Friday, September 23, 2016

The Magnificent Seven

Even though both modern day and classic cinema, as well as American History as a whole, overlooks the fact that there were Black cowboys in the Wild Wild West, there have been a few mentions here and there in the world of Hollywood that have thankfully stood out.

Crowd (gasping): "A Black sheriff?!?!"

Blinken: "He’s Black???"

Dave Chappelle: "Hey! It worked in Blazing Saddles!"

The fun loving Bart turning out the German seductress Lili von Shtupp while also turning the world of Hedley Lamar on its head after wearing a KKK sheet is something that I will never forget. And yes I am well aware of the fact that I just used a quote from Robin Hood: Men in Tights to bring up the movie I was actually referencing in Blazing Saddles but I did that for your benefit just in case you missed out of some early Chappelle freshness.

And then of course there was Mario Van Peebles in the forgettable yet timeless Western drama Posse; a film that even his brothers skipped out on seeing. But hey, you can’t fault a man for being ahead of his time; you just have to simply give him a nod of respect and move on.

Well with such influential predecessors to build upon, I’m just happy that Ang Lee never decided to cast DMX in Brokeback Mountain as that would have definitely brought an end to hip hop and the Black culture as we know it! (In DMX voice) "Hey yo dawg! Can I get you to spit on your hand for a little bit of lube? Aarf! Aarf! And make sure you wrap up yo! I’m not trying to catch any sores! I wanna keep it nice and lovely back there! Ya heard? Nice and lovely! Aarf aarf! "

Well in The Magnificent Seven, Antoine Fuqua does his best to bring us a modern day take on the 1960’s classic which starred Steve McQueen and Charles Bronson. And just in case you were wondering, no he didn’t cast DMX for this film either. Now whether or not you’ve actually seen the original, when you take into account the fact that it had those two stars in it, you have to figure that the first movie is going to be pretty hard to beat. But Fuqua went into this massive undertaking knowing this and proceeded to go out and bring in the surest thing there is in Hollywood right now in the form of Denzel Washington.

Washington plays Chisolm, a skilled bounty hunter who gets recruited to help out the small town of Rose Creek by the recently widowed Emma Cullen. Emma’s husband’s death was a by-product of the savage and sinister Bartholomew Bogue’s (Peter Sarsgaard) terrorizing of this vulnerable town. And the sad part is that this town is a community that’s mostly made up of hard working farmers whose only action when it comes to guns has come in the form of maybe squirrel hunting. So they are no match for Bogue’s army of hired guns that he has in place to control the town’s citizens as well as their local mine.

Things have gotten so bad that Bogue has given the town an ultimatum of either selling their land to him at a third of its actual price or to be forced off of their land with no compensation at all. So Cullen is left with no other option but to reach out to Chisolm and offer him all the money the town has left in order to convince him to help them in any way he can. Chisolm eventually agrees and begins to assemble a posse of seven outcasts that is mostly made up of former bounty hunters, gunslingers, and wanted men to help him take on this suicide mission.

Now if you have any previous experience with Fuqua at all, then you already know that he excels when it comes to making films that involve over the top bad men and undermanned and outnumbered protagonists. The good guys have to overcome a wealth of obstacles to have any chance of survival and they typically do so in spectacular fashion; see Training Day, Shooter, The Equalizer, etc. Well this film is certainly no different. Seven has everything you want in a Western including shootouts, standoffs, card tricks, and of course a whore house! And while I was a little worried when I saw that it received a pg-13 rating, there turned out to be just enough gun play and explosions in it to keep even the most blood thirsty action junkie satisfied. Washington as usual commands every scene he’s in and Sarsgaard seems to play the money hungry scoundrel to a tee. But once the final credits begin to roll, the character that everyone will immediately start talking about is Vincent D’Onofrio’s Jack Horne. He’s a basically a big bear who runs around and grabs, beats, shoots, or clubs anyone to death who is in his way; and all the while doing so with this high pitched Kermit the Frog voice. It is simultaneously one of the funniest and freshest things you’ll see on screen this year.

