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Showing posts from July, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-baked Piece (of crap)

Movie Title: Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince (2009)
Spoilers: No

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From the outset of this review, let it be stated that I am at a disadvantage in reviewing the film at hand. For one thing, I haven’t seen all of the previous five Harry Potter films, nor have I read any of the books (nor will I because I don’t want to). Sure, like every self-respecting, depressed, middle-aged guy with a gut and a bad sex life, I’ve flipped through channels long enough to catch some memorable shots of Emma Watson. Many of them stayed with me through the wee hours of an idle morning, but I’ve not invested myself into absorbing what makes Harry Potter Harry Potter.

And for another thing, I’m not a teen, and so don’t let it flip your lid that I’m not into teen romance. I’m not done admiring fine-looking women in clothes, since (to my disappointment) women aren’t going to quit wearing them anytime soon, but the dynamics of teen social life – whether they be of a smarter UK-based youth or not – don’t d…

Two Hours with Dillinger

Movie Title: Public Enemies (2009)
Spoilers: No

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When you hear the word “gang” or the words “gang member,” what is it that first comes to your mind? No doubt it is of skinny, tattooed kids with little parental influence and obsessions with hand signs, colors, and bandanas. They grew up in bad neighborhoods and learned to steal cars by the age of ten. Maybe you were born in the great depression and think of something else, but this is the image that many of us have.

These modern “gangstas” are pussies, cowardly groups of usually small-sized descendants of Aztecs who have no security or courage or self-confidence, and so they seek to find it by identifying with likeminded cowards. Real men fought for control of power in the old west. They carried huge guns at their hips. There were duels in the streets that resulted in death. But these men didn’t kill out of cowardice. They killed out of the need to keep order.

These new excuses for gangsters have seen some hard times and turned to a lif…

Brüno vs. Borat

Movie Title: Brüno (2009)
Spoilers: No

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Sacha Baron Cohen is back in his second profanely funny and audaciously conniving creation since Borat. It’s called Brüno. If you dig Baron Cohen’s comedic genius, then Brüno may well be worth the view. Though it lacks the quality and originality of its forerunner, it sports a satisfying level of humor that Baron Cohen fans crave.

The Jewish/English comedian, who became famous for – among other things – his HBO comedy series Da Ali G Show (2000), burst into bigger popularity for American audiences with his film Ali G Indahouse (2002). Later, it was Baron Cohen as anti-Semitic reporter Borat going after Pamela Anderson in 2007’s Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. The film won awards, including Best Actor and Best International Comedy.

Baron Cohen is a satirist, and a good one at that. In Brüno, the vacuously superficial and notoriously lame-brained fashion industry followers are under heavy attack. …

My Proposal: Better Romance Comedies

Movie Title: The Proposal (2009)
Spoilers: No

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The Proposal, starring Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds, has an interesting quiver-full of strengths and weaknesses. The strengths are the cast and the performances. The sprightly and always attractive Sandra Bullock brings out a worthy performance as we've come to expect. Reynolds does not disappoint. Something was missing from the movie, but that something wasn't the fault of the two lead actors. Its weaknesses were in the writing and cold soup humor.

Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) is a big business bitch, the kind her employees dream about seeing get hit by a speeding cab. Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) is one of her employees, an employee of exceptionally high fidelity. He has to be to stay on his boss’ good list, which happens to be a list that few (if any) other people are on. In a workplace where the drama stays high from people getting fired like kiln bricks, you’d think little could be done about it. But that changes when …

When God Steps Out

Movie Title: Year One (2009)
Spoilers: No

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Year One is the story of two cavemen, “Zed” (Jack Black) and “Oh” (Michael Cera). The two hail from a small and defunct tribe. Coming from the middle of nowhere, their journey will end in the biblical city of Sodom. Two talent-less misfits whom success has evaded will find themselves shunned, ridiculed, enslaved, and possibly circumcised. Before it’s over, they’ll meet Cain and Abel, Abraham and Isaac, hot virgins, and cities-full of sheep-rapists who prefer to have young boys oil them up and who love to be waited on by slave-girls. Can they ever redeem themselves? Will they ever see the light of dignity again?

