Tuesday, December 18, 2012

I literally haven't seen a movie since my last post

But I still thought of you guys when I saw this video. Pretty much sums up why I hated The Avengers, and the fact that no one else was bothered by these as much as I was is why it remained so popular (not correcting that run-on).

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Cloud Atlas Starship

The title of the post comes from the fact that the Wachowski siblings, formerly two brothers that were responsible for The Matrix trilogy, has since changed their moniker to the Wachowski Starship following a sex change for one of the brothers. Yes, formerly Larry, Lana Wachowski is one-half of the production team. The movie is based off a book, and one that I plan to read since I've heard nothing but amazing things about it.

Today, we have our second guest writer! A fellow blogger (click here to follow his past two+ years while in Peace Corps service in Panama), as well as a contributor to PolicyMic, Jack is a good friend dating back to sophomore year at Boston University. Seeing as how my local movie theater just got power back yesterday from the storms here in NJ, I've been seriously lacking on movies and thus reviews. Jack was kind enough to willingly contribute his two cents on Cloud Atlas. He's successfully convinced me to give the movie a shot; hopefully it lends itself useful to you, as well. Enjoy!

Before seeing Cloud Atlas, the most common review I heard from both peers and critics was, “ambitious.” One word, with a clear negative connotation. As in, “too ambitious for its own good” or “swing and a miss.” People mentioned multiple stories, multiple directors, stunning settings and the same actors playing different characters, and claimed that they tried to do too much with the movie. But the trailer made it look so damn intriguing...

When I'm on the fence about a movie, I have only two places that I will turn: Ila and Rotten Tomatoes. Every time I ignore an RT rating, thinking that I'll get something out of the movie that they didn't expect, I have been wrong.  I never see a movie that receives below an 80 on RT. Cloud Atlas got a 76. (I've never questioned Ila so I'm not even sure what would happen if I did.)

Thing is, some of my favorite movies, like Snatch and Sin City have multiple stories that converge, along with distinct styles; you would probably describe each of them as “ambitious.” Ila hadn't seen it yet, so I was left to battle my temptation to submit to the vague, but tantalizing trailer, or stick to my 80 rating rule and see something else. Figuring that this would be the type of movie that you have to see in theaters, I went for it. And for the first time ever, I disagreed with the RT rating.

Bottom Line: If you are at all interested in seeing Cloud Atlas, then go see it now, while it's still in theaters. I didn't see it in iMax but it would probably be worth it. If you decide to skip it in theaters, then definitely skip it at home, because it needs the gigantic visuals to compensate for the shoddily connected stories and inconsistent acting.
I usually try to choose a relevant picture, but since I still haven't seen it, here's the poster!

Here's what I really liked about Cloud Atlas:
  1. The future – Every part of the dystopian future was badass, visually incredible, and definitely the most exciting and disturbing part of the movie. And the Korean lady killed it.
  2. The editing – Some seemed to find it too frantic, but I liked the way the last hour of the movie was edited – lots of cuts between settings that reinforced their karma connection.
  3. Jim Broadbent – I think he makes a strong case for a Best Supporting Actor nomination in this movie. He is the only actor that plays all of his roles well and his adventure in the old folk's home is the clear highlight of the movie, carried by his performance (though massive kudos to Hugo Weaving for his role as the female nurse).
  4. The creation of The Cloud Atlas Sextet – Ben Whishaw absolutely rocks his only significant character in the movie across from a fantastically maniacal and manipulative Jim Broadbent.

Here's what kind of sucked about Cloud Atlas:
  1. Everything about the island future: The setting was strained, the acting was blah (even from Tom Hanks...and I don't say that lightly), and all actors bungled the unusual future-speak. (Kudos again to Hugo Weaving for being genuinely and convincingly creepy.)
  2. Inconsistent acting: Every actor in the movie, besides Jim Broadbent, had at least one uninspired performance as one of their characters (Whishaw is immune from this since he only really had one character). The movie was well cast and I was particularly disappointed with Halle Berry and Tom Hanks's inconsistencies. It was a difficult task, no doubt, but they should have been able to handle it.
  3. Shoddily connected stories: Maybe I'm not as intelligent or astute as I think I am, but I thought the connections between settings was pretty vague. Basically, good people become better people and bads stay bad? That's all we get after three hours? The last two futures were intimately connected and the entire movie had the Cloud Atlas Sextet running through it, but otherwise I thought the connections didn't quite cut it. One of the best examples of multiple stories connecting is, as I said, Snatch. One of the worst is Babel, which felt like three completely unrelated stories that were hastily and lazily connected after they had been written. Cloud Atlas is between these two, a little on the Babel side. 

Note that I did not mention the length, nor the 'ambition' in things that I didn't like about the movie. It deserved slightly higher than an 80 on Rotten Tomatoes, but I wouldn't put it any higher than 83.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Skyawful...kidding! it's Bonderful!

The latest, record-setting Bond movie came out this weekend, and there's nothing more I can add to all the hype it's already received. Skyfall, the 50th anniversary timed release and third Daniel Craig led Bond movie has pulled in the best opening for any Bond movie. With an amazing 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, I will not be dissagreeing with anything you've seen or read about the movie thus far.

First of all, the plot is so cohesive that I need to specifically mention it. I've never been big on Star Wars or LOTR, not because I don't enjoy them, but because I don't do well juggling many different and changing plot lines. I get lost in why he's going to a planet or why she's fighting that species. That usually is the case with Bond movies. Skyfall has a very straightforward villain and linear conflict. Much like my problem with Taken vs Taken 2: Taken Harder, the former has 1 established and direct plot while the latter bounces around between different villains and conflicts. Although Skyfall has mulitple acts, it's all cohesive. 

Bardem is a blond mastermind with one end in mind. I literally can't say more without giving away the tiniest bit of plot so I'll leave it at that. 

Stylistically, I very much enjoyed viewing this movie. This sounds lame, but the lighting and colors I thought were amazing. Each fight scene felt like it was filmed in a different style and with different colors being accentuated. The angles you viewed the shots at kept the movie feeling fresh, even with a run time of 143 minutes.

Two of the pivotal fight scenes
I saw it in IMAX, and without having seen it in regular, peasant-style screens I can't really compare. I would venture to guess that paying a few bucks more for the bigger screen is probably worth it. I know it was for The Dark Knight Returns.

Ok, here's my own little aside that I feel will hurt my street credit in the movie biz that I'm so much a part of... the movie felt very influenced by the Nolan Batman trilogy. There, I said it! It's very Bond-esq, don't get me wrong. But in light of the successes of Batman, I feel like there's some unconscious, maybe conscious, duplication. The villain was a madman that wanted to watch the world burn. The hero had to dig into his past to be able to beat the villain. The old vs new argument in age and abilities was brought up a lot between Bond, Q, M, and Silva (Bardem). Stuff like that. I don't think it was a copy or anything, it just was one of those things that I kept feeling like there were similarities between the two. It was like Batman meets Die Hard meets Bourne plus a lot of Daniel Craig shirtless (yes!).

