28 December 2010

27 Dec - "He hates these cans!"

The Jerk (1979)

dir. Carl Reiner

CAST
Steve Martin (It's Complicated, 2009)
Bernadette Peters (Anastasia (voice), 1997)
M. Emmet Walsh (Romeo + Juliet, 1996)
Carl Gottlieb (Clueless, 1995)
Bill Macy (The Holiday, 2006)

On Christmas there was a Freaks and Geeks marathon on IFC, which I alternated watching with the Mythbusters marathon on Discovery Channel. F+G is on my netflix queue (I'll start watching it after I finish the third season of The Tudors, I'm DYING to discover what becomes of Anne of Cleves), so I though I'd get the one-up, but one thing those nerds are always talking about is 1) The Jerk, 2) Stripes, 3) Caddyshack, so when I saw The Jerk on TV, I tuned in.

First of all, can anyone prove to me that Steve Martin was ever young? He must be one of those guys who went gray in his 20s, or else something frightened him very badly as a child. One time my cat got sick and I had to feed him with a syringe connected to a tube that the vet stuck into his neck, and his whole face went white (he's one of those Siamese cats with the black faces), but then he got better and his colors went back to normal. Evidently Mr. Martin was not so lucky.

This is like a slapstick comedy, and it's pretty funny, but ultimately, not my cup of tea. I enjoyed it, but I was not guffawing the whole time. I can see why the boys on that TV show liked it.

On another note, I decided to remove all incidences of the label "female protagonist." Because that shouldn't matter, right? I didn't have a label for "male protagonist," because all too often the neutral gaze is assumed to be male, specifically, a white male. It reminds me of a creative writing class I took in college, and we read a classmate's assignment and were discussing it, and I pointed out that it wasn't until almost the end of the story when some line of narrative made evident that the protagonist of the story was Asian, and it was surprising, maybe a little jarring, because until that point I had tacitly assumed she was white. The other anglos in the class, even the teacher, agreed that they noticed the same thing. We had a whole conversation it. So anyway, no more of that, ok?

27 December 2010

26 Dec - "You call that a knife?"

Crocodile Dundee (1986)
dir. Peter Faiman

CAST
Paul Hogan (Flipper, 1996)
Linda Kozlowski (Village of the Damned, 1995)
Mark Blum (Desperately Seeking Susan, 1985)






Crocodile Dundee II (1988)

dir. John Cornell

CAST
Paul Hogan
Linda Kozlowski
Luis Guzmán (Punch Drunk Love, 2002)
Juan Fernández (Arachnophobia, 1990)
Stephen Root (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, 1992)

Oh gosh, you guys, sorry about the extended hiatus, but I just couldn't bring myself to blog about the myriad Christmas movies I've been watching (topping the charts: A Muppet Christmas Carol (1992), starring the inimitable Michael Cain). Last night, however, I watched a pair of films of such cinematic excellence that they could not be denied comment.

I may have mentioned before that this is my favorite era of film. Because it still hasn't lost that theatrical aspect of older movies and yet everyone seems so excited about being modern. Of course Bret Easton Ellis's (omigosh I did it again) take on the same era is completely different. He saw the opulence, the modernity, and the high-society lifestyle as something very sinister and corrupting, while the movies I prefer are full of adventure and optimism. And yet you still get echoes of that darkness in Crocodile, I could see Richard, Sue's yuppie boyfriend that she ultimately dumps for Mick Dundee, having an alternate life not unlike Patrick Bateman. Similarly, Sue takes Mick to a high-class cocktail party where everyone is phony and superficial, and a man in the back room is snorting cocaine and Mick naively thinks he has the flu. By the time we get to the sequel, Mick has acclimated to city life, but many of the social mores and regulations remain illusory (The second movie opens with Mick fishing with dynamite on the East River, and the police laugh it off and let him get about his business. Mick copes with the culture shock by transforming New York into the Australian Outback, and playing by the rules that were applicable there, when he interacts with others, who at first don't understand him, he allows them to enter into HIS reality, and they are soon behaving in ways that would have been unusual).

The plots of both stories are a bit contrived, the second (in which the couple is being pursued by Columbian drug lords across the outback) more so than the first (in which a newspaper pays a reporter to interview some random dude in Australia and also pays for his visit to New York City). My favorite scene is at the end of the first movie where Mick and Sue are playing telephone with some colorful characters on a crowded subway platform. This is where Sue confesses that she loves Mick. I love it even more because as soon as this happens the movie ends on a sudden freeze frame with no denouement whatsoever.

