Sunday, May 17, 2009

3 Reasons I Liked "Star Trek", 3 Reasons I Didn't Like "Star Trek"

I am completely on the fence about whether I liked "Star Trek" or not. Here are reasons I liked it -

1. It met my expectations - I was hoping for a fun, summer movie and that is exactly what I got. I was surprised at how accessible it was, having never seen anything Star Trek I was expecting it to be a little over my head - but JJ did an amazing job at keeping the story universal. There were a few times where I heard laughs and whispers from the audience where I assume some inside reference was made, but not enough to distract me from the film. However, I did feel that the story was a little dull, the characters (aside from Spock and Scotty) weren't very interesting or likeable and the pace was a little slow. I feel like JJ focused so much on a universal story to reboot the franchise that he forgot to add any depth or complexity to the film.

2. Zachary Quinto as Spock - The only character that showed emotional depth, yet he was the least emotive character - which goes to show the acting talent that Zachary has. He also proved to have pitch perfect comedic timing, even Spock has a sense of humor.

3. The surprising appearance of lesser-known faces - JJ is very loyal to his Alias alum - did anyone else notice Rachel Nichols as the green girl (I assume she had a name, but I don't really care) and Clifton Collins Jr as an evil Romulan character? LOVED IT.

Here are reasons that I didn't like it -

1. Not interested in a sequel - As much as I had fun watching the film, I doubt a sequel would interest me. I also don't think I would have any interest in watching this one again. Star Trek is just not my cup of tea I guess.

2. Chris Pine as Kirk - I get that Captain Kirk is supposed to be a bit of a douche bag (I mean William Shatner is the king of being a douche bag), but he should be somewhat charming or at least funny, right? I didn't laugh at all with him or at him, I found him obnoxious and dull. So I guess if you are supposed to hate Captain Kirk, then Chris Pine did a great job.

3. The surprising appearance of well-known faces - I had no idea Winona Ryder was in the film, but an even bigger surprise is that she plays Spock's mother! Does anyone else feel uncomfortable with that? Also, Tyler Perry? That was just awkward.

5 "Shocking" Moments in This Years Season Finale Episodes

This weekend I was able to catch up on all of the season finale's waiting for me on my DVR. Here are the biggest shocking finale moments:

Warning - If you have not yet caught up on your finale's yet, this contains extreme spoilers...

1. Scrubs - Ok, It wasn't exactly a "shocking" episode, but it was an absolutely beautiful episode - that is if it was for the "series finale" but shockingly ABC has decided to renew another season of Scrubs. And even more shocking is that Zach Braff and others have agreed to participate as well. So what exactly was the point of that episode? It was clearly meant to be IT. It was a perfect ending to one of the funniest shows on television. I actually really like the new characters that they have introduced this season, especially Denise or as J.D calls her "Joe." I think ABC did a great job at breathing new life into an aging series and continuing the show with the new interns is a wise choice, but why have J.D bid his farewell to everyone if he isn't actually going anywhere?

2. Celebrity Apprentice - Joan Rivers as the new Celebrity Apprentice? Shocking? Not really- if you've followed this season. Donald Trump made it clear that he favored her. Her win against Poker Champ Annie Duke was obviously unjust, but what was shocking to me was that NBC didn't edit the footage in Joans favor. She basically humiliated and berated the designer that was assigned to help her to the point where he quit and then she flat-out lied about it. Which leads an audience to wonder what else she has lied about? Why would Donald allow that to happen?

3. Grey's Anatomy - John Doe is George! What is so shocking about this revelation is that it is a complete rip-off of an E.R episode. One of the greatest E.R episodes ever (and arguably one of the best moments in t.v history), in which Dr. Gant (played memorably by Omar Epps) jumps (falls?) in front of a train. When he is rushed into the hospital, completely unrecognizable, the other doctors try to page Dr. Gant to assist them with the patient. They realize it is the same person when they check the patients persistent pager. SHOCKING. I know Greys Anatomy has been compared to E.R simply because it is about the life of doctors, but I never really saw the comparison. E.R was always obviously superior, but I enjoy Greys purely for the soap-opera like drama. However, I am supremely disappointed in their lack of creativity for the season finale. First, George is my favorite character and I refused to believe the reports that he was leaving the show. Second, did they really think people would be surprised by it with all of the spoilers circling the Internet? Third, and most important, why did they blatantly steal a story-line when they are usually great at creating shocking (or at least emotional) endings? I wasn't even upset about the possibility of George and Izzie's death because I was too pissed.