Check out the opening credits while it's still up. The Adele song is even sweeter with the visual

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Monday Movie Suggestion

You know these suggestions are genuine because for this selection, I just made my boyfriend watch it while we were on vacation. It mostly stemmed from the awe that he had never seen Clueless and needing to rectify that immediately.

Clueless, currently on Netflix Instant, is a total time capsule of the 90's with so many quick referrences you probably won't even notice them all. For anyone that doesn't know the premise, Alicia Silverstone is a rich, LA high school student. Her ex step brother is Paul Rudd (!). The main plotline is her helping Brittany Murphy to fit in to the rich Beverly Hills scene and the melodramatic events that follow.

The story is actually based around Jane Austen's Emma. So now you can feel better about watching since it's based on such a classic novel.

I don't know why, but it's a really good movie. It's very over-the-top but in a completely fun way. It's just a silly movie and one that everyone should say they've seen at least once. Plus it's always on tv and the edited version is hardly different so you aren't missing out!

Cast of Donald Faison (Turk from Scrubs), Jeremy Sisto (guy that almost played Jack in Titanic), Brittany Murphy pre-OD, and Breckin Meyer that you'll recognize from every movie and tv show ever

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

"Monday's" Movie Suggestion

I would watch a two hour movie of just this

I'm going with something a little off the beaten track here, but I stand by it: The Men Who Stare at Goats. It has an absolutely stacked cast but didn't do very well at the box office. It's kind of out there but I adore it.

The cast: Clooney, Spacey, McGregor, Bridges, Swanson (slash Offerman if you know his real name).

The plot: Ewan McGregor is a reporter who is just out of a failed marriage and travels to the Middle East to cover the war. He meets George Clooney, who claims to have telekinetic powers, such as being able to explode a goat with his mind. These powers came from training under the tutelage of Jeff Bridges but is in danger due to the bad goat (PUN!) of the program, Kevin Spacey.

I think that sounds amazing. The humor is very Arrested Development-y because you aren't looking for any sort of Ba-dum-cha set-up/punchline. It's just the little nuances of Clooney's crazy eyes or random outbursts. It's the idea of a military general like Bridges turning into a complete hippy and sitting in a hot tub getting high. It's not knowing whether the story you watched actually happened or whether it was some story made up (the movie is based on a book and the author or the book is Ewan's character-he claims all this stuff is true...but do you believe him?).

It's basically what would happen if Wes Anderson combined with the Coen Brothers. It's O Brother (probably a future Monday suggestion) meets The Royal Tenenbaums. And it's definitely a movie that falls into that "better-with-each-viewing" category since with each watch you pick up more and more subtly hilarious moments.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Arg'nt you going to go see Argo?

Although I'm probably the only (non-lesbian) person to associate Argo with Xena's horse (hilarious video, you should click on that link), this Argo is actually the new Ben Affleck movie based off recently declassified real-life events. Mini history lesson: under President Jimmy Carter, Americans at the embassy in Tehran, Iran were held hostage for 444 days (I have a Master's, folks). The movie follows six Americans who were able to escape and hide at the Canadian embassy. Enter: Ben Affleck...'s beard to the rescue.

I've been very excited about this movie and the hype around it has only intensified as it got closer to the release date. I've been trying to convince my roommate #chrysanne to come, but it was only after NPR did a segment on how good it is that she agreed to go.

I forgot what it was like going to a movie on movie night, as I've been seeing most of my films in the middle of the day with the other one or two weirdos that see movies in the middle of the day. I also especially forgot what it was like to see a movie that old people enjoy seeing. Lots of nose blowing and loudly asking EH, WHAT'S HAPPENING? during relatively simple plot points.

Anyway, the movie is fucking AWESOME. I'll begin with the cast:

Ben Affleck took great pains to make the actors look as true to form as the people they're portraying. He also replicated exact moments from photographs taken at the time. As the credits role they show you the side-by-side comparison. Taking into consideration how great each single actor was AND how realistic they looked, the casting director and make-up/costume people did a commendable job. Alan Aarkin and John Goodman play the wise-ass Hollywood professionals that help Ben's character create a realistic cover story. Bryan Cranston plays Ben's superior, and with only one Heisenberg-esq freak out, does a great job of being a hard ass and good guy. Victor Garber, who played Ben's real-life wife's fictional TV dad on Alias, was the heroic Canadian ambassador with cool hair.

The rest of the cast is pretty much unknowns...except...wait a sec...is...is that CHRIS MESSINA?? AKA THE GUY I'VE MENTIONED IN THREE SEPARATE POSTS AS AN UP-AND-COMER. NAILED IT, ILA!!! HIGH FIVE!

Screen shot of my computer as I reference IMDB as I write. The only highlighted name from previously being clicked on? Chris Macho-Man Messina

Ok, so as for the plot and rest of the movie...equally superb. As Steven Soderbergh did with Magic Mike, Ben Affleck took a story that could have been filled with the typicals (CIA fast-talk and crudely tensioned-filled spy flick) and made it into something unique, realistic, true-to-life, and genuinely suspenseful. During the climax people were actually unable to contain their inner dialogue and were mumbling "just go!" just as I was tapping my foot and rubbing my hands thinking the same thing. I purposefully didn't research the real-life events so I wouldn't know how things turned out and I highly recommend doing the same. At the conclusion the things I heard just from within earshot were people clapping, "amazing" and "that was so good" being bantered about.

I cannot recommend this movie enough. Plus George Clooney co-produced it with Ben Affleck. I don't know why, but that just automatically makes people consider seeing a movie more than when they didn't know Clooney was involved. 
Cranston convincing Affleck to try the goatee look

NOTE: I DID NOT MAKE THE ABOVE LINKED YOUTUBE VIDEO. I know most of you think otherwise, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Note note: I just noticed FilmDrunk has a similar title for their blog on Argo, which proves I should do this professionally.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Taken 2: Taken as a video game

I mocked Taken 2 when the trailer came out. I was confused by subsequent trailers as to who was actually being taken. And now after viewing Taken 2, I stand by everything I previous said.

So the problem with really good movies is that sequels have to be better. It makes what Nolan was able to do with the Batman trilogy that much more impressive and awe inspiring.

Taken was a really, really good movie. It had a fluid plot involving Liam Neeson taking logical and realistic steps to find his kidnapped daughter. His character had intense training that enabled him to do things an average joe couldn't. That makes an awesome action movie. It's like a toned-down Bourne.

Taken 2 uses the same premise but without the fluidity and realism that made it's predecessor so entertaining. It plays out like a video game in the sense that it's very disjointed and it feels like there are levels with individual crime bosses that Liam must take down on his way to the main boss. Basically, one person is taken and then another person and then one of them is found and then another is taken but then a different boss takes another person and then they kill that boss while a different boss takes a person that was previously taken.

The film is only an hour and a half but feels much longer. The first taken/found sequence is entertaining enough but it feels like it's the end of the movie only thirty minutes in. Then the second sequence occurs and you're a little less into it. And then it just keeps happening until you're finally glad the movie's over.

Funniest scene in the movie was watching Liam yell at his daughter to get her fucking shit together while driving a clutch through the streets of Istanbul

Now, let me make it clear that Liam will always be entertaining. And this movie is still entertaining. The difference is that Taken is sweet and Taken 2 is just another action flick. Plus Liam's 4 years older and even though he's in great shape for a sixty year old, it did seem like he wasn't quite all there for the fight scenes.

