The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

When a young computer hacker (Rooney Mara) is tasked with investigating a prying journalist (Daniel Craig), their separate missions become entangled amid a decades-old conspiracy. David Fincher directs this English adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s novel.

I didn’t read the novel or see the 2009 foreign film with English subtitles. All I know is what I saw in this movie. It is a long movie. It is 2 hours and 38 minutes long. When a movie is this long I expect it to be spectacular, I expect Spartacus. This was not Spartacus.

The acting was fine. I enjoyed the location shots and the story line interested me enough to watch all of it. There is a disturbing rape scene and other scenes of graphic violence. Some things are left better for the imagination.

I knew going in this was not the “feel good movie of the year” but the ending bothered me. My biggest complaint is the length of the movie.

I am giving this one 2.8 stars. It is not a bad movie but just too long for my liking.

Click here for the Netflix link in case you would like to add it to your queue.

All the best,

Alan
Alan Zibluk
The Film Movie Critic
http://www.filmmoviecritic.com
E-mail: the@filmmoviecritic.com

J. Edgar

I am going to do this review a little differently. Before I recommend you spend 2 hours 17 minutes on a movie I suggest you checkout the Clint Eastwood interview on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. This is where I learned about this film and quickly added it to my Netflix Queue. I was very impressed with this movie like I was with two of his other films, Play Misty for Me (1971) and Gran Torino (2008). Clint is the man. I do not think you can be more American than Clint Eastwood.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
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Now my regular review.

Leonardo DiCaprio stars in this riveting biopic as J. Edgar Hoover, the longtime FBI director as notorious for his overzealous methods of law enforcement as for the rumors regarding his cross-dressing and close relationship with protégé Clyde Tolson.

I have watched many movies over the years and the name “J. Edgar Hoover” has been referenced a lot. A good example of this would be “Public Enemies (2009)” starring Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. Christian Bale played Melvin Purvis who had a strained relationship with J. Edgar. You saw Melvin Purvis’ point of view in Public Enemies, in “J. Edgar” you see Hoover’s. I didn’t care so much for Public Enemies but I almost recommend watching it along with J. Edgar as the stories overlap.

The movie J. Edgar goes back and forth with the beginning of his career to the end. I did not know he played a key role in such things as a centralized fingerprint file and forensic laboratories until I watched this film. It was an eye opener.

This film does spend considerable time on his personal life and it is up to the viewer to make up his or her own conclusions. I do believe in watching this J. Edgar Hoover was more romantically interested in other men than women. He took an immediate liking to his protégé Clyde Tolson. Was a romantic relationship ever consummated between the two? I do not think we will ever know for sure.

He did have a difficult relationship with his mother. She was demanding at times as she was his whole life. I did feel sorry for him here. I am just sharing what I saw in this movie as one of my history buff friends hates him.

There is one quality I admire about J. Edgar Hoover. He was a good judge of character and had an excellent brain trust. He trusted both Helen Gandy and Clyde Tolson with everything and they never betrayed him. Were his secret files ever found? Trust is important and it was nice to see it here.

I am giving this movie 4 stars. I might be a little biased as it is a Clint Eastwood movie.

Click here for the Netflix link in case you would like to add it to your queue.

All the best,

Alan
Alan Zibluk
The Film Movie Critic
http://www.filmmoviecritic.com
E-mail: the@filmmoviecritic.com

The Ides of March

Dirty tricks stand to soil an ambitious young press spokesman’s (Ryan Gosling) idealism in a cutthroat presidential campaign where “victory” is relative. The film, directed by George Clooney, is inspired by the real-life experiences of an aide who worked on Howard Dean’s failed 2004 run.

This movie stars Ryan Gosling, George Clooney, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Marisa Tomei, Jeffrey Wright, Evan Rachel Wood, Max Minghella, Jennifer Ehle and Michael Mantell.

Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti are two of my favorite actors. They are usually not leading men but their performances in any movie stands out. It was great to see them play off each other. Marisa Tomei did a great job as the reporter covering the primary. This is a well cast movie.

This film is a political drama and not political thriller. There are no car chases, guns fired or punches thrown. There is one death. Was the death accidental or intentional? It was a question that went through my mind as I watched. This is a thinking person’s movie.

Most people I know hate politics. Unfortunately politics is part of our everyday life. Most people think of politics as just holding public office. I see it when someone wants to be Grand Knight in a Knights of Columbus hall, a Grand Master in a Masonic Lodge and Condo President. It can get ugly.

Ryan Gosling does a good enough job as the leading man. His character is a player with integrity. He knows how to work people and at the same time does believe his man (George Clooney) is the man. He really believes his candidate will make the world a better place. He is idealistic and watching him change as the story develops was good drama. I have a friend who was involved in a political campaign some years back and got bummed out by the treachery and backstabbing. I have another friend that was in the Press so this story is very believable to me.

