Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. What's Your Number? Um....5 (number of times this film made me want to vomit, of course). Granted, chick flicks aren't really my thing but I thought one with Anna Faris would at least be funny. The film is about a woman who reads an article in a Glamour/Cosmo/Marie Claire type magazine that states the average "number" (of sexual partners a woman has had) is 10.5 and that after she hits 20 she will most likely remain single (which apparently is a death sentence. Vomit). This causes Anna's character to panic because her number is already at 19. After a "sex in the city" style girls night out (Vomit.) with her very catty and judgemental "friends" (Vomit.) she decides that instead of looking for new guys, she will just have to find true love with an ex-boyfriend so that her number won't go up - totally makes sense...right? She recruits her neighbor across the hall (Chris Evans) to help her find her exes, in exchange she lets him use her apartment to avoid the endless parade of one-night stand girls that he leaves in his apartment (Vomit.). It is obvious from the very beginning that he is "the one", usually I have problems with films when "the one" is a complete ass who treats women like shit but he is actually represented as a pretty decent guy. And on a side-note: I think I might be the last girl on earth to realize this, but HOLY FUCK is Chris Evans hot. I don't know why but he always sort of bored me....I might be watching Captain America sooner than I expected. Anyway, my last complaint is for the paint-by-numbers ending. Why would you leave your sisters wedding to run around the city looking for someone that lives across the hall from you? Vomit.

2. Colombiana - I was so excited by the opening credits when the names Callum Blue (Dead Like Me) and Michael Vartan (Alias) appeared. How did I miss this?? It's a shame that both hot men were underutilized - I probably would have enjoyed the film more if they had more screen time. The film was a pretty simple story of revenge - a girl sets out to avenge the murder of her parents. I really enjoyed her "missions" - they were very Alias-like with some really beautiful action sequences but there were also some extreme plot holes that distracted me. I still can't decide whether I like Zoe Saldana or not - I wasn't fully convinced of her "badass-ness", some of those guns she was holding weigh more than she does (I am not taking a dig at skinny girls - I, myself, am stick-thin and it's not very badass. I promise).

3. Cowboys & Aliens - Awesome idea. Fucking terrible execution. My expectations were considerably lower after the film was released and it was universally panned, but it was still far worse than I expected. The tone and direction of the film was very misguided - this was supposed to be a summer "blockbuster" but it was far too serious, the characters were lifeless and the plot was pointless. Actually, was there a plot? I think I stopped paying attention after the first hour. I have problems with Harrison Ford - he is always the same misanthropic character with anger issues and it rarely works. Also, Olivia Wilde used to be hot (like in the greatest teen drama ever - The OC) but definitely not in this film (which would be fine...if she could actually act).

4. The Debt - Good film, not a great one. I like the way the narrative is set up, there is strong character development with solid acting performances and the pace and suspense are satisfying. My only real problem with the film is that the plot starts off really promising but ultimately ends in a very predictable nature. The story is of 3 Mossad secret agents sent to Berlin to track down a Nazi war criminal - when things don't go as planned they make a unified decision that comes back to haunt them 30 years later. I thought the way they showed the big "essential" scene twice in the film was amazing - the second time the entire scene feels so much different once we understand the context. The casting was problematic - very well done with Jessica Chastain and Helen Mirren as the younger and older Rachel, but really off with Sam Worthington and Ciaran Hinds as the younger and older David (who look absolutely nothing alike).

5. Shark Night - Predictable teen horror fare - not enough scares to be memorable (a total of zero....), the acting was atrocious (I still love Dustin Milligan though) and a plot barely existed (and didn't even make sense). However, there are pretty people with very little clothing and there are sharks that eat people. Also, there is a somewhat entertaining rap video after the credits. The end.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Thoughts on the Past 2 'Glee' Episodes