There were also many more questions throughout the movie that are kind of nit-picky but weren't present for the first movie. Here were some that went through my head:

Where did he get that leather duster jacket after just being kidnapped the scene before?
How does she know how to drive a stick after being unable to pass her driver's test in a Toyota Camry?
If they're going to shoot at him, why do they continue to hold the wife hostage?
How are five men shooting machine guns without any single bullet hitting him?

Taken 2 is a typical "wait-for-it-to-be-on-netflix-or-tv" movie. Is that an expression yet? I was going to say to wait for it to be a rental but where do you rent it from anymore? Whatever, the point is, is that it's not worth the money to see it in theaters and since the plot and action is so similar to the first movie you're really not missing out. However, if you feel like watching Liam fight humans instead of wolves, then definitely save Taken 2 for a stay-in movie night.

Rian Johnson is the new Chris Nolan

Special guest writer: Christopher Clemente

I've been excited for Looper since that bad-ass image of Bruce Willis first appeared wielding a machine gun and an angry face.

My face is the opposite of happy
Actually, I've been waiting for this movie since it was announced that Looper was to be Rian Johnson's next feature film. Johnson, who's previous films include Brick (which is available on Netflix Instant and also stars Joe Go Lev) and The Brothers Bloom (a Wes Anderson-esque quirky-but-not-Zooey-Deschanel-quirky caper starring Mark Ruffalo and Adrien Brody) has finally arrived to the mainstream as a solid director who can tell an original story.

And Looper delivers. Plain and simple. The plot revolves around a not-too-distant future when time travel is possible and the mafia sends its victims back in time to be killed by hitmen known as Loopers.  Young Joe (played by Joe Go Lev) plays one of these Looping assassins, and things start to get sticky when the mob sends back Old Joe (Bruce Willis)-- an older Young Joe--and Young Joe can't pull the trigger to kill an older version of himself.

Confused? Who cares--I don't--and neither does Johnson. The film sets up a lofty and confusing sci-fi premise and then boldly dives into exploring major themes that don't concern time travel paradoxes. The movie ends up captivating you because of its deviations from the time-travel and action genre expectations, and throws you in a character-driven direction that you could never have guessed from all the marketing (trailers and posters alike).

Inline image 2
Director Rian Johnson on the set of Looper

But then, this movie reminds me so much of Inception. I'm not even talking about the Joe Go Lev (3rd time I've said that) connection. I'm talking about the distilling of a complex sci-fi story grounded in practical action, and making it palatable--meaning it garnered acclaim from critics and audience members alike (I think palatable is what I mean? Trying to say it was a generally "likeable" film). 

Johnson achieved a feat similar to Christopher Nolan, and that's why I think he will become the next Nolan. He will become a brand. It will become an expectation that he will deliver "original" content in the trite swamp that is the current Hollywood system of remakes and yada yada you've heard it all before.

Side stuff:
-Johnson directed one of my favorite episodes of Breaking Bad--"Fly" in Season 3.
-It was rumored that Johnson rewrote the script to have some of it take place in China because that was the only way that a Chinese Investment company would back the film and give it money. It also was mistakenly reported as receiving more money in China on opening weekend than in the US, a mistake which was corrected when it found out that they didn't take into account the exchange rate for the Chinese Yuan (really?)
-If you wanna watch a time travel movie that deals exclusively with time traveling paradoxes, check out Shane Carruth's Primer. If you look closely in the end credits, Carruth is credited under "Special Thanks" in Looper.

Editors Note: The producer's name is Ram Bergman. Shotty that as my porn name if I were a man in the porn industry

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sleepwalk with Me

Mike Birbiglia has been a comic I've followed since first seeing him on a Comedy Central stand-up special. He's been my own little bird that has since flown out of the nest and is now a household name. His comedy has evolved from the basic joke formula of observation plus alternative perspective equalling crowd laughter. Instead, he takes the audience on a full adventure of his life in a story-telling sequence of real-life events. He's had multiple off-broadway shows (which I've seen), many cross-country tours (which I've also seen), albums (which I've bought) and even a book, titled the same as the movie (which I own).

His story telling ways seem to have begun when he started publishing "My Secret Public Journal." He use to email his subscribers (again, me) with a weekly entry of some silly things he's been dealing with while on tour or at home with hyperlinks to funny tangentially related videos and connecting it somehow to a past memory before circling it back around with a "and that's why..." send off. As that became popular in its own right, his stand up took a similar circular pace of starting off with a premise (Sleepwalk With Me, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend, etc.) and then comedically taking a round about way to get back to the main point.

When I went to see the movie I almost asked for one ticket to "Mike Birbiglia" since it's his baby. He stars in it as well as writes and directs. Working with NPR's Ira Glass (Birbigs is a frequent guest on Glass's This American Life series), the Sundance darling has done well in a grass-roots campaign to bring it to more and more theaters across the country over the past few weeks.

Mike stars as Matt Pandamigglio. It's a little unclear as to why they changed the name and I kind of understand why they did it but was equally thrown by having to hear such a similar name to the comedian. Aside from the name change, everything else is 100% true to life-- or as true to his life as his stand-up is. I had heard literally every single joke, premise, come-back, and twist dozens of times before from his shows, tours, books, and albums.

However, considering that I'm already that familiar with the material and still audibly laughed throughout the movie, it is enough to guarantee that fresh ears will be delighted. I cannot recommend jumping on the Birbiglia bandwagon fast enough and if that means starting with Sleepwalk With Me, then you are very lucky to be in for such a treat. Feel free to stop by my house to borrow any of the other mediums.


Monday movie suggestion-Arthur

This Monday movie suggestion is one that I often recommend when friends are looking through my own DVDs to watch on a relaxing night staying in. Arthur, starring Dudley Moore and Liza Minelli, recently remade with Russell Brand, is one of those old fashioned movies that don't fit into modern movie genres.

The premise is that a loveable, drunken, childish millionaire is forced to marry a woman he does not love in order to keep all his money. He meets a poor woman who lives with her father and they fall in love. Will the power of love trump the love of money? Tune in to find out!

This movie has some of the best one-liners ever delivered in a film. Dudley Moore is amazing in a role that defines his career. Liza is delightful as the street-smart love interest. The movie gracefully dances between whimsical and dramatic all the while staying true to itself. 

Definitely worth a watch whether you're home alone or want an entertaining movie to share with a friend. 


Two summer floppers had big comebacks this weekend and both films were released by Sony. Taking the number two position was Looper, starring Premium Rush headliner Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It was awesome and will be reviewed later by guest writer, Chris Clemente!

And your champion of the weekend, setting September box office records, MISTERRRR ADAMMM SANDLERRRRRRR. That's right hot off the heals of That's My Boy, which had everyone freaking out that not only was Adam doomed but that he was taking Andy with him, the Jew du...o scored a win with Hotel Transylvania.

