Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thoughts on 7 Films

1. Super – The "average man turned superhero" story has been done quite a few times in the past few years (Defendor, Kick-Ass) but I think I enjoyed this one more than the rest. Rainn Wilson was really awesome in this role - his character is funny yet sympathetic. From the trailer, I was led to believe that this was a comedy (the tag line is "shut up crime!") but the story turned much darker than I expected - and actually became quite violent (and therefore AWESOME!!). I sat in shock after the whole 'guy cuts in line so he gets his head cracked open with a wrench' part and then never recovered. At first, Ellen Page and her fast-talking awkwardness just made me want to watch Juno again. But then, her character became somewhat demented and about as far from Juno as one can get - watching her laugh while slicing people open was hilarious and disturbing at the same time. No, it wasn't a spectacular film but it was unexpected and that is always welcome.

2. Bad Teacher – So, I’m pretty sure they copied Cameron’s 'bad teacher' character from Monica Potter in Lower Learning. I know no one has every heard of it...right? (well, it was a terrible film, but I was a production intern on it and I have to say that the character resemblance is really offensive). While, Potter's 'bad teacher' was just depressed over a recent breakup, Diaz is also getting over a recent break-up but is hardly heartbroken (she was just obsessed with his money). Newly single, she sets her sights on the new geeky teacher (played by the oddly miscast Justin Timberlake) and decides that she needs breast implants to get his attention. So to sum it up - our main character is a materialistic, selfish and insecure bitch and worst of all not the least bit likeable. I am a fan of Timberlake but it was a bit awkward to watch him play 'awkward' because he is just naturally sexy and confident - dude can't help it. The whole film was far from entertaining and flawed (like how in the world did this woman become a teacher to begin with?), but my biggest problem with the film is that this woman didn't end up in prison - instead she pretty much got everything that she (didn't know that she) wanted. Jason Segel was underused (he didn't have one funny line in the whole film). The best part of the film was Eric Stonestreet from Modern Family only because you can truly appreciate how great of an actor he is.

3. Hall Pass – Film stereotype that I hate: Marriage sucks. It is an overused and cliched plot device - most of the time the women are portrayed as evil shrews that suck the life force out of a guys having any sort of fun whatsoever. Personally, I think getting married is an archaic tradition that just doesn't work in our world anymore - but a lot of people still do it so it must have some appeal right? I just find it weird that movies and tv shows portray marriage so badly, but then we are supposed to root for them to stay together. The plot of Hall Pass is that the guys moan and complain about how awful their life is because they are married so the girls find the most passive-aggressive way to handle it by giving them a week off from marriage. In this week, they realize that life isn't much better without their wives (which is really just sad right?). The movie does attempt to give the female perspective by showing what the girls do during their week off as well, but it wasn't all that interesting. Anyway, I think I am philosophising too much about a film that is just meant to be fun but the problem is that is wasn't fun - at all. It was pretty stupid, predictable and unfunny - I was expecting more gross-out humor from the Farrelly brothers but overall it was pretty tame. Again, I don't see the appeal of Jason Sudekis – he is sort of a boring “everyman” character in my eyes.

4. Attack the Block – I love Edgar Wright (writer/director of Hot Fuzz and Scott Pilgrim Vs The World). When this film was in theaters, he tweeted constantly how amazing it is (I'm sure he was being a bit bias since he is a producer on it- but I still trust his judgement). I was disappointed that the film was never released near me. Finally, I was able to watch it on DVD and just like I was expecting - I loved every minute of it. It starts with a group of teenage thugs who mug a woman walking to her car (a woman they will later rely on). Quickly, the film jumps right into the action with mysterious asteroid-like collisions of aliens landing on Earth. Really big, really fast, really cool aliens with glow-in-the-dark teeth. At first, the gang thinks it is all fun and games when they kill one of them and brag to everyone in their neighborhood but it becomes apparent that now the rest of the aliens are after them (and more specifically their leader, Moses) and it is up to them to protect and defend their block. The film is perfect on many levels - the acting, the plot, the pace, the humor, the blatant social commentary. It's just really fun and it will likely make it into my top 10 films of this year.

