Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Heartbreak Kid

Two words: Watch It.

4.5 out of 5 Manatees for a Comedy.


Tom Cruise is crazy. You know it. I know it. Society knows it. But, damn can the man make a movie. I can't think of very man Tom Cruise movies over the years that I haven't liked. And you know what, I challenge you to do the same. One of my favorite movies of the past 5 years is the Last Samurai. Tom Cruise at his finest. He dropped off the map for awhile with this whole Katie Holmes and Suri thing, but he made a re-appearance with Tropic Thunder as the comedy relief.

So lets go through his most recent work. Valkyrie. Some of you or may not know, I was a history minor in college and the period I enjoyed studying the most about was World War II. Always found it fascinating. I remember reading about plots to overthrow Hitler, but I never really studied any of the specifics. In reality, I think its a great idea for a movie. It's a period piece that can still hit home with a few people, and it automatically does not have a happy ending. We know what occurred in history and it was clear that the plan wasn't going to be a success. There aren't that many movies that get filmed nowadays with an unhappy ending.

The story was well put together. I'm assuming they glorified some of the story so that it transferred onto the big screen cleanly. The characters were strong, some of them you didn't really get to know quite as well, but you definitely attach yourself to a few. They were willing to sacrifice everything for what they believed to be the greater good. They were true patriots of Germany and not patriots of Hitler. Because of the magnitude of their actions, you could easily understand why some were hesitant, scared in the way they were.

There was only hard to believe part of the film when he is working on recruiting individuals to his 'side' and I think you'll recognize it when/if you see it. Other than that, I could easily see all these things occurring as portrayed in the film.

The movie gets a bad wrap, most likely because of the whole Tom Cruise factor, but it was quite well done. Quoting Robby, "You have to rate it high. Tom Cruise has an eye patch, and we live in the eye patch capital of the world!"

i give it 4 Manatees, possibly 4.5, but only because I love movies about history and Tom Cruise

Eastbound and Down

Typically speaking, any HBO original series is an automatic winner in my eyes. Over the years, I must admit, I've come to enjoy practically every premium channel series. If you don't have HBO or Showtime, you should. The Sopranos, Entourage, Californication, Weeds. The list goes on. So, without knowing anything else, I was excited about the prospect of this show. When I learned it was with the guy from FootFist Way and Will Ferrell was an executive producer, we have a formula for success.

General plot is a baseball player that enters the MLB as a stud, goes down in flames and the after effects. The story is creative, premise is both believable and unbelievable at the same time. Humor is out there, very Will Ferrell like and to an extent that you feel uncomfortable sometimes. I think that's been a trend in shows lately. I know I've watched episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm, turning away during particular scenes because its just difficult to watch. I think that show in particular broke ground for that type of comedy on television today. The Office is another show that has a sometimes unbelievable Michael Scott saying or doing the most awkward things.

I've only watched the first 2 episodes of the show, but think there COULD be some potential. Typically speaking, I'm more of a drama-phile when it comes to premium show original series, but I'm not 100% sold on this yet. The main character is just that, quite a character, definitely able to hold the lead of the show. My only concern is that the show will become redundant with jokes and it will get monotonous, but the plot is still evolving and I won't be to quick to judge.

I don't want to give the show a rating quite yet, but I'll post something a few episodes later so that I can be a better judge.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gone Baby Gone

I know that I'm really throwing a lot of posts out there, but with the new title, I got a little excited and will probably finish too quickly, leaving no posts for the next week or two. Story of my life.

The title of this post is probably a little deceiving. While it IS about the movie, its more about a philosophical debate about a situation that happens at the end. The movie is incredible. I viewed it as the best movie of 2007, beating out both Michael Clayton and No Country for Old Men, both which are also extremely good movies. Casey Affleck and Ed Harris are a great combination on screen and the film is quite powerful. Very surprising since it was directed by Ben Affleck. I guess he's talented after all. Last thing he did that I respected was his role in Dazed and Confused. If you have NOT seen this movie, or don't plan on it, stop reading now, as this is kind of a spoiler. If you have, read on and please comment with your opinion.


At the end of the film, Casey Affleck is conflicted with a decision he must make. Rat on Morgan Freeman, allowing the little girl to return to the mother that does not care about her daughter, or let Freeman keep the child. I have a very strong opinion in the matter, but I understand both sides of the argument. On one hand, the little girl is with an upper class family that will care for her. She'll be better cared for, live in a better household, and be given greater opportunities in her life. On the other hand, with her real mother, she probably will be neglected, be part of a vicious circle. I think it can be agreed upon that the girl will be better cared for and is in better hands with the Freeman family, however, the decision isn't that simple. How can one condone the kidnapping of a child, even if its in the best interest of said child. Birth parents have the god-given right to hold on to their children, and fight for them if necessary should society find it more prudent to take a kid away for negligency. Proper channels must be used, even if the end result is a kid that is removed from the household by social services. Yes, there are chances that the kid can get lost in the system and end up in a worse place than the kidnapping family.

