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Month: August 2013

August 31, 2013

The Simplistic Reviews Podcast: August Edition

Hello boils and ghouls.  Okay, this isn’t the Cryptkeeper, and it’s nearly three months away from Halloween, but I couldn’t help myself.  But what I can offer you is The Simplistic Reviews Podcast for the month of August (and some of June and July, we had a lot to catch up on in this edition).

After an extended hiatus the boys are back (of course this is Matt speaking in the 3rd person) and maybe not better then ever, but at least their adequate.  This month they jump into the “Ben Affleck as Batman” debate head first, share their shame in everyone’s favorite segment, “Simply Ashamed,” talk some “Breaking Bad,” celebrate the filmography of Sinbad, and campaign for the best film coming this Fall.

Be sure to check the show notes below for more fun and hijinks.

Show Notes:

What Makes Breaking Bad so good?
SlaughterFilm
Cinema and Suds
Fall Movie Preview

FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.

Click HERE to listen to podcast

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August 27, 2013

Back to School Special: Bully (2011)

Bully (2011) – Frustrating

For most kids, the end of August is always a sad time, because that is when Summer fun is over and it’s time to go back to school.  Yes, on one hand it’s when you get to see all your school friends again and you get to share stories about your vacations or how many chicks you hooked up with, or for high school juniors who are now high school seniors; college plans, or, once again, how many chicks you hooked up with or are going to hook up with.  As you can see these were the priorities when I was in high school, or at least what I think most high school kids talked about when I was in high school.  As I digress, going back to school can either be a magical time, or it can be a kid’s worst nightmare.  Let’s take middle school for instance, easily the most awkward time for most kids.  It’s a proving ground for most kids, Darwinism at it’s best, and worst.  Some kids have hit that magical growth spurt and think they can do anything, while the weaker are preyed upon by those trying to stake their claim.  What happens between that bus ride to school and that 3:00 pm bell to go back on the bus can be a mystery.  Sadly, it’s a mystery to mostly parents and school officials as well.  “Bully,” the Lee Hirsch documentary, not the exploitation classic by Larry Clark (come to think of it, aren’t all documentaries just as exploitative?) exposes a frustrating look into the underbelly of the American School System, kids who are bullied, bullies themselves, and the parents who have had to deal with the ultimate cost of bullying.

“Bully” is a first-hand look at how the act of bullying is affecting today’s youth.  Yes, it’s no secret that bullying has been around as far back as the first man.  The strong prey upon the weak and create a hierarchy of the strong at the top, and the weak at the bottom.  Survival of the Fittest if you will.  However, only now are we starting to understand the dynamics of bullying with the discovery of social illness’ and the internal problems within a family household.  The documentary follows kids from all walks of life, including Alex, who suffers abuse on the bus to school and comes to the conclusion that to beat the bully, you might have to become the bully.  A chilling conclusion that bully culture has created, and we’ve seen play out in tragedies like Columbine and numerous other school shootings.

The most frustrating part of “Bully” occurs with both parents and teachers.  While the old adage holds “kids will be kids,” it’s frustrating to see the laid back attitude of teachers and how the wool has been pulled over their eyes by said, kids.  Two unfortunate things have happened to in recent years to schools and teachers.  One is the omnipresent fear that teachers have for their jobs.  Between constant testing, overbearing parents, low wages, the childcare aspect of teaching is lost, so bullying goes unchecked.  The other is the teacher/parent relationship and how it has degenerated.  More so the fault of the parent and the rickety notion that their child is perfect and can do no wrong.  This shows how out of touch most parents are with their kids and the fear that teachers have to tell parents the truth about what’s really going on while kids are in school.

It’s no secret that there is bullying in schools and that it’s never going to stop.  Kids are cruel, especially between the ages of 11-15.  It’s between these ages that kids really try to stake their claim and try to become the alphas in the middle school hierarchy.  The worst part is that kids who are the victims of bullying think this is how it’s always going to be, and sadly lack perspective in the grand scheme of things.  Middle school and high school are blips on the radar of life for kids, but it’s hard to put that in perspective when you’re barely a teenager.

