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Beasts of the Southern Wild makes Requiem for a Dream look like a Judd Apatow movie.

Get crying, bitches,


Last week, KB and I had an opportunity to see filmmaker Mark Wexler’s new documentary “How to Live Forever.” This week (or as soon as possible), you should do the same. Check out the trailer:

Despite the film’s (and humanity’s) obsession with death, “How to Live Forever” is more about life and how we as humans choose to live it. Going into the film, KB was nervous the documentary might come across as preachy or bursting with an agenda. The film does neither of these things, instead choosing to show many different people from numerous walks of life, each sharing their own philosophies on how to get the most out of whatever amount of years they’re given. For some, their secret is exercising every day and avoiding red meat; for others, it’s smoking as much as possible and regularly enjoying a pint. And remarkably, even though each side contradicts the other, the film manages to make both views seem right.

Sparked by the death of his mother, Wexler spent three years traveling the world and interviewing people about their thoughts on achieving two things most humans hope for: to live as long as possible and get the most out of our time here. From senior celebrities (Ray Bradbury and Phyllis Diller) to members of the science community (biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey and “Guru Giggler” Dr. Madan Kataria) to everyday people (the citizens of Okinawa, Japan and “LA Weekly” food critic Jonathan Gold), “How to Live Forever” is filled with many different theories on how to cheat (or at least prolong) death. And of course, the ones filled with booze, sex and laughter come across as the most appealing. The ones filled with daily exercise and puréed vegetable drinks? Not so much.

But that’s exactly what’s great about the documentary, that it doesn’t kowtow to any one view or answer. Like life itself, the philosophy of “whatever works for you is fine by me” is the overall message of “How to Live Forever.” And isn’t that just as it should be? Because, in the end, how each of us inevitably meet our maker is far less important than how we lived our lives up until that one fateful moment.

Learn how to live forever here, then head out to your local theater and learn how others have chosen to do it as well.

I wanna be Buster,


Somewhere (American Zoetrope)

See anything else.

Nothing happens,


Let Me In (Overture Films)

1. I have to admit, I was nervous going into this one because I love the original (John Ajvide Lindqvist’s “Let The Right One In”) so much. Imagine my surprise when I walked out of the theater not only loving this remake of the Swedish film from a few years back, but also considering that it might even be a little better than its predecessor.

2. It’s shot absolutely beautifully and it’s apparent that writer/director Matt Reeves handled every frame of the movie with extreme care and foresight. Look for any scene featuring the lead character’s mother (Cara Buono) as an example.

3. Child acting could have easily ruined this film. Instead, the kids are its strongest part. Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz are completely believable as the leads, and Dylan Minnette plays a bully that audiences will love to hate.

4. The adult actors of “Let Me In” are equally as good: Elias Koteas plays a cop and Richard Jenkins plays the “father” of Chloe Moretz’s character. Both are obviously talented character actors, but it was especially great to see Jenkins play a role that’s unlike anything he’s done before.

5. The entire movie is fantastic, but there is one scene in particular that made me literally whisper “holy shit” out loud. I’m not one for spoilers but, trust me, you’ll know it when you see it. It’s a long shot of Richard Jenkins in the backseat of a car. That’s all you need to know. Now, go.

I love being proven wrong,


Stone (Mimran Schur Pictures)

1. I love Ed Norton, Robert De Niro and Milla Jovovich. But while their performances were all great, the story of “Stone” fell flat for me. Proof that a great cast doesn’t always make for a great film.

2. The film features a collaborative score of ambient noise and sounds from Jon Brion and a couple of the fellas from Radiohead. The music is, by far, the best aspect of the movie.

3. “Stone” is shot well, it’s pretty. But again, not pretty enough to make me want to watch it again.

4. Frances Conroy offers up a solid supporting role as the religious wife of De Niro’s character. Keep your ears open for the line, “Get me another fucking drink, cocksucker.”

5. Milla Jovovich has some freakish nipples! The film has a long shot of them in profile and, man, they look like someone stuck two Tootsie Rolls on her chest! Of course, this makes me love her more.

For a better De Niro/Norton pairing watch “The Score,”


Inception (Warner Bros.)

