Capn Design


Rating: 8 of 10

The King's Speech

I hate period pieces and am constantly bored by the British monarchy, but this movie was awesome. It actually makes me want to read more about George VI!

If you’ve seen the movie already, I suggest you watch the following. It’s the speech that King George VI gave after they entered World War II. If you haven’t seen it, you should definitely skip this. It’s total spoiler material.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t a copy of his speech at Wembley Stadium that started off the film. If you have any luck, I will buy you a pack of Pretzel M&Ms.

Rating: 7 of 10

A Piece of Work

This documentary about Joan Rivers cements her among comedy’s greats. At 77, she’s still working every day and her fear of being forgotten drives her more than ever.

Of everything, I was most impressed by her card catalogue of jokes. GQ has a slideshow of sample cards and the relevant clip has been posted to Youtube.

Rating: 4 of 10

Get Him to the Greek

All of the dick jokes of previous Apatow films with none of the soul.

Rating: 5 of 10

Strawberried Peanut Butter M&Ms


Like you, I am a big fan of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I also really like chocolate and candy coatings. Naturally, I was intrigued by these. My sister had found them at a bodega a few months ago and insisted they were fantastic. So, here we go.

They’re not fantastic, but I did like them. As you can see, the inside is just peanut butter; no jam. I blame my sister for this because the name of the product is Strawberried Peanut Butter M&Ms, not PB&J M&Ms. The strawberry flavor comes from the candy shell, it seems. As a result, if you eventually start inhaling the M&Ms — not that I would do that — you start to taste less strawberry and more chocolatey peanut butter.

Out of the bagcross-section of M&M

My suggestion is you just read this review 4 or 5 more times instead of buying them yourself. I’d stick with regular PB M&Ms or whatever your favorite may be.

Rating: 8 of 10

Hot Tub Time Machine

Rating: 8 of 10



The latest film from the director Bong Joon-Ho — who most recently directed The Host — is pretty spectacular. Last weekend, BAM had a retrospective on Joon-Ho’s work and I caught this and Memories of Murder. Joon-Ho was there for a Q&A session and mentioned that after showing the movie to his mother, she has never again brought it up.

Joon-Ho has a gift for integrating comedy into a suspenseful story and his latest is no exception. My only disappointment in this regard is the lack of drop kicks. The director loves them, but there’s only one in Mother. I can forgive this sin, since the story is quite riveting.

When Joon-Ho spoke (via an interpreter), he made it clear that he likes to use very ordinary people in his films. Watching them respond to extraordinary situations is why it’s easy to relate to his characters. Pro-tip: The leading lady in Mother has been a domestic figure in Korean cinema for 40 years. This information will improve your viewing experience.

Rating: 5 of 10

Cop Out


I like Tracy Morgan. He is a funny dude. I also like Bruce Willis. At one point I liked Kevin Smith, the director. With that out of the way, this movie was better than most will tell you but not great. If you like Tracy Morgan, you should see this movie.

Rating: 7 of 10

Memories of Murder

Rating: 7 of 10

A Serious Man

Hello again, reviews. It’s been a while. I am a longtime lover of the Coen brothers. They’ve had only a few misses in their days (hello there, Ladykillers) and A Serious Man escapes that fate.

I’ve got to say, being a Jew will improve your enjoyment of the film. The opening scene in Hebrew school was especially hilarious. Of course, this movie is not nearly as much of a comedy as the previews depicted. Mostly, it’s a mindfuck. A mindfuck in the “No, what are you doing that for?” way rather than a “What the hell was that? Who is that guy? What the hell is going on?” way.

I liked it. While it’s not in the top half of my Coen brothers films, it’s still far better than most of what’s out there. Definitely worth a rental.

p.s. I couldn’t help but notice there are some thematic similarities with Dr. T and the Women. Ya?

Rating: 8 of 10

Wake Up, Sir!

