Best of Kong

Posted: 8th March 2017 by Mister Critic in Movies

Kong: Skull Island comes out this week so let's make a list of the best of Kong

Mar 08, 2017 - - 0
King Kong (1933)

Directed by Merian C. Cooper, Ernest B. Schoedsack. With Fay Wray, Robert Armstrong, Bruce Cabot, Frank Reicher. A film crew goes to a tropical island for an exotic location shoot and discovers a colossal giant gorilla who takes a shine to their female blonde star. He is then captured and brought back to New York City for public exhibition.

Mar 08, 2017 - - 0
The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters (2007)

Directed by Seth Gordon. With Steve Wiebe, Billy Mitchell, Mark Alpiger, Adam Wood. Die-hard gamers compete to break world records on classic arcade games.

Mar 08, 2017 - - 0
King Kong (1976)

Directed by John Guillermin. With Jeff Bridges, Charles Grodin, Jessica Lange, John Randolph. A petroleum exploration expedition comes to an isolated island and encounters a colossal giant gorilla.

Mar 08, 2017 - - 0
King Kong Lives (1986)

Directed by John Guillermin. With Brian Kerwin, Linda Hamilton, Peter Elliott, George Antoni. Kong falls from the twin towers and he appears to be alive. However, his heart is failing, so it's replaced with an artificial one. All is well until he senses that there's a female Kong somewhere out there and escapes wreaking havoc.

Mar 08, 2017 - - 0
King Kong (2005)

Directed by Peter Jackson. With Naomi Watts, Jack Black, Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann. A movie crew, travelling to a mysterious island to shoot their picture, encounter a furious gorilla, taking their leading actress and forming a special relationship with her, protecting her at all costs.

Mar 08, 2017 - - 0
Kong: Skull Island (2017)

Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts. With Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly. A team of explorers and soldiers travel to an uncharted island in the Pacific, unaware that they are crossing into the domain of monsters, including the mythic Kong.

Mar 08, 2017 - - 0
Donkey Kong

Donkey Kong (ドンキーコング, Donkī Kongu?, [dõŋ.kiː kõŋ.ɡu͍]) is a series of video games featuring the adventures of a gorilla character called Donkey Kong, conceived by Shigeru Miyamoto in 1981. The franchise mainly comprises two different game genres, plus spin-off titles of various genres.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Posted: 27th June 2012 by Mister Critic in Books

Stop what you are doing and read this book right now.

Another Earth and The Help

Posted: 1st February 2012 by Mister Critic in Movies
Tags: , , ,

Reviewed by Ms. Critic

After throwing back some Midol and curling up with the heating pad, I turned to the trusty tele to find some comfort. It was actually Mr. Critic who selected these movies from Netflix, probably from my prompts of wanting to see more “girl movies”.

Let me confess one thing before I get started. I’m the kind of girl who is clueless about movies. I don’t really care for previews nor do I follow what is new or the creation of films. And it’s because Mr. Critic is 100% competent in this area. I often turn to him like a confused senior and ask “honey have we seen that yet?” (read “honey, I can’t remember a damn thing about any film ever, did I watch this movie, and also, where did I park the car?”) Rest assured reader, I am writing this just after seeing both films so my memory banks for these two haven’t dumped yet. Thank God I’m still young!

The first movie was Another Earth. In my naïve way I asked Mr. Critic what movie he picked and what it’s about. He told me it’s about what it would be like if there was a mirrored earth. “Don’t worry, it’s not a sci-fi,” he assured.

What followed was a film totally unexpected. The story unfolds in a quiet, surreal manner, with a patient and subtle suspense that urges you to continue to watch. The tragedy unfolds when a promising teen makes a mistake so large, it sends her to prison. And that is just the first few minutes of the movie. It later continues with her release to the public that coincides with the contact of another earth. Another Earth is presented as symbol of redemption for the lead character, while others are uneasy with the idea that their lives are a mirrored on this newly found sister planet. I’m not going to tell you much more in fear that I give away the entire plot, however I will share that in my vulnerable state, I cried like a baby. The movie is seductive with its haunting views of another Earth in the sky. Something so beautiful and familiar (since it looks just like our Earth) yet entirely out of place when viewed next to the moon in the skyscape. It’s the simple shots and quiet moments of this film that make it so attractive. Not everything is explained in this film, which adds to the mystery and intrigue.

Next we watched The Help. I had read the book previously and had bawled my eyes out on the pages of this story already. Apparently I had many tears to spare because this did not make me immune to another ugly cry, or maybe I should say a series of ugly cries. This tale of racism in Mississippi stayed true to its book roots with its main focus of triumph of adversity. Unlike Another Earth, The Help uses humor and easily accessible and familiar characters to unfold a complex plot. This is a Steel Magnolias type of movie of feel-good sisterhood and courage juxtaposed with uptight southern bells—the ultimate super villains. The connection to the characters is somewhat lacking only because of the shear volume and lack of inner monologue that a book is better at uncovering. However, the movie did a good job of uncovering racism without being preachy or political.

