Thursday, February 6, 2014

The End

Well, this is a sad day.

I knew this would happen eventually. But, I didn't want it to be now.

After working pretty hard to get this Theme Song Bracket together I guess I just finally realized that no one really looks in on this blog anymore. The lack of votes each day just proves that.

This is the third or fourth time I have done a bracket game and each time it has gone down in terms of votes. But, this is the absolute lowest it has ever been.

So, I guess it's time to wrap this blog up. I started it almost six years ago now when I left my job at the newspaper so that I could keep writing. And, it has been pretty fun. I loved doing it and I loved trying to find new things to write about.

Soon it became apparent that most of my blogs were about movies or television, so I morphed it into a movie site. And, I have been posting my thoughts on movies I have watched ever since.

It's actually been fun looking back to see what I thought about a movie, especially after watching it again. It's odd how your perception can change both good and bad after multiple viewings.

Anyway, I guess no need to drag this out. I have found myself not being able to find the time to write my reviews since my daughter has been born. But, I thought I could get back into it with this new bracket game. Unfortunately, I think my wife might be the only person that actually reads my posts. So, despite my love for it I guess it is now time to step away.

Thank you to those that have stumbled upon the site and enjoyed it. Especially to my wife who read almost all of my posts - and pointed out my mistakes - but it was always nice to know at least someone was looking at them.

Goodbye. Enjoy the movies.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

TSB: (2) Up vs. (15) Kick-Ass

Voting up just a tick yesterday with 10 total votes. Please remember there are two sets you are voting on each day - this one and the one right below it (today that would be Back to the Future vs. Chariots of Fire).

Let's keep spreading the word. I would like to get the votes well past double digits for each post. Thanks for the help.

No. 2 seeds are now up.

(2) Up

(15) Kick-Ass

TSB: (2) Back to the Future vs. (15) Chariots of Fire

(2) Back to the Future

(15) Chariots of Fire

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

TSB: (1) Jaws vs. (16) Bridge on the River Kwai

Well, not very thrilled with the turnout on the first day of this bracket game. Just nine total votes. But, we will try again.

Star Wars and Indiana Jones both move on to the next round, if in fact there will be a next round. Today we have the final two No. 1 seeds in Jaws and Harry Potter. Please vote for both and please spread the word. I definitely want double digits for each set at the very least.

Let's have some fun.

(1) Jaws

(16) Bridge on the River Kwai

TSB: (1) Harry Potter vs. (16) Goodbye Lenin

(1) Harry Potter

(16) Goodbye Lenin

Monday, February 3, 2014

TSB: (1) Indiana Jones vs. (16) Saw

Hello. And welcome to the first day of the first round of the (Instrumental) Theme Song Bracket.

I searched long and hard about trying to add music to these blog posts without having to put in a youtube clip. And, the only way I could figure out how to do it so that it worked was to add a playlist at the top of the page. So, all four theme songs from today are listed above (click on the right side with the four lines to open the playlist) if you so wish to listen to them before voting.

I will update that each day with the theme songs being voted on. So, please enjoy this process and make sure to spread the word - looking for many, many votes this time around.

Don't forget there are two entries each day - vote here and vote in the next one below.

Thank you.

(1) Indiana Jones

(16) Saw

TSB: (1) Star Wars vs. (16) Requiem for a Dream

(1) Star Wars

(16) Requiem for a Dream

The Theme Song Bracket

Well, the Super Bowl is over: Congratulations Seattle. And, March Madness is still over a month away. So, what will keep us entertained?

How about a Movie Theme Song Bracket?

After watching the new Star Trek film this past summer I got to thinking how much of a risk they took in changing the iconic theme song to something new.

Now, Star Trek did it a bit different - and probably smart. They incorporated the old theme into the new series, even though it really isn't considered the theme. In the end, I really loved the new theme - it worked out for them.

However, changing an iconic theme sometimes doesn't work out as well. For instance, also this summer Man of Steel was released - and there is not one piece of music as uplifting or iconic as the original Superman theme. I think they really missed out on not putting it in there.

