Monday, May 5, 2008

This Post has Been Rated Ambidextrious....

My companion's mouth yawned slowly in disappointment, but quickly transitioned to a deft roll of her eyes. Before I could get to my feet, I realized that I probably wouldn't be having sex for good long time. I had outed myself.....as a nerd....

Let's rewind this a bit. If I'm any kind of a nerd, I'm a film and music nerd. I've never been a huge comic collector, and besides a lil' Star Wars fix every now and then, I'm not all that into science fiction. Not that I don't enjoy it, but I don't actively seek it out either, you know what I mean? Music and film, on the other hand, are things that I tend to obsess over. And when the two are brought together well? Immediate geek orgasm. Probably why I am such a big fan of Quentin Tarantino. He just knows the perfect song to couple with each scene in his films and it makes the entire experience infinitely more enjoyable as a result. The point of all of this exposition, is that I realized something while perusing some past entries of mine (yes, I go back and analyze my old posts. Don't judge me). Even though I have huge love for music and film, I haven't really utilized this outlet to push my tastes and interests on you, my unsuspecting readers. Clearly, this is something that needs to be rectified immediately. And here we are.

Half of the remainder of this post will concern a couple of upcoming albums that I'm looking forward to, while the other half will concern a couple of films I viewed recently. While the interesting part of this type of exercise would be to try and turn you on to something you haven't previously seen or listened to before, I have to admit that these initial entries skew pretty heavily to the mainstream end of the spectrum. I doubt I'll be telling you anything you don't already know, but what can I say.....I likes what I likes. I'll try and offer up some more eclectic choices in upcoming entries into this "series", but for now, allow me to be master of the obvious.



First up....MUSIC!


THE OFFSPRING

I've been a fan of The Offspring since way back in the early 90s, with their release of Smash. You may remember the songs Come Out and Play or Self Esteem. They have actually been around since the mid 80s, but I was too busy eating dirt and picking my nose to pay much attention to their first two efforts. Every album since Smash though, I have inhaled and enjoyed. Granted, "tolerated" might be more apt than "enjoyed" when discussing their last album, but I always hold out hope for the next one. Well I'm not going to have to wait much longer to find out how good the next one is. The Offspring are officially releasing their eighth studio album on June 17, 2008, and the title they've gone with is Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace. I'm still going to have to wait another month to see how the entire album flows, but Dexter Holland (lead vocals) has been quoted as saying the new album will be much more guitar driven and faster than Splinter (their last album). That definitely fills me with some hope. But fuck waiting a month, right? I want me some new Offspring right NOW. Well, through the magic of the Internet, we can get a little taste of what the album will sound like, through the release of the first single. It's called Hammerhead, and you can download it for FREE on The Offspring's official website. That's right. All you need is an email address, and you can get a great quality MP3 of the newest single for the low, low price of zip, zilch and nada. Check it out here: http://www.offspring.com/

My take? I love the first 75% of the song. I wouldn't put it up there with their best stuff, but its a good tune. I'm not really digging the last part of the song, but it seems like the kind of thing that will grow on me after a couple more listens. In any case, I'll definitely be picking up the full album on June 17.


WEEZER


I fucking love Weezer. Don't expect this portion to be anything less than biased, fan drivel, because Weezer is 10 lbs of awesome in a 5 lb bag. Somewhat like The Offspring though, I never really dug their last album. Beverly Hills was an okay song, but it wasn't anywhere near as brilliant as most of their stuff. Also like The Offspring, Weezer has a new album coming out in June. One week after the new Offspring album to be exact (what a great 2 weeks for new music!). This will be their 6th studio album and is following the same self titled trend as their first and third albums. This one will likely be referred to as "The Red Album", due to the color scheme they are following this go around. They have also released the first single from the album (entitled "Pork and Beans"), and although it is not free to download, you can listen to it for free at their official site http://www.weezer.com/

If you don't want to download the new Offspring tune, I understand, but by all means click over to Weezer's site and at least LISTEN to Pork and Beans. It will be 3 and a half minutes out of your life that you didn't really need in the first place. You probably don't have anything better to do anyway, if you're reading this right now.

I fucking love this song. Way better than anything on Make Believe, and it has me absolutely foaming at the mouth to hear the rest of the album. Now if they will just do a proper tour of Canada, I can die a happy man.

Now....onto MOVIES!


HAROLD AND KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY

FYI, I'm not a licenced film reviewer. This is going to be terribly disjointed and bound to contain a multitude of run on sentences. Deal with it. Also, I won't go into heavy spoilers, but I may say something you might not want to know, if you are still planning on seeing this cinematic "masterpiece", so be warned.