5. Country Strong- I am not a fan of country music – like at all - so I knew this film would be hard for me to watch, but I heard that it had an ending that I would enjoy so I decided to give it a try. The story follows a country star (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) - basically, she’s like the Lindsey Lohan of country music (tabloid queen, in and out of rehab, etc – although getting arrested for being drunk and disorderly while she was 5 months preggo might beat out anything Lindsey has done…at least that we know of). It takes place after she is released from her latest rehab stint (too early) in order to perform in a sold out "comeback" tour. Her manager-slash-boyfriend insists that she is ready even though she is clearly not. The film was steadily boring and predictable (her jealousy over her opening act, her breakdown after she is criticized for ultimately killing her unborn child) but somehow entertaining enough to hold my attention. The cast was pretty good (Leighton Meester was an awesome beauty queen turned country starlet and Garrett Hedlund was charismatic enough for me to root for him). I wouldn't recommend this film to anyone I know, but I truly did love the ending - ****Spoiler Alert**** She kills herself, which is really the only option she has. I enjoy a miserable ending and appreciate when stories like this don't sugarcoat things. How could she possibly live with herself? I know people think of suicide as an act of weakness but she is absolutely correct that she has "the right to disappear”.

6. Tree of Life – My brain's reaction after watching this film: "what the fuck did I just watch?". I hadn't read any full reviews of this film, because I didn't want to be spoiled but I did read a few things about how complicated, abstract and frustrating it was. I don't think the film was any of those things. It was actually a simple but compelling story of a family in the 1950’s intertwined with a very artistic take on the creation of the universe. Some of it worked; The film's combination of both scientific/Atheist thought and the idea of God was done beautifully – but I would have appreciated a stronger stance on the matter. I feel as if Terrence avoided the big questions and simplified everything to “Love” and “Death”. Some of it didn't work; The actors were used more as props staring off into space, the whispers of poetic lines were downright mind-numbing and the cosmic shots of the Big Bang were a wonder at first, but after 5 minutes my brain shut off. The film, while simple and beautiful was pretentious and overtly "artistic".

7. Green Lantern - This movie was really ridiculous and incomprehensible - I had no idea that the flick was about aliens and such. The film was not properly set-up at all with a quick intro about a group of "Green Lanterns" that wear magical rings and therefore protect the world (that is all I got out of it). Then we are introduced to Hal, a fighter pilot who is reckless and irresponsible (and therefore a perfect superhero!). Bradley Cooper would have been better in this role (or at the very least, better to look at). Although, I am glad that he didn't get the part as this would be a bad career move for any actor. So Green Lantern's power is that his "will is as big as his imagination" - meaning that all he has to do is think about something and it will happen. His body turns green (along with a green eye mask) in order to keep him in disguise (cause you really can't tell who someone is if you cover their eyes...). He fights some big alien from destroying the Green Lantern Corps and that is the end. It's silly and unnecessarily complicated with a thin plot and some really cheesy CGI thrown in. What a waste of money.

Monday, November 21, 2011

'Glee' : Thoughts On The Past 3 Episodes

Pot O' Gold

1. Heavy on the plots: This episode had a lot going on but they handled the many different plots very well (unlike the 'Night of Neglect' episode from last season - where all the plots were pointless and nothing related to each other). Most of the plot points were inter-weaved with each other (except the Puck/Quinn/Shelby disaster) and the pace of the episode moved rather quickly. Here is my take on things:

  • The new kid – ok I was never sold on the whole 'Glee Project' thing but I admit that the kid isn’t terrible (although his hair is really hard to get past). I like the whole foreign exchange student plot, I like his relationship with Brittany and I like that he is going to give Kurt a run for his money on hitting those ridiculous high notes. I’m a little annoyed with them creating a “little brother” relationship with him and Finn – only because we’ve seen it before with Kurt (and since Kurt became his actual brother – I would like to see more of that instead of a reincarnated plot). Speaking of….

