Movie Review: “The Nice Guys”

Starring
Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Kim Basinger, Margaret Qualley, Yaya DaCosta
Director
Shane Black

Shane Black may not have invented the buddy cop film, but he’s widely viewed as the modern-day godfather of the subgenre thanks to seminal movies like “Lethal Weapon,” “The Long Kiss Goodnight” and “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” Black is to buddy cop films what Raymond Chandler is to hard-boiled crime novels (a fitting comparison considering the writer/director lists the author as a major influence), and his latest movie, the retro detective noir “The Nice Guys,” is arguably his best entry in the genre since redefining the buddy cop formula three decades ago. Although it hits all of the usual beats of a Shane Black feature, “The Nice Guys” does so with such remarkable efficiency, brimming with witty banter, solid action and even a little heart, that it feels totally fresh.

Set in 1977 in the seedy, neon-tinged underbelly of Los Angeles, the movie stars Ryan Gosling as Holland March, a drunken private eye who’s less concerned about solving mysteries than getting paid. His latest gig finds him investigating the death of famous adult film star Misty Mountains, and though it sounds like an open-and-shut case, Misty’s grandmother claims that she saw the actress alive several days after the car accident that supposedly killed her. Holland’s only lead is a young woman named Amelia (Margaret Qualley), who was seen leaving Misty’s house on the date in question, but the trail goes cold after enforcer-for-hire Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe) is enlisted by Amelia to stop Holland from following her around. However, when Amelia’s life is threatened by a pair of menacing thugs and she goes on the run, Jackson and Holland team up to track her down with some help from the latter’s precocious tween daughter Holly (Angourie Rice). But as they get closer to uncovering the truth behind Amelia’s involvement in the conspiracy, an assassin (Matt Bomer) is sent to silence them.

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Movie Review: “Noah”

Starring
Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ray Winstone, Emma Watson, Logan Lerman, Douglas Booth, Anthony Hopkins
Director
Darren Aronofsky

Just as the Bible speaks in many ways to many people, so does Darren Aronofsky’s epic “Noah,” a story about a man, his giant ark and the lengths a family will go to when facing the world’s first apocalypse.

Tackling a story of pre-apocalyptic earth in the before and after stages is nothing new, but Aronofsky knew that he had to pull out all the stops in dealing with the planet’s first biblical disaster. Luckily, he had Russell Crowe to work with. After a brief but eye-catching history lesson (via fast motion) from the time of creation through the questionable dietary choices in the Garden of Eden, to the slaying of Abel by Cain, we arrive at the tenth generation of man, where a young Noah (Dakota Goyo) witnesses his father being killed just as he is about to bestow his birthright, a glowing snakeskin sleeve, upon him.

Years later, an adult Noah (Crowe) is living a happy but isolated life with his wife Naameh (Jennifer Connelly) and three sons, Ham (Logan Lerman), Shem (Douglas Booth) and Japheth (Leo Carroll). But if life (and Twitter 3:16) has taught us anything, it’s that you can avoid people, but not their mistakes. Noah receives a vision, one of great death by flooding. The Creator (The “G-word” is never said in the film) has decided that his experiment with mankind has gone completely off the rails, as everyone is a poster child for the worse sins imaginable against the planet and themselves.

Unfortunately, visions aren’t the same as having a phone call, Skype or even text messages, so Noah seeks out clarification from his granddad Methuselah (Anthony Hopkins). Thanks to his guidance, and getting slipped a mickey, Noah gets a clearer vision: the planet is about to be destroyed by a flood. He is to construct a giant ark with a sample of the planet’s animals and witness the first-ever heavenly version of a reboot. Aiding him in his quest is Ila (Emma Watson), an injured orphan girl who becomes his adopted daughter and love interest of Shem. He’s also greatly assisted by fallen angels turned giant stone creatures called the Watchers, who also sinned against the Creator and seek redemption.