One website pointed out that this movie is the only reason for the success of the Outback Steakhouse franchise. I guess that makes sense, they've sort of been riding the Australian fetish for a long time, I don't even think Olive Garden rubs it's ethnicity in your face that much. Of course, the "wild man" aesthetic will NEVER lose its appeal. Even in these movies, where you think it would be obvious enough, FREQUENT references are made to Tarzan, just in case you forgot why lean, wiry Paul Hogan with his leathery face and clear blue eyes was totally irresistible to New York urbanite professional Sue Somethingoranother. It's because he's REAL, he's ADVENTUROUS, and all those parties where the men look like women and the women are ambiguous (unless you're wearing a cocktail dress that leaves nothing to the imagination) and nobody ever says what they really mean and no matter how polite you are you still might be a sick fucker who murders a prostitute or your best friend at the end of the night, well, that stuff just sucks and I think if given a choice between staying in that cesspool or moving to the Outback with a dude who owns a goldmine, there wouldn't even be a contest.

I've probably overanalyzed this. But you know, I like movies about the 1980s.

19 December 2010

17 Dec - "If I have to hear any more of his ridiculous owl jokes..."

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (2010)
dir. Zack Snyder

VOICES
Jim Sturgess (21, 2008)
Helen Mirren (National Treasure:Book of Secrets, 2007)
Sam Neill (Jurassic Park, 1993)
Geoffrey Rush (Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, 2003)
Hugo Weaving (The Wolfman, 2010)

You'll recall I have been eagerly awaiting watching Legend of the Guardians since I first heard of it. Well, I finally got to watch it On Demand last night and you know, it exceeded all of my expectations.

I guess there was never a big fuss about this movie because no one (well, presumably some people) ever heard of the books it was based on. I'd like to point out that even though Legend of the Guardians was based on THREE books in a larger series, the plot still flowed smoothly and unforced, unlike certain adaptations of novels concerning schools of witchcraft and wizardry.

Besides being about owls (which are awesome) what we've got here is a classic adventure story about a group of misfits teaming up to defeat a great evil. Isn't that the essential formula behind The Goonies (1985), Lord of the Rings (published 1954), and Star Wars (1977)? Not that this is even almost as awesome as one of those movies, but I think they could all hang out at the same cafeteria table, get it?

The story is about a young barn owl named Soren, who is kidnapped with his brother Kludd (obviously sinister) by some race-supremacist owls who think that barn owls should rule over all other owl kingdoms. This is a picture of barn owls. Kludd, who has self-esteem issues (I think of him like the younger brother in American History X (1998)), swiftly turns to the dark side, but Soren makes a gallant escape with a super cute elf owl (elf owls live in cacti) They team up with a burrow owl and another kind of owl (??) yo seek the help of a legendary group of owl warriors sworn to protect owl kind, but end up playing a critical role in rescuing masses of enslaved owlets (those are baby owls) from the evil Pure Ones (those are the villains I referenced before). So you've got a great good v. evil, triumph of the underdog kind of story. Great success.

15 December 2010

Dec 13 - "Are you glad to see me, or is that a shotgun in your pocket?"

Scrooged (1988)

dir. Richard Donner (The Goonies, 1985)

CAST
Bill Murray (City of Ember, 2008)
Karen Allen (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981)
Carol Kane (Jawbreaker, 1999)
Robert Mitchum (Out of the Past, 1947)
Sachi Parker (Back to the Future, 1985)

On the list of underrated Christmas movies, Scrooged tops the chart. Of course, everything Bill Murray is in (besides Garfield) is worth watching several times over, he probably has other Christmas movies that I can't even remember right now. This one is about a dickish guy who gets visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve and subsequently decides to change the way he lives his life, who can't get behind that? My favorite ghost was always the Ghost of Christmas Present, and Carol Kane plays that one very well. She's funny and she hits Bill Murray a lot. I presume you all know about A Christmas Carol, so I don't think i need to go into any great detail. It's December, so everyone needs to be watching Christmas movies. Try this one.

14 December 2010

Dec 12 - "I have never known anybody who actually believed that I was enough"

Love and Other Drugs (2010)
dir. Edward Zwick (Glory, 1989)

CAST
Jake Gyllenhaal (Jarhead, 2005)
Anne Hathaway (Alice in Wonderland, 2010)
Oliver Platt (Lake Placid, 1999)
Judy Greer (Jawbreaker, 1999)
Hank Azaria (Pretty Woman, 1990)
Jill Clayburgh (Running with Scissors, 2006)
Kimberley Scott (Flatliners, 1990)

I've begun that bad habit where I end up seeing movies that I EXPLICITLY pointed out not wanting to see. I saw this one a few days ago with my stepmother and my aunt, and I can't remember any lines from the movie to put in the blog title, and since it's so new I can't look up any lines on the internet.

So I had to go to the movies with my Aunt Holly and my Stepmother Sarah. I thought: Oh! Let us view Love and Other Drugs for some innocuous fun times! Aunt Holly invited a septuagenarian friend!

And here's why you have to do your research before heading to the cinema, everybody: 1) Cyrus was not very funny at all; 2) Love and Other Drugs has a LOT of sex in it. And bare asses. And so many breasts. SO I was a little chagrined to see so much nudity and getting-it-on with relatives present. But actually, Aunt Holly is a good sport and went off on how Anne Hathaway talked about her nude scenes with Jay Leno but that Jake Gyllenhaal seemed more reticent to do so.

