June 23, 2008

Weekend In Reviews

Over the weekend I read a book, watched two movies and ate. That's about it. Here's what I thought of it all:

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown - I enjoyed the book quite a bit, even when it stretched the limits of believability (a windshield shade - really?). I've got to talk about this book in book club so I don't want to get it all off my chest now but all-in-all, I found the book highly entertaining and with plenty of expected and unexpected twists.

Iron Man - I'm way late in adding my two cents about this movie but holy CRAP is it good. I'm not usually much of a fan of the comic book movie genre. I have no problem suspending my disbelief for any number of things, but there tends to be a tone to the stories that feels aimed at someone who just isn't me. Like they're being made specifically for males age 12-28 and I just can't quite appreciate them on that level like they can. I liked Batman back in '89 with Michael Keaton as Batman and Jack Nicholson as The Joker; and Batman Forever in '97 with Val Kilmer as Batman, Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face and Jim Carey as The Riddler was ok-ish but that's about it...until now. Iron Man was 2 tons of awesome in a 10 pound bag. Robert Downey Jr. manages to play every facet of Tony Stark and his titular alter-ego to perfection starting out smug, greasy and repugnant in the opening scenes and easing effortlessly into scared, contrite, lonely, heroic and proud as the story unfolds. Also he's hot - even with that unfortunate facial hair. The story is engrossing, the dialogue is crisp, the actors are spot-on. Even Gwyneth Paltrow was great as Pepper Potts - there wasn't even the slightest whiff of superiority implying that she thought the movie was beneath her and let's face it, she's been giving off that stink pretty pungently since 'round about Shallow Hal in 2001 (like, if you think the movie is a piece of shite, maybe don't agree to be in it, huh Gwynie?). I knew that I was going to like her despite myself when her delivery of the line about taking out the trash was exactly as great as the line itself. Look who's decided to live up to her Oscar all of a sudden. On a side note - Faran Tahir as Raza is so my bald-headed flavor! Anyway, I may not be the biggest fan of the comic book movie, but this certainly isn't the last one I'll be seeing. Next month I'm going to give The Dark Knight a shot because that's the best marketing campaign in the history of movies and I'll also go see X-Men Origins - Wolverine even though I've never seen any other X-Men movie for the following reasons:

  1. Taylor Kitsch as Gambit.
  2. Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool.

Chaos Theory - And speaking of Ryan Reynolds...this movie blew. I will quite literally watch anything that Ryan Reynolds is in, although I haven't quite gotten around to watching The Amityville Horror remake yet because...ugh. But he's half naked and either in the tub or super sweaty through a good portion of the film according to every studio still I've ever seen so, now that I think about it, I may move that up the ol' NetFlix queue soon. It's not like the guy spends much time in award-bait movies but there are several things he's been in that I genuinely love and will watch over and over again for years to come - Blade: Trinity (I can not imagine anyone else in the world being that unbearably sexy while delivering the line "take a sugar-frosted fuck off the end of my dick!" [emphasis totally his]), Foolproof, Smokin' Aces, the just-releasing-on-DVD-tomorrow Definitely, Maybe, and his unfortunately-named television show Two Guys, A Girl and A Pizza Place (later re-named the only slightly less ridiculous Two Guys and A Girl) to name just a few. A few others were slightly less winning but still enjoyable enough - Waiting... and School of Life spring to mind. There have been other stinkers - Finders Fee is one I never need to watch again and The Nines was a little weird and disjointed for me and I doubt I'd ever give that another viewing if I have any choice in the matter - but Chaos Theory was the worst one I've seen so far. IMDb lists it as a comedy/drama/romance yet it wasn't funny, it wasn't terribly dramatic, there was no discernible romance and it just...kind of...sat there. It squandered the talents of not only Ryan but also Emily Mortimer, Stuart Townsend, Constance Zimmer and Mike Irwin (who somehow managed to look several years younger in this than he did playing Colin Hart on Everwood in 2003 where he already looked believably 18ish which was weird). Sarah Chalke however was pretty great.

The story is of a man who is anal retentive and type-A to a fault. His wife is one-dimensional and bitchy and even though he is no different than he was when she picked him to marry (based solely on him having the least-awful name for his penis of all of their mutual friends), she is bothered by his list-making ways so she tries to play a joke on him by turning the clock back 10 minutes but in addition to being a shrew, she's also pretty stupid because she confuses "back" and "forward" and ends up making him late for a very important speaking engagement. That sets off a chain reaction that includes an insanely hot Sarah Chalke, a lady in labor on the side of the road, him getting kicked out of the house for being a bigamist - which he isn't, the discovery that he's impotent do to a genetic defect he's had since birth and therefore his daughter isn't his but rather his best friend's, a shootout on a row boat, and a sweet moment with a little girl that somehow manages to fix a marriage that seemed not at all worth repairing to me. There were no funny lines, there were no charming moments, I thought it was going to show some promise when Ryan Reynolds prepared to streak a hockey game but they shot it from such a distance that it could have been anyone with two working legs running across that ice. Just skip it...trust me.

Not much to say about the food - I had half of a pretty good chicken sandwich from Logan's Roadhouse on Sunday, the always delicious Almond Tuna Salad Sandwich from Wildflower Bread Company for lunch on Saturday and Cuban black beans and rice last night for dinner which were very good.

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