mark Eyeliner [product review]....by pemora

mark Eyeliner [product review]
by pemora

About a year ago (or was it 2?), I posted about my 30 second make-up routine.  Since then, the routine has stayed fairly the same with a couple of experiments here + there.  After all of my Clinique Quickliner pencils ran out at the same time, I decided to try mark's Eyemarker Color On Line.

*The color goes on very very smooth.  As a mom who can't fuss with my eye make-up and needs to run out the door (because I am always always always late), that's a huge plus.  The color goes on quickly and easily.
*Very bright colors. This is especially good for women of color, who need something more vibrant against our skin.
*Nice options of colors. I especially like the blue.

*Not good for women with oily skin.  The color not only didn't stay put, but at one point, I had blue eyeliner UNDER my eyes.  Dark circles + blueish eyeliner color? No bueno.
*The colors can be a bit too glittery for day.  Especially the purple and green.  Those seem more appropriate for evening. (I've actually taken to layering the purple and green with a brown eyeliner from Maybelline to cut down some of the Liberace glitz)

While I really miss my Clinique eyeliner (especially the purple!), the mark version is a nice alternative.  And if you are interested in other mark products, try the Dew Drenched Moisturlicious Lip Color.  I swear by every color and pair them with my LaBello lip balm.  Good good stuff.


Random 7.....by pemora

Random Siete
by pemora

Kelley Anne at Kaleidoscopic Refrains asked me to do a Random 7 list about myself.  She is quite possibly the sweetest and most supportive blogger I have ever 'met', so I had to agree to her wish.   I hope you enjoy!

1. No one calls me by my birth name. With very few exceptions, everyone I know calls me 'p'.  It started back in college when my roommates would leave me notes on our dorm room door and write "p".  After that, EVERYONE started calling me 'p' and I sign all of my emails the same.  In fact, it is rather weird to hear my government name (although it is not pemora).

2. I have had a crush on my husband since I was 12.  That's a long effing time.

3. I don't easily like girls but I don't trust girls who don't like girls.

4. I know I said I don't easily like girls, but my girlfriends are AMAZING people.  I adore them.  They are beautiful, intelligent, thoughtful, witty and ambitious.  Oh, and I love their sense of style.

5. I love to shop but I hate spending money.

6. After teaching myself in the 4th grade, I still know the alphabet in ASL.

7. I am lactose intolerant, but I love cheese.  Like, heart it.  I heart cheese so much.  I have never met a cheese I didn't like.

I want to pass the Random 7 to DTM at Twisted Style, ADJ at Green Eggs and Glam, ANP at Buddhist Marketer, Koko at res pulchrae,  WILDASAMINK at Wild as a Mink, But Sweet as Sodapop,  Julie at Orchard Grey, and Jessica at love, lolita.


Book of Eli....by IMTHATDUDE

Book of Eli

Let me start with what I liked about this movie… the cast, the direction (mostly), and the concept.  Somehow all of those working parts managed to go tragically wrong at the end.  I was fully ready to lambaste the other morons who review movies, right up until the last couple of scenes in the Book of Eli.  The Hughes brothers (Menace II Society, From Hell) direction was solid right up until somebody decided that they wanted people to laugh hysterically at the end.  Gary Whitta wrote the screenplay – a good effort with some interesting points, but rendered impotent either by miscues in direction or the powers that be trying to set up potential sequels.  It was a relatively gritty movie, with a credible cast, but great movies are made in the details.  Mila Kunis (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, That 70s Show), cute & talented as she is…

she’s not exactly the right look for a post-apocalyptic dystopia; neither is Jennifer Beals (Flashdance, The L Word).  Not unless you make them look the part. And, for the record, smudging a little dirt on their cheeks or dressing them in leather jackets doesn’t do the trick.  Hot women cannot be so casually masked to fit into the gritty scene built up by all the other activity and people surrounding them.  They fit in about as well as Lebron James at a Klan rally (sheets off). 

Denzel Washington (Mo’ Better Blues, Training Day), Gary Oldman (The Contender, Batman Begins) and Ray Stevenson (HBO’s Rome, Punisher: War Zone) have all been parts of much better efforts. 


It is after the war, and there are pocket of civilization that have survived around the country – if you can call it “civilization.”  Eli (Washington), an enigmatic lone wanderer heads west with a book in his possession; a book he has vowed to protect at all costs.  Carnegie (Oldman) runs a settlement in typical dystopian tyrannical fashion.  Carnegie, a book lover and holdover from a time when a fair amount of people could actually read (although, I’m not sure when that time is, is in search of the book Eli happens to have in his possession.  When their paths accidentally converge, all hell breaks loose.  The power hungry Carnegie is desperate to have this book and when he finds out Eli has it, he will sacrifice everything to get it.