Chris Pratt seemed to be having fun playing the cunning trickster Josh Faraday as he provides plenty of comic relief for the film and someone even woke up and pulled Ethan Hawke out of his coffin to play the sharp shooter Goodnight Robicheaux.

Seven won’t go down as a classic but if you like Westerns, it’s certainly entertaining; and considering the fact that Bridget Jones’s Grandbaby is the only other option for you this weekend, I suggest that you pop in. I give The Magnificent Seven a rating of kind of FRESH!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Blair Witch

I remember when the original Blair Witch Project first came out and how excited my roommates and I were to see this supposedly true story of witchcraft and the boning of young underachievers in the woods. I’ve always been really creeped out by witches mainly due to the fact that every rich girl I ever hooked up with in college could have easily qualified to be burned at the stake during the Winston Salem witch hunts. So naturally when I saw that this movie had been made, I couldn’t wait to do as much research as humanly possible on it to see if Blair Witch was in fact the matriarch to every girl who stepped foot on SMU’s campus back in the late 90’s. Ok ok, so the girls weren’t all that bad but you should just know going in that driving a Chevy S-10 pickup on that campus will definitely lead to some pretty lonely Saturday nights for a young skinny scrub like me! Dammit, I knew I should’ve jacked someone’s convertible Mustang when I had the chance; that would’ve bumped by street cred up big time and would have at least given me some sort of edge!

Well once everyone learned that the three hacks who came up with the idea for the Blair Witch Project made up the entire story, the movie quickly lost its appeal. We all came to the sad realization that we had not only been duped but had also unwittingly set in motion a chain of events that would eventually lead to the death of good film making as we knew it in the horror genre. And ever since this steaming pile of dog poop made those guys multi-millionaires, we’ve been inundated by a constant stream of shaky cam found footage "thrillers". I’m sorry but shaking a camera as hard as you can and having people scream into a mic is not scary.

And for a while it looked as though Hollywood had caught on to this little fact by releasing fewer and fewer of these films, but for whatever reason, they chose to come out with a sequel that no one was asking for in Blair Witch and they also decided to try and kill the career or a promising director in Adam WIngard. Wingard is known for You’re Next and The Guest, two of the better horror films to come out this decade. It took a while for me to fully appreciate You’re Next but I eventually understood what he was trying to do with his off kilter style. WIngard isn’t exactly a trend setter in the game but he certainly is good at what he does as you can see him paying homage to the 80’s horror flicks he grew up loving when you watch his films.

Well in spite of the fact that I knew the studio was trying to pull yet another fast one on us when they announced that Wingard had another movie coming out called The Woods but then later admitted that they lied about that and the movie was just another Blair Witch; I still held out hope that he would at least be able to bring his own style to it. I was wrong. Witch wound up being the perfect collection of every shitty found footage film that has ever been made. It follows the formula to a tee.

There’s 30 minutes of a plodding set up where you’re introduced to all of these boring and unlikeable characters who think they’re funnier and cooler than they actually are. There’s boring camp fire stories that wouldn’t even be considered scary if you were actually out in the woods by a real camp fire. And then there’s the inclusion of cheesy prerecorded howls and scratches that you can hear in the distance which remind you of the lame junior high school Halloween parties you used to attend when you were a kid. When you never actually get to see the awful being that’s wreaking havoc or any of the actual havoc they’re wreaking, the storyteller should at least master the psychological component of the story in order to make the movie goer feel as though they’re in it with the characters and that they could at some level be in danger themselves. I mean, I don’t remember Jack Nicholson ever killing anyone in The Shining but every time I see a closed bathroom door, a Big Wheel, or twin girls, I immediately curl up in the fetal position.

