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Monthly Archives: September 2009

Over the last few years I have slowly returned to enjoying the more mainstream sound of modern country music.  I know many people cringe to hear me say that, but there is some really good music you cut yourself off from if you toss any genre out the window on principle.  One of the artists that I have come to enjoy is Billy Currington.  Billy’s latest single, and one of the most popular country songs out there right now, is a little ditty called “People Are Crazy.”

The thing that draws me to this song is the three truths around which it is built:

  1. God is Great
  2. Beer is Good
  3. People are Crazy

Now the second two are easy.  Beer is indeed one of the good things in life.  And nothing is better than enjoying a good beer with good friends. And people are, indeed, crazy.  If you doubt this as an immutable fact of life I invite you to peruse any online news site.  Don’t worry, I’ll wait.

See….CRAZY!

The first is the one that is a stumbling block for some people.  For some, they just can’t get their head around the concept of an “all-powerful being.”  For others, religion itself is the problem.  And some just flat out don’t buy into the concept of God.  Intellectually, I can understand all of their arguments.  Taken on a strictly intellectual level, a place of pure logic, it’s hard to argue that their views don’t have merit.  And, for those reasons, I have the utmost respect for anyone’s beliefs.

The thing is, logic and intellectualism can only take you so far in a thorough examination of life and the universe around us.  There are simply too many unanswered questions for me to put all my eggs in the basic of logic.  That, to me, is where faith comes in. 

I was raised a Roman Catholic.  And one thing that many people who were raised that way will tell you is that there are probably as many lapsed Catholics out there as active ones.  But, despite the fact that I am probably closer to lapsed, my faith remained in my heart throughout my life.  Take away my faith, and so much of the world stops making sense.  Without faith how can you explain love?  Without faith what do you cling to when the walls start falling down around you?  Without faith how do you find the courage to ask for forgiveness that can heal you?

I have studied many faiths over the years.  I have read the Bible, the Koran, the Mahayana Buddhist texts.  I’ve read Dante Alligheri and St. Augustine.  I’ve listened to the words of Billy Graham and Mother Theresa.  And, the one thing that I have concluded is that no one knows the answers.  We were never meant to.  Life is a journey that would be wholly unnecessary if we knew the answers.  What I do know, however, is that everyone has something that gives them faith.  It may not be a supreme being.  It may be your loved ones and friends.  It may be your knowledge of the world around you.  But, you have faith in something.

Faith is the lens through which all of us see the beauty of the universe in which we dwell.  To lose that vision entirely is a sin, no matter what your beliefs are.

So, I find myself refocusing that lens.  I am trying to be a better person, to improve myself so as to be worthy of the endless love I receive from friends and family, and to rekindle my faith.  And, I send out the love that faith stirs in my heart to each and every one of the people who read this.

May God, in whatever form he takes for you, bless you.  Always.

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Travelling with my wife is always an interesting experience.  Like anyone on vacation we always carry a camera with us.  And, also like many others, we pick up brochures and postcards to remember our trip.  Most people take these things home and they either get lost in the shuffle or get stuck in a photo album.

Not in my house.

That’s because I live with a scrapbooker, and when you live with a scrapbooker these things can take on a life of their own.

The sheer volume of papers, punches, pens, and other miscellaneous tools available out there for this hobby is truly an incredible thing to the uninitiated.  There are whole stores dedicated to scrapbooking with rows upon rows of papers in every hue and pattern imaginable.  And, that’s just a tiny fraction of the store.  Punches that can punch out everything from a circle to a snowflake to Mickey Mouse ears.  Scissors and cutting tools that can cut anything from a stright line to a lace edge.  Stickers and brads and embellishments, OH MY!

The sheer variety is breathtaking.  The sophistication, incredible.  Yes, there are your typical scissors you’ve used since you were in grade school.  But there are also machines that can hook up to a computer (or even stand alone) and cut from paper anything from letters in hundreds of fonts to holiday shapes.  And that just scratches the surface.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  At least if you’ve never seen a scrapbooker at work or their finished product.  Why all this effort for a glorified photo album?  Why all the expense and tools and work for something to hold my pictures?  If that’s what you think a scrapbook is, then you have another thing coming. 

I have had the scales drop from my eyes on this one.  The creations my wife and her fellow scrapbookers craft with some photos and their arcane implements of scrapbookery are really works of art.  Even better, they are works of art starring you and your loved ones and all the things you have done together.  In the hands of a scrapbooker a few bits of paper, stickers, and a couple tools creates a lasting memory complete with journaling to remind you of the little quirks that make those times truly memorable.