So if you’re in need of an escape to another world, try one of these movies, just make sure to pack your tissues for the emotional journey ahead.

Review of Best Original Song Nominees

Posted: 30th January 2012 by Mister Critic in Movies
Tags: , , , ,

So this year only two songs have been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song: “Man or Muppet” and “Real in Rio”. Take a listen.

Real in Rio

Man or Muppet

First let me say, I am disappointed that there are only two songs. Either the Academy needs to change their rules or somebody needs to step up and start writing some better songs for movies.

And in reviewing these songs, to me, there is one clear winner. Although “Real in Rio” will make a great half-time, marching band song someday, it just does not even come close to the greatness of the Muppets. First, the song is written by Bret McKinzie of the Flight of the Conchords, who has written some fantastically funny songs, and I would love to see him honored for creating another hit. Second, this song isn’t just funny, but I think it speaks to the heart of most men as we grow up. Are we to lose that crazy, childlike Muppet inside of us to become an “adult” or should we embrace that weird, felt-like, googley-eyed personality? Those of you who know me, know which path I have chosen, which I’m sure at times drives my wife crazy.

“Man or Muppet” is a wonderful song on so many levels and Mister Critic picks “Man or Muppet” to win.

What do you think?

Academy Awards Nominations: A Critic’s Cry for Help

Posted: 27th January 2012 by Mister Critic in Movies

So the 2012 Academy Awards Nominations have been announced, and yet again I find myself behind in my movie watching. I feel like I have let you down, dear reader, and so I will try to hurry up and review as many of these as I can in the next few weeks. But I can’t do it alone. Please help a critic out…if you have seen a movie and have opinion, send Mister Critic a review! Only by working together can we conquer this list and be ready for the big night.

Best Picture
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”
“Midnight in Paris”
“The Help”
“War Horse”
“The Tree of Life”

Best Actor
Demian Bichir, “A Better Life”
George Clooney, “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

Best Actress
Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis, “The Help”
Rooney Mara, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn”
Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte, “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Max Von Sydow, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain, “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Best Director
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”
Alexander Payne, “The Descendants”
Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”

Best Original Screenplay
Woody Allen, “Midnight in Paris”
JC Chandor, “Margin Call”
Asghar Farhadi, “A Separation”
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo, “Bridesmaids”

Best Adapted Screenplay
Alexander Payne, Nat Faxton, Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
John Logan, “Hugo”
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon, “The Ides of March”
Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zaillian, “Moneyball”
Bridget O’Connor, Peter Straughn, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”

Best Animated Feature
“A Cat In Paris”
“Chico & Rita”
“Kung Fu Panda 2”
“Puss in Boots”

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Bullhead (Belgium)
Footnote (Israel)
In Darkness (Poland)
Monsieur Lazhar (Canada)
A Separation (Iran)

Original Score
“The Adventures of Tintin,” John Williams
“The Artist,” Ludovic Bource
“Hugo,” Howard Shore
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,” Alberto Iglesias
“War Horse,” John Williams

Best Original Song
“Man or Muppet,” The Muppets; Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
“Real in Rio,” Rio; Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett

Best Achievement in Art Direction
“The Artist”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
“Midnight in Paris”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Cinematography
“The Artist”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“The Tree of Life”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Costume Design
“The Artist”
“Jane Eyre”

Best Documentary Feature
“Hell and Back Again”
“If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front”
“Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory”

Best Documentary Short Subject
“The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement?”
“God Is the Bigger Elvis”
“Incident in New Baghdad”
“Saving Face”
“The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom”

Best Achievement in Film Editing
“The Artist”
“The Descendants”
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

Best Achievement in Makeup
“Albert Nobbs”
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
“The Iron Lady”

Best Animated Short Film
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
La Luna
A Morning Stroll
Wild Life

Best Live Action Short Film
“The Shore”
“Time Freak”
“Tuba Atlantic”

Best Achievement in Sound Editing
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Sound Mixing
“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”
“War Horse”

Best Achievement in Visual Effects
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2”
“Real Steel”
“Rise of the Planet of the Apes”
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

The Obligatory “I’m back” Post

Posted: 25th January 2012 by Mister Critic in Random
Tags: , , ,

Yes, that’s right. Mister Critic is back to biz-natch and ready to blog it up. Here’s a little something to break the ice and get us back into the swing of things.

Thirtysomething, 24 Years Later

Posted: 11th July 2011 by Mister Critic in TV
Tags: , , ,

Reviewed by Ms. Critic

I’ve been caught up. Swept away to a world not too different from my own, watching Thirtysomething on Netflix has been my dirty little secret. The first taping of Thirtysomething was in 1987. So you’d think that something created so long ago, a silly sitcom would really not resonate with a thirty-year-old of today. You’d think our facebook, iphones and tech gadgets would make us somehow superior or at least different. We’d perhaps struggle with different world politics, a different economy, different family values.  Has life really changed much in 24 years?

