Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. To Rome with Love - I enjoy most Woody Allen movies, but there is a distinct period of time where I really didn't care for his movies (everything from Mighty Aphrodite through Melinda and Melinda). This movie reminds me of this time period in Allen's filmography. It's still distinctly a Woody Allen movie, just not one of the better ones. Compared to his last movie, Midnight in Paris, it falls flat. Expectations were a little too high - not just for me, a lot of people were expecting the same magic and were disappointed.  It has a lot of the same themes that run through his films (pseudo-intellectuals, celebrity culture, life-defining moments, love vs lust, etc), but it all felt a little unfocused and cluttered.  I had issues with the cast/characters - none of whom were very memorable, except Jesse Eisenberg (who embodies the same awkwardness as Allen, himself). Ellen Page was miscast (she does pretentious well, but I don't buy her as the "dream girl").  I liked the story-line featuring her and Eisenberg, though; definitely one of the better stories in the movie (the weakest story was obviously the couple that get separated for a whole day (GASP! A WHOLE DAY! How do they survive?? Well, *spoiler* she gets lost in Rome and ends up sleeping with a celebrity, while he hires a prostitute to take her place while she is missing - that's totally natural, right?).  The biggest missing link in the film is that it doesn't make me fall in love with Rome (as Allen's previous film led me to fall in love with Paris - even though I totally hated Paris when I went there).

2. Pitch Perfect - Cute movie but there isn't much to it.  It's basically a copy of Glee's first season (if you set Glee in college and took out all the snark and sarcasm).  It's interesting that it is such a copy, while still commentating on a "post-Glee" world.  The show has created an interest in these singing clubs, that were previously ignored but now are considered popular.  In the movie, the kids in this one A Capella group are actually the bullies, which I guess is interesting.  At least it could be, if it were done well.  It becomes a little over-done when there are 4 A Capella groups on one college campus.  They literally spend most of their days singing, "riffing" and planning their next performance. I'm not sure what world they are living in, because most college students I know are working their ass off to pay for college - time for such shenanigans don't exist. Anna Kendrick is the outsider, who spends her days interning at the radio station, dreaming of her future as a DJ.  She could be likable, but instead she is an entitled, spoiled brat - who treats her father like garbage, for no reason in particular.  She joins an A Capella group out of encouragement from her father, ends up enjoying it and that is the whole movie in a nutshell ("no...this is me in a nutshell. Help! I'm in a nutshell. How did I get into this nutshell?" Still funny).  There are musical performances throughout the movie, none of them were very memorable, aside from Kendrick's "Cups" song.  This performance led me to believe that there would be more awesome songs, but, alas, I was disappointed. I don't mean to take away from the talent that this group of actors have, but all of the songs just had a "been there, done that" feeling (thanks, mostly to Glee).  A lot of people are putting this movie in the Mean Girls category, but I wouldn't even put it in the Bring it on category.

3. Piranha DD - Piranha was awesome; Piranha DD not so much.  There were lots of reasons to enjoy Piranha - the cast is a big one.  Elisabeth Shue (I idolized her when I was younger, still sort of do), Steven McQueen (Elena's little brother on The Vampire Diaries. He's not so little anymore. DAMN.), Kelly Brook (Holy fuck. Gorgeous.), and ADAM SCOTT.  Plus, the final act of Piranha is so over-the-top bloody and gory and soooo much fun.  The sequel had a pretty boring cast, none even worth noting - except maybe, David Hasselhoff, and the only reason he is worth noting is because the filmmakers seem to think they were very clever in utilizing him in the most obvious way possible.  They focused on him (and this lame gag) way too much, especially towards the end taking away from all the tits and gore (i.e the fun!!).  Obviously, films of this nature are supposed to defy logic but this one just went too far (piranha's attacking people in open water - somewhat believable; piranha's attacking people in a water park?? Not at all believable).  And I really thought for a second that they were going to make the girl from 30 Rock (don't care to look up her name) pregnant with a piranha baby, which I thought would be the ultimate height of ridiculousness, but...guess what??? It's actually worse than that!!!  I could go on and on, picking this film apart (Why can the piranha's jump out of the lake, but not out of a fish tank?? Why are there kids at an "adult themed" water park??), but I think you get the point.  It is completely unnecessary to watch this movie - just watch Piranha again, instead.