So in conclusion, I would side with Casey Affleck and not with his girlfriend. We discussed this at dinner the other night and I was shocked by the amount of people that sided with the girlfriend. Am I wrong in thinking that even if its better in the end, it can't be an acceptable course of action? You all tell me. Who would you side with?

Role Models

I remember seeing the preview for this movie and thought, wow, this movie is going to be incredible. Humor should be right up my alley. Paul Rudd can't go wrong lately, Seann William Scott gets funnier and funnier. For those of you who only know him as Stiffler, I would highly recommend 'The Rundown' which was extremely entertaining. Action, laughs, the whole shibang.

Back to the point. The premise is that two guys that work for an energy drink company get slapped with some community service. They join a big brother program and link up with an 8 year old black kid and a 15 year old dungeons and dragons kid played by Fogel from Superbad. The young kid, Bobb'e J. Thompson, has a bright career of himself. Surprisingly, I found his humor to be well put together. Paul Rudd was his dry sarcastic self and Seann William Scott is definitely pigeon-holed to be the young, sexually driven, zany type of character. Everyone lives up to their roles well, and there were a lot of attractive no name women throughout the movie, which was nice bonus for me. To give a glimpse into some of the humor, the movie starts with Seann William Scott getting out of a car, walking up to Paul Rudd, making a gesture and posing the question, "Guess what I did last night?" Another scene is when Seann William Scott explains to Bobb'e how to appropriately spy on women's breasts and not be so obvious. Yes, I did take notes.

I wouldn't say that it was the funniest movie I've ever seen, but definitely top tier of contemporary comedies. Some of you probably think that I have a 'unique' sense of humor that may not translate to all my readers (aka women). I doubt any women actually read my blog, BUT, I think its safe to say you would enjoy it as well. I watched with both Suzanne and Aly, both whom were laughing hysterically throughout the night. If you're looking for a movie with lots of laughs and little thought, you've got a winner with this one.

I give the movie 4 out of 5 Manatees.

Monday, February 23, 2009


My last post seemed to be relatively well received and it was the first to move outside my movie review element. I wouldn't really describe my movie reviews as something that is going to really interest people, but more of something that my friends can read and make fun of me about. The Lost review was something that got a few more comments and caused a little more debate. Im hoping by branching out to TV and Restaurants, I can possibly gain a few more readers and have it be something of use. For TV, I'll mainly just stick to shows in general and not just episodes of shows unless I think it really warrants it. Restaurants will be a little tougher since I feel like I've gone to a lot of good restaurants already, but I'll create somewhat of a scale based on food, service, ambience and value. Please add any comments if you find something else a little more beneficial.

Restaurant Week. One of my favorite times of year in DC. I think a lot of people would probably argue that DC is pretty vanilla compared to other cities. Not quite as much character or something that it's known for, but I'm a firm believer we have some really great restaurants. Restaurant week allows us middle classers to check out some great restaurants on a tighter budget, because sadly, going out in the city for a nice dinner for 2 can be quite expensive. Probably one of the few reasons I'm okay with being single. The problem with restaurant week is that you have to choose your restaurants wisely. Some places use it as an opportunity to impress, others do it because they feel obligated to participate. Luckily for us Hook happened to be a restaurant that was trying to impress.

Reservations for 10 at 830. At that late of a time, the place should be bustlin', and it was. Walking in, the restaurant seems quite small. A location directly on M street makes it highly accessible to the Georgetown crowd. The bar area is dimly lit, lengthy, however, which makes it accessible to get a drink while you're waiting for your table. A nice touch is that there is a long table next to the bar that allows for another standing area if there is a longer wait. Walking down the restaurant, you come across a set of stairs which make a lot more sense, the restaurant turns out to be 2 storied and even has a sectioned off private room. Place has plenty of tables, all filled to the brim. The back room, which is slightly segregated from the rest, was a very nice touch for our group. With any large group, you can become overbearing with how loud the table can be and I felt that the walled separation brought about a better ambiance to all others at the restaurant.