Well Blair With also made me curl up in the fetal position but that was only after I realized that I had wasted $11 dollars and 90 minutes on my life on this useless waste of perfectly good film stock. Just when I thought 2016 couldn’t produce a film worse than Ghostbusters, they come in and save Melissa McCarthy by releasing Blair Witch. I rate this movie as unbelievably WACK!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Austin City Limits Sunday Preview

The last time I saw Radiohead play a show in Austin I was literally dancing my ass off in the front row while rocking a gaudy Muse tee shirt and not giving a damn who saw me doing either one of them! And when I say a gaudy tee shirt, I mean one that had 12 inch block lettering on it that clearly showed guitarist Ed O’Brien how much I loved their fellow British and pseudo rival counterpart out of Teignmouth. He had to be thinking to himself, who the hell is this random nerd with giant Malcolm X glasses that keeps hopping around like that racist jumping bean in those crazy Mexican food ads? Should I call security or should I simply punish him by inviting him backstage and forcing him to eat English delicacies like minced meat and chips?

Well thankfully he did neither as he eventually broke down and recognized my freshness when he gave me a head nod of approval midway through one of their songs. And it’s because of this incredible moment that I asked my friend if I should once again wear my Muse shirt to their show this coming Friday night. Her reply was "only if you want to get your ass kicked!" Now I’m not sure if she meant that she was going to kick my ass or if fellow Radiohead fans were going to band together to team up and beat me down themselves; but if she meant the latter, then my only response to that is clearly LOL! And yes I know how lame it is to write lol in an article but I’m not sure what’s worse, that or the fact that Microsoft Word actually acknowledges it as being a word!

Anyway, I came really close to dressing up as a KKK member for Halloween one year (I’m black btw) and I would, without hesitation, wear a Dead Kennedy’s shirt to a skinhead rally; so the last thing I’m worried about is a bunch of middle aged Radiohead nerds giving me paper cuts after they throw their lukewarm Starbucks at me for wearing a Muse shirt to a Thom Yorke show. But I am a little worried about Die Antwoord losing their shit and running after me; something may get lost in translation and they’ll forget that this isn’t like South Africa where you can just beat up or randomly kill black people and get away with it. Oh wait, considering some of the recent events that have occurred in this country, they may actually feel right at home! Dammit! Well before I’m publicly executed on SnapChat this coming fall, here are a few bands you should go see on Sunday during this year’s ACL.

First up is the Odd Future veteran Domo Genesis. Domo brings a space age alternative flow that you would normally associate with this crew as he rhymes about how fresh his style is, how much he loves to party, and how he loves to smoke weed. Oh wait…that’s not alternative, that’s just hip hop! But it’s his approach to these subjects and his underground beats that helps separate him from the pack. When I first heard Go Outside, I found myself openly dancing in front of a classroom full of stunned children and for whatever reason I didn’t stop once I noticed them watching me. Now that’s real hip hop right there! I give this kid a rating of FRESH and I suggest that you check him out before he realizes that this industry is bullshit and he decides to return to the local skate park never to be seen again. 1:00 on the Miller Lite Stage.
https://soundcloud.com/user2610538/domo-genesis-gamebreaker-feat

Next up is Chronixx and ZIncfence Redemption who play the Honda Stage at 2:00. They remind me of the good ol’ days when reggae used to be about the good stuff like religion and the end of the world! You know, before Shaggy came on the scene and brought us the awful It Wasn’t Me song. Not I know that everyone will be quick to remind me that it was Bob Marley who made this genre fun with his wonderful songs about love, and yes some of that is in Chronixx’s music as well, but every now and then I want something that makes me want to throw on a beret and start a revolution; and that is exactly what I get from this group. So be sure to punch your ticket to hell by smoking weed on a Sunday and rocking out to Chronixx with me. (Disclaimer: I don’t smoke weed) I rate them as kind of FRESH.
https://soundcloud.com/chronixxmusic/chronixx-here-comes-trouble

After this you may as well continue your ride on the sin train and pop on in to see Bob Moses. They are two dudes from Vancouver who make thumping dance floor beats for you and a new friend to make out to. Their songs are a slow build but thankfully they don’t resort to or rely on the now tired and played out beat drop that everyone else uses to get the party going once the song reaches its climax. They instead simply rely on the quality of their music to do that. Their sound wouldn’t be considered revolutionary or anything, in fact it’s quite simple, but simple done well is still surprisingly effective. And their inclusion of live instruments should help make this a fun show. I rate them as FRESH and suggest you see them play the Zilker Stage at 5:00.
https://soundcloud.com/the-bob-moses/tearing-me-up-1