  • Finn – Why do the writers constantly regress his character? Every time we get a Finn focused plot line – it’s always the same one: He’s a douche but then he learns that he is wrong, becomes a better person by the end. This was done well in season one with one of my favorite episodes 'Theatricality' (the one where Finn used the derogatory “F” word and was faced with the wrath of Papa Hummel – by episodes end he wears a shower curtain dress, declaring that they are all freaks that need to stick together). This time we see him stand on the sidelines and watch as the new kid (name?) gets bullied, he tells Brittany to stop being an “idiot” to which she feels “bullied” by (yet her GF Santana is the biggest bully of all…) and of course by episodes end he is taking said new kid under his wings and apologizing to Brittany. Can we please give the boy something better to do? And as hilarious as the comments about Finn being fat are – it really doesn’t make any sense. I feel like they are going to give him (as in Cory) a complex.

  • Hummel vs Sylvester – Even thought this plot was spoiled months ago, I freaking love it. It is giving new purpose to Sue (and new life to Glee). Obviously, I am on team Hummel and -OMG- when he tells Will that the Glee club saved his kids life….that just about broke my heart. Sue now has someone else other than Will to torment (and her insults are already EPIC – like calling him “cheese grits” and “baboon heart”). Sue decides to run a campaign about funding special needs programs in schools because that will be hard for Papa Hummel to fight against (but really can't he just throw all the money she wastes on the Cheerios in her face???).

  • Quinn/Puck/Shelby – Oh this plot is just ridiculous on so many levels. First, they are giving Quinn the most awful reason for wanting her baby back (because it is the only thing that Quinn has done that is “perfect”). Way to give the girl zero redeeming qualities. Then she decides the best way to get her baby back is to prove that Shelby is unfit (by planting horrible things in her apartment like books on baby sacrifice) but this would just get the baby sent into “the system” not into Quinns arms. Last – and this one is the doozy, Puck feels bad and tries to gather the planted items only to make out with Shelby (which seems like the best way to make her look like an unfit parent!!! Not to mention - FIRED). On a side note: I actually like Puck & Shelby together - they make a cute and somewhat believable couple. However, teacher/student romances are always juicy but the fact that she is also the legal mother of his child makes it all a bit icky.

  • Santana & Brittany – Officially a couple, but just not in public – even though I am pretty sure everyone knows about it..right? Anyway, I love that Santana is still her bitch self – although I am unsure of how she is allowed to bully everyone and get away with it? She tore apart the new kid, Sugar and Finn in this episode alone. Doesn't Brittany see the way she treats other people? Or is she really an idiot?

2. Light on the music: I am really disappointed in this season so far on a musical level – I have still bought a total of ZERO songs from this season. For the past 2 years, I always notice Glee singles on the top ten chart consistently – this year I haven’t seen any. I enjoy Broadway songs, but nothing has been spectacular so far and I am getting really sick of the whole “West Side Story”. My biggest complaint though is that all of the new people are singing more than our core characters. The new kids version of 'It Ain't Easy Being Green' was a nice introduction to his voice, but also a little too obvious (everyone else is wearing red...I'm such an outsider...feel bad for me...blahblahblah). AND then the new kid got ANOTHER song to sing (the only highlight was Kurt's reaction to this new threat). Blaine singing ‘Last Friday Night’ was super fun but I would have preferred Artie’s voice (and a different song – it’s like Glee doesn’t know that Katy Perry sucks). I enjoyed Puck’s rendition of ‘Waiting for a Girl Like You’ – more for the fact that he was singing it to his daughter (although it could have been better vocally and emotionally). It also made me a little sad for Cory since he has really been pushing to sing a Foreigners song on the show (You have know idea how much I would bawl if Finn sings ‘I Want to Know What Love is’ to Rachel and I won’t even be ashamed).

