Monday, March 31, 2008

Movie Review, by request - The Young Poisoner's Handbook

As requested by Wiwille, I watched the film The Young Poisoner's Handbook, an interesting film based on the true story of Graham Young, a young man who poisoned several people he knew, killing three.

The film was the first feature-length work of its director (Benjamin Ross), and it shows a bit. The film moves very quickly through some parts (the first murder in particular) and drags a bit elsewhere.If you don't enjoy slow movies, steer clear of this one. The film also shows some tendencies of not knowing what it wants to be. Part serial killer film, part true crime story, part black comedy - it works out ok but does lack cohesiveness.

The cinematography is also a rookie effort. Some scenes are shot so dark it's almost impossible to see what is going on. However, it's not all bad. By design or accident, the backgrounds in this film tend to be quite bland, which actually puts more focus on the actors. Given how character-driven the film is, this turns the bland backgrounds into a good thing.

Hugh O'Connor as Graham Young did a decent job. He plays Graham as a true psychopath; emotionally flat and distant and unable to see why he is so different or scares other people. The performance does go right up to the line dividing "strong" from "over-the-top". If I had a co-worker like the Young portrayed in the movie, and people started getting mysteriously sick at my work, my first thought would be that this co-worker was poisoning everyone.

Roger Lloyd-Pack always seems to me as if he could be the founder of the Over The Top Scene-Chewing School of Acting, but it works ok in this film as he plays the bombastic, abusive father of Graham.

So, to bottom-line it, I would say this movie is decent but not spectacular. The subject is very interesting and worth the time to watch, but I think it could have done better in the hands of a more experienced director.

If there is a movie you would like to see me review, post it in the comments or e-mail me. If you want to double down, ask Wiwille to review the same movie so you can compare and contrast our opinions.

- Mattbear out.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Holy '80s nostalgia, Batman

Couldn't pass up posting this: a trailer for the upcoming movie Lost Boys: The Tribe. That's right, a sequel to the guilty pleasure full of "two Coreys" goodness, The Lost Boys. They even dug up the dude who played "the other" Frog brother in the original. He's been in one actual movie and one After School Special since The Lost Boys. Perhaps this will be his career revival.

The trailer even features a cover of the awesome song "Cry Little Sister" recently featured in an Erik's Ramblings post. (That "awesome" is not sarcastic. I love that song.)

Monday, March 17, 2008

Two Minutes Hate

OK, I have to get this out of my system.

There's a guy at my work (nominally a co-worker, but I don't work with him directly). I don't know his actual name (probably Todd - for some reason, I usually wind up not liking guys named Todd). He shall henceforth be known as Miami Vice Reject (MVR for short). The dude always wears button-up shirts and khakis, and I suppose would be good looking if it weren't for the perm-mullet and the goatie that make him look like he just stepped off the set of Miami Vice. His button-down shirt is usually open one or two buttons to show off the gold chain he's wearing. And some chest hair, as an added bonus.

He also gives off a palpable aura of sleaze. Like you can just see him hanging out in some club, "leaning" some girl and using all the cheesiest, crappiest lines in the book to try to get her for a one-night stand. Or selling you a "like new" Mercedes that really has a salvage title because he wrecked it driving drunk 3 weeks before and got his shady cousin to do some Bondo work on it to make it look ok.

And he always - ALWAYS - has a goddamn bluetooth earpiece for his cellphone on. And 90% of the time, he's talking on it. Apparently, not about work, either - I overheard someone who sits next to him complaining today that he's always talking to bill collectors, the IRS, etc.

(For the record, I am writing this on my lunch break. That's my time.)

So today, MVR strolls into the men's room, talking on his damn bluetooth headset. Dude! Seriously, hang up the motherfucking phone for a couple of minutes. Just because your headset is billed as a "hands-free" doesn't mean you have to use it to talk while urinating. You're in the restroom. Give your phone a rest. The person you're talking to? They really don't want to listen to you piss. And the other gentlemen in the restroom with you? Really don't want to listen to you stupid phone conversation.

And of course he walked out without a) flushing, or b) washing his hands.

I don't even know this guy's name, but I hate him. I want to attach that bluetooth headset to the end of one of his fake Italian loafers, and shove 'em both up his ass.


