Review: Arrival

Arrival fascinated and enthralled from the first moment. Everything about it was brilliant. I’m glad I went to see it on the big screen. I encourage you to do the same. Continue reading “Review: Arrival”

Review: Big Eyes

Big Eyes is a tale emblematic of the late 1950s and early 1960s, in the days before the women’s liberation movement. The idea that a man would take credit for his wife’s work, and that she would let him, is a symptom of how is was. Continue reading “Review: Big Eyes”

Watch This: Trailers for Nocturnal Animals

I’ve been cogitating on the trailers to Nocturnal Animals for a few days. I can’t decide if this new film starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal sounds like the best thing ever or something I don’t want to see. Continue reading “Watch This: Trailers for Nocturnal Animals”

Watch This: Trailer for Arrival

Amy Adams leads the cast for Arrival, coming to theaters in November. Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker also star in this thriller about the arrival of aliens on earth. Continue reading “Watch This: Trailer for Arrival”

Watch This: Big Eyes

Big Eyes is a biopic directed by Tim Burton. It’s about Margaret Keene (Amy Adams) an artist who painted big eyed children famous in the 1950s and 60s. Her husband Walter (Christoph Waltz) took credit for her work.

This plot is so 1950s and 1960s! I speak from experience when I tell you that the legal struggles Margaret Keene had with her husband were typical of the way men treated their wives during that time. I’m looking forward to seeing the shy artist step into her power and claim her own fame in this film.

Big Eyes is set for a December 2014 release – on Christmas Day, actually.

Images © 2014 – The Weinstein Company

Love it or Hate it? Funny or Die

Short. Hilarious. Posted on the web. That’s Funny or Die. The site offers a little bit of crazy in many formats, but I want to concentrate on the videos by showing you some and letting you decide for yourself if this web series is for you.

Be aware that much of what follows is off-color and disgusting. Well, okay, if you want something classy, just watch the Jennifer Beals one. Otherwise, things can get gross.

When Harry Met Sally 2

Cop-Puter

Oscar Buzz

What do you think? Funny or not?

Pitt vs. Eastwood in the World Series of Baseball

Moneyball (2011) and Trouble with the Curve (2012) are two baseball stories that are at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of theme. Yet both are good movies. Since both are out on DVD now, it seemed like a good idea to review them together.

The earlier film Moneyball takes the stance that technology can solve any problem, even the problem of who to draft for a baseball team.

moneyball poster

Moneyball stars Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Jonah Hill plays a geek who uses a computer and stats to decide who a team should draft. Brad Pitt trusts him to know who to pick and the film is about how they convince other people in their organization that using this new technological technique to predict baseball greatness will work. Philip Seymour Hoffman is the coach.

Moneyball is based on a true story about the Oakland Athletics in 2002. Since Oakland proved their point with an amazing team, many other baseball organizations have learned to rely on technology to predict the best picks.

You don’t have to like baseball to like Moneyball. It’s a great underdog story and certainly has good actors. It earned 6 Oscar nominations including ones for Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. I particularly love the geeky part of this film, since I’m pretty much the elder geek of the interwebs.

Trouble with the Curve

Trouble with the Curve poster

Trouble with the Curve, on the other hand, is the anti-technology baseball story. It comes at draft picks from an experience-can’t-be-beat point of view. Clint Eastwood represents the experience, of course. He’s a talent scout named Gus who is going blind. He can still pick ’em better than any computer based on his years around baseball.

Amy Adams is Eastwood’s daughter in this film. She brings the theme of father-daughter relationships into the story, which gives both Eastwood and Adams some nice opportunities to dig in and show their chops. Justin Timberlake plays another talent scout.

Amy Adams. Justin Timberlake. You know what happens when boy meets girl. That. Adams and Timberlake are particularly effective at telling this ages-old tale in the condensed form it takes when mixed into the larger story about Gus and his draft picks. Two stories in one, it’s a bargain.

The final important character is John Goodman, who is a lifelong friend of Gus’s and is backing him in his picks against the guys who want to do it with technology. There are a few interesting plot twists along the way, especially involving Amy Adams character, but I’ll let you enjoy them as they are revealed in the movie. I will share one spoiler. Amy Adams sings in this movie – and not very well. For a fabulous singer, she must have really had to work at sounding like a normal person singing.

Have you seen either of these baseball stories? What did you think of them?