New NRA Ad

Okay, I’m trying to keep my blog light, but I just saw a new ad by the NRA with some woman who got raped talking about how she was afraid of guns before she was attacked and now has seen ‘the light’ and has become a gun advocate. She claims that the right to bear arms is at risk in this election. First off, No it isn’t. Hillary is not after your precious guns anymore than Obama was. All that is being offered are some common sense gun safety laws that would keep military grade weaponry off the streets, close up the gun show loophole and enact more stringent background checks before the purchase of guns. I honestly don’t know what the NRA’s objections to these guidelines are. So much opposition to common sense laws that will keep everyone safe. If you’re on the no-fly list, why should you be allowed to have a gun. Too dangerous to fly but it’s A-OK for you to have a gun? I also don’t understand why the NRA makes such a leap in logic. Gun safety laws = taking our rights away to them. I get that they’re trying to hold onto their grip on our law makers. They don’t want to give up their power and if any gun safety measures ever get through, it’ll be a downward slide for them. They will lose their clout and the ability to control our congressmen and senators, but I think that would be good. Most of them are a bunch of uneducated, paranoid reactionary freaks who for their guns before thinking.  Is that the world we want? Do we want to go back to the wild west? Gun fight in the streets? Daily mass shootings? How many dead will it take before the NRA sees that something has to be done in order to protect the people? We need driver’s licenses to drive cars. Why not apply that to guns? Regular testing. Annual registrations. Keep on top of those out there who are carrying around tools of death, because that’s what they are. Guns are designed to kill and only kill. Anyone who really believes in gun safety should agree that these measures are not violations of their rights and are completely reasonable methods by which to ensure public safety. We are not animals ruled by our fear. We have the ability to reason and think. There also other methods of self defense. Pepper spray. Tazers. Basic self defense. I’d like to know what would have happened to that woman if she did have a gun and her rapist found it. Then you’d be raped and killed. A gun does not guarantee safety. In fact, its presence increases your chance of death. You think it won’t happen to you. You know better. There are plenty of people buried who thought just like you do. The average gun owner may be willing to bet their life on that weapon, but I’m not, and my life isn’t yours to wager on.

Bad Moms

Bad Moms, a new comedy starring Mila Kunis, Kathryn Hahn, Kristin Bell and Christina Applegate, opens this weekend and it is anything but. Mila stars as Amy, a put upon mom who tries her hardest to balance all aspects of her life but falls short. When the pressures get to her, she takes a stand and says ‘no’ to the expectations others have heaped upon her. She meets a couple of fellow moms who, like her, are tired of the judgement and together they set out to flip the script and start enjoying life. This doesn’t set right with the PTA queen bee (Applegate) and when Amy’s daughter gets benched on her soccer team, the gloves come off and the battle for leadership of the PTA is on!

Amy’s journey is one of rediscovery and she soon finds out what she’s been missing during all the years she spent trying to be perfect. The trio of moms are perfectly cast with Hahn as the boisterous one, Bell as the meek one and Kunis who is a perfect balance of the two. The script pulls no punches and treats the humor of motherhood honestly and with great skill. Mila Kunis emerges as a capable leading lady who can hold the film together and go from laugh out loud funny to heartbreakingly real. Christina Applegate is the PTA perfect  mom you love to hate, always accompanied by her two hench-moms.

A solid, balanced script keeps the laughs coming and the three moms have you rooting for them from the first moment you meet them, and the hot dad is definitely to die for. Just saying. Go get you ‘Mom’ on!

Audience: The audience for this show wasn’t too bad. A little chatty here and there but nothing disruptive. I could tell that the majority of the women there were moms themselves, judging by their enthusiastic reactions. The only real distraction was a couple in the row in front of me who seemed more interested in making out than watching the movie. If you don’t have any place to make out with your date, at least get seats in the back of the auditorium. Have that much courtesy please.

Batman : The Killing Joke

Anyone familiar with the original graphic novel The Killing Joke must be thrilled that it is being given the animated treatment and I’m glad to say that they have every reason to be. I read the book written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Brian Bolland and like everyone else who has read it, loved it. It is a stark, gritty and disturbing glimpse at Batman’s most famous arch enemy. It painted a tragic portrait of a broken man pushed to the brink and falling into a dark pit of insanity, forever transforming not only his life, but the lives of many others in the future.