1. Yes/No

The proposal (not the “surprise” one) –
Any fan of Glee knew that this was the big Will and Emma proposal episode. I, for one, miss Terri – sure she was a crazy shrew but she was far more entertaining than Will and Emma’s entire relationship so far. She would bring back some much needed humor to the show (instead of all this emotional garbage…). As the voice over intro for the episode states: Terri "pretended to be pregnant, she yelled a lot and she hated the Glee club”. Sounds awesome…right? Anyway, for some reason, Will needs the help of the Glee club to come up with an epic proposal (sure, that is an appropriate assignment for a high school Glee club) and they all give some pretty awful input. If anyone proposed to me with a 'Moves Like Jagger', I think I would stab them with something very sharp (like a knife…). Unfortunately, this song wasn’t that much worse than what he decided to go with - 'We Found Love' (you know that awful Rihanna song that plays on the radio every 10 minutes). Sam’s brilliant idea was to perform the song while the Glee club did a synchronized swimming routine. Not only did it have zero relevance to Will and Emma’s relationship, it was also super cheesy and ridiculous. The fact that Finn brought Rachel to the auditorium (where they had their first date) and made the proposal intimate and genuine kinda made Will look like a jackass. Right? Speaking of….

The big “twist” – I had read a lot about a big “twist” at the end of this episode that would be a “game changer” and I also read that Finn gets bad news from his mother. When I put 2 & 2 together (and noting that the episode preview showed Finn telling Will that he is considering going into the Army) – I assumed the big “twist” was that Finn’s father didn’t die and that the “game changer” would be that Finn wants to find him. I think this would have been a better twist than what we actually got. I was sort of right about his father except that he is actually dead but he died from a drug overdose instead of a “hero’s death”. The game changer is that Finn re-assess his life after this news and realizes that the only thing that he has that is “special” in his life is Rachel….so he proposes. First, we all know that Finchel is endgame so this doesn’t really come as a big surprise. Second, it doesn’t change anything about the show….like at all. Third, (I will leave my thoughts on marriage and how it should be de-legalized for another time) I certainly don’t think it is a good idea for someone who is struggling finding himself (which I think is related to his young age…but I don’t think “age” is really the issue because I actually don’t think it is as bad of an idea for Rachel (she has a strong personality, has a passion and not only knows who she is but who she wants to become). I really want Finn to have a passion for something and to find something he is good at (ahem….DRUMS….ahem…cough…cough) before he makes such a big commitment to someone (as I do for EVERYONE). That being said, Cory Monteith once again proved himself to be Glee’s most valued (and underrated) player. He seriously killed me in the scene with his mother because he didn’t overdo it – instead he internalized the pain of learning that his father was not the man he had imagined. It was really moving to watch and I know I pretty much repeat myself every time I write about Glee so I will stop (until the next time…of course).

The Highlights – Freakin’ Helen Mirren as Becky’s inner monologue was one of the most genius things Glee has ever done. As was Becky’s interest in Artie – I think it is a hard storyline to make work and they did a good job (and a heartbreaking one). Her entire monologue in the beginning was laugh out loud funny (like how she doesn’t want Mike because she is “no rice queen”). Sue was seriously amazing at the end trying to comfort her (“you and I are going to get through this together”). There were a lot of little moments in this episode that were done really well – like when the girls sing ‘The First Time I Saw Your Face’ and Rachel thinking of Finn walking down the hall with his football buddies and then HE LOOKS BACK AT HER! I literally screamed out “GUYS, HE LOOKED BACK!!” (I was talking to my cats of course). Sure, it was a nice nod to all the Finchel fans out there, but it was also a nice nod to anyone who is a true fan of the series. (side note: Did anyone else think it was interesting that Brittany didn’t sing with the girls? I think it is the creators hinting at the fact that Brittany is not in love with Santana – at least in the same way that Santana loves her). Anyway, I nearly died when Artie throws himself into the pool – I didn’t recover until after the proposal was over so I had to (unwillingly) rewind. I was a little nervous when I heard they cast a ‘Real Housewife’ – I only recognize her as the crazy person that was on Celebrity Apprentice but she was actually quite funny as the swim coach (with a bronze medal for “individual synchronized swimming” – hilarious). There were so many hilarious and heartbreaking lines it is hard to narrow down the best - but these are my favorite:

Well, Michael Chiklis in a wig… - Sue describing Coach Beiste

I’ve never seen lips like that on a white child…and one of your nipples is higher than the other. I bet you’ve had to overcome a lot with those crooked nipples. – Coach Roz to Sam

Just be grateful that Comrade Obama still allows Christmas – Emma’s father

I know that girl. That girl is a sly, conniving bitch. – Santana about Becky

Your dad was so much more than the last few months of his life. That man was not your father. – Carole’s response to Finn about why she lied (How I did not burst into tears is beyond me).

