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Drama Tanked Matinee: Where the Movies Come to Drink! Sun, 23 Jul 2017 14:51:48 +0000 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (2013) CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (2013)

The Buzz: 

      In 2009, the Maersk Alabama was boarded and taken over by four somali pirates. Not peg legged, hook handed, jolly roger flying vagabonds, but true to life murderous sons of bitches with legitimately nothing to lose. Captain Phillips tells the story of...Rich Phillips, the captain of the Alabama who was taken hostage by the pirates and forced to be their bartering chip.



Captain Phillips Poster

Life of the party:

      I'll start this section off saying that I did not have high hopes for this movie: It seemed like a boring rip off of what was an interesting story 4 years ago. I will admit to you all, that I was pleasantly surprised. There are some significant actors that lend their faces to this movie, though you probably wouldnt know them by name. There are alot of "HEY! THAT GUY!" moments. Seriously look up Shane Murphy, David Warshofsky, and Chris Mulkey. Yeah, you've seen them. You didn't know who they were though (unless you are just really good like that).

David Warshofsky

"I knew him from law and order... he murdered people..."

     anywho... You may also recognize the namesake of the movie, Tom Hanks. He played some slow guy that could run in Forrest Gump, and a white guy with sweet ups in Showtime at the Apollo 13.

      You know him, you probably love SOMETHING he's been in, and honestly, he fucking kills it in this movie. Hanks has played a hundred different roles a hundred different ways, and we all know he is a fantastic actor. Somehow though, this one was different. Sure he was great at playing the role, but it wasn't something you can just point at and say "THIS is why he was great at it". Maybe it was how natural it all seemed, and sincere emotion that he channeled in what were Rich Phillips most terrifying moments.

     I feel like I've gone too far in writing without mentioning the men that portrayed the Somali pirates. These aren't names you will know, they aren't names you can really pronounce half the time, but they are people you should know if for no other reason than to tip your hat for what they did for the movie. Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Faysal Ahmed, and Mahat Ali all play the pirates that hijacked the Alabama. Now, I don't know a thing about these guys. They have be expertly trained actors, or they might have actually lived the damn life of a Somali pirate, I don't know. But what I can tell you is that they steal this movie. It's an awkward mix of feelings that these guys create on screen with Hanks. If you want to look at it plainly, it's a fight of good and evil where these pirates are trying to kidnap, kill, and steal their way to some sort of riches. But it really isn't that black and white...


Racist toons


     There is interplay between the pirates and Phillips that clearly show their humanity. This isn't pure evil that drives them, there is a severe desperation that is present from the very beginning of their journey. They meet their end in spectacular fashion, but it was an end that they knew was always a possibility. It was an end they were willing to risk.

Potential Hangovers

     This was not a fun movie. By that, I mean that this wasn’t a movie you go into with jokes in mind. There wasn’t a lot that you could really poke fun at, truthfully.


"After the Green Mile, Michael Clark Duncan Really slimmed down”

     Does that make this a bad movie? No, not at all, but it does make it one that you have to watch with a certain mood present. It’s dramatic and thrilling, but not in a super exciting way. It’s emotional and visceral without blatant violence and all the typical action that you would expect.

Vibe: Solo experience, small group, serious date night

     I saw this movie on a date night, and though we enjoyed it, it was an emotional ride. I can’t really recommend this as a party or big drinking movie, it just doesn’t lend itself to that style of viewing. Watch it in a small group, or with a few friends when you want to watch something that ISN’T Cockneys vs Zombies.

Well acted and seems to be a decent reenacting of the story

+ some really gripping and emotional scenes
not a fun and exciting movie like we usually do here. 

The Drinking Game 

Seriously? you want to do this? Jesus you are a sick freak... ok.. Let me think of something here. 

Drink Every time you hear the name "Irish".

Drink Everytime Muse calms one of the other pirates down from murdering everyone.


]]> (Ben Marsh) Drama Fri, 21 Feb 2014 04:03:00 +0000

The Buzz:


     The film adaptation of the non-fiction book by the same name recounts the failed US Navy SEALS mission Operation Red Wing to track and kill the Taliban officer Ahmad Shah. The title references the one person, Marcus Luttrell, to make it home alive to recount the tale of how only four men used their skill and camaraderie to battle against close to 50 enemy combatants in the hills of Afghanistan.


Life of the Party:


     I don’t typically go for too many films involving military and war, but seeing as how I live in Norfolk, VA where the largest naval base in the world resides; I know lots of people who do love them. That being said I was spending the evening drinking Scotch and smoking cigars with a close friend and sailor (much respect) when he decided he really wanted to see this movie. Despite not initially peaking my interest, I was having a good time with a friend so I agreed. I can say that I am glad I gave this picture a chance. 