I’m giving this movie 3.2 stars. It was an elaborate chess game and it was entertaining seeing it play out. I like movies that make you think. I liked it for Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti and Marisa Tomei. I also liked Gregory Itzin’s small part at the end. He was President Charles Logan from the popular show “24”. I would like to see the four of them again in a movie.

Click here for the Netflix link in case you would like to add it to your queue.

All the best,

Alan
Alan Zibluk
The Film Movie Critic
http://www.filmmoviecritic.com
E-mail: the@filmmoviecritic.com

The Notebook

Two young lovers (Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams) are torn apart by war and class differences in the 1940s in this adaptation of Nicholas Sparks’s best-selling novel. Their story is told by a man (James Garner) who, years later, reads from a notebook while he visits a woman in a nursing home (Gena Rowlands). Nick Cassavetes directs this heart-tugging romance about the sacrifices people will make to hang on to their one true love.

I want to go on record and let my readers know I do not have anything against movies classified as “chick flicks.” I enjoy all types of different movies. I liked “The Proposal (2009)” starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. I really liked “Love and Other Drugs” and rated very high on this blog. Click here for my Love and Other Drugs review.

I have such an utter dislike for The Notebook. I am surprised how many women rave about this movie. I have many women friends who will post on Facebook “what part of no didn’t you understand” as their status. Same women friends love this film. I am going to guess that the person who said “no actually means yes” got the idea from this. In the beginning Noah is clearly stalking Allie. She says no quite a few times and he still doesn’t leave her alone. He even follows her when she is on a date with another man on a ferris wheel. This is not romance, it is stalking.

People see movies like this and think this is how I should act to impress someone. Our society is way too imitative. I have wasted so many hours of my life in sexual harassment training to learn two things… Don’t ever touch and no means no. This movie undermines this.

The second thing I didn’t like about this movie is how Noah dealt with his best friend getting killed in war. It didn’t seem to faze him when it happened and he never talks about it. What was the point of having this character? If his loss was more part of the story I think I would have liked it better.

The last thing I will say is I did not like the ending. I thought it was selfish and it bothered me. I do not think this is a good movie.

I am giving this one 2 stars. I recommend “The Proposal” and/or “Love and Other Drugs” over this.

Click here for the Netflix link in case you would like to add it to your queue.

All the best,

Alan
Alan Zibluk
The Film Movie Critic
http://www.filmmoviecritic.com
E-mail: the@filmmoviecritic.com

Game of Thrones

When a power vacuum emerges in the mythical land of Westeros following mighty King Robert’s death, several noble families, including the Starks, Lannisters and Baratheons, wage war against each other for control of the vacant Iron Throne. Full of political and sexual intrigue, this fantasy series, based on George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels, also chronicles the rise of an ancient evil, which threatens the entire kingdom.

I always liked science fiction but never cared so much for medieval fantasies. I still don’t care for dungeons and dragons but I will put this show in a whole different category. This is a good character driven show.

I will warn there is plenty of nudity, violence, decapitations and foul language but I can’t wait for season two to come out on Netflix. I recommend getting this series on DVD as one of the features was the history of the families. It was great to have a map. This show reminded me of ABC’s “Lost” with the different characters and backstories.

The political stories are relevant in today’s society. A good example is when it was discussed who would make a good King for the land. They questioned if a great warrior would be a good king. How many times have different people said Military Men typically do not make good presidents? We see stories on bullying and my favorite theme from Star Trek “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” The ten episodes I watched went by quick.

Click here for the Netflix link in case you would like to add it to your queue.

All the best,

Alan
Alan Zibluk
The Film Movie Critic
http://www.filmmoviecritic.com
E-mail: the@filmmoviecritic.com

Young Adult

Soon after her divorce, fiction writer Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron) returns to her home in small-town Minnesota, looking to rekindle a romance with her ex-boyfriend Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson), who is now happily married and has a newborn daughter. This dark comedy was directed by Jason Reitman from a screenplay written by Diablo Cody. They worked together before on “Juno” which I thought was a better film. This is a good film just that I liked Juno a little more.

This is the reason why I will never go to a High School Reunion. There is not an actual High School Reunion but it felt that way watching. Mavis left her small-town to become a big deal while everyone else stayed. Many of the characters did not evolve from Highs School which is evident when one of character refers to Mavis as “psychotic prom queen b____.” There is truth in the statement but still after many years move on.

The interesting thing for me to watch was the friendship between Mavis and Matt Freehauf (Patton Oswalt). Matt and Mavis had neighboring lockers for three years yet Mavis didn’t really acknowledge Matt during those years. She was the cool, hip girl while Matt was the fat dork. I do understand why these two would be friends years later, he still looks up to her as a goddess while she needs that admiration.

