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Jeff Wiley RSS Feed (Atlanta, GA)

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DVD ~ Porter Lynn
Price: $14.28
26 used & new from $5.97

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic film that will stay with you., April 24, 2013
This review is from: Touch (DVD)
Brendan (portrayed by John Ruby) is a mechanic desperate to save his failing marriage. He visits a nail salon, where he meets Tam (portrayed by Porter Lynn), a shy new employee who offers guidance upon Brendan's request. Along the way, their unexpected friendship provides some welcome revelations, and takes both of them as well as those around them in directions unforeseen. This is crux of 'Touch'.

Directed by Minh Duc Nguyen, 'Touch' offers some of the best metaphor usage I have ever seen in a a movie. The multi-edged meaning of the film's title displays itself over and over. While the acting was above average by the mostly Vietnamese cast, Porter Lynn as Tam is a breakout star waiting to happen. As the reserved manicurist, she often communicates without saying much at all. This truly was a tour de force for her, and I look forward to see what the future holds for her. The screenwriters weave an intricate allegory that will keep you thinking about the movie long after you've stopped watching it.

'Touch' is a unique, emotionally complex narrative that will keep its audience engaged from beginning to end. This is a great movie that deserves an audience, and I encourage you to become a part of it.

Price: $2.99

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A search for solid ground, February 26, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Return (Amazon Instant Video)
After a tour of duty with the Army overseas, Kelli returns to Ohio to her family and the expectation of re-assimilating back into the life that she knew prior her deployment. Reality trumps her expectations, however, and so begins a narrowing journey to find solid ground again. This is the crux of 'Return'.

Make no mistake : Linda Cardellini puts this movie on her back, and carries it the entire way. She turns in the best performance of her career to date as the young soldier struggling with life as she once knew it. Michael Shannon somewhat steps outside of his comfort zone in his role as her husband, Mike. While often playing quirky, left-of-center characters with strong personalities, he opts for a reserved, soft-spoken approach to play Mike. His performance is as solid as any that he's ever given, and his ever-expanding resume continues to make him one of the more reliable actors working today.

Evenly paced, 'Return' is a character study of a life removed from balance, and the endeavor to restore what once was.

The Dark Knight Movie (Joker on Street) Poster Print Masterprint MasterPoster Print, 11x17
The Dark Knight Movie (Joker on Street) Poster Print Masterprint MasterPoster Print, 11x17

1.0 out of 5 stars Spent $2, still got ripped off., July 2, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
The image on this poster is very, very pixelated. This is not a full-bleed poster, so white edges show through the frame that I wanted to display this in. This was nothing more than someone printing an image on their photo printer at home, and making a quick buck doing it.

Large White Cardboard CD Mailer  6" X 6-3/8" with Adhesive Flap - 50 Pack
Large White Cardboard CD Mailer 6" X 6-3/8" with Adhesive Flap - 50 Pack
Offered by FantasyBuy
Price: $10.95
8 used & new from $5.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Great size, poor adhesive, June 6, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I purchased these recently, and was very pleased with the size of the mailers. In the past, the mailers I purchased (different than these) only allowed for one disc to be included; no sleeve, no additional disc. These allow for at least two discs to be inserted, each inside a sleeve of its own. Although I didn't try, I feel like I could have placed a third disc in with ease.

The adhesive on the envelopes are terrible, and borderline useless. I labeled and sealed several mailers one evening for shipping the next morning, and each had become unsealed over the course of a few hours. I had to tape each of them down before sending them off. Not that this is a big deal, but the previous brand of mailers I'd purchased sealed perfectly and firmly.

These mailers are a great deal, and it will take me years to use all of them. My only complaint is that the adhesive should be stronger.

Take This Waltz
Take This Waltz
Price: $2.99

9 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A waltz unsure of its direction., May 28, 2012
Margo (Michelle Williams) meets Daniel(Luke Kirby) at a Colonial re-enactment, and they encounter each other again at the airport, en route to their Montreal home. By happenstance, they also happen to be neighbors. Margo is almost instantly drawn to Daniel, yet having to remind herself that she is married to Lou (Seth Rogan). As days go by, Margo's interest in Daniel turns to infatuation.

In a word, almost everything about this movie is forced. The married woman "following her heart" to pursue an affair outside the marriage and have it painted from the "a woman's heart is an ocean" point of view is now a tired Hollywood cliche. The chemistry between Rogan and Williams, as well as Kirby and Williams, was also forced. The script was subpar, to me. I never got a sense of WHY the marriage was strained, WHY Margo was attracted to Daniel, etc.