As for the rest of what happens, I’ll sum it up like this… Solara (Kunis) tries to escape Carnegie’s clutches by following Eli.  Eli reluctantly takes her along.  Then there’s a couple of fights, a couple of stand offs, mixed in with some shaky handed cannibals (because that’s what folks have been driven to with the lack of food), and a little bit of silliness and there you have the movie.

Let’s face it, these kinds of movies have never REALLY been objectively good films, including the Mad Max/Road Warrior movies.  I’m sorry, but if any of those movies were in the theaters today, they’d flop.  They were cult classics, which is fine, but that doesn’t make them good.  The Book of Eli fits right in with the rest of these kitschy flicks.  Not to be taken seriously.  The problem with Eli is that it had the real potential to be a stand out.  But it failed.  The details, man… the details. 

One of my frat brothers said he “loved” the film.  “LOVED” - he even thought enough of it top make it his facebook status.  I don’t have to tell you how vitally important something must be in order to make it onto a status message on FACEBOOK. (Yes, that’d be sarcasm, for my slower friends.  To be read slowly “I Stillllll Llllllove Yooooou.”)  At first, his status update troubled me with respect to his taste and overall competence to recommend films to anyone, much less a chronic moviegoer like me.  Every cult classic has one thing in common… a cult!  Keep up with me, folks. So, upon further consideration, I think he just happens to be one of those people that make up the cult – so to speak. 

Anyway, in my humble opinion, I thought the Book of Eli should have been closed a few minutes before the people who made the movie.  To the best of my recollection, I haven’t been so disappointed with the ending of a movie since the Matrix: Reloaded.  The way Eli wrapped was strange enough to cause many people in my theater to literally guffaw.  No knock to Mila or the Hughes brothers, but that scene had no place in this film and made me consider going to lie to the manager to get a movie pass so I could at least feel like I didn’t actually pay for them to how is it do they say… “make the sex to me.”

If you are pressed to see this flick, by all means.  A fool and his doe are soon part…  Otherwise, wait for the DVD.

That Dude Gives the Book of Eli: 2


1. They make crap this pure?
2. Couldn’t be more under-whelmed.
3. Not too shabby, I won’t ask for my money back.
4. Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good./Worth the 12 bucks.
5. Why are you reading this and not seeing this movie? Jackass.

Nike Valenka Leather Boot

Nike Valenka Leather Boot
by pemora

All winter, I have been on the hunt for a snow boot.  All.  Winter.  I never knew how difficult it was to find a fun + functional piece of footwear, until I found myself in a DSW in Westchester about to cry.


My wishlist:
1. avoid Uggs. This is becoming harder to do.
2. black or gray.  After wearing my brown Kenneth Coles for 9 years (rest in peace good and trusty snow boots), I am ready for a change.
3. furry/fuzzy/warm lined.

Alas, nothing.

But these boots?  Are pretty darn close to what I want.  Just my luck, I cannot find my size.  But maybe Nike has them in your size, so be sure to get them now while they are on sale.


We Remember.....

RIP Teddy Pendergrass

And for those looking for organizations to donate money for the Hatian relief, check out Yele Haiti.  I am still trying to wrap my brain around this week's events....


Paganne Maxi Dress [Most Wanted]

Paganne Maxi Dress [Most Wanted]
by pemora

I realize that I already posted a maxi dress but I tell you I am just obsessed.  I just got my hands on an awesome gray and pink maxi dress that I am dying to wear (maybe with 3 sets of layers underneath as it is freezing in NYC).  I have also thought about posting a pic of the dress, but I am still a bit camera shy.  We'll see.

Anyway, this dress is divine.  I can see myself wearing it to a gallery opening, with a glass of Chardonnay in hand.  Or to fashion week.  Or a book reading.  Heck, I would even wear it to sit on my couch and watch reruns of 'Jersey Shore'.  I just really love the color blocking and the details around the collar and waist.

Buy it for yourself at ChicTrend's etsy store



Best/Worst of 2009....by IMTHATDUDE

Best/Worst of 2009

Let’s start with the WORST Movies of 2009, shall we…

5) Street Fighter: THE LEGEND OF CHUN LI

The story:  Hell if I remember.  Something to do with a chosen one or something to defend this realm… blah blah BLLLLLAH! (The last one was me regurgitating my cinnamon raisin bagel and vanilla latte.)  Kristin Kruek is a better actress than her role selection suggests, but this personified the concept of assness.  Watch it at risk to your own sense of sanity.  When I was done watching, I was justifiably violent.

