Canned Butter

Category: Movie Reviews

How much is a trillion?

A new friend turned me onto Carl Sagan’s television series “Cosmos” recently, and slowly but surely I’m making my way through the 13-part series. Along with being the driving creative force behind the series, Sagan himself narrates each episode, and I’ve found his delivery to be hypnotic.

When dealing with distance in universe the problem is always being able to relate massive distances to our own uman experience, and Sagan’s use of imagery and earthly concepts ignite the imagination throughout. For example, we’ve all seen images of the rings of Saturn, but what the hell are they? Imagine a trillion snowballs all grouped by graivity in the form of massive rings. This leads to the initial question: How much is a trillion? Furthermore, is there any grasping the immensity that our own Milky Way Galaxy contains anywhere from 100 – 400 billion stars? Side note: The Milky Way is one of atleast 100 billion galaxies according to Think about how many stars that is!!! Damn. You see the problem of relativity. Problem as it may be, Sagan does a great job of turning the problem into an adventure and a great exercise of imagination. Cheers to that.

Check out the 1st episode if that’s your kind of thing.

Into Greatness


I caught the latest installment of the Star Trek adventures, Into Darkness, last night at the cheap-seat Laurelhurst Theatre, and it blew my mind. That is some great story-telling. It’s amazing the twists and turns a story can take when little character development is necessary. That is to say the characters of the Star Trek story are known to the majority of viewers so very little explanation is needed to understand character chemistry and emotions. An emotional roller-coaster can ensue amidst fresh sci-fi adventure. This movie hits with suspense, ethical dilemmas, camaraderie, a touch of romance, logic, fear, glory, betrayal, and twists of all sorts. What fun. Check it out if you haven’t already… I’m sure the Netflix machine will probably have it soon??? Ciao for now.

The return of a favorite.

I’m back! Christmas holiday has taken its toll. In honor of revisiting the cinematic hilarity known as the film “Best in Show” I was inspired to look up director Christopher Guest to see when the world would be receiving another classic mockumentary. Apparently, his latest project is an HBO series entitled “Family Tree” in which:Bridesmaids and The IT Crowd star Chris O’Dowd as Tom Chadwick, a man in his early thirties searching for a sense of identity and belonging after hitting a bit of a rough patch – one that leaves him not only jobless, but single as well.

Picking up the pieces, Tom begins a journey to uncover his family history after a great aunt he never knew bequeaths him a box of belongings, which spur a need for discovery. As one would expect, Tom’s journey introduces him to a whole host of interesting characters, all of whom will likely have that particular Guest-ian sort of personality defect that makes his documentary-style comedy simultaneously hilarious and uncomfortable to watch.

It’s all set to premiere this Spring on good ol’HBO. Looks like I’ll soon have to settle my hatred for television. How bittersweet.

Too weird even for Portland.

Next weekend the long awaited Hobbit film opens in theatres everywhere. People here have already begun summoning the Tolkien goodness. On a gloomy, soggy afternoon in downtown Ptown one wizard appears to lift spirits with a familiar tune and a little balance.

Mirror, mirror

I caught the new Bond film Skyfall this weekend, and I admit it was intertaining. As one might suspect it was over-the-top ridiculous action from the get-go like riding motorbikes across multiple rooftops in Istanbul and blowing up castles with dynamite, but the objectification of women was at a reasonable level, and given the length of the film it didn’t seem to drag uncomfortably. (A Modigliani even made an appearance- impressive!) My biggest contention is how much the plot lines mirrored the only other action film I’ve seen this year: The Dark Knight Rises (the batman flick). Both have aging protagonists who must overcome the obstacles that time presents on the human body. Both have villains with a wit and who are not looking for power necessarily but rather aspire to create global social change. Both have supporting roles that include characters further along in age than the protags who must overcome a sense of guilt/regret before they may finish their lives on a positive. Both have back-stories involving orphaned heroes that are used to add a complexity to the main characters’ development. Both have a twist that involves the villain planning and actually wanting to get captured in order to carry out his larger plan.
What does it mean? Probably that Hollywood is running out of stories. Granted these plots aren’t exactly new by any means… and you’ll see the same theme resurface with the next Iron Man film I’m sure… but it is interesting to see these drawn out series (often restarted from the beginning with new actors) slowly winding down by following the same spiral. What happens when everyone is old and gray? Does Hollywood start all of them over again? Thank goodness for J.K. Rowling for coming up with something original. I suppose I should go and read those now.
In all, a nod goes out to Ian Fleming for coming up with one the greatest bad-asses of all time. Gotta love 007.