It got me thinking, have there really been that many decent theme songs of late? I immediately thought of Pirates of the Caribbean and even Kick-Ass. But as I dug even deeper, there are actually a decent amount of theme songs that are somewhat current. But, do they stack up to the iconic films?

Well, let's find out.

I, with a little help, have compiled 64 instrumental movie theme songs and created a Theme Song Bracket. So, over the course of about a month we will whittle them down to the most iconic theme song.

Again, please don't freak out about the original rankings. I had five different people rank the theme songs and I put them all together and this is how they averaged out. In the end, as always, the cream will always rise to the top.

So, check back each day and I will have two chances to vote. Tell your friends, your family, your plumber. Let's get as many votes as possible. Check back tomorrow for our first two sets of theme songs to vote on.

Below we have our bracket of 64 (in four different versions - thanks to my pal Matt. Print out your favorite to follow along) - which theme song is your favorite? Stop back each day to vote.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Quick Shots 27

Title: Olympus Has Fallen.

Starring: Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Dylan McDermott, Rick Yune, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Cole Hauser, Finley Jacobsen, Ashley Judd.

Brief Synopsis: Mike Banning (Butler) is a member of the secret service, and close friend to President Benjamin Asher (Eckhart). He also gets along very well with the president's son, Connor (Jacobsen). On an icy night to give a speech, the president's limo is hit by a falling branch and teeters off a bridge - unable to get the first lady (Judd) out of the car, Banning makes the difficult decision of pulling the president out and the first lady fell to her death. Having to blame someone - Asher fires Banning. But, when the White House is under attack by North Korea - it's Banning that becomes the lone hope to stop the attack. 

Opinion: Pretty decent action-packed film. Butler I think is more of an action star than a romantic comedy actor - so he is in his element here. A lot of this was pretty predictable, but even though most of it was seen coming, the trip was still pretty enjoyable.


Title: R.I.P.D.

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Mary-Louise Parker, Stephanie Szostak, James Hong, Marisa Miller.

Brief Synopsis: Nick (Reynolds) is a police officer in Boston. After taking stolen items from a drug bust with his partner Hayes (Bacon), Nick has a change of heart and wants to turn it in - but says he won't turn Hayes in. During a raid at a warehouse, Hayes tracks down Nick and shoots him dead to cover up the theft. Heading to heaven, Nick takes a diversion into limbo - and is told to work in the Rest in Peace Department, a department that captures 'deados', or spirits that have managed to stay on earth despite being dead. His partner is Roy Pulsipher (Bridges), a marshal from the 1800s. On Earth, 'deado's are rounding up pieces of a machine that when put together would put an end to the dead going to the after life. 

Opinion: Sort of a poor man's Men in Black, but I didn't hate the film as much as everyone else seemed to have. Both Reynolds and Bridges were fun to watch together, and Bacon always plays a great villain. Sure, it could have been way better - and the CGI could have looked much better, but for what it was it kept me entertained.


Title: The Other Dream Team.

Starring: Arvydas Sabonis, Sarunas Marciulonis, Rimas Kurtinaitis, Arturas Karnisovas, Donnie Nelson, Jonas Valanciunas.

Brief Synopsis: This is a documentary about the bronze-medal winning Lithuanian basketball team at the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona, Spain. Lithuania for years, had been forced to compete with the Soviet Union and this team was the culmination in the struggle to become a free nation again. As a side story, we also follow the path of 2011 NBA draft pick Valanciunas on his journey to being selected into the NBA - showing how far the country had come over the years. 

Opinion: As most know, I am not a fan of subtitles, but I love sports - especially basketball. I remember this team so fondly, 1992 was really when I started falling in love with basketball, thanks to our Dream Team. And, I remember seeing the little known Lithuanian team in their Grateful Dead outfits. Now, I know the whole story - and I am glad I do.


Title: Planes.

Starring: Dane Cook, Stacy Keach, Brad Garrett, Teri Hatcher, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Priyanka Chopra, Carlos Alazraqui, Roger Craig Smith.