Well, here is a radical idea – why don’t you treat her like a real person and tell her. Becky just wants to be treated like everyone else….you of all people should know that. Why don’t you tell her the truth, so she can move on and maybe date someone else who doesn’t sound like one of those weird puppets they bring around to grade schools to teach kids about sexual predators. And for Gods sake…you need to go one day without the driving gloves…it’s a wheelchair, Artie, not a Porshe. – Sue’s advice to Artie about Becky

I just wanted to say that you blew that song out of the water and totally nailed the assignment. No…wait a sec…the assignment wasn’t to make everything about Rachel Berry and force everyone to watch…was it? – Santana after Rachel sings ‘Without You’

You’re like a beacon of light guiding me through the darkness - this big gold star- and for some bizarre reason…you chose to let me love you. – Finn proposing to Rachel

The Lowlights – Coach Beiste and Cooter eloping? I’m sorry but why on earth would we be happy about that when he treated her like garbage just a few episodes ago (started dating Sue without telling her, then flaunting their relationship in front of her)?? I’m also not really a big fan of any of the songs chosen (and there were way too many musical numbers). Of course, Lea seriously rocked ‘Without You’ but the song literally makes my ears bleed. The beginning number was cute with the whole Grease montage but also somehow really annoying – probably too much cheesiness for me to handle. Again ‘Moves Like Jagger’ is an awful song but I love Arties voice plus the 3 best male dancers showing their skills is never a bad thing (and Kevin McHale does an awesome job of imitating what Mick Jagger would look like in a wheel chair). I used to like Will as a character, but I hate that he has no outside life now (he even asks Finn to be his best man?!) – I would love for them to give him a little more dimension again. Plus how many times does Glee do the whole “you’ve taught me what it is to be a man” thing? I am also really annoyed at Burt for continuing to push Finn to take over his auto shop - I’m not knocking the fact that Burt is a hard-working guy with a respectable job but you should always have higher expectations for your (step)-children. If this actually happens then the entire series will be ruined for me.

2. Michael

The tribute to MJ – If I rated this episode solely on musical performances it would be one of my favorites. Let’s get down to business and grade the performances:

-‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’’ - Darren Criss owns this episode – too bad his Broadway appearance forced him to miss out on most of it. While I feel that many of the performers were trying very hard to impersonate MJ’s raspy, heavily-breathed voice, Criss just did his own thing and sounded absolutely fantastic. Plus, when they arrive in the auditorium in their MJ gear I totally wanted to get out of my cozy chair and dance along. (side note – I laughed out loud that Finn’s MJ gear was a bedazzled football jersey). A+

-‘Bad’ – While, I appreciate the whole underground parking lot MJ duel – the lighting was so dark, I was squinting my eyes trying to see it the whole time. The choreography was lost - I just saw a lot of white faces. Again, the idea was there but the execution was not. The Warblers sounded awesome though. B

-‘Scream’ – Holy Fucking Amazing scene - as was the scene prior to it setting up for the perfect “dream” sequence for Artie’s anger about always being picked on. I usually don’t like when Glee copies the music video’s for songs (ala the entire Britney episode) but this one worked so well because they made it relevant to the story. Plus, Artie and Mike Chang (looking sexy rockin’ the guy-liner) are unbelievably awesome. Probably one of my favorite Glee performances ever (with the other Artie-centric dream sequence ‘Safety Dance’ being another one). I smiled through it's entirety. A+

-‘Never Can Say Goodbye’ – First, hopefully this is the last time we hear Quinn sing. Second, this song is exactly the opposite of what she just told Rachel in the previous scene (she told her to say “goodbye” to Finn) which just irks me to death. Third, this was a nice end for her character - She sounded decent, she looked amazing and she gave a nice speech at the end about growing up and moving on. Last, goodbye Quinn and good fucking riddance. C

