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Cold Souls Review

Cold Souls

Cold Souls is a very interesting concept and a brilliantly performed film. Unfortunately it fell a little short for me. It was a bit on the dull side. I felt this movie could have offered more, but it didn't. In all, is not a bad movie, it just wasn't all that is should've been.

My rating 3.5 Stars

If the technology existed to partially remove a human soul from the body/brain, would you consider it? I guess first you would want to know if it was safe. Won’t removing my soul kill me? No, no, don’t be silly, your body doesn’t need a soul. Just look at all the soulless people running around without a care in the world. Besides, it isn’t possible to remove the entire soul anyway, there’s always a little bit that stays behind, something like 5% or so sticks to the brain like tar and can’t be removed. Yes, removing your soul is a safe and painless procedure. However, what can removing your soul do for you?

Removing your soul is like starting fresh in life, you are no longer bound by your cares and worries. It’s as if you were born again, so to speak. Take the elephant for example. They are strong animals, but you often see them tied to little sticks in the ground. The elephant has more than enough strength to pull that little stick out of the ground without even straining itself. However, when the elephant is young and still weak, humans tie them to sticks in the ground and they are unable to free themselves because they are not strong enough. Eventually the elephant gives up and accepts that it cannot free itself. The elephant grows up thinking that he’ll never be able to break free and so when it’s an adult it doesn’t even try. That stake is a mental block for an elephant. Your soul is a lot like that stake in the ground, it holds you back. It’s a road block to your happiness. Removing your soul is breaking free and opens up endless possibilities.

Curious? Are you wondering what a soul looks like? If you looked at some of the souls that have been acquired in the business you would be surprised that they don’t look anything like you would think. Once outside of the body, your soul takes on shapes of regular objects like: a lump of coal, a feather, water, a chickpea, anything really. But don’t let that worry you, the shape and the size of your soul says nothing about you. And no matter how small the soul is, you will feel an enormous pressure off of you once it is removed.

Of course if you don’t like the idea of being soulless, you can always rent the soul of another person, maybe an actor, or a poet, or an athlete. You will feel what they felt and in a small sense you’d be them, but you will also be yourself. There is no risk. Well, there are a few risks, your soul can be stolen and sold in the black market in Russia. There are also some side effects that may pop up, nothing too dangerous, you just won’t have any physical or emotional feelings, you won’t feel love for anyone or anything, your current relationship may wither and die because you’re not you, but isn’t a fresh start worth any of those side effects and risks? You would do it wouldn’t you? Are you sold now? Good!

Paul Geomatti had his soul removed in the movie Cold Souls and he found out the hard way that we shouldn’t be fucking around with our souls. I don’t want to turn this article into a homily, so I’ll just stick to the premise of the movie and reviewing it. The situation I just described is what Cold Souls is all about. It’s an interesting plot and I was looking forward to seeing this movie however in the end it didn’t quite do it for me. I found it a little dragged out and just a bit dull. The acting was great, I really enjoyed that. I also liked the idea of the movie, but somehow it just didn’t jive for me it felt a little flat, it lacked content and therefore it lacked interest. Cold Souls isn’t a terrible movie in fact it did particularly well with the critics. I wouldn’t tell people not to see this movie, in fact just the opposite, I’d recommend this movie. Just because I didn’t like it doesn’t mean it’s not a good movie. If you like the premise that I describe in this article, you might enjoy the film. In all, I don’t think people will hate it, they may not like it, but no one is going to set it on fire or send Paul threatening notes.

Bandslam Review

Bandslam

Bandslam is a great teen film that is also suited for adults. It's quite a drama about discovering yourself and your potentials. This film has the awful misfortune of having a deceiving name, but don't let the name fool you, this is a great movie, with a great story, and great performances.

My rating 4 Stars

My first impression of Bandslam was, “This is just like School of Rock, but without Jack Black or the adorable and talented children!” My second impression was that of disbelief of how unoriginal the movie was. However, my third impression was how much I was enjoying the movie followed by my fourth impression of how heartwarming and how unique and creative the story turned out to be after all. Bandslam does start out in a very familiar high school setting, but it takes a different road, a high road with a great story and character development. While on its way to the climax it takes you on some unexpected, but scenic turns that lead to an amazing finale.

Like most teen pictures I wasn’t expecting much from this one. However, like I always do, I went in with an open mind and gave the movie the benefit of the doubt. But I still had the idea in the back of my mind that this movie is about high school and God I hated high school! However, more than high school I have always hated movies about it probably because my experience while attending was so awful. However, my intellectual reason for not liking such films are generally because most of the time these movies are avenues to show off hot chicks and bulging hunks making out to the latest pop song, or showing the cliché jock v. geek as they shove another nerd into a locker or smear numbing cream on some loser’s genitals. And let’s not forget the theme of most of these teen movies; get the hot cheerleader into bed. It’s all so boring and I am so glad that I don’t have to watch those kinds of movies now that I am an adult. When I was younger you were considered a real loser if you didn’t watch them. Being an adult has some perks some times.

