Saturday, March 5, 2016

The Uncle from M.A.N.

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
The other night, Izzy & I watched a little known movie that came out this past year called “He Never Died” starring Henry Rollins and from writer-director Jason Krawczyk (2011’s “The Briefcase”). This movie is about a guy named Jack (Rollins) who is a bit of a shut-in. He has his usual routine… he doesn’t socialize… he’s very direct… knows what he wants… he plays bingo… just goes day by day the same way. Well, one day… the guy who brings him mysterious packages (drugs?) routinely gets in a little bit of trouble… and of course the trouble comes to Jack’s doorstep... as well as a teenage daughter that he never knew he had from a past relationship. Needless to say, that sets forth a series of events that breaks his routine… and leads to a bunch of VENGEANCE. Oh… and I’m not sure if you’re supposed to know this ahead of time… but Jack is immortal… and possibly a vampire? I feel like that might be important to get you interested.
I REALLY liked this movie. The soundtrack was different but really good… Jack’s character was not your typical portrayal of an immortal person but when you really think about it, is exactly what they would be like. They’ve been there, done that. Fighting is just straight-forward, effective & brutal. You can’t get attachment of any kind because everything you know is going to die (although that’s one of the main things about Buddhism & finding Enlightenment is realizing that’s true even when you’re not immortal yourself). He’s haunted by his past. Even the other actors are pretty good… and the entire movie is done in a very gritty, realistic (save for one immortal guy) yet not disgusting way that really brings you into the movie. I highly recommend checking this movie out… and how is Henry Rollins not in more things. He must still be touring or something.
We also watched an action comedy from last year called “Man from U.N.C.L.E.” which is based on the 60’s TV series of the same name, starring Henry Cavill & Armie Hammer, and directed by Guy Ritchie (“Snatch” & “Sherlock Holmes”). There are also cameos by other British actors like Hugh Grant & Jared Harris. The movie is set in 1963 and is about a former thief turned CIA agent named Napoleon Solo (Cavill) and Russian KGB operative named Illya Kuryakin (Hammer) who are forced to team up with an East German mechanic (played by Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander) by their superiors in order to infiltrate her uncle’s stronghold in Rome… and find the location of her father who may or may not have found a way to make nuclear bombs. The movie is a very stylized spy action comedy in the vein of James Bond and “The Avengers” (the Uma Thurman one) with some of the wild cut-screen montages of Guy Ritchie movies. While the look of the movie is very chic & interesting… unfortunately the movie itself gets… a little jumbled and… basically it’s all over the place with the tone & overall feel of the movie. A lot like “The Avengers”, some parts of the movie that are supposed to be the big action scenes… really just aren’t that exciting. Partly because of the “witty” dialogue that gets thrown in (which really isn’t that witty) but also… it just doesn’t really have that immersive feel to it… and there are a few occasions where the sequence of events gets purposely mixed up to keep the viewer off kilter & reveal what they missed a minute or two later… but the callbacks aren’t done as effectively as say… one of the “Ocean’s 11” movies when there’s the big reveal at the end. It’s more jumbled & unnecessary. The tone also shifts on a dime sometimes from the super-stylized tongue-in-cheek stuff… to some rather dark things like a whole monologue about torture a few times. The pacing is a little off. Even the big climax was… kind of a letdown. That being said…
Overall, I’d say check this movie out. It was a very average movie… but it’s better than you probably think it is, or I even made it sound… but for all of its shortcomings, it may just be because it’s so unique and different from what I’m used to. I’ve seen other Guy Ritchie movies obviously… and this seemed like a hodgepodge of different things taking from James Bond, the old Avengers, the Ocean’s movies, and some other movies from the 60’s which was very cool… but sometimes it just didn’t seem to mesh well… and there were two instances where there were long holds on scenes where I said out loud to Izzy, “Okay… next scene please” but she was on her phone… so she had no idea what I was talking about. Also… it’s been a great year for young actress Alicia Vikander, with her starring roles in “Ex Machina” and winning the award for Best Supporting Actress in “The Danish Girl” but… in this movie, she simply could not get her accent down at all. Now… she’s Swedish… and is playing a German mechanic… and hanging out in Italy with a British guy playing American and Armie Hammer doing his best impression of Drago from “Rocky IV” but… it was just all over the place & I think she may have even been a little confused… but it was distractingly bad sometimes. Although, I really liked Jared Harris’ American accent as Solo’s commanding officer. I had to double check that it was actually him… there’s a gravely sort of Nick Nolte in his voice. Anyway, check this out if you’re into the genre. It’s not that bad.
Wednesday night was the San Francisco Homebrewers Guild Monthly Meeting at Anchor Brewing… and this time around was our first elections for the Leadership Team in two years. I’ve been the Outreach Chair with the club since then… and I would have gone for a higher position this time around… but with possibly moving in the next few months, I thought I would just become a Board Member & help out as best I can… and thankfully the guild thought that was a good idea too. So yeah, I’m a Board Member. We went over some plans for the coming year, introduced the new leadership (they’ve all been around for a while) and yeah… shared homebrew & caught up on personal events. It was a great time with a great group of people. A few members have their bars / breweries opening up very soon as well… so I’ll keep you posted on all of them as that happens.
Thursday night, we met up for dinner with Bubbles & her boyfriend in the Dogpatch. It had been a while since we caught up… and of course she wanted to check out Izzy’s ring. You’ve all seen it, right? It’s pretty sweet… somebody has good taste. Anyway, the night started with a few drinks at Magnolia’s Smokestack location (including their barleywine Old Thunderpussy). Great beer there… but a little pricey if you ask me… and you already know how we feel about the overpriced barbecue there. Then we headed over to the Italian restaurant Piccino a few blocks away & had a wonderful meal with great people. We had some of their pizzas and spinach ravioli… and there were some great craft beers available too. The atmosphere was perfect… and we basically ended up shutting the place down at 10 PM. Go check out Piccino if you’re in the area… but you probably want to make reservations first. Apparently it’s very popular.
Anyway, it’s going to be a rainy weekend here in the Bay Area… so that means plenty of time to buckle down, get this podcast up & running, and of course check out our latest homebrew selection, the Chocolate Stout, to make sure that it’s up to par. Until next time, have a great weekend everybody!!!

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