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Matt Edwards

I will usually rail on a film. Why? Because most films I end up seeing turn out to be garbage. Because the concept of the story was intriguing enough to get me in the seat, I usually get more upset and frustrated when I can clearly see where the film went wrong. I won’t be posting all the time because I actually work, have a girlfriend and don’t need to spend all frackin’ day writing reviews for free. Consider this blog a service to you. You can thank me at a book signing.
Matt Edwards has written 22 posts for a 3 Word Review

The Rear View Podcast

It’s time I shamelessly plug my awesome new podcast, The Rear View. Now available on iTunes, Soundcloud, and Stitcher.

Also…

Chicks With Chops – Top 3 Female Driven Comedy Web-Series

There is an ocean of really poor web series out there. But I ain’t here to bore you with what you already know. I’m here to give you the goods. The straight-up premium smack.

Rather than lament on why I think women comedic actors are the funniest – and they are – I’m just gonna highlight three women and their web-series who you should know. Letting their work speak for itself.

Specifically three web-series’ who’s female lead is a complete tool, a fragile novice and finally a 1st class bitch. And all three female actors are terrific ambassadors of web-series comedy.

In order of greatness.

NUMBER 1

InSAYSHAble – Beautiful Train Wreck

sayshaAmy Matysio created and stars in InSAYSHAble this terrific web-series shot in Canada. Saysha Grabinski is a pushing-30 (maybe hit it) train wreck who constantly makes everyone she encounters wonder… what color the sky is her world? Saysha was born without shame which, when you don’t have any real talent to speak of, is a shame. She exudes the definition of insatiable. Someone who is never satisfied. It’s not that she has mounds of success, money and fame and is just striving for more and more. She simply lives in a dreamland as if she does. In one episode, she uses the laundry facilities of an apartment complex she doesn’t even live in and then gets into a fight with a small-fry tenant when she keeps removing his clothes from the machines. Her self-entitlement makes you wish she get’s what’s coming to her. The sad part is, she often does. Matysio delivers a performance filled with not only hilarious righteous indignation but subtle moments of humility. It’s a performance that has garnered the actress multiple awards at various web-series festivals across the continent. ( Most recently in Hollywood where she won best actress and the show was named Best Comedy as well.) Director Jeff Beesley makes perfect use of camera, cast and location. Matysio is surrounded by a great supporting cast of characters. Most notably the lovable and deliciously over-the-top bff, Fran (played perfectly by Christina Sicolli). If this series was ever picked up for broadcast tv, cable or even Netflix – we could be looking at the next Laverne & Shirley. Making all our dreams come true.

Check out the first episode. [1 Season 7 Episodes] (Production Value – 10/10)

NUMBER 2

I’m Too Fragile For This – Just Keep Watching

fragileCathryn Mudon just hangs out with Connor Ratliff in I’m Too Fragile For This. And that’s it. The more you watch them, the funnier it gets. Cathryn has a subtle wit and it plays beautifully along with Connor. I can’t really give a proper review because even more than Seinfeld, it’s a show about nothing. Since these episodes are all mostly improvised, Cathryn gets to deliver one of my favorite things about sketch comedy – actors trying not to laugh. I dig it when one actor sort of drops out of it to realize and appreciate the humor another co-star and they are creating. It’s relatable and for a show like this, the charm os it works.

Check out this episode (Production Value – 8/10)

NUMBER 3

Psycho Girlfriend – Get Out Alive!

psychoWatching this brings back some horrid memories and a glimpse of what might have been. These relationships are out there everywhere… lurking. We see them sometimes at Starbucks or in line at Chipotle. Very often in the mall or as we sit in traffic and look over at the next car. The psycho girlfriend and her pathetically trapped man-child-friend ready to do battle. Lindsey Reckis as the girlfriend in question is spot on and dangerous. She carries the series and may even haunt your nightmares if you watch long enough. Tommy Savas plays the boyfriend and is good enough to believe someone as good looking as he is would tolerate the life he sentenced himself too. Psycho Girlfriend works so well because it’s not about the ex-girlfriend that usually permeates the web-series world. This take on this personality was ripe for parody, the sad part is that it’s not parody and we all know it to be true.