     The story is told rather matter-of-factly with only the minimal amount of drama necessary for film. Combat is shot well and really brings you to the edge of your seat while properly honoring the fallen heroes who really went through the action. And I do mean heroes, not only are these Navy SEALS, some of the finest military personnel in the US, but in this conflict they showed complete selflessness and what it really means to fight for something greater than one’s self. In fact, due to bravery and self sacrifice, LT Michael Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, and Silver Star. He was the first naval officer to receive the Medal of Honor since the Vietnam War and has also had a Naval Destroyer named after him amongst other honors. I don’t want to give away why this man deserves every accolade granted him, you should watch the movie or read the book. I also found it incredibly interesting that the wounds that the soldiers suffer are accurate, as well as their positioning and everything else as the writer of the screenplay used autopsy reports to assit him.


     At first I felt that Mark Wahlberg was an odd choice to play the role of Marcus Luttrell who survived (and has cameos in the picture as well as acting as an onset advisor) the encounter, but in the end I think that Wahlberg really treated the role with the respect it deserves. More and more I’m finding that the guy I grew up knowing as Marky Mark alongside his Funky Bunch has become a rather talented actor with some pretty appreciable range. 





Potential Hangovers:


     Doing some research into the events after seeing it I found that there are some discrepancies in the picture to the actual engagement, however they are largely cosmetic or trivial. The only one that is largely impactful is the final conflict between an Afghanistan town of natives and the Taliban in protecting Luttrell. This never happened, but part of me is glad it was included as a way to remind American viewers that not all Middle Easterners are Taliban.


     Cinemagraphically it’s a little bland until the action starts. The action is handled well, but everything else is really nothing to speak of. I suppose I can’t expect much else from the guy who directed Battleship





The Atmosphere: Casual Gathering, Solo Experience


     This is really a kind of depressing movie and so I can understand why if you’re interested you may want to watch it by yourself, or maybe with a few friends to keep you from being bummed out. But it’s not really the kind of movie you watch for a nice romantic evening or put on during a big party because it doesn’t give the events the proper respect it deserve, in my opinion. But if you have any love for the sacrifices made by our armed forces I absolutely recommend it to you. 



Drinking Games:


The rules for this movie are simple, won’t get you TOO wasted, and are designed primarily to honor our fallen heroes.


Take a shot every time one of the men is shot.

When one of the men finally dies, pour out a shot in their name.

]]> (Biggs) Drama Sat, 18 Jan 2014 19:09:32 +0000

The Buzz:


     The second installment of the Hunger Games trilogy which follows the novels of the same names, we see Katniss and Peeta adapting to life as victors of the 74th Hunger Games. Forced to continue the false love affair, that saved them in the games, in front of the public and go on a Victory Tour; the two see that they are seen as symbols of a growing rebellion against the Capitol. President Snow tries to convince Katniss to placate the populace, but her stubborn attitude doesn't allow that. Forced to remove Katniss from the equation in a manner that will not cause riots... President Snow and his new head game master Plutark devise that the 75th Hunger Games will be fought by previous victors... placing Katniss and Peeta back in the arena to fight for their lives.





Life of the Party:


     As far as big budget Hollywood versions of famous novels go, I suppose this isn't terrible. I will admit I haven't read the books – though I have friends who have and say there are some unfortunate omissions that help drive the importance of some of the events seen on screen – ultimately it serves as being mildly entertaining. I hate to say it, but that's about all I can usually ask out of Hollywood. Sure we have exceptions like Lord of the Rings, but... we can't hold all movies based on books to those standards. That being said the movie has it's nice qualities. It's shot in 4k and looks fantastic. Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress and I love her... that helps carry it for me. Plus I get to see her spandex for a large part of the film: bonus! Sets are well designed and the juxtaposition between the poor Districts and the rich Capitol is incredibly well displayed. Woody Harrelson is an amusing drunk and oddly enough probably one of the only characters I genuinely liked, despite the fact I think I'm not supposed to. One thing that the sequel has over the original is that we start to see more of the world that our story is being told in. It feels more fleshed out, we see the consequences of the system more clearly. It's not just a weak American Battle Royale. I think the growing rebellion subplot really helps this. I can say I didn't walk away hating the film, I was entertained by it. But I didn't love it either, because there was plenty of things that bothered me. It's a film that I can talk about, so for that – awesome. However, I much rather would have not paid $10.50 and maybe waited to see it on Netflix.



Great now we have a Matthew McConnaughy wanna be too...



Potential Hangovers:


     Hunger Games is essentially the Harry Potter movies for people who aren't quite as big of nerds. They're mediocre films at best that essentially serve to pander to people who are already such huge fans of the books that they can be milked for money via these pictures. Speaking of Harry Potter, the names of all the characters are the first thing that grate on my nerves... I feel like they are straight out of Hogwarts, in fact. Check these out:


- Katniss Everdeen

- Peeta Mellark

- Gale Hawthorne

- Haymitch Abernathy

- Effie Trinket

- Plutark Heavensbee

- Finnick Odair


     Tell me those don't sound like names of wizards. Katniss and Gale are the only somewhat acceptable names, but their last names push them into silliness. Every time someone says someone else's name I feel like I'm reading a Dr. Seuss book. I don't like it. My spell check doesn't like it. I get that's not the movie's fault, but... still.


