Tag Archives: college

Stan Lee’s Superhumans

Anddddd we’re back. Now that I’ve moved back into college and getting into the flow of school, let’s get back to some posts (and seeing as I’m sitting here at work at 12:30 in the morning, why not?). To kick things off, let’s review a show a friend of mine said was quite good and the whole first season is on Netflix. When is Netflix gonna give me a bit of money for reviewing all the good things they put on there? Get your ship in order there, Captain Flix.

So Stan Lee’s Superhumans is a pretty basic premise of a show. Stan Lee

That old ass dude just loves his skyscrapers.

loves superheroes and he (or someone who knew he would help host it) decided it would be a good idea to send world renowned contortionist Daniel Browning Smith on the case of finding real life superhumans. Not necessarily superheroes, but some pretty interesting freaks (in the best sense of the word). We all let out our inner car crash interest and tune in to shows like this without any understanding of why, but at least this one has a more wholesome feel to it.

A dud and a stud. Nice.

Basic show structure. Daniel Browning Smith (as he will go to the ends of the earth to remind you) is being tasked by Stan Lee (because his old ass couldn’t leave the skyscraper his millions bought) to find the freaks of the world. He goes out to these locations and finds three separate superhumans per episode. Daniel B.S. (unfortunate abbreviation) never believes the B.S. (nice recovery) and gets some scientists to find out just what’s going on. I loved telling my friends about the unbelievable things I saw and even did a bit of research myself. Can’t believe I actually did (being a college kid and all) but damn it, I did.

Some are dud superpowers and others are just bizarre. I watched the show in about a day and just couldn’t stop watching

Try and get this image out of your head…

what Spider-Man creator Stan Lee was going to throw at me next. I have to say though that the psychokinetic chi master of karate was the funniest. You can’t trust what you see and fat older white gentlemen shouldn’t be allowed to run dojos. Just saying. From the blind to the flabby, and the electric to the bellyfloppers, this show has it all.

I’m Daniel Browning Smith.

After watching it all though, this show proves that human evolution is not without a sense of wonder and humor that walk hand in hand. Sure you can create a man who can withstand heat more than anyone else or survive strong amounts of snake venom. More power to you for that. But, the whole time I watched this show, I was thinking how I would ever assemble all of these men to save the world. Or if we’d all be doomed when that supervillian sends the laser our way. At least prediction man would see it coming… Maybe…

But I find being incredulous and being challenged and disproved to be a learning and growing experience. Not

You have to see this to believe it.

everything a camera shows is real, but this show made a great case for it. Death defying stunts, feats of strength, this show has got it all. So I would recommend comic fans and freak show fans alike should check this show out. It’s eye opening at the very least (although, I wish the names of the superhumans were more creative…) This short lived show deserves at least a 6.7 out of 10.

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Drive: New and Interesting Filmmaking

I had heard good things about Drive from my film major friends in college before I found this on Netflix. I was hesitant at first, (most kids at my college in the film department have very particular ideas of what good films are. I like what is considered not so good of a film.) but gave it a shot. My girlfriend fell asleep about 20 minutes in (she was tired from work) but I sat up enraptured in what unfolded before me in this film. In a whole new way, Nicolas Winding Refn created a film you wouldn’t normally see ever.

So there’s Ryan Gosling playing The Driver, a quiet and modest stunt driver who has grown up in L.A. on cars. (This is based on James Sallis’ novel, Drive.) Securing Hollywood stunt driver jobs through his friend Shannon (Bryan Cranston of Malcolm in the Middle and Breaking Bad), we see a film about Hollywood within L.A.’s

A reserved driver with pimpin gloves.

Hollywood. Directed by a Danish director, we gain this insight from a foreigner’s perspective in a unique way of directing and cinematography. But, more importantly, this film has got some major production value on it with all the researching and immersed creation that came with it between Refn and Gosling. I was impressed.

A tragically beautiful mother.

So The Driver meets Irene (Carey Mulligan) a tragic and beautiful single mother with a husband in jail. They have a solemn and quiet love affair (no sex or anything like that, Refn didn’t want to waste film time on showing anything related to love… I think…) the two connect. The Driver wants to protect Irene and her son Benicio (Kaden Leos). And then her husband Standard Gabriel (Oscar Isaac) comes back. Getting involved with the wrong people, gangsters on all sides, The Driver has to navigate a world he’s only seen in the movies. And, being a stunt actor in a movie, he’s prepared to make the leap. With a car.