Seth Rogan's casting as the dramatic lead is questionable, although he does display some occasional dramatic chops. I admire that he is following a path similar to Jim Carrey and Robin Williams, in that they launched their career with comedy, but transitioned successfully into starring dramatic roles, as well. At this point, I simply don't see Rogan as more than the guy who steered the ship for several Judd Apatow films. That said, he showed me enough promise that I would be willing to give him another shot if he is cast in a different dramatic role. Michelle Williams is great, but I am coming to the belief that she is Clooney-esque in that she has limited range, but what she does, she does extremely well. While all the performances were good, Sarah Silverman's casting as Geraldine, Lou's sister who is struggling with demons of her own, was surprisingly good. Stamped with Silverman's trademark crass tongue, she was the most unexpected casting choice that worked the best.

The pacing of this film is very, very slow. It takes a while to get moving in one particular direction, and I felt an unnecessary amount of time was used setting up Lou and Margo's life, and more specifically, Margo's. There are slight shades of 'Blue Valentine' here, minus the emotional grip that film possessed.

While 'Take This Waltz' has some great moments, it is not as a whole a great movie. It left me emotionally unsatisfied, maybe because I found the characters difficult to engage in emotionally. It is a movie that is unsure where it wants to go, and unsure how to get there.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 15, 2012 10:05 PM PDT

Alice in Chains - The Story Behind the Music (Biography, Discography)
Alice in Chains - The Story Behind the Music (Biography, Discography)

1.0 out of 5 stars A copy-and-paste of the AiC Wikipedia article., October 6, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Please do not purchase this "book". This is nothing but a word-for-word, copy and paste of the Wikipedia article for Alice in Chains. I have already requested and received a refund from Amazon for this purchase. Any "book" for sale in the Kindle store by Chad E. Smith is nothing but a copy-and-paste of the Wikipedia article for the musician(s) that the book is the subject for. A quick perusing of other reviews of his publications indicates that.

Country Strong [Blu-ray]
Country Strong [Blu-ray]
DVD ~ Gwyneth Paltrow
Offered by Media Favorites
Price: $11.90
61 used & new from $2.48

71 of 74 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slightly disjointed, but still enjoyable film, January 9, 2011
This review is from: Country Strong [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Kelly Canter (portrayed by Gwyneth Paltrow) is one of the biggest country music stars on the planet, and she's also struggling with many demons. A year after a tragic (and very public) accident in Dallas derailed her career, Kelly has emerged from rehab, and is quickly sent back on the road by her husband-manager James (Tim McGraw). James, who is now more Kelly's manager than husband, recruits a singing beauty queen named Chiles Stanton (Leighton Meester) to join Kelly's "Encore" tour. Kelly, enamored during her rehab stint with a musically talented intern named Beau Hutton (Garrett Hedlund), insists that he supports Kelly on the tour, as well. James agrees, but only on the condition that Beau's role is sponsor first, musician second. The complex layers of relationships among the main characters is the essence of 'Country Strong'.

All of the actors turn in very convincing performances, Hedlund's not the least among them. Hedlund's turn as a gifted musician more in love with music than with the idea of fame is second only to Paltrow's authentic depiction of the troubled superstar. McGraw gets better with every role that he receives, although his character range might be limited. Meester's interpretation of the "Country Barbie" has legs, and healthy ones at that. Her character was the most well developed in the film, start to finish.

As the writing goes, I found it to be a little sloppy. The emotional pendulum swings so quickly and frantically among the characters, that it becomes difficult to get invested in even one of them, let alone all of them. The story is not difficult to follow, but some instances of interaction are questionable, if not unbelievable. There are also elements surrounding the film that even make it feel a little dated. That said, I did find the pacing of the film to be solid and steady. I also found the victories and defeats that the characters experience I found to be a plus for the movie.

The true strength of 'Country Strong' is the music that is woven throughout the fabric of the story. The variety of country music sub-genres (from classic country to the current, dominant pop-style of country) are all great, and I consider myself a casual country music fan, at best. The real tragedy is that not all of the songs in the film are on the official soundtrack. Paltrow has at least three top-quality songs in the film, all of which she performs herself. She sounds like someone who has been performing country her entire life. Meester's "Words I Couldn't Say", which she also performs on her own, is potentially a #1 single for her. It's really that good. Overall, this might actually be an instance where the soundtrack will outlast the popularity of the movie it originates from.

'Country Strong' amounted to something of a predictable ending, but knowing the destination didn't make the journey any less worth taking for me. As I type this, Rotten Tomatoes critics have this film at 17%. I find this rating to be very unfair, and very harsh. This is an entertaining film that will satisfy the majority of those who spend their money to see it.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 25, 2012 11:36 PM PDT

Superman: Birthright
Superman: Birthright
by Mark Waid
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.32
96 used & new from $9.68

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great introduction to the Man of Steel, December 21, 2010
This review is from: Superman: Birthright (Paperback)
I've recently rediscovered my love for graphic novels that I thought had long since passed. Although I've never been a huge Superman fan (outside a few of the films), I was intrigued enough by Amazon reviewers to pick this book up. I am a lifelong Spider-Man and Batman fan. If this had been my first introduction to the superhero world, Superman might very well be my favorite of all.