4. The Paperboy - I am so undecided about this movie.  I don't want to like it, but I honestly can't think of any reason not to.  The cast was amazing - I've never seen Nicole Kidman this sleazy before and honestly, she killed it.   I'm actually surprised this performance didn't get more attention.  Matthew McConaughey was also superb. And John Cusack - probably the best performance he's ever done. This was a nice transitional role for Zac Efron, career-wise; he wasn't as amazing as the rest of the cast, but he is definitely getting stronger.  The plot is interesting from beginning to end, without being predictable (and yet, it wasn't surprising, either).  It was dark, complicated, trashy, offensive and shocking.  *spoilery* I heard about the "controversial" scene with Kidman's character urinating on Zac Efron's character, but the controversy is extremely misleading - it was not sexual, at all.  She pisses on him to help with a jellyfish sting (if it happened on Friends, it ain't controversial).  Yet, there were plenty of gasp-worthy scenes in the film - like the scene where Kidman gives a prison inmate (Cusack) a blow job via mental telepathy.  Seriously, that actually happened. I appreciate a good "shock value" scene, when it is done this well.  I can't think of anything that I didn't like about the movie (except Macy Gray's voice), but I can't come to terms with liking the movie.

5. The Innkeepers - I was in the mood to watch a dumb horror flick, so I chose this one - haunted hotel, a cute actress and a tag line of "some guests never check out". Perfect. Then, as I started watching it, I was informed by several people that it is a "great movie".  I looked it up on Rotten Tomatoes and it has a 79% rating, which is pretty high for a film in the horror genre.  I'm not sure I agree with the praise.  It was exactly what I wanted to watch - a dumb horror flick.  I am not usually scared by paranormal horror, so this film didn't make any sort of lasting impression. The last shot of the film, was by far the most memorable (and the only genuinely creepy moment). I am so confused as to when this film was made, because Sara Paxton looks like she is 13 years old.  She has a young face, but she looks younger here than she did in The Last House on the Left, which was made a few years ago.  I really like her, but she needs to branch out into more adult roles.  She's exhausted the horror movie genre.

Friday, January 25, 2013

3 Thoughts on Zero Dark Thirty

1. The role of Maya - Zero Dark Thirty is an important film for many reasons - the history behind it, the cinematic brilliance, the controversial stance etc.  For me, the film is important purely for the main character, Maya.  She is, quite possibly, my favorite female character ever to grace the big screen.  It's difficult to explain my adoration for this character, but if you are someone who is exhausted by the constant misrepresentation of strong women in film/television - the constant need to give these women "heightened" personality, whether that is the super bitchy "feminist" or the "strong on the outside, emotionally unstable on the inside" woman, then you will understand why this character is so important.  Maya has an understated strength to her.  She is in a man's world; she's accepted it and she's moved on.  Not once in the film does she use her sex as an excuse; nor does she flirt or use her sexuality to get what she wants; nor does she take issue with the repetitive reference to her as "the girl".  Instead, she focuses on her goal, creates a case for her "theory" and fights for it. She doesn't need for you to like her; she just needs for you to accept that she is right. I can't deny that there are fundamental differences in the way that men and women think and the film addresses these differences brilliantly.  My favorite scene showcasing this, is when a room full of men and Maya are discussing whether Osama bin Laden is actually in the building that they are about to infiltrate (part of the scene is in the trailer, so it's not really a spoiler...but *spoiler* warning anyway).  All of the men, looking at the facts and figures, declare there to be a "60%" chance, while Maya, looking at the same facts and figures, ever so eloquently declares "100%" (moral: never underestimate a woman's instinct). The film asks a big question (without directly asking it), which is: would they have caught him sooner if Maya had been a man? Or would they have never caught him at all? It's interesting to think about (for me, anyway).  I've seen many critiques praising the film, while faulting Maya for having "little personality".  Apparently being smart, confident and persistent doesn't qualify as a full personality.  To those critics, I say, you missed the fucking point of the movie.  The fact that the film is directed by a female, it is obvious to me that Kathryn Bigelow put a lot of her own experience in the film (seeing as she, herself, works in a male dominated field and unapologetically makes "masculine" films).  Maya is based on a real person, but since we have no knowledge of this woman, it's likely that Kathryn took some liberties with the character. She created a role model for women everywhere and if this character is, in fact, true to life, then I have a new personal hero.  As expected, the casting of Jessica Chastain in such a role, is sublime.  It's a powerhouse performance in a once in a lifetime role.  She better win a fucking Oscar for it.

