Saturday, August 31, 2013

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. The Loneliest Planet - This movie hit me hard. Really hard, in a very personal way.  The movie was on my Netflix queue simply because of Gael Garcia Bernal, but then I saw the trailer and I was blown away.  I watched it right after that.  It's very slow moving and practically nothing happens and because of this the emphasis is on all of the "little moments".  I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it as much if I didn't find that personal connection, but because I did, I can't seem to get it out of my head.  It's an odd coincidence that Bernal reminds me of an ex (mostly when he smiles, and he smiles a lot in this movie), and then the catalyst moment that changes the relationship of these two people in love reminds me of my ex even more.  It's a completely different moment, but it is a reminder that your entire perception of someone can change in an instant.  Taking a step back from the personal aspect, I still find it a fascinating subject matter. The idea of masculinity is explored within this relationship, as is the idea that one could fall out of love with someone just as easily as they fell in love with them. Then, it goes even deeper than that and explores attraction, because really she no longer finds him attractive after his "masculinity" is questioned, which is an interesting theory (are women more attracted to men when they feel protected by them?). Although, I personally think she was in the "wrong", as well.  You should want to protect the one you love - gender does not matter.  If I were in a life or death situation with a man that I love, I would protect him and I would expect him to protect me. So, for me, it's problematic that he's ok with the fact that she cowardly hides behind him. None of this makes any sense if you haven't seen the movie. Anyway, it's a beautifully haunting movie, fascinating story of a broken relationship and the scenery is just stunning. I highly recommend it.

2. Amour - I've seen this movie's called "my grandparents".  My grandfather died a slow, agonizing death from bone cancer, while my grandmother took care of him for years.  After my grandfather passed, my grandmother had a stroke that left her right side paralyzed and she was a thousand times more stubborn than the woman in this movie.  I think most people can relate to this movie, but I'm not sure why anyone would really want to watch it, let alone enjoy it.  I can enjoy a depressing story as much as the next pessimist (or as I call them "realists"), but this was just too much.  Watching an old woman slowly lose her mind and therefore her body, is just....ugh.  Yes, it's a beautiful story of love and the responsibility that comes along with loving someone, and the acting is stunning, but it's just not a story that I want to watch for 2 hours. I think I prefer when depressing stories make me appreciate life and love, instead of one that makes me want to kill myself before I get old.

3. Trance - I was really skeptical in the beginning.  Everything about it seemed really obvious, but then it twists and turns in very unexpected and brilliant ways.  I had no idea how the story would come together and I was surprised by the way it ended, which it seems was Danny Boyle's intent, so I call it a success.  It's mind-bending, in a very literal sense of the word.  I actually want to watch it again, just to see if it actually holds up (sadly, I have a feeling that it doesn't).  The movie has an automatic advantage for me, with James McAvoy. I know he's only been missing from the movie world for a few years, but it felt like forever. I don't think I've ever disliked a movie that he was in (ok, ok....maybe Penelope.) Plus, the first season of Shameless is one of my favorite seasons of television ever.  I have actually refused to watch the rest of the series, because I know that him and Anne-Marie leave the show and I honestly don't think I can handle it.  McAvoy is excellent here, and as the movie progresses into a hypnotic state, he exemplifies the feeling of being on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  I've never really been a huge fan of Rosario Dawson, but she is strong here.  I probably would have been even more engrossed if I believed in hypnosis, but I just can't. The extreme lengths this movie takes is all based on hypnosis actually working, so it's not a very realistic movie (for me), but it's still really fascinating and certainly, never boring.  Also, the pubic hair thing made me laugh at loud. "How did you know?". Absolutely brilliant. It's supposed to be funny....right?