4. Lost - Shocking? Not even a little bit. How disappointing. I have watched every single episode of Lost and I can not tell you what 75% of the show is even about. Every season they promise answers, yet I get more confused and less interested in the series. When the series first debuted, I would check all the Lost fanatics websites to read other peoples theories and see if there were things that I might have missed (because you can't blink without missing something!), but now I just watch it and forget it an hour later. I was hoping this season finale would bring me back - the way the season 3 finale did - what a great way to energize the show - a flash forward! But this episode left me apathetic about the show - the supposed shocks were boring. Locke is in the coffin and walking around on the island. o.k. I already assumed that. We were introduced to Jacob, not an apparition or a person of interest, instead a new character (although I loved Mark Pellegrino on Dexter, he is definitely a welcomed addition to the show) who has supposedly been in all of their lives before. And the big white light after they Juliet detonates the bomb? I think that just brings them all back to the island (present day and in the same universal plane) which is what I am assuming Daniel Faraday knew all along. Come on Lost - you have one more season to redeem yourself.

5. Fringe - The only show that delivered an actual "shock". Fringe presented us with an alternate universal where the World Trade Center still stands tall. Insensitive? Maybe. Genius? Definitely. JJ Abrams already took fire for his film Cloverfield which presents strong images of NYC being destroyed, but I think JJ must love and respect NYC in order for him to make such a film. The idea that there is an alternate universe where 9/11 never happened (and Kennedy was never assassinated?) is a beautiful concept. 9/11 is an unavoidable subject considering it was the defining moment in our history and I feel like enough time has gone by that we can appreciate it being used to fuel creativity. I don't think it was meant to be offensive or it was used purely as "shock value," (although it was shocking) instead I feel like it was meant to show the endless possibilities of this clever and visionary show.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Thoughts on 5 Recently Released DVD's: Part 2

I always try to catch films in the theaters - but sometimes I have to wait for the DVD. Here are my thoughts on the latest films I watched...

1. The Wrestler - Mickey Rourke's performance? Amazing. Marissa Tomei's body at 44? Amazing. The rest of the film? Eh. It was ok. I'm not interested in the subject of wrestling, so I found most of the film a bore. I liked the destroyed relationship between "The Ram" and his daughter, it was very real and heart-breaking but other than that, I can't say I would recommend this film to anyone.

2. Religulous - Bill Maher is the most obnoxious human alive, but I enjoyed this film - mostly because I agree with everything he says. Being an Atheist myself, Maher says everything that I would like to say, in regards to religion. I'm sure most people find it offensive and manipulative but I find religion (all religion) offensive and manipulative- it's about time someone speaks out against organized religion in favor of actual proven scientific fact. I found the documentary entertaining, well-organized and researched, but don't worry - I'm still not a Bill Maher fan.

3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button- Oh, what a disappointment! Not only was it 2 hours and 46 minutes, but it was 2 hours and 46 minutes of the most boring and depressing story ever told. Cinamatically and technically speaking, it's a beautiful film but as far as character development and emotional depth I wasn't especially invested in the film. I really didn't care about Benjamin Button, because aside from the fact that he ages backwards, he is not all that interesting. It was similar to Forrest Gump, the way it connects one man with the most historic events of our time, but Forrest was actually interesting as a person, whereas Ben is simply boring. It also gets very awkward thinking about him getting "older" (as in a toddler) and Cate Blanchett's character getting "older" (as in an elderly person) and still being in love with each other. Ew. Also, SPOILER ALERT - Everyone dies. And you pretty much get the feeling everyone is going to die after the first hour. Don't waste your time on this film. Please.