Jonathan Ames is funny. Granted, I read Pass Like Night a few weeks ago and it wasn't even attempting humor, but after reading his newest I am totally hooked. I keep thinking about Alan, the star of Wake Up, Sir, nearly a week after finishing the book. He's like a neurotic, self-depricating, Jewish, red-haired, sport-coat-wearing Forrest Gump with a valet. In fact, I'm going to stop this review now because that description should be enough. Either you're into that or you're not. Clearly, I'm into it. He has officially been added to my stable of Brooklyn writers.

Note: Apparently, Wake Up, Sir (and The Extra Man) have been optioned for the silver screen. Who should play Alan?

Rating: 8 of 10

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

If this were an episode in a t.v. show, you would call the Half-Blood Prince a set-up episode. Rowling's style and voice were impeccable as always, but this edition set up a doozy of a story for the final book. I couldn't imagine it being any less than 1,000 pages.

As you might guess, I liked books four and five better but it's still Harry Potter. In no way do I regret picking up the book at midnight on the night of its release. When else will I get to see a crazy fan dressed up as Dumbledore riding around B&N on a segway? Exactly.

Rating: 1 of 10

Kicking and Screaming

Uhhhh, so bad. I just wanted something light and fun, but neither the movie nor Will Ferrell could really deliver. Will was funny, but not enough to save this piece of crap. The editing and the soundtrack were possibly the worst I've ever experienced. Really, it was that bad.

I recommend this film to Satan, as a potential torture device.

The plus is for the handful of times Will made me laugh and for the delicious banana pudding from Sugar Sweet Sunshine that Karen was nice enough to share.

Rating: 7 of 10

Spoon - Gimmie Fiction

Today, two new records were released by bands I highly regard -- Gimmie Fiction by Spoon and Make Believe by Weezer. Although I've only listened to Weezer's record once, I have no qualms about crowning Gimmie Fiction the winner.

After two amazing records, Kill the Moonlight and Girls Can Tell, Spoon manages to keep things going. The record isn't quite as strong as the last two, but that would be tough to do. I'm just happy to see they didn't crash and burn. "I Turn My Camera On" is easily the best song, but the drop-off is tolerable. I'm also a big fan of "My Mathematical Mind" and "I Summon You".

Gimmie Fiction's a safe bet if you're looking to drop $12 on an album. In regards to Make Believe, I'm only gonna buy it if I can find it for $8.

Rating: 5 of 10

Ben Folds - Songs for Silverman

Speaking as a long, long, long-time Ben Fold fan, the new record is my least favorite of all his output. It's unfortunate, but Ben Folds has gotten wimpy and I completely attribute this to his level of happiness. Having incredibly cute twins and a beautiful life in your Australian home does not help to produce good music in nearly all cases, Ben Folds being no exception. See the graph below:

Ben Folds Album Chart

As you can see, as he's gotten progressively happier, his albums have gotten progressively worse. Although I completely made up these happiness figures, I'm only mildly ashamed to say I hope his life gets a little tougher in the next year. He just needs something, anything, to get some of that angst back.

I can't say I'm happy about Ben's newfound wimpiness, but I'm also not totally disappointed with the album. Despite my misgivings, I have listened to it over ten times since getting it. Almost all of these songs are technically good and plesant to listen to. The problem is that I couldn't sing one of them to you right now.

I wish I could tell you that you should go out and give this album a shot, but I think you're better off buying his three EPs, which he put out over the last year or so on his own label, Attacked by Plastic.

Hot Hot Heat - Elevator

The critics seem to like this record, but no one loves it. Critics be damned because I think it's awesome. The band hardly takes a breath on this record and that's how I like it. No one buys a Hot Hot Heat record for their ballads and I think they know that. This is a band that just wants to rock and that's what they do.

In the week that I've owned this I've listened to it nearly a dozen times, which is a lot for me. I hope all the indie rockers make a point to at least give it a listen. I recommend the song "Shame on You."

Kung Fu Hustle

Stephen Chow, the mastermind behind Shaolin Soccer, has done it again. Thankfully, he is getting a proper release and, as far as I know, little to no American-ification of his work.*

The film is a kung fu parody with really great kung fu. Chow comes from a comedy background, but made good choices when it comes to picking kung fu choreographers and actors. He also did a brilliant job of balancing the action with the funny.