     Then lets talk about events in the film. Katniss and crew come across a poisonous fog that causes pustules and lesions on the skin when touched. When they finally escape it. they've all been touched by it in various places and are in pain... possibly dying. But LO! It washes right off in water. Like... RIGHT OFF. Pustules just... rub off. What? Also if it's a poison, washing off in a small puddle only serves to contaminate the clean water source making it ineffective for more than one person to remedy themselves this way. Does that stop three of them from rolling in it? Nope! In the first film Katniss is poisoned and requires medical treatment and tons of rest... this one? Small bath and she's back in fighting shape. Dumb. Then there's the “twist”; granted it's in the book and anyone who's read the book knows it's coming, but for those of us who hadn't read the book I feel like they're trying to develop a shocking reveal at the end that they fail horribly at. The whole thing is terribly predictable. There's no subtle hints as to what's going on, despite the fact it's never directly mentioned, but the ending is so ridiculously telegraphed you're just left feeling: “Ok... and?” Also.. SPOILER ALERT!! If Plutark was really in on it the whole time... WHY DID HE DESIGN THE GAMES TO PUT KATNISS IN THEM!? Literally this whole movie shouldn't have happened...


     Aside from names I have an issue with some of the characters as well. Mainly Peeta and Katniss, sadly. Peeta is written to be a likeable nice guy, but the actor never makes me like him... despite how LIKEABLE his traits are. He comes across as a mopey bitch. He offers nothing in terms of the games themselves and his entire relationship with Katniss is “I love you even though you don't love me... so I'm just gonna die so you can live.” That's it. That's his personality. The whole film. He's constantly needing to be saved, he never offers suggestions or help... he's dead weight. Katniss is a pain too. Again, I love Lawrence and none of the problems with the character is her (unlike how I feel about Peeta to some extent). Katniss is intended to be this strong female lead, and largely she is... but then they try to make her complex by having her be emotionally torn between Gale and Peeta. First, how are you torn? Gale is awesome... Peeta is a bitch. Second, it doesn't come off as complex or emotionally torn. It comes off as being a fucking cunt who uses a dude who cares about her for her own personal gain. Then there's the fact that every time Katniss has a weak moment, and that's fine... even strong characters can have a weak point, her solution is to run and cuddle up against Peeta. I AM A STRONG WOMAN!! Oh... I'm upset... let me go run to the arms of a man.... ARRRRGGGHHHH.



Apparently in this world people never learned how SWEATERS work.



The Vibe: Casual Gathering, Date Night, Large Party


     This movie is largely just great as background noise, a nice inoffensive film to watch with a loved one, or a small group of friends who are just nuts for this franchise. Those are the ideal situations, but if you happen to be in another situation where people are interested in watching this... don't turn your nose up, just don't expect a whole lot. It'll be a mildly entertaining ride for it's duration. If you can convince your friends to sneak in some flasks to the theater or pre-game, you may end up loving it! If you watch this at home, maybe have a beer or two on hand.




+ Jennifer Lawrence

+ Great visuals

+ Mild action

- Dumb characters

- Plot holes


Drinking Game:


- Drink anytime Katniss contradicts her emotions by kissing, cuddling, or otherwise being inappropriately affectionate to Peeta

- Drink every time Katniss fires an arrow.

- Drink twice if she should have run out of arrows, but fires another one anyways.

- Drink every time someone leaves something behind, but has it a few scenes later inexplicably.

- For every image shown at night of the fallen contestants... drink if you don't remember their name.

HARDCORE MODE: Waterfall for as long as water, in any form, is shown on screen.

]]> (Biggs) Drama Sun, 01 Dec 2013 19:07:38 +0000



     Michael Caine stars as an ex-military widower attempting to avenge his best friend's death in this gritty revenge drama. Caine is the titular Harry Brown, who lives in a rapidly deteriorating district in London, rife with crime and bored, aggressive punks who attack people for no reason. The elderly Harry decides to take justice into his own hands after his last friend gets killed by said bored punks. What follows is an awesome intersection of brutal revenge and class war raging in the streets; a stellar film that is at once gripping realism and broad-level allegory. And also damn fun to watch.




     There are lots of movies coming out showing aging actors doing badass stuff you tend to see younger action actors doing, but they typically try to play it more tongue-in-cheek and comic booky. The end result is the same slow-motion flex-fests, but with more wrinkles. Harry Brown ain't got time for that new-school shit. Harry looks tired as hell the entire movie. Caine plays a talented ex-operative very well. He's relatable and incredibly competent, but definitely too old to be doing this stuff. So it adds a completely different type of suspense to the mix. Additionally, this is just an objectively well-made film. The stellar script is acted very well by good actors, which is never a given in a quasi-action movie. The music is excellent, and it's all shot and arranged very well. And for those of you who like a bit of seamlessly integrated social commentary in your action films, this one will do it for you.




     We tend to put party movies on this site for those looking for nothing but laughs, but frankly, this movie is pretty grim. It's got brutally realistic action along the lines of the Bourne series, but is way more straightfaced. It's the type of movie where you really can't tell if the good guy is going to win or not, and the environment is incredibly tense throughout its whole runtime. It is full of action, but I'd also say it's got way more dialog than anything you'd typically call action. So I guess on the whole, this is a pretty dour film that isn't one you cheer along with. I'd say it's badass in the same way Breaking Bad is badass. Take that as you will.


