Tuesday, September 4, 2012

latest pics for latest Political Ruckus piece

Some pics from my latest piece for Political Ruck.us.  coming soon to a computer screen near you!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I found this picture while roaming around the internets today.  Oh, how it made me laugh!  I can totally see this happening.  I can't believe I'm about to say this, but now I miss Bill Clinton, the ol' horndog!  If he was running for President, I would vote for him.  Again.  Sorry President O.  You're ultra-hip and super-cool and everything, but let's face it:  You can come off as a little uptight sometimes.  Unlike President Clinton, who always seemed uber-relaxed for some reason.  I wonder why?  Hmmmmm...

For more, visit Political Ruck.us on 4/20/12!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Primary School'd

Who cares about the North Carolina Presidential Primaries?  Turns out, nobody.  For more, visit Political Ruck.us on Tuesday, 4/16/12!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Click It!

The Click It Campaign, going on now at Political Ruck.us!

Friday, March 30, 2012

"The Tree of Life" - A (rather late) Review

"The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. That's the way He is. He sends flies to wounds that He should heal."

If this quote doesn't intrigue you, don't bother with Terrence Malick's "The Tree of Life".

I won't try to explain this movie. Mainly because I CAN'T.  Actually, it doesn't matter what I thought of the film.  What matters is how I felt by the time it was over.  And "The Tree of Life" moved me.  By the end of the film I was devastated, moved to tears.  I was confused as hell, too.  But again, that doesn't matter.  To me, anyway.

Now, will everyone feel the same way I do about "The Tree of Life"?  Will they be as forgiving about the film's apparent lack of coherent structure, or will they be as moved by a complex story about something as simple as "A Boy and his Dad"?  Absolutely not.  It's certainly not an easy movie to love, or even like, for that matter.  To me, "The Tree of Life" isn't even a movie.  It's so much more.  

"The Tree of Life" is a 138 minute prayer to The Almighty.  Some prayers are joyful.  Some are angry.  Some question.  Some cry.  Do you have the stomach for such prayers?  I do.  And sometime soon, I'm going to have to "get my prayer on" and watch this film again.

But...not right now.  I'm all cried out.  I'm spent.  "The Tree of Life" is the Important Film I have been waiting for.  Just PLEASE don't ask me to explain why.  I can't.  And I won't.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Midnight in Paris" - 2011

"Midnight in Paris"
Written and Directed by Woody Allen

Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys said it (well, sang it) best: "I guess I just wasn't made for these times." Who hasn't thought this? I certainly have. I shouldn't be here NOW. I should be at Haight-Ashbury during the Summer of Love, or hanging out with The Beatles and The Stones in Swinging-Sixties London. Or maybe studying at The Actor's Studio - in the same class as Marlon Brando, even - in 1940's New York City. Or better yet, in the writer's room for the Sid Caesar show with Mel Brooks, Carl Reiner and Neil Simon in the 1950's. Or the ultimate: One of the original SNL Not-Ready-For-Primetime-Players in good ol' 1975! So many places I'd rather be. None of them Here. None of them Now.

Well, Woody Allen has something to say about that. His "Midnight in Paris" deals with Gil, a screenwriter played by Woody Allen stand-in Owen Wilson (who brings a disarming, wide-eyed romanticism to the role and comes off much better than many previous stand-ins). Gil is obsessed with Paris' "Golden Age" of the 1920's. A Paris filled to the brim with great artists (Hemingway, Bunuel, and Picasso, to name but a few) and even greater art.  Gil gets his wish, and is transported the Paris of his dreams, where he gets to spend time with - and ultimately learn from - his heroes of The Lost Generation

The set-up is great. The pay-off? Not so much. "Midnight..." is a movie filled with beautiful landscapes, touching nostalgia, some earnest life lessons, and a few laugh lines. But ultimately, it gets weighed down by a multitude of one-dimensional, shrill characters (both in the past AND the present). Especially Rachel McAdams' Inez.  OK, we get it. She and fiance Gil aren't "made for each other". But does she have to be such a raging bitch all of the time?

You have probably already figured out many (if not all) of the plot twists and lessons learned by movie's end. These lessons I ultimately appreciated, and to me, they make the movie worth watching. "Midnight in Paris" allowed me to reflect on my own obsession with The Past, as well as my lack of reconciliation with many moments and decisions from My Past. Of course Thomas Wolfe was right, you can't go home again. None of us can. Believe me, I've tried. And judging from this film, so has Woody Allen.

Overall, "Midnight in Paris" is a good movie. But I wanted it to be A Great Movie. Trouble is, Woody can't juggle the funny and the philosophical as well as he could back in his heyday (which, in my opinion, ended with "Crimes and Misdemeanors" in 1989, but I really should give his post "Crimes" movies another go sometime). "Midnight in Paris" is mild, it's wistful, it's wishful, and (mostly) charming. It makes you think a little, makes you laugh a little, makes you learn a little, then POOF, it's over. Another year, another minor Woody Allen movie. We fans should be used to this by now, right? Wrong. But still, I'll never give up on him. This is the man who gave us "Annie Hall", after all...

"Midnight in Paris"

*** out of 5

"Drive" - 2011

Written by Hossein Amini
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

"Drive" is not an action movie, but a quiet character study that's not afraid to get loud on occasion, or a little bloody, when it's called for. Ryan Gosling, who plays our hero "The Driver", is turning into one of my favorite actors. The Driver is a man who is all-but-dead inside, and his eyes show it.  Except when he's spending time with Irene and her young son.  That's when he lets a brief smile shine through, that's when his face suddenly lights up with life.  But then the world comes calling (as it always does).  All smiles disappear.  All that is light becomes dark once again. It is one amazing performance, and it's not the only one. 

Carey Mulligan's Irene is as damaged as The Driver, but at least she's got her son to hold onto. Nobody plays likable desperation better than Bryan Cranston, a garage owner and stunt coordinator who does his best to look out for The Driver. Or does he? And Albert Brooks...well, whatever you're expecting, forget it. Just enjoy him and his shoulda-been-an-Oscar-contender performance. 

And enjoy "Drive" for what it is: a quiet, dark, and moody modern day noir.

**** out of five