On the whole, I could see how much of this sexiness was important to further the story. However, I think a few times, like the part where Gyllenhaal's character
and his brother (I just realized that the female lead has no friends) go to a "pajama party" which only functions to drive home the point that neither is into chasing skirts anymore.

The female characters, besides Hathaway's, are all shallow and transparent. They are either conventionally pretty or else pointedly unattractive (Sorry, Judy Greer, I still like you). Either way, they are falling over themselves to impress Gyllenhaal (The one lady who rejects him, a successful pharmaceutical rep., does an abrupt about face near the end and gets its on with Gyllenhaal and another lady). Basically, all women are interchangeable and whorish, except Anne Hathaway's character because she is "scared of being vulnerable." Because only reclusive artists can have emotional pain, right? It couldn't be that Judy Greer's receptionist character had some shit going down inside her as well. Because she's plain, and acts nice to her friends anyway, and smiles when she meets a cute fella'. Whatever.

My LEAST FAVORITE trope in film = The free spirit. (I hope i didn't go off about this already)
Guilty Parties
1) Natalie Portman as "Sam" in Garden State (2004)
2) Zooey Deschanel as "Summer" in (500) Days of Summer (2009)
3) Charlize Theron as "Sara" in Sweet November (2001) - I suppose the same could be said for Sandy Dennis in the 1968 original, but in my opinion that movie invented the trope, so it doesn't count as derivative (Like your grandmothers occasional racist slur, old things can be forgiven a multitude of sins).
4. all of them!

13 December 2010

Dec 11- "I saw a guy at the state fair that was a little bit bigger"

What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)
dir. Lasse Hallström

CAST
Johnny Depp (Benny & Joon, 1993)
Leonardo DiCaprio (The Quick and the Dead, 1995)
Juliette Lewis (From Dusk Till Dawn, 1996)
John C. Reilly (Cyrus, 2010)
Mary Steenburgen (Elf, 2003)
Crispin Glover (Dead Man, 1995)

I pulled an old favorite out of my PERSONAL DVD COLLECTION because I put netflix on hold for the holidays. Let me first say that this movie is iconic Johnny Depp to me. I think what always gets me is how everyone keep telling Gilbert, "you gotta do better." Because poor Gilbert isn't just responsible for his own mistakes, but he has to take care of everyone else too. So there's thing buildup of responsibility and guilt that's really kind of a bummer. I guess it's a good movie for anyone who's feeling stuck in place, because the end moral seems to be that you have excise all of the dead weight, burn your home to the ground and start all over again. Or maybe it's that the confines in which we find ourselves are in fact artificial. You get wedged in so tight that you forget that leaving is still a viable option. I dunno - I'm getting allegorical.

So this has some great performances by Johnny, obviously. And Leo DiCaprio plays the retarded younger brother, and I've read some interviews about him playing this role and I don't remember the details but that it was interesting. This might have been his first major film. My major criticism is that they changed the character Becky from the book into an older, hippy-dippy free-spirit type. While in the novel she was younger than Gilbert, self-involved and meaner. The opposite of hyper-responsible Gilbert and she leaves him at the end. Juliette Lewis plays a nice Becky, and so I'm not sure why she likes Gilbert so much.

This is kind of a lousy entry, considering this is one of my favorite movies. I'm guess I'm just in a gloomy-gus mood. Sorry, gang.

09 December 2010

9 Nov- "Who ever told you to fight back?"

Welcome to the Dollhouse (1995)
dir. Todd Solondz


CAST
Heather Marazorro (The Princess Diaries, 2001)
Brandon Sexton III (Empire Records, 1995)

I'd say this comparable to Napoleon Dynamite (2004). In that I remembered what my professor in Anthropology of Colonialism said about that movie. She said something along the lines of how horrible it was that everyone in this town was trying to assert this identity of a dork onto Napoleon. Because Napoleon did him feel himself to a dork, rather, everyone else was freaks and idiots. The main character in Dollhouse was a junior high school student named Dawn Weiner, who is mercilessly teased by everybody. There's one scene where she is made to read an essay titled "Dignity" in front of the class, and she is repeatedly interrupted by the teacher yelling at her to read louder. This is mirrored by a scene near the end where Dawn is reading to the entire school, and the whole audience starts shouting, "Wienerdog! Wienerdog!" but she keeps going anyway.

That's where the similarity ends. If you like this sort of movie, I suggest you just watch Napoleon Dynamite and give this one a pass.