Miike Snow’s live show is a thousand times better than any of his recorded music would make it appear to be and it’s because of that that I will pop in for at least a few minutes. He dresses like a cracked out Euro on Halloween with his silk shirts and weird masks but trust me when I say that only adds to the show. If you want to keep the electronic dance party going, do yourself a favor and see if his style is for you. I rate him as a little WEAK but it sure beats seeing Chris Stapleton or camping out two hours early for LCD Soundsystem (something that I may actually do myself). Honda Stage 6:00.
https://soundcloud.com/miikesnow/genghis-kahn-remix-louis-the-child

I can’t stand Haim and I probably won’t see Kacey Musgraves or Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats but I’ve actually heard good things about the last two if you’re into country music. So on your way to check them out, come say hi to me before the rapture happens at 10:00. Later fools!
 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sully

At what point should someone in Hollywood be forced to go into "early" retirement? Don’t get me wrong, I loved the pre talking to an empty chair Clint Eastwood more than I probably should have back in the day. Heck, I nearly even fainted like a little school girl at a Michael Jackson concert when he complimented me on my suit after briefly meeting him in Carmel, California. Ok, so maybe referencing Mike Jackson and passed out children wasn’t the best example but you get my point! I praised his movie True Crime when everyone else fell asleep while watching it and I even attempted to get into street fights with complete strangers for fun after watching Every Which Way but Loose after my mom wouldn’t let me buy my own pet orangutan. So trust me when I say that I know about the freshness Eastwood can bring to the big screen.

But at 86 years old I’m not so sure that he’s even human anymore. Doesn’t it feel like he’s become the real life version of Mr. Burns? Does he spend the majority of his days in a cryogenic chamber, only to be let out when it’s time for a press release or to direct some subpar movie about stolen babies or male doo wop groups? Someone please call Sean Connery to coach him up on how to go off on rants about women needing a good smack every now and then (Connery really said these things by the way) so the world finally decides to cast him off into the land of the forgotten with the other has beens of the movie universe. You know who I’m talking about, people like Mel Gibson and Steve Gutenberg.

Well in spite of his recent failures, I do have to say that I was a little excited to see his latest film Sully. I remember thinking to myself how awesome of a story this was when it initially happened because I’ve always thought it was a ridiculous waste of time to tell people where the floatation devices were in case of a plane crash into the ocean. Um, if we crash into the ocean, it’s time to say some prayers and at least try and become a halfway member into the mile high club because that’s the last thing or two you’ll ever do on this Earth. Well sadly no one attempted to get one last bj before the crash, not on camera anyway, but thankfully everyone survived. And that’s what makes this story so amazing, how does a plane that’s carrying 150 plus passengers land in the Hudson and the worst thing that happened to them is that one or two of them caught a cold?

Well Eastwood does his best to give us an in depth look into how pilot Chelsey Sullenberger became a household name and an American hero after only about 4 minutes of flight time. And I have to say that he does a fairly good job in doing so when in reality, this story really could have been told in a 30 minute block on 60 Minutes. He fills the time by showing us the daily nightmares Sully has of the alternative outcomes that could have taken place had he chosen another path and by letting us in on a few of the post crash phone conversations between him and his wife; but thankfully the movie never feels bogged down by these forgettable scenes.

He instead puts his focus on the National Transportation Safety Board and how they essentially played the role of the real life Evil Corp in this story. In order to answer to the insurance companies, they attempt to find fault in every decision Sully made in spite of the fact that the choices he did make essentially saved everyone’s lives. But as the film goes on and they poke more holes into his decision making, you start to wonder if he in fact made the right move or if he simply just got lucky. And this is why seeing how the crash and the choices he made in real time were so crucial to this story. Eastwood saves this key moment for the end and I have to say that while it wasn’t the most moving piece of cinema I’ve ever seen, he does a pretty good job of making it as close to exhilarating as he possibly can at the age of 86. I mean, let’s be real, the old man can’t handle THAT much excitement at his age. But what was funny was the number of groupies old man Sully was getting after his heroics. Cute women, young and old, were throwing themselves at this aging version of Flanders and I have to say that it was kind of pissing me off! How does Flanders get chicks and I don’t? And yes I’m well aware of the fact that this is my second reference to the Simpson’s show in this piece.