3. The Highlights: I love the subtle but still there competitiveness between Rachel and Kurt (“did you airbrush out your jowls?”). I am intrigued by the newly formed Troubletones because I adore Santana and Mercedes voices together, but I still don't think they compare to Rachel. I am disappointed in Finn’s storyline but was super pleased that he was in most of the episode (as opposed to the last 3) – he always makes me smile. I loved him trying to eavesdrop on Santana and Mercedes in the hallway, I loved his little dance with Rachel during Blaine’s impromptu song, I love that he is a bit jealous of Blaine taking over the Glee club and I especially loved when the new kid asked if “Hudson” was an Irish name – his response “no, my mom’s from Toledo”. Other quotables:

"She’s kinda like Rain Man with boobs". – Finn’s perfect description of Brittany
"Why couldn’t she have just wished for Lord Tubbington to quit smoking"? – Brittany
"You made me look 26, I asked you to make me look 22". – Sue to her make-up artist

4. The lowlights: Brittany believing in leprechauns. Again, this plot has been done (Santa, the stork, unicorns) – I agree with Finn, it’s just idiotic. I also did not enjoy the glimmer in Finn’s eye when Burt talked about him running the auto shop (Nooooooo! Glee writers, I beg of you do not do this to him! He’s not a Lima loser….remember?!!). There also was very little Rachel – always a mistake.

The First Time

1. Finchel & Klaine – I really like that equal weight was given to each couple’s “first time” – although I am not sure I appreciate that it happens because Artie inappropriately claims it will make them better “artists”. I guess it makes sense to give them a catalyst so to speak for all the sex talk to begin but it was just a little contrived for my taste. In my opinion, the episode was done really well simply because they don’t really focus on the sex (really, it was actually one of the less controversial episode’s in regards to sexual scenarios), instead it focused on the couples being “in love” and “ready” to take their relationships to the next level. Teens have sex – I think the world would be a better place if everyone just admitted that and moved on to the important stuff (like protection, education etc). The meeting amongst the girls was a really great scene (and utterly ridiculous at the same time) because usually Glee is pretty flippant when it comes to teen sex (as proven by the cheeky rape joke about Brittany’s first time – officially “the first time” Glee has offended me….well done.). Tina’s point of view about her and Mike’s first time was a fresh perspective that Glee has sort of avoided until now and it is very relevant to Rachel. Season 1 Rachel was the girl that claimed that the celibacy club was not realistic, she is the girl that claimed girls want sex as much as guys and she also claims to be in love with Finn – so I think it is perfectly fitting that she see fit to have sex with him. It did seem a little out of place for Rachel to comfort Finn (after being rejected by the Ohio State football coach) by giving him “something special”, but the scene was really beautiful so I will just pretend like Rachel planned on having sex with him that night before she even got to his house. Blaine and Kurt were super adorable in the beginning – Blaine’s excuse for resisting the urge to tear off Kurt's clothes? “Because of the layers”. I adore their relationship and this episode was obviously a huge step for network television and gay equality. I loved the whole Blaine, Kurt, Sebastian triangle (although as much as love Kurt – dayum Sebastian is H.O.T). Kurt’s reaction to Sebastian trying to steal his man was spot on – shimmying his way in between them dancing together. I know we haven’t seen the last of Sebastian and I can’t wait for a Kurt/Sebastian showdown.

2. The sub-plots – Although most of the ep was focused on the two couples, we also got quite a bit of other good stuff – Artie bossing everyone around (aka “directing”), Mike Chang standing up to his dad, Coach Beiste finding love (thanks to an extremely inappropriate meddling from Artie), and a very satisfying appearance from Karofsky – who we learn goes to another school and also goes to gay bars to feel accepted. All of it was awesome.

