Tom Basham

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The World’s End

In Uncategorized on August 24, 2013 at 1:45 am

The-Worlds-End“The World’s End” is closer than you think, and we can thank filmmakers Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) and Simon Pegg (Paul) for that.

Five old friends get together to redo their legendary pub crawl from 20 years ago. A great premise for a movie – right? It would be awesome to see the effects of the human condition on each of them after two decades.  So, do they really need the bit about the alien robot invasion? I am shocked to say: YES!

I know they still make movies that are not mixed genre, as they do not have aliens or vampires. I also know without these demons in the mix the same movie will get released into three theaters and nobody will see it because it does not have a $30 million ad campaign. As long as they don’t throw zombies into “Pride and Prejudice” I will be okay.

Gary (Pegg) is the leader of the group and the one who has not settled down at all. He begs and tricks his friends into traveling to the old town for this drunken crusade. He is the only one still holding onto that fateful night, and their failure at coming up three short of the total 12 pubs. What’s great is that each of the other four has something he is holding onto as well but will not admit to. Throughout all the mayhem, we get to know these guys, their weaknesses and the kind of psychosis that keeps this lot together. It reminds me of another group of characters who have trouble with hangovers, except these British guys are really funny.

There are some deep issues explored in this movie, like institutional conformity, the purpose and imperfection of a human life, and something called a “marmalade sandwich,” which I can’t wait to try. I am even thinking of redoing my famous pub crawl from 1979 with my buddies in Toledo, Ohio, that ended at Brenda’s Body Shop (a real event and a real place).

I know this all is presented as silly mindless comedy, and it is, but this movie takes the mixed genre to the next level. We see how the real invasion will happen, in a “body snatcher” style of kindness the Third Reich did not have. And note to Hollywood – this is how you take something familiar and make an original movie, with laughs and well-drawn characters that are thoughtful and entertaining.

This movie reminds us that the world could end at any moment – and that’s why I am giving it 4 out of 5 stars. This could be your last day on Earth, so you should get together with a friend, have a pint and see this movie.

Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker.

Here is a link to his movie review site:
https://bashmovies.wordpress.com/

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Jobs

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2013 at 12:40 am

jobs“Jobs” is a good thing for this country — and mankind. I went into this movie with some trepidation knowing this was a product of a rookie screenwriter (Matt Whiteley) and novice director (Joshua Michael Stern of Swing Vote). And I underestimated them, just like so many people underestimated Steve Jobs.

They take us back to 1974 to get to know Steve Jobs (Ashton Kutcher of No Strings Attached), the rebel with a wandering eye and no time for the conformity of society. I agreed with him when he said, “The system only produces another system.” He tries to break new ground working for Atari and needs help from his buddy Steve Wozniak (Josh Gad of Thanks for Sharing). One Steve is a nerd who loves computers and wants to be cool. The other Steve is cool and wants to make cool things. This bond, driven by the vision and tenacity of Jobs, is enough to get Apple off the ground.

I admit to being seduced by the soundtrack, as I was in college in the ‘70s and I still have the 8-track tapes to prove it. I applaud the filmmakers for this being their only indulgence into nostalgia.

If the movie has a fault, it’s that it has so much ground to cover. It starts in 1974 and takes us to 1996. If I had to tell you what happened to me last weekend, it would take three hours. We get peeks at the man behind the Mac, and it is not pretty. The filmmaker does not spend a lot time on his shortcomings or try to present some kind of simple explanation for why he is the way he is. Sure he was some kind of genius and mega-maniacal technology leader. But the movie does not put him on a pedestal. It shows him as a simple man. Yeah, that’s right – a simple man who had a vision and believed that anything was possible. He was not portrayed as Da Vinci, or an Einstein, but just a guy with a sparkle in his eye who would not give up on perfection.

I know it seems I am caught up in the man and not the movie. That is what a good movie does: it shows you the important stuff. I am sure they cut out a million things, but what was left worked for me. I felt his struggle and saw what he sacrificed for his principles, his visions and his dreams.

Kutcher gives a great performance and you sense there are explosions taking place in his mind. That’s not easy for a comedic actor to pull off. There is a bunch of other good talent in the movie as well, and we appreciate the characters’ challenge of being his friends and co-workers. In the end, he did not seem to have many friends, just people who were with him or against him.

I give this movie 4 stars out of 5. I was expecting a “Lifetime Movie,” but what I saw was a movie about an inspiring life. The story of Steve Jobs should be condensed to children’s books that we read to our kids at bedtime. Until then, you can see this movie.

Tom Basham is an indie filmmaker.

Here is a link to his movie review site:
https://bashmovies.wordpress.com/

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

In This Just OUT, Uncategorized on March 15, 2013 at 7:15 pm

The-Incredible-Burt-Wonderstone

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone opened today, and it was incredible…that I was there to see it. With an all-star cast how bad could it be? Sit down, let me tell you.

Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell of Get Smart) grew up doing magic with his best friend Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi of Fargo). They make it big in Vegas doing the same sequined jacket act they learned from a Rance Holloway (Alan Arkin of Little Miss Sunshine) magic kit for 10 years.  I was happy to see Olivia Wilde (Cowboys & Aliens) join the act as their assistant so this movie would not be a complete sausage fest.