4) Sorority Row

The story:  Slutty sorority girls play a trick on a dude who screwed one of their other sisters (and he happens to be related to yet another of their sisters); the trick, fake the death of a different one of their sisters while this dude is hooking up with her. While in a secluded location, faking the cover up of the accidental death that never took place, the dude ends up thinking the girl’s really dead and stabs her in the heart with a tire iron – actually killing the slutty sister.  This movie would have been ten times better if dude would have taken the tire iron to all of them right then and there; then fell headfirst onto the very same car tool.  (Ten times better than what this movie is, would bring it up to a 2 out of 5.)

3) Bride Wars

The story: Best friends end up getting engaged at the same time and via a crazy mishap happen to have their weddings scheduled for the same day at the same location.  Commence the war of competing nuptials.  The frenemies engage in every devious move imaginable to ruin the other’s wedding.  In a word… BOOOOO!  But in fairness, I knew it would suck and it lived down to my expectations.  Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway.  Ladies, I’m so very disappointed. 

2) Land of the Lost

The story: Will Ferrell plays Dr. Marshall, an offbeat scientist with fantasies of inter-dimensional travel.  It’s the remake of the classic TV show by the same name.  Let me explain how bad this movie is… I laughed in derision and mild scorn all throughout this movie.  Derision because it was bad, scorn because I knew instantly that I would have to see how bad this movie was gonna end up getting.  The big question is not how they could make this movie, but how, after making it, could they justify releasing it to the larger public.  According to Variety.com, certain executives lost their jobs at the studio for green lighting this movie.  I understand why Will did it; he was getting pizzaid.  But this crap was straight garbage.  I mean NOTHING about it was good.  It felt like ten hours of the cast adlibbing based on the most rudimentary of concepts.  I imagine the instructions went something like this “imagine you’re a doctor, you’re a tour guide, and you’re a nondescript hot chick with some scientific knowledge stranded in another dimension.  We’ll throw in some aliens and dinosaurs.  Just go with it.  See what happens for the next two hours.  Annnnnnd… ACTION!”  Let me stop before I waste all my good insults on this crap.

The dubious distinction of crappiest theatrical crapfest of the year…

1) Year One

The story: Jack Black and Michael Cera are cavemen?  There’s about 20 Geico jokes that write themselves.  The script was so cheesy even a cavemen… Or, this movie was a terrible way to spend two hours of any life, but there’s good news… they saved a lot of money on their writing staff…  Nah, maybe the jokes aren’t that good, but they’re better than ANYTHING that happened in that movie.  I am truly thankful that Hollywood cannot make any more movies like this and Number 2 for a long time.  They should have stopped trying after Quest for Fire.  Don’t google it.  Don’t rent it.  In fact forget I mentioned that guttersnipe of a film that was still markedly better than Year One.  Seriously, they had better movies than Year One… in the actual YEAR ONE.  Sad face, Jack Black.  Sad face.

BTW:  If only I had seen Twilight in 2008, it would have made the list for the worst 5 movies of 2008.  Sparkly vampires?  Let me say that again  SPARKLY VAMPIRES.  That’s like being haunted by a gay ghost.  It’s supposed to be scary, but that’d just make me laugh.


without further ado….

The BEST Movies of 2009


Directed by JJ Abrams
Written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and
Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and Zoë Saldana

The inaugural voyage of the Enterprise.  Due to some emergency, Kirk, Uhura, McCoy, Spock and all the other cadets (actually, Spock is older and an officer) are brought directly into a battle scenario and given field promotions. I’m not military expert, but I suspect they took some liberties with how these people were promoted.  Anyway, it’s a fun ride; if a bit inconsistent.  Put simply, it was worth lying to my date about not having seen yet when she wanted to go see it (translation I dropped a bunch of bread on this movie – movie dates ain’t exactly cheap).


Directed by Rueben Fleischer
Screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin

The world is taken over by Zombies.  Not the slowest, not the fastest, but not to be trifled with.  This is FUNNY.  It just is.  Take my word on this one.  I will definitely be buying this one when it hits DVD/Blu Ray and you should too!  I’m still laughing.

3  Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Directed by Terry Gilliam
Screenplay by Terry Gilliam and Charles McKeown
Starring Christopher Plummer, Lily Cole, and Heath Ledger (with some help from Colin Farrell, Johnny Depp and Jude Law).

