Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Machinist: Maybe he should just cut down on the caffeine

One night without sleep and you’re probably a complete mess the next day. So imagine not being able to sleep for a year. Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) is living that nightmare in “The Machinist.” He’s so gaunt, the bags under his eyes look like they weigh more than he does. And you’re taken along for the ride as he loses his grip on reality. It’s an interesting character study and a satisfying mystery-thriller that keeps you guessing and wondering when Trevor will finally get some sleep. My Twitter review: An emaciated Christian Bale hasn't slept in a year and works at a machine shop. This can't be a good combination. 8 (out of 10)

"The Machinist"

Released: 2004

Rating: R

Length: 101 minutes

Cast: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Aitana Sanchez-Gijon, John Sharian

Director: Brad Anderson

Genre(s): Drama, Thriller, Crime

Friday, May 29, 2009

“The Man from Earth”

When a group of college professors come to say goodbye to a departing colleague, he reveals that he is actually a 40,000-year-old caveman. The conversation that follows ponders points big and small. There are also a few surprises along the way. A quiet movie built around a simple, fascinating concept. I wrote on Twitter: What if a cave man were still alive today? No, the answer isn't he'd do Geico commercials. Smart & thought-provoking. 7.5 (out of 10)

"The Man From Earth"

Released: 2007

Rating: NR

Length: 90 minutes

Cast: David Lee Smith, Richard Riehle, John Billingsley, William Katt, Tony Todd

Director: Richard Schenkman

Genre(s): Psychological Sci-Fi

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

“Perfume: The Story of a Murderer”

Another DVD that just showed up in my mailbox. This one’s a beautifully photographed story of a young man born with an extraordinary sense of smell. When he realizes his mission in life, it brings out his darker side and leads to his undoing. And even that has a certain beauty to it. My review from Twitter: A 17th century Frenchman uses his gift to create the perfect scent & leaves a trail of bodies. Who knew? A costume drama for guys. 7 (out of 10)

“Perfume: The Story of a Murderer”

Released: 2006

Rating: R

Length: 148 minutes

Cast: Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman, Alan Rickman, Rachel Hurd-Wood

Director: Tom Tykwer

Genre(s): Adaption, Thriller, Period

Monday, May 25, 2009

"Employee of the Month" (And it's not Dane Cook)

My Twitter review of "Employee of the Month," Matt Dillon gets fired from his bank job, so he pulls one. More unexpected plot twists than the Wall Street bailout. 8 (out of 10) If you like movies that keep you guessing, 2004’s “Employee of the Month” is a thoroughly enjoyable black comedy/heist film. Matt Dillion’s life looks as if it’s on a perfect trajectory until he’s fired from his job at a bank. That sets a series of events in motion. Or were they planned all along? Just when you think you have it all figured out, you don’t.

“Employee of the Month”

Released: 2004

Rating: R

Length: 97 minutes

Cast: Matt Dillon, Steve Zahn, Christina Applegate, Peter Jason, Andrea Bendewald

Director: Mitch Rouse

Genre(s): Drama, Comedy

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Super Size Me: I’m lovin’ it!

"Super Size Me" is another of my all-time favorite documentaries. Here's what I wrote on Twitter: Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock tries to turn himself into Michael Moore, literally, by eating nothing but McD's for a month. 8.5 (out of 10) Sure, it’s a bit of a stunt-umentary. But it’s a good one. Morgan Spurlock is an otherwise healthy specimen. Until he decides to eat nothing but McDonald’s -- breakfast, lunch and dinner – for a month. He chronicles the physical and emotional changes with visits to doctors and various other experts as he super sizes himself with this unusual diet. And don’t forget to check out the extras. You just may think twice before driving through the golden arches.

“Super Size Me”

Released: 2003

Rating: PG-13

Length: 98 minutes

Cast: Morgan Spurlock, Daryl Isaacs, Lisa Ganjhu, Stephen Siegel

Director: Morgan Spurlock

Genre(s): Documentary

Friday, May 22, 2009

“The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters”

Here's my review from Twitter: Steve Wiebe is the Luke Skywalker of the videogame universe & defeats its Evil Empire. Not nearly as geeky as it sounds. 9 (out of 10) This is a really nice movie. While it's a documentary, it has all the characteristics of a (space) western. Steve the underdog is the honest, fresh faced guy who's trying to break the world's Donkey Kong record. Billy Mitchell, the current record holder, is the villain, who along with his henchmen at Twin Galaxies, who certifies these sorts of things, are doing their best to keep his record from being broken. Steve keeps at it, even traveling cross country to a "sanctioned" arcade and Billy keeps acting like a jerk. I won't tell you how it ends other than to say that Steve wins their respect.