4. The Company You Keep - Really strong cast. That's probably the best thing about this movie.  Robert Redford and Shia LaBeouf are the "stars" of the movie (which is already a good sign, for me. I think I'm one of the few who think Shia is a really good actor. See: A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints).  But then the supporting cast is absolutely ridiculous: Brit Marling, Anna Kendrick, Susan Sarandon, Julie Christie, Nick Nolte, Chris Cooper...should I continue? Yes. Stanley Tucci, Richard Jenkins, Terrance Howard, Brendan Gleeson. Ok. I'll stop now. I can't say that I am a huge fan of Robert Redford as a director, aside from Ordinary People, which is brilliant. The rest of his films are just sooooo slow moving.  Actually, Ordinary People is a very slow movie, but it's one that is worth it.  The Company You Keep is really dragged out and quite predictable.  It's disguised as a political thriller, but it's really about the responsibilities one has as a parent, and once you figure that out, everything falls into place really quickly.  If the film had some smarter dialogue and a faster pace, it would have been a solid movie.

5. V/H/S - This is the worst of the worst when it comes to the shaky, handheld camera gimmick.  I got a headache after 15 minutes because it was so hard to focus on anything happening.  From what I gather, it's about a bunch of stupid people, watching more stupid people, do stupid things.  It's far from scary and even farther from being interesting.  I'm not sure who I was supposed to be scared of, but for the most part the answer seems to be women (and stupid people).  I like the anthology idea, and some of the stories are slightly entertaining (still not scary), but as a whole, it's a disaster.  I have heard that V/H/S 2 is supposed to be better, but that's a given because it really can't get much worse.

Monday, August 26, 2013

3 Thoughts on Elysium

1. It's not nearly as good as it should be - First, I must admit, there is so much awesome in this movie. The man-made "planet" Elysium is spectacular, especially in contrast to the future (but closer to present day than we would like to admit) dystopian Earth (which is frustratingly represented by one city, Los Angeles - which is already, quite possibly, the worst city in the world). The contrasting two worlds are unified by advancing technology and that is where the movie thrives. There is some really cool stuff to look at, memorable imagery, and enthralling concepts of "the future".  This being said, I should have left the theater completely thrilled, instead I was extremely disappointed.  Science Fiction tales are often allegorical, but I've never seen one that was so obvious, heavy-handed, and worst of all, simple. The whole thing is basically an advertisement for universal healthcare. Plus, the ending doesn't even make sense (**spoiler**- if overpopulation is a problem on Earth, how is the solution to give everyone access to a machine that cures everything - essentially, causing humans to live forever?).

2. Some of the acting is atrocious - Not Matt Damon, of course. He is perfection. My major complaint about the movie is Jodie Foster and Sharlto Copley. Seriously, what the fuck were they doing? It was cartoon-ish, distracting and downright awful.  Even though Foster hasn't done anything noteworthy, career-wise, in almost 20 years, I would still describe her as a solid actress.  Meanwhile, Copley BLEW MY MIND in District 9.  So, the terrible acting came as a complete shock.  I think, in this case, it's safe to blame the director.  It was his choice to have them do this weird, unnatural voice - I have no idea what accent either of them were attempting.  I read that Copley's was South African, but that's where he is from, so why did he struggle with it so much?  I also read something about Foster's dialogue being altered in post-production, so that could have something to do with the awkwardness.  Whatever the reason, it was a terrible decision for the director to make.