It is an incredible thing to witness.

So, no, I don’t mind grabbing a hundred brochures, scores of postcards, filling up memory cards with photos, or jotting down memories of the day in a notebook at the end of the day.  Whenever I start to roll my eyes or sigh in frustration I stop and remember why we are doing those things.  I remember the beauty my wife crafted out of our honeymoon pictures.  I remember the smile remembering birthdays and road trips through her scrapbookers eye has brought. 

And, I smile because I know, in her mind, the pages are already being laid out.

For as long as I can remember sea life has fascinated me.  My fascination probably began small, watching the fish swim in the freshwater tanks I would feed for neighbors on vacation for a few bucks or at my grandmother Sornson’s house when I was little.

But I think the day that I became truly enamored with all swimming creatures was the first time I walked into Chicago’s John G. Shedd Aquarium on a field trip and saw that central tank for the first time.  All those fish and turtles gliding through an aquatic ballet before my eyes mesmerized me, and I proceeded to gobble up the rest of the aquarium’s tanks one after another.

I have since seen more spectacular tanks (EPCOT’s The Living Seas, comes to mind), but even though the tank at Shedd seemed smaller when I revisited it as an adult, it will always have a special place in my heart.

With this fascination, of course, comes the strong desire to have a tank of my own.  A small piece of aquatic bliss right there in my home to watch whenever I want.  So I began research on putting together my own freshwater tank and mulling the options.

But, every time I would go to a pet store or browse an aquarium website I would be looking at the freshwater fish, but my eyes would continually be drawn to their saltwater cousins.  Somehow the tetras and neons seemed so dull when across the aisle swam angelfish and mollys.  So, caught between the increasing dullness of the denizens of freshwater and the horror stories of keeping a saltwater tank, I decided to put my aquariums dreams on hold for a while.

Then, during one of my bi-weekly geek convocations, a friend of mine mentioned he had a saltwater tank and had nearly no real maintenance.  I talked to him about it at a high level for a time and realized that the horror stories were really just stories if you did things the right way.  Seeing the glint of the aquarist returning to my eye, my wife made the cardinal mistake.

She took me to That Fish Place.

For those outside central Pennsylvania, That Pet Place/That Fish Place is a GINORMOUS pet store fully half of which is dedicated to the hobby of aquariums.  We walked into the store and my eyes drank in all the possibilities.  Yes, this hobby was involved.  But, this place has five marine biologists on staff to answer any questions you have.  When we saw the reef tanks, with their beautiful corals, colorful fish, and tiny little crustaceans, my wife was sold.

But, this is a hobby of patience.  Before I can even think of making even a single purchase I have to research, research, and research some more.  Every decision you make ripples through your system like a tsunami on crack.  Thus, every single step must be painstakingly examined before any move is made.  Patience is not something my wife like to hear about.  But, she’s decided this hobby is a great one for me to take part in.

She’ll just enjoy the results.

I try not to post angry.  I have few enough readers as it is without alienating them with my rants and raves.  But, sometimes something just needs to be said.  I will try to keep this post brief so as not to expose the two or three readers to too much of my venting.

One of my biggest workplace pet peeves is people who go behind my back.

If you have a problem with me, tell me to my face.  We are all supposed to be not only adults but professionals.  We should handle issues in a way that reflects that.  I am not someone who needs everyone to like me.  But, I do expect that you extend me a certain level of professional courtesy and respect until I have done something to lose that respect.  And, if you feel I have done something, then tell me.  I would rather you get in my face so we can at least air our grievances.

If you don’t have the courage to confront me directly, keep it to yourself.

I don’t want to hear from my co-workers or my boss that you have an issue.  That’s junior-high level.  All you do by going behind my back is poison our professional relationship, make the workplace that much more stressful, and make it difficult, if not impossible, to work with you.  If I know you are going behind y back instead of confronting me directly, how can I trust you at all.  If I can’t trust you, how can I work with you effectively.

I am so sick of this pettiness.  Give it a rest.  Take it up with me, or just shut the hell up.

Hello, all. 

First, I’d like to apologize for the further lack of reviews.  Life has been hectic of late and attendance at the cinema hasn’t been in the cards, unfortunately.  I did, however, get a bit of a treat last evening.  My wife and I attended Fathom Events one night showing of the new high definition print of “The Wizard of Oz.” 