And then there's this wierd bit with the bully, Brandon, who keeps telling Dawn that he's going to rape her after school, but I guess he actually liked her because he never did. It's a very odd relationship that develops out of fear and mutual awkwardness

The ending was terrible, or I didn't get it. I just don't think there was any character development. The nasty people stay nasty, and the relationships that develop all fade away. Dawn asks her older brother if school ever gets any better. He says no, it doesn't. The status quo never changes, and you're left with the feelings that all of these conflicts are unresolved, and all of the battles will have to fought over again. That's lame.

8 Dec - "We're modeled from trash. Junkies, prostitutes, winos, tramps. Convicts, maybe, just so long as they aren't psychos"

Never Let Me Go (2010)
dir. Mark Romanek

CAST
Carey Mulligan (Pride & Prejudice, 2005)
Keira Knightly (Pride & Prejudice, 2005)
Andrew Garfield (The Social Network, 2010)
Domhnall Gleeson

Oh gosh, this movie was really sad, everybody. Since I was in the movie theater, I shed a sniffled like a champ and bit my knuckles until I didn't feel so bad anymore, but certainly there will be a day when I'm at home on the couch with a glass of red wine and I watch Never Let Me Go and dissolve into a snotty mess of sobbing and it will be like the world is ending. Because is the world really worth living in if Kathy and Tommy can't be together? I submit that it is not.

Movies That Make Me Cry (Aside from the above)
1. Finding Neverland (2004)
2. Field of Dreams (1989)
3. The Secret Garden (1993)
Aside: The synopsis for this film: "A young British girl born and reared in India loses her neglectful parents in an earthquake..."
4. Gladiator - with the sad music and the wheatfield and his family running to meet him again! Arghh!
5. ...I can't think of any more.

So, um, in case you haven't been keeping up with the recently released sci-fi dramas, Never Let Me Go (based on the novel of the same name) is set in Britain in a distopian alternate past (I think it's supposed to be the 1960s-80s), wherein most medical problems have been solved by a system which creates people as organ donors. The story follows the lives of three such children, who address the conflicts typical of a coming-of-movie, all with this looming shadow of ultimate demise. It's very bleak. The whole movie is very washed out, there is not one sunny scene and there are no primary colors. Carey Mulligan was particularly good, especially since her character rarely says anything. Keira Knightly did her thing okay, too, but unfortunately her character was provided with few redeeming qualities.

I think it might be too soon for me to talk about this in much depth at all. It was a very affecting film.

06 December 2010

Dec 6- "It's hot as balls, everybody's an asshole. I just wanna go home"

Wristcutters: A Love Story (2006)
dir. Goran Dukick
starring
Patrick Fugit (Saved!, 2004)
Shannyn Sossamon (The Rules of Attraction, 2002)
Tom Waits, (The Outsiders, 1993)
Shea Whigham (Boardwalk Empire (TV), 2010)

The title is deceptive, because there's actually one wristcutter in this movie. Nevertheless, it was a wonderful movie, the best I've seen in a good long while. The movie starts with a suicide scene, and there are a couple flashbacks to other character's suicides as well, but for the most part everyone is sort-of alive in this movie, and there's a really nice redemptive ending.

It takes place in a sort of Limbo for suicides, which is just like our world except it's always hot and never sunny, and nobody ever smiles. In, The Inferno, Dante describes a place called the "Wood of Suicides," or "The Wood of Self-Murderers" (which is heavily drawn upon in What Dreams May Come) where those people who rejected God's gift of life were trapped in oak trees and tormented by harpies. Dante said that when the time for resurrection came, the suicides would still be trapped in their tree-bodies, because they had freely given up their own bodies.

This world of suicides is not so dramatic. Zia, the protagonist (maybe a play on Zion?), says that everything is the same, just a little bit worse, and he thinks about trying to kill himself again, but he's afraid he might end up in an even worse hellhole. The journey is driven by his desire to find his ex-girlfriend, whom he discovers kileld herself shortly after he did, and by the aims of a pretty young woman, who believes she has been placed in this world by mistake.

So I kept making these assumptions while I was watching. I guess I'm pretty full of myself when it comes to guessing storylines. At first I thought we were going on a Dantean journey through the seven levels of Hell, and then I thought that maybe Our young Heroes would discover that they actually in Heaven, once they got over whatever made them miserable in life. What actually happened was much weirder, and I was delightfully surprised. So I don't want to give anything else away, because this is definitely one that everybody has to watch.

03 December 2010

December movie wishlist!

1. The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader
I already said some stuff about this a few posts ago, but Dawn Treader was arguably the best Narnia book of them all.

2. The Warrior's Way
Combining my new love of Asian films with my old love of American westerns: An Asian assassin is forced to hide in a small town in the American badlands.

3. The Tempest
This is funny, I was just thinking the other day that they would probably never make a film adaptation of The Tempest because, in my opinion, it is the weirdest of Shakespeare's plays. I mean, what the heck is Caliban's deal, anyway? But here you are. Neato.

