Monday, December 17, 2012

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. Beginners - I can't believe that I forgot all about this movie!!  Last year, a friend of mine recommended it to me, adding that the girl in it reminded him of me.  I was extremely confused when I realized that the girl is Melanie Laurent, who is a french actress, with blond hair and green eyes and is a hundred times prettier than I am (ok...a thousand times).  We have no similarities other than being petite.  Then, I started watching the movie and I realized that he was referring to her character, Anna.  It's weird to discover how others perceive you, but I can see what he means.  She is low-key, quiet, observant and emotionally cautious.  There is a deep sadness to her, even when she is smiling and you can tell that she has been hurt before (not necessarily by love, but by life).  The scene where she reveals something personal about her father, in this really unexpected way, is exactly something I would do.  I tend to reveal things about myself specifically to see how people react and this is how I know if that they are someone I want (or don't want) in my life.  It's weird that the movie isn't about her at all, but I felt a deep connection with her character, so I guess my friend is right.  I think she is totally adorable, so I am going to take it as a compliment (even though i have a feeling, that he didn't mean it that way.  Whatever.).  I would like to think that I am a little less disheveled, but I'm probably not.  Anyway, enough with the personal rant,  the movie is incredible.  It would have made my Top 10 list of last year (and probably would have broken into the top 5) had I seen it earlier in the year.  This is my kind of love story.  One that is about more than just love - it's about dealing with loss and finding out what truly makes you happy.  It's really just about living.  Ewan McGregor is fantastic (and I don't think I've ever said those words in the same sentence before).  It is a very understated and subtle performance, but I think a lot of people can connect with his self-sabotaging ways.  "I don't really believe that it's going to work and I make sure that it doesn't work".  I know so many people like this and it baffles my mind.  I never want to live my life wondering "what if", so I make sure I give it my all.  If it still doesn't work, at least I knew that I did everything I could. It's very contradictory of my cynical nature, but as I said above, I am very cautious of who I let into my life, so once I've let someone in, I would hate to push them out. The movie is really sweet and charming, but doesn't shy away from the complications of love and life.  It even had a happy ending, and I am completely ok with that (!!!). I know the film garnered attention due to Christopher Plummer's work as an elderly man who reveals that not only is he gay, but he is also dying of Cancer. He deserved the Oscar (for his impersonation of house music, alone), but I think the other performances and the screenplay should have been recognized as well. 

2. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - It's a movie about Abraham Lincoln killing vampires!!!  That sounds like some awesome, albeit silly, fun.  It's not.  I think I am most disappointed because it is from the same director as Wanted - which was awesome, albeit silly, fun.  It even copied the same sequences from Wanted (the becoming an assassin sequence, the train sequence), yet it was really dull.  I didn't even recognize Mary Elizabeth Winstead, as Mary Todd.  I've never seen her so lifeless before.  Then, I was super excited to see Anthony Mackie, because he has incredible screen presence, but just like Miss Winstead, there was no energy at all.  Even worse, the star of the movie, the guy who plays Lincoln (I'm too lazy to even look up his name) was so blaaaaah (I've run out of words for boring).  The movie sort of reminded me of Cowboys & Aliens, in the way that it has this completely preposterous plot that could be gloriously entertaining, but it just weighs itself down in all this serious dialogue, choppy editing and forgettable characters. It's not even bad enough to be memorable, it's just bad. 

3. Savages - Expectations were lowered, and I think that was a good thing because I was completely entertained by it.  I wouldn't call it a good movie, but there were parts of it that were done really well. It's much more fun to talk about the bad parts, though - like the laughable dialogue, problematic casting and Benicio Del Toro's mullet wig (which was far more distracting than it should have been).  It clearly would have been a better movie with stronger lead actors.  Blake Lively is absolutely beautiful and I am completely jealous of her perfect body, but her acting isn't strong enough for a movie like this (yet).  I was impressed by her in The Town and even like her sometimes on Gossip Girl (tonight is the last episode! Sad face.  Not really, that show should have ended 3 seasons ago), but she was pitiful in this movie.  Her voice is monotonous, which is problematic since she is the narrator of the story.  Aaron Johnson really irks me, for no reason in particular.  And, Taylor Kitsch, poor Taylor Kitsch.  I really want to root for him, but this movie was a disaster for him (as was John Carter and Battleship).  The supporting cast, Benicio, Salma Hayek and John Travolta did their best to make up for the bad performances, but it just wasn't enough.  Worse than the acting, though, was the dialogue.  Lively's character says things like "I have orgasms, he has wargasms" and describes the differences between her two lovers as one is a "Buddhist", the other is a "baddhist".  For real.  I did love the portrayal of a non-conventional relationship, but the movie made it clear that it's not a relationship that would work (and if the movie doesn't believe it, then why should I?).  The odd double ending, was just that.  Odd.  Like, what the fuck?  The first ending was satisfying enough. 

4. Rock of Ages - Truly horrific movie.  I don't think I could possibly think of anything nice to say about it.  I didn't really expect to like it, but I didn't think I would be tortured by it.  I've never seen the Broadway production and this movie makes sure that I will never see it (although I am sure the stage version is much better).  As someone who is a huge fan of Glee (or should I say "was" a huge fan.  I actually stopped watching the show.  I can no longer defend it's awfulness), I thought that I would find some humor in Rock of Ages, as they do a lot of the same covers of rock songs on the show.  However, it made me long for the talent that the cast of Glee has, because the actors in this movie CAN NOT SING.  I'm surprised that my ears didn't start bleeding.  Tom Cruise and Malin Akerman completely butchered one of my favorite songs "I Want to Know What Love is" (greatest rock ballad ever!!)I've always disliked Akerman, and this movie didn't do her any favors.  Now I actually hate her.  Tom Cruise was clearly trying to prove something (what that is, I'm not sure).  I appreciate that he gave 100% of himself into the role, even if it was still a disaster.  His "rocker" character was just a bad combination of Axl Rose and Bret Michaels.  Julianne Hough seems like a nice enough girl, but I am not sure why she was picked for a role like this - she can't sing (she does do an amazing hair flip thing).  Catherine Zeta-Jones had the worst role in the movie, as the "bitch" who wants to ruin all the fun.  So, she protests rock music, by singing rock music (makes total sense).  I truly feel bad for Bryan Cranston and Paul Giamatti because they clearly don't belong in this trash.  The only saving grace is Mary J. Blige, who can actually sing.  She made everyone else like they were singing karaoke during amateur night.  Aside from the singing, the movie is extremely dumb.  Girl moves to L.A to follow her dreams of being a singer, falls in love, gets her heart broken, becomes a stripper, etc., etc., etc. 

5.  Vamps - I was excited for a new Alicia Silverstone/Amy Heckerling movie, but also Krysten Ritter is in it as well!!  I loved her on Breaking Bad, and she is really hilarious on Don't Trust the B* in Apt 13 (although the show isn't that funny - it would be if it was just about her and Dawson).  Vamps is about two fun-loving vampire "besties" who stay out partying all night and sleep all day (obviously).  It's campy, cheesy and cute but it should have been much funnier and wittier.  I was expecting Clueless-type dialogue, but this movie just regurgitates the same "I can't keep up with the times" dialogue.  It didn't help that they were supposed to be college students (sorry, but no).  It had some fun moments and represents a friendship between two females that isn't catty, which is rare.  Thumbs up for the Un Chien Andalou clip. 

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