Friday, November 6, 2009


Somehow I missed this movie completely when it came out a year or so ago. I probably dismissed it as just another crappy pseudo-thriller but I have to give Taken some props. It was really enjoyable...right up to the end where it kind of tanked for me. More on that below.

In Taken, Neeson plays a down-on-his luck former government agent whose daughter is kidnapped from her “I’m a rich white girl following U2 all summer” European tour to be presumably sold into a human sex trafficking ring. Neeson’s Bryan Mills kicks into high gear to cunningly find and take down every person involved in the kidnapping of his daughter.

Taken is a formula thriller but somehow it worked for me. Maybe it was because there was no dramatic “reveal” of the bad guy. We know pretty much from the start who it is and we just get to sit back and watch Liam Neeson kick ass and take names until he finds him.

What works for the film is how much I have a huge crush on Liam Neeson, making me blind to any fault he might have in acting, and blind to many faults in the script. Also, there’s a lot of good fighting and vanquishing of bad guys that makes it fun to watch.

What’s bad? Well, here goes…
1. His daughter? Seriously, that was some horrific acting. Like every time she ran to give her dad or mom a hug it resembled a five-year-old running to a giant lollipop. SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD-GIRLS DO NOT RUN LIKE THAT. Ever. And they hate their parents. They scowl. There is a good deal of eye rolling. They don’t make goofy arms-out-flappy-legs-dances up to their mommies.

2. Mills’ ex-wife, played by Famke Jannsen. Her character was trite, poorly written and about as formulaic as it can get. She was upset that her daughter was kidnapped! No! I can’t believe it!

3. The ending. Oh, Taken. You had me right up until the end. I don’t want to give anything away but let’s just say that the ending was full of body count and not so full of dialogue. It just wrapped up so abruptly I felt like we never go the chance to feel very vanquished. And then that goddamn daughter did another one of those goofy runs and I just had to shut the whole thing off. It’s a good thing Liam Neeson is so incredibly, terribly dashing or I might have hated it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Away We Go

Away We Go is one of those movies that feels like it’s a studio movie masquerading as an independent film. More polished than a true indy – too rough to be Hollywood. Unfortunately, it falls into the trap of being a melancholy movie with an interesting soundtrack and not much else happening for the whole damn film -- except a lot of eloquent conversations that real people never have.

The film centers on a young, driftless couple who find themselves pregnant and in search of a place to call home. The movie follows them on a vast road trip where they audition cities in which to lay down roots. Along the way, we meet an amusing cast of characters who steal the show from the drab, chemistry-challenged leads, Maya Rudolph and John Krasinski [who plays Jim from The Office with a scruffier beard. What a marvel of costuming!]

That being said, Away we Go is enjoyable and is probably worth watching for Maggie Gyllenhaal’s insanely crunchy-granola-toddler-breastfeeding-hippie mama character alone. If you’ve ever encountered one of those family-bed fascists in your own life, you will squeal with delight at how pompous and self-righteous she is. "Do you plan to hide your lovemaking from your children?" she asks Maya Rudolph with an air of implied reproach when she questions how they all sleep in one bed together. Another notable cameo is Allison Janney who is just terrific as usual playing a loudmouthed, booze-soaked cougar. She’s dynamite. Go rent it, you’ll enjoy it.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Sit down.
Are you there?
Because I have an announcement:

Mike Tyson is going to melt your cold, dark heart.

Don’t believe me? Then sit through this new documentary, Tyson. I promise you that you’ll find your heart filling with gooey Mike Tyson mush.

Mike Tyson isn’t easy to love – for most of my life I considered him just one step above a housetrained animal. After all, this was boxing’s bad boy who attacked his opponents with brutal ferocity, bit his rivals and raped women on the side. The Tyson documentary is a chance to look behind the headlines and understand what fueled Mike to make the choices he did.

He is so incredibly candid, humble and reflective in this documentary that you can’t help but find yourself in his proverbial corner. In talking about the tabloid frenzy that was his marriage to Robin Givens, Tyson sagely reminds us that in the end, they were just kids who didn’t have any business being married so young (age 20!).