Check out this season 4 episode here. (Production Value 8/10)

House of Cards (2013) – Stacked Against Us

house-of-card-ecco-la-prima-locandina-della-serie-tv-in-onda-su-netflix-258022Well, here it is. The first original series from Netflix, that one-time DVD-by-mail service. Unlike their other series, Lilyhammer – which was aquirred after it’s initial run in Norway and the relaunch of Arrested Development – House of Cards is the first series produced directly and solely for Netflix and it’s subscribers. When I think back to the days when I was a subscriber to their DVD-by-mail service, I never imagined they would become a rival to HBO and Showtime. With House of Cards, that is exactly what they are – only better. For my $7.99 a month I now have instant access to a top-notch drama (as well as thousands of other titles) at my leisure and those without Netflix will now be envious of those who have it.

I dumped my cable subscription about 4 years ago. I found I was paying for more rough than diamonds. Now my money, my time and my entertainment is more streamlined and I have since become more productive. If I have to explain to you how that works, I ask that you put down the remote control and step away from the 698 channels on your television all vying for your attention.

We’ve gone from a “water-cooler” world to a “spoiler-alert” world. Meaning, we used to look forward to gathering around the water cooler at work to talk about what we all watched last night on TV because we all watched the same thing. That is simply not possible anymore (expect for sports or other 100% live events). Bring up the latest episode of what you watched last night and you are immediately hit with “SShhhhh, don’t tell me. I haven’t watched it yet.” or “Hello? Spoiler alert! Sheesh.” Ok, back to work then.

house-of-cards-2In the event you have access to Netflix and quite honestly, if you haven’t then what are you waiting for, get yourself ready for your television’s event of the night or day, or whenever you want. Settle in for a marathon or dole it out in doses like I have been doing. I am going to try and do 2 episodes every sunday night. Only because I know it will end soon and then I won’t be able to relish looking forward to watching another episode. The fact that I know it’s there just waiting for me, is so much more gratifying than waiting for AMC to air the next episode of Breaking Bad. It’s a matter of principle. A matter of controling my own destiny. If I happen to want to leave this computer right now and go watch the next episode of House of Cards, I can. It’s my decision. I know that at some point the season will “end” and I’ll have to wait for Netflix to produce more, but until then… no one else it watching it. I don’t have to worry about not having cable and people asking me if I’ve watched Sons of Anarchy last night. “No, I don’t have cable. I’ll wait till it streams. But I did watch the Lakers last night. Man do they suck this season.”

As for the program this review is supposed to be reviewing… it’s one of the best I’ve seen and I’ve only watched the first 6 episodes so far. It’s so enjoyable, I do not want to devour it in one or two nights, But rather, slowly absorb this terrific Shakespearean like tale.house-of-cards-kevin-spacey-image

The actors in House of Cards remind me of the cast of All the President’s Men. Everyone is busy doing something even when they are doing nothing. Kevin Spacey chews up every scene and gives much respect to the material. He’s clearly not doing this just for the paycheck. He has too much invested in this role. This is the type of roll and overall show that the Emmys are going to have to create a new category for or just include in the existing ones. Netflix is doing for shows on the internet what HBO did for cable. House of Cards is the new Sopranos.

house-of-cards-kate-mara-imageKate Mara was a little too much of the ambitious go getter reporter at first, but once we caught a glimpse of her long-game strategy – she quickly becomes the barometer for where the action will take us. Plus she’s got a smoking-hot way about her even if she’s not really that smoking-hot. I’m guessing David Fincher has a thing for the Mara sisters. He cast Kate’s sister, Rooney, in the US remake of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. I wonder, is he a Giants fan or a Steelers fan? Hmmm.