Interesting thing, I know someone who was very popular in High School. College and later life wasn’t as good to him. He hooked up recently with a girl who thought the world of him during those early years. I mention this as the only likeable character in this movie is Buddy’s wife Beth (Elizabeth Reaser). She’s the girl that idolized Buddy in High School who was able to hook up with him when Mavis left town.

This movie is definitely a dark comedy. The jokes are subtle. This is one of those movies where the viewer has to think. The character Matt became partially disabled in High School after being beaten by jocks who assumed he was gay. Matt is not gay however watching the dialogue between Mavis and Buddy early we learn Mavis started the rumor. The narcissistic Mavis doesn’t have a clue what damage she erroneously caused him. I picked up on this but not sure too many other viewers did.

Mavis is not likeable. Her character reminded me in some ways of “Travis Bickle” from the 1976 classic film “Taxi Driver.” Both characters are delusional living in their own world and not aware of what is going on around them. I thought it was entertaining to watch but wouldn’t want them in my life. I am giving this movie 3.4 stars. It is well acted, the story flowed and it had me thinking about the decisions I have made in my life.

On a different note from watching this movie I learned that Minneapolis is sometimes called the “Mini-Apple.” I like learning something new.

Click here for the Netflix link in case you would like to add it to your queue.

All the best,

Alan
Alan Zibluk
The Film Movie Critic
http://www.filmmoviecritic.com
E-mail: the@filmmoviecritic.com

Another Year

Over the course of a tumultuous year, contented medical counselor Gerri (Ruth Sheen) and her geologist husband, Tom (Jim Broadbent), see their friends and relations through a series of happy events and heartbreaks — including a birth and a death. Imelda Staunton and Oliver Maltman co-star in this character-driven ensemble dramedy from writer-director Mike Leigh (Happy-Go-Lucky, Vera Drake, Secrets & Lies).

This is my second Mike Leigh movie. The first was Happy-Go-Lucky. Both of these movies will be staying in my mind for a long time as the characters were very real.

I have been known to say “I can’t stand drama.” This is not entirely true. I do like drama in movies and this is a gosh darn good one. I like the use of the garden Gerri and Tom have over the course of the year. Anyone that has done any gardening will appreciate it. I also liked how this movie (and Garden) was broken up into four different parts – spring, summer, fall and winter.

Gerri and Tom are boring however their friends make this film. Mary (Lesley Manville) is Gerri’s co-worker and friend. She is fiftyish and has the maturity level of someone in their late 20’s/early 30’s. I suspect she was really attractive back in her day but the years have caught up. Mary thinks men in crowded restaurants are staring at her, gets drunk wondering if exes think about her and has to sleep in Gerri and Tom’s spare bedroom because she is hammered. I do know a few people like her and I Alan Brian Zibluk chose to stay away.

The second interesting character is Tom’s oldest friend Ken (Peter Wight). Ken is kind of fat and similar to Mary, drinks too much. There is scene where Gerri, Tom and Ken are all together outside and Gerri decides to stay back to let the guys bond. They drink, laugh and reminisce. They talk about old pubs they use to frequent and now how the pubs just have young people. Later the two of them would in a good nature disagree in what years certain events took place. Finally you see Ken cry over the old friend he used to go to pubs with passing away. Tom would comfort him and tell him that someday they will do the old run again. I know Tom really means someday they will go but in actuality you know it will never happen. Life gets in the way. Unlike Mary I would be friends with someone like Ken. I wouldn’t want to spend too much time as there is drama but he has a good heart. I like people with good hearts.

These characters felt real and my favorite scenes were when Mary and Ken were together. Both Mary and Ken are single so one would think they would hook up. Ken is for this but Mary, who really shouldn’t be too picky, wants anyone but him. He makes sad attempts and she wants no part. She even laughs at him and is pretty rude. Mary is too busy for him as she is thinking she has a chance with Gerri and Tom’s son who is only thirty. She makes pitiful attempts in meeting him for drinks. It was sad.

This movie to me was a fantastic observation of life. The only thing I did not like about this film is the writer’s narrative that in order to be happy you have to be with someone. Gerri and Tom are the only characters happy beginning to end. Their son in the beginning isn’t happy being single in watching friends get married. Later the son does have a girlfriend and does seem happy. I respectfully disagree with that but at the same time really enjoyed this movie. There are no bullets, explosions or nudity so this movie may not be right for everyone. I am giving it 4.4 stars.

Click here for the Netflix link in case you would like to add it to your queue.