While the art of the movie doesn’t compare to Brian Bolland’s artwork, it is nonetheless effective. The story is deepened for context and it makes the entire project all the richer for it. I don’t want to give anything away, but let’s just say it offers us an aspect of the original story we were not aware of before. I’ve always been a big fan of the DC animated movies, as they are usually superior to their live action offerings, and this one hits all the marks. The best part is the return of voice talents Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill in the roles of Batman and The Joker, respectively. With their work on the original Batman TAS, they have pretty much marked the characters as theirs and they fail to disappoint once more. Mr. Conroy’s voice is getting darker and smokier (a word?) as the years go by and Mark Hamill really knows how to bring The Joker to life. Tara Strong joins the cast as the voice of Barbara Gordon/Batgirl and she has some pretty choice moments, proving that she should get her own feature soon. We’ve only scratched the surface of Ms. Gordon.

The animation had its rough spots, but on average is was one of DC’s better efforts and did the source material justice. The script followed the story near perfectly but still was able to afford a few surprises here and there. When I first read the book, I honestly could see it in an animated format. I envisioned it, but in those days the best animation I had seen up to that point was ‘The Real Ghostbusters’ so what I saw in my head was vastly different than  what I saw tonight, but I think that’s for the best. This was a special engagement, but the movie will be released on video I think this week or next, and I strongly urge you to get a copy. Any animated Batman movie deserves a place in your video collection, but this one in particular. It’s a seminal work, and while you’re at it, go and try and get a copy of the graphic novel as well. As good as the movie was (and it was) the book is a whole other experience and Alan Moore is one of the best writers the industry has ever had the privilege to witness and paired with the exceptional images from Brian Bolland, it becomes a  masterwork of literature of any kind.

Audience: I’m pleased to say that this audience came to this show with great respect for the work and there was no chatter or phone ringing. A rarity in this day and age, but then I was stuck two rows from the screen so maybe I just didn’t hear them.

Star Trek : Beyond

The third entry in the J.J. Abrams Star Trek franchise opens this weekend and as far as fun summer blockbuster fare goes, this one hits the spot. I admit I wasn’t totally sure about seeing this one based on the less than ambitious trailer, but I’m glad I did see it. Chris Pine returns as Capt. James T. Kirk as he helms the Enterprise and her crew through another amazing space adventure. He feels the weight of his command and at a point where he questions what he’s doing with his life, an alien creature is found and she needs help. In their effort to help, the Enterprise is attacked by a formidable force led by a warrior known as Krall and he seems to have an intense interest in destroying The United Federation of Planets. Stranded on an alien world with no ship, no weapons and no idea what they’re up against, Kirk and company pull together and set out to stop the bad buy, and save the galaxy in the process.

The returning cast slip into their roles with ease and exhibit the same palpable chemistry that has made the previous two films so successful. Once more Star Trek fulfills Mr. Roddenberry’s vision and shows once more a future where people live together in peace despite their differences. A universe where humanity has finally reached a point where we realize that we are all the same under the skin and we all strive for peace and work towards a future for all. The diversity in the movie is slipped in so easily and casually, you wonder why the real world can’t work like that.

Some highlights of the script, co-written by Simon Peg who of course also portrays Scottie, is the back and forth between the logical Spock and the hot headed Bones, making them a team up that can’t be beat. Chris Pine shines as Kirk. Handsome and daring, a worthy successor to Shatner. Speaking as someone is not a hardcore Star Trek fan, I enjoyed this film, although I have to note there did seem to be a certain decrease in enthusiasm overall in the movie. It’s hard to pinpoint, but maybe the actors or some behind the camera are feeling static in the franchise and there may be call for a shake up in the future. The action is fast and keeps the pace of the movie going. Nothing too jaw dropping I must admit, but on the whole this seemed to be a smaller story compared to the last two films. The film is full of novel ideas and innovative concepts that I’m sure will be built on more in the future and at its core, it was a true Star Trek tale that both fulfilled some expectations while surpassing others. If you’re a fan of this franchise I doubt you  will be disappointed. Don’t expect too much from this as it doesn’t hold too much emotional weight, as it seems many on the crew are settled in their roles and much of the drama born from the first film has leveled off. Could be better, but that’s what the fourth movie will be for, right?

Audience: Packed house at this show and there were a few whispers and chatters, but on average, a well behaved group. One woman sitting a seat away from me seemed to feel the need to comment on all the story points as they occurred on the screen which kind of drove me nuts. Just watch the flippin’ movie! We have no more information about the thing than you do! And a big crossed fingers goes  to the patron who didn’t turn off their phone and it started to ring. I mean, come on! Is it so much of a chore to mute your phone? Is it!? Overall though, they will live. Until next time!

Lights Out

Horror movies in the summer. Seems odd to me, but here we are. I Lights Out was based on a short film by the director of the feature. I think I remember seeing that once a few years ago. It gave me chills and the full feature fulfills the promise and then some. I warn there may be some crucial spoilers in this review so if you don’t want some aspects of the movie ruined, stop reading now and go see it! Then come back and read it.