Doctor Parnassus is an eccentric gypsy, or genius, or immortal, or crazy old dude with a little friend (Verne Troyer).  Depending upon which you believe, he’s engaged in a millennium old wager with the devil and the time has come for him to pay up.  Unless, of course, he is willing to enter into yet another wager with the ultimate trickster.  Terry Gilliam brings his usual humor and silliness to the big screen in what was probably the most difficult film of his long career, but also his best.  With the death of Heath Ledger during the filming, Depp, Law and Farrell fill in and Gilliam somehow manages to make an impressive film that much more impressive under the circumstances.  It is seamless and one of the most underrated movies in years.  It’s too bad you’ll have to wait for the DVD.


Written and Directed by James Cameron
Starring Sam Worthington, Sigourney Weaver, Giovanni Ribisi and Zoe Saldana.

Paraplegic dude uses an avatar body to pretend to be part of a native population on a distant, but important, planet.  Long and short of the story… he saves a planet of blue folks by becoming one of them and bagging the baddest blue chick on the planet.  It’s just like the Smurfs, except they’re about a thousand more smurfettes and all the smurfs are 10 feet tall, athletic, and half-nekkid.  I think I’d give this movie a high 4 out of 5 on That Dude’s prestigious scale.  Did I mention this is the most visually impressive movie I have ever seen in my life?

And the winner is…


Directed by Jason Reitman
Screenplay by Jason Reitman and Sheldon Turner
Starring George Clooney, Vera Farmiga, Anna Kendrick, and Jason Bateman

Clooney plays a hatchet man.  He flies around from city to city firing people so big companies don’t have to deal with it directly.  In this economy, he’s been pretty busy.  He’s all about meeting a certain lofty travel goal in seems to be running so as not to have to stay put.  Until he meets a woman who has the same kind of ideas and morals – especially when it comes to attachments (“why have them?”); he begins to realize that he might actually want to be attached.  This is a love it or leave it movie. Definitely the smartest & sharpest movie of the year.  It doesn’t make my Top 20 movies of the decade list for one reason – longevity.  I d not know how many times I will be able to watch this movie over a lengthy period of time.  But it is still exceptional.  There’s nothing about this movie that I didn’t like (double neg for emPHAsis), which means it is a definite front runner for a Shammi Award this year. 


The Worst Talking Pictures....by IMTHATDUDE

The Worst Talking Pictures (2000-2009)

I hate each one of these movies so deeply, I’m starting to like them.  Let’s just say this was a very bad decade for Black folks on airplanes, superheroes not named Spidey, and anything related to dragons or dinosaurs.

1)   The Happening

Not a damn thing but me getting robbed blind by M. Night Sham.

2)   Death Race

… and I’m THAT much closer to the finish line.

3)   Balls of Fury

Sorry, Fogler, but this was depressingly unfunny.

4)   Snakes on a Plane

Yes the makers of this film deserve to die and I hope they burn in hell!

5)   Soul Plane

And you thought we gave you some sh!t the first time… Soul Plane 2: Diarrhea on the Big Screen.

6)   Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow

I wouldn’t have liked this movie drunk and high.

7)   The Punisher
This isn’t the name of the movie; it’s a characterization of it.

8)   Daredevil

It would’ve been more interesting to have 2 hours of that duck saying nothing but “AFLAC!”

9)   Honey


10)           Elektra

Jennifer Garner working a little phallic symbol couldn’t save this crap after that Affleck debacle.

11)           Baby Boy

“You know I love you girl, you got my baby and you prolly gonna be my wife.”

12)           Kung Pow: Enter the Fist

Please God forgive me for wasting the hours of this precious life you have given me by watching this.  Amen.

13)           Aeon Flux

If Aeon Flux (Theron) and Catwoman (Berryhad a fight onscreen instead, we’d all still be the losers.

14)           Dragon Wars


15)           Year One

I still want to fight somebody thinking about this corny crap.

16)           Black Snake Moan

It would’ve been more interesting to watch an actual snake moaning.

17)           Land of the Lost

I want whatever percentage of my Netflix subscription payment this took back from the smurfin smurfheads that made this movie.

18)           DOA: Dead or Alive
Last movie to make me leave the theatre with the dry heaves.

19)           Sorority Row
May you all die a slow painful death (lasting at least the runtime of this movie); I know I did.

20)           Speed Racer

Next time leave the crappy cartoons on the Cartoon Network.