“The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters”

Released: 2007

Rating: PG-13

Length: 79 minutes

Cast: Steve Wiebe, Billy Mitchell, Walter Day, Todd Rogers, Steve Sanders

Director: Seth Gordon

Genre(s): Documentary, Technology

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Dam Busters: What goes down...

My review of “The Dam Busters” on Twitter, Follow the bouncing bomb as it helps the Brits defeat the Germans in WWII. A little over earnest but no less fascinating. 8 (out of 10)

“The Dam Busters” was one of those movies that just showed up in my mailbox. I didn’t know what to expect. It was a pleasant surprise. Sure it’s got that earnest “let’s-win-it-for-the-allies” attitude. But unlike many WWII movies that celebrate the camaraderie and heroism, “The Dam Busters” is about the brains. In this case, Dr. Barnes Wallis, a determined inventor who insisted that he had a way to get bombs past the nets and mines protecting Germany’s dams. He would skip them across the surface of the water just like a rock skips across a pond. It was just crazy enough to work. And it did. Even still, it sounded so unbelievable I did some investigating and found this footage on YouTube.

Actual dam busters footage:

“The Dam Busters” movie trailer:

“The Dam Busters”

Released: 1955

Rating: NR

Length: 120 minutes

Cast: Richard Todd, Michael Redgrave, Ursula Jeans, Basil Sydney

Director: Michael Anderson

Genre(s): Drama, Adaption, Historical

Monday, May 18, 2009

"The Fog of War"

Since we're in a documentary mode, I just posted this review of Errol Morris's "The Fog of War" on Twitter: McNamara says everything W & Co should have wanted to know about invading a foreign country but were too arrogant to ask. 9.5 (out of 10) This is one of my all-time favorite documentaries. Great use of archival footage. Real simple. Robert McNamara is so compelling to watch and listen to. And the advice he gives is perfect. It should be required viewing for anyone in the diplomatic corps.

“The Fog of War”

Released: 2003

Rating: PG-13

Length: 107 minutes

Cast: Robert S. McNamara

Director: Errol Morris

Genre(s): War, Documentary

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Why “Man on Wire” fell short

My TweeterFlix review on Twitter, This film about Philippe Petite's walk between NY's Twin Towers proves that tightrope walking isn't as riveting as conspiracy. 8 (out of 10), prompted HereComeDots to write, Eight! Man on Wire gets an 8! That's a 10 if there ever was one!

I guess I could have given it an 8.5. But a 10? Never considered it. Don’t get me wrong. “Man on Wire is a really good documentary, even if the recreated footage makes it feel like an episode of “True Hollywood Stories. But the main reason: Philippe Petite never seemed like a sympathetic character. In fact, I found him kind of annoying. He was just this curious figure, an odd little performance artist who was obsessed with making this walk. And we knew he was successful so there was very little tension to it. For me, the biggest nail biter of a scene was where they were hiding under the tarps to avoid the security guards. Not too good for a film about a feat where the main character could fall to certain death at any second.

“Man on Wire”

Released: 2008

Rating: PG-13

Length: 94 minutes

Cast: Philippe Petit, Jean-Louis Blondeau, Annie Allix, Mark Lewis, Jean-Francois Heckel

Director: James Marsh

Genre(s): Adaptation, Historical, Documentary

Friday, May 15, 2009

What the heck is a TweeterFlix?

Welcome. You're looking at the companion to my TweeterFlix blog on Twitter. But without the 140-character limit. Here you can expect a little more commentary. I might even post a trailer or two.

Right now, my NetFlix queue has about 400 movies in it. But if there's one you think I should see, tell me and I'll move it to the top. And if I see anything worthwhile, I'll let you know.

Thanks, TweeterFlix

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Premiering Soon