3. Highlights – Cory, Cory, Cory…..did I mention Cory? His acting was freakin’ impeccable in this episode (as expected). I wish there weren’t so many spoilers about this episode (I tried to avoid but it was damn near impossible) – I already knew Finn’s dreams were going to be crushed, but he still managed to kill me anyway with that breakdown scene. He is perfection and so far the biggest highlight of this season.

The best lines:

As for the condoms…no idea…never used them. It’s worked out for me about 99% of the time”. - Puck's sex advice to Finn
I don’t know who this Blaine guy is, but apparently he’s sex on a stick and sings like a dream”. - Sebastian
You take my breath away” – Kurt to Blaine (cut to me…bawling).

4. Lowlights – Again, not into the whole ‘West Side Story’ thing so none of the music appealed to me, but I did enjoy Santana’s version of ‘America’- not enough to purchase it…but it was still entertaining. The return of the Warblers was unnecessary. Also, Sebastian…..can’t sing (still so hot). Artie’s entire arc was really annoying – I enjoy him as a director, but him suddenly giving sex advice to everyone (because he had sex once with Brittany) was just plain stupid (although I did like his little speech at the end about how he is usually coddled by people and has never been treated like an adult before).


1. The songs

– Finally!! I enjoyed most of the music in this episode (even bought a few songs).

  • 'Hot For Teacher' – so inappropriate as Rachel states (but then again she sang an inappropriate song or two – specifically when she had a crush on Mr. Shuester). But I loved that they did something different AND they looked like they had a ton of fun which always makes it fun for the audience. Plus, Cory + drums is what I dream about at night….

  • 'You and I/You and I' – The songs went together beautifully. Plus I love Idina Menzel – her singing is always a highlight (bigger highlight was Sugar Matta swaying in the background).

  • 'Hit Me With Your Best Shot/One Way or Another' – enjoyed the dodgeball – it was cute and fun. Although a little pathetic that The New Directions would lose (3 of them are football players…). Cory and Naya sounded fantastic together though. Purchased!!

  • ‘You Make My Dreams Come True/I Can’t go for that’ – The song actually sounded really good, but they just looked way too ridiculous – it was hard to stop laughing. Proof that a haircut effects how old you look – because they all aged 10+ years for that performance.

  • ‘Someone Like You/Rumour Has It’ – Freaking perfection. The tone, the dancing, the mash-up of the two songs - the whole thing was nothing short of sublime. Especially Naya's interjection of the “Don’t Forget Me” line – it is almost haunting. I’ve heard a few covers of 'Someone Like You' and none of them have impressed me (actually Amber Reilly posted a video of herself singing it months back – yes she sounds great but the tone of the song was missing). Purchased!

2. Finn vs Santana - In one of the most epic showdowns ever – it is truly hard to take a side (ok…not so much for me….Finn is my favorite always) but I do understand the huge impact that his “outing” of her in a public space will have on her life. As much of a BULLY as Santana is – she did not deserve to have the right of coming out on her own terms taken away from her. I use the term “bully” on purpose because Glee seems to take on the issue but they never give Santana any consequences for her actions ….I guess if you’re flinging hilarious (and downright genius) insults at people then it is A-Okay. I actually LOVE Santana as a character and Naya has been perfection with her story arc since last season. She is a character that one “loves to hate”. Finn on the other hand doesn’t really have a mean bone in his body. He may be a bit na├»ve and sometimes jealous but I don’t think he would intentionally hurt anyone. His “outing” her was never out of a malicious intent – he was more calling her out for being a coward and trying to tear others down because of her own insecurities (aligning her in the same league as the big bad bully of the school Kurofsky). After Santana pretty much insults Finn’s entire existence (kudos to Cory for being the brunt of some pretty harsh punch lines – none of which are true in real life), he understandably snaps. He stayed calm for most of her put downs and even after it all – he still complimented her singing in the brilliantly done Adele mash-off. I did not see that smack coming, but I was not surprised by it.

