Thunder and Lightning in The Place Beyond the Pines

The Place Beyond the Pines

If you ride like lightning, you’re going to crash like thunder.

Those words are spoken by auto body shop owner and bank robber Robin (the superlative Ben Mendelsohn).  He’s the colorful character who gets all the best lines and spouts all the wisdom in Derek Cianfrance’s epic generational Upstate New York melodrama that spans fifteen years and is told in three parts.  He says these words to small-time hood, motorcycle carnival trickster, blue-eyed and tattooed baby boy Luke (Ryan Gosling – aka The Gos, in his wheelhouse) who Robin has recently taken under his wing for a couple of bank jobs.

And no words spoken were ever truer.  Luke has just found out that a former fling named Romina (a smoldering Eva Mendes who first appears on-screen in a t-shirt with no bra underneath like KAPOOYA!) had his baby – but she’s trying to move on, do right, and has shacked-up with a real man.  Robin convinces Luke that his particular skill set (riding fast) would be best suited for crime and that is the best way to win back his woman and provide for his family.  But even Robin knows there’s such a thing as riding too fast. Continue reading

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People Is Crazy and Chick-fil-A Is Delicious

Seth Rogan tells a fretful Anna Farris, Yes, this role will totally ruin your chances of doing more serious work in the future.

Seth Rogen tells a fretful Anna Farris, "Yes, this role will totally ruin your chances of doing more serious work in the future. But don't worry, you still look really cute."

Every once in a blue moon a mainstream film comes along that makes you ponder:  WHAT THE HELL WERE THEY THINKING?

Idiotically marketed as some sort of Judd Apatow-style riff on Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Observe and Report, I am happy to say, is one such film that defies all expectations and leaves you scratching your head, laughing nervously and a little bit shamed.

Referencing films like Taxi Driver, Fight Club, The Dark Knight and Oldboy and featuring one of the craziest soundtracks of recent memory containing songs with titles like “Dwarves Must Die”, Observe and Report arrives on the scene as a funny as hell and criminally insensitive psychological case study detailing the horrifyingly awkward inner workings of a delusional bi-polar mall cop (Seth Rogen) who becomes obsessed with catching a serial flasher in order to impress the smoking hot cosmetics counter girl (Anna Farris). 

The movie, written and directed with bright-eyed cynical aplomb in a no-holds-barred style by Jody Hill left me wondering many things:

Is there a better actress than Anna Farris when it comes to broad low-brow comedy?  I can’t think of another woman who can still manage to be totally adorable while playing such a crudely despicable character.

Is it possible for a mainstream comedy to be more offensive than Bad Santa?

Just how many mall cop movies will be released in 2009?

Amidst a shocking smattering of dark moments, graphic violence, and groan-inducing nudity, the film also features Ray Liotta as sleazy hot-headed detective, Celia Weston as the worst mother of all time, and Michael Pena lisping it up and sounding like a Hispanic version of Tim Meadow’s “Ladies Man” as Rogen’s second fiddle. 

If Observe and Report proves anything, it’s the old adage that People Is Crazy.

But not crazy enough to blow up a Chick-fil-A, because why would anyone want to blow up a Chick-fil-A?  THAT PLACE IS DELICIOUS.

Meanwhile, if you have a sick, twisted sense of humor, this could be your film of the year.

Written by David H. Schleicher