It was truly a rare treat to get o see this classic not only in its newly restored beauty, but on the big screen.  There is a reason this film is timeless, and I was reminded of all the magic last night.  If you are a fan of the film, Warner is releasing the film in a 70th anniversary edition next Tuesday, and it will be available for the first time in high definition on Blu-Ray as well.

Well, from classics of 70 years to this week’s latest releases, off we go…..

“Pandorum”

Trailer

Synopsis: Two astronauts awaken in a hyper-sleep chamber aboard a seemingly abandoned spacecraft. It’s pitch black, they are disoriented, and the only sound is a low rumble and creak from the belly of the ship. They can’t remember anything. Who are they? What is their mission? With Lt. Payton staying behind to guide him via radio transmitter, Cpl. Bower ventures deep into the ship and begins to uncover a terrifying reality. Slowly the spacecraft’s shocking, deadly secrets are revealed, and the astronauts find their own survival is more important than they could ever have imagined.

MovieDruid’s Comments: Horror and sci-fi are two of my favorite genres.  And, when done right (“Alien,” “Event Horizon”), the mix of the two can be absolutely breathtaking as the genres simply reinforce one another.  My worry here is that the film looks like old territory rehashed.  The trailers look like a strange concoction of “28 Days Later” and “Aliens.”  The director, Christian Alvart, has only a few movies under his belt, and none that were stateside releases, so it is hard to get a feel for his vision at this point.  The two lead astronauts are an interesting pair with Dennis Quaid (“Dragonheart” & “The Express”) and Ben Foster (“3:10 To Yuma” & “30 Days Of Night”) in the roles.  The film has potential, my sci-fi and horror are, individually difficult to do well, together the tightrope becomes even narrower.

“Fame”

Trailer

Synopsis: A reinvention of the original Oscar®-winning hit film, “Fame” follows a talented group of dancers, singers, actors, and artists over four years at the New York City High School of Performing Arts, a diverse, creative powerhouse where students from all walks of life are given a chance to live out their dreams and achieve real and lasting fame…the kind that comes only from talent, dedication, and hard work. In an incredibly competitive atmosphere, plagued by self-doubt, each student’s passion will be put to the test. In addition to their artistic goals, they have to deal with everything else that goes along with high school, a tumultuous time full of schoolwork, deep friendships, budding romance, and self-discovery. As each student strives for his or her moment in the spotlight, they’ll discover who among them has the innate talent and necessary discipline to succeed. With the love and support of their friends and fellow artists, they’ll find out who amongst them will achieve… Fame.

MovieDruid’s Comments: I considered making this my pick of the week, and it was a difficult decision to be quite honest.  The original film and the TV series it spawned both are old favorites.  Now, I know that may come as a shock to some of you, but well performed drama is always near the top of my list, and when you add the artistry of the music and dance in this film it should be a standout.  I am no fan of television in general, even less so of reality TV, but if the popularity of shows like “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance” has gotten Hollywood to revisit “Fame” then I am all for it.

Surrogates” – MovieDruid Pick of the Week

Trailer

Synopsis: People are living their lives remotely from the safety of their own homes via robotic surrogates-sexy, physically perfect mechanical representations of themselves. It’s an ideal world where crime, pain, fear and consequences don’t exist. When the first murder in years jolts this utopia, FBI agent Greer discovers a vast conspiracy behind the surrogate phenomenon and must abandon his own surrogate, risking his life to unravel the mystery.

MovieDruid’s Comments:  This was one of the harder weeks to select my pick, but “Surrogates” is getting the nod.  The director, Jonathan Mostow, has a mixed pedigree having foisted “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” upon us.  However, he has proven he is able to create tension and solid character development with “U-571.”  Add to that the cast he has to work with, which includes Bruce Willis (“The Fifth Element” & “The Jackal”), Radha Mitchell (“Pitch Black” & “Man on Fire”), Ving Rhames (“Pulp Fiction” & “Dawn of the Dead”), and James Cromwell (“The Green Mile” & “L.A. Confidential”), he should be able to craft a well made film.  Hopefully, like most good sci-fi, the sci-fi elements will almost be inconsequential to the telling of a solid story.  A film like this is a thriller that should not allow effects to overshadow plot.  I have every hope that will be the case.

Disney is one of those companies that has given me some fantastic memories over the years.  I still remember sitting in a theater with my brother and sister waiting for the re-release of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” to start chanting “DOPEY! DOPEY!”  The magic of Disney has always been captivating.