1. Writer/director Christopher Nolan gets back to his “Memento” roots with a story that is so layered and complex it leaves audiences thinking, “Whoa… wait… what?” This is a welcomed change from Hollywood, especially if you find yourself getting frustrated with watered-down movies that only appeal to the lowest common denominator.

2. It’s visually stunning/ridiculous. The earth folds like a taco! They hop around in space like Buzz Aldrin! They mess with interiors like M.C. Escher… only cool! I’m typically not impressed with visuals because, let’s admit it, they can do anything nowadays. But even with that being said, it’s still pretty goddamn amazing.

3. Great supporting cast. Sure, Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page are good as the film’s leads, but the real stars are the actors portraying the secondary characters: Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Tom Hardy; Ken Watanabe; and Cillian Murphy. Also, Marion Cotillard offers a performance that’s unlike anything she’s done before.

4. If the major film studios are going to learn anything from the success of “Inception” it should be this: END MORE MOVIES LIKE THIS.

5. It will probably get a handful of Oscar nods (writer, director, and possibly a couple of supporting role nominations) but it will more than likely walk away only with a few technical wins, which it more than deserves. And I know my good friend Ralph hates Hans Zimmer, but his score was pretty fantastic; it will definitely get him at least a nomination if not a win. Sorry, Ralph.



Nine (The Weinstein Company)

1. “Nine” is based on Arthur Kopit’s book for the 1982 Tony Award-winning musical of the same name, which was derived from an Italian play by Mario Fratti inspired by Federico Fellini’s autobiographical film “8½.” You follow that? It started as a film, was then made into a play, was then turned into a musical, then became a book, and is now back to being a film. Further proof that no original ideas exist in Hollywood.

2. The music is awful. The people I saw the movie with said I was biased because I don’t like musicals. This simply isn’t true. (One of my top-ten favorite movies ever is a musical: “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”) I just don’t like bad musicals, and this is a bad musical. The lyrics are so bland, so literal that they felt as if they were written either by a middle schooler or Lenny Kravitz. There’s nothing catchy about the music, nothing interest… it just sits there like a loud, obnoxious family member yelling at a television. In musicals, the songs are supposed to move the story along, not explain what just happened, what is happening, or what is about to happen. If you’re looking for a really annoying comedy album, pick up the soundtrack for “Nine.”

3. Sophia Loren (who plays a ghost of the dead mother of Daniel Day-Lewis’ character, Guido Contini) has had so much plastic surgery done that she now looks like Merman.

I swear, every time she popped up on screen I was waiting for Beast Man and Trap-Jaw to follow behind her.

4. I love Daniel Day-Lewis and think he’s one of the best in the business, which is why it made me so sad to sit and watch him die slowly right before my eyes for two hours. I get it, Daniel, this one is for the ladies (and the gay guys), but what about your hetero male audience?!? Can you make, like, I don’t know… a sequel to “There Will Be Blood” to make up for this? “There Will Be More Blood” or something?

5. Through all my years, I’ve only walked out of a movie once: In 1994, about twenty minutes into the turdfest that is “The Flintstones,” I decided that I couldn’t take it anymore and left. Now, I didn’t leave during “Nine” (I couldn’t because I had come with three other people who were enjoying the movie), but let me say this: I would rather buy “The Flintstones” on DVD and watch it once a week for the rest of my life than watch “Nine” one more time. I know it’s in my nature to be over the top here on “The Blarg,” but believe me that it is without a hint of exaggeration when I say that this is easily the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Period.

So unbelievably awful,


Crazy Heart (Fox Searchlight)

1. This film is based on a Thomas Cobb novel that was first published over two decades ago. Still, sadly, it’s bound to be seen as a copycat of last year’s “The Wrestler” because their themes are similar: a washed-up and broke alcoholic falls in love with a younger single mom who is able to look past all of his faults and see the real him. But don’t be fooled by reviews, because there are also enough differences between the two films to make “Crazy Heart” unique.

2. I like every single character in this film, from the broken country music legend (Jeff Bridges), to the small-town single mom/reporter (Maggie Gyllenhaal), to the young hot shot country star (Colin Farrell), to the friendly bartender (Robert Duvall). Each and every character is realistic and redeeming, which is a breath of fresh air in movies these days.