The good fortune continued as the waiter brought out a dozen complimentary half shell oysters. I was a little weary, since some seafood scares me, oysters included, but they were quite tasty. The waiter was exceptionally helpful, especially when asked about the fish on the menu. More than a simple, 'its a white fish' he went into depth with the consistency, where its from, etc.. Wine flowed, food came out. Appetizers were a very healthy portion. I had tuna tartare which was quite tasty, but I think the steamed calimari was the biggest winner. Highly recommended to any who dine there in the future.

The fish was well prepared. I think we have nearly a full spread of everything they offered at our table. I can only speak for the Tombou Ahi which is a type of Tuna off the deep Pacific. Prepared rare, it was well prepared and flavorful. Surprisingly I had a bite of Tiffany's ribeye and it was phenomenal. I would give up bacon for a month to get that marinade recipe! Presentation of all the food was fantastic, and this was highlighted with the dessert. I know most people find presentation more of a formality, but I really think it does add to the overall meal.

Out of all the restaurants I've dined at, this ranks in the top tier for the Washington DC area. As with movies, ill be rating restaurants on a 5 manatee scale.

Ambiance - 4.5 Manatees. If the room was a little quieter, I think this would be a solid 5.

Food - I wish there was more on the menu along the idea of other seafood not fish, but I guess that's just in line with the the restaurant's name, 'Hook' since you can't necessarily catch shrimp or scallops on a hook. 4 Manatees.

Service - Impeccable. Very attentive, always filling water, always willing to assist in any way they can. 5 Manatees.

OVERALL - Top notch DC restaurant. One of the best I've had the pleasure of dining at. 4.5 Manatees

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


So I know that I traditionally only write about movies, but I had a hot debate with a Ms. Katie Sheehan about this show. As a side note, she says she reads this blog, but I'm a bit skeptical.

So the question at hand: Is LOST better than sex?

Seems like a silly question, I'm sure. But speaking as a guy that wishes he had more sex (I guess what guy doesn't), even for me, its not so simple of a question. So I guess we need to break it down. What makes LOST so good? It's been on the air for 5 years now. It never answers questions you have, always produces more questions, and rarely actually gives a straight response. Somehow, JJ Abrams and the writers are able to keep viewers interested and not overly frustrated. The show is a masterpiece. What other questions do you need to ask? Does the show leave you satisfied? Yes and no. I feel like so much happens, but we're still at square one. I never think an episode is pointless.

So lets breakdown sex. Considering I've seen the female form in the flesh like twice in my life, maybe I'm not the appropriate person to break this act down, but I'll give it my best. The 'old college try' if you will. Sadly, this is also what I tell a girl beforehand. Sex is fun, creative, innovative. Leaves one satisfied. Is the end climatic? absolutely, otherwise it wouldn't be called the end (at least for men).

Interesting question... Is the end of each episode of LOST climatic? Absolutely. Is the show fun, creative, innovative? yup. check. check. check. Am I satisfied afterwards? You betcha. Where does the big difference between the two lie then? Lost is a guaranteed hour of excitement. I won't make any general judgments, but lets call a spade a spade. After sex are you left wanting more? If you're a guy, more than likely all you want to do is sleep. I don't want to sleep after Lost. God didn't program me to be tired after watching LOST. I want to watch more LOST. It may be different from a girl's perspective, so I guess I'll let Katie chime in on that one.

So pros and cons: Both are creative, innovative, exciting, climatic. Pro of LOST: lasts a guaranteed 60 min. Satisfying, yet leaves you wanting more.

A tough combination to say the least.

On paper, I would have to say that LOST wins. But then again, if there was a naked girl in my bed and an episode of LOST was on, I'd probably DVR the show and have some fun. Hey, like I said earlier, gotta call a spade a spade, I'm still a guy.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I didn't know what to think when I first got my hands on this movie. I remember reading that Julianne Moore did a very good job in this film, so I did a little sleuthing to discover that Mark Ruffalo and Danny Glover were also in it. Shockingly, I took it upon myself to watch the film at some point. That point, was today. You might recognize the woman with the dark rimmed glasses as the girl from 'I am Legend'. I had to double check through IMDB and found it hard to believe that the girl is younger than I am. I think I'm starting to get to the age where everyone is younger and its a bit depressing. Just for the Mr. Skin shout out, you see her topless near the end of the film. Let's just say Milk does a body good. Moving on from my creepiness... (I've been single for a long time, lay off)

Starting off, I was a little confused as to where the film was going to lead. A person randomly goes blind while sitting in a car driving through traffic. From there things move surprisingly fast. It reminds me of a zombie movie in the way that its very contagious and the world falls apart. It was an interesting twist because I don't think a person ever thinks about how blindness can cause world order to collapse.