Updated and somewhat modernized for the 21st century, this story introduces us to Clark Kent. We're given background on his adolescence, his drive to find out who he is, where he's from, and what his purpose is. We're given a great back story on Lex Luthor, and the events that shaped who he is as well.

A few days before reading this, a friend who also reads graphic novels told me his biggest complaint about Superman is that his emotions never change. I now find that comment ironic, in that we see a wide range of emotions from the character in this book. Emotionally, Superman seems more (dare I say it?) human than he is usually presented to be, and that is a great strength of this book. We see Superman/Clark Kent move between rage and defeat, and many emotions in between.

This 21st century re-imagining of Superman's origin would make a fantastic motion picture. Several times throughout the read, I wondered if Zack Snyder has been exposed to this story, and if he would consider adapting it into a screenplay. The only drawback that I could see is that audiences might want a fresh villain, rather than the fifth appearance by Luthor in what will be a sixth film.

The artwork is amazing, and the story is fantastic. I give this book a very strong 5-star recommendation to Superman fans, and to casual fans (such as myself) alike.

Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America
Tears of a Clown: Glenn Beck and the Tea Bagging of America
by Dana Milbank
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.86
179 used & new from $0.01

26 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There is only one problem with this book..., October 8, 2010
...and that is that the people who most need to read it will not, or will attempt to discredit it without reading it (as evidenced by some of the...*cough*..."reviews"...already posted in the days since this book's release).

This is a quick and easy read. Milbank's research for this book was impeccable. He used Beck's own statements against him, and exposed Beck for what many know that he is : a con man playing a shell game with his followers that only HE can win -- at the bank.

Many of those that refuse to read this book will do so based on their "right vs left" ideology. This book isn't about right vs left; it's about right vs wrong.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Oct 13, 2010 6:35 PM PDT

Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir
Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir
by Joseph Layden
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.13
99 used & new from $4.98

11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A glimpse into Dave's tornadic soul..., August 16, 2010
Let me state up front that I am a lifelong Megadeth fan, as well as a Dave Mustaine fan. I was completely looking forward to reading this book, and did so in one day (considering that I rarely make it to Chapter 2 of ANY book these days, that's nothing short of a miracle). In fact, just learning of this book's release helped me rediscover the band and their music in a way that I haven't in years. My review of this book is intended to be as dispassionate as possible.

If I had to summarize this book in one word, that word would be "sanitized". Dave tells his story very non-objectively, and in several instances, certain events feel glossed over, with details that would embarrass Dave or paint him as the bad guy seemingly omitted, or possibly altered. I didn't gather Dave accepting any personal responsibility for some of his past mistakes (a classic behavioral trait for an addict).

Ironically, the one thing that has motivated Dave's musical career is the same thing that has held him back personally, and that is his ousting from Metallica in 1983. As evidenced by this book, he has still not let that incident go, despite his forming and sustaining a heavy metal monster beloved by millions ever since. The writing of this book ebbs and flows from Dave's trademark (and sometimes forced) abrasive humor to introspection of his time here on earth and back again. Different sides of Dave's personality are definitely on display here, for better or for worse. Maybe that alone is evidence that Dave is finally coming to terms with the life that he's lived. I, for one, wish him peace (not to mention health).

One thing that really surprised me is how image-conscious Mustaine is when it comes to his band. He always struck me as someone who didn't care what someone looked like, so long as they played the right notes and walked in lockstep. If anything, what I came away with was the sense that Dave is very seriously considering hanging it up for good. He expressed regret over missing his son Justus grow up, and doesn't want to miss out on his daughter Electra doing the same. That's a pretty powerful motivation, and if that's what Dave is using to contemplate bringing Megadeth to an end, then nobody can fault him for that.

Reading this book didn't make me any less of a fan of Dave or Megadeth. If anything, it has reignited my love for the band and their music. But I would caution those interested in reading this book that it is more a portrait of Dave Mustaine the man, than of Megadeth the band. I hope that he'll pick up the pen again one day to delve deeper into the history of the band itself. Other than a few road stories (I'll never enjoy A1 Steak Sauce again...thanks, Dave), the tales told within 'Mustaine' are common knowledge to most fans of the band. This is a quick, easy read, as well as a very good book...but it's not a great book. I consider this book an appetizer; I look forward to the main course.

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