Top 20 Movies (2000 - 2009)....by IMTHATDUDE

TOP 20 MOVIES (2000-2009)

Here’s the thing, I was asked to comprise a list of the best movies in the last decade.  It’s so hard to say no to pemora – in English or Spanish – but it was nearly possible to pick a Top 5 and even more impossible is trying to rank these in any particular order.  So, I picked 20 films and opted to place them in completely random order; and because I am currently engaged in finally establishing some semblance of a life (one that will pay the bills for me to continue to see these movies)please accept the following microwave synopses in lieu of my customary loquacity.

1)   Memento
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Screenplay by Christopher Nolan
Starring Guy Pearce, Carrie Anne Moss, and Joe Pantaliano.

Memento is one of the most incredible and original pieces of storytelling I have ever seen (and a brother has seen A LOT of flicks).  Pearce’s character suffers from the wildest sense of short-term memory loss imaginable.  Something tragic has happened and he’s trying to figure out what the hell happened by piecing together the story with tidbits of information tatted all over him and a handful of Polaroids (those are pictures, for you youngins out there on the interwwebs). Fortunately for Nolan, I’m not the one who had to sell the flick.  Trust me, if you like movies that compel you to pay attention to the details and if you enjoy watching characters develop in small revelations leading up to an orgasmic conclusion… this is your flick (minus the orgasmic part; seriously, no movie’s THAT good – unless of course the soundtrack is by Luke or the Bowchicabow Wahs.)

2)   Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Directed by Michael Gondry
Written by Charlei Kaufman, Michael Gondry, and Pierre Bismuth
Starring Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, and Tom Wilkinson

Unlike Memento, Jim Carrey’s character is undergoing a procedure to erase the memory of a failed relationship.  I hate love stories.  I mean, HATE all that lovey dovey contrived crap that I’ve been forced to accept as “date” movies over the last 15-20 years of my dating career.  But I liked this movie a lot.  It was dope without being dopey.  I didn’t even have a mini-vomit watching Carrey as he began to discover that erasing the memory of his ex is harder than he thought given how much the prospect of the absence of her made his heart grow fonder.  How BLAH it seems to read, but how frackin engaging this movie actually was.  It’s not 27 Dresses, All About Steve, or any of that other cinematic feces that passes for date flicks.  This is a movie even I can cosign.  That’s a big deal, fellas.  Rent it.

3)   Passion of the Christ
Directed by Mel Gibson
Screenplay by Benedict Fitzgerald, Mel Gibson and… well, kinda God (if He were in the habit of writing screenplays)
Starring Jim Caviezel and Monica (thank God she was playing Mary Magdelene, so I didn’t feel so bad thinking the thoughts I had thunk) Bellucci.

You ever hear the story about Jesus?  Do Christmas and Easter ring a bell?  No?  Then you need to bring your ass to church, fool.  Well, if you are familiar with the story, this one focuses on the Easter part.  Hard to watch, but so incredibly well done; notwithstanding the anti-Semitic rants of a drunken Mad Max.

4)   Slumdog Millionaire
Directed by Danny Boyle & Loveleen Tanden
Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy (but here, you have to give credit to the cat who wrote the novel, Vikas Swarup).
Starring Frieda Pinto, Dev Patel, and Anil Kapoor.

Basically, it’s another love story with a twist that shockingly makes my list.  Hmmm, maybe I do have a heart… CRAP!  Let me check… Nope.  Nada.  Cool.  I just liked the scenery or something (by scenery of course I mean Freida Pinto).  Actually, this was about a boy and a girl finding each other, growing up hard, losing each other and finding each other again; but I didn’t really care much for the love story aspect of it.  I liked the way they told the story.  It’s a rags to riches, hardship to triumph story wrapped up in a more hardship.  It’s an emotional rollercoaster without the tears (not that I would know, the last time I cried in a movie, I was… I was… well, let’s just say, they didn’t have to kill Mufasa).  This is movie lacked any incredible performances, but made up for it with its enthralling story. Still, as good as this movie is, I will not be watching it again any time soon.

5)   There Will be Blood
Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
Screenplay by Paul Thomas Anderson (novel by Uptown Sinclair)
Starring Daniel Day Lewis and Paul Dano

Now this is a gangster story.  None of that love business.  It’s a story about an oil tycoon and his unwavering pursuit of the black gold.  Lewis plays a man obsessed with owning it all, friends, family, and morality be damned.  The first couple of minutes, I don’t remember them uttering a word but drawing you into the story, which is awesome.  I happen to love words.  I think have all the awe and power of magic and music combined and multiplied, but some of the things done on screen in this movie without one word being uttered (what some call the “space between”) is so fresh, I had no choice but to include this movie on the list of best movies of the decade.  Not to mention, Daniel Day Lewis should start an acting school for people like Marky Mark and Tom Cruise. 

