Shane Black's Downey Jr. Trilogy (uncredited)

Last night we had a movie night and lightening show while watching The Nice Guys (2016). I bought the blu-ray of this based on the strong word of mouth and the good track record of Shane Black's two previous movies Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Iron Man 3. This movie fits well with the other detective-style movies that I enjoy: The Long Goodbye, The Big Lebowski, Inherent Vice and Jackie Brown. This brings in a few wrinkles to the mini-genre that are welcome. It uses three child actors who act like adults, and plays with hallucinations in a non-drug way. During the movie we were treated by the sight of the most active cloud to cloud lightening storm I have ever seen where there were multiple li

He's Full of Stars

Today I watched Midnight Special (2016). A few years ago I watched Jeff Nichols' film Take Shelter based on a review. I didn't know anything about the director but after seeing the movie, and the compulsory viewing of the director's commentary to rewatch it right after the credits started running from the first viewing I was instantly a huge fan of Nichols and Michael Shannon. I had never seen Shannon in anything before that movie but his presence in Take Shelter and the fun way that he got along with Nichols on the commentary had me realizing that there was something special with that team. Shannon very quickly went on to becoming a regular in movies and on TV (Boardwalk Empire, I unders

Smack My Henry Up

Today I delved into being talked at by watching Hardcore Henry (2016). Right from the "can't stop running and fighting" genre of Crank and Crank 2, Hardcore Henry injects the movement of an action movie directly into your head. This is a movie that came together from a pretty engaging ten minute short film that made the rounds on the internet a few years ago and in a broad look at a broad overview of the movie, does follow through on creating an entertaining experience. There are a lot of weird things that don't connect in this movie. The writing and the acting feel very amateurish at times, even as Sharlto Copley (best known as Wikus in District 9) does all the heavy lifting for the actor

Baseball Notes: Tigers. They're Great.

This week I made it out to see the Detroit Tigers playing at Target Field through the raindrops. When I was around 5th grade, maybe a little before, my mom had a conference in Detroit and came back with a dark navy Tigers hat with a white D on it for me. I wore that hat well through high school and maybe into college, being one of my longest tenured MLB caps. I has always appreciated the classic style of the Tigers uniforms that always convey a sense of tradition. From Cecil Fielder to Prince Fielder the Tigers have always had exciting players (although after Prince left the whole team was exciting hitters with the only triple crown winner of my lifetime, but it's not as poetic of a state

Music of the Devil

The other day I watched Green Room (2015) with Anton Yelchin. I understand it is not a sequel to Room. This mix of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and John Wick marries murder, metal and neo-nazis. I wasn't sure what to expect with this film but the story was crafted in a logical and entertaining way to be tense and brutal but not a horror movie and becomes an action movie out of necessity for the characters to survive. It's sad Anton Yelchin passed away not long after this movie came out and it was fitting that he paired with Patrick Stewart as the top two billed actors for a Star Trek touch. I'm not the biggest fan of metal but I feel like it was a necessary part of the movie to get these chara

This is a "Sequel"

Earlier this week I watched "This is 40" (2012). I hadn't realized how long it had been since I had seen this, I figured I had seen it this year but it seems I had not. I seem to rewatch Judd Apatow movies pretty frequently and they are easy to see years after they come out because Apatow chooses cinematographers who are very skilled. This is 40 has the cinematographer Phedon Papamichael who also tends to work exclusively with Alexander Payne. Knocked up used another cinematographer who doesn't have as lengthy of a prestige resume but he was cinematographer on Kids and Copland. This is 40 is a clean looking movie with a smattering of laughs. It's an interesting plot, a little higher stres

The Good, The Bad, and The Good God That's a Long Cut.

This afternoon I broke out my newer Blu-Ray of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966). I didn't realize this disc had all the international scenes left out of the old DVD release making it a three hour movie. The outtake scenes mostly don't add much to the movie and even take away some of the reveals of the Civil War and Angel Eyes' position. Today, this was a good movie to act as a soundtrack for the apartment as we got some work done, but it also found a way to steal our focus for moments to distract from the rainy day. This is considered one of the all-time great movies and the only thing going against it is the incredible length of it. Eli Wallach is the hero for me in this movie, I l

Watching

Today I watched Watchmen ( 2009) for the morning. It is based on a graphic novel of the same name, is very loyal to the tone of the source material in the imagery and even the music (I recall there being a list of songs the author notes to read along to somewhere in the book), but it has some Zach Snyder problems of pacing and overly melodramatic acting. A year or two before I knew this movie was being made I read the book. I didn't know what to expect from the book as my only exposure to it was seeing it was in a list of top all-time graphic novels. The experience of reading it for the first time was amazing as I felt like I had no idea what was going on but I still couldn't stop reading