3. The comparison - It's not fair to compare this movie to District 9, but it's inevitable. District 9 is writer/director Neill Blomkamp's first feature film and it is stunning.  When someone creates something that special and memorable on their first try, it puts a lot of pressure on the follow-up project.  Elysium had some great moments and certainly isn't a bad movie, but if I make this inevitable comparison, it's just not in the same atmosphere as District 9. Sure, District 9 had the same sociopolitical undertones, but it was such a great story that the implications of it are interesting, rather than irritating.  My second biggest complaint about Elysium is that even though it has an obvious stance on classism and the distribution of wealth, it's actually a bit racist (which is weird since District 9 was overtly about racism).  It felt incredibly disingenuous for this movie to preach to an audience about the current state of humanity, while perpetuating the heroic, white, male "savior" character among a sea of minority characters. It makes no sense as to why they all rely on him to save everyone, when they are all clearly capable of achieving the same thing.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. The Host - I can't express to you how truly awful this movie is. One of the worst movies that I've ever seen.  I thought that nothing would come close to the awfulness of Movie 43 this year, but this one came really close.  I will still place it slightly above Movie 43, only because it has an actual plot.  A decent one at that - the world has been replaced with aliens using human bodies as "hosts".  But, instead of  a really cool sci-fi adventure about a group of humans trying to outrun the aliens, we get a really boring tale of one girl (one of my favorite young actresses, Saoirse Ronan), who is captured and used as a host.  Her human side, however, refuses to disappear so she spends the entire story fighting with....herself.  The inner monologue used throughout the film is absolutely painful to listen to, as is the rest of the dialogue.  She actually says the line "kiss me like you want to get slapped" to the guy she likes, which is probably one of the worst things I've ever heard (especially for a film that is supposed to be geared towards teens).  Things become "complicated" when the host falls for a different boy than the human, creating an odd love triangle - one that could be interesting if either of the boys had any personality. The weirdest part of the whole movie is Emily Browning (another great young actress) appearing at the end, which is listed as "uncredited".  Were they actually setting up for a sequel? Please, oh please, tell me there won't be a sequel!?!

2. Playing For Keeps - Rom-com disaster.  I thought it could be entertaining to watch Gerard Butler running around playing "soccer", but I was so wrong. However, he is, by far, the best part of the movie. Catherine Zeta-Jones (can't act), Jessica Biel (no screen presence) and Uma Thurman (Ugh), all in ONE movie?! Kill me now. They might as well add Katherine Heigl for fuck's sake. It could have been saved by Judy Greer (love her!), but she is probably the worst written character in the movie.  She fulfilled the "emotional woman" stereotype, but also the "batshit crazy" stereotype as well (double bonus points).  Thurman plays another one of my favorite female character stereotype - the married woman who is ok with her husband cheating on her because he buys her stuff.  Biel plays the "one true love" character, which is a hard sell because her and Butler have zero chemistry.  I blame her because I've never seen her have chemistry with anyone, ever.  Her character is also super annoying because she gets mad at him for sleeping with someone while they aren't together (and it is her choice that they aren't together and she is engaged to someone, she has no right to get upset).  In short, this is just another misogynistic tale of "women are crazy" disguised as a "romantic comedy".

3. Olympus Has Fallen - Exactly what I expected it to be, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  It's pretty much an episode of 24, where one guy is left to save the day because everyone else is incompetent.  My biggest complaint is the terrible effects, especially for a big blockbuster movie.  Actually, I take that back, my biggest complaint is Gerard Butler with an American accent.  That should be against the law!!  There is a fairly large cast of recognizable faces, but that is also a detriment because you kind of know that at least one of them has to be "the bad guy".  I predicted who it was the second I saw his face.  There are some ridiculous plot points - like when "the bad guy" decides to chit-chat instead of just killing "the good guy" (this happens in a lot of movies, and it drives me insane).  Plus, some laughable dialogue - "Why don't you and I play a game of fuck off. You go first." So funny.  I was entertained - although, I can't tell if it's actually an entertaining movie, or if I've just watched a lot of shit lately.  This year really sucks for movies (for life, as well).