  • PS….
  • – Decent theme song from Adele.
  • – Javier Bardem is a great effing actor.


Imagine this:
Lord of the Rings meets The Blair Witch Project directed by Dog: The Bounty Hunter.
What you end up with is this film out of Norway.  It opened here in Portland at the Hollywood Theatre this weekend, and as easily as it could have been a huge disappointment it was indeed a great bit of fun.  Check out the trailer and then go see this thing because it is a great slice of fantasy.  I know what you’re thinking- this looks like some cheap horror flick made quickly for cheap scares and laughs, but I’m telling you this is the good stuff! The computer graphics are legit as well as the acting.  Good times, good times!
What if trolls really do exist in the Scandinavian highlands, and they’re simply kept out of sight and out of mind from society?  And only one man has the skills to keep the peace…

Banksy… and how Hype can start a revolution even though it’s king.

I just got out of watching the film “Exit Through the Gift Shop.” Its 90minutes of screentime are primarily a documentary aimed at recording the works of brilliant graffiti artists from around the world… Legends in their own rite. The Shakespeare being the brilliant ‘Banksy.’ If you aren’t familiar with his work I highly suggest you take a click on these links, and check it out right quick. I didn’t call him a graffiti Shakespeare for nothin’.

The documentary footage of the creation of this street art (as it’s been dubbed) is shot by a Frenchman named Thierry (like Terri), but I have firm suspicions that this film is Banksy’s baby. His swan song. First and foremost, Banksy is the quintessential shroud of our era. He’s never been photographed. I’ve only heard of him being interviewed once. There’s probably about 20 people in the entire world population who know who this artist is. Now that Banksy has reached the art-collector scene he’s financially secure. (That has to be an understatement actually.) What comes next for an artist?… for a working, creative mind that no longer has to starve? More art. So after a decade or more of total obscurity he makes this movie (I think). Call it for posterity. And he casts this frenchman to become his sentinel and to take all of the credit for putting this film together because Banksy just wants to do what he’s always done: make great art in obscurity. It’s such a brilliant idea. Art imitating life imitating art.

Here’s how the film breaks down:
The first half of the film is the story of a frenchman, Thierry, who starts video recording his graffiti artist cousin. Through his cousin he starts meeting different talents and subsequently compiles a doveload of footage. He meets Banksy upon ‘the stars aligning’, and soon he’s Banksy’s right-hand man. Fastforward to Banksy being discovered by art enthusiasts and now he’s putting on an epic artshow and selling works for 5-digit$. This is where the movie takes a turn. After years behind the camera Thierry gets an itch to make art on his own. Graffiti style art, mind you. (Coincidentally,) the art has the baby-blue eyes of Bansky and Andy Warhol’s love child. Needless to say family-man Thierry (wife &children) gathers capital to hire a crew and lease a warehouse in Hollywood much in the vein of Warhol’s NewYork ‘Factory’ many moons ago. Thierry changes his name to Mr. BrainWash, puts on an art show, and becomes wildly successful. (And they lived happily ever after.) It’s definitely a movie worth watching, if not simply to argue I’m wrong in the concepts I’ve mentioned here. The art is highly provocative as well. In the end, the underlying message is perhaps apparent to some:

Hype can start a revolution even though Hype is king.