Brief Synopsis: Dusty Crophopper (Cook) is a cropduster who dreams of being a racer in the Wings Across the World race. Though he is just a cropduster, he comes in sixth in the qualifying race, and misses out on the opportunity - but the fifth-place finisher used an illegal fuel enhancement and he has been disqualified - giving Dusty the chance to compete. He asks former Jolly Wrench, Skipper (Keach) to help him - and it is soon revealed that Dusty has a fear of heights. At the race, Dusty is well liked by many of the participants, but is loathed by three-time champion Ripslinger (Smith), who believes if he does well - all types of planes will soon try to join the ranks . 

Opinion: If you liked Cars at all, you will probably enjoy this. But, it wasn't as good as Cars. In fact, a lot of it felt recycled from Cars itself - the grouchy, old mentor, the weird best friend, the mean racer - seems pretty familiar. But, it was still an okay watch.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Theater Review: Saving Mr. Banks

I love finding out the back stories of some of my favorite things. Sometimes they aren't what they seem, but you usually find out some pretty cool information.

Saving Mr. Banks is the behind-the-scenes process of bringing Mary Poppins to the big screen at Walt Disney Studios.

P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) created the character Mary Poppins for children's books that she had written. And, as we see in flashbacks of Travers' childhood, Poppins is more than just a character in a book to her.

Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) promised his daughters more than 20 years ago that he would bring their favorite book to the big screen - and he began trying to court Mrs. Travers in doing so.

Travers, though, only saw Disney as that animated place - and never saw Mary Poppins as an animated feature, nor did she see it as a musical.

After 20 years, the book money has not been coming in as frequently and Travers had begun to run out of money. So, she decided to take a trip out to Los Angeles to meet with Disney and his crew about the possibility of bringing Mary Poppins to the big screen.

Of course, Travers is anything but helpful along the way. In fact, she pretty much hates everything. She forced each meeting to be recorded. I really had never heard of the practice before of pretty much fleshing out the entire movie before even acquiring the rights - perhaps it happens and we just don't hear about it.

Richard (Jason Schwartzman) and Robert (B.J. Novak) Sherman present many songs they have written for her movie - and of course they clash with her. Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford) was the screenwriter for the film and all three bent over backwards to make things work.

The only person Travers opened up to during her entire trip was her driver Ralph (Paul Giamatti), who she said was the only American she could stand.

Though she was a pill, Disney actually understood her - in fact, she probably was the best person go through this process with her. He too once had an imaginary family member that someone wanted to purchase - and he never gave him up.

Obviously, in the end the movie ended up being made under the Disney banner - and Disney ended up getting his way with a lot of the things Travers disagreed with, including having Dick Van Dyke play Bert.

The acting, especially Hanks and Thompson, was outstanding. Thompson was so spiteful as Travers - she really got into the character very well. Hanks was great as Disney as well, it was the first time ever that Disney had been portrayed in a film.

Novak and Schwartzman both stood out as the Sherman brothers, and Whitford and Giamatti are both their outstanding selves.

In flashbacks, Colin Farrell played Travers' dad and Annie Rose Buckley, in her first film role, plays a young Travers - and I thought she was amazing in the role.

Overall, a great telling of the story - and a great use of flashbacks to allow the viewer to see why it is so difficult for Travers to allow Disney to make this into a movie.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday's With Movies: 1/28/14

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2: I know the first film was based on a children's story - that was probably 30 pages long. But, they managed to get a pretty decent film out of it. And, apparently they also got a sequel. I watched the original once and I remember enjoying it - but if I haven't watched it again, it must not have left a lasting impression. But, I will definitely watch this - at least once.

Bad Grandpa: I know there is an audience for these type of films, I mean obviously since it was made and people went to see it. I never got into the Jackass craze, I just don't find it that funny. I don't look up people doing stupid things on youtube either. So, this isn't for me.

Last Vegas: Should be excellent and pretty darn funny, but I have heard it was a bit of a disappointment. Either way, I never listen to what others say, I always wait to give it my own thoughts. And, I will be looking into this.