In the end I probably won’t remember that this movie was ever even made, similar to me forgetting that I actually saw Flag of Our Fathers in the theater, and it’s because of this that I decided to give this movie a rating of kind of WEAK. But if you’re bored and tired of football, I suggest that you pop in.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Austin City Limits Saturday Preview

This coming ACL could mark a major turning point in my life; either I will continue being the sometimes fresh individual I’ve become in my old age or I will head off into the world of salmon colored shorts and boating shoes as I shop for overpriced homes in northern suburbia. Why such a dramatic change in my lifestyle you ask? Well it’s because I attempted to do something other than go to a show for the first time in a while this past weekend and the results were disasterous.

I decided to go watch a little college football with the future yuppies of this world on Rainey St due to the fact there really weren’t any good bands in town this Labor Day and I thought that this could be some sort of common ground for us as I desperately needed to get out of the house. And sadly, I wound up learning something rather quickly about myself that hadn’t occurred to me before, and that is that I no longer like people! Now it could be that Austin was just temporarily experiencing a massive influx of assholes from the northeast because UT was playing Notre Dame the next day, but whatever the reason, the bar was full of morons who were constantly yelling inappropriate things like we were still in the 70’s and falling all over themselves as they spilled their beers on me. It’s no wonder not a single girl talked to me, I had to have the face of a Mr. Wilson (Dennis the Menace) all night as I constantly ducked and dodged current and former frat boys! Well I’m desperately hoping to redeem myself in the coming weeks as ACL will once again attempt to bring me and my future bosses together in some sort of harmony. Please Kelly figure it out as I am not quite ready to trade the random encounter with a hipster for a run in with the local grandmaster of the klan. So having said that, here’s a look at a few up and coming bands for both you and me to see on Saturday.

First up is the British RnB group Honne. For those of you who actually read my writing, this will be the third time you’ve had to hear me gush over these foreign scrubs but at some point dammit, I know you’re going to listen! It sucks that they’re playing the noon slot on a Saturday but you’ll already be up watching College Gameday anyway, so pop in on them afterwards. If you like old school funky soul like Cameo and the Gap Band, you’ll like these British imposters. And even if you don’t and you prefer bands like Coldplay, they can still meet your needs there too as the lead singer sounds just like Chris Martin at times; so much so in fact that I honestly thought they were sampling his voice on a few of their songs. I rate them as pretty FRESH! Noon on the Home Away Stage.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CX5f0NcqlMs

After them comes The Gills. They bring straight up up tempo Rock n Roll, which to be honest, feels a little out of place for ACL. And I guess that explains why they have such an early set. If you’ve had your morning coffee by the time the early afternoon arrives, go check out these Rock n Roll freaks from Pensacola. They aren’t reinventing the wheel or anything but if you want an energetic rock show, they’re definitely worth a quick pop in. I rate them as a little WEAK. 12:45 on the BMI Stage.
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L56gknRXysE

Now you’ll just have to trust me when I say that this next group’s music sounds a lot better than my description of if does. Lewis Del Mar is made up of two kids from Queens who with their acoustic guitar and crazy drum beats sound like Mumford and Sons if they had soul and actually had souls. It’s indie rock that has folk and a few hip hop elements thrown in and I have to say that I actually like it. I rate them as kind of FRESH. 1:30 on the Zilker stage.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PagwbIPbEVw

Next up is Jack Garratt, a British singer-songwriter who was the darling of this past year’s SXSW. He’s an electronic artist who will have you dancing with random strangers as he happens to be a healthy mix of Sohn and Miike Snow, assuming you know who either of those two artists are. Hopefully he brings more of an actual show with him this time but even if he doesn’t, be prepared to have your mind blown by this unassuming Limey. I rate him as FRESH. 3:30 Zilker Stage.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFP3qh1x1Zo