And honestly, the movie deserved the success. I defended That's My Boy, not so much in that it was a good movie, but that people were making too big a deal out of the implications being tied to it. Over a career, people, especially comics, will have ups and downs. Back on top are Sandler and Samberg. And Sony has no plans on letting go of Sandler, either. Head of Distribution, Rory Bruen, has said of maintaining a relationship with Sandler, "I have said that many times, and it still holds in a big way." Boom.

I really did enjoy this film. It's a kids movie which also eliminates Sandler's most annoying jokes about jacking off to old ladies and whatnot. There were some great one-liners and the animation was really used as a supplement to the jokes. Not in the sense that it had terrific effects or anything new, but that it was well done and added to the jokes instead of overshadowing them.

It was enjoyable for all ages, although there were definitely some parts that were more geared toward kids. One too many sing alongs made me wiggle in my seat. But those parts only helped to distract me from the likeness Selena Gomez's character had to Becca from Californication.

See here:

Becca/Maddy Martin-a real person

A fictional vampire voiced by Selena Gomez

I mean am I crazy or are they...

The answer is yes, yes they are.

Anyway, if you enjoy animated kids movies, I don't think you'll be disappointed by the vocal stylings of Sandler, Sanberg, Gomez, Buscemi, James, Spade, Green, and the rest. It's entertaining and a fun twist to an old tale with some good lessons cleverly mixed in. Check it out to get yourself in the Halloween mood!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Slightly delayed Monday suggestion...

I didn't want to admit this publicly, but I totally knew I'd forget to post a Monday post. I only realized it after I posted the previous post where I not so #humblebragged about Chris Messina.

Anyway, this week's suggestion is Rushmore. The second film from writer/director Wes Anderson, Rushmore is often overshadowed by Anderson's follow-up movie, The Royal Tenenbaums (definitely worth a re-watch if it's been a while. Or if you've just seen it. Actually go watch it right after Rushmore).

Co-written by Owen Wilson (as was Bottle Rockets, his first film, and the aforementioned 'baums), this film has the beginnings of the all-star cast that will become a staple of Anderson films.

Rushmore is a perfect film for people that consider themselves Andersonphilias because it simultaneously gives you a new and familiar feeling. You can see that stylisticly it will become the movies you've come to love, but it's still the early stages. Even the actors appear far younger than what you're used to. Schwartzman, the bitter lover in Darjeeling Limited is playing a love smitten school boy. And it's his scenes with Bill Murphy that really make it a joy to watch.

What an eye, what an eye

So the guy that I keep liking in all my indie flick picks from the summer is on the Mindy Project. Did I call this bro or what? Stick with me and you'll be ahead of the curve. I'm talking to you, my one follower...

Chris Messina. The brother in Ruby Sparks and the adorable love interest in Celeste and Jesse Forever. I think he's capitalizing on the Max Greenfield, funny, muscular jewish looking guy vibe that's happening right now. Next projection: episode crossover with Fox lead-in New Girl where he shows up as Max's brother.

You're welcome, Fox.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday's underrated movie

With the end of the summer comes the end of summer movies. Hence a slowdown in what there is to see.

To keep things fresh, I've decided to do a weekly entry focused on a movie I've already seen that I hope you'll try out on one of these cold, lonely, fall nights. 

I've already mentioned Hot Rod in a past post so this entry will be dedicated to Welcome to Collinwood.

Written by a writer for Community (and now the showrunner following Dan Harmon's exit), Collinwood is an ensemble movie about low level criminals trying to pull off a heist. The cast includes, Sam Rockwell, William H Macy, Patricia Clarkson (you may not recognize her by name but she's definitely been in things that she'll look familiar-Tammy One from Parks and Rec most recently and notably), Luis Guzman, young Jennifer Esposito and Gabrielle Union, and last but not least, George Motherfucking Clooney.

How awesome is Sam Rockwell, by the way? He's a scrawny, pasty, weird little dude but god damn am I attracted to him in every movie he's in. George is a gimme, so I just wanted to mention something about Sam. 

Anyway, give this Netflix Instant movie a chance when you have some free time.

Mmmm, yeah

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Andy and Rashida 4evr LYLAS HAGS

I had been reading up on this movie since the spring and they didn't decide on a release date till very late in the summer, probably around mid July. Once the date was set it obviously was just for limited release so then I had to wait another couple weeks before it came to a theater near me.

On top of all this anticipation, tremendous accolades were pouring out for Rashida Jones, star and writer. Add in  the fact that I, and everyone else, would get a chance to see Andy Samberg in a semi-serious role, hot off the heels of his SNL retirement and That's My Boy, a movie which led many entertainment buffs to question whether Andy would be doomed to mediocre fart joke movies the rest of his career, and this movie was a perfect storm of indie awesomness.

Senior Superlatives: Cutest Hipster Couple

The plot of the movie is basically a visual version of Billy Joel's Scenes from an Italian Restaurant. Basically Brenda and Eddie/Celeste and Jesse grow up as best friends throughout school and decided the marriage would be at the end of July. They started to fight when Jesse didn't want to grow up and be the man Celeste wanted as a husband and father. They got a legal separation and parted the closest of friends, still kissing goodbye and saying they love each other. Stuff makes their weird relationship get even more complicated, and without ruining it, the rest of the movie happens and then it ends.

Overall it was very good and endearing. If it hadn't been for Rashida and Andy starring, I don't think I would have liked it as much as I did, but luckily they are the stars so hazzah! Another likeable character was a love interest for Celeste played by Chris Messina...the brother I liked so much from Ruby Sparks! Yay for indie movie incest! 

My main critique stems from the loads of symbolism that is dropped on you. Not only are there symbols for all the emotions Celeste experiences (happy, sad, confused, hungry) but they hit you over the head by then explaining what the symbol you just saw means. Like, dudes, I get it. I'm at a goddamn art house cinema and I can follow some romantic comedy's storyline without sparknotes.

I definitely recommend it, if only to verify and validate Samberg as a real actor man now. I've seen many movies try to be the next 500 Days of Summer and although C&J isn't quite there, they certainly come close and put their own spin on it.


Monday, August 20, 2012

A movie suggestion

Hot Rod is a great movie and here is a rather long-winded, yet entertaining article from the A.V. Club on it. Check out the movie when you get a chance, I highly recommend it.


Monday, August 13, 2012

The Campaign

Just effing go see it. You want to see you, so just go. You won't regret it.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

AV Club discussion on expectations

So obviously this article interests me for two reasons. One being that the question posed focused on That's My Boy. Secondly, it deals with the idea of how expectations effect your feelings of a movie, but specifically negative intentions letting you enjoy it more.