Chow's characters, the good guys at least, are typically regular joes; people who live average lives but have a secret talent. This works amazingly well, just as it has for decades in comic books. Unlike Sin City, it's easy to connect to the characters because of their unremarkable positions in society. I know more landlords than I do freakishly huge bouncers who revel in ripping off men's genitals, but it's possible I'm alone there.

Kung Fu Hustle is a ton of fun. My only complaint, which is forgiveable but somewhat signficant, is the lack of a true protagonist with a clear goal. Although Stephen Chow's character emerges as the hero, I initially disliked him and wasn't able to get behind him until halfway through the movie. Also, people who you thought would be heroes early on, end up leaving the forefront. This might have been less of a problem in Chow's native Hong Kong, where everyone knows him well. Still, this didn't stop me from being glued to the screen at 10:30am on only four hours of sleep.

The movie will be in theaters on Friday.

*Shaolin Soccer was cut by 30 minutes in the barely released U.S. version.

She Hate Me

Dear Mr. Lee,

Oh, Spike. I knew I shouldn't have watched this. Everyone said it was completely worthless. Still, I hoped there would be a glimmer of something here. Really, there wasn't.

The reason I give you only a D is so you'll have a sliver of hope. I just read an interview with Steve Albini from the latest Comes with a Smile where he discusses Neil Young's career and forgiving Greendale. "Yeah, because, well, the high points -- not in Greendale, but the high points in his career -- for me justify the experimental process that he's undergone the entire time." I can't put you on the same level as Neil Young, but the analogy works.

I'm wiling to forgive She Hate Me, Girl 6 and School Daze because of Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X and 25th Hour. Please though, let's work harder on avoiding movies like this one.


p.s. Why did you put his face on the sperm? That was creepy.


Thanks to Karen, I was able to see this movie a week early and I'm very thankful. Not only was this one of my favorite movies of the last five years, but the plot is so detailed that I would have been pissed if someone had spoiled the ending.

Without giving too much away, OldBoy is the story of a man who gets imprisoned for fifteen years without knowing why. The movie follows his attempts at piecing the puzzle together. The gripping storyline tied with amazing visuals makes this movie unforgettable.

Since I don't want to say much more and give away anything else, I'll give you something to think about when you see it. One of the best scenes is a fight sequence that happens in a hallway. While discussing it with Karen, it made me think about whether he was influenced by video games, specifically side-scrolling fighters. I'm curious to hear if any of you see the influence of videogames elsewhere in the movie.

And in conclusion, go see this movie.

Ben Lee at Tonic

Ben Lee has a special place in my heart. When Something to Remember Me By came out, I was a sappy, emotionally wraught teenager. It hit me hard. Unfortunately, the last time I saw Ben was at Woodstock 99. He was great, but it was much too long ago.

When I arrived I was hoping tonight's show would bring me back to sing-a-longs in my car during junior year of high school, but he played a lot of new stuff. Nonetheless, I had a great time as he's voice and presence comes through much better in person. The highlight was his cover of a Pony Up! song, "Matthew Modine." It's hilarous.

Also of note is that this is the second sold out show I got into for free. When everyone in the world is on the guest list, eventually you run out of friends who can be your plus one. Thank you random stranger for letting me be your plus one!

Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

By far, the most well-crafted book I've read in...well, ever. When you hear the book is nearly 800 pages it's hard to imagine that every sentence is necessary, but it was.

Susanna Clarke tells the story of two magicians who bring magic back to England during the 19th Century. Despite being called "Harry Potter for adults", this book is far from that. They may both be about magic, but this is less about unraveling a mystery and more of a coming-of-age story. In this case, it is magic that is coming of age.

I loved this book, but I wouldn't call it my favorite. That status is reserved for The Master and Margarita, which just happens to have a similar title. Whether you're new or old to fantasy novels, this one wil get you good. Clarke's outstanding writing and her attention to detail will most definitely impress you.