I thought the movie was going to be more of a sci fi, weird virus, 28 days later type of movie. In reality, it was much more than that. I don't remember this movie getting much press, but it definitely should have. It was about people, how people handle extraordinarily bad circumstances. The film is in line with Thomas Hobbes (if I remember by philosophy correctly) stating that all men are inherently evil and society is what makes them good. If you do watch this movie at some point, which I highly recommend, take the time to really think about the amount of weight that fell on Julianne Moore's character. It is absurd. And in reality, if it wasn't for her, the film would have had a completely different ending.

As a forewarning, the movie is extremely disturbing at points. The director is the same guy that did The Constant Gardner which was also a good movie. This I think trumps it.

A highly recommend the movie and give it a strong 4 out of 5 Manatees.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Reader

My quest of 2008 best picture nominees continue as I laid down to watch 'The Reader'. I must admit, I'm a fan of Ray Fiennes. Red Dragon is an under rated movie that flew under the radar a majority of people. Kate Winslett was nominated for Best Actress. How could this movie possibly go wrong. Heading into it, I know of 2 great actors/actresses, recognized before for their skill, and a movie that is nominated for Best picture. One word: Unbelieveable. How in the world could this movie be as bad as it was?

The film was slow. I understand the story and all, serious etc... I like a serious movie just as much as the next guy. You see a lot of Kate boob. Is that a bonus? I mean I guess if you get as little action as I do, you gotta take what you can get. Was it a good story? It would be hard for me to say that if I read this book, I wouldn't like it. Was it transferred well on the screen? I don't think so. Do I ask too many questions while I write these reviews only to answer them myself? Probably. Ray Fiennes character was never really explained until the end. You're able to deduce that he's the grown up version of the boy, but still. Its definitely an area that could have been developed more. The scene with him at the end with the woman was just awkward and odd.

I think that Kate Winslett did do a good job, but sadly I don't think it was Best Actress worthy. I fell asleep during the first 30 min of Revolutionary Road so I'll have to give it another go to see if her nomination for that movie was worthy in my eyes.

I give the movie 2 Manatees.


First off, let me just say what a great movie. Thanks to my friend Elisa, I learned of a lot of the 'making of' details to this film that made me appreciate it even more so than I would have without the extra info. So what jumps out at me first? A movie in 3-D?! I mean really, when was the last time you saw a legit movie in 3-D? Not since the days of the blue and red paper glasses and the early 90s. This 3-D was totally legit. No silly, over done throwing something at you so you go 'Ahhh!', but realistic 3-D view of the whole movie. Only a couple times throughout the film do you see any objects hurl in your direction, which just made you appreciate it more.

What was really nice, was the fact that some of the previews were also in 3-D. I remember seeing the preview for Pixar's 'Up' a few times and being very confused by the film. Apparently, however, the film is also going to be shown in this 3-D and man oh man, I must admit it looked damn good. I am extremely happy that the movie industry is finally taking on the idea of implementing 3-D films at a mass level. I remember reading an article once upon a time about how 3-D is the new big technology (sounds funny right?) that the movie industry wants to explore, but the cost of legit 3-D theaters is so high and the cost of real legit 3-D glasses is too large with the flight risk. The glasses I had were cheap, and the film still looked incredible.

So back to the movie itself, the story was extremely well done. For avid movie watchers, it will obviously remind you of the Nightmare before Xmas, but more recently, Pan's Labyrinth. The film's story is brought along at a good pace, not moving too quickly into the main plot and allowing for a little story building and characterization. I think with movies like these, its easy to get swept away with the special effects and unique fashion the movie is done in. I will admit, I remember seeing previews for this film, thinking man, this thing is kind of creepy. I know I'm a little kid when it comes to these things, but boy was I right. The film was able to get me eeried out with no problem at all, especially as the film progressed through its plot.

I was captivated from start to finish, even after an incredibly long day at work and a 1030 showtime. I give the movie 4 Manatees for its uniqueness, innovative story, 3-D effect and hand-sewn tiny clothing.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Point Break

There isn't much I can say about this movie that hasn't been said by dozens of other people. Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves and Gary Busey. Oh and the Commish. From the Good Taste League. Sent to the big screen in 1991, the movie is chalk full of great lines and music. A young svelt 27 year old Keanu Reeves acting to the best of his ability. I grew up on this movie, watching it probably over 30 times. I took it upon myself to try and decide what the best scene of the movie is since I know it by heart, and others with me were watching it for the first time. It's a tough call. It may be trite, but the scene when Keanu shoots into the air because he can't shoot the ex-President Reagan is probably the most memorable. Lines in the movie are a completely different story. Quite plentiful and worth the watch.