Bandslam is a little bit different than your average teen movie. The theme wasn’t getting the girl into bed. It was about finding yourself, about discovering who you are. It was about dealing with your fears, your goals, and life. If it’s not overtly clear, I absolutely loved this film. Yes, I was a little disappointed in the beginning for its familiar, almost plagiarizing first act, but I would much rather have a so-so first act and a great second and third than the reverse.

Bandslam is a about a removed from society teen boy who was constantly picked on by practically everyone in his school. However, the movie wasn’t your ordinary nerd/jock relationship. He was not picked on for being a geek. No, the problem was more complicated than that. His father had done something terrible and Will decided to make things right and took responsibility for his father’s actions. A noble thing to do, one that would be looked upon with great favor by adults, but unfortunately it did nothing other than afford him a great deal of humiliation at the hands of young people who didn’t appreciate such actions.

As a result of Will’s action, he alienated himself from everyone and that was fine for him, for a while, but eventually the situation became worse and worse. He wanted to switch schools so badly. Every day when he got home his mother would ask him, “What can I say to you to make you feel better?” “I quit my job and we’re moving away,” he would say in hopes that she would say that back to him. Until one day she surprised him with that very same line. Will got his wish, they moved away to a new school where no one knew him. He got his fresh start and everything was great. Except that when he got to his new school, the old Will was still there. Nothing had really changed and that was very disappointing to him. I don’t know how many times I went through this myself. I could really relate to this poor boy. This is possibly why I loved this movie so much.

Will did the best he could to fit in, but he was petrified when it came to talking to people. His experiences in the previous school had been so traumatizing that they left him almost comatose around others and unable to socialize properly. Lucky for him, he was at the right place at the right time. When Will displayed his knowledge of music to the school band, they automatically made him their band manager.  Will and the leader of the band, Charlotte Barnes, took the band to new heights and they felt that for the first time they had a chance at something special. Charlotte, who used to be a cheerleader who had turned over a new leaf or at least she had tried to, became really good friends with Will. They both cared very much about each other and the band and did everything possible to get them into the famous Battle of the Bands show called Bandslam.

The manager position and Charlotte’s friendship were sources of education for Will. He had changed, for the first time in his life he had acquired self confidence. His mother saw the changes in him; however she was worried that he was headed towards a bad place. She was not a big fan of Charlotte and thought that she was a bad influence and for good reason. Charlotte had a reputation, it didn’t matter that she was trying to change, your rep precedes you. However, Will saw Charlotte for what she was trying to become and she saw so much potential in him. It really was a beautiful relationship that is rarely seen on camera. It had nothing to do with sex or sappy romance, it was a true friendship and the chemistry between the two was outstanding. I really bought that the two were really friends and that neither of them were sexually attracted to each other. It was a totally platonic relationship and they never deviated from that.

Bandslam is one of the best teen movies I have seen in a long time. It is right up there with Adventureland. This is a great film for both adults and young adults. I attribute that to such a great story and characters in the movie. The acting is superb, the comedy is funny and appropriate, this is overall a great movie and I recommend it to just about anyone who has ever set foot in a high school.

The Good: Live Hard, Sell Hard Review

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard

The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard is one of the most pointless movies I have ever seen. It stunk as bad a week old garbage in constant 90 degree heat!

My rating 2 Stars

So far during my experience with my movie reviewing project, I have come across movies that I have loved and movies that I have hated. I have come across movies that make me happy that I’m doing this and I have come across movies that make me question why am I doing this. The funny thing is that sometimes you can tell from the trailers just want kind of movie you’re in for before investing time and money on the film. However, you still have to be careful even after watching the trailers, because sometimes the producers may put all of the funny bits in the trailer just to get your hard earned cash. If all of your movie research comes from trailers you can end up being disappointed most of the time.

As for me, I like to get my information from the quality of the trailer, if the trailer looks good I’ll check out a couple of reviews from trusted sources. The critics that I most trust are: Roger Ebert, Richard Roeper, David Poland, and Anne Thompson. Depending on what they say about the movie, I may consider watching it. This works for me about 80-90 percent of the time, but hey, it’s better than going to see a movie solely on an overpriced trailer where about 80-90 per cent of the time you are being misled.

