Patrick's Rants



1/14/2007

You Me and Dupree

Filed under: On video,Reviews — site admin @ 7:42 pm


This was supposed to be a comedy, at least that’s what I got from the commercials. It turns out that You, Me and Dupree is more than just a funny movie. It has a well written script that brings together the comedy that Owen Wilson is famous for with a truly heart tugging story of newlyweds, Carl and Molly Peterson. Carl struggles with his new father-in-law and begins to suspect his down and out best friend, Randy Dupree, of having an affair with his wife. Dupree, of course is not, and in the end Carl and Molly pull themselves together and Dupree ends up with a new career which only hints at itself during the movie.

V For Vendetta

Filed under: On video,Reviews — site admin @ 5:03 pm


Part Big Brother, part comic book character, “V For Vendetta” is the story of resistance to government oppression. In a (not too distant) future London, our hero/villian known only as “V” uses terroristic methods to fight facism. V is based upon graphic novels from the 1980s brought to the big screen although it isn’t hard to see a parallel to the current world. Just as we were reminded why we needed to “re-elect” George and the Republicans, the Prime Minister wants to make sure his citizens remember why they needthe government. It is the government that instills fear into its citizens against outsiders who eventually succumb to the insiders.

V manages to “incite” passive protest within the citizenry who have become increasingly distrustful of the government and its reports that continue to spew forth as “news”. Whereas 1984 was mostly about one man who is eventually broken down into a shell of his former self, V is about an entire country finally fed up with the lies and oppression of their self-centered government. Where one man is easily broken down an entire country can rise up. One man may not be able to make the change, it still starts with one man. It is in his ability to inspire others to follow that the difference is made.

7/19/2006

The Comedians Of Comedy

Filed under: On video,Reviews — site admin @ 8:08 am

Four Stars
What do you get when you take four comedians, an RV, and only book the smallest of clubs? The Comedians Of Comedy – a road trip like no other. Since I really like comedy and humor, this deemed to be a perfect movie. Except for my own dislike of the screechy voice of Maria Bamford, this was a great film. It takes place over a week with travel to out of the way nightclubs and indie1 joints. There is a little bit of onstage performance in this film, but what really is fun is the behind the scenes. How do comics behave around other comics? Once you see who they behave offstage you find that not only are the comics holding back onstage, they are even funnier than they appear.

I was surprised to find Patton Oswalt so funny. He plays such a mild part on King of Queens, but put him onstage and off the set and he is downright hilarious. His railings against Bush – and voting Republican for that matter – had me and my wife in stitches.

If you are Republican, conservative, or even just lean to the “right” save yourself some trouble (unless you are planning on buying this for my collection) go watch something else. Otherwise it’s worth a watch for comedy fans.

  1. Indie refers to Independent bands – those that produce their own music. For whatever reason they are not signed by the labels of the RIAA (whom I lovingly refer to as “Teabagging Bastards

7/18/2006

New Guy

Filed under: On video,Reviews — site admin @ 7:35 pm

Rating: WTF?
Despite what the review on imdb.com happens to be for “New Guy” I can’t help but want my money back from the theater on this one. Unfortunately, as an avid Netflix user there isn’t anything to refund 🙁 There is also the time that this movie took away from my life – never gonna get that back.

The genre is listed as: Comedy / Fantasy / Horror / Thriller. It’s more like funky, weird, and how about a new one: WTF? There was only a little bit of comedy in the film. It’s certainly not the same caliber as Office Space – which I thoroughly enjoyed – but it has been compared to it. Again, WTF?

Sometimes I like when a movie leaves me wondering at the end. This one left me wondering “why?” So if you want something funky, pick this one up. If, on the other hand you have been guided – and guided well – by my recommendations, stay away.

7/5/2006

Good Night and Good Luck

Filed under: On video,Reviews — site admin @ 3:51 pm

4 stars
Yesterday it was the Communists, today it’s the terrorists. The government keeps control over its citizens by exploiting fear. Joseph McCarthy was allowed tremendous leeway and destroyed lives in the process. “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.” We have heard these words many times, but do we understand them? Do we understand that now our rights are eroded secretly under the guise of protecting our country from outside threats, that our government listens to our phone calls, watches our money flow from account to account under the Bank Secrecy Act which – like “Fight Club” – the first rule is we don’t talk about the Bank Secrecy Act? Probably not. Do we forget there was a plan to make us all watch our neighbors and to report “suspicious activity” to the “authoritites”? Probably.

Clooney’s 2005 film portraying Edward R. Murrow’s exposé of Joseph McCarthy as the rabid fear mongerer that he was, reminds us that we must always be vigilent against those would make us fear one another. Many a critic has projected Clooney’s dislike of the Bush administration onto his recent choices in films. Like Fred Friendly, the character Clooney plays in Good Night and Good Luck, Clooney the man tries to bring light to what the American public is all too willing to ignore.

I applaud Clooney for a well made movie that frankly scared me, not just for those accused of being communists during the “pink scare” and for those now accused of being terrorists. And while Clooney may attempt to make light of the subject matter – probably in an attempt to continue getting accusatory movies made – I say that it only takes one little boy to point out that the Emporer has no clothes.

We must not confuse dissent from disloyalty. We must remember always, that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another, we will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason. If we dig deep into our history and our doctrine, we will remember we are not descendant from fearful men. Not from men who dared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular. This is no time for men who oppose Sen. McCarthy’s methods to keep silent or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history but we cannot escape responsibility for the result.