Baseball Notes: Your Father's Padres

Throughout the season I have been checking out the Padres on mlb.tv because although they weren't expected to do well after their offseason haul last year flamed out, they have had touches of excitement from their team that has been personified by their little known outfielder Travis Jankowski stealing home twice in a month. The second Major League Baseball game I ever went to was a Padres/Giants game at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. It was the summer before high school and I was there to go to a cousin's wedding, a cousin who I had not met before but instantly thought was pretty cool for living in a cool city. In the way to San Diego we had a layover in Pittsburgh where I bought my very

Baseball Notes: Royals-brand Moneyball

This weekend I made it out to see the reigning World Series champions come to town to play at Target Field, the Kansas City Royals. I used to love seeing the Royals spring training games in Arizona. I only went to their home park in Surprise once and the fan base that was there was a little southern conservative scary for me as there were also a lot of Rangers fans milling around, but I saw them play a lot of away games with lower ticket prices when there wasn't much expected from them. The Royals were a bit of a laughing stock in the league for years, having a few hot seasons sprinkled in here and there where they would suddenly be a team that would beat Pedro Martinez for a couple of sta

No aliens on this Sky Line

This weekend I watched the documentary on Netflix Sky Line (2015). I am a bit of a space elevator enthusiast so this documentary was right up my alley, however it did give a strange sense that the filmmakers spent a lot of their film time focusing on some not so serious actors in trying to get a space elevator reaching into the sky. I was really glad this doc touched on the history of people dreaming of space elevators including a Russian school teacher in the late 19th century that was working through a thought experiment about gravity after seeing the Eiffel Tower. I have been interested in a way to get to space without using jet fuel for a few years now, and that started from my own bit o

In for a Spin

Today I watched the table tennis documentary Top Spin (2014) on Netflix. The other day I saw a little of the table tennis coverage at the Olympics and it was not quite as interesting as I remembered the sport being in the past, and I also saw a fencing match that turned me from thinking that was a rather boring sport to watch to finding it rather captivating. This movie is a very interesting look at three very young top table tennis players in the US as they tried to train and compete to get into the London Olympics. One boy goes to China to train for a couple of months and to NYC to train and perform at a ping pong club, the two girls train so much that their classmates have trouble relati

Raiders

The other day I watched Raiders of the Lost Ark for the first time in a few years. About ten years ago I was working at a video store where I ended up being the top renter for the store without ever paying for a single movie. I would take out a couple movies every time I went in and sometimes watched a couple of movies in the store during the day. The store didn't do very good business because we were a shitty chain store and the local video store down the street had far superior selection. The first time I walked into the store to pick up a job application I thought to myself "I won't rent from here," because of the heavy marketing for candy and package deals. I worked there just under

Marketing Squad

Today I saw the subject of the most successful marketing of a movie ever, Suicide Squad (2016). The reports leading up to the release of this movie amidst terrible reviews were that it was under pressure from the bad reviews of Batman v. Superman and the positive reception of the trailers and posters for Suicide Squad (Screen Rant). The problem was the style of the actual directors cut of the movie was closer to the darkness of BvS than the marketing campaign so the studio edited the movie to bring it closer to the marketing campaign. There are rumors that they actually brought in the marketers to have a hand in the editing to lighten up the movie. I'm not sure exactly what happened in the

A Little Uncomfortable

Yesterday I saw The Little Prince (2015) which mixes the stop animation story of the Little Prince and drawn animation story of a little girl who meets an old man that is telling her the story of the Little Prince as she tries to balance expectations her mother has in her to achieve and trying to have a happy childhood. This movie has a spellbinding aesthetic, very interesting music with a French style to it, and a good message to let children have a childhood. It's a bit of a depressing movie and it also has some problems of the story lines being hard to follow as the Prince's story jumps forward through time without transitions between the two. The troubling thing about this movie is that

Baseball Notes: LA Dodger Blue

The Dodgers have been on my mind a lot this year as Mike Piazza enters the Hall of Fame and I listen to the audiobook Pedro about the life and career of Pedro Martinez who came up through the Dodgers System. The Dodgers have a very good track record of bringing up prospects through their system and an even more impressive history of those prospects excelling in their rookie years. Jackie Robinson was the very first MLB Rookie of the Year in 1947, then they had NL rookies of the year in '49. '52, '53, '60, '65, '69 before they had amazing runs of rookies of the year and top prospects in the early '80's and the early '90's. From '79 to '82 they had NL Rookies of the Year of Rick Sutcliffe, S

Baseball Notes: Griffey-style Mariners

Recently, Ken Griffey Jr was inducted into the Hall of Fame in one of the easiest decisions the voters have ever had. In the 1990's there was a wealth of accessible greatness in sports. Basketball had Jordan, hockey had Gretzky, football had Barry Sanders and baseball had the friendliest of all, Ken Griffey Jr. His smile, backwards hat and overflowing love for the game of baseball endeared him to all baseball fans. It helped that he played in Seattle, a team that wasn't a bitter rival of anyone due to the geography of being one of the most remote teams in the league, but was still rather successful. Safeco Field was build in the image of Ken Griffey Jr.'s left handed swing only to have hi

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