6)   Closer
Directed by Mike Nichols
Written by Patrick Marber
Starring Natalie Portman, Julia Roberts, Clive Owen and Jude Law

This is the anti-thesis of a love story.  Now, we’re talking.  Dysfunction is the spice of life.  Here you have strangers who become two separate couples that end up having their lives intertwine (among other things).  This is a character driven, dialogue intensive picture with three of the best in the business (Jude Law’s an aight actor, but he’s no Daniel Day Lewis, Clive Owen, or Johnny Depp, now is he?).  The episodic mental stability and mercurial passion of these four people is so dramatic without being contrived that you have to love hating them… all.  While you feel bad for one of them at any particular time, you also dislike them at another.  It’s one of my absolute favorite flicks in the last 20 years, much less 10.

7)   The Dark Knight
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Written by Christopher and Jonathan Nolan
Starring Christian Bale, Heath Ledger (RIP), Aaron Eckhart, and Gary Oldman

Heath Ledger’s performance as the Joker was worth the price of admission.  I saw this movie twice in the theater.  Very high praise in this economy.  Not only did the Nolan’s do an awesome job replacing the Cardboard Katie Holmes, but they outdid the writing on the acclaimed Batman Begins (yes, I’m the one who “acclaimed” it, but that’s the only acclaim important in something written by me, so…).  I had concerns when I found out Ledger would be reprising a role played so coolly by Jack Nicholson in the first movie, but Ledger and Bale actually made me blank for a minute on who originally played Batman and the Joker in the 90s version.

8)   Avatar
Directed by James Cameron
Written by James Cameron
Starring Sam WorthingtonZoe SaldanaSigourney WeaverGiovanni Ribisi and Michelle Rodriguez

Have you heard anything about this little indy film?  I don’t know how the little known James Cameron managed to not get noticed before now.  Jake Sully (Worthington), a paraplegic marine is given a chance to regain the use of his legs.  His mission – take over for his dead twin brother in the Avatar program, designed to win the hearts and minds of the native population on a planet rich in “unobtainium” – if you skip past the sickeningly stupid name of the valuable material “unobtainium” you will still enjoy this movie.  Sure, long and short of the story… white dude saves the planet of the blue dudes by becoming one of them and bagging the baddest blue chick on the planet.  It’s just like the Smurfs, except they’re about a thousand more smurfettes and all the smurfs are 10 feet tall athletic and half nekkid.  Notwithstanding any of that, James Cameron is the effing man.  This is THE most spectacular visual experience I have ever had in the movie theater.  Bar none.  If you fail to see this in 3D at an IMAX theater, you are missing out on the full breadth of the experience.  I’ve never seen a movie that made me feel like I was immersed in it before.  It’s over 2.5 hours long and you can do it with out a case of the aflattassitis (unless of course you were born with that, the movie can’t work miracles).

9)   House of Sand and Fog
Directed by Vadim Perelman
Screenplay by Sean Lawrence Otto and Vadim Perelman
Starring Ben Kingsley, Jennifer Connelly, Navi Rawat, and Shohreh Aghdashloo

Let me say this off top…Navi Rawat is kinda hot (I don’t even remember her role in the flick, but whatevah – she makes another of my lists) and I love Shohreh Aghdashloo.  She’s dope.  I wish we would have found her sooner in the States.  Also, Fog is one Sir Ben Kingsley’s last good roles – excluding his guest appearance on the Sopranos.  It seems like the other stuff he does these days is all about that dollar (The Last Legion, BloodRayne, The Love Guru – I rest my case) maybe he’s got Charles Barkley-esque gambling habits or something.  House of Sand and Fog is the story of a military man (Kinglsey) seeking to regain some semblance of the prominence he left in his native country of Iran, here in the U.S. and the wrongful albeit mistaken displacement of a woman from the home she inherited from her parents.  The home is sold at auction to Kingsley.  He ends up purchasing the home and all the following drama in the fight for each of them to try and keep what they both believe rightfully belongs to them.  As frakking depressing as this movie is, it was still one of the best movies I’ve seen in ages.  Get your Sancerre and cheesecake ready.  You will need a pick me up after watching it, but you will not be able turn your eyes away from the screen.

10)                       Pan’s Labyrinth
Directed by Guillermo del Toro
Written by Guillermo del Toro
Starring Ivana Baquero, Maribel Verdu, Sergi Lopez and Doug Jones.