6/29/2006

Double Feature

Filed under: On video,Reviews — site admin @ 8:00 am

We watched Steve Martin in Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and The Pink Panther over this week.

In Cheaper by the Dozen 2 the Baker family heads back to the lake to spend one last Labor Day together before the family completely disperses. Lake vacations are full of competition with the Murtaughs, a family of eight that manages to outdo the Bakers at nearly every turn. Eugene Levy plays Jimmy Murtaugh, an overachieving childhood friend of Tom Baker, played by Steve Martin. Baker manages to keep his family in the Labor Day Games at the lake although not entirely on his own. The family schemes and plots behind his back to spend time with the Murtaughs – and who wouldn’t want to? Jimmy is showy and clearly successful and he never hesitates remind Tom of that.

In the end, the families have to decide what is more important; taking care of themselves and family or winning the Cup. A great little family movie that manages to take 20 people and not destroy everything around them in the process.


Martin also plays Jaques Clouseau in the remake of The Pink Panther. Instead of starting the movie right away wait for the menu scenes to play through. It is a funny, entertaining cartoon that uses the cartoon characters that I remember from childhood. Other reviewers might compare Martin’s portrayal to that of Peter Sellers, but I thankfully do not have the prejudice of those prior movies.

Clouseau is a bumbler who has managed to never get promoted above officer until he is brought in to take the heat media heat while Chief Insp. Dreyfus, played by Kevin Klein, quietly solves the high profile murder and theft of the infamous Pink Panther diamond. He manages to fumble his way through the clues, zipping around in his “Smart Car” to Pink Panther theme music – a catchy tune with a great underlying beat – and even flying to the US to follow his prime suspect. Clouseau doesn’t have the clout to get first class on the flight and one wonders how many Airplane movies the director watched before sending him to the back of the plane.

Both movies were what one would expect from Martin. If you don’t like him, you probably won’t like these movies. If you do like him grab them up.

6/19/2006

Firewall

Filed under: On video,Reviews — site admin @ 9:54 am

2 Stars
How do you rob a bank when money is mostly ones and zeros? A couple of keyboard entries and millions are transferred.

Harrison Ford plays VP of Security Jack Stanfield an aging, yet able computer expert whose family is kidnapped and held hostage forcing Stanfield to break into the computers of his own bank. His captors are tech savvy, determined and more than willing to use their guns to convince Jack that he needs to comply with their request: transferring $100 million to a Caymen Islands account.

Jack’s initial fears that his family is to be murdered once the criminals have what they want causes him to take some drastic actions first moving the $100 million back out of the Caymen accounts, then tracking down the whereabouts of his family.

The movie is suspenseful and action packed. The only thing that catches is that despite all the careful planning on the part of the criminal master mind, he only sets up one bank account. Many of these type of thrillers involve multiple accounts so the money doesn’t sit in one place but is bounced a few times to avoid being traced or returned to the rightful owners. Still it had me and my wife glued to the screen.

6/16/2006

The Ringer

Filed under: On video,Reviews — site admin @ 9:05 am

When I opened the Netflix envelope and found The Ringer I started shaking my head. See my wife is the one who normally picks the movies and this was another of her picks. The storyline is that a clerical worker going nowhere fast manages to find himself in a serious bind and has to come up with $24,000 in less than two weeks. While trying to collect on an ancient loan from his gambling uncle a devious plan is hatched to fix the Special Olympics.

Johnny Knoxville’s character Steve enrolls in Special Olympics as Jeffy Dahmor. Although he is “caught” by other contestants as a fake they decide to help him since the can’t stand the perrenial – and arrogant – winner Jimmy. Jeffy, it turns out, is more work than even they would have imagined and they have to push him even harder than he thought he could go.

Although the only completely able minded and bodied contestant the uphill battle is hilarious and where Jeffy ends the Olympics is appropriate. As a comedy/love story, the plot ends in a fairly predictable manner although the journey is pleasant and sometimes unexpected. There is an insightful look at the creativity and intelligence levels of the actual Special Olypmics participants that helps to round them out as real people.

5/8/2006

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio

Filed under: On video,Reviews — site admin @ 6:46 pm

Julianne Moore plays Evelyn Ryan, a mother of ten who does everything in her power to keep a roof over her kids’ heads by entering contests and writing jingles for commercials. Set in the late 1950s through 1960s, this story is based on the true life struggles of Evelyn who manages to stave off hunger, eviction, the milkman’s bill and even foreclosure by writing clever jingles in a pasttime called “contesting” where thousands upon thousands of individuals – mostly women – became poorly paid telecommuters helping to create ads and catchy slogans for national companies before telecommuting was even a term. (more…)

3/27/2006

Weather Man

Filed under: On video,Reviews — site admin @ 8:08 pm

You know how movie studios sometimes put all the funny content in their commercials and then there’s nothing funny left in the movie (like “Throw Momma From the Train”)? It was kinda like that with Weather Man, the Nicholas Cage film.

Not that this was a bad film overall, it just wasn’t what we wanted to see. Nick Cage talking to himself in the movie trying to figure out how to be a dad to his kids living with his estranged wife and a son to his stern non-approving dad.

Nick does manage to find a balance in his life that comes from living through the absolute heartache that comes from being a parent. In the end, he also achieves approval from his ailing father.

The funny parts about people throwing food at him while he walks down the road and a scene where he’s walking down the streets of New York City looking like a suit-clad Robin Hood are already revealed in the commercials. When films advertise funny they should deliver funny.

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