Then there are those times that I watch the trailer, I listen to the negative comments of my  critics, and yet I still go against my principals and go with my gut instead. I should really stop doing that, first of all my gut doesn’t know much, if it did, I wouldn’t have eaten that whole container of General Tso’s Chicken in one sitting! Blech! I do love that stuff though! Nevertheless, whenever I do that, lo and behold about 90% of the time it turns out I was dead wrong! Again, my gut doesn’t know shit!

A perfect example of this is the dreadful movie The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard. I saw the trailer for the movie and I was intrigued. I heard the reviews, the critics hated it, but it just looked so funny and unique. Plus it had that Korean guy from the Hangover! How bad could it be? Well, it was bad. First of all it wasn’t funny. There was one line that I thought was mildly amusing. A redheaded lady said, “Yes, the rug matches the drapes.” I thought that was pretty clever. However the rest of the movie wasn’t. I was quite bored actually and I kept thinking, “Why isn’t this funny?” There were scenes that should have been hilarious, but it was like they dropped the ball. You heard a joke, but then you could almost feel the flat note almost immediately. It was painful.

It wasn’t for lack of trying, the movie had plenty to be funny about, but it just didn’t take advantage of it. There was the older gentleman vet who had fought in WWII against the Japanese who was obviously prejudiced against anything that wasn’t white. The old man had old values, he treated potential customer couples in the show room as if he were living in the 1950s, addressing only the man and making assumptions about the little lady’s needs. There was the Korean man who kept being accused by this old man of being a Japanese spy. There was a 10 year old boy with a genetic disease that made him look like a strapping young lad. Remember the lady who said that the rug matched the drapes? She wanted to do the 10 year old boy. The owner of the car lot had a dead marriage and wanted to bone the one guy. Another character realized that he had never made love to a woman, he’s had hundreds, even thousand of sexual partners but he had never “made love” and when he finally did he thought making love was extremely boring. There was so much in this movie that could have been hysterical. But they fumbled. I could probably count the number of times I laughed throughout this movie on one hand. And that is not a good thing. I laugh at just about anything. For heaven’s sake I thought Leap Year was funny. If this movie didn’t make me laugh it’s not going to make anyone laugh.

This movie was a failure of massive proportions in every which way possible. I wouldn’t recommend anyone watch this movie, just don’t bother with it. If you want to see a funny movie about used car salesmen rent Used Cars with Kurt Russell. That movie was filmed in 1980s, but I just recently watched it and it is still as funny if not funnier than the first time I watched it almost 20 years ago. If you have The Goods in your Netflix queue it will behoove you to remove it this instance. You will thank me for it.

Spread Review

Spread

Spread has a great character arc to offer but very little else. The story is a little out there, but still somewhat enjoyable. Not a bad effort.

My Review 3 Stars

I don’t know why, because he’s never done anything personal to me and I have never met the kid either, but the fact is that I can’t stand Ashton Kutcher! I just can’t put my finger on it. He’s a good looking kid, he’s not a bad performer, he’s fairly funny and he’s got a lively personality, but I still can’t stand the bastard. If by some miracle Ashton happens to read this post, I’m really sorry, Ashton. It’s nothing personal, but I can’t stand yo’ stank ass! I guess it’s just one of those things. Maybe I am jealous! I’ve got plenty to be jealous of, don’t I? Maybe it’s the fact that he made it a point to reach over a million Twitter followers to try to beat CNN! But why would that bother me, because that is the kind of shit that is wrong with this country. My God, did I step on my soap box again? Time to get off…off the soap box you perv!

Let’s get back to the point at hand. It is going to be very difficult to judge the movie Spread objectively knowing how I feel about him. I’ll do my best!

Spread sucked, don’t watch it!

To be honest, the movie wasn’t that bad. Although, I find it frightening that there are people who are as gullible and as stupid as they are portrayed in the film, so part of me thinks one of two things. Either the people who wrote this script have no freaking clue about the human condition or there really are people that stupid and that gullible in this country? Did I just answer my own question?

So what is so unbelievable about this story? The premise of the movie is people whose lives revolve around taking advantage of others in very unique ways. To explain further let’s use a parable of a hunter and a prey. The Hunter stalks its prey in a crowded field, in this case a party. The hunter is hungry and has no place to stay for the night. He/she has to find the perfect prey, one that he/she could totally take advantage of, otherwise he/she doesn’t eat that night and he/she sleeps on the streets. The hunter is homeless, unemployed, but is very attractive and smooth. The hunter has a knack for reading people and knowing what they like and don’t like and they know what they can and can’t get away with. The hunter will use this to his/her advantage and once he/she finds the right prey he/she moves in for the kill.

The prey is a wealthy person, single, attractive and loves to party. Once the hunter moves in, the prey will attempt to flee, but the hunter knows all the right moves to keep the pray close and convince it to let them go to the prey place. Either the prey is totally impressed or doesn’t know how to say no, in either case the hunter succeeds.