2. The controversy - While I don't think the film is pro-torture, per say, it does, flat out admit that they would not have caught Osama bin Laden without the use of torture.  It presents this as fact (and let's face it, it may well be fact). Personally, I'm pretty much anti-everything.  Anti-torture, anti-violence, anti-war, anti-death penalty,  heck, I am even anti-imprisonment.  Based on the world that I am living in, I realize that this is not very realistic and there are truly some people that don't deserve to live. It's too complicated for my brain to handle, and I for one, am very thankful that I don't personally have to make those decisions.  I don't think Kathryn Bigelow intended on making a pro-torture film; and I certainly don't think she expected to have to defend her choices to show the existence of said torture.  Facts are facts.

3. The flaws - As with The Hurt Locker, the film is near-perfect. The same flaws that exist in The Hurt Locker, exist in this film as well.  The length is a big one.  I know, I know, I harp on films being too long, way too often but I can't help it - especially when I feel like cutting 20 or 30 minutes out of a film will only benefit the story, like it would here.  Also, while I loved the randomness of well-known actors popping up through-out the movie, it was also very distracting (Captain Jack Harkness??? Holy Fuck!). Several of those roles could have been cut (and condensed). The other "flaw" that can't be helped (which is why I put it in quotes), is the heaviness of the subject matter.  I would never want to watch this movie again - as I have never watched The Hurt Locker again.  There are ways to make movies with heavy subjects, lighter and re-watchable (see: Argo), but that is not the type of film that Bigelow wanted to make and I have to respect that.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Thoughts on 4 Films

1. Compliance - *spoilers - and you probably won't understand my rant if you haven't seen the movie*.  My first reaction to this story is that there is no way anyone would fall for this ever.  But it's "inspired by true events". So I have to change my reaction to there is no way any logical person would fall for this ever.  I work in the retail industry (similar to the food industry by way of customer service, managing people and selling goods) and I honestly just don't understand.  In the retail industry, we get scam calls all the time but most of them are trying to get you to sign up for stuff, complete false returns, etc.  and as a manager and a representative of a multi-million dollar company, you should know how to handle these scams.  Multi-million dollar companies are terrified of being sued, so they have very strict rules to follow.  As soon as the manager took the employees bag and started searching through it, alarms went off in my head (and the film gets soooo much worse).  You are not allowed to handle an employee's personal belongings. The manager actually says out loud "corporate always wants 2 people for a strip search....right?" UM WHAT? Strip search??  Is that in the manager's handbook?  My frustration about the manager's actions is not nearly as intense as my frustration about the employee's actions.  How do you not know what your rights are???? Not even as an employee, but as a fucking American citizen??  She never once says "I want to leave" nor does she leave (which is what I would have done).  She is innocent of the theft that she is being accused of, so why does she stay?????.  She lets herself be violated (and in real life, she sued McDonald's and won millions of dollars - which sets a terrible precedent.  I agree that they are responsible for the people they hire as leaders and that they are supposed to protect their employees, but she LET IT HAPPEN - at least in the film version).  I was relieved that the ending addressed how stupid these people are (and I hesitate to use the word stupid to describe a girl who is obviously psychologically damaged, but I have no other word....ignorant? Maybe?  No, sorry, I have to go with stupid).  As far as the film, I probably would have enjoyed it if it weren't for the story.  The acting is superb, the pace moves really quickly and it is just tense enough to keep me interested.  But sadly, I can't get past the story.  It's just a sad reminder that there are some pretty fucking sick people in this world, but there are also some pretty fucking dumb people, as well.