Rush: The mixture of Ron Howard and Chris Hemsworth is probably the only reason I will check this out. I am not a race fan at all, and even less of an Indy car fan. But, sounds like it might actually have a good story - so I will watch it.

Metallica: Through the Never: I am not sure about this one. I am not the biggest Metallica fan, but I do enjoy some of their songs from time to time. But, is it worth watching an entire movie for that? I don't know. I am still thinking about this.

The Fifth Estate: This film I believe flopped at the box office, which is strange with Benedict Cumberbatch starring - his stock has exploded in the last few years. I actually think I might look in on this.

Ass Backwards: I would probably never think twice about watching this, but Casey Wilson from Happy Endings stars and I really started to enjoy her on that show. It goes against my original feeling, but I might check this out.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday's With Movies: 1/21/14

Captain Phillips: Tom Hanks is my favorite actor so of course I am going to be watching this. I think I am more interested in Saving Mr. Banks, but I have heard his performance in this is really great.

Blue Jasmine: I really haven't found a Woody Allen film I particularly love. He certainly can march out the stars, though. I might give it a try at some point.

Machete Kills: Machete was certainly a surprise - a film that didn't take itself too seriously, which really made it fun. Hopefully this one is close to the original.

In a World...: A film about a lady that does voice over work - women don't really get too much play in this field. The film explores that and family dysfunction. Have heard great things, and I will definitely check it out.

Charlie Countryman: I actually think that Shia LaBeouf can be a really talented actor. It's a shame that he has totally gone off the deep end of late. I might actually check out this film.

Best Man Down: Can't tell if this is more drama or comedy - it stars two guys usually in a comedy in Justin Long and Tyler Labine. However, the movie is about the death of the best man, so it has the chance of being a bit sad. Guess I will have to check it out.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tuesday's With Movies: 1/14/14

Yeah, I am late again. But, now you probably expect it. Anyway, today (er, Tuesday) a bunch of films from film festivals seem to be released. A pretty large crop of films coming out at on time. Here you go:

The Butler: My wife said she wants to check this out. On my own I don't think I would look into this, but perhaps we can watch it together.

Riddick: Have yet to watch either Riddick films, but I have both of the first two. With this one coming out I think I will do a marathon watch of all three.

Carrie: Too bad, I like Chloe Moretz. I think Carrie is probably one of those 'horror' films I might be able to take - though I just don't have that much interest in watching either version.

You're Next: A bunch of killers attack a group during a family reunion - but apparently a member of the family is the most skilled killed of the bunch. Can't wait - to not watch this.

Enough Said: Heard some pretty decent things about this one, and it is one of the (if not the) last film of James Gandolfini. Pretty sure I will check it out eventually.

Fruitvale Station: So apparently this Michael B. Jordan guy is going to be the next big thing. I have enjoyed him so far in The Wire and Friday Night Lights. This looks like a pretty good movie - but one of those you may only watch once. But, we shall see.

Spectacular Now: I have been hearing about Shailene Woodley for awhile now, but I have yet to see anything she is in. This might be the first of many this year. I also really enjoyed Miles Teller in his role in the Footloose remake. Looking forward to seeing this.

Short Term 12: A film about a young counselor at a foster-care program for at-risk kids and her life outside of her job. Not really pulling me in.

Blue Caprice: This film is inspired by the beltway sniper attacks that took place in 2002. Probably will look into this one.

A.C.O.D.: Stands for Adult Child of Divorce and stars Adam Scott. Finds out he was unknowingly part of a study on divorced children. Also has Clark Duke in it - could be pretty funny.

Big Sur: The plot from IMDb "A recounting of Jack Kerouac's (here known by the name of his fictional alter-ego Jack Duluoz) three sojourns to the cabin in Big Sur, owned by poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti." -- If I have to do that, no way I will be checking it out.

A Single Shot: After a girl dies a hunter finds himself trying to stay alive as others look to hunt him down. Never heard anything about it until last week when I saw it was coming out, but I think I might look in on this.