3. The Highlights – Most of everything that came out of Santana’s mouth was epic – especially her digs at “soft serve” Finn. Here is a sampling:

“Guys…Hurry up..go get some moist towels. We have to keep Finn wet before we roll him back into the sea”.
“At one point I must’ve liked that you looked like a taco addict who has had one too many back alley liposuctions”
“I’m trying to apologize to lumps the clown”.
“I’m sorry that you have no talent, I’m sorry that you sing like you’re getting your prostate checked and you dance like you’ve been asleep for years and someone just woke you up. Have fun riding on Rachel’s coattails for the rest of your life”.
“Manatees have really thick skin”.

But one of my favorite lines was from Rory (as he sweetly tries to back Finn up by “trash talking” Santana) – “You’re skinny like all the crops failed on your family’s farm”. HILARIOUS.

I also find myself enjoying the Shelby & Puck storyline – The three of them make a really cute family. I am just nervous if they get together (and get caught) that Beth might actually get taken away from her. I will NOT like that storyline. I also love the tension between Finn and Blaine – waiting for that to explode. My favorite “little moment” was the self-referential "stop the violence" line that Brittany sings (she memorably said this line last season during an epic Santana/Quinn fight. It was also nice to see Santana laugh - I feel like it's been a while since that has happened.

4. The Lowlights – Not many, as this was my favorite episode of the season so far. I did think the whole Sue vs Burt plot was overdone. The ad campaigns were just plain stupid and ridiculous – and obviously would never fly in the real world. The candidate speeches for student class presidents were just as stupid – none of the candidates had anything important to say. Rick “the Stick” wants the teachers to stop talking, Brittany wants to stop tornadoes and pledges to go topless on Tuesdays, Kurt vows to end dodge ball (and thus bullying?) and Rachel wants to stop book covers (but then decides to opt out of the race and back Kurt instead). Please, McKinley High - don't vote for any of them!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

3 Problems I Had With 'Martha Marcy May Marlene'

I saw 'Martha Marcy May Marlene' last week and was extremely disappointed. I had heard some positive buzz about the film (mostly about Elizabeth Olsen's "career making performance"). The film is described as a "psychological thriller" about a girl who escaped a cult - but the film was nowhere near thrilling nor did it involve any kind of thought at all. Here are the problems that I had with the film:

1. The simplicity - I think the biggest mistake of the film is that it simplified the cult by representing it as pure evil. The cult leader (played brilliantly by the perfectly casted John Hawkes) was never given any redeemable qualities whatsover which discredits the idea that living in the cult is appealing to Martha. They never give us Martha's motivation in joining these people except that her mother passed away and that her sister "abondoned" her by going off to college leaving her to live with her aunt. Is her aunt evil? Does her aunt abuse her? I would assume she was living in a bad situation and ran away - this cult being a better option, but I for one was never convinced of this.

2. Martha's inner demons - The plot mostly takes place after Martha has escaped from the cult, living now in "normal" society with her sister (played by the always delightful Sarah Paulson) and her husband (Hugh Dancy). We get a sense of her past cult life through a series of flash backs that lead Martha spiraling into a world of paranoia. This would be a fantastic character study if it was at all believable. My problem exists with the fact that Martha was only missing for 2 years (they never give her age but I am guessing she joined the cult in her late teens - which means she already has a sense of "normal" and can sense what is "right" and "wrong"). I don't think I would have been as frustrated if she had been forced into the cult at a younger age or if she had been in it for much longer.

3. The ending - I ususally love ambiguity in films but it irked me in this film. It attempts at what I can best describe as a Black Swan type feeling where the audience isn't supposed to know what is "real" and what is just part of Martha's "paranoia" but it fails miserably - because in reality I for one never fully understand her paranoia to begin with. The audience that was in my theater didn't seem to appreciate the cut to black ending either.

I will admit that Elizabeth Olsen did a decent job but I think she is just getting credit because it is clearly the best Olsen performance ever. However, she didn't have much to really do except stare blankly and/or look confused. I was more excited by the supporting cast.