Should “Bully” be required screening for all schools?  Yes and no.  While the documentary shows bullying at it’s worst and the repercussions and consequences it causes either directly or indirectly, the documentary only shows the side of the bullied.  I’d be interested to see what makes bullies…..bullies.  What drives them?  What are their parents and home life like?  What really makes them tick?  I say if you are going to exploit the bullied, why not exploit the bullies as well?

The Bully Debate will never go away as long as tragedies continue to pile up, from suicides to mass school shootings.  However, there simply isn’t a way to fix the issue short of homeschooling all kids, which isn’t a viable option to many parents of bullied children.  It’s a delicate problem in this day and age, but it’s been made worse by overbearing parents and soft teachers who care more about their “jobs” then their real job; their students.

Fun Fact:  For more information on how to become involved in stopping the bullying epidemic, please visit: http://www.thebullyproject.com/

August 23, 2013

Simplistic Reviews Presents: Cinema and Suds, 3:10 to Yuma, Jackie Brown, The Perfect Crime Black Smoked Saison

In celebrating the life of Elmore Leonard, it felt appropriate to dedicate this edition of Cinema and Suds to him.  Shoot, if I had it my way I would’ve cracked open a 40 oz of Olde English, but due to the fact that I only have access to 32 oz Olde English bottles, and being a man that still has integrity, I had to resort to what I had.  Sometimes fate smiles upon you with a beer that is so appropriately named that all you can do is go with it.

In this edition of Cinema and Suds, we take two Leonard adaptations and get drunk, well, I get drunk, you can get drunk if you want, I’m not here to live your life.  Anyway, we have the 2007 version of “3:10 to Yuma” starring Christian Bale and Russell Crowe, and the modern classic, “Jackie Brown” from 1997.  The aptly-named beer is “The Perfect Crime” a 2012 collaboration between Stone Brewing, Evil Twin Brewing, and Stillwater Artisanal Ales.  Listed as a Smoked Black Saison, this brew is perfect for planning your next caper, or double-crossing Ordell Robbie.  And don’t let the color fool you, this beer is surprising light, (6.8% ABV) but packs a smokey kick with plenty of funk that you would expect out of a saison.

Enjoy the video companion to this review, and check back every week for another edition of Cinema and Suds.

August 22, 2013

Nature Calls


Nature Calls: Ouch

79 min  –  Comedy (?)  –  2012

So one night a friend and I went on Netflix looking for a film to watch. You know, late night snacking with a “funny” movie playing, drinking beers and pissing the night away. When we finished watching this film we both could not help but wonder why we watched the whole damn thing. It’s such a crappy film, I think we both were in a shocked state of mind.

Polar-opposite brothers Randy and Kirk never saw eye-to-eye, but their rivalry is taken to a new level when Randy hijacks Kirk’s son’s sleepover, taking the boys on a Scout Trip to remember. (IMDB)

So why does this film suck so much?

It’s a comedy film that has maybe 12 seconds of funny in it. Out of the 79mins only 12 seconds is funny? Well I’m not sure how that can be counted as a comedy film.

I mean, Schindler’s List was funnier…

With a cast like Nature Calls I think I’m angrier that it’s as bad as it is.

Patton Oswalt, Johnny Knoxville, Rob Riggie, Darrell Hammond and Patrice O’Neal (his last film).

And this film still sucks? I like the story, the actors but the script just wasn’t ready and maybe could have been worked on by its awesome cast.

If you come across it one night, Skip it.

August 20, 2013

R.I.P. Elmore Leonard

On August 20th, 2013 we lost one of the masters of the modern crime novel, Elmore Leonard.  The voice behind classics like “Rum Punch,” (which was turned into the Tarantino classic “Jackie Brown) “Get Shorty,” “Out of Sight” and the short story, “Fire in the Hole” (which was turned into the FX TV series “Justified”) passed away today at the age of 87.  For future reading, here are our reviews on “Justified” and “Jackie Brown.”