THE ATMOSPHERE: Man Cave, Deep Thoughts


     Okay, after hearing all the reservations I had on Harry Brown in terms of it not being the most uplifting of films? That is not whatsoever saying this wasn't a fun movie. It was amazing. It isn't the type of film where explosions happen in slow motion. It's the type of film that is fun that's fun because it's so gritty. The dark, hopelessness just makes Harry look more awesome when he overcomes it, which happens frequently enough to be satisfying. Sure, it's got subtext and is pretty morally grey for a revenge movie, but the bottom line is that it is a really enjoyable, badass film if you have the time to pay attention to it. I'd say put it on as your first movie of the night.



Once when someone gets shot/stabbed

Twice when Harry Gets injured

(Hard Mode) Take a shot every time fire shows up on screen

]]> (JHBoman) Drama Mon, 18 Nov 2013 22:01:19 +0000

The Buzz:

        Ex-special forces soldier Joey (Jason Statham) now lives on the streets while trying to hide from society and a court-martial. But unforeseen events allow him to take on the identity of another man, and with it a chance to do some good, and possibly redeem his sins.


Life of the Party:

        Once again I find myself starting this section with a potential negative, but here it goes: every single synopsis or summary of the film will tell you that this is yet another Statham movie where his path to atonement is lined with the skulls he must roundhouse kick.

        This is not the case.

        Instead this is largely a drama piece about an emotionally disturbed man trying his best to maybe find some peace, and do something good with his life. It's at times depressing, and other times a bit humorous. Yes there are a couple action scenes where Statham gets to show off how badass he is, but they are not the focus of the film.

        The story is charged with emotion, from Statham trying to find his way, to his friend Christina, a nun trying to balance her faith with her interest in helping Joey in his quest as she struggles with her own demons and experiences. Basically take Safe (before it got all kick-people-in-the-head-badass) and mix in some Requiem for a Dream and you have Redemption. In fact I think it falls into that rare category of “romantic-tragedy;” most romance films end badly, but Redemption ends depressingly, and if you understand what it is I'm trying to describe, you'll get just what I mean right about when the credits start to roll.


Side note: if they ever remake Last Action Hero, get Statham to play that guy with the axe

Potential Hangovers:

        The only real flaw I can find in this film is that it's slow. Probably because I expected the “atonement-through-roundhouse-kicks” film, but the point still stands that this film takes its sweet time getting into the swing of things, and even then nothing is rushed.


The Vibe: Date Night, Lazy Afternoon

        I never thought I'd ever see a Statham film and consider it “Date Night” material, but there it is. Cuddle up with your significant other, open up that bottle of wine you're saving (or box of Franzia, we don't judge), and enjoy. Alternatively use it on that day you're just sitting around on an afternoon and are looking for something to enjoy quietly.



+ Good story

+ Very emotionally charged

+ Great drama piece

+ It's a Statham movie for date night!

- Can be slow

]]> (Enuncia) Drama Fri, 08 Nov 2013 15:33:09 +0000

The Buzz:

         In post Revolutionary China, a mysterious magician returns from abroad, and is wrapped up in a scheme to overthrow the local Warlord. But he also has to win back his old love, the Warlord's 7th wife. And the Warlord's closest advisor may not have his best interests at heart. And the Japanese are involved and evil somehow. And there's magic shows. And kung-fu fighting. And WHAT THE HELL FILM, ENOUGH ALREADY!


 Life of the Party:

         Let me follow that statement by saying that The Great Magician is a pretty fantastic film. Despite the story being somewhat convoluted and confusing (though something tells me this may yet again have something to do with editing for foreign release), there's something really enjoyable about this movie.

         Now some of you may know that I am hardly an expert of even American actors, much less foreign ones, so I can't really comment on how they perform in The Great Magician compared to their other works. What I can say is that they certainly do a great job of that particular style of Chinese cinema that we know so well. Everything is played out much like it might be on a theater stage, with obvious character roles, really emotional expressions, the characters whose sole purpose is comical relief. It's got action, mystery, kung-fu, magic shows, romance, comedy, and just about everything in between. It's almost like a Chinese cinema piece trying to emulate Bollywood trying to emulate Chinese cinema, which in the case of this film works perfectly (yes there's even some song and dance)!

And now for my next trick, which I call "Russian Roulette"

Potential Hangovers:

         The movie is not without flaws however. For one, the Netflix descriptor is not AT ALL accurate to the film, so just ignore it. I won't go into detail, but if you go into this film expecting what Netflix tells you it's about you will be sorely disappointed (as I almost was).

         Also the Chinese have apparently yet to master real high-quality CGI effects, since The Great Magician has some pretty bad animations speckled throughout. Which in the case of some of the magic sequences is really disappointing. China has a long, respected history of street magic and magic performances, which to me would have made a far superior method for this film. I wish they had used some real Chinese street magic and performers for the film to make things that much more interesting; instead many of the big “tricks” rely on CGI or camera-play to pull it off, which was kind of a let-down.