Holiday Film Preview: 6 Films I am Excited About

It was a smack in the face when my "Holiday Movie Preview" issue of Entertainment Weekly arrived in the mail this week. I haven't even seen 1/2 of my fall movie picks yet!! Usually, this is my favorite time of year (film wise) but this year very few films peak my interest. Here are the films that I am excited about:

1. My Week with Marilyn 11/23 - I can't say I am a fan of Marilyn Monroe - and to be honest I don't know much about her. The only film I ever saw her in was Some Like it Hot (a brilliant comedy) and I know she had a bit of a tumultuous upbringing. However, my interest in the film peaked for a few reasons - first, Michelle Williams was an interesting casting choice and she seemingly knocked it out of the park. Her performance is being hailed as "mesmerizing", "flawless" and "Oscar worthy". Second, to me Marilyn Monroe is the original "celebrity" - her life was surrounded by reporters and fans wanting to know the most intimate details of her life and she played into their curiosity which in turn made her a star (and one of the most iconic figures in celebrity history). I think it will be fascinating to see how this has evolved. Third, I appreciate that this is "a week" in the life instead of a biopic - it is pretty impossible to capture someones entire life in 120 minutes but we can certainly get a sense of Marilyn's essence by spending a week in her life.

2. Shame 12/2 - I recently watched Hunger, which was also directed by Steve McQueen and starred Michael Fassbender and it sort of left me speechless. Even though the subject matter was heavy and I am completely ignorant to political happenings in Ireland in the 80's, the film was really disturbing yet sublimely beautiful. The subject matter of Shame seems a bit more light (sex addiction) - but from the trailer I think the film will still be just as heavy and disturbing (and hopefully just as beautiful). It seems like I can't read a film article that doesn't mention Michael Fassbender these days - I didn't really understand the X-Men hype but I think I was just distracted by my love for James McAvoy. I have also been swayed into appreciating Carey Mulligan as an actress (thanks to Drive).

3. We Need to Talk About Kevin 12/9 - Tilda Swinton and John C. Reilly in a film together; I am sold already. I know the subject matter will be tough - the description is that a teenage boy goes on a killing spree. However, the trailer paints a much different story - it focuses on Tilda Swinton's character (Kevin's mother) and how even from his birth, she felt as if something was off about her own child. This is obviously a mothers worst nightmare and admitting that your child might be evil would be heartbreaking. Tilda is one of the only actresses that I can think of that could succeed at portraying such pain.

4. Young Adult 12/9 - This is the film that I am most excited about this Holiday season- I love everything about it: Written by Diablo Cody, Directed by Jason Reitman, Starring Charlize Theron and Patrick Wilson plus the trailer actually looks hilarious. Ordinarily I would say that the story seems pretty generic but in the hands of Reitman & Cody - the combined sarcasm and dry wit will undoubtedly keep this film from falling into a cliche.

5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 12/21 - Watching the original Swedish version has been on my list for years now but it somehow has never made it to the top. I intend on watching it before I see this film. I always hate when they make unnecessary "American" version of films just because American audiences are too lazy to sit through foreign language films (like when they remade Let the Right One In) but I am torn by the fact that the trailer is freakin' fantastic. Everything is just working for me - from the poster, to the cast (I love Kate Mara - so if her sister is even 1/2 as awesome I will be satisfied), the music (it's been a while since I bought a film soundtrack but I am pretty sure this will be purchased soon) and obviously the director.

6. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close 12/25 - I am fairly confident that my mother will make me see this with her this holiday season and I can't really complain. Yes, it looks a bit too melodramatic and sappy for my taste but it does have Sandy B. (one of my favorite actresses) plus I know I will instantly shed tears at the sight of the towers falling (as I got choked up from the trailer already - genius move with the U2 music). I like that the story isn't really about 9/11 per say but more about the aftermath and also seeing such a tragic event through the eyes of a child will put a new perspective on things.