Robin Wright plays Kevin Spacey’s philanthropist wife running a non-profit organization. They are the power couple. And boy, do they prove each other’s love and commitment for each other and each other’s cause in ways that would normally destroy a marriage. While the relationship may seem a poor tired cliché from the get-go, you quickly learn that it is anything but that. She is a steel-eyed shark who, after just 6 episodes in, is a wild-card.

The whole premise of the show is to highlight how much the the average citizen, the “little people” if you will, are up against a machine that we have no control over. From the politicians in congress, to the reporters in the news media, to the unions that muscle for benefits at the public trough. The entire system is stacked against us. But I imagine, as the story progresses, we will see the entire system collapse in on itself like a giant house of cards.

Please, if you don’t already have Netfilx, get it. If you don’t have a Roku, PS3, XBOX or any other device to stream Netflix to your TV, go get one. Don’t watch it on your computer or iPad. And for frak’s sake, quit spending $100 a month on cable and cut the cord already. You will thank me.

I’ve got 7 episodes left, won’t you join me?

Worst to Best NFL Helmets

I have strong feelings about the current helmets of certain NFL teams. Unfortunately I’m not talking about protecting the NFL player from serious head trauma building up over years of playing football. I’m talking about being forced to wear a helmet with terrible logos, mascots and colors. There is one in particular that really gets to me. It’s the Miami Dolphins helmet. It’s absolutely hideous. Before I continue, take a look at it…

Now why is this helmet design so bad? Several things leap out, namely the leaping dolphin. Not only is it cartoonish, it’s also an angry leaping dolphin. It’s also backed by what appears to be a ring of fire that Sea World type dolphins have most likely been trained to leap through. Only, this dolphin here is not leaping through it, he’s leaping in front of it… angrily with his furrowed brow.

The single most disappointing thing about this entire design for such a legendary NFL franchise – the only team to go undefeated the entire season AND win the Super Bowl (sorry Patriots) – is that the best alternative to this sad excuse for a helmet is sitting right there on top of this angry dolphin’s noggin. You see it? The helmet on the dolphin. It sports the same center strip design and colors but with an “M” boldly stated on it’s side, instead of Mr. Chip On The Shoulder Leaping Dolphin. It’s a classic helmet design. Just look at Missouri’s. It’s bold and makes a statement. The current Miami helmet just makes me think I’m watching Saturday morning cartoons with a bowl of Fruit Loops waiting for Ace Ventura to talk out of his ass. Even the teams shorter nickname among it’s fans, The Fins, would surely inspire something that would lift it up from the deep abyss it rests.

Now, as for the next 31 helmets that best Miami’s – here is my criteria in ranking them:

1) When it comes to animals: after-school cartoon look- bad. Sleek, clean and classic – good.

2) Designs wrapping the entire helmet are generally too busy and distracting unless it’s used to give the appearance of the wearer sprouting something like horns.

3) Keep it simple stupid. Keep colors traditional and limited. Pastels and fluorescents are bad news.

That’s it really. So with out further ado, go ahead and click through the slideshow till you get to #1. You may want to adjust the slideshow settings to see my comments and ranking. And if you disagree and want to give your input just comment below. I’ll also be compiling a list of best All-Time and Throwback helmet designs, so start lobbying for your favorites now too.

Sorry, On Hiatus!

The good news is I’ve been hard at work at my day job. Which if you really are interested, is producing in American reality TV. In fact if you care even more, you can watch Flip Men on SpikeTV Having spent the first part of the year on the road traveling across this vast country, I’ve not been able to devout as much time as needed to contribute and moderate this site. But rest assured, we will be back soon – in the meantime remember to follow us on Twitter, @a3wordreview – and remember, if the car doesn’t start and the fists don’t squeeze, you’ll get nothing but rotten tomatoes.