         Also like I mentioned before the story gets pretty convoluted pretty damn fast. I'm sure some of it has to do with foreign exportation (much like what happened with Night Watch), but the primary storyline manages to stay intact (barely) enough for the viewer to quickly figure out what's going on.

         And it must be said: subtitles. I largely don't mind them, but if you're looking for a film to watch during a night of heavy drinking/partying, then this aspect can detract from the experience.


The Vibe: Casual Gathering, Solo Experience

         Whether you're taking a quiet night in alone on the couch, or gathering friends for a movie night, The Great Magician will serve you well. Keep the groups small and focused, however, since the convoluted storyline and subtitles won't forgive groups who want to to talk and joke without looking at the screen more than watch the film. Fans of Chinese cinema (and in a strange way, Bollywood) will really enjoy this movie, and anyone who enjoys a decent drama piece involving magic, guns, traitors, double-traitors, Japanese evil business men, song, dance, tanks, and jesus this film packs a lot.


Drinking Game Ideas:

~ Drink every time someone mentions “magic” or “tricks”

~ Drink every time someone does a magic trick

~ Drink every time someone refers to Yin as the “seventh wife” instead of by name



+ Really evident of what good Chinese cinema can do

+ Really fun to watch (even despite the 2+ hour runtime)

- Convoluted storyline

]]> (Enuncia) Drama Fri, 04 Oct 2013 12:00:00 +0000

~The Buzz:

     Back in the '90s, the three-hour epic film was still a fairly rare thing, restricted pretty much to a pair of wildly-fictionalized accounts of historical events. The second and most successful was James Cameron's Titanic in 1997, but the other was the ultimate Mel Gibson vanity project, Braveheart. When I was a young lad, I remember being amazed when my parents rented this movie from Blockbuster and it came as a set of two VHS tapes. TWO OF THEM. Nowadays, the LotR series has made us all accustomed to extremely long movies filled with sprawling battles, gorgeous vistas, and a love story tacked on just for fun, but it was still a pretty big deal when Braveheart was made almost twenty years ago.

     So, what does this film have to offer now? Though Mel Gibson has become pretty ridiculous nowadays, there's no denying he's a good actor and a skilled director, who's unafraid to take risks to put his vision on screen. It's kindof a shame this particular vision sacrifices historical accuracy for cartoonish villains and “look at how handsome I am” cinematography, but that doesn't make it any less fun to watch. On the contrary, Braveheart is worth watching today because it's a serious film, but is selectively over-the-top just often enough that it never gets dry.


~Life of the Party:

     Mel Gibson was a huge star in the '90s, with enough clout to put together a truly epic film. The multiple battle scenes, filmed on location in Scotland and Ireland with as many as 1600 actors on the field at one time, call to mind the “cast of thousands” Cecil B. DeMille features of old Hollywood, which inspired Gibson to make the movie in the first place. The major difference from those classics is that Braveheart's fight scenes are extremely intense, with gore and grit to spare. Supposedly, the violence had to be trimmed down to avoid an NC-17 rating, because much like Ironclad (why do I keep comparing stuff to that movie?) the fight choreography is unashamed of how visceral medieval combat with swords and pikes actually was. The massed ranks of knights in colorful heraldry and Wallace's stirring speeches about loyalty and patriotism are an excellent contrast to the violence, displaying lofty ideals both chivalric and modern, even though each battle is a painful, tragic affair in the end.

     The movie isn't only about warfare, however, and the cast are all talented and portray their characters well. Patrick McGoohan, though getting on in years, plays the oppressive English King Edward “Longshanks” as the quintessential regal villain, seeming cunning, intelligent, and almost reptilian in his complete disregard for human life. Though it is ludicrous just how pointlessly evil the English are in this film, McGoohan's performance somehow makes you totally buy it – he was just that good an actor, I guess, and you can tell he's having fun in the role. Other supporting characters are also enjoyable as comic relief that doesn't feel like standard comic relief, particularly the show-stealing Hamish (that name is just great, say it to yourself: Hamish) and a character whose name I never caught, but everybody who watches this movie just calls him “the Irish Guy” and you probably will, too. He's awesome. The romance subplot, which takes up a large part of the first act but helps balance out all the sword-fighting that comes later, is fairly simple, but nice. It's a lot of montages, running through fields, and other pretty basic “love stuff,” but the imagery of the romance keeps reappearing throughout the film to provide motivation to the hero, which is a nice touch of character development.

     It's hard to talk too much about this film, because most people already know a lot about it, even if they haven't sat down and watched the whole thing. It was made by skilled people, has a stirring dramatic story, and looks amazing. Really, there are very few reasons not to watch it if you haven't picked it up already.

Flex a little harder there, Mel, I'm not sure the housewives are fully satisfied yet.