4. Somewhere
I was ambivalent about Lost in Translation, but the synopsis of Sofia Coppola's newest film sounds so much like a Bret Easton Ellis Novel (intellectuals refer to Bret Easton Ellis). So I'll probably watch it On Demand sometime in the near future when I'm up late at night at my Mom's house...someday.

That's it for December! We'll have to wait and see how many times I actually get to go to the movies. As far as November went, I was 0 for 6.

02 December 2010

Dec 1 - "What idiots! Now you're friends again!"

Y Tu Mamá También (2001)

dir. Alfonso Cuarón (A Little Princess, 1995)

CAST
Diego Luna (Milk, 2008)
Gael García Bernal (The Science of Sleep, 2006)
Maribel Verdú (Pan's Labyrinth, 2006)

Lately I'm really into the foreign films, if you all don't mind my sounding snooty for a moment, they just seem more sophisticated than American movies (what? more sophisticated than Miss March? Indeed!), and I'm not just talking about the sex scenes.

I said last time that I saw parallels between yesterday's trashier raunchy comedy and today's profound exploration of identity and personal growth. So, they say that there are no new stories, just new ways of telling old ones. Well, we've basically got two stories about young guys on a road trip talking about their cocks a lot. Except in Y Tu Mamá También (So titled because when Tenoch confesses that he banged Julio's Mom, Julio responds...) it seems nicer because they're doing it in Spanish.

The climax of the movie is pretty intense, also kinda hot. Like I said before, the story is very straightforward, Tenoch and Julio are two buddies who are taking Luisa, an older woman who just left her husband, to a beach that doesn't exist. But they discover stuff about themselves along the way. It's nice, but the climax is weird, and the denouement is a bit of a downer, but sometimes you can't really expect a happy ending. These Spanish movies are all kind of like that (I was thinking of Sex and Lucía, but I guess I watched that just a few days before I started blogging about all my media adventures [not exactly true, I also watch a lot of TV that I rarely talk about]).

I guess what makes this movie seem smart is the constant allusions to the world outside of the story. There was this weird stylistic thing where the camera would occasionally drift away from the protagonists and follow a background character for a brief period. I suppose this was to show the greater context of Mexican life. The political tumult that everyone seems to be involved with except for our two young heroes. These tangents were sometimes accompanied by narration describing something horribly tragic which happened to the person or place Our Heroes were passing by, but sometimes it was left tacit, the military stops another car by the side of the road and the protagonists laugh and laugh about something stupid. But we know better, we are the omniscient audience.

01 December 2010

Nov 30 - "People hate firemen!"

Miss March (2009)
dir. Zach Cregger, Trevor Moore
starring
Zach Cregger (The Whitest Kids Y'Know (TV) 2007-2010)
Trevor Moore (The Whitest Kids Y'Know (TV) 2007-2010)
Craig Robinson (The Office (TV) 2005-2010)

So if you all have not seen the sketch comedy troupe The Whitest Kids Y'Know on the IFC channel - I suggest you get into that, because they are way funny. Trevor Moore and Zach Cregger are both in it, but for some reason their three colleagues don't get to be in the movie.

So - as any basic comedy movie goes, this one doesn't really stand out as being very clever. It's a lot like Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, except without all the racial humor, which you'll probably agree is the only thing that made that movie stand out from the panoply of bawdy-young-guys-on-a-road-trip movies. Cregger plays the straight-man, just like he generally did on Whitest Kids, while Moore plays the whacky wild-card. There are shenanigans involved, I liked the part where all firemen are insane and hell-bent on vengeance.

I'm glad I watched Miss March though, and that I was late to post my response, because this morning, while I was waiting for the Charter Cable technician to fix my internets, I watched another movie! And although it was a super-l33t foreign film (psych! It was Mexican!) I saw a lot of parallels. So watch out for that and remember that the most banal items of pop culture (Dude, Where's my Car?) are the ones that will make you seem super-cultured in fifty years when you talk about them. As a 22-year-old, I'm pretty certain of this fact.

27 November 2010

27 Nov - "My mother told me to be wary of fauns"

Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
dir. Guillero Del Toro (Hellboy II: The Golden Army, 2008)


CAST
Ivana Baquero
Sergi López (Dirty Pretty Things, 2002)
Maribel Verdú (Y Tu Mamá También, 2001)
Doug Jones (Hocus Pocus, 1993)
Ariadna Gil

I saw Pan's Labyrinth in Ithaca's Cinemopolis a long time ago. I guess that's when it first came out, but now i can't remember if I saw it twice in theaters or not. I don't usually do that.

*Movies I saw twice in theaters*
1) Superman Returns (2006)
Tragic, and not worthwhile, I know. I saw it the first for shits and giggles, was horribly disappointed, but then I went to see it again because a boy I liked asked me to (pretending it was the first time!)

2) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the witch, and the wardrobe
You guys, I flipped out when I saw this movie. I was so excited and happy. I had to find more buddies to watch it again and again (I might have seen it 3 times). Now I'm kind of over it. Will I go see Voyage of the Dawn Treader? Yes, because that's the best one - except for maybe The Horse and His Boy, which I don't believe they are planning to make a movie of because it's sort of the outlier in the Narnia series (Much like Farmer Boy for the Little House on the Prairie novels).

3) You know, that's all I can think of right now. Seeing movies 2ce in theaters is sort of lame. Generally, it stresses me out to sit still for that long. When I watch movies at home I have to mend pillowcases or paint my nails or something.


What was I talking about? OK - tonight my little brother picked out Pan's Labyrinth for him and my mom and I to watch together. Sucks for him because we forgot that this movie is subtitled (isn't it awesome when you don't even notice that you have no idea what the actors are saying?) and once it had started we didn't really feel like taking it out again. So I guess he was playing with his toys or something during this thing. Although occasionally he interrupted with a question so maybe he was attending more than I thought. When my older brother saw this movie, he called me and said, "So it was just a desperate fantasy and she dies at the end? That sucks!" But I say that it wasn't a fantasy, it was magic, and she goes to the magic underground kingdom at the end after she sheds her earthly body. She's not dead! She gets ETERNAL LIFE (omigosh Christ metaphor!) Here is what i submit as evidence:

1) Captain Vidal sees Ofelia talking to the Faun in the Labyrinth. He doesn't see the Faun, but he hears her shouting. There's a difference between pretending and whackadoodle crazy. Ofelia was having a REAL conversation (with a Faun that only she could see)

2) The Chalk: The Faun gives Ofelia a magic piece of chalk which Captain Vidal SEES and TOUCHES. She uses it to escape her room with a LOCKED DOOR and GUARD.

3)Ofelia disobeys the Faun. If it was a fantasy, then Ofelia wouldn't have imagined that the Faun ordered her to do something which she would refuse. OBVIOUSLY!

26 November 2010

26 Nov - "You've gone native, and I was into that"

It's Complicated (2009)
dir. Nancy Meyers (What Women Want, 2000)

CAST
Meryl StreepFantastic Mr. Fox (voice) (2009)
Steve Martin - Shopgirl (2005)
Alec Baldwin - Running With Scissors (2006)
John KrasinskiAway We Go (2009)
Lake Bell - Shrek Forever After (voice) (2010)

As a young person, I don't generally like movies about older persons getting it on. But everyone likes Meryl Streep, right? And I had to pick a movie On Demand that I could watch with my stepmother (this was after All I Want for Christmas) Well, I thought Streep played a very relate-able character, even though I'm just a young pup and know nothing about the tribulations of sexagenarian (pun!!) romance.

This was probably due to the comedic assistance of John Krasinski - who I thought was totally cute in this movie even though I'd successfully watched six and a half seasons of The Office while maintaining the opinion: "I don't get what the big deal is here..." And so even though his character was entirely accessory to the plot, I really enjoyed J.K. in this movie.

My brother says that Alec Baldwin's been riding one successful movie for twenty years (He said this was The Hunt for Red October). I can't present with confidence any counter-evidence. This movie was cute for a night in with another female person, but it good enough to redeem a career composed largely of guest appearances on Saturday Night Live.

I was reading another blog the other day, and the author was talking about something called the Bedchel Test in screenwriting in which, in order to pass, a movie must have at least two named female characters who have a conversation about something other than a man. There are two scenes in It's Complicated in which Meryl yaks it up with her gals over wine a cake. None of those ladies have names and all they talk about is Streep's character bangin' Baldwin's character. So, that fails. But even if that isn't a good portrayal of a rounded female person. I think maybe I would be more annoyed by a conversation that was irrelevant to the story (you know about me and simplicity in the plots), and since the story was about relationships I think that expecting an extraneous conversation is unrealistic, and even though this is a chintzy movie, it would be unartistic, at least for the genre we're working with here. You understand?

I dunno, this probably isn't the best movie to use to support an ideological. So I'll leave it there for now, and hopefully someday I'll watch something that will fodder a more coherent argument. Not that I'm anti-feminist, you guys.

Nov 26 - "Jesse didn't ask for his mom to get a boyfriend"

All I Want for Christmas (2007)

dir. Harvey Frost

CAST

Gail O'Grady (Deuce Bigelow, Male Gigilo, 1999)
Greg Germann (So I Married an Axe Murderer, 1993)
Robert Mailhouse
Jimmy Pinchak
Saige Ryan Campbell (I Heart Huckabees, 2004)

I watched this Hallmark channel Christmas movie while at my Dad's house the day after Thanksgiving (that's today, BTW). Widowed mother Sarah is a workaholic (at the community center/ soup kitchen which she runs). Her son, Jesse, spends all his time with the conventionally attractive male neighbor. The ending is patently obvious within the first few scenes. Jesse sends a video to a toy company's make a wish come true contest, asking for a husband for his mom. I know! I saw Sleepless in Seattle too, a much better Christmas movie.

