Posts Tagged ‘ Ben Stiller ’

Weekend at CinemaRay’s

The Town: I went to see Ben Affleck’s The Town on Friday night.  Right up front I’m not one of those who hates Affleck.  In fact I’m not sure why people turned on him the way they did a few years ago.  He started dating Jennifer Lopez and suddenly he was toxic and the butt of jokes. (pardon the pun JLo)  I don’t get the Lopez hating either but that’s for another blog. Yeah I know he’s made some bad films but who hasn’t?  Oh well,  I very much enjoyed the last film he directed, Gone Baby Gone, I thought it showed some promise.  This latest film I think fulfills that promise.  The Town is taut and exciting though filled with a few conventional crime thriller moves or should I say clichés it nonetheless is a solid entry and he got some nice performances out of his cast.  Especially Jeremy Renner and Blake Lively.  By the way I’ve never seen Gossip Girl so I didn’t even know what Lively looked liked but I thought she turned in a really nice performance here.  The rest of the cast is rounded out by Jon Hamm and Rebecca Hall, both very good as well.  Affleck also co-wrote the screenplay and does a pretty good job as the thief with a conscience.  A solid effort all around for Mr. Affleck who may just yet carve out an Eastwood-like career for himself.

Real Time with Bill Maher:

On another note, Friday’s night’s Bill Maher was kind of disappointing.  He got some good points and a few laughs in but also let Amy Holms & Andrew Breitbart go on and on with their bullshit lies without rebuttal.  Seth McFarlane who was the third person on the panel  is usually good for some pointed comments but he just sat there as if in awe and only managed to make a really lame joke about “doing” Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell (R).  A joke that immediately fell flat.  It seemed like Maher had some sort of deal with Breitbart & Holms that he wouldn’t slam them or even confront them.  In fact at one point he did say he promised he wouldn’t talk about race with Breitbart…what the fuck?  Why would he set any preconditions for anyone to come on?  He did get some digs in on O’Donnell by showing the following clip of her making a moronic statement about evolution but on the whole the hour was sub-par.

The Republican Pledge to America

A few words about the Republican Pledge to America, they must really think Americans are stupid.  This 21 page rehash of everything they’ve been promising for the last 10 years is just full of so much bullshit that it must be hard for them to keep from laughing as they announced it.   The sad truth is that Americans are that stupid and a whole bunch of them have swallowed this line over and over again and I’m sure they have this time around too.  As Paul Krugman pointed out in his column last Friday, if they were to leave Defense, Social Security  and Medicare alone and give tax cuts to the wealthy like they’ve promised plus balance the budget by 2020 they would have to shut down the rest of the Federal Gov’t.  It’s a bogus strategy to regain power and unfortunately it will probably work.  Check out the following Jon Stewart clip from The Daily Show to see what I mean.

Postcards from the Pledge

Regarding political affiliations, I find it distressing that so many people choose a party the same way they choose a favorite sports team.  Once chosen, winning is the only thing that matters.  No thought goes into what their guys are saying or how they are governing.  My team is winning case closed.  Rah Rah Rah!  This shouldn’t be this way and I’m sure I’m not the first person to think this.  Politics and it’s consequences are so much more important than winning and losing a contest.  It’s enough to make one tune out and go away from all this.  Not that it matters but my political affiliation is Independent.  In my life I’ve voted for Republicans as well as Democrats.  The first vote I took was for Ronald Reagan so I’m not a left-wing ideologue in case you were wondering.  But I do think this current crop of Republicans and their Tea Party movement is extreme and in fact some of them seem quite deranged.   I don’t believe in giving my neighbors the reins of government.   I don’t want Joe Blow from up the street who thinks someone took his country away and yearns to go back to the bigoted and segregated times of the 1940’s & 50’s to have the power to go to war on a whim.   That’s what the Tea Party looks like to me.  I want someone who is smarter than I am, has studied the law and has a degree of sophistication about them.  If that’s an elitist then that’s who I want running things.  This idea that we want a president we can have a beer with is beyond stupid.

Greenberg: Just watched Noah Baumbach‘s Greenberg starring Ben Stiller.  Baumbach specializes in making films about annoying and self-involved people who are never boring.  See The Squid and the Whale & Margot at the Wedding to name his two last efforts in annoying characters that never bore and you will see what I’m talking about.  Here Ben Stiller plays the just released from an “insane asylum” Greenberg of the title who is house-sitting for his brother in L.A. and trying to make some sort of sense of a life unplanned for.  His abrasiveness and self-involvement has pretty much stopped him from living his life and unknowingly he has affected those around him.  His childhood friends either resent him or don’t remember him.  The trick I find that Ben Stiller does here very well is to play Greenberg unflinchingly without backing off.  He manages to make an unlikable  character identifiable and therefore human.  No small feat considering what a sourpuss Greenberg is throughout  this very good but small slice of life film.

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