~Potential Hangovers:

     That said, the film is over three hours, and doesn't have the advantage that Return of the King did, namely, the ability to cut back and forth between three or four different groups of heroes having different adventures. Once the Scottish revolt gets properly started, there are pretty much just two kinds of scenes: battle sequences, or old guys arguing about one thing or another in drafty-looking medieval conference rooms. We get that the major tension of the film is between Wallace, who is willing to fight for Scottish independence, and the more traditional nobles who value peace more than freedom, but sometimes it seems like the characters are just having the same conversations over and over again. The final act, after Wallace has been captured by the English and slated for execution, is also somewhat dull, as the endless tearful, whispered conversations between Mel and the secondary love interest will make you really miss the action during the middle parts. The film ends appropriately and dramatically, just not on the most exciting note.

     Much has been said elsewhere about this film's dearth of historical accuracy, both in terms of literal events in the story that never could have actually happened, and how the characters and ethnic groups are depicted as absurdly broad stereotypes. The iconic “Braveheart” costume, for example, complete with kilt, leather brigandine, and blue barbarian facepaint, is wrong for the time period in so many ways that it's almost a disservice to the historical figure of Sir William Wallace. Costume-wise, it's equivalent to making a movie about Malcolm X and dressing him in a dashiki and feathered Zulu headress. In the end, it's just more fun to watch the heavily-armored juggernaut of the English army get their asses handed to them by a bunch of unwashed, rag-clad Scottish underdogs, but it's still a bit irksome if you have any passion for history. It doesn't make the movie any less enjoyable, just don't expect it to be an accurate depiction of what actually happened.

     One thing that just bugs me, though, is that Mel Gibson couldn't grow a damn beard for this role. He sports an impressive mane of long hair, sure, but it seems like preserving his status as one of the sexiest men in pop culture was more important than looking the part, and so he's clean-shaven throughout the film to preserve those ruggedly handsome closeups. Interestingly, in this movie's universe, only two kinds of men don't have beards: characters that are heavily implied to be homosexuals, and Mel Gibson. Come on, dude, it's not like growing a beard would have instantanously ruined your career.


~The Vibe (Guy's Night, Date Night, Casual Gathering):

     As a big-budget blockbuster, Braveheart was carefully designed to be attractive to a broad audience, and so it would make good viewing for couples who want a classy viewing experience, or groups of bros who like violence (and beards). It was basically the 300 of its decade, a comic-book version of history that combined badass war scenes with a touch of romance and some beefcake just for the ladies. It seems that there are two good ways to watch this movie: as the sprawling epic it was meant to be, or as a three-part "miniseries." I watched this film split up over three consecutive nights, with the parts divided thusly:

Part 1: William's childhood, romance, and first strike against the English

Part 2: William's military campaign up until the point where he is betrayed

Part 3: William's legend and eventual death

     Conveniently, the movie is already structured such that these three "acts" are each about 55 minutes long, so if you can sit through an episode of Doctor Who, you can enjoy Braveheart the exact same way. Alternately, make a big event out of this movie using the drinking game posted below.

+ An expertly-made epic war drama with the spirit of old Hollywood

+ Great visuals with hundreds of actors on screen and gorgeous locations

+ Good balance of different dramatic elements spread throughout the film

+ Unflinchingly brutal battle sequences

+/- Not historically accurate

- Last section is a bit underwhelming

- One too few beards (seriously, it looked great on Mel in Hamlet)


~Drinking Game Suggestions:

     This drinking game has a lot of rules, but that’s because we’ve got a lot of movie to cover. It’s been scientifically designed to let you be relaxed and attentive during the quiet dialogue sections, and yet it’s positively brutal during the fight scenes. Recommended drinks include Scotch, some kind of nice, high-proof sipping beers (or anything by Highland Brewing Co.), and anyone taking the Highlander Test of Bravery, below, will probably want some Olde English to kill during the battles (GET IT?).

~Drink whenever bagpipes start playing on the soundtrack

~Drink every time thistles or that thistle-embroidered handkerchief appear on screen

~Drink for each severed limb or crushed skull

~Drink every time somebody tells a legend regarding William Wallace

~Drink for each instance of slow-motion

~Drink each time Longshanks does something mustache-twirlingly evil for no reason at all

~Whenever you see a man's ass, drink once per cheek

~Drink for each "freedom," FINISH your drink for each "FFFFFFRRREEEEEEDOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!"

~Hard Mode: Take a shot whenever the camera just lingers on Mel's handsome countenance entirely for vanity purposes

~Nerd Mode: Have a drink whenever someone can point out a blatant historical inaccuracy

~HIGHLANDER TEST OF BRAVERY MODE: During the first major battle scene, when the English cavalry begin their charge, start drinking, and keep drinking throughout the entire "Hold... Hold... HOLD!" sequence. Anyone who fails to stand their ground must take penalty shots equal to the number of "Holds" that were remaining when they stopped drinking.

]]> (Alex Lane) Drama Fri, 27 Sep 2013 02:51:35 +0000

The Buzz:


     Jeff, per the title, lives at home. With his mom. At the age of 30. He's a pothead. He has a somewhat successful brother who is a bit of a dick. His father died when he was younger and ever since he's been preoccupied with trying to listen for what, exactly, the Universe is trying to tell him. Everyone in Jeff's family is broken, including himself, and no one gets him. But by the end of the day it may just be Jeff's idiosyncracy that saves them all.  