Rebecca is a strong, independent woman who seems to have commitment issues, since she can’t seem to let her hot boyfriend even stay the night. There are issues here and we get a clearer picture when we meet her mother Sophie. Suffering from depression, Sophie seems to have a history of trouble keeping up with her meds and things just get worse when she experiences the loss of her husband. She seems to fall apart and fall upon an old coping device, much to the chagrin of her young son, Martin.

This is when things get creepy. A figure of darkness begins to appear in the house. Only existing in the darkness, this creature seems to grow stronger and will do absolutely anything to survive. Questions begin to arise when Rebecca and Martin discover that this shadow creature is real and even has a name. Diana. Rebecca puts on her detective cap and digs up the truth behind Diana but that’s only half the battle as every shadow becomes a threat.

This film is a perfect practice in suspense. The omni-present nature of Diana makes you anxious for every jump scare and sudden noise. The rules of her existence i.e. only in the dark, are held to nicely and never stretched beyond belief, which makes the creature even more startling. You know she’s there, just waiting to strike. The story of Rebecca and her relationship with her family and boyfriend is also well constructed and believable. It’s a horror movie that make you really care about the people and hate the monster. Trust me, there have been films in the past that fail to illicit any sympathy for the hero and little to no fear in the bad guy. A surprisingly short film, which perhaps works in its favor. It never bores and keeps you on  the edge of your seat. I probably would have opted to release this one closer to Halloween, but maybe that’s when it’ll be out on video. So, as a person who is not a huge fan of horror films, I say that this one is very much worth your attention.

The Audience: I was expecting a typical horror movie audience. Loud and mouthy. Much to my delight, the audience tonight was fairly sedate. A few folks failed to mute their phones. At one point Siri could be heard. They only got a little annoying during the final act. I didn’t like that, but it didn’t ruin my experience. This was a Thursday night crowd. I wonder how it’ll be on Friday night.

Open Letter To All Single Gay Men

Hey guys,

As one of those terminally single dudes out there, I must say the practice of seeking a mate or sexual partner is hard and often wears down the old self-esteem, but there are times when I see the humor of it as well. My most favorite thing is the observation that so many of you ‘good looking’ guys out there who live at the gym and ‘take care of your bodies’ are still yourselves single. Your profiles paint a portrait of an intelligent, active go-getter anyone would be proud to date/bed down; but here you are. With me. On Scruff. of Grindr or whatever site or app you use.

I especially love when  you fine fellows complain about the low quality of men (mostly in LA which leads me to think it’s the men in this city particular) and how you will just lose your $#it if you meet another, as you call them, loser. Maybe it’s in the kind of guys you are looking at. Ever think of that? If you shop among douchebags all the time, douchebags are all you’re ever going to find. If you’re just looking for a gym bunny for a quick fix, fine. Go for it. I get it. Douchebags are odd because I don’t think there’s another kind of guy that is so equally hot and revolting at the same time. I want to run them down with my car as much as I want to take them to bed. If you are really earnest about finding a quality guy to date and start that open relationship we all dream about, then maybe you should read on.

Identify who you want. That’s first and foremost. Like shopping at the store, you need a list to shop for a man. What kind of man? A few tips on what is and is not a good sign.

  • Gym Selfie. If the guy you’re looking to talk to has a gym selfie as a profile picture there’s only one thing to do. Run. Just run. This is a guy who lives at the gym and if you don’t worship at the weight rack like he does, it’ll never work out. I also hate how these guys take full credit for their hot bodies, when in reality it’s probably their body type that is the biggest influence in their workouts and when they hit that magic age, it will all go away like magic.
  • Marathon Selfie. Kind of the same thing as above. This guy isn’t a gym rat so much as a lifestyle convert.He’s probably aggressively Vegan and will try to push you over to the green side every chance he gets, even resorting to food shaming. The only thing these guys love is crossing the finishing line.
  • Backwards baseball caps. If your target sports his ball cap backwards then take a few steps back. This is the universal sign of douchebag. Bonus warning if he’s wearing sunglasses AND the baseball cap. That’s just stupid people. That needs to be weeded out right here and now.
  • Faceless profile picture. This barely needs to be mentioned,  but I will say it. Anyone who fails to have a clear face picture on their profile is not a handsome yet discreet man waiting for the right one to come along. There’s no point in discretion on these apps because everyone is in the same boat. If someone from the office sees you on Growlr, then you have as much on him as he does on you.
  • Excessive slang. If the guy’s profile reads like a Rap song, complete with misspellings, keep walking. Remember, this guy composed this profile to read just like that. That’s either how he thinks the world really communicates or that’s really how HE communicates and however down you may be with the thug life, it can wear pretty fast.
  • Open relationship. Not likely that you’re going to reply to someone in an open relationship with the idea it could be more than a hook-up, but just in case here’s a tip. The profiles that go on and on about how great their man is and how happy they are with him is odd. If they’re so happy and in love, what are they doing online looking for a side piece? Keep in mind you are just extra to these guys and are completely disposable to them. They don’t care if they have to cancel or put you off. You aren’t a priority to them. If you don’t mind putting up with that, go for it.
  • Vacation slides. Some guys  put their vacation photos on their profiles and won’t shut up about how they love to travel whenever they can. Must be nice to have that kind of money and flexibility. Most of us in the real world have to work for a living. These are the guys who are all about where they’ve been and will constantly insist they know about something better than anything else. Constantly referencing their past adventures in order to show they are so much more traveled and cultured than you. They’ll ask you why you don’t travel more and be warned; there is no right answer to this. To them there is  no excuse not to travel. Makes me wonder if they are so much happier someplace else, why don’t they live there instead?