Here's the topic posed:
I recently went against the collective criticism/evisceration of Adam Sandler’s recent film That’s My Boy, and saw it with a date who was a longtime Sandler fan. The critics were absolutely right about what to expect with this film: poor writing, insensitive gags, and the usual Sandler travesty. What I didn’t expect were the genuine laugh-out-loud moments. Mind you, none of it was Sandler, but rather the quick, smaller bits provided by Happy Madison’s usual crew. If I had to guess, I was pleasantly surprised because I’d already accepted that I’d hate the film, and my experience could only go up from there. I’ve heard of people being let down due to hype and anticipation, but rarely do I hear of people feeling the opposite. To this day, I’m not sure whether I was laughing at or with That’s My Boy. I’m no longer with that girl, but she did make the point of money being well-spent, because I laughed during what was meant as a comedy. So have you ever had a pop-culture experience elevated mainly due to the immense negativity attached to it? —Hanajun

Click here to read the rest: http://www.avclub.com/articles/improved-by-low-expectations,83612/

Friday, August 10, 2012

What critics think of good things

As I'm thoroughly enjoying myself as I write this blog I'm considering more heavily the possibility of getting into the field of blogging or film studies or something-I'm actually not thinking about it that much. But it's things like this video that remind me why critics generally suck and how I don't want to be trained to think like them in any facet. Anyway, David Wain just posted this on his blog and I think it's perfection.

The State: More Miserable Crap from David Wain on Vimeo.

The Amazing Mission Bourne Legacy Man Impossible

There have been many reboots and sequels this summer including a duplicate Spiderman, the third Nolan Batman, Ice Age, Men in Black and so on. The reboot of the Bourne series, The Bourne Legacy sees Jeremy Renner takes the lead and Rachel Weisz as his scared, female sidekick.

Amazingly, the commercials tell you literally every plot point of the movie. Backlash over the CIA's failure to kill Jason Bourne lead Edward Norton to "burn to the ground" the other, similar programs (hence the scene with all the agents getting bloody noses). Rachel was the doctor who escapes a shooting spree aimed at eliminating everyone who knows or was involved about the program*, codenamed Alscot or something stupid like that.

I felt the beginning was a bit contrived in just getting as many CIA looking dudes in a room to have them all fast talk about codewords that mean nothing to the audience. Ed Norton's sweet though, so I didn't mind it as much. Once Jeremy and Rachel team up the movie is much more entertaining. The action scenes were pretty good and the pace and plot were fast.

My one problem was the government sends in an agent in ANOTHER program (LARX) with the description of having more training with less of the emotional crazy that Tredstone had, or something, I forget. They never effing fought! Why would you build up the fact that Aaron is basically an X-Men (man?) and that the other guy is more trained and then not actually have them fight? UGH. Of course, Rachel has some involvement that's supposed to make you go "Yeah! You go gurl!" but immediately falls off the motorcycle and Aaron has to help her. Jimminy Jillikers! As a woman, I would have been perfectly content to watch Aaron jujitsu his ass instead.

But whatever, all in all it's worth checking out and if they continue the franchise I'll be more than happy to watch Renner. I'm glad his career's doing so well and he's certainly making a name for himself in the action category with his stints in Mission Impossible 4 and The Avengers. Hopefully he mixes in some serious roles which made me think he was a creepster like with The Town. If they're ever able to get back the former director, Paul Greengrass,  Matt Damon has said he'd also come back. Jeremy and Matt together would be a fucking awesome sequel that probably no one would complain about.

"What are you doing over there? Can I help? I'm a doctor so I can help if you want. Jimminy Jillikers!"

*Now obviously, the shooting at the Dark Knight Rises premier was tragic. It's amazing how studios respond to events like that, though. The studio behind Ryan Gosling's upcoming gangster movie, Gangster Squad, decided a scene in which a theater is shot up would be in poor taste and are thusly reshooting some parts and pushing back the release date. Similarly, Ben Stiller's latest, The Watch, was originally titled Neighborhood Watch but was renamed in the wake of Trayvon Martin. Whether these are necessary changes or are being done as a veiled attempt at honoring the victims and survivors is a point of conversation. Do these types of gestures really do anything or are they simply trying to cover their asses from the people looking to sue for emotional duress (who do exist and are suing WB for the Aurora masacre)? Anyway, there's a shooting spree at the medical facility in Bourne and the masterminds behind it were the United States government. I haven't heard any people causing an uproar about this scene which seems even more controversial than Gangster Squad's due to the fact that the government was behind it and used the "lone gunman" as a cover. As cheesy as this is, it reminded me of The Joker's speech in The Dark Knight when he tells Harvey Dent that no one gets upset when things "go according to plan" such as a roadside bomb killing soldiers in the Middle East, or more relavent, a lone gunman who seemed normal suddenly snaps and kills innocent people. Are we at the point where movies that place the CIA in the role of genocidal puppetmasters considered part of the plan? As an aside from my aside, I always thought it was good of Nolan not to alter the scene of The Joker in a body bag in TDK. Many thought he would get rid of it due to the actor's death prior to the release, but he said nay. Getting rid of a scene like that wouldn't have honored his memory or done anything to change what happened to Heath. The real honor is presevering the movie he worked so hard on.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The real origins film

I just read this article on UPROXX and had to post it. A reader of the blog found the 1930 film called The Bat Whispers (based off a play called "The Bat") on Youtube and edited it with music from Nolan's Batman series. Bob Kane used the film as a major source for inspiration for the comic. Definitely worth a watch and you can click here to read the whole article.

A Blogger's post on second viewings

Here's an article on unreality discussing five movies that he enjoyed more on the second viewing. http://unrealitymag.com/index.php/2012/08/07/five-movies-i-didnt-love-until-the-second-viewing/

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ruby Sparks

A good judge of how much I liked a movie is whether I turn on the radio for the drive home. Do I get in and immediately turn it on or do I drive home in silence and think about what I just saw? For Ruby, I drove home with no sound other than my own voice using the voice memo device on my phone so I could remember anecdotes for this entry.

Ruby Sparks is Stranger Than Fiction meets Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (yes I said that in the memo last night). The premise is that a writer, Paul Dano, writes a story about a girl who comes to life. He grapples with the problems posed by his ability to make her do whatever he writes on paper and the repercussions that come from writing too vaguely or too specifically. Much like that episode of Treehouse of Horror or Ashton Kutcher's Butterfly Effect (which I never saw but heard was quite good).

I didn't think much from seeing the previews. Then I started reading not only about how great it is but also about the background of the making of it. You see, the writer of the movie plays the girlfriend that the writer in the film dreamed of and she was writing it to star her real life boyfriend to play the writer that creates her. Wait, I can do better: The actress that plays the imaginary girlfriend is the actual girlfriend of the guy that plays the writer in the movie and she wrote the movie about a guy creating a girl. Once more: Paul Dano, the writer in the movie, is dating Zoe Kazan, the actress that plays the girlfriend in the film. Kazan wrote the screenplay along with Dano, knowing that he would play the writer and she the girlfriend. That's cool. What caught my eye more was the fact that the people that did Little Miss Sunshine haven't done anything since and decided to do this film immediately.

The movie was fantastic. Every character was endearing and well played. Dano and Kazan brought their off-screen love to the film. Annette Bening and Antonia Banderas have a Meet the Parents-ish scene playing Dano's quirky mom and stepdad. I knew I'd like this movie when at the start, Dano's brother, played by Chris Messina, is reading the early draft of Dano's story (the one that will eventually manifest a woman) and warns him that a girl with lots of quirks is actually not appealing to an audience because women like that don't really exist. That's been my exact problem with all these indie films this summer. The girls are these free spirited women that make their uptight male counterparts feel alive but by the end of the movie they just seem like they're mentally disabled (KIERA KNIGHTLEY AHH)

Well, having exhausted all the points from my memo I'll leave with just the high recommendation to check out, Ruby Sparks.

