Sunday, June 19, 2011

4 DVD's to Watch; 4 to Avoid

I watched a lot of DVD's in the past few is what I recommend that you watch and what you should avoid...


1. Rabbit Hole - I really liked this film - much more than I though I would. I assumed that the acting would be fantastic and that the film would be sad since it is about a couple who are dealing with a tragic accident that resulted in the death of their son. But, I really appreciated that the film was more about how people handle death and how different that process can be for everyone. The two aspects that I really appreciated were that it wasn't just about the parents - it also showed how it effected the teenager who is ultimately responsible for their sons death (although it was an accident - he will forever be traumatized with guilt) and the grandmother (who lost her adult son to a drug overdose - she feels the need to compare the 2 losses). The other aspect that I really loved was that it showed how Atheists deal with death - at least I assume Nicole's character to be Atheist. As an Atheist, I honestly think that death is a little harder to deal with if you don't believe that people are "in a better place" when they die or that it is part of "Gods plan". Instead, death is an ending - there is no rhyme or reason to it. I found it interesting that the idea of a parallel universe brings comfort to her character (which scientifically is more believable than an "afterlife"). All in all, I loved the story, the characters, the acting and the sadness of the film. Really well done.

2. The Kings Speech - I will preface this review with: This film should NOT have won the Academy Award for Best Picture, in fact I'm pretty sure it should not have been nominated. Yes, it was entertaining and well-acted but overall it was a pretty simple, pretty mediocre film. It is worth watching if you are a fan of Colin Firth or Geoffrey Rush (who was pretty close to perfect). Yet, even being a huge fan of Colin - I don't even see his performance as Oscar worthy and certainly not on the same playing field as James Franco's performance in 127 Hours). It is pretty interesting that they turned something as boring as a speech impediment and made an entire film about it - and for the most part it was pretty entertaining. On a side note - don't you wish we lived in a time where we were required to memorize and recite Shakespeare? I would fucking rule at that!!

3. Blue Valentine - While I feel this films advertising was completely misleading, I still loved everything about it. I was under the impression that it was about how these two people fell in love - two hipsters finding and wooing each other in the city. However, it was mostly about how these two fell out of love and actually it was more about her falling out of love with him (and makes you wonder if she was ever in love to begin with or if their relationship was based on some pretty adrenaline and hormonally rushed decisions). I do believe that men are more romantic than women which is often not portrayed in films (because it is sooo not cool for a guy to be romantic...). The film is devastating to watch because it is incredibly realistic - the plot, the characters, the scenery - everything was very raw and felt very gritty. I will also tell you that the whole NC-17 fiasco was completely ridiculous - almost laughable now that I have seen the film. I watched Love and Other Drugs right before his (more on this in the "avoid" section of the post) and it was so much worse as far as graphic nudity and sex - yet I didn't read about anyone fussing over it's it just because Blue Valentine was more realistic? Fascinating.

4. The Company Men - wow - 2010 was a really good career year for Ben Affleck in my opinion. He really shined in The Town (as director and actor) but was overlooked come awards season - but I am surprised that he was overlooked again for this film. It was a much smaller film, but it is so relevant to today's world and filled with amazing performances (by Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper and Kevin Costner (who I usually hate)). The film is about the downsizing of a big corporation which leads to lots of people being unemployed. I think the film did a great job at showing how difficult it is to get a job nowadays (especially if you are older), how unjust the economy is (CEO's making millions while firing hard-working people) and how difficult it is to admit that you need help. I really liked it and it had my attention for its entire running time (which is increasingly more difficult..).


1. How Do You Know - I would compare this film to watching paint dry. It was not funny, romantic or entertaining in the least. I get that it was about "normal" people trying to meet and that it was supposed to be a bit awkward - but when your main characters have no discernible traits the audience will have not care what happens to them. The film was slightly anti-feminist because the main character consistently apologizes to men (even when she does nothing wrong) - in one scene with her and Paul Rudd's character- I counted 5 "I'm Sorry's" within a 10 minute long scene. It made her pathetic and weak. The film was also very obvious -is it really ever a doubt as to who she should end up with (i.e - not the douche)? The only part of the film that I enjoyed was that Reese's character believes that a lot of girls in relationships are pretending to be happy - which I agree with. But then if you have main character that is that astute then why is she spending the whole film desperately trying to find the right guy?