-‘Human Nature’ – Oh Samcedes, you guys are kinda cute. But the real highlight is Mercedes getting to do something other than belt out the last note. She has a really lovely voice and I think Glee ignores that quite often. Also, Mercedes is a much better duet partner for Sam than Quinn ever was. B

-‘Ben’ – The lowest point of the episode. The song is just ridiculously cheesy and slow and had zero relevance to the plot. The whole scene should have been cut….although we do get to see Blaine in an eye F

-‘Smooth Criminal’ – Does it matter who won the duel? With this much awesomeness we all won right? (AND Santana totally killed it). Accompanied by the sublime talent of 2Cellos – I was in awe. A

-‘I Just Can’t Stop Loving You’ – OOF. I admit I cringed in the beginning. The song is just way outside of Finn’s vocal range and I could feel him struggling. It did get much better once Rachel joined in and Finn dropped his voice to a more comfortable octave. I’m not really a fan of this song but it did make a good “proposal” song. I just wish they gave this couple a fun song to do (like ‘The Way You Make Me Feel’) because this one dragged on and slowed the episode down (not as much as ‘Ben’ did though). I do appreciate that they sing by the piano (which is an ode to the Madonna tribute episode). On a side-note: I weirdly enjoy the song more when I listen to it instead of watching it. Cory actually sounds good (and as notes he “holds his own against Rachel/Lea vocally” – which is a HUGE compliment) it is just hard to watch because the voice doesn’t match Finn – I’m pretty sure that doesn’t make any sense….anyway…. C+

-‘Black and White’ – Um…relevance? I don’t get it. Still totally awesome. Artie Rapping? Double awesome (as was Sebastian’s snicker – he was totally thinking 'is this seriously happening'?? -which is exactly what I was thinking at the face morphing part). B-

The plot developments – This episode sort of felt like the beginning of the end for some characters. We learn that Quinn got into Harvard and that Kurt is a “finalist” for NYADA (whatever that means). Rachel seethes with jealousy about her friends moving on which is super annoying (Lea Michele did a fantastic job though). When she breaks down in the hallway (instead of congratulating her best friend), I wanted to scream (and please tell me these kids have a thing called a “back-up plan” right? Rachel claims to have “nothing” if she doesn’t get into NYADA but she DID apply to other schools... right?). Anyway, her panic influences her decision about Finn’s proposal – she says “yes” despite Quinn’s harsh advice that if she truly wants to accomplish her dreams she has to let Finn go. While I agree with some of her advice, I don’t necessarily think Quinn had Rachel’s best interest at heart – I think Quinn is extremely jealous that Rachel has someone that loves her (after all, the three guys that she dated - Finn, Sam and Puck – all know her for what she is: bat-shit crazy). If what Finn said is true (that he will go to NY with her) and if she gets into NYADA then she really will “have it all” which does happen (at least on tv shows) so it makes sense for her to say “yes”. I still have problems with Finn’s proposal to begin with – I feel like he is sort of grasping at straws hoping that his relationship with Rachel will keep him happy and it is never a good idea to rely on someone else to make you happy. Come on Glee writers – give him something to be passionate about besides Rachel! (Let me spell it out for you: D-R-U-M-S). Also I am loving Sebastian as the new Glee club enemy - it is smart of them to give the Glee club a new nemesis because it was getting exhausting watching Sue do it all by herself. Plus, Sebastian is HOT. The end.

The highlights – aside from most of the performances, I don’t really have a lot of great things to say. Santana had some solid lines (like calling Sebastian “Andrew McCarthy”) and Brittany not knowing how to lock a door made me laugh out loud….but yah it was all about the MJ awesomeness. I know I go on and on about how great Cory Monteith is as an actor – so this time I will just leave you with someone else’s comment on his acting skills:

“I love Cory Monteith on #Glee tonight. He is so real”. - Rita Wilson (via Twitter)

The lowlights – The absence of Tina in the end performance? Did they think we wouldn’t notice?