The hunter is now in total control of the prey. He/she can live in the pray’s house, eat their food, throw parties until the day comes that the prey figures out they are being played in which time the prey will throw the hunter out and the cycle starts all over again.

This is the premise of the movie and I find it hard to believe that there are people that gullible and blind, but when I listen to people talk favorably of Glenn Beck and/or Sarah Palin, I have to wonder. I had to put that rational thought out of my mind to be able to appreciate the movie. After I did that, the movie became a bit more bearable and I saw that Ashton is actually a pretty decent actor.

The movie reminded me a lot of Bright Lights Big City, a Michael J. Fox movie from the late 80s. It was a story of rich, over achievers with too much time and money on their hands whose idea of fun is destroying themselves with drugs. Instead of drugs, the weapon of choice in Spread was sex and here enters my second biggest problem with this film; it was practically soft core porn. The film was extremely graphic and I question that it needed to be so. I’m not a prude, but do we really need to see Ashton slowly rub some chick’s nipples?

Those two points, and they are very strong in my opinion, would’ve rendered this movie unwatchable, however, the character arc in the movie was extremely well done and I loved the direction that the director took the movie in the end. However, I still wouldn’t recommend most people watch this film, but I also wouldn’t tell people not to watch it. If you enjoy movies like Less than Zero, Bright Lights and the like, then you might appreciate this film.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil Review

Anvil! The Story of Anvil

Anvil! The Story of Anvil is the story of a failed Heavy Metal band that refuses to give up even after 30 years of being knocked down. It is the ultimate "Don't Give Up!" story. It is a wonderful documentary that refuses to mock or ridicule the band. Nicely done!

My review 4 Stars

If you grew up in the 80’s you were probably a fan of heavy metal music or at least you were familiar with the genre. If you are a fan you probably listen to bands like Metallica, Mega Death, Slayer, Black Sabbath, among many others. If you were a diehard fan you probably even listened to or heard of a band called Anvil. If you are an 80’s child and never heard of a band called Anvil, don’t be disappointed, nobody did!

Anvil is a heavy metal band that started in the late 70’s in Toronto, Canada. The two main band members (at least the two that were featured most in the documentary) Lips and Geza met in high school and formed the group out of their garage—just like many great heavy metal bands of the time. However, unlike all of the great heavy metal bands, Anvil never really made it. They did record several mildly successful albums and they did have a following of fans, but the one thing that they never accomplished was the fame and glory that all of the other groups achieved. They never went platinum, they never even went gold. What happened? If you ask me it’s because they sucked! But what do I know? I am not a big heavy metal fan.

It has been over 30 years since the band first got together and once again the band once again got together to record a new album and went on tour to promote their new work. However, this wasn’t a comeback tour. This wasn’t a reunion either. The band never broke up, they just never made it, but God bless them for trying. For more than thirty years they have tried and tried and tried. It’s the epitome of never give up!

Anvil started playing when they were in their teens and never looked back. They are in their fifties now and they are still rocking with the same vigor and energy they had when they were younger. My only thought is, is this something to admire, or is this something to pity?  I asked myself the same thing upon seeing the documentary that was independently produced by Sacha Gervasi about the band Anvil, The Story of Anvil.

The documentary is a close and personal look at the current life of the both of these two individuals and the band. The film showed us the life they lived and they life they live now and ironically they are not all that different. Since the band has never made it big these guys live their life in debt, working regular low wages jobs since they never graduated from high school.  They are and practically living hand to mouth.

What did I learn from watching this film? I learned that Lips is not the smartest man in the world, but he has passion and abundant spirit. I learned that he loves music so much that he’ll do just about anything to play. I learned that his friend and his family are more important to him than fame and fortune. I admire that, I wish more people were like that, though I can’t imagine much would get done if more people were like him.

I also learned that Geza loves his friend as much as a man can love another man without being gay. He has stuck it out with his friend for more than 30 years and has no intentions on giving up on him ever. Friendships like that are so rare in life let alone in the music industry. Lips should realize that maybe he hasn’t made in the music business, but he surely made it in life. He does what he loves to do, he has loyal and great friends, he has an understanding wife who supports and loves him, what else could a man want?

About the documentary itself, I thought it was well done. I thought the filmmakers did a great job at keeping their opinions to themselves and letting the audience make up their own minds. They brought to the audience different points of view of both individual lives to help us understand who these two men really were. There was no judgment that protruded from the film and that to me was a breath of fresh air. This film could had easily turned into a let’s poke fun at these giant losers! But it didn’t. This was a nice piece of filmmaking and I would recommend it to any fan of music or any fan of human interest.

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