But, they went through a rough patch with me.  They shut down their traditional animation studios and went completely to CGI.  It never really made sense to me.  After all, even before they acquired Pixar they had a distribution deal with them that put the Disney name on pretty much everything Pixar was going to produce for a number of years.  For years we had a renaissance of traditional animation with movies like “Beauty & the Beast” and “The Lion King,” and suddenly it was over and we were getting “Chicken Little.”

Over the last few years there have been some changes, however.  And that brings me to the “love” portion of my relationship with Disney.  With the acquisition of Pixar there was a bit of a changing of the guard in Disney animation.  John Lasseter, a former Disney animator and one of the key minds at Pixar, was made Disney Animation’s “Chief Creative Officer.”  Hope returned with this move because Lasseter has always said that he misses the traditionally animated films.  Now, two things have happened.  First, Disney is finallyreleasing a new traditionally animated piece later this year: “The Princess & The Frog.”  And it looks absolutely brilliant.  Secondly, Dick Cook, the head of Disney Studios was let go earlier this week and Lasseter seems to be the front runner for taking over the position.  This is nothing but warm fuzzy feelings for me!

Now for the “hate” portion.  As I’m sure everyone who has read this blog knows, I am a geek and take a certain pride in that fact.  One aspect of that geekdom is a love of comic books.  I grew up reading the adventures of Spider-Man, Captain America, and the X-Men.  And, while my tastes have started to tend in a more DC leaning direction as I’ve gotten older, Marvel Comics will always have a special place in my heart.  For years, Marvel fans suffered under the boot of horrific movie adaptations.  The came films like “Spider-Man” and “Iron Man.”  We were finally seeing the properties treated well.

Now Disney owns Marvel.

I may be overreacting here.  Everything may end up being just fine in the end.  But, Disney has a terrible reputation for meddling.  We don’t need Disney hands tinkering with Marvel properties.  It would do nothing to improve them, and could very well take Marvel to a cartoony vision of itself.  I know that sounds ridiculous to those of you who are not comic fans, saying comic books will become cartoony.  But, anyone who remembers some of the key moments of Marvel history will tell you that Disney-izing the Marvel universe would be a travesty.

Why must the Mouse House be so damn bipolar?

As I have noted previously in this blog, I love to read.  Books are some of my most treasured commodities.  When I find a particularly beautiful edition of a beloved book I find it very hard to resist.

This love flows beyond the simplicity of the book to encompass libraries and, a personal love, BOOKSTORES!  In fact, while I was taking classes and tests to earn my certifications I worked part-time at a local Waldenbooks.  It was, in many ways, one of the greatest jobs I have ever had.  Being surrounded by books was a daily treat that made up for alot of the typical unpleasantness of working retail.

Anyone who is a true love of the printed medium will tell you that there is a feel to a room or building full of books.  There is a sense of order.  There is a smell that fills the air from the paper and bindings.  There is a sound that whispers through the place of ruffling pages.  Most people feel a certain sense of reverence in such places.  They talk in hushed voices, and often can’t explain exactly why.  It is a magical feeling.

During my time with Borders Group (Borders actually owns Waldenbooks) I saw the company begin to close stores, impose draconian standards on the remaining stores, and begin cutting back on the selection within their stores.  It was a sad thing to witness, but it is becoming more and more prevalent.  The bookstore, once a standard staple of any mall, is slowly disappearing.

Intellectually, I understand the reasons behind this.  As a techie I love the internet, and have developed a certain affection for Amazon.  Online retailers like Amazon are helping to sound the death knell for the local bookstores.  When you add in the current economic situation it just makes things worse.  After all, when jobs are unstable and you need to be sure rent and food are covered things like books quickly become a luxury.

I hate to see bookstores disappearing.  I love to spend hours browsing through their stock discovering new authors, rediscovering old favorites, and walking out with a new jewel to add to my hoard at home.  I realize that, in many ways, I am a bit hypocritical on this.  After all, I am an Amazon junkie as much as anyone.  I try to help out the store I used to work at, but sometimes the economics of things just make Amazon a much more sensible source.

I just hope it never comes to a day where the bookstore disappears altogether.  Libraries are wonderful places, I can spend hours in them as well.  But, the feel of ownership when you leave a bookstore with a new volume is a particular joy.

After all, each volume becomes a beloved friend with a place of honor amongst its fellows.

As a movie buff, I love going to the theater,  feeling the hush that (hopefully) accompanies the dimming of the lights, and losing myself in the glow of the silver screen.  It’s an experience that trumps watching any television programming or even my favorite movies on home theater every time.  I also have developed a keen appreciation for the history of the medium, and a true love of the old films (especially anything starring Humphrey Bogart).