Second movie in a row with spotlight swimming. At least this was nudity free

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Watch

I feel like a dink because I keep enjoying the mainstream movies more than the indie ones. To be fair, the indie ones have sucked. Either way, I really enjoyed The Watch, starring Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and a few cameos that really made the movie sweet.

First off, Vince Vaughn was in his fucking element with this one. Clearly was just given the direction to be "Bob: the loud, lovable neighborly man" and he went with it. Jonah Hill I feel is trying to find his place now that he's not a) fat and b) a kid. He was amazing in his early roles like Accepted and Superbad but he seems as if he actually lost his confidence along with his weight. Hopefully he figures his niche out; I'm sure he will.

Will Forte plays an annoying police sergeant and The Lonely Island make a quick but sweet appearance. Akiva directed it so it's not surprising. Also as a sidenote, I really enjoy Akiva directed movies (Hot Rod, anyone?). And Seth Rogan helped write it so you know there's just a shit-ton of comedy groups colliding (Lonely Island + Judd Apatow group + Anchorman/Dodgeball group =awesome).

It's also not too Ben Stiller-y for those that don't find him funny or are weary after his last few ventures.

Definitely worth checking out before the summer's over!

Vaughn's Oh face

Take This Bush

Ok, the actual title is Take This Waltz but there were so many full frontal scenes that I took some blogtistic liberties. If you want a total, I'll say it's more than once you see Michelle Williams totes nekkid and that's basically all you need to know about how many times. Throw in a gym shower scene with Sarah Silverman and lots of old woman and I pretty much cancelled out any good mental images from Magic Mike.

The movie was a major disappointment. My problem with all these indie, arthouse films is that to make the leading lady seem interesting they end up going too far and just make her really awkward and weird. Here, Michelle Williams plays wife to Seth Rogan but falls for her neighbor. For two hours the lovahs dance (OH I GET THE TITLE NOW) the fine line between physical and emotional adultery.

Good for Seth Rogan, though, because he does a great job. Any scene without him was absolutely contrived and lagged. TWO old women, not together, walked out during a scene with the two lovahs describing how they would bang each other. Good think they didn't stick around for any of the actual love scenes.

I knew the movie would be heavy going in but that's not what bothered me. IT WAS SO SLOW! Seriously, all I looked forward to was Seth's goofy laugh.

Definitely pass on this one unless you feel like watching some spotlight swimming and Michelle Williams go to the bathroom a bunch of times.

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises

Folks, I'mma be serious for this one. Batman has always been important to me and seeing the finale of the trilogy was a big moment. Lot of weird feelings deep inside that weren't hungry or horny and even some salty deposits came from my eyes. Crossing this one off The List was a bitter sweet moment.

I saw The Dark Knight Rises last night at midnight. Not only that, but the day started at noon with the two Michael Keaton/Tim Burton movies and then at 6pm in the theaters we began Batman Begins and The Dark Knight in succession. I sat in the audience with some of my best friends with whom I had see the other films and countless trailers and articles, and it really felt like a journey was coming to a close. It was surreal.

Watching BB and TDK in theaters again and right after each other made me and my movie-going peers realize just how awesome they really are. We even got into a discussion of whether BB is better than TDK. That may seem silly, but seriously it's an awesome movie and people forget about it.

The crowd was very into it. Clapping and cheering at the start and end of each film. When the real previews began before TDKR moans came with each new preview screen as people readied themselves for the movie to finally begin.

And what a movie. I'll fully admit I wasn't as into the foreplay, if you will, of this film as TDK. The viral campaign for the middle child was unreal and got me so pumped up. Because this one had so much anticipation, I suppose they weren't forced to do such an in-depth marketing campaign to get people interested. All Nolan and co. needed to do was to live up to the hype.

I won't say much because I don't want to even hint at a potential spoiler. I will say that I plan on seeing it in theaters at least once more so I can fully grasp everything going on. The ending is arguably the best I've ever seen, and surely an epic wrap-up to an amazing trilogy.

All the fears around casting decisions, like with fears over Eckhart and Ledger before, were completely wiped out. Everything was perfection. It has a different pacing and it's probably even darker than the others, but in the end you'll walk out feeling speechless and satisfied. Just like how I like my women.

Before the premier an employee of the theater came out and gave out prizes for people answering trivia questions about the movies. One question was this: Nolan has one-word themes for all three movies; can you name them? The answer was fear, chaos, and pain. But I disagree. After seeing this movie I think the central theme is hope.

Then I got this tattoo
My blog is up there, guys

Sunday, July 15, 2012


Seeing as this movie's been out for a while I'm sure I'm not saying anything new. I highly recommend Ted and thoroughly enjoyed it. Mark Wahlberg can literally do no wrong ever since that movie Shooter. Mila Kunis is as hot as ever (except she always had on way too much make-up, even in those just-got-out-of-the-shower scenes). Sweet guest spots added to Ted, instead of detracted from like in That's My Boy. 

Even though I've never been a Seth McFarlane fan in terms of animation, the man is definitely talented and his directorial debut is worth seeing this summer!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

To Rome with a Woody

To Rome with Love, Woody Allen's newest European romp following his hit and very entertaining Midnight in Paris, was an enjoyable visit through different love stories in the Eternal City. A stacked cast of Alec Baldwin, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig, Ellen Page, Woody, Penelope Cruz, and Roberto Benigni.

The love stories don't take a Love, Actually twist and end up being intertwined, yet each does showcase a different dilemma or aspect of love relationships. There's the newlywed couple, the old couple, the newly engaged couple, and a prostitute (guess who plays that role).

The audience make-up was noticeably older, especially coming from a showing of Spiderman directly before it. I couldn't help but think of the arguments made about the demographics of movies the article from Salon covered. It basically discusses the arguments that the younger demographic isn't seeing movies as much because so many are coming out but that makes the movie companies increase prices which forces the younger audiences away even more. They point to movies that are geared toward adults as being profitable, just as long as they're good and new enough to make adults go to the theaters to see them. Paris and Rome both fit that latter description.

The scenery of Rome and the many conversations spoken completely in Italian do add a lovely feel to the film and makes you long to visit the city. If you like Woody Allen type films and want to try a movie that isn't a sequel or remake, check out To Rome with Love.

Amazing Spiderman

First up in my double movie day I saw the reboot of Spiderman. I don't have much to add beyond what everyone else has said and knows: it's a duplicate of the first origan story. However, I think that those who didn't like Tobey's take would enjoy Andrew Garfield's. Plus Emma Stone is always going to win out over Kirsten Dunst. Add in Sally Field, Martin Sheen, Rhys Ifans, and Dennis Leary, and baby, you got yourself a stew going!

Literally, everything was identical to the first. They set up Andy as a dork in high school after his earlier years of going to live with his Uncle and Aunt following a break in at his dad's scientific research office. He gets bitten and wakes up uncertain of why he is acting so strangely. Goes to school and gets revenge on the school bully. The mentor he was confiding science gobbledigook ends up being the bad guy he's chasing. 