2. Case 39 - 3 words why I bothered to see such an awful film that should have been released straight to DVD.....Bradley Fucking Cooper. And let me tell you....he looked Will Tippen good. I actually think that the ONLY reason this film was ever even released was because of his new found Hangover success (it was filmed like 10 years ago - you can tell by the old fashion flip cell phone and the huge tv). The film is pure trash - the plot is stupid and predictable and for a "scary" movie it was void of any jump out of your seat moments. The only thing it had going for it is that children are always creepy (and Jodelle Ferland did a great job at the creepiness). The only gross moment was the hornet scene (it was also a sad scene because then I realized there would be no more eye candy...). I am really not a fan of Renee Zellweger - sometimes she can be really amazing like with the Bridget Jones films and I loved her in Chicago, but then with films like these I really hate her and her cheek implants.

3. Love and Other Drugs - Really badly advertised. Do you know what this film is about? Because it is NOT about some asshole sales rep trying to sell Viagra. Instead it is about the asshole sales rep falling in love with a girl who has early onset Parkinson's Disease and it is probably one of the most depressing things I have ever seen. They have a lot of sex and they fight a lot. That is basically the movie...there I just saved you 2 hours of your life - you can thank me later. I usually like Anne Hathaway but she was grating in this film and I am about the only girl I know who doesn't think Jake is hot (those sad puppy dog eyes do nothing for me).

4. Let Me In - It wasn't bad, it was basically the exact film as the Swedish version Let the Right One in, just slightly Americanized. I just don't understand what the point is of making another version....I guess if you refuse to watch a film with subtitles then you should see this version - otherwise see the original, it is superior in its subtlety and beauty.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

3 Reasons Why 'Super 8' Was Super Great

I am happy to say that I saw an awesome movie a few nights ago - 'Super 8'!! I went into the theater completely spoiler free (which is part of what made it so awesome) so I don't want to ruin the experience for anyone (the only way I can truly describe it is that it is just that: An Experience). Here is what I can say about it:

1. It’s very much a “JJ Abrams” film – As a huge JJ fan, I can say that my expectations were super high - I have seen him be not just creative but downright innovative. I have been disappointed by JJ before (recently with Undercovers). While some are calling this film “unoriginal” or “Spielbergian” – I personally think it is very clearly a JJ creation. Yes, he pays a respectful homage to past Spielberg films such as E.T. and Stand By Me but it was not a copy of any film. In fact it has several "JJ" elements such as:
- a threat that we don’t actually see until more than ½ way into the film (a' la Cloverfield, Lost )
- people with “daddy issues” (a' la Lost, Alias)
- a steady pace of action, plot and character development (a' la Star Trek)
- a sci-fi tale that is grounded in reality (ala pretty much everything he has ever done minus Felicity).

2. The kids are kids – To be honest, films like this just don't exist anymore - which sort of makes me sad. When I think about great films starring middle school aged kids my mind goes straight to The Goonies or even better - Stand By Me. I think we live in a world where kids are glued to the Internet and/or video games (and aren't that interesting). This film brings the kids "adventure tale" back outside but still keeps it relevant by having the kids make a film (which is totally awesome for all sci-fi geeks). Also, the kids actually felt like a real group of friends - kudos to the casting director.

3. The melodrama was tolerable - I admit the ending was a bit over-dramatic and mushy but it somehow worked because the whole film was built up to evoke emotion - if you didn't feel something you might be dead inside.

Friday, June 10, 2011

3 Reasons I Loved 'X-Men:First Class' ; 2 Reasons I Hated It

I was sort of indifferent about seeing 'X-Men: First Class' because the last 2 'X-Men' films were pretty bland, plus the marketing for this one was not very at all. However, I adore James McAvoy & January Jones, plus the reviews were mostly positive. I am happy to say that it was better that I expected, but it was also very bad in some ways.

Here is why I loved it:

1. James McAvoy makes every film better - I've never seen him in a bad performance (bad films...sure...ahem. Penelope. ahem). He is usually the best part of a film, and in this film he is truly fantastic.

2. *****spoiler alert*******Hugh Jackman's 10 second cameo is worth the price of admission - I heard there was a spectacular cameo but this was really, truly freakin' hilarious - best part of the whole film.

