Review Grab Bag (1-5-15)

Grab Bag 1 5 15

Happy New Year, folks.  It’s 2015 and after an 18 month hiatus, the Review Grab Bag is back.   If you don’t remember, or didn’t realize in the first place, the RGB is where I throw up a paragraph or two about stuff that I have something to say about, but not much of a something.  This time around we take a look at 3 Sci-Fi movies that have very little in common, and an Atari 2600 cult classic.

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In a World… (2013)

In_a_World_poster[1]Somewhere, a while ago, I saw Lake Bell–or maybe Rob Cordry? I don’t know.  I saw someone, damn it–talking about this movie to someone… Conan, Ferguson, Jon Stewart?  Fuckin’ vague memories.  I hate ‘em.  Whenever it was, I filed it away in the mental file marked, “That Sounds Interesting To Me, But Not Enough To Ever Seek It Out.”  And that’s why whoever photoshopped the movie poster for this one is a mother fucking genius.

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Mario Kart 8 (Wii U)

Mario Kart 8Another Nintendo console means another installment of the definitive Kart Racing franchise.  Mario, Bowser, Donkey Kong and their friends return to the Rainbow Road in Mario Kart 8.  Like every home console version that’s come before it, Mario Kart 8 tries to keep its style while adding new gameplay elements, tracks, characters and functionality.

Since I was disappointed in the Gamecube release Mario Kart Double Dash I ended up skipping the Wii release, and having never owned any flavour of DS handheld, it’s been a while since I really spun my wheels in a Mario Kart game at all.  With that said, for me, Mario Kart 8 is a return to form.

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John Wick (2014)

John WickJohn Wick, or Keanu Reeves Kills Everyone or Tonight We’re Going to Movie Like It’s 1999, is the story of what happens when you kill an ex-assassin’s dog.  Turns out, it’s just about exactly as wise as you might think it is.

John Wick has everything that’s been missing from the action movies I’ve been watching for about 15 years now.  Lots of action, head shots, blood and brains splattering faces and walls, violence, revenge, deaths, dog killing, Daniel “Not JCVD” Bernhardt, Marilyn Manson on the soundtrack…  for better or worse, John Wick is a return to the mid-late 90s, and I for one welcome it.

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The Boondock Saints (1999)

Boondock04Gerry Parkes, Doc from Fraggle Rock, passed away this past week.  I’ve got a huge soft spot for that character and that show.  Parkes’ death was the catalyst that finally got me to sit down and watch a movie that’s been on and off my radar for, apparently, about 15 years.

The Boondock Saints follows the story of two very Irish Catholic brothers, Young Indiana Powder and Daryl Dixon, who decide after narrowly escaping some Russian mobsters–and a divine epiphany–that they should start killing really bad guys.  Willem Dafoe plays an FBI agent who specializes in Organized Crime.  Dafoe becomes more and more frustrated at his inability to catch the assassins who seem to simultaneously be ridiculously lucky bungling oafs, and criminal mastermind vigilantes.

The movie walks a line between a mediocre action film on a tight budget that tries to be over-the-top, and a surprisingly good dark comedy.  I think it works much better when viewed as the latter than the former.

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Annabelle (2014)

AnnabelleCoverAs of last Tuesday, the old man and I had been out to see one movie in the last year.  It was that possession movie with Jeff Winger in it as a tough guy.  We enjoyed it, but being forced to say that’s the best movie we’ve seen together in a year is pretty much a fucking travesty.  Theatrically released horror movies are so few and far between now we hardly get out to see anything.  When something does come along, Real Life™ comes along and kicks one of us in the balls.

So, when we saw previews for a movie with a possessed doll that looks creepy as fuck we honestly didn’t expect to be able to get out to it.  However, the stars and planets aligned and Real Life™ chose to leave our balls alone for a week.  Or so we thought.

It turns out that last week, Annabelle was our kick in the balls.

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Lauren Myracle’s “ttyl”

301023[1]I am not the target audience for this book. I’m so fucking far from the target audience of this book, I should have never even picked it up. But I needed something to round out 10 books for $10 at Salvation Army, and this intrigued me.

I remember seeing the cover and thinking, “What the fuck is this shit?” Bright pink with cutouts around some emoticons and the title is “ttyl”? Ugh. Then I opened it to find bright blue Comic Sans staring me in the face. Comic Sans?

Again, “What the fuck is this shit?” The section I opened to seemed to be a book laid out to look like a Messenger chat-log. I flipped through the pages. Once more, “What the fuck is this shit?” It’s not just one section.

I passed it over to my now-ex but then-wife, Mel. “Have you seen this shit? What the fuck?”

“That’s the stupidest looking book I’ve ever seen. You should buy it,” she said.

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Happy “Bring Your Man-E-Faces To Work” Day!

The first Tuesday after Labour Day is “Bring Your Man-E-Faces to Work” Day.  Those quotation marks seem unnecessary, but I didn’t make the title of the Facebook page, so don’t blame me.

Man-E-Faces was happy to join me at the shop today.

Here's Man-E-Faces checking the oil on an Ancient Eternian Relic... an '86 Civic.

Here’s Man-E-Faces checking the oil on an Ancient Eternian Relic… an ’86 Civic.

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Oculus (2013)

OculusOculus is a suspense/horror movie from writer/director Mike Flanagan.  It jumps back and forth telling the horrific story of the Russell family, both in present day, and 12 years ago.  Tim Russell (Brenton Thwaites) has finally been released from a mental hospital following past events.  His sister Kaylie (Amy Pond Karen Gillan) is convinced a haunted antique mirror was the source of their family’s troubles, and is determined to prove it.  Reluctantly, Tim helps her in her plan, expecting what she really needs is help letting go of the past.

I think my expectations were a tad too high for this one.  I remember being moderately intrigued by the trailers, but never getting a chance to see it in theatres.  Moderate levels of praise kept my expectations tempered in the interim.  After learning Flanagan has been given a chance to write and direct Stephen King’s completely unfilmable Gerald’s Game, and that some people thought he was a good choice–largely because of this movie–it moved to the top of my To-See list.

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