And the last new act to check out is Bomba Estereo. Just imagine if Pitbull didn’t suck, this is what his music would sound like. They produce thumping dance music with a genuine Latin feel but I must warn you that one of the first songs of theirs that’s sure to pull up is the international hit they made with Will Smith, just ignore that little fact and check them out anyway. "Viva la Miami". 6:30 Tito’s Handmade Vodka Stage.
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-_9Bld7JYc

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Don't Breathe

Back when I was a kid, we use to play this stupid game called N word knocking. Now I didn’t think much of it at the time because I was a dumb pre-teen but now that I’ve had the opportunity to look back, I realize how unbelievably racist of a name that was for a kid’s game! I mean seriously, what kind of a jerk comes up with that title? It was such a common thing though that I didn’t even get mad when my white friends would call me up and ask if I wanted to play it; it was just something that we did for fun. Now if you’re not familiar with it, it’s when you go up to someone’s house, ring the doorbell, and run off somewhere to go hide. Thankfully we never put a bag of burning crap on their doorstep like in Billy Madison, because in Texas that’s legal grounds to get shot, but we would be in the dark somewhere laughing our butts off as some old person cursed us and shook their fists in the air.

Well because we played this game with regularity, we always knew whose houses we were better off skipping. It was either the grumpy old man who owned a shotgun and had nothing else to do but dream about hunting season all year long or it was the lonely old lady who had a bad heart condition. Now every now and then someone would hit up the old lady’s house anyway just to be a jerk but no one was ever dumb enough to hit up the house of the old hick. We all knew that if we did there was a good chance we’d be dead before we even had the chance to hit puberty!

Well all of this is what was running through my mind as I watched the latest thriller in Don’t Breathe. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about doing whatever it takes to get out of Detroit; hell I would’ve held up an entire Klan meeting by myself if it meant I could get out of Victoria, but robbing a blind old army vet??? Even I know not to mess with a military man who has nothing to lose. Or so I thought he had nothing to lose.

In Breathe we meet Rocky (Jane Levy of Evil Dead), her boyfriend Money (yes that’s really his name), and her best friend Alex (Dylan Minnette of Goosebumps). They are burglars who use Alex’s dad’s security business to rob homes. Alex has access to the security codes of all of his dad’s clients so they use that information to gain access, stage a break in and walk out with less than 10k worth of goods so it doesn’t count as grand larceny. They do this with the hopes of one day saving enough money so they can eventually move out of awful Detroit. Well one day they come across the old army vet I mentioned earlier and they realize that not only does he have over 300k in his house but he also happens to be one of Alex’s father’s clients. The Blind Man got the money from a settlement after his daughter was killed in a drunk driving accident a few years ago. He has become a total recluse and lives in a neighborhood that is basically deserted.

The kids all believe that this will be an easy job and one that can bring an end their robbery days forever but they soon realize that they are in for quite a surprise when they actually do break in. Not only is this old man more than capable when it comes to defending himself and his home but he also has a dark secret; and it’s a pretty messed up secret if I should say so myself. And once he gets a hold of their gun and barricades them in, these kids are in for the fight of their lives.

One of the many things I loved about this film is that the director was obviously a fan of The Silence of the Lambs. He took the film’s second best scene, the one where Buffalo Bill is creepily tracking down Clarice with his night vision goggles in his blacked out basement, and basically recreated it with a blind man and extended it by about 10 minutes. This scene caused quite a few moments where you wanted to shout out to the screen to help them, but thankfully I wasn’t in south Dallas, so no one actually did. Oh and by the way, Lambs’ best scene is where Buffalo Bill does his little tuck dance in the mirror to Goodbye Horses but that’s another story for another time.