3. Even though I’m not really a fan of contemporary country, the music in this film isn’t all that bad. They easily could have filled the movie with some generic, run-of-the-mill shit-kicker country, but instead chose to create a catalog of original tunes for Bridges’ character, Bad Blake. Both Bridges and Farrell even sing their own songs, and should be given additional props for doing so.

4. There are some pretty graphic sex scenes between Bridges and Gyllenhaal, which makes me want to say, “Fuck yeah, Jeff Bridges! High-five!”

5. The first scene of the film shows Jeff Bridges saddling up at a bar in a bowling alley. Ah… sweet nostalgia.

Otis is the new bad,


The Lovely Bones (DreamWorks)

1. Stanley Tucci is the film’s shining star, giving audiences a terrifying performance as serial murderer George Harvey. He becomes the character so fully that if I hadn’t seen his name in the credits, I wouldn’t have known it was him. He’s not just playing George Harvey; he is George Harvey. Look for a nomination for supporting actor come awards season.

2. The computer-generated landscapes of the afterlife (or, more accurately, limbo) get to be a little much. More time is spent there than needed to move the story along, and it gets to a point where it feels like we’re returning to it just to show off impressive and expensive effects. And, don’t get me wrong, it is beautiful imagery. I just don’t know if we need to see it over and over again.

3. I’ve only seen one other Peter Jackson film (“The Frighteners,” which I like), but I know he’s at a point in his career where he can do no wrong. With that being said, I think “The Lovely Bones” is just okay, not stellar. Of course, that means it will probably go on to win an Oscar.

4. I’ve never read Alice Sebold’s book, but the two people who watched it with me had. According to them, it’s fairly accurate to the book. If that’s true, I’m not sure if I like the story’s basic premise. I had assumed that the story was about the ghost of a murdered girl, and how she witnesses her family’s reaction to her death after she’s gone. But the story is far more supernatural than that, with the ghost of Susie Salmon able to influence events back in the living world. That’s fine, I guess, if you’re a fan of shows like “Medium” and “Ghost Whisperer,” but I was expecting something a little, well… smarter.

5. “The Lovely Bones” is similar in tone, style and substance to 1998’s “What Dreams May Come.” Minus Robin Williams, of course. I’m not sure if that is a good or bad thing, but it’s hard not to notice the similarities. Take “What Dreams May Come” as a sort of gauge for whether or not you want to spend money on this movie. If you liked it, you might like this. And vice versa.

Death by icicle,


Precious (Lee Daniels Entertainment)


1. The synopsis: A morbidly obese teenager from Harlem is pregnant with her second child. (Both of her children were fathered by her own father, the first of which was born with Down’s syndrome.) She’s poor, illiterate, and constantly on the receiving end of a terribly abusive relationship with her mother. And it only gets worse from there. To be read: This is not a date movie!

2. There’s a lot of chatter about the performances of Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz, culminating in speculation that they might even get an Oscar nod for them. While their performances were good (Carey as a social worker, Kravitz as a nurse), there is nothing about them that stands out as being anything but. The Oscar whisper exists not because the performances are amazing, but because the people who brought these characters to life aren’t actors. If the roles had been filled by actors, the point would be moot.

3. The brutality of the film is juxtaposed with elements of fantasy, similar to those in “Amelie”: colorful dream sequences, photographs coming to life, etc. Used as moments of escapism, these scenes actually made the viciousness of the film appear worse, mostly because we’re given a different reality to compare it to. It was exceptionally effective.

4. In addition to the production Oscar nominations that “Precious” will receive (and well deserves), I predict three acting nominations for Gabourey Sidibe (lead), Paula Patton and Mo’Nique (both supporting). And, unless an amazingly stellar performance hits screens in the next few weeks, Mo’Nique will win an Oscar for her role as Precious’ abusive and mentally deranged mother, and will have earned every ounce of that statue. I can’t believe I just typed that sentence.

5. One of my top-five films of the year, and different from anything else on the list. Look for more from director Lee Daniels and writer Geoffrey Fletcher (who adapted the screenplay from author Sapphire’s book, Push) in the very near future, because Hollywood is about to go completely bat-shit for the both of them.

Check out the trailer here:

Fluorescent beige,



Old Poop!