2. Trouble with the Curve - Baseball scouting, drafts, fucking boring.  This movie really made me appreciate Moneyball,  because that movie actually kept me interested in this information that I am not interested in.  Clint Eastwood plays a baseball scout who is losing his vision, but really spends the whole movie as a miserable, grunting old man (shocking, I know.).  I had the captions on (as usual) and I actually lost count of how many times it read "Gus grunts".  I think it was supposed to be an emotional movie but I actually laughed - even when he is at his dead wife's grave and he starts singing "You Are My Sunshine" - ok he didn't really sing it.  He just grunted through it and it was hilarious.  Amy Adams is probably the best part of the movie, but she spent the whole movie desperately trying to gain her dad's approval (I have no sympathy).  She also had little chemistry with Justin Timberlake.  They fall in love because they can both regurgitate baseball trivia.  How romantic!!!  Justin was my personal highlight, but not because of his acting or his character but basically because he is pretty.  The only thing I will remember about this movie is him getting undressed and jumping into a lake.  I would have preferred to watch 2 hours of that.  Hey, at least I am honest.

3. Butter - To sum up this movie in one scene: Olivia Wilde is a stripper (worst casting ever) who tries to give a lap dance with some dirty talk that included the sentence "My father raped me".  It's not even clear on whether it's supposed to be serious or if she is making a hilarious joke, but it is definitely supposed to be a turn-on.  I don't think I need to say anything else. Offensive on every level that exists.

4. Ruby Sparks - Speaking of offensive.....this is going to be mostly me venting and it will probably contain spoilers, which shouldn't matter because if you haven't watch this movie....DON'T.  Let me explain the plot: Lonely writer,  jots down his idea of a perfect girlfriend and he suddenly begins to see her.  At first, he assumes that he has finally lost his marbles and that he is imagining her, but to his surprise, others see her too.  I am a bit confused as to why his idea of the perfect girl doesn't know who F. Scott Fitzgerald is (oh because the perfect girl doesn't have a brain or a personality.  I get it now).  He also discovers that when he writes about her, she changes to become whatever he has written (meaning he can literally make her do whatever he wants - apparently the ultimate men's fantasy).  He realizes how morally reprehensible this is, so he decides to stop writing about her.  That is until she starts discovering her own identity and changing on her own.  Possession and jealousy take over the writers brain when he fears that she may leave him, so he changes her into a child-like, vacant, pathetic girl who clings to him (literally).  When they get into an argument and she tries to leave, she discovers that she physically isn't able to.  The writer reveals his magical power over her, proving that he can make her do anything, realizes his own insecurities and then decides to set her free (all of this happens in one very chaotic scene).  Then, they meet at the end, with her having no memory of him and it is implied that they end up "happily ever after".  I *think* the intent of this story is to provide some sort of lesson about trying to change people - changing one's flaws will only result in a different flaw.  I *think*.  What the film is, however, is a disgusting display of mental and emotional abuse, making that "happily ever after" ending highly disturbing.  The actual lesson that is presented is that it's ok if a a man is possessive and abusive, as long as he is sorry about it.  It's ok that she suffered psychological distress and humiliation because she doesn't remember it (if you think I am exaggerating, here is an example: He actually forces her to crawl on the floor and bark like a dog. This was probably my breaking point).  The film also implies that men don't actually need a magical typewriter to change women - as his mother has changed her entire personality to fit with her new husband.  The absolute worst part of it all, is that this misogynistic piece of garbage was written by a woman!!! A woman that cast herself in one of the most offensive roles I've ever seen (she did a decent job in the role).  I actually feel bad for her, when I think of the things that must go on in her head and the assholes that she must have dated to write a movie like this.  I think girls find it hard to distinguish the assholes of the world, but here is a big clue: If you ask him about his ex-girlfriend and he uses the words "slut" or "whore" (as the asshole in this movie does), then there is a good chance he is an asshole.  I don't have issues with the words, I take issue when these words are used to describe someone that he supposedly cared about (also, in all likely outcomes, you will be the "ex". Don't you want to know that he will talk about you with respect? Think about it.).  I guess I am going off-topic (again).  This movie just made me very angry, but more importantly it made me disappointed.  Most reviews I've read barely mention the distressing implications that this movie displays and some people have it in their top films of the year, describing it as "charming" and "romantic".  It makes my stomach turn.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Oscar Nominations: The Good, The Bad and The Snubbed

The Good:

-Argo, Django Unchained and Silver Linings Playbook are in my top 10 of the year (I still haven't seen Zero Dark Thirty, Les Miserable, Amour or Lincoln). 