I really liked all the characters in this movie. Plain and simple. I loved Oscar Isaac’s small role in the film. He comes off as this dangerous and irritated character that has a sneaking suspicion at all times. (He reminded me of his twisted

Gotta love Oscar Isaac.

performance in Sucker Punch.) Bryan Cranston played a great broken man in this film who’s trying to look out for others but becomes collateral damage. Ron Perlman was finally given a chance to do a spectacular movie that gave him great lines and a menacing character in this one as well. Looks like Hellboy’s becoming more devilish… And

All of the violence.

one of the standout performances, other than Ryan Gosling, comes from Albert Brooks, voice of Nemo’s dad in Finding Nemo. To hear that voice on such a wicked character was chilling.

But there were a lot of interesting elements in the creation of this movie. The script is about 80 pages, but most of it must have been camera direction and actions, because I would say there’s less than 5 to 10 typed pages of dialogue in the whole film. Ryan Gosling plays such a reserved and quiet character that he never really needs to speak, only act (just like a hired driver would). The first sequence in the film when Gosling is driving the two robbers to their destination was well planned out and quite poetic in its feel and delivery. No dialogue, no need for speech, only action.

Without much dialogue, the film had this feel of tension throughout. You feel tension in the relationships, in the way the business is conducted. And then you get the gunshots. Every once in a while in the film the action builds to this ridiculously tense crescendo where something has to happen. Almost like a jumpy

Spectacular.

scene in a horror movie. And wow, after that first gunshot in the movie, this film really pops off (pun intended). But then it returns to a tension filled lull (still not much dialogue) and you’re just waiting for the next powder keg laden with the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s agonizing at the same time that it’s so damn interesting!

You get great performances with a great premise delivered more with action than with speech. It’s a unique style you never really see, and I’m glad this did well at film festivals. This reminds me, and I don’t know why, but it makes me wanna watch Refn’s other work, most notably Val Halla Rising, which is now on Netflix. Next review here I come! But Drive is a wonderful film. Superb in all its unusual aspects. 9.5 out of 10.

 


The 40 Year Old Virgin: Simply The Best

The time has come to talk of things. Of films that are the best of Comic Kings. And yes, this movie has wings. I am now ready to beamingly review The 40 Year Old Virgin, my favorite of all comedies. A close second is Dumb & Dumber, followed by Meet The Spartans. But more about that later.

This movie is revolutionary. In a first in grossout comedy, this movie tackles sex. And other things. But mostly sex. And they do it in such a hilarious way that it feels like a high brow poop joke for men. Steve Carell breaks onto the scene in this one after Anchorman, and we have established the comedic actors who will dictate standout comedies for the next 5 or 10 years. (Seth Rogen hasn’t stopped… he maybe should have…) But in the best work that Judd Apatow has ever put out, The 40 Year Old Virgin stands at the pinnacle of best comedies of all time.

The 40 Year Old Virgin is the story of Andy (Steve Carell) a worker at a tech store (Smart Tech) with not much of a life outside his apartment. His co-workers think he’s weird and he doesn’t help refute that claim. It isn’t until one night over a game of poker (with one of the funniest scenes in comedic history) that the guys find out why he’s so strange.

He’s a virgin.

And that’s not even the whole hilarious scene! A lot of the jokes and quotes me and my friends use come from Paul Rudd and Romany Malco. So it just shows that the whole cast was integral in creating a superb comedy.

But with David (Paul Rudd), Cal (Seth Rogen), and Jay’s (Romany Malco) help, Andy sets out on the road to not becoming a virgin. Many hilarious scenes and antics later, Andy meets Trish (Catherine Keener) who shows off a fantastic body for an older woman, if I may add. The go on a whole buttload of dates and Andy finds love before sex… Or does he?

A hard and true scene. This actually happened.

This movie literally is too legit to quit. Most of the lines in this film were improvised right on camera. I myself own the unrated edition with 17 extra minutes, and it is one of the funniest experiences to watch this with my friends. Me and my friends had plans to remake this for ourselves, scene by scene, and adapt it to 4 18 year old guys. Those dreams are still alive in fact. If only…

Gotta slay some hoodrats. Boom, boom, boom.