So even though this is quite the old movie (pushing on 18 years) but I'll review it the same anyways. It's tough to say you don't connect with the characters, the story is beyond obscene, but its still a very fun movie to watch. The most amazing part of seeing this movie again was the parallel my friend Mere made. The movie is identical to The Fast and the Furious. Even to the final scene of the movie. Lori Petty is no Jordana Brewster by any means, however its tough to deny how entertaining these movies are.

With the cult classic label helping the rating, I give the movie a 3.5 Manatees.

Monday, February 2, 2009


I'm sure my writing on this blog gives everyone the impression that I pretty much like any movie genre. And to be honest I pretty much do, but ever since I was a little kid, I've been addicted to Scary Movies. The funny thing about that is that I'm pretty much the equivalent of school aged girl when it comes to how scared I get. (I'm currently up writing this post because I can't sleep) I guess that's why I enjoy riding roller coasters, even though I'm terrified of heights. The sad thing about scary movies is that recently, we've become so used to special effects in all films, we can't appreciate old school scary movies any longer. Everything has to outdo itself and the end result is a lot of scary movies that are just cheesy. When was the last time you saw a contemporary scary movie that actually freaked you out? I think the closest thing we've had recently is the 28 days later series, granted, I'm partial to zombie flicks.

Shockingly, since Americans are not nearly as creative, this movie is a remake of a Spanish film named "Ils". I watched a portion of it, however, since it didn't have subtitles, it was a bit difficult, but the general themes are parallel between the two. One of these days I'm going to create a little more consistency and uniformity between these posts, because right now I feel like I talk about WHY i watch movies just as much as I talk about them. Premise of the film is that a reporter/cameraman are doing a piece on fire dept, yadda yadda yadda, I mentioned the bisque. They are quarantined in a building and no one knows why or what exactly is going on. None of the cast really jump out as start actors, though you might recognize a few. The main actress is from the show 'Dexter', the cameraman is the dude from 'The Practice', the vet is the guy from Ally McBeal and the waddle, and lastly, from the feature film 'Crazy/Beautiful' Jay Hernandez.

For a horror flick, this movie did a pretty good job. The story is similar to a lot of other movies, but the way they did it was well done. I was on edge the entire time. Does it take much, no. Were there a few all of a sudden scares? yes. Was that why the movie was scary though? Absolutely not. The director was able to create an ambiance of reality. Of not knowing. I think the recent trend in movies is to take more of a camcorder look during a movie. For example...Blair Witch Project, Cloverfield, parts of The Wrestler. As I discussed previously, I find it as a great way to connect the viewer with the characters on screen. At the end of the film, the main actress, Jennifer Carpenter, played the role a little over the top, but in reality I think she sold it quite well and it wasn't overacted at all.

I give the movie 3 Manatees. If there was a horror category, I would give it 4 Manatees within the genre.

The Day the Earth Stood Still

I know I'm an odd character strictly based on the fact that I enjoy Keanu Reeves films. Maybe it was Speed that won me over, or the more obvious choice, The Matrix trilogy. But nevertheless, pretty much any movie he stars in, I have the desire to watch. I remember seeing previews for this movie and me getting extremely excited. But I think that was a combination of both special effects, which i don't think anyone would argue looked pretty cool and Jennifer Connelly who I've had a crush on since her young acting days of Higher Learning.

I was told from several sources that the movie was horrible. My roommate told me that original was good, but that most remakes are bad. For once, I should have probably listened to him. The story itself was innovative and creative. The screenplay was just very hollow. I know that seems like an odd way to describe a movie, but nothing was ever really developed. Characterization was at a pure minimum, and Kathy Bates character seemed completely unbelievable. Perhaps I'm sexist, but I find it hard to believe a Secretary of Defense being a woman. It seemed like an odd casting and they really just wanted her big actress name.

So were there redeeming factors to seeing this movie? I think that Will Smith's kid definitely has a future in film. Jennifer Connelly's role was nothing to boast about, however I think she did the best she could do given her role. Keanu Reeves was emotionally distant, similar to his other roles. Special effects were cool and since I'm completely addicted to Friday Night Lights currently, Kyle Chandler's appearance was a nice bonus. For those of you who don't know who Coach Eric Taylor is, perhaps you are more familiar with his earlier role in the TV show Early Edition.

I give the movie 1.5 Manatees.