They’re disgraced, the two of them, disgraced and not gettin’ any. Oh is a virgin, and his eye is on one beautiful young virgin, “Eema” (Juno Temple). Zed is desperate to bag Maya (June Diane Raphael), the woman of his dreams. But what do you have when you live in the year one and you can’t hunt very well? You don’t have much, that’s fo…

Why I Am an Atheist

#1) I am an atheist because the god-believer has the burden of proof when trying to establish the existence of a god and has not met that burden: The burden of proof is on the god-believer to prove that a god exists. It is not up to the atheist to disprove what has never been established in the first place. So often, I am told, "You cannot prove that there is no god." This is backwards reasoning. I am not obligated to disprove that a leprechaun is standing beside you. You must first prove to me that one is there. Otherwise, I am under no obligation to accept your leprechaun hypothesis. The default position would be "anti-leprechaunism," you could say. Is it possible that a leprechaun is next to you? Sure, but I have no reason to believe such a thing, and until I do, I will keep being an "anti-leprechaunist.” The same applies to gods and goddesses of all varieties. On all counts, the theist fails to meet his burden of proof, and therefore, atheism stands by def…

Fallen in Disgrace

Movie Title: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
Spoilers: No

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Those who took the time to read my blistering review of the 2007 Transformers movie will be none too surprised at my dire disgust at this one, an even worse film than the original Michael Bay bowel movement. Whereas the first one was an explosive splat of cinematic diarrhea, the second one is puke—loud and clamorous, poorly developed with rotten writing. There are no redeeming qualities.

2007’s Transformers showed us Michael Bay’s masturbatorial love for crafting serious seizure-like fight scenes and then combining them with a story of unrelenting humor. The result was the removal of even a semblance of dignity from the transforming robots of power and greatness that so many of us grew up to love. But this 2009 expulsion of unfinished food did much worse than even I expected. You have poor filming quality on top of a tortured plot that unfolds with the smoothness of a kangaroo fighting to get out of quicksand.

Shia La…

Under Seige: What To Do When Your Fundy Family Attacks You

You’re at a family event. “Pass the mashed potatoes please,” you ask with a smile on your face. They pass the mashed potatoes, but you sense something is wrong. You can see them deep in thought, getting ready to ask you a question. You suspect it has to do with atheism, since you recently announced your rejection of religion to the family. Ever since then, relationships with your family have been strained. You can sense that people just aren’t comfortable around you anymore.

Suddenly, the question comes out of Aunt Lizzie’s mouth. She says to you, “I just don’t get it. How can anyone believe that people came from nothing? Why do atheists believe that?” Before you can think to attack the significance of the question, another question comes out of left field: “And why can’t Adam be an ape? Maybe Adam was an ape? Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water by not believing in God! Maybe God AND evolution are both right? Could that be?” Then a discussion erupts among three other relative…

Joe's D.C. Stash

Atheistically Yoked: How to Survive Being Married to a Believer

I am contacted regularly with questions from atheists on how to manage their marriages with believers. These inquiries have to do with keeping sanity and peace in a home where an avid atheist and a militant theist (usually Christian) live. Ican speak from experience on this subject, not only as an atheist, but also as one who has faced the heartache of a failed marriage himself. Experience being the best teacher, there is a lot to learn on family conflict management when there is a clash between different religious viewpoints. Let’s begin by looking at common mistakes infidels make concerning their marriages to believers.

First, the infidel tries to get their unbelieving spouse to “see the light” of de-conversion: Like young and zealous
believers, unbelievers take the anti-good news of naturalism and bring it to their spouse, expecting them to latch onto it and receive as openly as he/she did upon their de-conversion. This is categorically one of the worst mistakes an unbeliever can mak…

Questions for God (Book Excerpt)

Hello God.
It's Joe Holman, your ex-servant with yet another list of questions for you – questions you will, no doubt, add to my extensive list of blasphemies, reproaches, and mortal sins, which will further serve to guarantee my damnation – but a man must have answers, right? None of your representatives here on earth (the scholars and theologians whom you have appointed to make you look logically credible in the eyes of skeptics) can provide me with the answers I seek, so I would like to get them straight from the horse’s mouth, if you don't mind.

As you know, Lord, I am a troubled soul, a rigidly dogmatic and militant atheist, headed straight for the burnt-black depths of the merciless Hell you created. I desperately need your help and salvation, but I need these questions answered before that can ever happen. The first set of questions concerns your existence.

For one, I am confused, oh Lord, about this whole creation scheme. I mean, you are a perfect being, which means you l…