I can't believe I'm admitting this but some scenes did get me to tear up so that has to speak to something. Maybe when the city of New York banded together to help Spidey it just reminded me so much of the ending to Ghostbusters 2 when everyone sings along with Lady Liberty so the pink goo goes away that I couldn't contain myself. 

It is entertaining though so you won't be disappointed at all but if you're going to be bothered but the similarities you may want to hold your money till it comes to video.

Monday, July 9, 2012

An interesting read...

...if anyone cares to read about theories on why adults don't go to the movies as much.

Does Hollywood Hate Adults

Your Sister's Sister's brother's former roommate

Your Sister's Sister was a preview I saw before Safety Not Guaranteed, both starring Mark Duplass. I enjoyed Safety so much (in particular Duplass's performance) that I really wanted to see Sister. This is the first film of the summer that has exceeded expectations for me. I laughed, I cried, I literally did both these things, and I highly recommend it.

This film is what Lola Versus attempted to be. The reason it succeeded was because it felt more realistic by simplifying itself, whereas Lola tried to be too young and deal with too many issues. Perhaps it was the small cast of only 3 or perhaps it's because we were watching how grown ups deal with issues, but everything felt genuine. Even though the specifics of the plot may not happen to everyone in their lifetime, the conversations and relationship interactions have. Even the drunk conversation was as if they recorded a man and woman talking about an ex over a bottle of tequila and then had Duplass and Rosemarie DeWitt reenact it. I'm sure the improvisational manner the movie was filmed in added to the authenticity from its stars.

The sweet theater at Coolidge Corner showing Your Sister's Sister
The plot revolves around Jack (Duplass) taking his best friend (Emily Blunt) up on an offer to clear his head at her dad's cabin after his shitty year since his brother's death. When he gets there, he meets and then sleeps with Blunt's half sister. Turns out Blunt is in love with Duplass so obviously this creates conflict. Duplass once again is the guy next door who wins you over with his smile and charm. The ladies also do a wonderful job without crossing over into either the whiney or crazy spectrums.

Also awesome: Birbigs!! It's no secret that I've been following comic Mike Birbiglia since his first Comedy Central special and have seen him live throughout the country at least a dozen times. It was awesome to see him act in a role more beyond a waiter in Cedar Rapids (and I'm very excited to see his movie, Sleepwalk With Me later this summer!). He was also involved in the making of the movie, which I'm sure added to my enjoyment.

It's not in many theaters, but if you have the time, I highly suggest checking out Emily, Mark, Mike, and Rosemarie in Your Sister's Sister.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Magic Grundle

I couldn't say it with a straight face when I exited the theater but god dammit I meant it: I really liked Magic Mike.

No wax on, only wax off

Steven Soderbergh works his storytelling magic (not a pun) yet again. He does a great job of subtly giving character and plot background and context that he is able to avoid cheesy or drawn out dialogue.  It moves at a good pace and every actor was well cast.

Only 1 dick is shown and it's through a pump so you don't see any veins or hairs or dick-like characteristics. Lots of boobies and lots of men's shaking asses. If I remember correctly I believe there is 1 penis to 7 breasts.

I was squirming awkwardly in my seat for many of the scenes but clearly this was an unconscious bodily defense mechanism because I was thoroughly enjoying myself. Channing was funny and did a solid acting job while performing double duty as producer. I had only heard of Alex Pettyfer from I Am Number Four and Beastly and hadn't seen either. Perez Hilton informed me that he's a dick which used to make me think ill of him. I don't give a shit anymore. He is so gorgeous I'm surprised he hasn't murdered people and gotten away with it. Much of these good vibes can be attributed to the first scene he's in, doing an adorable impression of Arnold Schwartzenager (I'm not going to look up how to spell his name and just assume I nailed it on the first try). So cute and funny and then the asslesss chaps were just the icing on the hairless body cake.

Anyway, girls should definitely go see it. God I can't believe you aren't seeing it right now. Guys, I'm not going to lie, you probably don't want to see this. It's definitely a good movie but there are just so many shots of men bent over and Matty McCon splitting that you'll lose the image of Olivia Munn's boobs from your mental sight.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Timur Bekmambetov: Awesome Movie Killer

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is a super, super sweet book and regardless of what you think of the movie, I highly recommend reading it.

I'm going to fuck up the movie riiiiight there. And there and there and there.
I'm sure I was expecting something different from the movie, having read the book. Since the book's author, Seth Grahame-Smith, penned the screenplay, I assumed it would follow a similar, albeit shortened, plot. I also prayed that director Timur Bekmambetov couldn't fuck it up like he did with Wanted, but I was also wrong in that regard.

Because of overall negative reviews, I went in knowing there would be many cheesy, odd parts. Even knowing that, I still feel disappointed. Along with the plot changes, the B-man did what he did with Wanted. I can't fully put it into words but as you're watching the training and fight scenes you just know it's by the same dude. Man, Wanted was so goddamn bad. Still pissed. The screenwriting abilities of Grahame-Smith in adapting his own novel makes me doubt his potential for his work on the Beetlejuice sequel.

For those that aren't familiar with the plot or can't figure it out from the name of the film, this is the hidden history of President Lincoln as a vampire hunter. Basically picture Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, except less religious. It establishes the real reason for the Civil War as a means of eliminating slaves as pray for the vampire elite of the deep south. The book was so enjoyable because of how much history was involved, but they completely take that aspect out of the film. They also change the sweet ending of the book to something lame for the film. Ugh.

With the exception of one of the McPoyle brothers and Steve the Pirate, the cast is mostly unknowns (Mary Todd is played by the actress that was Bruce Willis's daughter in Live Free or Die Hard, for example).

There are many over-the-top fight scenes that left the audience laughing, but one stood out as super stupid. Lincoln is chasing a vampire on horseback. If you're picturing a scene of two men riding on horses you're totally wrong. It's two men JUMPING ON THE BACKS OF HORSES CHASING EACH OTHER! LIKE RUNNING ON MOVING HORSES IN A STAMPEDE!

There's one other annoying thing I wan to rant about...if the vampires can be invisible, why would they become visible right before they attack? It leaves them dead 100% of the time.

The 3D doesn't really add anything so you can save your money there. If you go in knowing it's going to be goofy (and you haven't read the book) you'll probably enjoy it, but you'll probably want to just save your money.

PS- Bekmambetov's next movie is Wanted 2. FUUUUUUUCK

Friday, June 22, 2012

Seeking Anyone Other Than Kiera Knightly

No but seriously, anyone but Kiera might have done for Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. Starring Steve Carell and K dubs, the duo deal with the three remaining weeks left before the world ends.

I had been looking forward to this movie for a while. Steve has been a solid actor choice for me since Dan in Real Life (even though no critic likes it, oh well, dicks) and his last one was awesome (Crazy, Stupid, Love, Gosling). However, this movie just didn't do it for me. Much like my earlier post about expectations effecting the experience, I went in thinking this would be an indie funny, feel good while something bad happens film. Instead, it ends up being pretty heavy for most of the time. That sounds obvious when you're talking about a film revolving around an asteroid obliterating the human race, but the commercials are so damn chipper!