I Am Not A Hipster (2012) – Filmmaker Confounds Expectations

[From Don R. Lewis over at FilmThreat.com, comes this jaw-dropped review from the 2012 Sundance Film Festival]

I am having a really, really hard time writing this review. Why? Because writer/director Destin Cretton’s film “I Am Not a Hipster” not only completely confounded my expectations of what the film is about (in a good way), it moved me, made me laugh, made me think and has an amazing performance by actor and musician Dominic Bogart that, honestly, blew me away. As a critic, I never try to go too crazy on a review, lavishing on praise that might die away a few days later. But I saw the film last night, couldn’t write the review then, thought about it for hours and even slept on it and here I am, ready to scream from the rooftops how good this little indie film is.

On the surface and in descriptions, “I Am Not a Hipster” is about a talented yet “tortured” musician named Brook (Bogart) who, when not creating songs that move people to the point of instantly idolizing him, is busy being a total asshole as often as he can. And that description is true. But when coupled with the film title (which absolutely has to change before the film sees release), my hackles were raised going in as I expected some masturbatory exercise in what it means “to be an artist.” This film is not that.

Well, not entirely. It does examine how tough it can be to create because let’s be honest, to have the courage to put something into the world requires some pain and suffering and in order to express yourself, you kind of have to be sensitive and have deep feelings. But “I Am Not a Hipster” just tacks those ideas onto a complex character who through all his flaws, you want to see succeed.

While Brook is indeed somewhat of a bastard, he’s also incredibly talented (he sings and performs throughout the film), but he’s also a multi-dimensional character. Cretton does a fairly amazing job fleshing out this guy who, one minute is pouring out tears as he watches a tsunami destroy a village and the next railing against the new breed of internet inspired artists who are having fun and expressing themselves but somehow stepping on his artistic toes. But Brett has another side as well and that comes out as his three lovely sisters Joy, Spring and Merrily (Minoff, Coleman, Erickson) arrive with their aloof dad (Harding) to spread the ashes of their recently deceased mother off the shore of a San Diego beach. We learn more about Brook through his sisters and discover he’s actually kind of a great guy who just feels things deeply and has trouble understanding the world he lives in. They try to help him and their love for one another grounds the film and gives it heart.

Read the rest of the review over at FilmThreat.com 

 

The Descendants (2011) – Breaking The Rules

[Editor note: On the heals of last night’s Golden Globe victory for The Descendants we highlight this review from RPR Media.]

There are some basic rules of screenwriting and director Alexander Payne breaks them all in the new George Clooney vehicle The Descendants.

If you’ve ever taken a screenwriting course, you know the golden law of cinema is show don’t tell.  This is shattered in the first 15 minutes of the film, which essentially consists of a long George Clooney voice over, filled with exposition, telling us all about the world we are about to (we hope) inhabit.

Another rule is that characters need some sort of motivation or inciting incident to change.  This too is broken rather early, when Clooney’s nightmarish daughter (played well by Shailene Woodley) suddenly transforms from the teenager from hell, so bad she makes Lindsay Lohan seem demure– into George’s fun-loving and responsible partner in crime.

A third rule is that movie’s should have a consistent tone.  You can’t be Beaches one minute, and Leatherheads the next.  But that’s exactly the high wire act The Descendants tries to straddle.

I would like to say that Alexander Payne, the genius, broke all the rules, won, and  posted another notch on his indie belt, next to semi-classics like Election, Sideways and About Schmidt.  But the result here is an uneven film, watchable but ultimately disjointed and forgettable.

George Clooney plays Matt King, a wealthy Hawaiian, who’s world is closing in on him.  His wife has just lapsed into a deep come, following a tragic boating accident.  King’s bedside vigil is complicated when he learns his wife was having an affair before her accident, and had planned to leave him. Shaken, King embarks on a quest, with his two daughters in tow, to find this mystery man and confront him.

read the rest here…

You Forgot One – 10 Unforgettable Film Teasers

Over at Movie Critic Assassins, Sensei White Lotus throws down a pretty awesome list of one of my favorite delights. The Movie Teaser Trailer. The usually short and simple 1st look at a either a highly anticipated film or one that becomes highly anticipated due to the awesome tease.