One of the most beloved of the old films is “The Wizard of Oz.”  I know many people who consider an annual viewing of this film either at Thanksgiving or Christmas an unbreakable tradition.  My wife, is a true fan.  She even wore ruby slippers to our wedding.  “The Wizard of Oz” stands out because of its artistry in every aspect of filmmaking.  It captures the imagination of even an old cynic like myself, and takes us away to a place where “the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.”

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the 1939 release of the film.  That a film could stay in the hearts of generation after generation for 70 years is remarkable.  That it is still able to fascinate the CGI enamored kids of today despite its best special effects being some smoke and a change from sepia to color, doubly so.  In celebration of the 70th anniversary Warner is releasing the film on Blu-Ray next week.

However, a special treat is available this week on Wednesday night.

Fathom Events, a company who has made a niche for itself by bringing everything from the Metropolitan Opera to International Marching Band Competitions to the big screen as special events is bringing the new digital print of “The Wizard of Oz” to theaters for a one night only event on Wednesday, September 23, 2009.  I would urge anyone who has children, or still plays with their inner child to try to attend the screening near them if they possibly can.  For a list of participating theaters click here.

After all, we’ve all dreamed of following the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City in hopes that the Wizard has something in that bag for us, too.

The concept of “home” is an interesting one that has been floating around my head a bit of late.  It seems like an easy enough concept at first glance, but the compexities involved in that little word can be mind-numbing if you stop to look at it hard enough.

It may be that I make it harder than it is because of my own experiences.  Growing up, my family moved around quite a bit.  In fact, by the time I had graduated from high school I had attended seven different schools.  The first of these transitions were extremely hard, but as I grew up and we continued to bounce around, I began to adapt.  It became second nature to keep my roots from getting too deep.  I wasn’t always successful in this, but knowing that a move would eventually be coming kept me from getting too comfortable anywhere.

In many ways, I appreciate the fact that we moved as much as we did when I look back on it.  Unlike the typical kid growing up in the same town all their life, I got to see a breadth of American culture I never would have experienced otherwise.  It helped me to appreciate the diversity and differences out there.

But, it also has the effect of me not really having a place I connect with the concept of “home.”  Home was never about a place to me, but about a feeling.  The feeling of home was always one of safety, love, and acceptance for me.  When I had that feeling, I was home, it didn’t matter where it was.  And, I’ve had that feeling around me for most of my life.

The problem I have with home, sometimes, is that in many ways my mind is riddled with fractures.  I’m smart enough to recognize this in myself, and have come to accept it.  Really, I think most of us are broken on some level in some way, we just all deal with it differently.  The truth of the matter is, though, that the broken parts of my psyche make it so I am not someone who adapts well in social situations.  I am introverted to a fault.  I speak little, if at all, even among people I am comfortable with.  Add to that the cynicism that has developed from years of technical support, and finding that place of safety, love, and acceptance is extremely difficult.

Luckily, I found someone that truly cares about me and is able to help me find that feeling of home.  My friends may be few in number but they are loyal and accepting.  I have that feeling of home to wrap around myself most of the time.  

There are moments when it fails me, though.  It is at those times, when the loneliness and cynicism mix into a toxic concoction, that I realize that the damage I have done to some of my relationships will keep me from ever truly finding home again.

At least, until I can find some way to fix what I have broken.

Hello, all.

Well, another week has nearly left us and, thus, it is time for the MovieDruid to once again gush forth with his analysis of the coming movie releases.  I know you all wait with bated breath for the coming of the Thursday post, so I won’t ramble on for too long.  Just two small points before I begin:

1) I apologize for the lack of review this week.  I was out of town all weekend and did not have the opportunity to grab a flick.

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2) I would like to welcome home from Iraq my intrepid friend in the National Guard.  Welcome home, buddy, we’re all glad you’re home and safe!

Well, with that out of the way, here we go…

“Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs”

Trailer

Synopsis: Columbia Pictures’ and Sony Pictures Animation’s Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs will be the most delicious event since macaroni met cheese. Inspired by the beloved children’s book, the film focuses on a town where food falls from the sky like rain.

MovieDruid’s Comments: I actually have very high hopes for this one.  But, I may be biased.  I remember this book from my childhood with very fond memories.  Even now, I get the giggles thinking about the silly story and the beautiful illustrations of all the ridiculousness.  The real challenge here, as with any film based on a children’s book, is to remain true to the spirit of the source while making a book that takes minutes to read into a feature length film.  It should be an interesting one with voice talent ranging from James Caan to Neil Patrick Harris to Mr. T.  (As a side note this one is also being released in 3D in some theaters if that is your cup of tea.)