Everyone in the film has their own ways of coping with imminent doom. The pair encounter all these people while on a journey to reunite Dodge (Carell) with a long lost love somewhere in NJ. In return, Penny (Knightley) wants to fly back to England to be with her family. Alright, makes sense. It's a shame they didn't stick with that interplay and bigness theme because the movie slows way down and becomes an odd love story that doesn't really ever seem real.

Knightley is there to help Carell's character be less sad, depressing, and woe-is-me-y, but she just seems like she has minor Asperger's Syndrome. Distractingly so (as was her snaggle tooth and hair). Anyway, here are my suggestions for other free spirited female characters that could have played the role that was given to the woman with the most depressing plot-line in Love, Actually:

Mr. F played by Charlize Theron. She can do an English accent, if for some reason that was the selling point to Kiera. She's gorgeous so you don't get too distracted by an actual Brit's teeth. She's already classified retarded so there's no question in your mind, unlike with Kiera. 

Mila Kunis in Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Uptight Dodge needed someone to make him be crazy and forget about past mistakes that are getting him down. Mila did it in a fun way that didn't seem like she has zero social skills.

Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine. Again, you have the free-form lady that captivates her leading male. Yet NOT RETARDED. That's basically the only criteria.

As much as it pains me to say it, I just can't recommend Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. But maybe now that you know it's a heavy film (seriously, didn't laugh. Maybe a couple of ha's under my breath), you can go in fully prepared and love it. Or maybe I'll watch it again in a few months and change my mind.

Either way, see you again in Anchorman 2, Stevesie.

Hotel Motel Adam Sandler

The trailer for Adam Sandler's Hotel Transylvania came out and it looks good! Hazzah! Looks like there's lots of big names but not in the normal Happy Madison Productions kind of way. And my wet dream team is back with Adam and Andy at vocal odds with each other!

Totally check it out, you know?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My review of the Avengers

These covers are what the movie felt like for me

Can't believe everyone liked it as much as they did. Oh well.

Taken 2: It's like Taken but with the mom instead of the daughter!! Oh, and also the daughter

Taken was fucking awesome. If Rotten Tomatoes did an aggregate of written words, that would be how the movie is summarized 100% of the time. Which obviously means the studio wants to do a sequel. Which then led to everyone's reaction to be "is his daughter going to get taken again? What a dumb slut."

Well, the trailer has been released and for the first minute I was convinced it was going to be pretty sweet but have the plot be just different enough that it's worth paying to see. Then the mom gets taken and it appears they just did the old copy/paste move from the original screenplay. Maybe, if we're lucky, an intern messed up the keyboard commands and also pasted half of The Hangover 2 right in the middle of it so it's some cool mashup of identical sequels. Or for a throwback comparison, here's Milhouse explaining the plot of both Speed and Speed 2: I couldn't find the video of it.

To be fair, I wrote those two paragraphs when I paused the trailer at the halfway point so just give me a second to watch the rest of it. Yup, no it's the exact same movie. Except I think a producer said "hey, those scenes when Liam threatens people really worked so let's add more phone dialogue!"

Take a look below

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Snow White and the Huntsman

After a string of indie films, my boyfriend and I decided on a cross-country movie date involving something a little more summer-y and easy going on the mind: Snow White and the Huntsman.

Not much to say except that it's what you'd expect. Some major plot holes that you just have to say "oh well" to otherwise there wouldn't be a movie. Cute spins on the original story (although in my head I kept getting the different damsel folklore mixed up and thinking I was watching Red Riding Hood).

My main problem was the emphasis on White's "innocence" being the downfall of the evil queen. There were lots of other really sweet, innocent girls in the film that the queen easily overcame and by the end of the movie White was kissing dudes and stabbing people, so they kind of just glossed over what made her special aside from just telling us that she is.

Another change from the indies is the run time! The movie clocks in at 127 minutes and add in all the previews (which were way sweeter than watching the same Kendall Square previews for the third day in a row) and you're in the theater closer to 3 hours than 2.

Bottom line is: Chris Hemsworth is sweet, Kristen Stewart looks confused/scared a lot, Charlize is gorgeous, and the movie's entertaining enough to get you out of the summer heat for a couple hours.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Lola Versus

For a film that's only 86 minutes long, Lola Versus sure felt a lot longer. From the production company of 500 Days of Summer, a movie that was clearly written by someone that survived a brutal break up, Lola seems to be written by a person in real-time break-up mode. You know the scene in The Wedding Singer when Adam Sandler sings to Drew Barrymore a song that was half written while he was in a relationship and half written after the break-up? Lola is the movie version of that song.

It's unfortunate because the film definitely had potential. Lola, played by Greta Gerwig, turns 29 and gets engaged to her long-term boyfriend. Weeks before the wedding he ends it. Lola relies on her best friends (Henry and Alice) and her funky parents. Bill Pullman is an adorable father, by the way. Up till this point the pacing felt fine and everything was on track. 

The movie fluctuates between being predictable, real, frustrating, and unrealistic. Lola battles friend hookups, re-establishing ties with an ex, friends hooking up, old hook ups hooking up. It takes on too much and doesn't get to the meat of any of them.

I think the biggest problem was with the timeframe, or lackthereof. This is what I think the timeframe was: She gets engaged on her 29th birthday, they're engaged for 9 months, then everything falls apart and is resolved by her 30th. WHAT?! If we're honestly dealing with a three month window then that's insane. Hopefully, I'm wrong. But if I am wrong, the movie should have done a better job to let me know what the real time was.

One of the good elements of the film was the gorgeous backdrop of the city and Greta's always perfect hair
This movie hit very close to home for me. I was definitely thinking of the unsuccessful relationships I've had, the successful relationship I'm in, and the complexities that arise from the interplay of friend groups (love you, babe!). But coming to a solution about whether you should be friends with an ex or fixing what happens after hook-ups go awry aren't solved within weeks of each other. And certainly not with everyone able to be in one room together as besties again.

The climatic, finding-herself montage was eerily similar to the Bridesmaids meltdown suffered by Kristen Wiig. However, Wiig's spiral felt more realistic and sincere. Lola's comes after a very bizarre scene leading to only more bizarre scenes. While at a housewarming party hosted by her two ex-lovers, her "friends" confront her about her selfish ways. They then get mad at her for reacting poorly to the news that her best friends had been secretly dating for two weeks. Ugh. I think the girl's allowed to be self-loathing and sad for longer than a couple months when her relationship of 8 years just fell apart. But equally retarded for trying to be friends with him so quickly.

None of the characters seem to grow or learn anything, contrary to what the final scene tries to suggest. And I'm not talking about a needing happy ending with everything neatly resolved. The ending of 500 didn't come with the two stars getting back together and living happily ever after. But it did come with a feeling that life moves on and you need to trust yourself to get through the hard times. Movies need to be relatable but transportable. It needs to make you see yourself in the future.

There's just too much missing from Lola Versus to make it worthwhile, which is sad because I wanted it to be so much more. It tackled a lot of issues, ranging from girl-friend friendships, guy-friend friendships, ex's, moving on, finding yourself, and mending fences. Touch on less and expand on it more with those 86 minutes, and baby, you got yourself a stew going.