Sunday, March 29, 2009

5 Reasons Why "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" isn't a Great Show, but I Watch it Anyway

I Love Jimmy Fallon. Capital L. "Weekend Update with Jimmy Fallon & Tina Fey" was my favorite of all the "Weekend Update" casts. I was devastated when he quit SNL to pursue a "film career". He was absolutely awful in the few movies he was in, so I am happy that he has finally found his niche- hosting a talk show! The show hasn't really hit its stride yet, but it's only been on for a month - give it some time. Here are some reasons I watch the show...

1. He knows when something doesn't work - Remember "Lick it for 10?"- who thought that was a good idea? I loved he knew it didn't work and he made fun of it - he even got his pal Drew Barrymore to play just to prove how awful it was. He shows grace and humility when his jokes don't work and he laughs at himself when they do.

2. He interacts with the audience - in a good way - I would actually enjoy going to see him, because he does really fun things with the audience - like creating a shared moment by having everyone wear snuggies!

3. He has tons of famous funny friends - Some critics have bashed him for not interviewing properly, instead he just rehashes old stories with his well-known friends. But I enjoy this much more than I a plain, repetitive interview. I like to hear Tina Fey talk about the time she almost challenged a drunk girl to a dance-off or the time Jimmy told Drew Barrymore that he loves how she talks like a paralysis victim.

4. He gets celebrities to do funny things - Tracey Morgan wearing a snuggie? Challenging Serena Williams & Anna Kornikova to beer pong? Rachel Maddow mixing a "manly" drink for Jimmy? You won't find that on any other late night talk show. The real highlight? Showing a video of Jason Segel as a kid jump roping and singing "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" with a Hulkster headband.

5. His awesome plea to reunite the "Saved By The Bell" cast - Finally, someone in late night who understands the important things in life. Saved By The Bell is the greatest show ever! I hope his online petition works - wouldn't it be great to see them all in the same room again??

4 Reasons "Duplicity" is Everything I Expected it to be

Duplicity is not a great film nor is it a bad film. It's mostly entertaining, but easily forgettable which is exactly what I expected.

1. Plot twists - is it really a plot twist when you are expecting a plot twist? Well, it's obviously clear from the trailer that it is a "trust no one" "nothing is as it seems" kind of film. It delivers the twists well, I actually didn't know how it would end except that it would probably not end how I expected. It did tend to drag toward the middle and the constant reminder that the two main characters can't be trusted became tedious.

2. Great chemistry - Julia Roberts and Clive Owen already proved to have chemistry in Closer. They proved their status as Hollywood royalty plus they aren't bad to look at...

3. Fantastic performances from Tom Wilkinson & Paul Giamatti- They both deliver some much needed humor to the film.

4. Quick witted, smart and sleek style - The film was like a spy version of Oceans 11, just not as satisfying, because it lacks depth. Plus while Oceans 11 had us rooting for the bad guys, this film didn't really have bad guys (or good guys for that matter). It did have some zingy one-liners though.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

4 Questions I Have For the American Viewing Public

1. Why is Nicolas Cage so popular? - He doesn't make good films nor does he give good performances yet his last 3 films opened at #1. Just this past weekend, the film Knowing beat out the awesome I Love You, Man and the long-awaited Julia Roberts comeback. The National Treasure movies are laughable (not in a good way) and Ghost Rider??? Do I really even need to comment on that one? His only 2 watchable films are Matchstick Men and Adaptation, but he still sucked in both of them.

2. Why do we keep adapting BBC comedies? - Obviously the Brits know humor, but isn't it a little embarrassing that we can't come up with something original on our own? Hopefully, the recently announced Absolutely Fabulous remake wont be awful - it does have some promise with Kristen Johnston as the star. But, why not give Judd Apatow another crack at television? At least he is original.

3. Why do we take Zac Efron seriously? - His only films are the High School Musical franchise and Hairspray. Why does this make him a full-fledged movie star? He can't actually act as far as I can see, yet his passing of the Footloose remake and eyeing another film is the top headline today. Who cares? If you want to watch a former Disney star with some real talent - watch Shia Labeauf. A Guide to Recognizing your Saints truly showcases his craft, but Disturbia proves he will be the next great movie star.

4. Why are there 3 CSI's in the top 10 highest watched shows every week? - CSI, CSI:Miami, CSI:NY - are these not essentially the same show just different locations? Don't you get bored watching the same thing every night?? I admit I don't watch shows on CBS - I've tried and every time have been disappointed. It might be a good show, but why watch all 3?

4 Thoughts on "Sunshine Cleaning"

For the most part, I enjoyed "Sunshine Cleaning". Here are some of my thoughts on the film...

1. The acting was better than the story - Amy Adams & Emily Blunt transcend this film. They both give emotionally stirring, profound yet subtle performances. Without them, this film probably wouldn't be worth watching.