Head over to Movie Critic Assassins to check out some of the best movie teasers. Unfortunately, the Sensei forgot one.

It may not be included in his list because the MPAA wouldn’t allow it to be shown in theaters, claiming it was too intense for audiences. But director Marcus Nispel threw it onto the DVD release of his Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. The teaser is a perfect example of how sometimes the imagination is more terrifying than reality. Unfortunately for the viewer, you get both. So turn off your lights, put on some headphones and press play…

By the way – in case you haven’t seen this. It’s a fairly good modern remake of the original. It doesn’t convey the sense of Documentary in any way like the original does. However it’s pretty gruesome and when watching it in the correct horror movie environment it is certain to get under your skin. Plus, Jessica Biel is smoking-hot in this flick.

Unforgiven (1992) – 20th Century’s Finale

It’s a helluva thing killing a man. You take away all he’s got… all he’s ever gonna have.”
~William Munny

Out of the thousands of films I’ve watched over time, this western tale of revenge, redemption and rampage ranks among the greatest stories ever filmed. I know I’m not making some avant-garde claim that this mainstream film is a masterpiece. The film won almost every best picture award of the season from academies, film critic circles, guilds and magazine polls. Clint Eastwood cleaned up in the director accolades. David Webb Peoples was singled out multiple times for his brilliant screenplay. Gene Hackman won every supporting actor award, but in my view he was simply the spokesman for accepting the awards for his supporting acting team of Richard Harris, Morgan Freeman and himself. Clint’s longtime Cinematographer, Jack N. Green photographed the most beautiful of America’s big sky west. (Personally the fact that Jack Green also D.P’d Serenity melts my heart.) Editor Joel Cox has been with Eastwood every step of the way also and the mood he and his sound designers create is un-paralleled. Eastwood even wrote the theme for the score of the film and it’s quite haunting when set against this backdrop – and haunting doesn’t not always mean scary. I highlight these people because they are the ones that got it right, along with the rest of the cast & crew.

With all that Hollywood offers us today, this film from twenty years ago should be the benchmark in film story telling. Does the film break new ground? No. It is the last benchmark. The Grand Finale of the first century of filmmaking. From Charlie Chaplin to John Ford, Hitchcock to Speilberg, Howard Hawkes to John Hughes. Film of the twentieth century was an age of discovery in the art of storytelling with moving pictures. Think of all the things that had to occur in film history before Unforgiven started filming for this movie to have had such as large an impact on audiences as it did and continues to do so:

  • The western film is the symbol of American movies. John Wayne alone was in 84 westerns. No other setting is more romantic to movie audiences than that of the old west.
  • America’s folk-lore legends are incomplete with the tales of Wyatt Earp, Billy the Kid, Jesse James, “Wild Bill” Hickcok, Annie Oakley, “Buffalo Bill” Cody and Butch Cassicy & The Sundance Kid et.al.. All real life heroes and villains who’s stories have been fictionalized countless times over multiple generations.
  • Clint Eastwood is “The Man With No Name”. Perhaps the most recognizable western bad-ass ever. Alongside John Wayne, Clint is the most popular western movie actor
  • Clint Eastwood is “Dirty” Harry Callahan. Perhaps the most recognizable police bad-ass ever.
  • It’s no mistake that Clint dedicates the film to his Spaghetti Western Director Sergio Leone and Dirty Harry director Don Siegel.
  • David Webb Peoples originally wrote the script with the title “The Cut Whore Killings” which Clint Eastwood optioned in the early 1980’s. He held onto the screenplay until he was old enough to play the title roll of William Munny.
  • As the century progressed and the 70’s film revolution began, Westerns were not in anyway shielded from the graphic shift in movie violence that occurred. Allowing audiences to see for themselves the ruthlessness of the old west. By the time Unforgiven hit theaters, Sam Peckinpah’s 1969 The Wild Bunch, in all it’s goriness, was the goto western for young audiences who were turned off by John Wayne’s old-timey cowboy movies. (They shouldn’t be however, Rio Bravo and The Searchers are two of greatest Westerns ever.)