- Mattbear out.

What a week

The week of March 10-17 is always an interesting one for me. Why, you ask?

March 10 is my brother-in-law's birthday. Happy Birthday, bro.
March 11 is my son's birthday. He's seven now. I have no idea where the last 7 years have gone. They disappeared like money around an IRS agent.
March 13 is my wife's birthday. Love you baby!
Also our friend Eric's birthday that same day.
March 16 is our anniversary. Both of when we started going out (17 years ago!) and when we got married (2 years ago!).

This year for our anniversary, Jen was going to be gone to Portland on a business trip, so I went with her for the weekend. Our awesome friends in Portland watched the boy while the wife and I went to a restaurant they recommended (a fan-fucking-tastic Morrocan place called Marrakesh) and then a night alone at the hotel. Honestly, probably the best anniversary celebration we've had in a long time.

And for March 17? Well, 24 years ago today, I got hit by car while jaywalking. My knee is still messed up from it. I never forget the date of the accident because it was St. Patrick's Day. (I was in a motorcyle wreck that same year. On July 3rd.)

Friday, March 14, 2008

One more thing...

I wouldn't be doing my job as a man if I didn't post that today has apparently been declared Steak & BJ Day. (work safe provided you have headphones)

Just a couple of tidbits

I would like to first introduce you to the awesome wrongness that is the webcomic Truck Bearing Kibble.

And then to the simple intelligently built flash game Grid 16.

For your musical enjoyment today, Tom Waits's "Goin Out West":

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Movie Review Time: The Kingdom

Recently I watched The Kingdom, a political thriller/action movie starring Jamie Foxx and a sort-of ensemble cast including Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, and Chris Cooper.
Jennifer Garner would be the weak link there, generally speaking, but unfortunately none of the actors really get to do much with their 2-dimensional characters. Even Chris Cooper, arguably the most talented actor in the movie, can't do too much with his generically written no-nonsense good ol' boy FBI bomb specialist.
The plot might have been gripping had I been able to give a damn about these transparent characters. Garner's character is shown almost as being a helpless damsel in distress type, even though she's an FBI agent, but Bateman's character is actually shown as wussier because he's the nerdy FBI agent. Wow, clever.
The movie tries to show that terrorism is bred not entirely by religion, but by the constant interference of the Western world in the Middle East and our own lack of understanding of their culture and our impact on them. It also tries to show that not all Arabic people are terrorists, or agree with the prevalent anti-American philosophies, but that many of the people in power there do. All well and good until the end when the movie makes it clear that the harder we fight the terrorists, the harder they fight us.
The Kingdom really seemed to me to a watered-down, explosion-filled take on the same themes explored to much greater effect in Syriana. I would basically say of this movie: Don't waste your time.
I'm also going to steal a page from Erik's playbook and offer to review any* movies suggested by my reader(s). Post it as a reply, or e-mail me
- Mattbear, movie snob, out.

This moment of Randomness brought to you by....

I am sometimes accused of being a "know-it-all" due to my penchant for spouting little known facts and correcting people's grammar (yes, I am a grammar nazi, or as I view it a defender of the English language. Deal with it!). Thinking that one knows everything is absolutely preposterous, and I take great offense at being called a "know-it-all". I don't think I know everything.

I just know more than you.

(Just kidding, kids!)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Let's get back to normal

Time to try to get back to blogging and posting my normal inane crap here.

I don't usually call out a particular post by a fellow blogger, but if you haven't read the most recent post [disclaimer: not very recent] on Psyber's Psychosis, you should. It's a funny one, in his rambling weird way, and has a link to an awesome video that anyone in any kind of male-female relationship should watch.

This past weekend I went to a Steampunk meet-up at the Science Fiction Museum (with an after-meet at McMennamin's) that was a lot of fun. Some of the other participants got some great pictures, including a couple of cute ones of my son with the goggles I gave him for the event.

And if you really want a laugh, there has been circulating about the intarwebs a forum thread typically called "Mall Ninjas" that is superbly hilarious. Having majored in law enforcement in college, I knew a few guys like this. Scary.

I'll be back with more, sooner. Promise. For all one of you who still reads this.
- Mattbear out