This year I turned double digit threes and can really identify with the clash between adulthood obligations and ideology that is unique to thirty-year-olds for generations now. It’s kind of a middle place, a waiting place. I feel the adulthood angst carried with me everywhere I go. Thirty is the age when you realize, you are not really that special (if you are lucky, your parents or spouse still think you are). You didn’t marry Prince Charming, didn’t solve world hunger, didn’t make millions on Wall Street. Thirty is a mediocre age where you accept you are just one of many people trying to live your life avoiding trauma. Watching Thirtysomething I identify with the Steadmans who work hard to balance their careers while raising a family under the roof of a decrepit house. I identify with Eylln who cautiously navigates her relationship with her parents who recently divorced. Or there is Melissa who spends more time hiding behind the camera rather than making connections because it’s safer. And I identify with Gary who wants to make the world a better place but doesn’t know where to begin. These characters are so much like my friends and me with the same obstacles and joys that the dated 80’s style become as invisible as the Emperor’s New Clothes (well almost. I still can’t get over that Elliot a grown man, wears large decorative pins on his suit coats, very strange indeed).

Watching Thirtysomething I don’t feel so alone feeling unsure. I am reminded that everyone is plugging away at their journey, not really understanding where they will be taken next. I’m comforted that although my real life Thirtysomething friends have very different lives; we are able to learn from one another and share our life experiences. And thanks to fictional Thirtysomething, I realize it doesn’t matter what era you were born in (or if you wore hideous pins or feathered bangs) the destination is not what is important. It’s the journey that makes life worth living.

Venti’s, Salem Oregon

Posted: 17th March 2011 by Mister Critic in Random

Reviewed by Mister Hand

For Salem, finding a quality place to dine out that offers good food & reasonable prices is not too hard. Add to that a great atmosphere… and now you’re probably thinking about heading to Portland. Worry not though… there is hope. Enter Venti’s – once located in the historic Reed Opera House but now just across Court Street. This cafe/restaurant mostly offers a blend of Mediterranean and Asian inspired cuisine to include falafel, teriyaki, and some delicious Moroccan style plates.


Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach

Posted: 9th March 2011 by Mister Critic in Books

Reviewed by Ms. Critic

I looked around for a chair not too close to someone while I discreetly tuck the cover around the book. This was not a book you really want to be reading in public. Well I guess you can, but people may think you are kooky. A book all about dead people…cadavers. I’m at my dentist’s office waiting for the nurse to call me back. My stomach is sickly, the way it usually feels when I come for a visit. I dread each time I go to the dentist. Yet I have to say I love my dentist. She is personable and good natured. Funny and kind. Someone I’d enjoy spending time with if I wasn’t stuck in a chair with a dental dam in my mouth, smelling the plastic scent of a drilled tooth with pooling saliva in the back of my throat. I hate being in a comprising position, forced to endure any surprise that may be lurking about.

And silly me I choose to read this book, about dead people while I wait to meet my dreaded fate. The book is not helping my nerves. I read in repulsion of decapitated heads and how cosmetic surgeons test their skills on innocent stiffs. Gruesome details are exposed and I can now taste the acid in the back of my throat.

I pause for a break and pretend to tie my shoes to gain some blood back into my head. Pull it together…please don’t let me loose my cookies right here right now.

Eventually the nurse calls my name and I’m led to the room of doom. I sit down in the chair like a good girl and met the dentist. She spies the book and asks what I am reading. (she’s so very friendly). I sheepishly show her the cover. “I remember practicing on cadavers” she tells me, in a positive tone. Ugh I don’t want to think about it!

Visiting my dentist is how I equate this book. I like the author (much like I enjoy my dentist), her humor and her inquisitive nature. She informs me about things I’ve never thought about. While Roach uncovers mysteries like how long it takes a human corpse to liquefy, my dentist solves the mystery of why my tooth is sensitive. But this book becomes a pesky cavity in my life. Something that I keep reading with both eyes shielded by my hand, but I need to peek because I just can’t help it. I need to know what’s coming next. I can’t close my eyes in the dentist’s chair because somehow keeping my eyes open makes me feel more in control.

I keep reading the book. Each chapter, each historic account, each investigative project is both revealing and disgusting. I often chuckle to myself because Roach is often so funny and likeable but it’s an uncomfortable laugh, because I don’t know what she’ll uncover next. Reading the book is as irritating as frigid ice cream on a sensitive tooth and the flashbacks continue to zap my system even when I’m not reading.

The good news? I finish the book in time for book club. My body sighs with relief. It wasn’t so bad I guess. It was a lot like the dentist visit. I’m simply thankful I’m not dead yet.


I love this scene from Magnolia. The director, P.T. Anderson, is so creative, and brave given the risks he takes in his creativity. This scene, set to the song “Wise Up” by Aimee Mann, is so random and unexpected, yet it fits perfectly within the movie by pulling all these very different characters together into single moment. We see that we are not alone even if when we feel that way. A comforting thought when feeling depressed. Within each small character study we instantly understand the complex emotions of felt by the character, and who among us hasn’t felt like “it is not going to stop, until you wise up.”

Also this scene inspired this parody from The Flight of the Conchords, which is a reprise of the rap version also shown below. Enjoy!