4. Frost/Nixon - I expected this to be a very boring, slow-moving film, but I was pleasantly surprised. The tension between the characters created a suspense that I didn't expect. The acting was beautiful, the writing was sharp and the pace was perfect for such a long film (2 hours and 2 minutes). I have read that historically most of the film is inaccurate, but it probably made for a more interesting film than the truth would have been - so who cares?

5. Nothing But The Truth - I wanted to see this film in the theaters, but it was never released near me. The plot is interesting - it's about a reporter who is imprisoned because she will not release the identity of her source, which is not a crime unless it involves national security. The reporter basically loses everything because she insists on sticking to her morals and her oath as a reporter. I love that the film revolves around 2 powerful women - a reporter and a CIA agent (played by Kate Beckinsale and Vera Farmiga, respectively). The obvious misconceptions and discrimination's against women in power is an underlying theme (and is probably the more interesting theme that they should have focused more on). Unfortunately, I realized quickly who it was she was trying to protect which ruined the ending for me.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

15 Summer Movies I am Psyched to See; 6 That I Have No Interest In

I love summer movies! This year shouldn't disappoint. Here are some movies I can't wait to see...

1. Terminator Salvation - I don't even remember whether or not I saw all of the Terminator films. I vaguely remember Edward Furlong and Linda Hamilton kicking Cyborg ass. I should probably brush up on the films before I see this new one. Either way, this film looks exciting. Christian Bale as John Connor and McG directing - that's got to be awesome, right? May 21

2. Star Trek - I can't wait! I've never seen Star Trek nor do I have any interest in watching any past Star Trek films or shows. But I will watch anything JJ Abrams does. I have never been disappointed by him, so I have a feeling after seeing this film I will have a new found appreciation for all things Star Trek. I'm also excited by the cast - Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho and Anton Yelchin! It's going to be brilliant. May 8

3. The Brothers Bloom- I have been waiting for this film for what seems like years. Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody are con-men brothers joined by Rachel Weiz, a neurotic heiress, for one big heist. The film was supposed to be released last December, but for whatever reason has continuously been delayed until now. It has been called several things from a "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels rip off" to a "wannabe Wes Anderson film", but it's directed by Rian Johnson - the director of the incredibly original film Brick. I am confident Johnson has created another original film with spectacular performances. May 15

4. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen- Transformers was awesome. It was one of my favorite films of 2007. I didn't expect much when seeing it (I mean it is a Michael Bay film!) but I think the extensive action sequences were actually really cool and if you're not into that sort of thing then there is also a great cast to fall back on. Shia is perfect as the dorky but charming Sam Witwicky and Megan Fox is ridiculously hot. I look forward to the sequel because it is guaranteed to be the perfect summer movie. June 24

5. The Proposal- I've already professed my love for Sandra Bullock - so obviously I am excited. She is back to what she does best - the romantic comedy. Will it be a great cinematic achievement? Of course not. But I'm sure I will be entertained. June 19

6. The Hangover- Yay- Bradley Cooper! Another Alias alum. He has had some mild success lately with supporting roles in He's Just Not That Into You, Yes, Man and his memorable role in Wedding Crashers. He was also phenomenal as the douche bag Aidan Stone on Nip/Tuck. I love him and I can't wait for him to be the next movie star! The great thing is that The Hangover actually looks hysterical. The trailer had me in tears. June 5

7. Away We Go - I hate when I see a trailer too many times and it makes me not want to see the film. Someone is really pushing for this film to be a hit because I have seen the trailer at least 3 times in the theaters. The only reason I am still excited about it is because of the cast and Sam Mendes directing. Hopefully they didn't give too much away in the trailer otherwise it will be incredibly boring. June 5

8. Whatever Works - I am now a Woody Allen fan remember? I don't know much about the film other than it has Evan Rachel Wood ,who I enjoy. June 19

