Movie Review: Stuck in Love

IMDB, Stuck in LoveDrama/Romance, 97 Minutes, 2012: “Stuck in Love” on IMDB

You know what makes a good love story? When you can’t decide if the people involved are assholes or not, that’s what. If they’re clearly assholes then it’s easy: they don’t deserve love and it’s a bad love story. If they’re clearly not assholes then it’s also easy: they’ll get love but it won’t matter because it’s not real and it’s a bad love story. On the other hand, if you’re honestly not sure there’s a good chance that those characters may be worth caring about. Real people are assholes sometimes and a good love story needs real people.

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Movie Review: We Need to Talk about Kevin

IMDB, We Need to Talk about KevinThriller, 112 Minutes, 2011: “We Need to Talk about Kevin” on IMDB

Kids suck, amirite or amirite? I mean you’re perfectly happy living your life, spending your disposable income and sleeping through the night. You want to go out; you go out! You want to beat “Final Fantasy VII” in a sitting; you do it! Then, out of nowhere, BAM! Then, nine-months later it all goes to hell. The crying, diaper changing and total lack of privacy. And don’t get me started on the enduring antisocial behavior, diminished empathy and remorse, and disinhibited or bold behavior!

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Movie Review: Dark Country

IMDB, Dark CountryThriller, 88 Minutes, 2009: “Dark Country” on IMDB

Thomas Jane [IMDB] stars in and directs this dark, psychological thriller. Dick (Jane) and Gina (Lauren German [IMDB]) met, fell in love and got married all in the same day. But that’s the kind of thing that happens in Las Vegas. They’re driving Gina’s old Ford through the desert at night – it’s the only way to beat the heat – so that they can start their new life together. Things go from bad to worse when they run down an accident victim and have to deal with a quickly unraveling set of circumstances.

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Movie Review: Frankie Go Boom

IMDB, Frankie Go BoomComedy/Romance, 89 Minutes, 2012: “Frankie Go Boom” on IMDB

Bruce (Chris O’Dowd [IMDB]) is a jerk. A royal douchebag. A super-deluxe, extra-cheese, leather-trimmed, super-sized asshole. He also styles himself a film director and spent most of his life torturing his little brother, Frankie (Charlie Hunnam [IMDB]), on film for his own amusement. After an egotistic meltdown and months in rehab he’s back. Frankie’s having issues of his own. Having recently left horribly at the altar on his wedding day he’s assumed a self-imposed exile to try and finish his novel. Parental guilt brings him back home to celebrate his brother’s sobriety and things go south from there.

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Movie Review: Hansel and Gretel Get Baked

IMDB, Hansel and Gretel Get BakedComedy/Horror, 86 Minutes, 2013: “Hansel and Gretel Get Baked” on IMDB

The best thing this movie could think of for a tag on its poster is: “From the Producer of Twilight”. Sadly enough, that may very well be the best thing about it. I’ve never seen “Twilight” and have now idea who produced it, but still, it may be. I’ll be honest, I only watched because it starred Molly C Quinn [IMDB] whom I adore in “Castle” and who has done a great job of building up geek cred with various comic/sci-fi related projects and appearances lately.

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Movie Review: Don Jon

IMDB, Don JonComedy/Drama, 90 Minutes, 2013: “Don Jon” on IMDB

Joseph Gordon-Levitt [IMDB] has made a remarkable transition from television child-actor to featured roles in many critically-acclaimed blockbusters. While luck has likely played a part, there’s no doubting his talent in front of the camera.  “Don Jon” is his writing/directing debut. With an excellent A-list cast, he also stars.

Gordon-Levitt plays Jon, a good Italian Catholic New Jersey boy. Via a series of surprisingly palatable internal monologues we learn about him and how he sees life. Most films use such narration as a crutch, and that’s true here to an extent, but this felt more natural; as if the audience were just another buddy to chat with. He loves his car and his apartment. He hates bad drivers and dirt. He works out, visits his parents and basically has a good bead on things.

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Geek Double Feature: “Rise of the Fellowship” and “Knights of Badassdom”

Dungeons and Dragons RedboxI’m old enough to remember the rise of tabletop role-playing brought by “Dungeons and Dragons”. The popularity of the game (and the personal infighting of the authors) led to many versions of the game, multiple incompatible editions and dozens of imitators. Public confusion about the game led to accusations of demon worship and dumbass TV movies. Despite all this, my friends and I poured our imaginations (and meager allowances) into it.

In retrospect, that the game was so broken may have been a large part of the allure. Sure, it was complex – that kept away the people that we preferred not to deal with in the first place – but it was also versatile. We’d argue about the rules, toss those we didn’t like and make up our own. At every level of the experience the game offered awkward kids power. Imaginary power, to be sure, but power nonetheless. We created the world, we controlled it and we decided how it worked.

These two movies represent separate, but similar, evolutions of my childhood obsession. The first celebrates the transition from the tabletop to online multiplayer. The second to the more physical experience of live action role-playing (LARPing). Both embody such a deep-seated respect for the things I used to hold dear that I couldn’t help having a ton of fun with them.

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