Monday, September 29, 2008

Insomniac's Movie Recommendation (Part Deux)

I've got three for you this time, all courtesy of Home Box Office last night:

Smokin' Aces.

The movie climaxes in an orgy of violence. Gunplay. Knives. Fisticuffs. Explosives. Shoot-outs. Even a chainsaw. It's bloody, but cartoonish.

If you're squeamish about that kind of thing, this is not the movie for you.

Afterwards, there are two more wrenching plot twists before the MacGuffin comes into view. This is well-written stuff, directed with precision.

It boasts an amazing --- and amazingly talented --- cast:

Ray Liotta
Ryan Reynolds
Andy Garcia
Jeremy Piven in full-out gonzo mode.

Alicia Keys. That's one brave human. Imagine having the confidence to make your feature movie debut in the company of the above.

Back to Piven for a minute. I also watched a couple of Entourage episodes last night, to get caught up while I wasn't sleeping anyway. Jeremy Piven is spectacular.

If you can get past the show's casual misogyny, he's in his fifth season of giving a master class in inhabiting a character.

If you can't get past it, rent Keeping Up With the Steins. He plays a smaller, more likeable version of the same character there.

Finally, there's True Blood. It's almost entirely indescribable.

Alan Ball has gotten better since dreaming up and writing Six Feet Under for HBO, which I would have scarcely thought possible.

Anna Paquin is at the center of this Louisiana Gothic black comic murder mystery. She inhabits a world of small-town claustrophobia, "out-of-the-coffin" vampires demanding their civil rights, steamy sex and bloody gore. She's great.

William Sanderson (from Newhart: "I'm Larry, this is my brother Darryl and this is my other brother Darryl") gets to play it straight this time. I miss Deadwood terribly, and he was a brilliant buffoon on that late, lamented series, but it's nice to see him play a normal guy for once, a small town sheriff who probably knows more than he lets on.

And the guy playing a vampire named Bill is a revelation. I've never seen Stephen Moyer before. I'm an instant fan.

I didn't start out meaning to write a promo for HBO, but there you have it.

Sleeping's overrated anyway


mielikki said...

I really like Jeremy Piven's work. Did you see the documentary he did, where he went to India? It was fantastic.
I did not, however, like True Blood. It just didn't work for me, personally. To each their own, though, that's what makes the world go round! I have been an insomniac myself for much of this week..

Mrs. Hairy Woman said...

Smokin Aces was an awesom movie.. albeit very violent and not for the weak at heart.. I forgot Jeremy Piven was in it..he is pretty good at anything he does..

Moonbeam said...

Oh shucks I forgot True Blood was starting. I am sure I can catch a rerun tho. I was a fan of Six Feet Under. Also a fan of Deadwood. I think Six Feet Under had one of the best finale's ever written for a series. I really felt closure. ya think I need a life :)

Entourage another one of my favorites. I was a bit disappointed at the premier episode this year, but the second episode was back on track, for me anyway. Piven is fantastico and I laugh and get a kick out of Kevin Dillon aka Johnny "Drama".

Fringe is another good series this year. Not on HBO but for Fox network it's a gooden. Nice touch of SciFi.

Churlita said...

I loved Smokin' Aces and I'm getting really into True Blood. One of my kids' friend's dad is the story editor for it. It's as addictive as V blood.

laura b. said...

Another True Blood fan here. It is so very disturbing at times. I love that.

laughing said...

I am watching True Blood, but I'm not sure that I'm going to recommend it to other people. There are too many sex scenes and too much language and such for my liking.

The interesting bit is that so far none of the sex scenes involve any of the characters who are having romantic notions, or at least, the sex does not happen with the person they have romantic feelings for.

David in DC said...

First off, you all are great to keep coming by, reading and commenting. I know I haven't been reciprocating. Thanks.

In reverse order:

Laughing, I recommend it, but I warn. Too many sex scenes? Never. Gotta live vicariously somewhere.

I hadn't consciously noted the fact that all that steamy sex is without love and the folks who actually have affection for one another aren't having getting any, but you're right. Good point that.

I'm hoping Jason and Tara eventually get together. He's gotta get lucky some time with someone who isn't murdered immediately thereafter, right?
And ya gotta figure Bill and Sookie will get it on eventually.

Laura: Somehow, knowing a sane, grounded person is being entertained by True Blood is reassuring. RFB can't watch it and I think she's a bit worried that I can.

Churl: I'm guessing the resident sane Dancing Bear's endorsement reassures you too. We're not entirely nuts. Or at least True Blood isn't indisputable evidence that we are.

Moonbeam: I KNOW you're nuts so I figgered you'd be with me on these. Haven't seen Fringe yet, but I will.

Johnny Drama Rules.

(You're with me on gratuitous sex on HBO, too, aren't you?)

Mrs. LHM: "Not for the weak at heart". No fair givin' hints on plot twists. :)

Jeremy Piven Rules Too.

Mie: If Piven's in it, I've seen it. Yes, his documentary was great. Deeper guy than you might guess. The gulf between Adrian Grenier's self-indulgent documentary about his search for his birth roots and Piven's documentary, if you'll excuse the barnyard analogy, is, IMHO, the difference between chicken shit and chicken salad.

Moonbeam said...

Yep, I am with ya on gratuitous sex on HBO, steamier the better. Also, no such thingie as too much sex on there?

Me nuts? :) Takes one to know one!

dmarks said...

I'm reading vampire novels right now, and am getting a blood thirst for more vampire material from it. Maybe I should seek out True Blood?

I just made it back from DC.

laughing said...

It's hard to say. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is it not. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy something even if it doesn't meant that high standard. And the sex scenes are odd sometimes, like people doing it standing up in fast forward. From my point of view, doing it standing up with a guy in fast forward is not my idea of a good time, and I don't find it the most wonderful thing to watch either.

David in DC said...

Moonbeam: Agreed on all counts.

Dmarks: Congrats on your safe return home. No vampires here that I know of. Plenty of other hazards tho. Traffic circles. Crime. Unsupervised politicians.

Did you see me while you were here? I was the balding, slightly pudgy guy in the suit.

Laughing: We agree at least this far, doing it standing up with a guy in fast forward is not my idea of a good time either.

Moonbeam said...

Just got my first taste of True Blood. It was a "hard" episode. It was everything you said and more. I am hooked, its now a must watch for me. Sanderson is playing a different part than he did in Deadwood but he cant disquise his voice, picked him out right away. He is a good actor.

I got a chuckle out of your reply to "Laughing".

dmarks said...

I hate traffic circles.