9. Year One - I'm not really a Jack Black fan, but I am a huge Michael Cera fan. Of course, with that plot it could turn out to be extremely awful. I mean, it is about cavemen who are expelled into a world unknown - with Jack Black who is usually painfully obnoxious. However, the trailer is funny and the plot seems original - who knows, maybe it can be the breakout comedy of the year? June 19

10. Public Enemies - Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, Marion Cotillard, Billy Crudup, Channing Tatum and Giovanni Ribisi? Yes, Please. I have to admit though - I'm not really a Michael Mann fan. But, the trailer looks Amazing. Capital A. Johnny Depp as John Dillinger is perfect casting - I'm predicting an Oscar nomination. July 1

11. (500) Days of Summer- My favorite actor ever, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is finally becoming the star he deserves to be! He has great chemistry with Zooey Deschanel (which can be seen in Manic) so it is only natural for them to be in a romantic comedy together. The plot sort of reminds me of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in that it jumps between different points in a relationship. I hope it's as quirky, romantic and heartbreaking as Eternal Sunshine is. July 17

12. Funny People- Again, the trailer situation upsets me. I've seen it 3 or 4 times, and i'm pretty convinced I have seen pretty much the entire film. Hopefully, I am wrong but even if I'm not - I will still laugh at Leslie Mann making fun of Eric Bana's Australian accent. July 17

13. Orphan - As you can probably tell, I tend to gauge my interest in a film by who is in it. So, a horror film with Vera Farmiga and Peter Sarsgaard definitely peaks my interest. It's supposed to be similar to The Omen, hopefully it's just as scary. July 10

14. G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra- Yay- another film with JGL! I really hope it doesn't bomb. I'm not quite sure if it will be as successful as Transformers was, but it does have the ability. They have been releasing teaser trailers and giving us "first looks" at each character for almost a year now, but I somehow have a sinking feeling that it might bomb. I'm still excited for it - not only for JGL, but also for Channing Tatum. It's not just because his name is fun to say or that he is nice to look at - he's actually a decent actor (see: A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints). Aug 7

15. Inglourious Basterds- Amazing title, obvious movie star and a director who glorifies blood and violence like no other - the film will be good. No doubt. Aug 21

Some films I will not be seeing in the theater this summer -

1. X-Men Origins: Wolverine - I enjoyed the first 2 X-Men films, the third one was o.k. For some reason seeing a film with just Wolverine doesn't really interest me. I'll wait for the dvd.

2. Angels & Demons - Ugh. The Da Vinci Code was such an awful film, it's one of those films that make me question the entire world's taste in film considering it made over $750 million. I can't fathom the sequel is any better.

3. Land of the Lost - Seriously? The trailer is painful to watch.

4. The Taking of Pelham 123 - It looks pretty predictable and also extremely over-acted. I'm sure it will make tons of money.

5. My Sister's Keeper - I've heard some great things about the book, but the film looks so depressing. I feel like it would be torture to sit through. Plus, I don't see Cameron Diaz in a dramatic role - she should stick to what she is good at.

6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - Don't hate me, but I can not stand Harry Potter. I had to sit through one of them - I think it was the second film and I literally thought I was going to die. The acting was offensive, the special effects were cheesy and the plot made absolutely no sense. Obviously, I am in the minority on this.

4 Reasons Why "17 Again" Wasn't a Horrible Film; 3 Reasons Why it Was...

Ok, So I did not go see this film by my own free will, I promised a friend to see it- in exchange he has to see the upcoming film "The Proposal" with me. My friend is a gay 22 year old who calls Zac Efron his bf - so he was super thrilled to see it, me -not so much...HOWEVER, it wasn't all bad. I KNOW! I can't believe I am saying that either...