Finally, Jim Carey (Bruce Almighty) shows them up as Steve Gray, the “Brain Raper,” with his street magic and death-defying feats.  Now the Incredible Burt and Anton Show really looks lame, and the growing rift between Burt and Anton explodes. They are fired from their Bally’s gig by Doug Munny, played to perfection by James Gandolfini (The Sopranos). I told you there are a bunch of stars in this movie.

I love Steve Carell and Jim Carey, and I had trouble counting how many times they made me laugh.  Probably because you need the first laugh to actually start a count. I smiled when I saw Jay Mohr (Jerry McGuire) playing “Rick the Implausible,” and he made me chuckle as at least he brought something to his character. Carell gave the same deadpan look I have seen in most of his work for an hour and forty minutes, and Jim Carey played… Jim Carey.  The script seemed to consist of dozens of corny cliché bits knitted together with short scenes of, “What just happened?” I didn’t have to pull the string, as the whole thing unraveled on its own thanks to the poor direction of seasoned TV director Don Scardino (30 Rock). The next time you step away from “30 Rock” Don, you should bring Tina Fey with you. On a good note, it wasn’t the worst thing I have ever experienced, and that puts it above my colonoscopy and the Carter Administration.

I wanted to believe in magic. I wanted to laugh, and I wanted to feel something for these characters beyond pity, and perhaps disdain for their agents for booking them in this stinker. I give this movie 1 star out of 5, and that’s for Alan Arkin and Jay Mohr who don’t need adjectives in front of their names, or this movie on their resume.

Oz the Great and Powerful

In This Just OUT, Uncategorized on March 8, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Oz-the-Great

I went off to see the Wizard
And how he came to Oz.
I found out that Diz
Made a nice Wiz,
As anyone dared because –
Because, because, because, because, because
Because Sam Raimi (Spiderman) does what he does.

We have James Franco (127 Hours) as the Wiz,
Who doesn’t know what he is.
When he has to run from town
So he gets on his balloon,
And then pretty soon
There’s no way he can come down.

What really made the movie
Was little Mila Kunis (Black Swan),
As she falls in love with him.
Though she looks great in leather,
That is not what Oz treasures
And the wizardry begins.

You could while away two hours
On the other witches prowess:
Michelle Williams (Shutter Island) and Rachel Weisz (The Mummy).
One is good and one is bad
And they both find Oz a cad
And one gives really bad advice.

Then, the plot began to twitch;
There was an evil switch.
This threw Oz into a pitch
Because one had an itch
To become an evil witch.

Don’t look for Dorothy,
And the dancing from those three,
They have not come along.
But I liked it pretty well,
And as I’m sure you can tell.
I kind of missed the songs.

Now I did not see any elephants
All wrapped up in cellophant
But I still liked the show.
And if you were thinkin
You would rather see “Lincoln”
You’d miss the Bruce Campbell (The Evil Dead) cameo.

There’s no way to compare them,
This and what I saw at ten,
But they both have similar themes.
Don’t make that your concern,
There is plenty to be learned
In this prequel to a dream.

Don’t you worry, there are poppies,
Zach Braff (Garden State) plays a monkey
And there is a yellow brick road.
I’m giving it 4 stars
So just climb into your cars
And travel over the rainbow.

4 stars out of 5, PG, 2hours 10 minutes

Robot & Frank

In New On DVD, Uncategorized on February 14, 2013 at 12:39 pm

robot-and-frank

I saw the trailer for “Robot & Frank” about 6,000 times, so I was excited when the Netflix envelope showed up. The movie stars Robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard of An Education) and Frank Langella (Frost/Nixon) as Frank, and I don’t understand how the Robot got top billing. This was his feature film debut, and he may have done some stage work (something called “Warehouse in Japan”) but he should never have been put ahead of Langella, who has played both Dracula and Sherlock Holmes. I heard that the Brave Little Toaster was considered for the part, but that may have just been some backstage Vanity Fair gossip.

Frank is old, lives alone, and has become forgetful. I can’t remember if they mentioned Alzheimer’s or just called it dementia, as I am not too far behind Frank. They use this health issue as a reason to bring in the Robot. From there, it becomes a buddy movie, and I have to admit the Robot does steal some scenes, or maybe there are scenes where the Robot actually steals.  Frank’s only other friend in the movie, aside from his two annoying grown kids, is Jennifer, played by the always-delightful Susan Sarandon (Dead Man Walking).  She works at the library with her fat robot friend. A relationship with Robot and fat library robot never gets going, which may be a problem with the script or something to do with an incompatible input port. In fact, there are a number of plot lines in this movie that are not well developed.  The whole robot-caretaker thing is just around the corner and the dynamics of that can be fascinating.

There was so much talent in this movie and most of them were given a simple one-dimensional character program. Perhaps if some of these characters or subplots were further explored I would be more amped up.  Unfortunately, they only scratched the cyber surface in this movie, but I did not fall asleep watching it and that skinny car was cool.
This is the first real feature for screenwriter Christopher D. Ford and director Jake Schreier, so I am thinking they may have suffered from lack of confidence and/or control. They have skills, and I will look for their next project.  I give this movie 2 ½ stars and only hope C3PO does not see it, as it would certainly send him back into a downward spiral of booze and Asian porn algorithms.

New On DVD

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2013 at 8:13 pm

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Classics

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2013 at 8:09 pm

This is an example of a page. Unlike posts, which are displayed on your blog’s front page in the order they’re published, pages are better suited for more timeless content that you want to be easily accessible, like your About or Contact information. Click the Edit link to make changes to this page or add another page.