3. The back story - There was an article in Entertainment Weekly about how re-telling historical events is trendy in films right now, they mention this films version of the Cuban Missile Crisis. I agree, that this gives the film a real sense of urgency and realism (which is usually not found in "super hero" films). I would love to see how the X-Men were involved in other historical events - all kinds of awesome.

Here is why I hated it:

1. The women - The reason women fail in superhero films: They cast "hot" over "talented". Let's face it these types of films are cheese central, so it really takes a TALENTED actor to truly pull off the ridiculous scenarios and simple dialogue. I thought for sure that Matthew Vaughn actually got it right by casting odd choices like Jennifer Lawrence and January Jones. Unfortunately, they both failed miserably. So, what went wrong? I think it is simply too early to tell if Jennifer Lawrence can actually act or if she just fit the role in Winter's Bone so perfectly. The true test will be The Hunger Games. I was more disappointed by January Jones because I love her! She is truly fantastic on Mad Men - why wasn't she able to display the same amount of "iciness" in this film? Come on January - I can only stick up for you for so long (especially after the embarrassment that was SNL).

2. The mediocrity - Although the film was better than I expected, I wouldn't say it was great. The story was a little choppy, the "other" X-Men weren't very interesting and actually pretty forgettable, the action and special effects were less than spectacular especially for a summer blockbuster - all in all pretty mediocre.

5 Things I Learned From the MTV Movie Awards

Everyone knew that this year's MTV Movie Awards would be exactly like last year's - 'Twilight' wins everything! The show was a disaster like usual - but I did learn a few things:

1. Robert Pattinson is a bumbling idiot - I always sort of enjoyed that awkwardness that exudes out of Kristen Stewart because she reminds me of how I would likely react if thousands of cameras were flashing in my face, but I was under the impression that R.Patz was a charming, lovable heartthrob. The thing is - I don't find him physically attractive at all, so the fact that he has zero personality bothers me tremendously. His intro to Reese Witherspoon's 'Generation Award' was truly painful to watch. First, he brought a cheat sheet with him - I get when actors win awards they might bring a cheat sheet because they don't want to forget to thank someone - but this was a minute long speech that he wrote! You are an actor - MEMORIZE IT. Second, he couldn't even read his own speech - half of it didn't even make sense, he mumbled through it and he didn't even deliver the punchline correctly. Third, his maturity level is about the same as a 6 year old - instead of pulling himself together he just kept laughing at himself. You know Patrick Dempsey was thinking the same thing as me "This guy?....really?".

2. Two guys kissing isn't front page news - In fact, if I didn't watch the show - I may have not know that it actually happened. While, Robert Pattinson is now on my shit list - I appreciate that he planted one (or three) on his male co-star Taylor Lautner (who I also find completely unattractive. Nice abs...sure - but the rest is not so great). I find it strange that when 2 girls kiss at these shows - it is reported everywhere! I guess because it is more acceptable in our society. Anyway, Go Rob!

3. Reese Witherspoon is cooler than I thought she was - I admit, I have always been a bit jealous of Reese - she was married to the hottest man alive. I was always a bit of a hater - but now my perception of her might change a little bit. I do think it is weird for her to win this award this year - when her recent films flopped (Like Water For Elephants, How do You Know), but I have a new found respect for her after the amazing speech she gave. First, she explains Robs joke in under a second. Second, she refuses to kiss Chelsea Handler because she is a slut (but they are friends so it's ok). Lastly, she goes after all the girls in Hollywood that have sex tapes and nude photos all over the tabloids - telling them that they should be embarrassed. I sincerely wish her luck in making good girls "cool" because - honestly, it has to be done. ASAP.

4. Jason "Sudoku" wasn't the best hosting choice - Again, I say Justin Timberlake would kill at a hosting gig like this. Jason's monologue was very "Arnold"-centric, which is like a 2 week old news story (which for this generation is like ancient history). He started to get funny when he made fun of girls in the audience like Selena, Kristen and Emma (who proved to be funnier than the host with one stare), but then I think he wimped out. I did enjoy the joke at the end about possibly being a father - too bad no one really got it.

5. Jim Carrey made me laugh (it's been a long time...) - "Foo can be pretty nasty stuff, so I am glad there is someone out there fighting it".