But here's what I don't get, the kid sends in the video to the contest, but as soon as his mom meets a passable, wealthy, guy, he gets all pissed off and mean. But it's okay because we're supposed to be rooting for the neighbor who writes novels, I guess. Anyway, I was only half watching it. So maybe there's a better reason.

Honestly, Hallmark churns out these Christmas movies so fast. It seems like there's a couple guys in a conference room somewhere just writing down premises. "How about Santa gets amnesia?" "An elf looking for romance wins the lottery!" "Divorced parents get back together...on Christmas!"

Anyway, is Christmas supposed to be a romantic holiday?? (Sleepless in Seattle; Love, Actually; The Holiday; Serendipity) Has there ever been a romance movie about Thanksgiving? (Home for the Holidays, 1995) Other holidays??

22 November 2010

Trailer!



Cowboys and Aliens

This is a great idea! First of all - why do aliens always have to attacking in the present or the future? As my fella' keeps telling me, the History channel makes a pretty convincing argument that they wreaked some extraterrestrial shenanigans in the past as well (of course, only in exotic places like Mexico and Egypt, everything white folks ever made was solely by virtue of their advanced intellects and ingenuity).

Alien movies are metaphors about xenophobia, right? And cowboy movies are the most important metaphors of all - because they're generally about those critical American value of individuality and freedom (and vigilantism?). So I guess that a movie about ETs in the old west is trying to tell us that the terrorists and the illegal immigrants aren't just after our awesome land and democracy, but the very nature of the American Spirit. Dammit. They're after our IDENTITY!

So I was trying to think about if Harrison Ford had ever been in a western, because I haven't seen one. Some light internet research came up with A Time for Killing (1967), which is not on Netflix but wikipedia tells me it's about a group of Confederate soldiers who escape from a Union prison and are running for the Mexican border (I'd head back to Georgia, but fine.) The other one is the Gene Wilder Classic, The Frisco Kid (1979). So I guess it's been a while since Ford exchanged the Fedora for a Stetson (see what I did there!?)

So this comes out next summer and I'm already quite pumped up about it.

20 November 2010

19 Nov - "I'm an elf"

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010)
dir. David Yates (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, 2009)

CAST
Helena Bonham Carter (Alice in Wonderland, 2010)
Michael Byrne (Braveheart, 1995)
Robbie Coltrane (From Hell, 2001)
Warwick Davis (Return of the Jedi, 1983)
Frances de la Tour (Alice in Wonderland, 2010)
Michelle Fairley (The Others, 2001)
Tom Felton (The Borrowers, 1997)
Ralph Fiennes (The Prince of Egypt (voice), 1998)
Michael Gambon (Sleepy Hollow, 1999)
Brendan Gleeson (The Secret of Kells (voice), 2009)
Domhnall Gleeson (Never Let Me Go, 2010)
Richard Griffiths (Sleepy Hollow, 1999)
Rupert Grint
George Harris (Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981)
John Hurt (Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, 2008)
Rhys Ifans (Little Nicky, 2000)
Ralph Ineson (From Hell, 2001)
Jason Isaacs (DragonHeart, 1996)
Tony Kirwood (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005)
Simon McBurney (Jane Eyre, 2011)
Helen McCrory (Stand and Deliver (TV movie), 1998)
Peter Mullan (Braveheart, 1995)
Bill Nighy (Love Actually, 2003)
Daniel Radcliffe
Alan Rickman (Love Actually, 2003)
Fiona Shaw (Super Mario Bros., 1993)
Maggie Smith (The First Wives Club, 1996)
Timothy Spall (Enchanted, 2007)
Richard Strange (Batman, 1989)
David Thewlis (The New World, 2005)
Julie Walters (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, 2001)
Emma Watson (The Tale of Desperaux (voice), 2008)
Mark Williams (Stardust, 2007)

OK - a friend got me to go with her. And so she's already heard my Harry Potter rant but I'll hash it out again for you all, my dozens of readers.

The problem with a magical story world is that you've created a premise which supercedes any and all plot challenges. THEY HAVE MAGIC POWERS!! Something impossible needs to be accomplished? There is a magic spell for that! Not only that, but magic spells are incredibly easy to perform. Hermione erases her own existence with a single word! She re-attaches Ron's arm with a few drops of essence-of-dittany, but she can't heal Dobby's knife wound? She can't even think of something to try??? She can build a tent that's bigger on the inside than the outside, but she can't slow down the bleeding? She can't even put pressure on the wound!!!??? What's the deal??

I like Dobby.

Here's the other problem. I get that it's a treasured piece of literature and such, but do you all rememeber my rant about too many damn characters? I haven't read Harry Potter in a super long time and it confuses me and I couldn't keep all those whacky names straight back then and I'm not going to get myself all invested in them now. Am I supposed to be sad that Mad-Eye Moody died? We didn't even meet the REAL Mad Eye Moody until the end of the last movie (I think). And you're killing him off right away and expect me to give a shit? UNlikely. It's like in LOTR when Haldir died (who I thought was the same guy as Jason Isaacs, who plays Lucius Malfoy, but he's actually Craig Parker.)