-Will Tippin!!!! 

-Joaquin Phoenix in The Master is my favorite acting performance of the year.  I was nervous that he ruined his chances with his negative remarks about awards.  It doesn't matter if he wants them, he still deserves them.  Sublime performance. 

-The entire Best Supporting Actor category is filled with awesome actors.  That's a tough call, but I would give it to Christoph Waltz. 

-Meryl Streep has no chance of winning an Oscar this year.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Meryl for the most part, but when she is nominated, she wins.  It's frustrating. 

The Bad:

-Life of Pi is a gorgeous movie, but it failed in its message.  I agree with the technical nominations, but best picture?  No way. 

-I completely disagree with the love for Moonrise Kingdom.  The more I think about it, the more I hate the film.  I was even tempted to put it in my worst of the year list.  While the screenplay is original, it's not nomination worthy.  At all. 

-This is the first time in a looooong time that I've actually seen most of the nominated animated features.  While Brave almost made it to my best of the year list and I enjoyed The Pirates: Band of Misfits, I don't see anything special about ParaNorman or Wreck-it Ralph (both are cute).  How are these Oscar nomination worthy films??? 

-Snow White and the Huntsman is nominated for 2 Oscars.  I actually commented positively on both the costume and the visual effects....but still. 

The Snubbed:

-The most talked about snub, is by far the most egregious: Ben Affleck for directing Argo. 

-I knew my favorite film of the year, Seven Psychopaths, would be snubbed.  However, the screenplay is borderline genius, as is Sam Rockwell's performance. 

-Susan Sarandon is amazing in Jeff, Who Lives at Home. 

-Leo DiCaprio for Django Unchained.  Although it is a tough category, I would have preferred him over Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook. 

-I would have loved a screenplay nomination for the most original movie of the year, Looper.

-Liam Neeson is incredible in The Grey.  I haven't seen Flight yet (and I don't even want to see it), but I have an inkling that Neeson deserves the nomination more than Washington. 

3 Thoughts on Django Unchained

1. It is incredibly uncomfortable to sit through-  I'm not going to lie, it's a hard movie to watch.  The language is hard to hear, the violence and brutality is hard to witness.  Yet, as the movie progressed, I found myself flinching less - the unapologetic excessiveness of both the language and the violence, creates a desensitization of sorts (which is ultimately problematic).  In regards to the many debates that surround the film, I don't think it is fair to say that a white director shouldn't make a movie about slavery (he is also an atheist who made a movie about Nazi's and a male who made a movie about a vengeful woman who was raped).  Did Quentin cross a line?  Sure he did. However, if he didn't cross that line, he would be even more criticized for holding back (and really, any movie about slavery is inherently racist.  I don't see how that can be helped).  I write this blog about movies, so I am going to focus on the cinematic aspects of it - however, any movie that opens up dialogue about racism in America, has to be a good thing because it is clear from a lot of these debates that we still have a long way to go. 

2. It features the best acting I've seen all year - As much as I enjoyed Inglourious Basterds, I never saw what all the fuss about Christoph Waltz was.  I get it now.  Totally.  Probably, my favorite supporting performance all year. He spouts the dialogue with such a natural ease and radiates a presence on screen that is undeniable.  When he is onscreen, he is the star of the movie.  Second favorite would be Leonardo DiCaprio, who is surprisingly incredible as one of the most evil people to ever grace the screen.  As a fan, I shouldn't be surprised, but I just couldn't really picture him playing someone the audience loathes.  He's just too charming.  He uses this charm and puts a sadistic twist to it and the more I think about it, the more incredible it becomes.  I'm not sure what the academy has against him - he has been nominated 3 times, but his last nomination was from 5 years ago for Blood Diamond, which is arguably his worst performance ever.  If you consider that he has been doing nomination-worthy work for the past 20 years, 3 nominations are not nearly enough. He should have received a nomination for his work here. I'm not a huge fan of Jamie Foxx (he's one of those hit or miss actors), but he was absolutely awesome - the best I've seen him. As for Tarantino, the perfect narcissist, a director who can get the best actors in the world to be in his films, instead casts himself in a small but important role and becomes a huge distraction to an otherwise perfect cast.  He's an awful actor (I just got flashes of his stint on Alias as McKenas Cole.  Hilarious.). 

