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Top Gear (2002)
Simply the Best Television Program and DVD Series Devoted to Automobiles, Ever
As an American, your selection of automotive programming is quite limited. On one hand there is the SPEED Channel that is not available in every market, and on the other there is the "Powerblock" on Spike TV that offers little more than how to add a bit of power to your Grandmother's '81 Caprice.
Even as an import, Top Gear simply blew my mind away during my first viewing of the show last year when The Discovery Channel ran a season of the show slightly altered for the US Market.
For one, the personality of the show is unlike anything I have seen before. The show's lead host, Mr. Jeremy Clarkson is rather opinionated on everything, and although he will never hide the fact that he does not like something, he himself is quite likable as a person. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there is Mr. James May, quite possibly the most British man I have ever seen on television or in the movies. He isn't offensive in any way, and although he may be known as "captian slow," his presentations are quite enjoyable as they always seem to come from someone with a level head. Caught in the middle is Mr. Richard Hammond, a rather young Briton who embodies the current generation of automotive fandom. All together, the hosts balance each other out, and each offer their own perspective to the show, appealing to a wide range of people.
Outside of the "acting," the cinematography of the show is breathtaking, given that it is a weekly event in the UK. Occasionally the segments rival that of some of the best television shows or movies that I have seen, and although they are primarily focused on the car and the hosts themselves, the surrounding environment often plays a large role in the different reviews.
...But then you add the great soundtracks of the reviews, the quirky setups to the different tests (such as a Bugatti Veyron racing a plane from Italy to England), and the great test laps done by the Stig... It all adds up to one of the greatest television programs, well, ever.
It truly is a shame that the viewing of Top Gear is generally limited to the internet via You Tube or Google Video here in the US, but there was a pilot filmed for The Discovery Channel in the US for an American version of Top Gear, but thus far, nothing has happened.
If you have the time, I highly suggest you take a look at the show, interested in automobiles or not.
Aqua Teen Hunger Force (2000)
In a world of Buggs Bunny and Mickey Mouse, here comes the Shake!
Once in a while, a new take on an old form of entertainment seems to revolutionize an entire industry, and thus the "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" exists. Born from the same men who brought us "Space Ghost Coast to Coast" and "Cartoon Planet" from the early days of the Cartoon Network and TBS, "ATHF" takes the same killer combination of simple animation and crazy voice acting to make one deliciously delectable 15-minute show.
The roots of the show itself can be traced back to "Space Ghost Coast to Coast" in which the same characters (in a more crude form) appear, and attempt to take control of Space Ghost's talk show. Then, Master Shake was the leader of the group, leaving Frylock and Meatwad as his minions OF EVIL! Today, it's the opposite. They find themselves living in the most disgusting and vile place on Earth, New Jersey, without jobs, friends, or really any people skills to speak of. Carl, their neighbor, the stereotypical New Jersey resident (overweight, balding, wife-beater and sweatpants wearing male) attempts to just make it by with the "freaks" living next door.
Some people may ask, what's the story? I would probably reply, "Does there have to be one?" They have saved the day from Giant Rabbit Robots, Austrian Aliens, Moon People, the Robot of Christmas Future from the year 999999, etc... The show only lasts 15 mins, how much story would you expect? This is easily one of the most fresh and entertaining shows on TV today, and hopefully the upcoming feature film is much the same. The folks at Williams Street have made a huge hit, not only with adolescent males, but with the older folks as well. If you try "ATHF" on for size, I highly suggest checking out "Squidbillies", "Tom Goes to the Mayor", "12 oz. Mouse", and the upcoming show "Minoriteam". You won't be disappointed.
Bored Silly (2000)
One of the poorest excuses for a children's movie in years...
Have you ever seen a movie that is so bad it makes you want to somehow destroy the part of your brain that just processed more than an hour of crap? Don't' see this movie, ever, if you don't want to be in that situation.
I don't care if this movie was made for kids, it just plain stinks. Don't buy it, don't rent it, don't watch it on cable... It is just that bad. The acting, the story, everything... I began to wonder part way through the movie if the directors themselves were bored silly making it, and just gave the cameras to the kids to finish the rest. IT IS THAT BAD! You want an example of how bad it is? When I saw it in theaters (and then recently after my sister somehow got a copy of it), not only did I fall asleep, but also my then seven year old sister, and my eleven year old brother.
If you come in contact with this movie, I suggest you steal it, and proceed to destroy it. There is no reason for this to exist to destroy not only the minds of our children, but also the parents of these children who are even forced to listen to it from the other room. 0/10
The Aristocrats (2005)
So a guy and his family walk into this talent agent's office...
When was the last time you laughed so hard your belly hurt? Or, when was the last time you were absolutely disgusted by the vulgarity of a joke, you were actually offended? If you watch "The Aristocrats", you may find yourself in one of the two categories.