I'm going to start by telling you that I love Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. I think its fucking hilarious. So many parts that make me laugh. I'm definitely not a movie snob and I like all kinds of film, including stupid stoner comedies. In fact, I actually went out of my way, while on a trip to Minneapolis last year, to eat at White Castle, just because of this movie. Maybe it was my love for the first Harold and Kumar, that made my expectations unreasonably high for the sequel. But you know what, fuck that. I didn't think it was going to be high art. I just wanted something to giggle at while I was enjoying some, ahem, cigarettes. If a movie like this can't even make a smoker laugh more than a couple of times, somethings gone horribly wrong.


First off, the jokes that were even a little bit funny, were basically just rehashes of jokes from the first movie. We don't need no originality apparently. Secondly, Rob Cordrey is just really really bad in this movie. His level of sucktitude here drags down everyone around him. I find Cordrey extremely funny on The Daily Show, but his performance in this movie was bad. It felt horribly forced, and really just kind of sad. He plays a bumbling Homeland Security agent who is in charge of capturing Harold and Kumar after they escape from Guantanamo Bay. He plays it in a really obvious way, and is not funny at all. Big disappointment. I get what they were going for, but it just doesn't work. John Cho and Kal Penn were as funny as the script allowed them to be, which sadly wasn't very.


One brief bright spot came courtesy of Neil Patrick Harris, reprising his role from the first film (as a cartoony, coked up version of himself). He always makes me laugh, and here is no exception. But they managed to fuck his cameo up real bad, and I can't really figure out why they did this.


MAJOR SPOILER


Neil and the boys hit up a whorehouse. Neil does something really bad to one of the hookers (off screen) and they are chased out. Before Neil can make his escape however, the madam guns him down with a shotgun! Fucking shoots him in the back and kills him right on the steps of the whorehouse!


END SPOILER


It was just completely out of place in this kind of movie, took me right out of it, and left a bad taste in my mouth. Not cool. The other big problem with the movie is that it is just completely forgettable. I'm seriously having trouble stretching this "review" past a couple of paragraphs, because I can't really remember all that much of the movie. And no, it wasn't because I was too high. Fucking smartasses.


The ending is predictable at best, but then, that's the kind of movie it is. So I would recommend it if you are:


a) really stoned (not just a little loopy, but REALLY FUCKING GONE)


b) have nothing better to do


or


c) are feeling masochistic


But by all means, wait until it hits the cheap theater, or comes out on DVD. Don't shell out 10 bucks to see it. I could think of 37 better ways to spend 10 bucks.


Now, on to the good movie, and I'm sure you already know what it is.



IRON MAN

This movie fucking rocked. No other way to really describe it. It was balls out, one of the best superhero movies I've seen. I wouldn't put it on the same level as Batman Begins, but it was well written, superbly acted, and wonderfully directed. There wasn't a whole lot wrong with it really, and it easily deserves however many hundreds of millions of dollars it ends up with (currently at over $200 million worldwide after only 3 days)

Now I'm a bit of a pop culture nerd, we all know that. So purely in the interest of public service, and impartiality, I am going to offer this review in two formats. That's right dammit! I said two. I'm helpful like that. On top, you're going to see the standard English review, constructed for the average person to read and enjoy. Below that, you're going to see (in mighty italicization, mind you) the "geek" review, meant only for those of you currently living in your parent's basement, subsisting on hot pockets and healthy doses of shame.
STORY: The story is set in a more realistic world than some previous comic book movies. This is a place where superpowers come from high intelligence and modern technology. If you were bit by a radioactive spider in this movie, you would probably die a horrible, painful death (as opposed to developing the power to kiss Kirsten Dunst upside down in the rain). A nice change (from the usual fare) is that here we see a hero who actually CHOSE to do what he could to make a difference. He wasn't granted magic powers and a conscience. This is a character who makes a gigantic mistake in where he is leading his company, realizes it, and chooses to try and rectify it. It's a great story involving some strong themes including but not limited to the futility of war, and taking responsibility for your own actions. Not really mind blowing themes, but a fuck of a lot smarter than Harold and Kumar, which taught us that eating 30 White Castle hamburgers will make your ass explode.

My only complaint in this department is the same complaint that I have for most comic book "origin" films. It takes a good long time to get to the ass kicking, Iron Man action. This probably wouldn't have bothered me as much, but I had my children in tow, and their attention spans were truly fucking tested for that first 45 minutes or so.

This movie stays really close to the comics, which is the way it should be, right? They update the opening setting to Afghanistan instead of Vietnam, but that's only to bring it into the future. It doesn't really change anything important. And the terrorist group that kidnaps Tony Stark is called The Ten Rings. Fucking cool, right? A little foreshadowing for the Mandarin and his ten alien rings of power, perhaps? And don't worry, Mr. Stark enjoys a fair bit of alcohol throughout the movie. Maybe a bout of alcoholism is in the cards for the sequel!!!! Oh and I couldn't forget Tony's house robot, whose name just happens to be "Jarvis". A little Avengers, anyone?