Doug Jones?  Really?  Lopez, Baquero, Verdu, del Toro, and Doug Jones.  Anyway, it was awesome.  If you don’t know Guillermo del Toro, go rent some of his other work (Cronos & Hellboy – visually outstanding).  Sergi Lopez plays Captian Vidal, one of the best villains in moving pictures since Darth Vader.  It’s hard to explain this one.  It’s about the imagination of a young girl who comes to join her ailing mother and her mother’s new husband.  The little girl is at the mercy of her new step father who happens to be an unbelievably ruthless bastard in the Spanish Army (in ye olden fascist times) – let’s call him...  Captain Awesome (because he’s not, it’s like calling a big guy “Tiny”).  I know, I know… you should definitely watch this one when you’re ready to perk things up around the house maybe on Christmas or Thanksgiving.  It’s like the Hangover in fascist Spain instead of Vegas. 

11)                     Kill Bill 1&2
Directed by Quentin Tarantino
Written by Quentin Tarantino
Starring Uma Thurman, Lucy LiuVivica A. Fox, Daryl Hannah, Michael Madsen, and David Carradine.

Uma plays the Bride.  She’s super pregnant and on the day of her wedding rehearsal, she and the entire wedding party is gunned down by Bill and his assassins.  She gets shot in the damned head and LIVES.  That’s a problem.  Well, for Bill it is – and for everybody else connected to the entire massacre.  Hands down, Kill Bill is the best revenge film ever made.  And, no, I am not breaking any rules.  It was originally one film but studios decided that the dumb ass audiences couldn’t handle a film like this being over 3 hours long.  What ever happened to intermission? 

12)                     Gladiator
Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by David Franzoni
Starring Russell CroweJoaquim Phoenix, Djimon Hounsou, and Richard Harris

Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife… in this life or the next, he will have his vengeance.  Turns out it was this life.  Crowe plays the Roman Army’s greatest general, Maximus, but when the Emperor dies under… questionable circumstances, he is ordered killed but ends up sold into slavery as a gladiator.  He finds his way back to the new emperor (who ordered Maximus, his wife and his child to be murdered).  Ridley Scott knows how to make a movie.  The only negative thought I had about this movie was the last 30-45 seconds.  Aside from that, it was definitely one of the best movies made in the decade.  The action sequences coupled with the talent of Crowe and Phoenix… good casting, good writing, and good acting usually leads to a very good movie.

13)                     Casino Royale
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Written by Christopher Nolan
Starring Judi Dench, Daniel Craig, Eva Green, and Jeffrey Wright

It’s the new Bond.  James Bond… with more gravitas and less finesse than any of his predecessors.  Daniel Craig is the new Bond (replacing Pierce Brosnan, who was second only to Connery – in my book).  The Bond franchise decided to go backwards in order to move ahead.  This is the birth of Bond.  It’s how he becomes 007.  What he lacks in grace and finesse, he makes up for in… hmmm… nothing.  He doesn’t even try to make up for it.  He is completely unapologetic in his genesis.  He’s brash and rakish and doesn’t give a damn.  Like an MI-6 version of O-Dog (from Menace to Society).  This installation of Bond finds him developing some of the traits and habits we’ve come accustomed to him having in the last 40-odd years or so.  Sure, it drags for a few minutes here and there, but the initial action sequence alone is worth sitting through the next 2 hours and change. 

14)                       The Departed
Directed by Martin Scorsese
Written by William Monahan & Alan Mak
Leonarod DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Vera Farmiga, Jack Nicholson and Martin Sheen

Based on the original movie Infernal Affairs, this movie takes the original’s production quality up about 50,000 notches.  Two undercover cops; one as a criminal the other as a cop – and both trying to figure out who the other is, before it’s too late.  It’s a race against time and circumstances.  The ending in Infernal Affairs (thanks, J Perry for referring this one) was way more hard core than its Americanized counterpart.  Nevertheless, the Departed was an awesome movie and worth watching. 

15)                       A Beautiful Mind
Directed by Ron Howard
Screenplay by Akiva Goldsman
Starring Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, and Jennifer Connelly

Nash (Crowe), a genius mathematician done lost his ever-loving mind.  It has some of the same elements as a movie like the Sixth Sense.  You don’t know how much of it is real and how much of it is imagined.  Neither does he.  But it’s a heck of a story to watch develop and it may be Russell Crowe’s most impressive performance yet; sure as hell is Jennifer Connelly’s (I will choose to forget movies like the Hulk and The Day the Earth Stood Still – Pepe le PEW them joints stunk up the place).