4. On the Road - As much as I enjoy the Kerouac novel, it always makes me roll my eyes when someone lists this as their "favorite book".  I was dating a guy who said this was his favorite book and it completely changed the way I thought about him.  I don't know why, it's just such a cliche to say; it automatically makes someone uninteresting to me.  I can obviously appreciate Kerouac's style, considering that I write in a very stream of consciousness/spontaneous way.  I just write exactly what is in my head and press the little orange publish button; no editing required.  If I stopped and read the words I wrote, I would never actually finish anything, because I over-analyze too much.  I went back and read an old post once and I counted 6 grammatical errors within two (run-on) sentences. I will never do that again (the reading; not the grammatical errors.  You're just going to have to deal with those. In exchange you get my honest opinion, vomited into words). Sooo...what was I talking about? Oh yah...the movie. It sucked. Boring as fuck.  All of the actors are really dull, including Kristen Stewart (shocker!), but the worst actor in the movie is Garrett Hedlund. I really liked him in Country Strong, so I was surprised by his performance here.  Is his voice really that low? It seemed like he was struggling to sound masculine.  It just felt really unnatural, as did the rest of the movie.  It was filled with random sex scenes, random writing scenes with an annoying voice over, followed by really annoying shaky camera walking scenes.  After an hour, I gave up trying to pay attention and the movie just became background noise.

5. Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters - Wow. Another terrible movie to add to the list for this year.  I can appreciate wanting to modernize a fairy tale for an adult audience.  However, if that was indeed the intent, the filmmakers failed - adding unnecessary violence and gore, and an awkwardly placed "fuck" in the dialogue, doesn't instantly grab an adult audience. You need an interesting, less-predictable story for that. I honestly don't understand how anyone can find this sort of thing entertaining, unless you enjoy watching a woman get repeatedly punched in the face. Speaking of, they really aren't that great at their "witch hunting" jobs because they both get their ass kicked over and over and over again.  On the positive side, Jeremy Renner (enough said)!!  Also, Gemma Arterton won me over. She's been in a lot of shit films, this included, but for some reason I really liked her here.  She reminded me of Jennifer Garner, as Sydney Bristow; not in her looks, but in her mannerisms and facial expressions.  The movie also moved very quickly, which I was very thankful for (since it was crap), so kudos to the editing team.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Fall Movie Preview: 14 Films That I am Excited About

1. The Family (9/13) - From writer/director Luc Besson (Leon: The Professional), starring Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer and Tommy Lee Jones, about a mafia family under witness protection.  I can't really see this going wrong. Strong director, strong cast, strong concept.

2. Prisoners (9/20) - I like the idea of being a "prisoner" of revenge.  Once you go down that road there is no escape.  This is a similar idea in Denis Villeneuve's previous movie, Incendies, except that it is about the overwhelming nature of hate.  Incendies is an emotional, gut-wrenching movie with a brutal ending (exactly "my kind of movie"), so I am interested in seeing more from him.  It's also packed with an impressive cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello and Melissa Leo.

3. Don Jon (9/27) - I already mentioned this in my summer movie post, but the release was pushed back a month. I wrote "starring JGL, directed by JGL" and that's enough to get me excited for a movie.  I've learned a little more about it since then.  First, it's written by JGL as well.  Second, I saw the trailer and'  It's definitely not something I would want to see if it wasn't for him.  I have zero interest in watching a typical New Jersey asshole on the big screen (I endure it every day in real life. Seriously, I would love to say that it's just a gross stereotype, but I've lived in several places and the assholes in NJ are a rare breed. I should only have to say "not interested" once. I'm not playing hard to get. I'm just not interested. It's that fucking simple. Rant over.).  Third, AAAAHHHHHH! Scarlett Johansson can not act (unless she is being directed by Woody Allen).  Fourth, I am still going to see this movie, but now it seems like a chore rather than something I actually want to do.  I am hoping, for JGL's sake, that I am completely wrong and this movie is fantastic.

4. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (9/27) - I'm not a big fan of animated movies, but since the first one is so cute and witty, I will happily watch this sequel.

5.  Gravity (10/4) - So, I've seen the trailer twice now in the theater, and each time the audience laughed at it.  It does look pretty ridiculous - Sandra Bullock just floating around in space?  Obviously, there has to be more to it. I've heard chatter about some other clips and marketing online that are supposed to be great, but I think I'll just wait for the movie.  It's getting some Oscar talk (for Bullock and director, Alfonso Cuaron), plus it has George Clooney.  I have no reason not to see it.