2. It's similar to "Little Miss Sunshine", just not as good - It is from the same people, starring Alan Arkin, featuring a beat-up van and a dysfunctional family but it's not as gripping as Little Miss Sunshine was.

3. They showed too much in the trailer - I probably would have enjoyed the film better if I didn't know the entire film. I hate when that happens.

4. Clifton Collins Jr. is another underrated actor - He always creates memorable characters. I would expect nothing less from another Alias alum. He was only on 3 episodes, but I've followed his work ever since.

Monday, March 23, 2009

4 Reasons Why "Celebrity Apprentice" is the Greatest Reality Show Featuring Celebrities

I know I wrote a post about how awful most reality shows are- especially ones featuring "celebrities" competing in a challenge, but "Celebrity Apprentice" gets it right. Here is why...

1. The Challenges - while some of the challenges are just about who has the wealthiest friends, other challenges are about which celebrities are creative, intelligent and good with people. So far Jesse James seems to have all 3 of these qualities. He knows how to use his skills to help each challenge and even though the men lost 3 out of 4 challenges so far - he hasn't been blamed for anything - if anything he is the only one that consistently comes up with great ideas (who would have thought?).

2. The Celebrities - this years mix of celebrities are so much fun. Dennis Rodman, Joan & Melissa Rivers, Khloe Kardashian, T-boz in the same room? It sure makes for some entertaining television. Dennis Rodman continually plays the victim card even though he does nothing but drink vodka & cranberry and talk about what an amazing person he is (just ask Michael Jordan), Melissa Rivers and poker champion Annie Duke compete for power in the bitchiest ways, while Khloe fixes her hair and stairs blankly while the others do all the work. The other welcomed surprise (besides Jesse) is Brande Rodderick, a Playboy Playmate who successfully balances being a gorgeous blond and an intelligent woman at the same time (crazy, right?).

3. Ivanka Trump - speaking of gorgeous, intelligent blonds- Ivanka shines. Yes, she has been given everything she has ever wanted, but you can tell she takes her job seriously and she is appreciative of her life. She always has insightful things to say, plus she dresses professional and appropriate, but still fun and youthful. Why isn't she the choice role model for young girls?

4. It raises money for charity - Unlike the other celeb-reality shows (Dancing with the Stars!), this show actually has a purpose. Every week any money that is earned goes to the PM's favorite charity. So even when the show seems like self-absorbed celebrities calling friends to buy a $10,000 wedding dress, at least it's all for a good cause.

3 Reasons Why I Loved "I Love You, Man"

I know it's early in the year, but I am guessing that "I Love You, Man" will be on my list for Best films of 2009. Here are just a few reasons why I loved it so much...

1. Non-stop comedy - You know how when you are watching a comedy and the beginning is hysterical but then the end starts to drag or the beginning is setting up the plot for a funny ending? This comedy will induce laughter from beginning to end. Every character is funny, every scene is funny.

2. Jason Segel - I tried to sit through How I Met Your Mother once and it was painful. I didn't really see what the fuss was about for Knocked Up (especially when the amazingly funny Superbad came out the same summer) - so I never really thought of Jason Segel as a great comedian. Yet recently I watched Freaks and Geeks and Forgetting Sarah Marshall and I really enjoyed him. There is a sincerity about him that comforts me and it seems like he's not trying too hard to get some laughs. In this film he really shines.

3. Bromance done right - The question of whether the film should be considered chic flick or guy comedy has been raised over at, but in my opinion it's both. While films like Knocked Up portray women as the nagging force that ends all the fun in a guys life, I Love You, Man does the exact opposite. It shows women having fun and wanting the guy in their life to have friends and fun outside of their relationship. Plus it shows how hard it is to make and keep friends! The awkward beginning where you meet someone and want to hang out but don't want to seem like a loser- I think everyone can relate to this. This film gets it right. Everything - relationships, friendships, dealing with co-workers, communicating, growing up, being unique and staying true to yourself. It's pretty awesome.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My Thoughts on 5 Recently Released DVD's

I was finally able to catch up on some films from last year that were recently released on DVD...Here are my thoughts.

1. Happy-Go-Lucky - OK. Sally Hawkins won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical as well as a slew of other awards and praise. Can someone please inform me as to WHY? She was extremely irritating in a role that was clearly supposed to be cheerful & charismatic. The film itself was mildly amusing but I absolutely hated the main character - and not because she was malicious or villainous but because she was daft and selfish. I didn't wish for her to have the happy-ending.

2. Synecdoche, New York - Talk about a film that is trying to hard!! It was a film about a playwright who writes a play about himself writing a play. There were 3 different love interests and I have no idea which of them he actually loved (all? none? I stopped caring after the first hour). Although I am usually confused by Charlie Kaufman, I am also inspired by his creativity and his character development - however this film doesn't evoke the same response. Maybe he should stick to writing and let others capture his brilliance visually?