I have become a big fan these actors because of this movie. Paul Rudd is hilariously and deliriously lost in lost love over a great cameo by Mindy Kaling (Kelly of The Office) as the infamous Amy. Paul Rudd is the character I related to in the movie with the lines that made me laugh the most. Romany Malco is genius in this movie, bringing his ghetto flavor to the film. I haven’t seen him in much else, but this movie has him shining with all the rest. Seth Rogen, well, I liked him more at the time. He has turned into that character in every comedy who just smokes weed and drinks all the time. He doesn’t add much to the comedy. But he did in this one.

And then there’s the infamous Steve Carell. Right before The Office took off, this was his role. He was born to play this role (seeing as he helped write it and produce it). He was fresh and new at this point and untested in the world of comedy. He’s outrageous when he needs to be, he was awkward and lovable, and he just knows how to deliver lines that sound

But each timeeeee…

You know how I know you’re gay? You like Coldplay.

unnatural coming from a man of his age. Fun fact, my mom went to Denison University with Steve Carell in college. He was a senior (and her R.A. if I’m not mistaken). He was involved in improv and comedy and there’s a picture of Steve during the porno scene that he turns around. He has a mustache, and he had one in college. That was a college photo. That’s pretty cool if I do say so myself.

So you got a great cast and some great cameos by some up and coming comedic stars. Jonah Hill makes an appearance as the overweight and strange eBay store customer. Jane Lynch, before Glee took off, played the Smart Tech boss and

The cast of champions. Looks like Rudd is rockin the clip on phone belt…

sexually aggressive woman, Paula (she’s a lesbian, BTW). Steve Carell’s wife, Nancy Carell makes an appearance as the sex education worker. David Koechner, co-star with Steve in Anchorman pays a visit, as well as Kevin Hart, the short and black comedian in one of the funniest scenes in the film. “I’m talkin’ frosty.” Oh, and if you look to the left in the first shot of the first club scene they take Andy to, you’ll see Jenna Fischer chilling on a couch as an extra. Check it out.

So what more could I say about this movie to make you go and watch it right now? Great comedy, hilarious, outrageous jokes, and an all-star cast of soon to be big actors. Judd Apatow did something right in directing this movie along with giving Steve Carell the chance to be the “It Kid” of comedy. I love every minute of this movie and I hope you will too. Best comedy of all time. 10 out of 10.

And don’t forget about Mooj.

(^Video NSFW, or children)

 

 

 


An Idiot Abroad Series 2: The Bucket List

Let me start off my saying this series did do me head in. I’ve learned after a second trip with Karl Pilkington around the world, that you can do a load of amazing things in less than a year (proper funding needed, of course). But if a major programming station is footing the bill and your friends find you some wild experiences, go with it. Karl may think he hasn’t changed, but you can tell right from the get go, he’s a lovable guy who’s just like me. (Back to that later.)

In Series 2, we follow Karl’s choices off a huge generated list of “kick the bucket” like wishful experiences before you die. And even though he may choose things like Whale Watching and Desert Island, we know that isn’t all

Karl and some good ole Americana.

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant have in store for him. He may eventually get to “swim with the dolphins,” but he has to travel Thailand and be dressed up as a ladyboy before he even steps foot in the water in Australia. I laughed right along with Ricky Gervais in part two of the most expensive prank ever.

Go skimp Karl, or go home.

But I was a bit more proud of Karl this time for sticking up for what he wanted to do. He refused the bungee jump, as I would have. But, along with the bucket list things he did, he got expenses paid trips to Japan and Thailand. Ever since I discovered the wonder that is Thai cinema, I have been dying to go over there. Please Sky 1, pick me up as a travel host and transport me over there! But Karl pulled it all of in stride. If someone that stubborn can make it in Japan or Thailand and still do amazing things, sign me up.

I loved the little breaks Karl took during his work over in other countries. That is to say that the English speaking countries weren’t as fun because he wasn’t dictating the conversation or speaking for the locals in a hilarious way. He went to a cheap Ugandan flea market before seeing the gorillas. And he took his time there as well. Whenever there was an opportunity to jump in and dance someplace, Karl took it

The face of a scared man.

immediately. He may seem daft and apelike, but that man can light up a room with his goofy dancing.