3. It is perfectly Quentin - To state the obvious: If you don't like Tarantino films, you won't like this movie.  Everything about it is excessive - not only the language and violence, but the story itself (which is ultimately a love story) is over-the-top ridiculous. The final "showdown" is gloriously brutal with so much blood splatter, it's downright comical.  It's no surprise that it is filled with homages and throw-backs to Westerns and B-movies, while still maintaining a sense of originality and style.  It's a bit long and over-indulgent but it's also a masterpiece, so I have no complaints. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. The Watch - While it is a confusing mixture of  a sci-fi alien invasion flick and buddy comedy, the movie is far more entertaining than I was led to believe.  Yes, the narrative is a bit all over the place and Ben Stiller gets more annoying with every movie he makes, but the other three actors (Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill and Richard Ayoade) make a really great comedic trio.  It would have benefited greatly if it deleted all the melodramatic bullshit (specifically, Ben Stiller's "issue") and instead focused on the humor.  I am in complete amazement at the range of items you can buy at a Costco - seriously, you can buy televisions there??  I've never been in one before because I always thought it sold items in bulk (I live alone, so I have no use for this).  It's definitely great advertising for them, because I totally want to go to one now.  I can't say that The Watch is really all that memorable or even good, but I was entertained while watching it, which I think is all it set out to do.

2. Beasts of the Southern Wild - Powerful, beautiful, imaginative and poetic.  All of these adjectives have been used to describe this little gem of a movie and I agree completely.  Quvenzhane Wallis is incredible - this is a case where an untrained child actor works brilliantly with the material (as opposed to the kids in Moonrise Kingdom).  My heart just broke the second she began speaking - her Oscar nomination is well deserved, as is the nomination for the director, Benh Zeitlin (but aaaaaah! No Ben Affleck??  More thoughts about this in a future post). I was expecting the movie to be more of a depressing drama about the devastation of hurricane Katrina, but I was not expecting the creativity of the narrative or the oddly uplifting message that the movie presents.  It's such a pleasant surprise and I highly recommend it to anyone who appreciates the film medium as an art form.

3. Cosmopolis - After the disappointingly bland A Dangerous Method, I was cautiously waiting for Cronenberg's next project.  I am happy that he has returned to form.  Cosmopolis looks and feels like a Cronenberg movie.  While I don't love all of the choices he made, I do love the ambition of the film and that all of the choices (good and bad) are completely unexpected.  Starting with the casting, I was never quite convinced that Robert Pattinson can act, but it was definitely an unexpected choice to have him headline a film like this.  He isn't awful, and he actually gets better as the film goes on (by the end, I would even describe his acting as "good").  He begins to revel in his new-found freedom and it's fantastic to witness.  Another surprise, is the way Cronenberg directed the character Elise to speak in this sort of 40's film noir style.  I didn't like it, but it was certainly interesting.  My favorite scene was with her and Rob, when they coldly discuss their relationship. The dialogue is fascinating, in a robotic sort of way ("We're like people talking.  Is this how people talk?"  "How would I know". ).  I think upon a re-watch of the film, I will fall in love with it.  It's just something that needs to be seen multiple times, to really "get" all of it. 

4. Sleepwalk With Me - Comedian Mike Birbiglia is a likable enough guy, but he's not exactly laugh-out-loud funny. I know that is harsh, seeing that the film is about his struggle as a comedian, but it failed at convincing me that he is actually funny.  That being said, I still enjoyed the movie.  It's a "true" story of Mike's challenging career aspirations as an up-and-coming comedian, his struggle to follow his passion, his aversion to settling and how this effects his relationship. *spoilers ahead* I found the relationship between him and his girlfriend (played by Lauren Ambrose) of 7 years troublesome from the beginning.  I don't really understand the whole marriage thing - her spending the whole movie pressuring him, was really frustrating.  She even states "If we aren't going to get married, then I need to figure something else out." response would have been "goodbye".  Depictions of relationships like this just frustrate the hell out of me.  I think that it's something that would have come up at some point before the 7 year mark, and if you have a consistent, open dialogue with your partner then issues like this would never happen.  If you don't then you shouldn't be together.  Period.  It was a happy surprise that they ended their relationship rather amicably and maturely, instead of some dramatic fall-out.  Also, it would totally suck to sleepwalk.  Seems a bit dangerous (and not at all funny).

5. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen - First off, I don't understand the sport of fishing. Like at all.  I remember someone telling me how they put fish in a lake near my apartment and I thought how ridiculous it is that people catch fish, then release them, so that others can catch the same fish.  How is that fun?  The movie is just as boring and pointless as I imagine fishing is.  I've never seen Emily Blunt so dull (although can someone please buy me that dress that she wears in the beginning? I won't look as beautiful, but I will be your best friend. Thanks.).  I failed to see any chemistry between her and Ewan McGregor.  There was also this awful "inspirational" soundtrack that became so grating that I wanted to rip my ears off.  Kristin Scott Thomas was the only highlight, but she seemed to be disconnected from the plot - almost like she was in a completely different movie (a funny one).  The rest of the movie was cheesy, predictable and melodramatic.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

5 New Shows I am Looking Forward to

After a disappointing Fall television season, I am happy to say that I am looking forward to the Mid-season.  Some of my favorite shows are FINALLY returning (Archer, Community, Southland), but there are also some promising new shows.  Here are the ones that I will be watching:

1. Deception - A show from a writer/producer of Friday Night Lights, starring Victor Garber and Tate Donovan described as a Revenge-y drama???  Sold.  As ludicrous as Revenge has become (seriously, I am not sure I understand the plot this all), it is still super fun, soap-like television.  Deception has a juicy "whodunit" plot and could very well be my next guilty pleasure show. 

2. 1600 Penn - The preview was a little worrisome.  I didn't laugh at all and it was actually quite boring.  I will give it a few more episodes to lay out the groundwork, hoping for some more humor.  Critics are describing it as a new Modern Family, which sounds promising, but I clearly remember laughing my ass off during the pilot episode of Modern Family.  There have been a lot of shows dealing with the oval office, but none have been 1/2 hour sitcoms.  Of course, I have to watch anything that has Bill Pullman as president.

3. The Following - Holy crap.  This show looks amazing.  Serial-killer drama that seems down-right terrifying from Kevin Williamson - someone who knows horror (Scream) AND television drama (Dawson's Creek, The Vampire Diaries).  I love Kevin Bacon, although when I look at him, I can't help but think of him in Sleepers - *shudders*.  He is a terrific film actor, who spent four years looking for a television project.  I'm sure he had hundreds of projects thrown at him, so if he chose this, it must be good. 

4. The Americans - I am currently watching season 1 of Homeland; I have 2 episodes left, so I am reserving judgement. BUT, one (of many) of my criticisms is that the entire plot of season 1 (so far) could fill up just one episode of Alias. From the previews of The Americans, I have the same sense - and I am pretty sure that this exact plot was an episode of Alias, I am sure I will get annoyed.  However, I love spy shows, so I am willing to give it a shot (nothing has come close to Alias).

5. The Carrie Diaries - HAHAHA! Totally kidding.  I am usually a sucker for The CW's teen drama's but this show looks horrific (Yes, I am biased, considering I loathe Sex and the City). 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Best and Worst Films of 2012


1. Seven Psychopaths
2. Argo
3. The Dark Knight Rises
4. Take this Waltz
5. The Cabin in the Woods
6. Looper
7. The Grey
8. Django Unchained
9. Silver Linings Playbook
10. Headhunters

*Honorable Mentions: God Bless America, Brave, The Master, Jeff, Who Lives at Home and The Avengers. 

*Still haven't seen: Les Miserable, Zero Dark Thirty, The Impossible, Amour, Holy Motors and many others (which means my list will likely be altered at some point). 


1. What to Expect When You're Expecting
2. Rock of Ages
3. John Carter
4. Battleship
5. The Dictator
6. This Means War
7. The Campaign
8. The Words
9. The Lucky One
10. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

All of my thoughts on these films can be found on this blog (with the exception of Django Unchained, which will be up soon).