“Love Happens”

Trailer

Synopsis: Aaron Eckhart and Jennifer Aniston star in the romantic drama Love Happens. When a self-help author arrives in Seattle to teach a sold-out seminar, he unexpectedly meets the one person who might finally be able to help him help himself. Dr. Burke Ryan (Eckhart) is on the precipice of a major multimedia deal, but the therapist who asks his patients to openly confront their pain is secretly unable to take his own advice. Eloise Chandler (Aniston) has sworn off men and decided to focus on her floral business. However, when she meets Burke at the hotel where he’s speaking, there is an instant attraction. But will two people who have met the right person at exactly the wrong time be able to give love another chance? As each struggles with the hurt of love and loss, they realize that in order to move forward, they need to let go of the past. And if they can, they’ll find that, sometimes, love happens when you least expect it.

MovieDruid’s Comments: I don’t truly believe in the concept of the “chick flick” to be quite honest.  I think that guys often miss pretty solid movies simply because they are romantic in nature.  Guys, if you’re out there and you haven’t seen “Untamed Heart,” “It Could Happen To You,” or “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” you really should give at least one of them a try (along with countless others).  This one has a lot of pieces that look good.  The only real weak point is the untried director, Brandon Camp.  But, when he has Jennifer Aniston (“The Breakup” & “Bruce Almighty”) and Aaron Eckhart (“Paycheck” & “The Dark Knight”) as his leads I think he’ll be alright.  It could go either way (these movies sometimes stray into sappy to be sappy territory), but this one looks like it is worth a glance.

“Jennifer’s Body”

Trailer

Synopsis: When small town high-school student Jennifer is possessed by a hungry demon, she transitions from being “high-school evil” — gorgeous (and doesn’t she know it), stuck up and ultra-attitudinal — to the real deal: evil/evil. The glittering beauty becomes a pale and sickly creature jonesing for a meaty snack, and guys who never stood a chance with the heartless babe, take on new luster in the light of Jennifer’s insatiable appetite. Meanwhile, Jennifer’s lifelong best friend Needy, long relegated to living in Jennifer’s shadow, must step-up to protect the town’s young men, including her nerdy boyfriend.

MovieDruid’s Comments: After reading so much about how this movie finally gives us a taste of the talen Megan Fox actually has, I really want this movie to be great.  In the two “Transformers” movies there were small flashes of her actual ability as an actress, but they were quickly swept under the rug in favor of using her as eye candy.  I mean, how many different angles can they truly find from which to show off her cleavage?  My gut tells me that despite the nature of her performance in those films, and the somewhat teen slasher feel of this one, Fox actually has some acting chops.  Hopefully Karyn Kusama allows her to perform a bit rather than exploting her physical assets as Michael Bay did.

“The Informant!” – MovieDruid Pick of the Week

Trailer

Synopsis: What was Mark Whitacre thinking? A rising star at agri-industry giant Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Whitacre suddenly turns whistleblower. Even as he exposes his company’s multi-national price-fixing conspiracy to the FBI, Whitacre envisions himself being hailed as a hero of the common man and handed a promotion. But before all that can happen, the FBI needs evidence, so Whitacre eagerly agrees to wear a wire and carry a hidden tape recorder in his briefcase, imagining himself as a kind of de facto secret agent. Unfortunately for the FBI, their lead witness hasn’t been quite so forthcoming about helping himself to the corporate coffers. Whitacre’s ever-changing account frustrates the agents and threatens the case against ADM as it becomes almost impossible to decipher what is real and what is the product of Whitacre’s rambling imagination. Based on the true story of the highest-ranking corporate whistleblower in U.S. history.

MovieDruid’s Comments: Matt Damon has always proven to be a bit of a chameleon in his roles.  From the anti-semitic rich boy of “School Ties” to the South Boston tough guy in “Good Will Hunting” to the amnesiac secret agent in “The Bourne Identity.”  Somehow he is one of the few actors that manages to make me forget that I am watching Matt Damon and lose myself in the character.  Here, we have Damon doing something he rarely does, comedy.  But, his performance looks to be so over the top ridiculous that it jusy must be seen.  Add to that the fact that, despite the comedic nature of the film, this is a true story and you simply have a film begging for a screening.

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