And what’s to make it better than that Karl ends the show on a touching note. He has his revelation on Mt. Fuji, but Gervais and Merchant just knock it down. I, over the course of this show, have come to love and respect Karl Pilkington. I find his insights to be funny and all of his scenario situations are exemplary and logic (to a point). When I travel over to the UK someday, I’m not gonna wanna go running and looking for Clive Owen or Emma Watson. I’m going to find the nearest info booth and look at the worker and say, “Right, where do I find Karl Pilkington?” No joke, I want to sit down with this man and become his friend.

Only one of those is true… Karl.

Why would I say that about a dull, homely man like Karl? Because I am a dull, homely man like Karl. I don’t enjoy traveling or big crowds. I don’t like trying new foods or doing anything I know I will fail at no matter what. And I want to meet a man who can inspire me to do it by saying, “Look, we’re about the same right? If I can do it, so can you.” And I believe meeting Karl Pilkington, of all people, can make that happen. You hear me, UK? When this whole college thing is done, I’m comin’.

So I think it says loads about what I thought of the show and the content of what Karl Pilkington is as a person to say I want to meet him first and foremost. The show is entertaining and eye opening, funny, and extremely witty coming from a person

Don’t all British mind like a bit of drag?

everyone calls a div. To say I wouldn’t mind being Karl Pilkington is no stretch of the goal I could reach for. I even hear his voice in me head now. What a mental thing that is. Well, add that to me bucket list, meeting Karl Pilkington. Cause this show and the series as a whole (including Karl) deserve a 10 out of 10.


Leaves of Grass (The Film)

I was pleasantly surprised by this film I had never heard anything about. The second I saw Edward Norton playing twins, my mind jumped to Nicholas Cage in Adaptation. And I love that film because of him and everything about it. So I got a little bit excited once I saw both of them interacting together onscreen. A film that centers around the lifestyle of weed and academia, I know one half of. But that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the film. It enhanced it with how intelligently represented both sides are.

I think it was best said by whoever put it on Wikipedia when they said this film has everything of the great tragedies. Mistaken identity, betrayal, violence, loss, and all that good shizz. I was hooked the second Ed Norton stepped on camera as his

Two brothers, one person.

intelligent half, Bill Kincaid. He gives such a convincing performance as the well-to-do, goody-goody brother of the family that went off to college to become a thinker. And that scene is completely contrasted by his portrayal as Brady Kincaid, the equally intelligent marijuana grower. Both sides have an intelligent way of speaking (despite the Oklahoma “Southern” accent) and it comes off as very entertaining to hear their rapport.

A great little cast.

So the movie’s about Bill and Brady, the Kincaid twins. One has aspirations of Harvard and the other aspirations of a lucrative weed business. They parted ways long ago after differences in family experience and got on fine. But things haven’t been going so well for Brady. Brady tricks Bill into flying out by faking his own death and meeting up with Brady’s associate, Rick Bolger (Tim Blake Nelson). After everything gets figured out, Bill finds out that Blake needs him to pose as himself while he goes out on some business. All he has to do is visit their mother, Daisy (Susan Sarandon) and everything will be fine. But, of course, that’s not how things turn out.

There’s a great quality of culture clash in this movie when North meets South, East meets West. Although both characters started out in the OK, they have drifted apart and need to reconnect. There’s a great subtle love/seducing interest between Bill and a small town girl, Janet (Keri Russell). She noodles and ropes them broncos and all that shit, and its strange for Bill to find a girl just as knowledgeable when it comes to poetry. There’s a clash between the greater Christian community and the Jews in this movie as well. Big props for Richard Dreyfuss pulling off the kinky role of Jewish mob boss in this film. And never forget about the little guy, a great job by John Pais.

What a great Jewish badass.

People had a problem with the move from the comedic to the dark and tragic, but it didn’t bother me as much. Moving from quirky to murky isn’t as hard as people take it to be in films. This movie leans in that direction from the beginning with the drug running and gang violence and can’t end well because movies have to have that element of loss or gain. If Bill came down and visited his mother and nothing bad happened and things went off without a hitch, this movie would be about 45 minutes shorter. So I give the benefit of the doubt to this film for tiptoeing around that issue.

