Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Spread (2009)

Spread is a film starring Ashton Kutcher and Anne Heche (among other lesser-known actors) about a Hollywood hustler and ladies man who comes face to face with his own hustler mortality. I first learned of the film through Howard Stern, who mentioned that it was surprisingly good. He also mentioned the abundant nudity, including some impressive full frontal nudity by Anne Heche (actually, not entirely "full", but a whole lot shown anyway). After watching the movie on my iTouch over the course of a week in 15-20 minute spurts (um, that's time units), I was actually very impressed. The movie has a fair bit of sexuality, but even moreso, it has some great acting by its principal cast, a surprisingly refreshing pace, and a strong story.

The film stars Ashton Kutcher, principally, and whereas he showed some acting chops in films like the Butterfly Effect, his acting reached a new level in Spread. He played a character that would seem like an easy fit: a would-be somebody who has resigned himself to hooking up with slightly older, successful women as sort of a long con to live the amazing lifestyle he wishes he could earn on his own. He also has left a trail of younger, naive L.A.-newbies in his wake, who he cons for sex by acting like the owner of the high-flying lifestyle he's conned off of the rich cougars.

We first meet Kutcher's character as he's working a party. By all appearances, he looks like a guy who has it all, but we learn quickly that he is homeless, as he decides to run a long con on Anne Heche's successful older woman to earn himself a bed, some new clothes, and an overall fantastic lifestyle. Kutcher's character narrates some of the aspects of the con, which adds both a clever styling to the film and an insight into what makes Kutcher's character tick.

After successfully infiltrating Heche's home, we get a decent amount of hot sex scenes. I never found Heche terribly attractive, but she's clearly aged well, and looks stunning as she enjoys her younger man. Heche has numerous nude scenes and all are more than impressive.

Of course, if that was all there was to the movie, there wouldn't be much. Kutcher's character meets a new love interest and the story takes a turn. Whereas it could easily seem out of character for Kutcher the hustler to suddenly change his ways, Kutcher handles it extremely well and takes you along his journey of change. I don't want to give too much away, because the way it plays out is rather interesting and surprising, and the ending does a nice job of wrapping up the story without being too "Hollywood" or forced. In fact, the ending in and of itself is a revelation, but that's all I feel comfortable saying.

If you are looking for a date movie, Spread is probably a good bet. There's Ashton Kutcher for the chicks, several naked chicks for the guys, a love story of sorts for the ladies, and several naked chicks for the guys. It'll also probably help set the mood. And if that doesn't work, there's always chloroform!

What's Important At Home?

I'm a bit of a tech lover. I'm not a first-adopter by any means. I'm quite content to let new technology go through a couple cycles to work out the kinks and lower the price before I jump in. But once I commit to adding to my technology hoard, I go for quality and value.

So over time I've built up my home theatre setup. Every time I upgrade something, I'm swept up in the excitement and start running through my movie collection.

My most recent purchase was a 50" plasma beauty. Speaking subjectively, the image produced isn't noticeably better than the 34" widescreen 1080i CRT I had in that place before, and standard-def TV is actually a touch worse at times, but it's bigger, and better-looking.

But the TV has never been what's impressed me the most in a setup - it's the sound.

I've had a 7.1 system for a while, but wasn't able to utilize it properly until early this year when I updated my receiver and added a Blu-ray player. And it was the biggest thing I noticed.

Same with friends who have sat on my couch to watch. They may politely comment on how great the picture looks, but in reality it's a minor step up from an upsampled DVD. No, the big moment is when something happens behind them and the right, or they snap their head to follow whatever the hell just shot across the room, or they feel the floor rumble as something goes boom.

And I can't count the number of times I look behind me to see what's going on in the kitchen during a baseball or hockey game, only to realize it's the guy behind the mic at the stadium clapping.

Yah, it's the audio that sells me on home entertainment. Theatres push their 17 speakers, but I find the surround aspect in a theatre gets lost in the space. At home, it's more intimate, and somehow more real. I'm not about to stop seeing the big sci-fi/action epics on the giant screen, but they hold a whole different appeal at home now.

So what's important to you at home? The big screen? The crisp picture? The solid colours? The sound? Or the fact you can pause to go to the bathroom and then refill your popcorn on the way back?

Friday, November 13, 2009

2012 -

Well... I just came back from watching 2012. I happened upon the movie by taking my 11 year old daughter and two of her friends to see Amelia. Fortunately, they are of age where "dad" isn't allowed to stay with them on nights out.

So why they watched Amelia, I went and saw 2012. By myself.

The first two hours lived up to all the hype. The special effects were awesome. The story line was believable. There was very serious, contemplative aspects to the plot. There was also very timely placed humor. All of which made for a very enjoyable movie.

Unfortunately, the film was 3 hours long. It was in this last hour that, for me, the movie fell apart. It became almost ridiculous. The goings on made it feel like a sci fi movie more than a human survival story.

All credibility in the film makers integrity was lost. It just seemed that they were reaching for an ending. An ending that would have been made a 100 x's better if everyone had just died. For me, the point of an end of the world movie is that the world ends. All of it. not just the earth itself, but all of it's inhabitants.

My recommendation? Must see. But not until you have nothing better to do on a rainy, boring, Saturday night in the dead of winter. Which is about how early I see this movie being released to DVD. My apologies to Goat for previous entries :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Your Sporadic Dose Of Awesome

Let's be clear, here. The Beastie Boys' classic hit Sabotage makes everything better by a factor of 12.47.

Proof.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Character Interactions (XKCD)

You read XKCD, right? Why not?

Today's comic attempts to graph character interactions in movies. As usual, it has some of the funny in there. Especially if you've seen Primer.

Go forth and read!