These are just a few of the contextual factors you must take into account when watching the story of the “killer of women and children”, a “rootin’, tootin’, son-of-a-bitchin’, cold-blooded assassin” named William Munny. The unlikely hero of the picture.

The film gives us the story of three assassins on their way to collect a bounty after they first kill two hot-headed cowboys who cut up the face of a whore after she giggled at the size of one of their, ahem… pistols. Eastwood makes us privy to two stories that are only mentioned in other westerns, the before-life and after-life of the ruthless gunfighter. One at the very beginning of the long dark road and two who have escaped the darkness. The consequences are all different, yet the outcome all the same once the story concludes. I apologize for being a bit ambiguous, I just want you to experience it for yourself.

I am also aware that I am not just enjoying this film in it’s own bubble. I am clearly taking into account the cinematic historical significance that I outlined above. I think that makes the film much more of a rich experience. It’s similar to when Robert DeNiro and Al Pacino make their first on-screen appearance together in Heat. It’s a good moment in the story but it’s an ear-to-ear thrill for movie history. That thrill is even greater here. When you watch Clint Eastwood as William Munny deal with the demons that all could have been the demons of Josey Wales; Harry Callahan and The Man With No Name, there is a greater impact made then if say Robert Duvall played the part. A great actor, but no where near the same character history as Clint.

I want to single out the editing and sound design for a moment. Two things that rarely get mentioned in film reviews. The reason being that when they are done right, you don’t notice it one bit. It’s not until repeated viewings that you start to look around. The use of the thunder storm can, has been and will always be overused in movies. However if you ever want to know how to use it correctly, I can’t stress enough how perfect it fits this film. It’s a theme that makes absolute sense. The thunder storm is the greek chorus of the story.

Unforgiven is 20 years old this year. It may as well be 120 years old. The film is timeless and as relevant as ever. It’s also a testament to the history of the American Western, storytelling in general and great film teamwork. There is nothing more disturbingly gratifying than William Munny’s final hunt through the town of Big Whiskey, Wyoming.

We all have it coming.” ~ William Munny

The Unseen Horror – 25 Best

[25 Best Horror Films You’ve Never Seen ~ from Sarah Dobbs at denofgeek.com, click for full list]

25. Santa’s Slay (2005)

Let’s start with a festive one, seeing as Christmas as just gone. In Santa’s Slay, Santa isn’t a jolly old man; he’s a demon, the son of the Devil who’d prefer to impale you on your Christmas tree than leave presents under it. It turns out he lost a bet a thousand years ago, and was forced into delivering gifts to children every Christmas Eve. But now his sentence is up, he’s ready to return to his wicked ways.

There’s plenty of festive murder, a lovely animated section featuring angels and devils holding a curling match, and a wonderful showdown at an ice rink. It’s basically the perfect Christmas movie, and is destined to change the way you think about old St Nick forever.

24. The Hamiltons (2006)

The less you know about The Hamiltons, the better, really; anything you do know will just spoil the surprise. So let’s just say it’s a horror movie about a family of siblings struggling to get along without their recently deceased parents – and there’s a lot more to it than its Saw-wannabe packaging would suggest.

Written and directed by The Butcher Brothers (aka Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores, who aren’t actually related), The Hamiltons was part of the After Dark Horrorfest in 2006, and is possibly the only decent film ever to be shown as part of that particular festival.

14. The Signal (2007)

Remember a couple of years back when every other horror story was about a mysterious virus that sent everyone mad? The Signal is from that period, but it seems to have been forgotten in the shuffle – which is a shame, because it’s probably the most interesting of the lot. Madness, here, is characterised by thinking that everyone around you has gone insane; paranoia is its own infection.

The film is split into three parts, each by a different director, and each with a distinctly different tone; the absurd comedy of the middle part is jarring if you’re not expecting it, but serves to make the horror and bleakness of the other parts even nastier.

Head over to DenofGeek.com for the full list.

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