ACTING: The film really fucking shines in this department. Robert Downey Jr. has long been a favorite of mine, and he does not disappoint here. He takes a role that a lot of actors might have just phoned in, and fucking explodes off of the screen with it. He was made to be Tony Stark, and I can't ever see them successfully recasting now that he has left his mark on it. The next time I see RDJ in a film, I'm going to be taken back to this movie.

Gwyneth Paltrow is actually really good here as well (playing Tony Stark's assistant Pepper Potts). I know she is a good actress, but I find her dead, soulless eyes to be terrifying at the worst of times, and distracting at the best of times. I really don't enjoy much that she is in. I think the difference is that she looks like she is genuinely having fun here, and it makes a great impact on her performance. Top Notch.

Terrence Howard is great as always (playing Tony's buddy Rhodes) except I still find his slightly feminine voice to be a bit off putting, especially in this very masculine role. The chemistry between him and RDJ is spectacular though, and Howard does seem to shine a bit brighter in scenes with Tony Stark, than in scenes without him.

Jeff Bridges as Obidiah Stane is wonderful as always. He has to deal with his character being more "comic booky" than any of the others, but he handles it well. By this, I mean his character is by far the most one dimensional and predictable. You know what though, even if Bridges was complete shit in this movie, I would still give him a pass. You can't fail The Dude. You just can't.

DOOD!!!!!! Did you see when Rhodes looked over at the silver Iron Man suit and uttered the line "Next time baby". WAR MACHINE!!!!!!! But was it just me, or was Pepper Potts a little too "into" Tony Stark? Happy Hogan did make an appearance, but only for a brief moment. Maybe Pepper and Happy will get together in the next one.

SPECIAL EFFECTS / ACTION: You know those special effects driven movies that incorporate a lot of bad CGI? It really takes you out of the film, and looks overly fake. This is not one of those movies. It is seriously difficult (in most scenes. There are some exceptions) to figure out which elements are practical effects, and which are computer generated. You will actually believe two guys in huge metal suits are tearing shit up during the finale. Spectacular job. Another thing that was done perfectly was that the characters felt like they had real weight. When Iron Man walks into a room, you can see the ground shake, as it should. A ton of special effects were used in Iron Man, and they damn near pulled them all off. The one exception is a scene in which Iron Man fires a missile at a tank and then walks away as it blows up. This looks a little too computer generated for my tastes, but it can't be perfect.

Sorry, no real geeky things to add in this department...

THE ENDING: The last line uttered in the film (before the credits) is fucking great. I won't say what it is obviously, but it brought a huge smile to my face. Kind of goes against what 99% of superhero movies will do, but it is so totally in character for the character in question. Awesome.


Geek Spoiler warning!!!!!!
Stay until after the credits. There is a scene featuring Sam Jackson as Nick Fury waiting for Tony Stark at his home. He is there to talk to him about.........THE AVENGER INITIATIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FUCK YEAH! AVENGERS!
End Geek Spoiler!!!!!!


So yeah, go and see this movie NOW. You will enjoy it. I went with my special someone, her son and my kids. Of course I begged everyone to stay until after the credits.

"There's still more movie left! I promise. I read about it on the Internet!"

So we waited, and we waited, and we waited some more. The kids were starting to get antsy. Jeez, there's a fuck of a lot of credits, I thought. How many people does it take to make a movie these days?

Finally, we were rewarded with the scene (lasting about 20 seconds, after half an hour of credits).

At the conclusion of the scene, my companion had this to say: "We waited all that time for that? What the hell?"

I couldn't hide my geek smile "THAT WAS AWESOME!!! NICK FURY.....THE AVENGERS.....SAM JACKSON.......WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Cue the disappointed yawn and rolling of the eyes.

Dammit. Blue balls here I come...

5 comments:

Heather said...

You need to move here, my best friend is right up your alley. We stayed til after the Iron Man credits, and as we were leaving she was telling me how she was going to go home and read the story right out of her original comic books again.

And let me tell you something - spend less time watching Harold and Kumar and more time blogging. You've missed out on our geeky blog fest.

Anonymous said...

Geek, Dork, Nerd... just kidding :P

DeeDee said...

Hmm, Should I be scared that you and I are starting to have a lot of things in common? I LOVE Weezer and The Offspring rocks!!

Haven't seen Iron Man but RD, Jr. is one of my all time favs. I wasn't sure if he'd be able to pull off a superhero gig but from what I've heard so far he did!

I agree with Heather though, less Harold and Kumar and more time blogging!

Kris said...

Heather - your offer is tempting. If it wasn't for the whole tomato juice thing, we might have a deal. Do you mean DeeDee's list? Because I'm going to get in on that over the weekend.

DeeDee - You should be happy you have more in common with me. Because let's face it. I'm awesome...:p

Kittymao said...

OMFG.
I am like, SO IN LOVE with iron Man since I saw it on Sunday. I even dished a little about it on my blog. I have a New Respect for that RD, Jr. Cause 1. Fucker can ACT, and 2. I never truly relaised how HANDSOME he was.
Okay, gushing over.
*wanders off*