3. Australia - This could have been a good film, but there were too many obstacles in it's way. First, it was too long (2 hours and 45 minutes!). Second, it tried to tell too many stories - all were good but none were developed enough. I actually would have preferred a film that focused solely on the Aboriginal population of Australia during WWII and the "Stolen Generation" because it's something I know very little about. The "opposites attract" love story was a completely different film mixed in. Third, Hugh Jackman & Nicole Kidman were painfully lacking chemistry. Lastly, the "evil" in the film was represented solely by one character, which over-simplified the story.

4. Wall-E - To be honest, I am not really an animated film person. I haven't enjoyed animation since the Disney glory days of The Lion King and Aladdin. I'm one of the only people I know who found Finding Nemo boring and Shrek extremely annoying. However, I did enjoy this film. It was heartfelt, humorous and relevant. The themes of advancing technology, the inevitable fate of our environment and the steady increase of human laziness and obesity makes the film easily enjoyed by adults and a great lesson for children to learn ASAP.

5. Traitor - Somewhat predictable, yet the subject matter was complicated and the characters were fully-developed. I enjoyed this film much more than I thought I would. It didn't offer a right or wrong, it didn't oversimplify yet it was easy to understand, it didn't offer easy choices instead offered reasons as to why choices were made. It was also a film that was able to show the problems with America's terrorist policies, yet wasn't anti-American (nor was it anti-Muslim). Don Cheadle's performance is mesmerizing and powerful- I'm surprised he didn't receive more accolades.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

5 Warnings if You are Planning on Watching "Watchmen".

I saw "Watchmen" on opening day, having never read the graphic novel - I had no idea what to expect. I have mixed feelings about the film, and I have a few warnings for others that are planning on seeing it.

1. Prepare to see the longest movie ever - It has a running time of 2 hours & 43 minutes, which is incredibly unnecessary. It feels like forever. I have no idea what even happens in the last hour of the film because I was so focused on the fact that it wasn't over yet. It didn't help that I had a giant cup of coffee before it started. Thought I was GOING TO DIE.

2. The beginning is awe-inspiring - I was blown away. The opening credit sequence accompanied with Bob Dylan's The Times Are A-Changin' is absolutely phenomenal. But don't get too excited, the rest of the film isn't as incredible. Not even close.

3. There's violence, nudity and moral ambiguity - but nothing you haven't seen before - No, it's not you're average superhero film, it's more film noir. The violence was graphic, but if you saw 300, then you have already been desensitized. The nudity displayed by Billy Crudup and Malin Akerman wasn't exactly sexy either, after all Doctor Manhattan is CGI, so it felt like seeing a drawing of a penis rather than an actual penis and Akerman is not hot.

4. It has both amazing and terrible acting performances - Patrick Wilson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan & Jackie Earle Haley - wow. Billy Crudup didn't have much to do, but he still did nothing well. However, how did Malin Akerman and Matthew Goode get these roles? The other actors created characters that were substantial, conflicting, flawed and interesting. Silk Spectre and Ozymandias were boring, one-note and linear thanks to Akerman and Goode's lame acting.

5. It's ambitious - The film version of Watchmen has been circling Hollywood for years, but was always considered "unfilmable". Well Zach Snyder did it and he did it well. While some scenes don't work and the film is obviously too long, I appreciate Snyders ambition and his passion for film making. It's worth watching as long as you are prepared.

3 Reasons to Not Watch "The Reader"

This film is proof that the Academy Award nominations are political. There is no reason this film should have been nominated for best picture, nor is there any reason to see the film. There are however some reasons why you shouldn't watch it:

1. A very un-sexy Kate Winslet has sex with a 15 year old boy for the first half of the film - Usually Kate Winslet is smokin' hot- what happened? Maybe it was the fact that she was having sex with a boy (I'm assuming the actor was 18 based on what they were able to show, but the fact is - He looked 15). It was a complete turn-off and so awkward to sit thru and it just kept going for what seemed like hours.

2. There was no point- Or maybe there was, and I just didn't get it. We learn very early on that she can't read through several subtle hints, but then towards the end are we supposed to be surprised by this fact? And I don't understand why she didn't just admit it, her pride was that strong that she would rather spend her life in prison? Maybe she was trying to punish herself because of her guilt, but she didn't even seem remorseful about her actions as a Nazi prison guard, so it's not really clear that she has guilt. The story is not memorable, complex or compelling at all- in fact it is pretty generic. There are so many films made about the Holocaust, I think in order for it to be "good" it has to be different, ask new questions and have some sort of shock value. The Reader had nothing of value to add to the canon of Holocaust films.

3. Kate was better in Revolutionary Road - Kate deserved the Oscar, just not for this film.