He will be missed……

Elmore Leonard
1925-2013


August 20, 2013

Kick-Ass 2 (Matt’s Take)

Kick-Ass 2 – Subversive

SUBVERSIVE


*Caution, there might be some naughty language in this review*

Before I start this review, I’d like to begin with a story;  Normally, I don’t like hearing kids in movies, and as a personal preference, kids shouldn’t be attending films meant for adults in a movie theater setting.  I have nothing against kids watching R-rated films, just make sure they shut up and don’t talk while I’m trying to enjoy the film.  Anyway, while watching “Kick-Ass 2” this past weekend, the film I’ll start reviewing in a minute, there was a scene where, spoiler alert, a box is dropped to reveal a stash of S&M gear, including a set of anal beads.  Now, imagine being the parent(s) of the child that you brought into “Kick-Ass 2” only to be asked in the middle of film “What are those?”  That kid is a winner in my book, whereas the parents as losers and got exactly what they deserved.

Anyways, “Kick-Ass 2,” the follow-up to the 2010 cult hit, has some hits and misses, and decides that it wants to be as subversive as possible, which somewhat robs it from whatever charm that it could have had.  I agree with numerous other reviews that I’ve come across and yes, it’s not as good as the first film, but how many sequels are, just watch the sequel conversation from “Scream 2” and you’ll get your answer.

Once again we follow Dave and Mindy, Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl, respectively, still fighting crime in New York.  Now living with her murdered father’s friend, Marcus, Mindy is being forced into living a quiet life free of Hit-Girl.  Dave, on the other hand, is still fighting the good fight with a new group of super-heroes calling themselves “Justice Forever,” including Colonel Stars and Stripes (Jim Carrey) and Dr. Gravity (Donald Faison).  Meanwhile, still sore about his father’s death, Chris D’Amico takes up the mantle of the city’s first supervillain “The Mother Fucker,” and begins recruiting a team of super-villains, aptly calling themselves, “The Toxic Mega-Cunts,” to destroy Kick-Ass.

Now, if you thought the first “Kick-Ass” was subversive, and off the wall, “Kick-Ass 2” has it beat.  What I couldn’t help noticing is all the talk about pedophiles and an extreme undercurrent of sexual tension between Kick-Ass and Hit-Girl, which gives their relationship a certain element of creepiness.  I understand the idea behind their relationship; Dave’s mother is dead and Mindy’s father died in front of her, so each character is seeking that additional parental figure, and not being a reader of the comic, perhaps this is expounded upon more in the books.  The film also features attempted rape, multiple cop killings, and plenty of jail-bait “mean girls.”  The film goes for an extra squirm factor this time around, and it makes “Kick-Ass 2” come off as cheap more often than not.

What made “Kick-Ass” work was the way it made superheroes seem real.  They bled, had their bones broken, shoot, Kick-Ass was banging his girlfriend on a motorcycle at one point.  Would Batman do that; probably not, but would a super-hero without much discipline do that; hell yes they would!  “Kick-Ass 2” expands on the idea that anyone can be a hero, even two parents that are just looking for their lost son.  The other element that worked for the first film was it’s inclusion of the social media.  With social media sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, expanding exponentially since 2010, the use of social media for the sequel is more gimmicky and doesn’t add as much to the progression of the plot.  It almost seems like a cash-in for the sequel where Facebook or Twitter adds another zero to the bottom line every time a character mentions “The Mother Fucker just posted this on his Twitter account!”

Could Matthew Vaughn have done a better job as the helmer of “Kick-Ass 2” as opposed to Jeff Wadlow, who’s claim to fame was the underwhelming “Scream” knock-off “Cry_Wolf?”  I’d go out on a limb and say yes.  A director with a pedigree like Vaughn could have reigned in the insanity and given the film a more polished look.  Not that I’m knocking Wadlow, he did an admirable job in the director chair, but the film’s reliance on CG and some shaky camera work during some of the fight scenes, made me realize that he’s no Matthew Vaughn.  “Kick-Ass 2” gets the job done if you want to see how far a superhero film will go as far as violence and gore, but when a film tries so hard to go as far as it can, shock just to shock, gross out just to gross out, the magic of the film gets lost and you’re left with kids in the theater asking what anal beads are.

Fun Fact:  Colonel Stars and Stripes from the film is actually a combination of two characters from the “Kick-Ass” comics.  Colonel Stars and Lieutenant Stripes, both ex-Mafia enforcers.

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