6. Runner Runner (10/4) - I haven't decided for sure yet if I want to see this, because it looks kind of like a stupid and predictable thriller.  But sometimes, that's exactly what I'm in the mood for.  I like the idea of Ben Affleck as a bad guy and I'll never complain about watching Justin Timberlake on the big screen.  Plus, I am a bit of a poker player myself, although, I would never play any online gaming because I'm convinced it's all a scam (which is exactly what this movie is about! See, I knew it!!!).

7. 12 Years a Slave (10/18) - Steve McQueen + Michael Fassbender = perfection.  If you don't believe me, watch Shame and Hunger. 

8. Carrie (10/18) - I'm not as against remakes as most film fans are.  Sometimes they can be fun.  I think Carrie is a good pick for a remake. It's 36 years old, yet still pretty relevant to the younger generation.  They cast the absolute perfect person for the role, Chloe Grace Moretz.  Kimberly Peirce is also a great pick as the director - Boys Don't Cry is a stunning movie and I even enjoyed Stop-Loss.  

9. The Counselor (10/25) - Novelist Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men, The Road), wrote the screenplay, with Ridley Scott directing.  The big draw for me though, is obviously Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender and Javier Bardem.

10.  Diana (10/?) - I don't really follow the whole "royal family" media explosion ("one of them had a baby recently, right?" is the extent of my knowledge).  However, when I was younger I was a bit fascinated by Princess Di.  It was mostly due to her charity work.  I was captivated by the fact that someone so visible was doing so much good in the world.  Specifically, her work with the National AIDS Trust really interested me, because AIDS was not really something privileged white women talked about in the 90's.  It's because of her that I fought to have World AIDS Day recognized at my high school and went on to volunteer at the AIDS awareness group during college.  I actually did a shitload of volunteer work during the late 90's/ early 00's, because of her influence.  I think back to that time and am amazed at how I found that much time in the day and that much energy, and I realize that I am lazy as fuck now.  I still try to do something at least once a year, and when I do, I think of her.  I am surprised it took this long to make a movie about her, but I'm glad that the movie seems to be based on her advocacy work rather than her personal life.  Also, Naomi Watts is going to kill it.

11. The Wolf of Wall Street (11/15) - Holy fuck, the trailer is AWESOME. If you haven't seen it, I suggest you watch it (and I am someone who usually cautions people to NOT watch trailers); you won't be able to take your eyes off of it.  I have no idea what the movie is about, other than Leonardo DiCaprio being excessively rich.  I do know that Leo and Martin Scorsese are a win/win and that Matthew McConaughey is on a role (and he looks hilarious in the trailer).

12. Her (11/20) - The idea of falling in love with the unattainable "perfect" woman is obviously not a new concept, but Spike Jonze takes it a bit more literally in this movie.  As in, the woman is unattainable because she doesn't actually exist; instead she is just an extremely empathetic operating system voiced by Scarlett Johansson ( least she's not actually in the movie).  I can easily argue that it's still not an original idea (Mannequin, Lars and the Real Girl, and most recently, Ruby Sparks), but with the updated "Siri"-type aspect it could seem fresh, if it's done well.  Films like these always teeter on the edge of misogyny (or they go completely overboard, like Ruby Sparks), with the idea that one will never find the perfect woman so why not make one up?!  Guess what guys? The woman you fall in love with will not be perfect.  I'm sure that will be the "moral" of the story, but I think Spike Jonze films usually showcase a little more depth than that, so I am hoping for some really emotional stuff from Joaquin Phoenix about human connection, heartbreak and loneliness.  It shouldn't be hard for him; he did it to perfection in The Master (yes, I'm still mad that he didn't win the Oscar).  I just had major deja vu writing that. SO WEIRD.

13. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (11/22) - Surprisingly, I really enjoyed the first one.  I really wasn't expecting to at all. For real, I thought I was going to tear it apart. This is exactly why I watch everything that I can possibly get my hands on, even if I think I'm going to hate it.  I like being surprised by something.  I'm excited to see what happens next in the story, and since I haven't read the books, I have absolutely no clue where the story will go.

14. Oldboy (11/27) -  Ugh...I know that I just wrote that I am ok with remakes, but this is when I get annoyed.  Remaking a pretty-damn-close to perfect movie, that's only a few years old, just because people are too lazy to read subtitles.  I say, if you're too lazy to read subtitles, then you don't deserve to witness the magic of the movie.  I was standing firm against this remake, but the cast is just too damn good.  Josh Brolin has never been bad in anything, has he? (The only acceptable answer is Jonah Hex.).  I haven't seen the trailer, but I've heard everything from "awful" to "fantastic" from people who have, so that actually makes me even more interested.  Fuck it. I'm going to see it, but I'm probably going to hate myself for it.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

3 Thoughts on Pacific Rim

1. It's spectacular - It's been a really long time since a big, blockbuster movie has left me this stunned.  Unfortunately, it was only playing in 3D at my theater and I really wanted to see it on the big screen, so I caved and watched it (even after vowing to never do it again!).  Luckily, I didn't get a headache after and I think the main reason is because it's all visual.  There is no thinking involved.  I felt like my brain just relaxed and let my eyes do all the work and it was a BLAST!  It's larger-than-life MONSTERS AND ROBOTS FIGHTING EACH OTHER! Do I really have to say anything else?

2. It's basically Independence Day - I'm sure it is a copy of many other movies before it, largely Japanese ones, but to me, it felt like a modern day Independence Day. It's weird for me to use the term "modern day", as if Independence Day is an old movie....but guess what? It's almost 20 years old. Yup, wrap your head around that one for a second.  Pacific Rim is a much bigger movie, which is exactly what this generation needs.  Yet, there are so many Independence Day "moments" that it made me laugh.  The "monster"/human scientist mind meld scene, the big "Today we celebrate our Independence Day..." speech was replaced with "Today we are canceling the Apocalypse", and of course the endings are almost identical.  If Pacific Rim had more star power, it would definitely be a HUGE summer blockbuster (money-wise), which is a shame because people are missing out on something really fun.  

3. More Charlie Day, please - I'm not saying everyone else is bad, but...actually yes, everyone else in this movie is pretty terrible.  I don't think it was the acting, it was just that their characters were terribly uninteresting and predictable.  I wanted to love Rinko Kikuchi, but sadly her character was really frustrating. ***slight spoiler ahead*** I would rather a movie be sexist for not having any female characters, than be sexist for having a "strong" female character who ends up almost killing everyone because she can't control her emotions (yes, that seriously happened).  ****end of spoiler alert*** Charlie Day, however, really stole the movie.  He just makes me laugh.  When I'm having a rough day, all I have to do is think about Charlie Day singing "That's Not My Name", from Horrible Bosses ( and suddenly, the world seems like a better place.  I want more of him; he could just be in the background of every movie and I would be ok with that.  