Consisting only of direct interviews with Tyson and intermixed with photos and footage of his career, Tyson traces his blazing rise and furious descent from fame and glory. And I mean nothing is held back. He speaks about his personal life and his professional life with complete candor. All the machismo and charisma is stripped away and he doesn’t shy away from any subject, even coming to tears a few times and discussing the inherent fear that drove him to many of his bad decisions. And dare I say it; he speaks with great intelligence and even eloquence at points.

Although, I did do a double-take at one point when discussing his alleged rape of Desiree Washington (which he still denies), Mike said something to the effect of, “I’m not saying I never took advantage of other women, but I did not take advantage of her.”

Head whip…
Did he just admit that he raped other women? Or maybe he just like drank milk out of their refrigerators while they were sleeping?


In the end, I walked away feeling like Mike Tyson The Famous Boxer is now Mike Tyson The Very Humbled and Damaged Person. I for one am rooting for a second chance.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Gran Torino

First of all, Gran Torino is a car, not a desert city in California like I believed it was for some unknown reason.

Second, you will spend the first hour of this movie wondering if Clint Eastwood lost his mind in some sort of Geriatric Dirty Harry bout of dementia. There is no other way to explain the great lengths he goes to in order to demonstrate FOR AN ENTIRE HOUR that his character Walt Kowalski is:
a) Old
b) Codgety
c) Racist
d) Prone to facial twitches
I think we pretty much had that nailed down in the first five minutes of the film, Mr. Eastwood.

Third, you will think the second hour of the film is a complete turnaround. It was completely redeemed for me, although I did find it a bit hard to believe that Eastwood's surly Walt Kowalski would so easily befriend his Asian neighbors, Sue and Thao. Still, there are a lot of touching moments and the end truly surprised me, although I was kind of jonesing for a true Dirty Harry-takes-down-the-bad-guys bloodletting.

Finally, you will be amazed that anyone let Clint Eastwood walk in front of a camera wearing sweatpants pulled up to his armpits. That's Dirty Harry y'all. Someone should have put a stop to that.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

And we're back among the living

What a summer it's been for our beloved TV. Here's what we did in a nutshell:

LOVED HBO's TrueBlood. Like I-AM-A-TOTAL-NERD-FOR-VAMPIRES loved it. Hot southern gentleman vampire? You can't go wrong with that. Sure, the first few episode are a little vamporny, but I still love it.

HATED HBO's The Tudors and Rome. Oh, wanted to love them. Tried to love them. But had to admit they just suck. Here's an example: in The Tudors, all the drama and intrigue surrounds whether or not King Henry will leave Catherine of Aragon for Ann Boleyn. Um, excuse me, but WE ALREADY KNOW HOW THIS ENDS. You are just telling a history lesson here. And not very well. As for Rome, well, it's just a little too 'old men wearing dresses and talking politics' for me.

WATCHED a fabulous documentary on steroids, Bigger, Stronger, Faster. Very entertaining. Also watched a devastating documentary, Dear Zachary. It's decent, but I'm telling you, you don't want to see this. It will make you weep. Dead children. 'Nuff said.

BECAME ADDICTED TO Mad Men. Right? I know, we're possibly the last people on earth who work in advertising to watch this show, and we should have our membership revoked for taking so long. All the same, I died when Betty Draper didn't bat an eyelash at her daughter playing inside a plastic drycleaning bag. My mom did the same thing. Props, Betty.

EH could have done without both Slumdog Millionaire (predictable and cloying) and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (shades of Forest Gump all over it and we don't need another Forest Gump). Did I mention BB is approximately 14 hours long?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Queue is Taking a Hiatus

Hi Readers, sorry it's been so long since my last post but a lot has been afoot at the Queue household. New job. New baby. New sleepless nights. We're still watching movies but between the screaming toddler and the constantly-feeding newborn, I'm calling myself lucky if I manage to walk out to get the mail every day.

I'll return, I promise, and in the mean time:
-Liked but didn't love The Wrestler
-Found Revolutionary Road predictable and such a bummer
-Loved the documentary Bigger, Stronger, Faster
-Tried watching In Treatment but found it tedious and just couldn't commit
-Am about to watch the first disc of True Blood and am really excited for it in a dorky vampire sort of way


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ricky Gervais: Out of England

A rule to live by: when Ricky Gervais does a comedy special, rent it.
Motley Queue