Monday, August 26, 2013


On Saturday night, I saw Sharnado, starring Ian Ziering and Cassie Scerbo.

Fin (Ziering) runs a bar on the Santa Monica pier and surfs in his spare time. Nova (Scerbo) serves drinks at his bar and becomes nervous when he heads out to the waves during a horrific storm.

Soon, the storm—California's first hurricane—takes over the whole city and Fin must race to save his family.

His estranged wife April (Tara Reid) resists his help until a shark makes its way into her home (yes, you read that right). Then, it's off to save their son who is across town at flight school. With their high maintenance teenage daughter in tow, as well.

If this sounds absurd, that's because it is. And shamelessly so. In fact, it's so camp-tastic that the crowd we were with in the theater hollered throughout the entire film and it didn't even bother me. In fact, I found that it added to the festive atmosphere.

Of course, the most exciting part of the film comes when the tornadoes form and of course, they form with sharks inside of them. If I wasn't laughing so hard, I may have been slightly scared.

Even more hilarious is the way they combat the tornadoes, but I don't want to spoil anything, so I won't be specific. Just know that I was in hysterics at their scientific solution.

Really folks, it doesn't get any cheesier or any funnier than Sharknado. I can hardly wait for the sequel.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


Yesterday I saw Jobs, starring Ashton Kutcher and Dermot Mulroney.

Steve Jobs (Kutcher) reigns as the most celebrated innovator in modern technology. As the man behind the Apple computer empire, Jobs wasn't known for being nice, but he was often referred to as a genius.

The film begins in his college years, as he experimented with drugs at a college in Oregon famous for its hippie culture. We see the visionary he became start to blossom at this time.

As he builds Apple with a couple of buddies in his parents' garage, the spark of something "great" is evident.

Investor Mike Markkula (Mulroney) recognizes this spark and foots the bill for getting the company off the ground. Once it's up and running, Jobs begins acting like a tyrant and develops a reputation for driving his teams too hard.

As someone with a background in marketing, I can appreciate Jobs' misunderstood passion and the frustration he must have encountered in people who didn't care about more than getting a paycheck. I found some of the scenes almost physically painful to watch because situations like his play out all the time in our industry.

Anyway, Ashton captures Jobs incredibly well—from the explosive temper to the distinctive walk, he nails him. All of the supporting characters do just fine as well. In fact, I'm not quite sure why so many critics are spewing such hatred for this film. Perhaps a buried resentment for the real guy? Who knows.

The only thing about the movie that truly disappointed me was that with few exceptions, Jobs' family life was totally ignored (including everything regarding his adoption), and we only got as far as him taking back the company.

For a man who gave so much to this world (including the MacBook Pro upon which I am now typing),  it seems like his entire life should have been covered.

But maybe that's what the rival Steve Jobs movie will deliver, with Aaron Sorkin's writing to boot.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Blue Jasmine

Yesterday I saw Blue Jasmine, starring Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins.

Jeanette (Blanchette) changed her name to Jasmine years ago because her given name wasn't elegant enough. It seems everything in her life needs to be coated in luxury for her to feel normal.

She meets Hal (Alec Baldwin), a wealthy businessman, marries him and lives a charmed life in Manhattan until her world falls out from under her when he's arrested for a white collar crime.

Broke and directionless, she attempts to start over in San Francisco where her sister Ginger (Hawkins) lives a much more middle class life.

A black comedy with the darkest of undertones, the absurdity of Jasmine's grief often gets the biggest laughs, as her mourning focuses more on the material things she lost than the husband she loved.

Blanchett gives an Oscar-worthy performance as a woman on the brink of cracking, popping pills and offering a healthy amount of product placement for Stoli vodka. She's both funny and tragic; ridiculous in most scenes, but still genuine enough to garner sympathy from the audience.

The supporting cast is nothing short of brilliant as well—Hawkins is a down-to-earth sister with more patience for her sibling than most would have; Bobby Cannavale and Louis C.K. prove appropriately comical as her suitors. As usual, Baldwin is perfectly cast as the slimy former husband.

Allen is on a roll—Midnight in Paris, To Rome with Love and now this. Satisfying, delightful stories with colorful characters coming to life.


Sunday, August 04, 2013


Today I saw the documentary Blackfish, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite.
A visit to SeaWorld is something millions of Americans enjoy each year. But every so often, a story will make the news about one of the trainers getting injured—or worse killed—and the question comes back: Should we be holding these whales and dolphins in captivity for our own entertainment?
After watching this film, the answer is a resounding "no."
The piece traces the life of one orca, Tilikum, who has killed three humans since humans took him hostage as a two-year-old in 1983. Unlike domesticated dogs who are put down when they kill, Tilikum sees no such punishment, as his sperm is valuable for the breeding plans of the corporation.
What's more nauseating is that the most recent murder was blamed on the victim. I won't get into specifics (in case you haven't heard the story, I fear I'd spoil it), but the whole situation is nothing short of infuriating.
Several former SeaWorld trainers are interviewed here, expressing their horror at the deaths and the lack of real instruction they had going into their jobs (apparently, it was more important that they be physically fit than know anything concrete about the whales). It really is astonishing that more employees haven't been killed, as the accident list is incredibly lengthy.
There are several arguments for why humans shouldn't imprison whales, but the most compelling evidence presented in this film is the testing that was conducted on their brains and the emotional component that was discovered. Put simply: they're like us. They stay with their families. They feel things. They don't want to be kidnapped or trapped or starved just so they'll perform tricks.
Even if you're not an orca lover, you'll feel moved to take action when you see this film, and see it you should.