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. Jack the Giant Slayer - I don't think I've ever read the actual fairy tale  "Jack and the Beanstalk", I've only heard the "Fee-fi-fo-fum" part and because of this, I had zero interest in seeing this movie. Sometimes I just add "new releases" to the top of my Netflix queue out of pure reflex and that's how things like this end up getting watched.  I just assumed this movie was about a bunch of guys trying to kill some CGI giants; plus I really hate Nicholas Hoult.  I have to admit, I actually had a little bit of fun with it.  The beginning is more of a "traditional" fairy tale (you know, commoner falls in love with a princess, but she is "promised" to an evil villain - it's basically Aladdin.).  It starts off fairly strong and witty...and continues that way for most of the movie.  It did start to lose me towards the end (at the whole slaying of the giants part); but overall I enjoyed it.  I wasn't even overly bothered with the CGI, because they used it in the best way possible - to create a spectacle.  I also felt like the actors were really enjoying themselves, which is always fun to watch. Eleanor Tomlin is a cross between Olivia Wilde and Mia Wasikowska (that's a good thing) and this is the second movie, in which I didn't loathe Nicholas Hoult (the other is Warm Bodies), which makes me question whether I actually hate him or if I just hated him so much on Skins, that I assume I hate him as a person (which would actually make him a good actor because you were never really supposed to like Tony, right?....RIGHT?!?).  The absolute best part of the movie is Ewan McGregor's hair.

2. The Kitchen - I watched this movie for two reasons: Laura Pepron and Bryan Greenberg.  There are actually a lot of other familiar faces sprinkled through out the movie, but overall it was one big snooze-fest.  A movie about a blow-out 30th birthday party shouldn't be that boring.  A big problem is that they all seemed to have a lot of drama that seemed more appropriate for people in their early 20's. It all seemed a bit "quarter-life crisis" territory.  It also didn't help that the entire movie took place in a kitchen. The gimmick might have worked if there was a fascinating story to tell or if the characters were interesting. There is very little character depth; the ex-boyfriend is a cliche of an asshole (he's not just sleeping with one of her friends; he's sleeping with at least two of them), which begs the question as to why she was ever with him and why she isn't ecstatic to be rid of him!  I feel more bad for her for having awful friends than an awful ex-boyfriend, but that isn't even addressed.  It seems as if it's almost expected that her friends are dishonest and backstabbing.  How sad is that?

3. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone - I saw the trailer for this movie, earlier this year, and I thought it was a parody of a movie about magicians.  Just look at the poster!! I mean...really? I thought it was absolutely impossible that it was a real movie; for sure, Steve Carell was going to come out on a talk show and be like "just kidding, you guys!!", but it didn't happen.  Instead, it was released into theaters and received mostly bad reviews.  But guess what?! It's really not that bad; it's actually kind of....cute.  It comments on the current state of "extreme" entertainment, with the story revolving around Carell, as an "old school" type magician, who finds himself losing his audience to a new street magician. This new magician is referred to as a "brain rapist" and is played to perfection by Jim Carrey. The movie has a nice moral of staying true to yourself and your passion.  Plus, it has a great supporting cast - Steve Buscemi, Alan Arkin, James Gandolfini, etc.  They all are incredibly entertaining to watch.  I wouldn't exactly call it a good movie, or anything, but I was definitely surprised at how sweet and real it was.
4. Evil Dead - I watched the original when I was 12(ish) and it scarred me for life. The whole "we're gonna get you" thing was burned into my memory.  I decided to revisit it, before watching the remake, just to see if it still holds up and I am glad to say that it is, indeed, still an awesome movie.  On a side note, I knew that Cabin in the Woods referenced The Evil Dead, but I didn't realize quite how much. To me, that is more of a "remake" or "re-imagining", because it put a new spin on the same story.  Anyway, Evil Dead has some nice "updated" moments, but otherwise it's a pretty standard remake. I really like Jane Levy (she's awesome on Suburgatory), and I think she did a fantastic job in this role.  Also, how gorgeous is Jessica Lucas?! Sooo stunning. She has some pretty awesome freak out scenes, as well.  In contrast, the two guys are hardly memorable.  Overall, I had fun with it. The original had more genuine scares and was still pretty gory, while this had an extensive amount of gore and not enough scares. The amount of gore is a detriment to the movie, because it distracts from everything else the movie has going for it. It became almost laughable. The last 20 minutes are just a red-stained mess; every inch of the screen is soaked in blood.  It certainly didn't scar me like the original, but then again, I'm not 12 anymore.