If you’re still bitching about all the terrible guys you’re  meeting, try and think about all the guys you reject. There are so many guys out there who I share so many things in common with yet I  never  hear from them when I reach out and that’s because despite our compatible personalities, I don’t look like a porn star. I know. We all want a porn star. Some muscular, handsome specimen who’s always clean down there and ready to go with a ten inch tool (at least) but the reality is beauty fades and we all become average at some point. You might have better luck finding a good man if you open your eyes to what’s inside as well as what’s on the outside. I’m not saying to settle for anyone. Attraction is of course an important component, but try and expand your vision of what is and is  not attractive. Maybe it’s not in the cards for you to have a boyfriend with rock  hard abs, but what good are those abs when you’re sick and you need someone to pamper you to health? Where’s your gym bf going to be when you need him to pick you up from the doctor? I think the best advice to be given would be to give people a break and open yourself up. You have no idea what a person could be to you until you let them be it. You may also want to start actually READING the profiles instead of only judging on the picture.

I hope you got something out of this, but I’m sure this has all fallen on deaf ears. In any case, be safe and have fun out there, boys!

Ghostbusters

Finally! After years of rumors and script rewrites it has arrived. Ghostbusters directed by Paul Feig. I have waited for years for this to become a reality and now that it has I can confidently say, it was worth the wait and then some. We all know the basic story. Three white scientists and a black person fight ghosts in New York. Based on the 1984 classic, this new entry in the franchise honors that legacy. A top notch cast of some of the funniest ladies in the industry today. Spectacular special effects and a great story. I had my doubts when I heard of the new female cast, but when I saw the trailers I warmed to it as I saw where it was headed and tonight after having seen the final product, I am so happy to see that everything came together splendidly. It wasn’t what I was expecting, and that is a very good thing. Perfect? No, there are some chinks in this armor, but as a whole the movie was one of the few films anymore that gave me ‘good film afterglow’. I laughed and I was totally into it. I have loved all of Mr. Feig’s films so far and this one is no exception. I was a bit worried with him having to pull back to do a PG-13 movie, but he did not disappoint. Melissa McCarthy was, as expected, unforgettable. She was able to keep the humor flowing as well as the story. Kristen Wiig also brought her A-game as well. I’ve seen her in comedies and drama and everything in between and she never disappoints. I am more familiar with Kate Mckinnon and Leslie Jones from Saturday Night Live and they definitely deserve the lion’s share of credit for this one as well. Kate was a scene stealer with her crazy eyes and nutball character and Ms. Jones complimented the quartet nicely and brought some hardcore humor to the whole movie. Top that all off with Chris Hemsworth as their receptionist and I’m in heaven. Honestly, isn’t he just wonderful to just look at? He’s also laugh out loud funny to boot. MARRY ME!

The cameos of the cast from the original film were brilliant and did not overshadow the film. It was great to see them all again. I had heard that Bill Murray had said he would have  had nothing to do with this film if he didn’t like the script, so I can see that by the size of his part, he must have loved what he read. Honestly, he probably has more screen time than any of the other cameos. I can’t sell this movie enough. It was just flat out great! I saw it in IMAX 3-D (recommended) and I may just get out there and see it again before it comes to Blu-Ray, at which point I will buy it and enjoy a double feature.

One word of warning however, don’t go in ready to compare this to the original film. This is its own creature entirely. I found myself drawing parallels early on, but then I stopped myself and was reminded that this isn’t the original film and it’s not trying to be. It is a fresh interpretation and it succeeds on every level. I can’t advise this movie enough. Go see it and be sure to stay through the credits. There is a last bit at the very end you can NOT miss! Not kidding!

Audience: And the movie keeps getting better. Since my friend and I went to a Thursday night screening, there weren’t a lot of folks in the theater and it was a good, quiet crowd, save for the laughing, but I can allow that. Every aspect of this movie going experience was aces. Great night. Have one for yourself.