Here are reasons why it was acceptable -

1. The supporting actors, especially Thomas Lennon - Best known as Lieutenant Jim Dangle on Reno 911, Thomas Lennon is the best part of this film. He is brilliant as the high school nerd turned multi-millionaire nerd. His wooing of the high school principle (played brilliantly by Melora Hardin- a.k.a Jan from The Office) should have been the main plot of the film. Other supporting actors include the enchanting Leslie Mann and the adorable Hunter Parrish (ok maybe not in this film - he looks a little like a heroin addict, but he is ubur-adorable on my favorite show Weeds). Parrish goes against type by playing the high school bully - completely unlikeable and he accomplishes the task beautifully. He deserves much more credit than Zac in my opinion. He is on a critically acclaimed show and he has Broadway experience (recently in the Tony Award winning Spring Awakening). Rumored to have been considered for the HSM films, I think Hunter is doing just fine, far better than Zac.

2. Zac Efron wasn't horrible - I've seen the first 2 High School Musicals and Hairspray so when I make fun of Zac as having no talent, I am not just assuming it - I have seen his no talent acting for myself. Yet, this film he has improved. He proves to be charming and funny- he might even be cute if he cut his hair.

3. Refreshingly family friendly - I haven't seen a film that I would want my non-existent children to see in a long time. This film has great morals, teaches a great lesson to both children and adults but doesn't seem overly preachy, and it's adorably funny. It reminds me of the days of Full House.

4. Actually Laugh-out-loud funny - ok...I was laughing in the beginning but not because it was funny, but because it was ridiculous. But then it got actually funny. I was pretty impressed. My favorite line - "I think our hands just made a baby". I almost peed my pants.

And here are reasons why it was completely ridiculous -

1. The plot - They didn't even try to explain it or make it realistic at all. He literally just falls into some water and wakes up 17 years old in order to follow his spiritual guide by reliving the moment that changed his life forever. Will he make the same choices? As if we don't already know the answer within the first 30 minutes of the film.

2. Zac Efron wasn't good - His performance can be summed up by Lisa Schwarzbaum of Entertainment Weekly - "The result is a slack do-over fantasy in which Zac Efron, as a basketball star, looks baffled as to why he hasn't been asked to sing and dance". Only he did dance in the beginning- it was not good. He definitely has the "popular basketball star that can do it all" role down to perfection, but when any emotional depth was involved Efron looks like a blank slate.

3. Poor Matthew Perry - I truly feel bad for him.

4 Reasons Why "Observe and Report" Shouldn't Have Been as Funny as it Was

1. Seth Rogen is hit-or-miss - I think Seth can be one of the funniest guys around, but they need to stop pairing him with hot girls. There is no way in America he would get Katherine Heigl, Anna Faris, Elizabeth Banks or the hot high school girl he dates in Pineapple Express. The joke is over. I think he is funniest in supporting roles i.e Superbad or Freeks and Geeks, but in Observe and Report he as well.

2. The main character is a lonely, bipolar loser with a drunk mom and an unattainable dream - Doesn't sound very funny or even appropriate to laugh at, but somehow the film makes it o.k to laugh. We root for him even though he is incredibly annoying and pretty much delusional. The film continuously breaks comedic barriers to the point where I really kept thinking "Did they really just do that?!".

3. "The Scene" - There was a lot of talk about "the scene" and by that I mean the supposed rape scene that has feminists in an uproar. But in actuality it's not a rape scene at all - it's just a drunk (and drugged by her own doing) girl (played with absolute hilarity by Anna Faris) who passes out during sex - as soon as Ronnie realizes she is passed out he stops! Again he is Bipolar, delusional and emotionally incapable of knowing he is taking advantage of a drunk girl. That's why it is so funny! Get a sense of humor people.

4. Anna Faris- Will someone please write this girl a tv sitcom? She is amazing. Her previous endeavors in comedy involve the incredibly ridiculous Scary Movie films and the dumb but entertaining House Bunny, but remember her on Friends? or more recently playing herself on Entourage? She was delightful. In Observe and Report she plays an unapologetic, self-absorbed bitch but instead of hating her (as I would in real life), she is amazingly entertaining.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Thoughts on the "6 New Shows to Look Forward to"

I thought I would give my thoughts on the "6 new shows to look forward to" that I posted a few months ago. I must say, I'm a little disappointed....