5. G.I. Joe: Retaliation -  Ugh. What a chore to sit through.  I wasn't a huge fan of the first one (I'm pretty sure the nicest thing I could say about it was that it is "mediocre"), but it did have Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (plus, Sienna Miller and Rachel Nichols).  I knew that the cast was different, but for some reason, I thought Channing Tatum was still the star.  He's not. There really isn't a "star", but to my surprise Bruce Willis is in it! How did I miss that? Yes, I realize he is front and center on the poster, but I don't think I saw the poster, or a trailer, or really anything about it (seriously, was it even released in theaters? Does this movie actually exist or am I just imagining it?). Some other additions include The Rock (hate him), Adrianne Palicki (love her) and Ray Stevenson (love him. Rome is one of my favorite shows ever. Well, at least it would be if it lasted more than 2 seasons!).  Once again, the nicest thing I can say is that it is "mediocre" to it's core.  There is just nothing fun about it, except for one scene in the beginning that involved the Joe's playing video games.  A film like this should be nothing but fun, instead it is just one mindless action scene after another. Also, I became quite confused as to who I was supposed to root for - the bad guys seemed to be having much more fun.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

3 Thoughts on The Heat

1. It's much funnier than the trailer - While most comedies show all the best jokes in the trailer, The Heat did the exact opposite. So much so, that I actually had no interest in seeing it.  My mother insisted that we see it together and it's pretty rare for her to want to go to the movies, so I agreed.  I was surprised at how hilarious the beginning was, but even more surprising is that the laughs didn't stop.  I laughed for the entire movie and even better than that, my mom laughed for the entire movie.  She's been going through a tough time lately, so watching her laugh was the most enjoyable part for me. It made me appreciate movies (and specifically comedies) for that special healing power they can have on someone's life - even if it is just for a few hours.  Is The Heat a good movie? Hardly. The plot is ridiculous, the continuity errors will drive any OCD person insane, and it's as predictable as movies come. However, Bullock and McCarthy are a comedic match made in heaven.

2. Sandra Bullock is my hero - I'm not even kidding. When I was in high school, I had to answer the question of who my "role model" was and I think everyone expected me to say a Gloria Steinem type figure (and sure, she is an excellent role model), but instead I shocked everyone with my answer: Sandra Bullock.  I have a lot of reasons for this and maybe one day, I will write them all down. However, the main reason is that she likes to make people laugh.  She was voted "Most Likely to Brighten Your Day" in high school and guess what?! So was I (something I will always brag about)!  Once, I was in a bar talking to a guy and he said "'re like a not-annoying version of Sandra Bullock" and it is literally the best compliment I've ever received (actually that's not true, I've had better compliments but they are personal). Things have changed since high school and I find myself struggling to smile and really, I could give a shit about most people nowadays.  I admire that Sandra can keep a smile on her face and that after over 20 years in the business, she is still making people laugh.  Also, the fact that Melissa McCarthy is the "star" of this movie kind of makes me love Bullock even more.  She's one of the highest paid actresses in the world; yet steps aside and lets someone else tell the best jokes. I don't know many women who would do that - I know that's an awful thing to say, but honestly women do not support other women.  If we did, we would rule the fucking world.  It's the biggest thing holding us back.

3. The "anti-chick flick"? - Remember when Bridesmaids came out and everyone referred to it as "the anti-chick flick"?  It made absolutely no sense, because it was one of the most in-your-face chick flicks I've ever seen.  Gross-out humor does not cancel the story; if a movie is about a wedding, it's a chick flick in my book (side note: I loved Bridesmaids).  Now, The Heat, is truly Paul Feig's "anti-chick flick" movie.  It's basically a movie that has been made many times for a male audience (the buddy cop movie), just with the leads replaced by females.  There is no wedding or pre-wedding antics, no love triangle, no cattiness, no baby drama; instead it is straight-up boys territory. The same movie could be made with males and not much would have to change. That's, like, really awesome...right?