Another thing I liked is that the director kept you on your toes; just when you think everything is about to be alright, something else pops up and you’re right back to being freaked out. The film is only 90 minutes long but it literally feels like you’re in the house with these kids all night long. And trust me when I say that’s a good thing. Now looking back there are quite a few plot holes that had me questioning the reality of certain situations but the film is so intense, there’s no way you have time to break down what’s happening; you’re just hoping that these kids escape this crazy old vet. As a matte =r of fact, I’m never going around another blind man as long as I live! I’d rather take my chances sleeping on the streets of Chi-Raq!

Don’t Breathe had me cursing out loud more times than I’d to admit and it’s because of this that I give it a rating of very FRESH!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

War Dogs

So as I was out seeing a late movie on a school night, I couldn’t help but notice that standing in front of me in the concession line were two high school students that were clearly on a date. Now I don’t know what movie they were there to see but whatever it was couldn’t have ended before midnight; and from what I remember in high school, all movie dates ended with at least a little bit of fooling around in the back seat of the car, for what I like to call a quick little night cap. Now staying out all hours of the night means nothing to me as I am essentially a black vampire who never actually sleeps once the moon becomes visible, but here we are, only two days into the new school year, and kids are already making poor decisions.

First, if they were there to see the movie War Dogs like I was, then that was an awful choice by my man if he had any designs on getting laid afterwards. I know that in high school you can get hard if the wind hits you the right way but after two hours of seeing how much of a whale Jonah Hill has become, there is no way he or his girl would’ve been in the mood for anything but a Slim Fast shake and perhaps a bulimic purge or two out back by the dumpster. I mean seriously, Hill looked like the real life version of the Penguin from the Batman movies as he is clearly shopping in the Big n Tall section of Dillards these days.

Now that doesn’t mean he’s no longer funny or that he can’t act when given a role that basically fits his personality but it does mean that every now and then you are taken out of the story whenever you notice him laboring to get out of a seat like a pregnant woman would. I really don’t mean to sound harsh as I actually like Hill, it’s just that I’m very concerned about his long term health. Maybe it’s time for Brad Pitt to arrange another intervention for him.

Well before he eats himself to death like Pizza the Hut did in Spaceballs, hopefully he’ll continue to turn in some good performances like the one he gave us in Dogs. In this film, he plays Efraim Diveroli, a cocky young gun salesman who has just moved back to Miami after a bad breakup with his business partner in LA. He runs into his best friend from high school David Packouz (Miles Teller) who really doesn’t have anything going for him outside of his unbelievably hot and pregnant girlfriend Iz. And David is a bit stressed out because he has no clue how he’s going to be able to support a baby when he gets the majority of his income from giving messages to Miami’s elite.

Efraim notices this and decides to bring David in to be his partner in his new gun running company AEY. Together they start off small by bidding on all of the government contracts that no one else really wants or even considers wasting their time on and as a result they wind up winning the majority of them and forming a successful little small business for themselves. But one day, David somehow lands a game changer of a deal when he convinces an army general who is stationed in Iraq to let them supply his need for a large shipment of Berrettas.

Everything seems to be going great until their shipment is help up in Jordan and they are left with no other alternative but to fly over there and make the delivery themselves. Now as I’m sure you can imagine, this little story turned out to be one of the film’s funniest and most thrilling moments as two Americans driving a truck full of guns through war hungry Iraq is definitely no day in the park. But they somehow survived that ordeal and things started to blow up (no pun intended) for them, so much so that they found themselves bidding on government contracts that typically only go to large arms dealers. And it’s from this point on that things get a little hairy.

Director Todd Phillips (Hangover, Old School) does an excellent job of making this already unbelievably interesting story also funny as he routinely puts the focus on Efraim’s weird quirks like his Eddie Murphy esque laugh or his penchant for hookers. But whenever guns and large amounts of money are involved, you’re also going to have your fair share of drama all throughout. After Nic Cage gave us Lord of War, I didn’t think we really needed another movie about gun runners but I’m happy to say that War Dogs certainly proved me wrong and I would strongly suggest that you pop in; if for nothing else, to see Jonah Hill before he becomes the next John Candy.

I give this film a rating of pretty FRESH!