100% use of the human brain… and she uses it to go around shooting people.

– Dr. Matt, after seeing Lucy.

Inequality for All (2013) - dir. Jacob Kornbluth
A politically-minded documentary that uses Robert Reich (former Secretary of Labor under the Clinton administration) as its focal point. Reich is likable, in fact, he’s hysterical. He presents himself as a friendly little fellow, and he never hides his political agenda. In fact, he flaunts it, he uses smart-looking graphs and comes off as the most intelligent man in the room - without flaunting that.
Maybe talking heads documentaries aren’t your thing, but you’ve got to respect Kornbluth’s ability to stay behind the camera, and to paint his picture in an intelligent way, that any could follow. This is what political documentaries should be like - it’s not overly pushy, it’s fact-based, and it offers some solutions instead of just placing blame.
8.2

Inequality for All (2013) - dir. Jacob Kornbluth

A politically-minded documentary that uses Robert Reich (former Secretary of Labor under the Clinton administration) as its focal point. Reich is likable, in fact, he’s hysterical. He presents himself as a friendly little fellow, and he never hides his political agenda. In fact, he flaunts it, he uses smart-looking graphs and comes off as the most intelligent man in the room - without flaunting that.

Maybe talking heads documentaries aren’t your thing, but you’ve got to respect Kornbluth’s ability to stay behind the camera, and to paint his picture in an intelligent way, that any could follow. This is what political documentaries should be like - it’s not overly pushy, it’s fact-based, and it offers some solutions instead of just placing blame.

8.2

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) - dir. Matt Reeves

There’s an absolutely magical moment that kicks off the finale with such gusto, and such a bang, that I was immediately reminded of my expectations. Rise was one of the biggest surprises in recent film history, it’s a PG-13 genre remake that I absolutely adored, and will continue to adore. So when Koba wields an AK-47 in each non-opposable-thumbed hand, from the back of a horse, screaming, and jumping through a wall of fire - I was pumped. I was into it. It was a terrific moment because of how ridiculous it was, and how much euphoric bliss spread through me.

But I can not be another critic who will accept this bullshit further. Save a few other key moments (most of which involved Maurice) the film was an insult to our intellect. The female characters (all three of them who spoke) were a mother who gave birth and then was sick, an incredible supportive love interest (Keri Russell) who was also a healer, and a black woman shouting from a crowd. This is unacceptable. Nothing from the plot is new, and it was How to Train Your Dragon 2 all over again - recycled and borrowed plotlines, hitting every beat in stride, and sprinkling in a few moments of actual imagination… I cannot let this slide. I hate the summer movies, and maybe I shouldn’t have expected more from a PG-13 sequel to a remake comprised 60% of CGI characters, but if you spend $170,000,000 making a film, you should have more respect for your audience.

5.8

post-revue: I am glad that Jason Clarke got to be a leading man, he’s a talented character actor and even though his character, Malcolm, was as bland as could be, I still liked him. Though seeing this did change that part in Zero Dark Thirty where he’s upset because they killed his monkeys.

Also, Michael Giacchino’s score was expectedly great, and it drew influence from previous works (mainly 2001) but was still fresh. But Matt Reeves is just not a good filmmaker. I began to discover the formula, it’s four scenes in a row panning left to right, then four scenes in a row with a slow zoom in, then a close up of each character involved, then repeat. It was painful.

Rousing Album Series
Bear Hands - Burning Bush Supper Club (2010)
At first, Bear Hands are just an amalgamation of assorted hipster bands. Their sound bounces between electro-infused alt rock, dancing indie pop, and catchy pop punk. Dylan Rau’s vocals are borderling annoying, and - in fact - most of the sounds the band produces are sort of just odd and a little off.
But their soaked in knowledge of the 80s, in post-punk mathematically pounding beats, in pop sensibilities (so much is sooooooo catchy) that it all comes together. “Crime Pays" is like the hip version of the Blood Brothers, with is driving melody and alternating vocals. The rest of the album wears its influences on its sleeve, but you get the feeling that Rau and company listen to more music than most of their contemporary counterparts. Just listen to the anthem that is "Belongings" and try not to sing along: "Yeah I drink, yeah I drink, yeah I smoke a little weed."

for fans of - Passion Pit, Hot Hot Heat & Modest Mouse

Rousing Album Series

Bear Hands - Burning Bush Supper Club (2010)

At first, Bear Hands are just an amalgamation of assorted hipster bands. Their sound bounces between electro-infused alt rock, dancing indie pop, and catchy pop punk. Dylan Rau’s vocals are borderling annoying, and - in fact - most of the sounds the band produces are sort of just odd and a little off.

But their soaked in knowledge of the 80s, in post-punk mathematically pounding beats, in pop sensibilities (so much is sooooooo catchy) that it all comes together. “Crime Pays" is like the hip version of the Blood Brothers, with is driving melody and alternating vocals. The rest of the album wears its influences on its sleeve, but you get the feeling that Rau and company listen to more music than most of their contemporary counterparts. Just listen to the anthem that is "Belongings" and try not to sing along: "Yeah I drink, yeah I drink, yeah I smoke a little weed."

for fans of - Passion Pit, Hot Hot Heat & Modest Mouse

Crimson Tide (1995) - dir. Tony Scott

Say what you will about Scott’s popcorn/blockbuster type films - at least the man knows to stick to his guns. Crimson Tide is a little too political, and a little too much an ode to Alabama University, but it’s a first-rate blockbuster otherwise. With a screenplay doctored by Quentin Tarantino, and two actors like Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman… it’s no surprise that this film works on multiple levels.

When you boil off all the shitty lighting cues, the unnecessary amount of firearms, and the Red Scare, Crimson Tide is a pretty darn good film. Washington and Hackman are toe to toe in a philosophical war. Though the best scenes happen early on when a desk separates the two instead of a gun.

6.9

The Peacemaker (1997) - dir. Mimi Leder

George Clooney and Nicole Kidman are both a lot better than this film. In fact, so is the understated Mimi Leder - though her work is better suited for 44 minute slots in a formulaic television program. The Peacemaker never stood a chance - the beginning is so laughably convoluted, that it would have taken a miracle to rescue this sinking ship of a film.

Clooney gives it his best, but he simply wasn’t an experienced enough actor to handle such shitty material. The film is predictable, it lacks flare, and doesn’t seem interested in gathering any form of intrigue from its audience. The action is flat and the story more so, but - what’s worse - it is also explained to you repetitively throughout, as if the characters have nothing at all to say to each other.

2.0

Witness (1985) - dir. Peter Weir

Witness is hailed for its balance of thrilling suspense-drama and poignant romance. But the drama isn’t all that thrilling, the young Amish boy who witnesses a murder… well, that part of the story immediately takes a backseat so Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis can have an Amish/non-Amish ho-down in the barn while squaredancing to a stolen radio.

The film’s a little too beach-ready for me, I suppose.

4.6