Hope you all had a beautiful Christmas/Hanukkah/Whatever. For me, nothing says “home for the holidays” quite like a confirmed diagnosis of bronchitis and gnarly ear infection. Wahoo! Thank Cripes my new doctor’s cute. Which only compliments the fact that I’ve had some considerable cabin fever-y time to lounge about in my skull jammies going insane.
Which brings us to:
SAG SCREENER MOVIE WRAP-UP #2:
(Click pics for trailers)
“Whiplash” – Exhilarating! J.K. Simmons is the R. Lee Ermey-like conductor/drill sergeant of Shaffer Conservatory, who sees great potential in a wimpy young drumming pupil. The two clash in ways you haven’t seen lately in this highly-nerve-wracking emotional thriller…one which kinda felt like a cinematic hybrid of “Full Metal Jacket” and “Fame”.
I was very surprised to learn that Miles Teller, the young man who plays determined-to-be-the-next-Buddy Rich student, Andrew, was NOT, in fact, cast for his drumming prowess. Sure, he knew how to beat the skins a bit prior to winning his role…but the dude basically had to be put through a jazz drumming boot camp to appear as convincing as he does onscreen. And guess who plays his nebbish-y pops? Paul Reiser! But “Whiplash” is ALL about J.K.. I mean, how reliable is this guy? Going all the way back to his terrifying turn as Neo-Nazi prison inmate Vern Schillinger on HBO’s “Oz”. I LOVED hating that character. And I liked loathing his monster Fletcher here.
“Still Alice” – Oof. Love Julianne Moore, mean it – and I really do – but this one was a snore. Geez, I wanted to care, I REALLY did. But this just felt like a drab, flat, stale LIFETIME movie. And I was so into the premise here. Are you kidding? Early onset Alzheimer’s is a TERRIFYING notion. But any looming dread of Moore’s deterioration just came off…listless to me. And I don’t know what it is about Alec Baldwin these days, but every time he turns up in something, I just can’t help but chuckle. Maybe it’s the hair. Or at least it’s gotta be the pursed lips. Hey, it’s not HIS fault he’s an absolute riot.
If you really wanna see Moore at her finest, check out “Safe”.
“Gone Girl” – Oh, boy. I didn’t read the book (and now I don’t plan to), but I believe I have seen ENOUGH of this story to last me the rest of my lame-ass lifetime. This film is SEVEN AND A HALF HOURS LONG. And things get REAL murky from the second half onwards.
I thought Neil Patrick Harris and the score by the Nine Inch Nails guy were spot on. But I’m sorry to say I was hardly captivated. Gotta hand it to that David Fincher, though. Man, that guys gets to do whatEVER he wants. I’m a huge fan of his “Fight Club” and “Se7en”.
Oh, it’s so silly but you kinda gotta rent “Starring Adam West” on iTunes. I watched the old “Batman” TV show growing up like most of us did, and so it was a real hoot to spend 90 minutes with the geriatric Adam West of today. And OF COURSE West is a total character. A real hambone and super bizarre. He also PAINTS these days. But I liked that the doc had an actual through-line (getting Adam West a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame) and it was fun to see Ralph Garman care so much. I made a short film once with Ralph and you can really tell he cares about Adam, which I found immensely moving. Even ol’ Burt Ward shows up at one of those goofy conventions! Yes, they’re still friends…
More movies to come! It’s crazy how many they sent!
WINE PAIRING: Tonight is New Year’s Eve. I’ve never been the biggest New Year’s fan AT ALL, but I have to say, I am looking forward to a fresh start in 2015. Not only do I have big plans for Max Koch Uncorked but I also hope to DRAW a helluva lot more in the next 365 days. So why not celebrate tonight with the RED sparkling Rouge from Frank Family Vineyards! Cheers! Happy New Year! Happy Days! And this.