All the best,

Alan
Alan Zibluk
The Film Movie Critic
http://www.filmmoviecritic.com
E-mail: the@filmmoviecritic.com

50 / 50

An otherwise healthy twentysomething has a comically early midlife crisis when he gets slapped with a cancer diagnosis — and a 50-50 chance of survival. But what’s the meaning of life when you’re not sure how long yours will last?

This movie had the right balance of comedy and drama. They had pot jokes, which is a must for a Seth Rogen movie. Seth Rogen is only a supporting actor here. This film is all Joseph Gordon-Levitt and he does a terrific job with both the comedy and drama. His character is very likeable. I also want to give kudos to Anjelica Huston for playing the overbearing, protective mother.

There were some powerful scenes where Joseph Gordon-Levitt realizes he is not the only one suffering. The scene that got me and forced me to get a Kleenex was just before he went under the knife he was with his mother and he cried “mommy.”

This is based on a true story so the reactions of the different characters were very believable. This movie is really 3.3 stars but for the emotional wallop it gave me I am giving it 3.8 stars. I do recommend having a box of Kleenex nearby.

Click here for the Netflix link in case you would like to add it to your queue.

All the best,

Alan
Alan Zibluk
The Film Movie Critic
http://www.filmmoviecritic.com
E-mail: the@filmmoviecritic.com

Blue Valentine

Once crazy about each other, Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling) have now grown apart. Cindy is bored and disenchanted with her life while Dean languishes in the emotional emptiness of their sexless, routine life in rural Pennsylvania. As they muddle through their marriage, they hearken back to the golden days when life was filled with possibility and romance. Derek Cianfrance writes and directs this drama.

This is the exact opposite of a “feel good” movie. This is one of the most depressing, uncomfortable films I have seen in a long time. It felt extremely real as I have met these people at different points in my life.

Dean is a smart, funny guy with a good heart. He loves Cindy (or at least the illusion of her). He is faithful but drinks a little too much and lacks ambition. He is content with just doing okay. Cindy with the exception of being in the medical field and not ending up like her parents isn’t sure what she wants. Cindy has made a lot of mistakes in her life but she is trying. She wants to evolve as a person, Dean not as much.

It is a great story as both characters are flawed but not evil. You see two different points of view. It goes back and forth to the beginning of their relationship to the pivotal point where they decide if they should continue.

It was uncomfortable to watch as they argued in public. She would walk away from him and he followed. Her co-workers and family were uneasy about this as it was obvious he had been drinking. She would yell for him to go home and he wouldn’t. Do you call the police in this situation? I think we can all relate to this dilemma.

There is strong graphic sexual content in this film. It was necessary as it does advance the story of these two. I am giving it 4 stars. It is a sad but one of the better movies I have seen. I promise you will feel bad after watching this. I do recommend having a box of Kleenex nearby.

Click here for the Netflix link in case you would like to add it to your queue.

All the best,

Alan
Al Zibluk
E-mail: al@alzibluk.com

Why You Should Be Blogging

I have been with Global Domains International (GDI) since 2004. The article below is from their affiliate blog.

Why You Should Be Blogging

Do you have a blog on your GDI domain? You should, here’s our reasons why.

Anyone Out There?

We often post that updating content regularly is an important way to show your traffic and prospects that there is a real person behind your site. While this can be accomplished with a website, a blog is an easy, cost effective way to do this. With our SiteBuilder Blog plugin or our WordPress plugin you can post quick updates, news and advice weekly, daily, even hourly to show your visitors you’re behind your page, you’re active and you have great info to share.

Be a Leader

Having a blog gives you a chance to be a thought leader. Your blog allows you to update quickly and frequently with advice, information on new marketing techniques and trends. This constant flow of great information will help to build your online reputation and establish you as a thought leader.

Simple Training

Blog posts are an easy way to share training with your team. You can share video, audio and of course text and images through your blog. Direct team members and potential team members to your blog where they can access your training materials in a simple, easy to navigate way.

Challenge Yourself

Having a blog challenges you to update regularly or risk your website looking like it has been abandoned. But this is a good thing. This will challenge you to learn new techniques to share tips, new videos and news. Take the time to learn and share it on your blog and both you and your team will benefit.

A Reminder

Your blog serves as a reminder for you to focus on GDI. Set a reminder to post at least a set number of times on your blog per month and you will at least be focusing that amount of time on GDI and building your business. To have something worthwhile to share, you must be doing something worthwhile with GDI. It’s a great cycle to be part of.

If you would like to learn more about GDI, click on “Finally A Global Internet Business For The LITTLE PERSON!” under sponsors.

I use GDI to host three different websites….

http://www.internetguy.ws (under construction)
http://www.littleperson.ws (using wordpress)
http://www.hotproduct.ws

All the best,

Alan
Alan Zibluk
http://www.internetguy.ws
E-mail: al@alzibluk.com

Look Mom I have a blog