1. In the Motherhood - By far the worst of the 6 shows. My DVR stopped recording it a few weeks ago- I'm not sure if they have just been repeats or if there is a glitch in my DVR but I don't even care enough to figure it out. Megan Mullally is disastrous as Rosemary, the carefree single mom to a teenage son. Her bad-ass attitude is laughable and contrived. Jessica St. Claire as the "perfect" mother and wife, Emily, is so annoying that the thought of her makes me cringe. The third, and least memorable, character Jane played by Cheryl Hines is a pitiful portrayal of a working mom trying to juggle her family and career. The plots are ridiculous and predictable, the one-liners are not funny, there is no character development nor is their any believable interactions or relationships on the show. I feel sorry for all involved.

2. Cupid - After the pilot, I found myself pleasantly surprised. I enjoy Bobby Cannavale and Sarah Paulson, I enjoy the plot (he thinks he is Cupid - as in the actual God of Love from Mount Olympus, she is a psychiatrist and voice of reason that is assigned to his case), I enjoy each episode as a mini-movie with new characters and a new love story to be told. I have an interest in Roman and Greek mythology which adds an extra layer for me. The only complaint I have is that each episode seems a little repetitive, but that can easily fixed. Sadly, I have a feeling it will be cancelled before it has the chance to get better.

3. Southland - It set out to portray a raw and gritty look at the work of L.A police and it does exactly that. It reminds me of E.R in the way that it is realistic and confusing and non-linear, however E.R accomplished its character development right from the pilot, while Southland struggles. We see the work of the L.A police, but we haven't really been introduced to the lives of the L.A police. The first few episodes were centered around Ben Sherman - the rookie. No complaints from me, Ben Mckenzie can brood on my tv all day, but there are some really great actors on the show that I am hoping have time to shine. I'm intrigued by Officer John Cooper, because rumor is that he is gay - which would be awesome because he will definitely be the least stereotyped gay character on television. I also like Regina King as Detective Adams - they finally gave her more of a back story in the last episode. I am hoping they continue to provide more depth with the rest of the characters. I'll definitely keep watching this one, but I am hoping for more. On a side note, I like to pretend that Ben Sherman is Ryan Atwood all grown up.

4. The Unusuals - One of the more interesting shows, The Unusuals has great, quirky characters, unusual plots and a likeable cast. Unlike Southland, The Unusuals gives an equal amount of screen time to all of it's characters. It also isn't as grim and dark as Southland is, instead it has a lot of humor and idiosyncrasies. I like Adam Goldberg and Harold Perrineau as complete opposites forced together, I find humor in Jeremy Renner's sarcasm and I actually think Amber Tamblyn isn't half bad. I think this show will keep getting better if they give it a chance. Start watching it people!

5. Dollhouse - I wasn't too impressed by the first few episodes, but then it started getting really great...but then it went back to mediocre. The assumption is that Dollhouse will not be returning for another season, which is disappointing because I feel that it is one of those shows that needs a little time to hit its stride. I like what they have been using the "dolls" for - for example a woman wants to find out who killed her so they imprint her memory after she is dead into a "doll" to investigate her own death. There is really nothing they can't do, which is extremely intriguing. However, I am not too impressed with the mythology behind the whole "alpha" thing. We finally learned who "alpha" is but I didn't even really care. I think they built up the tension so much in the beginning, but the past shows have barely mentioned him. I feel like they might be preparing for an ending so they needed to introduce him before it got cancelled? But it felt extremely rushed and forced to me - I have a feeling Joss Whedon did not plan it that way.

6. Parks and Recreation - A little too much like The Office, yet The Office is a brilliant show - so that might not be a bad thing. I just wish there was a little more originality to the show. The cast is terrific and I usually find myself laughing through most episodes, which is rare nowadays. It's one of those shows where you have to pay attention to the little things to see how funny it actually is - like the names of Andy's band that changes every week ("Just the Tip" and "Three-skin formerly known as Foreskin"). Come on - that is funny!