and BIL, hooking me up with Age of Empires DS. I had played it previously but never made much headway in the actual campaigns. It’s great turn-based strategy goodness and I’m looking forward to some more time with the game.

I’m still playing Mass Effect – Impressions will be up soon. I am loving this game.

Finally, a hand update: I am able to play games now, (obviously) but I haven’t braved anything fast-paced (read: Halo 3 on Live). I’ve been training my hand with Geometry Wars but I really want to get back to some Halo 3 multiplayer. I was really enjoying it before the “incident” and was having a pretty good go at 2v2 matches with n0wak. Now that the BIL will be back on Live, I should be back and fully operational rather soon.

On a side (and perhaps gross) note, I was instructed by my doctor to begin doing some therapy on my fingers, so scar tissue doesn’t build up or my tendons tighten up. Well today I was working my pinkie finger, which wasn’t bending very far before it got tight and painful. The therapy consisted of bending the individual fingers until it got uncomfortable and then holding it at that point for a ten count. Well today, while doing said exercise, I felt and faintly heard something tear. Actually, it felt more like something gave out. The sound it made is hard to replicate, but it didn’t sound normal and I got a pit in my stomach, thinking I had done something bad. I can still move the finger just fine, but now I’m nervous to do my stretching again.

So, how was your weekend? Any torn tendons? 🙂

Ultimate Supreme Identity

Bourne UltimatumJust got back from Bourne Ultimatum. What a ride that was! Two hours of crazy non-stop action — chases, fist fights, free running, car crashes and all manner of mayhem that makes men smile from ear to ear.

I mentioned to my friends after we saw Transformers that even though I really enjoyed it, I thought Bourne Ultimatum was going to be the best summer blockbuster. I whole-heatredely stand by that statement. While Transformers was a good time, I had a laundry list of things that bothered me. That is not the case with Bourne Ultimatum. My only complaint is the shaky camera. It can be used to great effect, but when it’s over done (the way it has been in the Bourne trilogy) it’s simply annoying.

That single complaint aside, Bourne Ultimatum was extremely enjoyable. It never really took a breath, grabbing you by the collar and dragging you along for the ride. Without spoiling anything, just about every dangling story line was wrapped up, with a few twists thrown in. It was an excellent end to a most excellent trilogy. I will definitely be seeing this one again.

It may be premature to rank this movie in my Top Five Movies All-Time™ but it is definitely in the running for insertion in the Top Ten™.

Just saw Spiderman 3…

Here’s my two word review (spoilers abound!):

Everyone cries.

What I’m consuming

Stranger in a Strange LandIt’s no secret that I like to play games. I play a lot of games. Call it a hobby. But I also consume other types of entertainment. I’ve talked at length here of the TV shows I watch and I mention the occasional movie, but I really haven’t mentioned what else I’m consuming.

As geeks go, I’m not very well read in the “Classics”. Sure, I’ve read The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, I, Robot, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and others, but I haven’t read as much as I’d like to. When I was in high school, I read a lot fantasy books (mostly Dragonlance Novels), but I’ve recently endeavored to broaden my reading horizons. Going off of a few “Top 20/50/100 lists” (here and here and here and here) I’ve been diving right into some of the best Sci-Fi and Fantasy novels I’ve missed out on. I’ve just about finished up Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, and I’ll be moving on to the next book on my list. The next five books on my list are:

Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson
Ender’s Game, Orson Scott Card
Ringworld, Larry Niven
Dune, Frank Herbert
The Foundation Series, Isaac Asimov

In addtion to that, I also started reading the Harry Potter books. (Yes, I am a hypocrite)

I’m also a voracious consumer of music. Recently I’ve been listening to Fort Minor. Fort Minor is a hip-hop/rap side project of Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park. If you’ve seen any ABC/ESPN/TNT NBA promo commercials, than you’d recognize their song “Remember the Name“. But there’s more than just that song. The entire album, The Rising Tied is all pretty good stuff; great rhymes and serious beats. I’m digging it.

On top of it all, I’m excited about a lot of movies coming out this summer. We’ll be seeing Spiderman 3 this Friday because I’m a huge fanboy of the Blockbuster/action/blow-stuff-up kind of movie. Can’t wait. I’ve also got a huge list of movies I’m looking forward to this year, but I won’t bore you with that list. At least not yet.

As always, I’d love to hear what you guys are consuming. Any recommendations are also welcome.

(I should mention that this post was inspired by a post over at The Game Chair discussing reading lists of gamers)

Jason Statham, what have you done?

I don’t comment on Uwe Bolle movies here because a) they universally suck and b) I don’t hate myself enough to watch any of them. Unfortunately, his movie In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (based on the overrated PC game Dungeon Siege) stars man crush #1, Jason Statham, which all but obligates me to suffer through the movie.

I have been avoiding any news or previews of the movie because I already know what I’m in for. It’s going to HORRIBLE. The movie looks like it will have a lot of star power (seriously!) so it going to crash and burn but good.

Anyway, if you hate yourself as much as I do, you can watch the trailer for the movie here. It takes a few minutes to download, but trust me, it’s not worth it. (via Dethroner)

Dungeon Siege