Life of the Party:


     With an all star cast like Jason Segel, Ed Helms, Susan Sarandon, and Judy Greer it is no surprise that every character is well delivered. Honestly the movie is just technically delivered on all accounts fantastically. It's really at the point it's not worth talking about beyond that. This is a well made film, let's move on from there.


     Really what makes this film enjoyable to watch is the dynamic of the characters themselves. Jason Segel play Jeff who you start off thinking is a dead beat who never bothers to go out and take change of his life. And you're not entirely wrong, but there is depth to the character that is slowly revealed. He chases random occurrences as signs as to what to do in life. That means he never has to take responsibility for his actions, which is bad… but it also gives him a freedom to appreciate the simplicity and beauty of life wherever he finds it - which is a blessing! His brother, Pat (Ed Helms), is just a superficial asshole. At least that's what you get at first, but again there is depth here that we discover. He's an ass, but he's become that way because he's chased after the dream we're all told we're all supposed to have. Wife, home, nice car, well paying job… he has all that, but it's all bullshit and he doesn't appreciates any of it. Finally there is his mother, Sharon played by Susan Sarandon, on her birthday who has has realized that her sons are miserable and so is she. She's older and single and as she looks back on her life she feels as though she missed so many opportunities she always wanted. 


     I know, I know… you're like, "Fuck this sounds depressing as all Hell!!", but it's not really. It's not jovial, but I feel like there's a character here that everyone relates to on some level and that makes it really powerful. And by the end of the film you've gone on this journey where you, along with the characters, have learned a few things. If you like pictures that can make you think with a bit of quirk and light humor and you end up feeling like maybe you have a more complete view of the world I definitely recommend giving this a watch.



"I've never used a two person toilet before..."


Potential Hangovers:


     This film is billeted as an "independent comedy", but I think that's a bit of a stretch. It has a few chuckles, but it's not entirely comedic. It's more of a light hearted drama? I really enjoyed the picture, but I was always waiting for Jason Segel or Ed Helms to really make me laugh like I know they can. It just didn't come. That's ok in retrospect, but I feel like "independent comedy" sets an unfair expectation of what you're going to watch. The only other slight complaint is… what was the point? The character growth is great, but there is no real resolution. And character growth is a weird plot. The rise in the third act is abrupt and the denouement is nonexistent. It makes for an ending that just leaves with "Huh… that's nice, but… what now?". 





The Vibe: Solo Experience, Date Night


     This is a movie that wants you to pay attention and wants you to really think and have some introspection. For that I don't think it's a good idea to watch with a lot of rowdy friends who are going to distract you. I also think this is a great movie to watch with a significant other. I don't like to imply that only serious movies or emotional movies are great for dates, because that's just not true. Sometimes you want to laugh together. Sometimes you want to be scared together. But this movie, I think, will perhaps make you want to talk to each other. And that's a really good thing. It's a philosophical picture that makes you question where you are and where you're going and I think that can be a very healthy conversation for a couple to have. And anytime you can have smart engagement with your significant other, you win!


     Finally, though this is against my normal rule… I'm not going to suggest a drinking game. I feel like it would defeat the purpose of this picture. I think there's very few movies that holds true for, but I legitimately think this is one of them. I'm not saying don't drink while watching it… I just think that if you're focusing on whether or not you should be drinking you are not thinking about how you relate to this characters. 




+ Technically well made film

+ Great acting

+ Insightful and touching

- Not really much of a comedy


Drinking Games:


- None, settle down with your favorite beer, liquor, or glass of wine though. Something that you get really in to to help you also get in to this picture.

]]> (Biggs) Drama Sat, 21 Sep 2013 19:56:40 +0000

The Buzz:


     Hong Kong police are staking out an arms dealer who escapes them. Meanwhile in the same area a trio of thieves make their getaway in a vehicle that matches the same description as that of the arms dealer. As Deus Ex Machina would have it both criminals end up in the same bar with the police surrounding them. The rest of the film focuses on how to escape and how the stress effects everyone inside.


 Life of the Party:


     One of the reasons I like foreign films is how the culture impacts what we might consider pretty standard movie tropes or concepts. We've seen tons of criminals vs cops hostage stand offs in America, but other countries value different things than us and that can reflect in how they tell that story. The Replacement Suspect is a prime example of that. If this were a Hollywood picture we could expect lots of unsuccessful attempts to breach the building by the police followed by criminals and negotiator yelling over the phone about "WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT?!" But we don't have any of that here. Here we have two self contained worlds. The world inside the bar where the hostages are being kept and run by the criminals, and the world outside the bar that is run by the police. You never see any people cross between the two until the climax and only two times does dialog ever cross between the two. 


     What this means is that the two worlds are all about what not knowing what's happening in the other one drives each side to do. This allows the story to unfold by seeing how the characters themselves react to the stresses that exist in their contained space. Will the hostages be killed? Can the criminals get away alive? Stay out of jail? Is killing their only option? How do you keep the press quiet so as not to tip off the criminals inside as to what's happening with the police? There are relationships and history with some of these characters, as well. All of this means we tackle humanity from many angles and I think it's that story of humanity and honor that underlines a lot of this story that is what makes it uniquely Asian.