16)                       40-Year Old Virgin
Directed by Judd Apatow
Written by Judd Apatow and Steve Carell
Starring Steve Carell, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Leslie Mann, Jane Lynch, and Catherine Keener

Durh!  The name speaks for itself.  Dude is 40 and a virgin.  Let this be a lesson for the young boys out there.  Do not rush to have sex.  If you wait until you are forty (and she is) then you TOO can have visions of candy canes and psychedelic climaxes when you finally do.  Never be pressured.  Lesson Number Two: Completely unrelated to the movie, young guys… stay away from my niece, god daughter, and ALL of my little cousins or I will not hesitate to quite literally bust a cap in you’re a$$ - regardless of your age.  If you think I’m playing, you clearly do not know me.  More importantly, you do not want to get to know me.  Keep it in your pants until your 40 like Steve Carell did.  And he’s rich and famous now.  See.  That could be you, too.  Do the right thing, punks.  Oh yeah, the movie is hilarious.  Check it out.

17)                        Star Trek
Directed by JJ Abrams
Written by Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman, and
Starring Chris PineZachary Quinto, and Zoë Saldana (ex baby mama – I thought it would never happen either, but I’m on to the next one.  Holla at me Monica Raymund.  I’m around.  Ask about me.)

It’s the beginning of the story.  How Kirk, Spock, Uhura, McCoy and the rest of the gang took over as the senior crew on the fabled starship Enterprise.  For the non-sci fi fans, this movie re-launches a franchise that was seriously on life support after the under appreciated last two series (Voyager and Enterprise – good stuff)that didn’t manage to last long enough to garner interest in a major motion picture.  This is a fun film that really doesn’t require you to be a fan or to know anything about anything.  For that reason, it makes the list.  It is action packed and doesn’t take itself seriously enough for me to pick apart the glaring problems with some portions of the story line.  Not to mention, there’s a special guest appearance by Leonard Nimoy.  Leonard Nimoy!  The guy that had people thinking there really was a way to make people faint if you apply the proper Vulcan nerve pinch… or was that just me?

18)                        Little Miss Sunshine
Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Written by Michael Arndt
Starring Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collete, Abagail Breslin, Paul Dano and Alan Arkin

A truly dysfunctional family makes their way cross country to the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant for the baby of the family.  You never see what her talent is until the end, but you know she’s working on it with her crazy inappropriate grandpa.  It is pure comedy and feel good dysfunctional film of the decade.

19)                        Malcolm X
Directed by Spike Lee
Screenplay by Arnold Perl & Spike Lee
Starring Denzel Washington, Angela Bassett, Delroy Lindo, and Al Freeman, Jr.

Spike Lee’s best movie ever.  I liked Mo Better Blues, School Daze, what have you, but this was his magnum opus.  He may never do a movie better or more important than Malcolm X.  No disrespect, but this was better than the best parts of all his other movies rolled up into one.  It’s the story of Malcolm X.  If you don’t know who he his, may I suggest the following - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlKL_EpnSp8
BTW: THIS is the movie Denzel should have got his Best Actor Oscar for – not Training Day.  He straight channeled Malcolm X down to the voice and intonations.

20)                        Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon
Director Ang Lee, (more importantly, Yuen Wo Ping is the fight choreographer)
Screenplay by Hui Ling Wang, James Schamus, and Kuo Jung Tsai
Starring Michelle YeohChow Yun Fat, and Ziyi Zhang

They need to create a term for people you could watch boil water and be interested in them doing it – that’s Ziyi Zhang; because onscreen she’s the kind you don’t ever want to take your eyes off of for any appreciable period of time (maybe “ziyistic” – I like that, for now).  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is about kung fu masters tracking down a notorious criminal and the stolen famed sword of one of the greatest warriors in China.  Ang Lee’s an awesome cinematographer, but this may be the best thing he’s ever done.  The heavy lifting that takes this out of the realm of “you killed my teacher!” movies is done by the masterful fight choreography of Yuen Wo Ping (the Matrix, Fearless, Kill Bill).  He is the truth.  If you don’t like action movies, no worries – it’s better than that.  If you don’t like love stories, no worries – it’s better than that.  If you don’t like reading subtitles… you… might be a redneck.  I’m impressed even you got this far.  Kudos, my friend.  Now, go buy yourself some Natty Ice and rest your weary brain.

There you have it.  Sure other movies could’ve legitimately made the list, but they didn’t make my list.  Doubt, Gangs of New York, Sin City, effin’ awesome, applaud’em… but nope. Some stuff has to be left out, right?  The good news is there’s room for debate; I encourage you to do so.