I was pleasantly surprised how well Tim Blake Nelson directed and wrote this movie, as well as starred in. He pulled off the trifecta well and made a compelling story all at once. From only knowing him as

That’s some great work you’re doing there, Mr. Pendanski.

Mr. Pendanski in Holes, he made one hell of a movie. There’s not a lot of focus on the life Bill had (obviously this movie is meant to change him towards family) and it’s a lot about going back to your roots. I thought Edward Norton did an amazing job in both roles and made me think (if I didn’t know it was Edward Norton) that it was two different people. Let’s jump back 50 years when filming two people at once was more of an amazing thing and blow some minds. Maybe roll up a joint (this movie is really not about weed at all…) and enjoy some Leaves of Grass. Its limited release and Sundance Premier really secured this as a not well known good movie. I’ll give it a 7.7 out of 10.


The Roommate: Crap or Subtle Genius?

No, I’m just kidding. There was no genius to this movie. It was crap. If there was anything good about this, it was that it was so absurd it was funny. But what’s awesome is that it beat James Cameron’s piece of crap Sanctum (3-D, already indication of crap). I strongly dislike James Cameron and I feel the defeat of his work is a step in the right direction for humanity. (Avatar= Pocahontas= Took title from The Last Airbender, completely equaling a cinematic failure.) Anyways, time for the plot summary. And don’t tell me, “NO, NO NO, I DON’T WANT A PLOT SUMMARY, I WANT TO BE SURPRISED.” There’s nothing to ruin here, except your evening if you waste your time seeing this in theaters.

Okay, so obviously, Sara Matthews’ (Minka Kelly) roommate, Rebecca (Leighton Meester) is a psycho. This girl, (big twist) simply doesn’t take her pills. Quite a hilarious part, might I add, filled fantastically by Frances Fisher, one of two Titantic (Damn it, Cameron) actors. The other one, of course, being the homosexually (?) married (?) art design (?) teacher, Billy Zane. I know, no need for the question marks, but just based on his title, his sexual orientation comes into question. True, I love Billy Zane. Come on, he was The Phantom. (Anybody feel me on that?) But more on the minors… never.

This girl Rebecca, Sara’s insane roommate, who, by the way, they never clarify how old they are or which year they are in college. They don’t even hint at it. Come on. Yes, they may go out to a frat house, but who wouldn’t drink while making this movie? I’m sorry, tangents. But yes, this girl does some insane stuff. She draws pictures. She fries kitty cats. She pierces her own ears on the fly. She wears designer clothing. But most importantly, and most endearingly, she cares about when her roommate comes home. Yes, she cares. Maybe too much? You decide. (But DVD time, not theater time.)

Some other notable appearances in this movie come from Cam Gigandet, Twilight movie heartthrob (James) and apparent comedian. As Sara’s boyfriend Stephen, he delivers line after line of comedic genius, as he sits in as the frat band’s “drummer” (very weak). I find that ever since Twilight and his subsequent work, The Unborn, Cam’s gonna be stuck as the horror movie bf for a while. Another newcomer to horror movies is Disney Channel star, Alyson Michalka. Used to her days on Disney as a duo pop sensation with her sis A.J., this horror movie was a real breakout and quite ironic that the tweens that watched her on Disney are now old enough to see her become a slut who takes her top off quite a few times.

So yes, this movie, oddly structured around fashion and trying to psychotically become your roommate’s best friend falls short of expectations. I felt hey, this’ll be another Orphan. Orphan is a great horror movie. This on the other hand, is crap. Complete and utter comedic horror. The whole theater laughed. Besides this angst ridden teen who felt this movies poetic drama would better prepare her for her college years. But yes, I was a bit worried I’d be scared, and when I left, I felt lighthearted and happy. So thank you, Christian E. Christiansen, Denmark movie extraordinaire, you made my weekend. I feel sorry to inform you that your debut in American horror cinema will be received as a joke. I know, you were trying for something new, but I don’t feel that a psychotic phone sex killer who loves her girlies is really gonna do it. I give it 2.2 out of 10. But by all means, if you want to see this for yourself, don’t wait, see this in theaters. Bring the whole family, it’ll be a blast.