     From a filmographic stance there is some decent writing, though nothing amazing. And at least a couple of stand out performances. Michael Wong plays the Detective in charge of apprehending the criminal group and he is definitely the shining star here. His delivery is superb, but mostly it's how well he shows an honest cop in a tough situation. He's frustrated, he's angry, and he's trying to do his job surrounded by situations that just make it more frustrating. 



Story of my God damned life...


Potential Hangovers:


     Unfortunately I think you really have to look deep at the intent of this film to get the above. There's really more "meh" or even downright bad to this film than good. There are numerous cases of flubbed lines and, what I believe to be, unintended stutters. Why weren't these reshot? Who the hell knows; I guess film is too expensive to waste on such a thing. At least that's what I'd think if this were filmed on anything of quality. For a film shot in 2001, I spent most of this picture wondering if it was shot in the late 80s or early 90s. Thanks communism! Most of the rest of the acting is either phoned in or delivered to goofy over the top status. Kenny Bee, who plays the arms dealer, barely delivers a single line the whole time and anytime he's on camera looks like he's waiting to leave the set. This was obviously a low budget movie and for that I try to forgive a lot, but as we've seen here on Tanked Matinee low budget can still make a great film! Unfortunately The Replacement Suspect never makes it to great, and just barely approaches ok. 



Hold on... there's a fly on your cheek...


The Vibe: Casual Gathering, Solo Experience


     If you really like heist films or crime dramas I recommend checking this out solo just for something that tries, even if not always successfully, to be a bit different than others. Otherwise get a few friends over with the intent of heckling this thing over a few beverages if watching it at all. It definitely wouldn't be good for a big party settings as there's just not enough here to engage a lot of people or even make for cool background noise. In the end I see a lot of places this film tried, but fell short simply because there either wasn't money or talent enough to realize a vision. That is always an unfortunate thing to see. 




+ Asian take on crime drama

- Phoned in or over the top acting

- Poor film quality

- Flubbed lines


Drinking Games:


- Drink anytime someone stutters or appears to mess up a line.

- Drink anytime Brother coughs up blood.

- Drink when Detective Kong says "fuck".

-HARDCORE MODE: Drink anytime someone says someone else will die or says they don't want to die.

]]> (Biggs) Drama Sat, 14 Sep 2013 19:48:45 +0000
THE ROAD (2009) THE ROAD (2009)

The Buzz:

        Viggo Mortensen travels through a post-apocalyptic wasteland (what kind of apocalypse is never mentioned, but my money is on giant meteor) with his son on their quest to reach the coast. But the road is fraught with dangers, from mother nature, roving gangs, and cannibals, forcing father and son to survive by any means possible.


Life of the Party:

        The main draw of this movie, in my view anyways, is the world in which these characters live, and the acting on screen. And of course the face you'll most associate with this film is Viggo Mortensen; he's pretty much what carries this film. Though this isn't the Lord of the Rings style Mortensen; think more like A History of Violence without the fact that he's some kind of killing machine badass. And while other actors certainly give some good performances, they just don't have the same impact and presence.

        The other thing that kept me watching this film through its 111 minute runtime is how masterfully this world is captured and conveyed to the audience. It's bleak, depressing, and sometimes terrifying (without spoilers, a brief scene in a house basement succeeded in thoroughly creeping me out). John Hillcoat did a fantastic job in capturing this grey, soul-crushing world and bringing it to the audience in a way that's totally believable and engrossing.

        Fans of intense drama and survival films can certainly find something to enjoy in The Road.


Potential Hangovers:

        The Road's primary sin in my eyes is being incredibly long and slow. This is not an adrenaline fueled thrill ride; this in itself is not a problem (not everything needs to be action packed), but so much of the film is just shots of the father and son sitting and staring, or walking, for whole minutes at a time it seems. I found myself drifting at times, wondering when something was going to happen.

        And when things do happen, they often have nothing to do with each other, or the story as a whole. It all comes off as a series of vignettes that were cobbled together into this larger storyline, with the long series of non-events in between to pad things out. I often found myself wishing that something of excitement would happen to break the cycle, and unfortunately when these events do happen they're often short-lived and dealt with all too quickly, so that very little tension is brought about by their happening. This also means that there's very little tension to release, meaning that much of The Road just sort of...happens, and the viewer is left to just kind of nod along and go with it.


The Vibe: Lazy Afternoon, Deep Thoughts

        The Road really isn't an appropriate film to gather your friends and brews around. It's more for that lazy afternoon, where you just want to sprawl across the couch/lay in bed, maybe with some kind of dessert beer or liquor to sip quietly. I do think The Road is worth a watch for fans of good cinema; honestly I think I only have so much in the "Potential Hangovers" section because the Netflix and IMDB summaries of the film made it out to be something it really wasn't.



+ You can't help but be drawn into the world and setting

+ Great overall theme

- Story is slow and somewhat disjointed

- Very long for what it is

]]> (Enuncia) Drama Fri, 13 Sep 2013 17:42:08 +0000