***WARNING*** This movie is not for the easily offended. When they say they are telling the dirtiest joke in comedy, they mean it, and it lasts the entire hour and a half.
I have to admit, this movie is brilliant. Filmed with your average Sony Handycam camcorders and some sound equipment, they managed to talk to every driving force in comedy that is still alive (or at least kind of is, i.e. Phyllis Diller, ha ha). Everyone from Gilbert Godfried to Drew Carey shows up to tell their own version of the joke, tell a story about it, and offer some personal insight into why the joke is what it is.
It's a commentary more than anything I suppose. Comedians commentating on comedy, through one joke told over, and over again. Interestingly enough, I had never herd the joke before seeing the movie, and I presume that is why it may have been so funny. By the end of the movie, I was almost sick from the amount of laughing I had done, and managed to learn a new joke in the process.
This movie is for anyone who loves comedy, participates in comedy, or just wants to hear one dirty joke. I recommend this movie to the highest degree. 10/10
Lord of War (2005)
Guns Don't Kill People, People With Guns Do
In the modern era of warfare, nothing has been more important than a good firearm at your side. Thus, the gun runner was born. The film "Lord of War" tells the story of one such man, Yuri Orlov (Nicholas Cage), a Ukrainian refugee living in America who decides to sell weapons for a living.
The opening of the film begins with you the viewer following the path of a bullet from the factory to the battlefield, an interesting vantage point. The story moves rather quickly, staring in the late '70s with Orlov trying to make it in suburban Brooklyn, New York. Progressing throughout the '70s and '80s, the film really picks up speed after the Soviet Union's fall in 1991, and continues on right up until modern times.
The acting is what you would expect for a film such as this, good, but not great. Cage is easily the stand-out actor in the film, although Ethan Hawke does a good job as well. But in this film, acting was the smallest part of what made this film great.
The story alone is worth at least a rental. All of it is based on actual events, stories, and actions that are played out every day across the world. This film isn't necessarily an entertainment piece, but more of one in which you would learn something in the process. Its something Americans should know about, on both sides of the isle. As a politically active conservative, I was well aware of what was going on in the film, but it did a good job of further expanding upon what I already knew. The DVD's second disc also contains a good documentary about the gun runners, I recommend watching that as well.
If you like your films with a bit of political background, this is one of the best we have seen in years. Although it might not suit everyone's taste, it's worth a watch. 9/10
Escanaba in da Moonlight (2001)
One of the best Michigan movies ever
OK, it may be a bit hard to understand, but this movie was made for Michigan.
To sum it all up easily: We like to hunt, fish, camp, etc... Escanaba In Da Moonlight tells the story of a family trip to their deer camp up in da UP (upper peninsula) of Michigan for opening day of deer season.
Now, I may be a southern-Michigan man, but every part of this movie was true to the hunting lives we all lead. The horrible food, deer stories, cold weather, and religious practices (in hopes of bagging a deer) are all true...
I highly recommend it to any Michigander, Michiganian, etc or to any hunter out there... If you aren't from around here or you aren't a hunter, you might not get all the jokes, but you will still have a good time...
Batman Begins (2005)
The return of Batman in a real-world based film, finally!
After decades of cartoony, outlandish, and down right crazy Batman films we finally are given Batman Begins.
OK, to clear some things up: 1) This is a Batman movie, but nothing like the others before it. Therefore, this is the start (or a renewal) of a franchise. 2) Most of the characters, storyline, etc. can all be found in the graphic novels of late, as well as some content from the animated television series from a few years back. 3) This is probably not a movie for the kids to see. Not that it is violent, or scary, but they just wouldn't understand everything that was going on.
So I'm just going to answer some general questions and solve some possible problems some people may have with this movie.
1) Cristian bale does an excellent job as Batman, much better than I (or my friends) had predicted. He fit the part perfectly both as Batman and as Bruce Wayne. Morgan Freeman's character Fox rocks the friggin house, as well as Miachel Caine as Alfred... Once again, it seemed like they were meant to play their parts.
2) This new batmobile is awesome. It is not a sports car, but is does everything the others have done before, and IMO it looks better too.
3) After all the Marvel comic movies have been released, Batman did his homework and finally has a film based in the real world. People drive real cars with Illinois license plates, you see parts of the Chicagoland area, Chinese soldiers are easy to see early in the movie, etc. This definitely made the movie seem more realistic in every way.
My only complaints are how slow the movie progresses towards the climax, and the "boss battles" that almost seem to be resolved too quickly. The Scarecrow was not all that scary, and the special bad guy battle is over before it even starts. Pay attention in the last few minutes of the movie... There is a special little hint as to what the next installment will be about... Friggin sweet!