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Movie Review: “Man of Steel”

Starring
Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Russell Crowe, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne
Director
Zack Snyder

Marvel and DC Comics may be viewed as equals in the publishing arena, but the latter is hopelessly losing the battle when it comes to their respective film divisions. While Marvel has released one hit after the next (culminating in last year’s mega hit “The Avengers”), DC has failed to launch a single successful franchise other than Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. 2006’s “Superman Returns” was a big disappointment, 2011’s “Green Lantern” was even worse, and Joss Whedon’s long-mooted Wonder Woman project was ultimately axed, leading him to direct the aforementioned “Avengers” for the competition.

But in trying to reboot their Superman franchise, parent company Warner Bros. did something very smart – they enlisted the aid of Nolan and Batman co-writer David S. Goyer to usher in a new era of Kyrpton’s favorite son. And if “Man of Steel” is any indication, that was a great move on the part of the studio, not only because they’ve finally managed to do Superman right, but because it shows that they’re thinking about the bigger picture, both for their flagship character and the DC movie universe as a whole.

“Man of Steel” is a giant-sized film with so much on its plate that it takes nearly 30 minutes before Clark Kent/Kal-El (Henry Cavill) even makes his first appearance. The movie opens with a prologue set on Krypton amid a military coup by General Zod (Michael Shannon) in a last-ditch attempt to save their dying planet. But scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) doesn’t agree with Zod taking such desperate measures, and instead launches his newborn son Kal-El (the first natural born Kryptonian in centuries) to Earth in the hope that he can save that planet from making the same mistakes. In the end, Zod and his cronies are captured and sentenced to the Phantom Zone, while Krypton is destroyed.

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Mountain Dew Kickstart Adventure Starring BMX Pros Chad DeGroot and Mark Mulville

When Mountain Dew gave me the opportunity to head down to Orlando, Florida for two days to learn how to ride bikes with professional BMX riders Chad DeGroot and Mark Mulville, I couldn’t shirk off the responsibilities of fatherhood, home ownership and general employment fast enough.

Kickstart by Mountain Dew is a sparkling juice beverage made to kick-start your day and get your rear into gear. With just 80 calories per 16 oz serving and 92 milligrams of caffeine (roughly as much as one cup of coffee), Kickstart gets you moving without the bloated, heavy feeling supplied by most “energy drinks” on the market. Don’t think of this as an energy drink — think of it as Mountain Dew for breakfast! Didn’t we all go to school with someone who drank Mountain Dew for breakfast, anyway? My buddy Eric Hoffman drank so much in the ’90s he pisses Yellow #5 to this day, exclusively.

Want to kick ass at BMX? Try this PED. And, it will make you into a sexual tyrannosaurs.

Loaded with Vitamins B and C, plus 5% fruit juice, it’s a morning drink (not an energy drink) that gets your body and your mind higher than BMX pro/stunt cock Mark Mulville off a 10-foot wall at Orlando Skate Park!

Speaking of OSP, (which is what you call it, Brojam), getting there at roughly 7 AM was a serious thing of beauty. The sun had just began to rise, which gave everything a cherubic, surreal glow, and was accompanied by an endless chorus of early morning bird chirping action. It was like a bird mixtape that you made to impress a chick (when you used to do shit like that), except this was played against the backdrop of crisp morning air and the excitement of doing something you had never done before: riding a BMX bike.

Orlando Skate Park

When I first attempted to straddle the BMX, my first concern was for my nutsac. I’m all vasectomied up, so I wasn’t worried about reproductive function being compromised (spray and pray, baby); I was literally worried about crushing my nutsac on the pointy plastic seat. When I asked pro rider Chad DeGroot about the protruding seat, which could tear anal membrane or ball sac-age with equal ease, he said, “Well, you really don’t have to worry because you’re usually standing when you’re on the bike, anyway.”

And with that, I mounted the bike from behind, and rode it, in a rather wobbly way for about 10-15 feet. The bike was really small, my legs felt super long, and the safety of my ballsac was still floating through my mind. Maybe it’s because when I was 13 and playing little league I watched a kid in the on-deck circle take a well hit, yet foul, line drive directly to the nuts which resulted in one of his balls deflating, right there on the field. What a sound!

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