Ok - different guys. but my point is, and I hope you felt the same, that there's this awesome death scene and I'm trying to be moved but I'm all distracted because who is this guy??? I had to look up his name right now! I vaguely recalled the character from reading the book at summer camp when I was 11, but for serious, this is why it's important to be conservative with your characters: because I didn't give a shit about Haldir's death because you didn't spend enough time developing his character, Peter Jackson!



HP has a different take on elves, am I right?


Aww. He's a cutie.

Why do I bring this up? There are too many stupid characters in Harry Potter and I can't keep them straight and they are trying to address all these side plots but it's unnecessary. Just tell the stupid story without them. And what's the deal with Harry following stuff all the time? Why would you follow a ghostly deer into the forest when magical villains are after you? Didn't you learn your lesson when the silent old woman you followed home turned into a snake? You wanna stop being stupid, HARRY POTTER?

Dobby got some good reflection time on his death. But that's cool. Dobby was a decent dude. One thing I noticed while doing my customary background research on the stars is that this franchise has kept those kids pretty busy - because they have NOTHING going on in the their resumes. That must suck a bit. It's been like ten years and they can't get an outside acting gig? That's worse than Disney channel, but hopefully those little English kids won't end up all coked out and in jail. I could go on but I have to do some homework. Next I'm going to do something with the trailer for Cowboys and Aliens, so watch out.

16 November 2010

16 Nov - "You know, Lee, there's a long history of this in Catholicism"

Secretary (2002)
dir. Steven Shainberg
starring
Maggie Gyllenhaal (Donnie Darko, 2001)
James Spader (2 Days in the Valley, 1996)
Jeremy Davies (It's Kind of a Funny Story, 2010)

So I'm having kind of a hard time figuring this one out. It's about this girl, Lee, who's clearly unstable and vulnerable. She's just gotten out of a mental hospital, her father's a drunk mess and she has no healthy social relationships, except maybe with her high-school boyfriend, Peter, but clearly something is awry there as well.

So she becomes a submissive to her boss, Mr. Grey. And I feel like the way the filmmakers intended it to work out is this thing about how there's all different kinds of love and this dom/sub thing isn't wrong, just different. Here's some quotations I lifted off imdb to that effect:

Lee's father: "You are the child of god's holy gift of life. You come from me. But you are not me. Your soul and your body are your own, and yours to do with as you wish."

Lee: "In one way or another I've always suffered. I didn't know why exactly. But I do know that I'm not so scared of suffering now. I feel more than I've ever felt and I've found someone to feel with. To play with. To love in a way that feels right for me. I hope he knows that I can see that he suffers too. And that I want to love him."

Mr. Grey: "Is it that sometimes the pain inside has to come to the surface, and when you see evidence of the pain inside you finally know you're really here? Then, when you watch the wound heal, it's comforting... isn't it? "

OK - I get it. It's edgy. She finds fulfillment in punishment and control. Ok. But it's still fucked up. Lee has a family that cares about her, but she probably never really felt cared for. We get three males in this movie. The first is Lee's father, who is an alcoholic, calls her from random parts of town, and generally gets up to shenanigans which always prompts her to cut or burn herself, but then towards the end he seems to get cleaned up a little. The second guy is Peter, played by Jeremy Davies, he's kind of geek but well meaning and you can tell he wants to take care of Lee, but she is unsatisfied with him, especially after he refuses to spank her. The trick is that she liked him a lot before she got involved with Mr. Grey, who does a lot of spanking.

I guess what I'm having trouble with is that, if Lee was a passive and lonely girl, was she being self-actualized by accepting a life with Mr. Grey, as I think the filmmakers are trying to suggest, or was she caving, as I am inclined to believe. Instead of letting Peter love her as an equal, she decided she would always be weak and in need of control. That's the opposite of a self-actualized person, as I've understood it from Nietzsche.

She decided to be happy with her lot, which I guess was caused by family relationships and other psychological factors, rather than confronting whatever it was that made her feel so weak (prolly the dad). But then again, she's not sad at the end of the movie. She's happy with her life and Mr. Grey. The movie ends with a long, self-satisfied stare into the camera. Still, I'm left with the feeling that she's simply run away from her problems. She gave control over her life to someone else so she wouldn't have to deal with them anymore. I dunno...

SO maybe it was a happy ending, but she's no Ubermensche.

11 November 2010

10 Nov - "It smells like a hobo's band-aid"

It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010)

dir. Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck

CAST
Keir Gilchrist (Saint Ralph, 2004)
Emma Roberts (Nancy Drew, 2007)
Lauren Graham (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (voice), 2009)
Jim Gaffigan (Super Troopers, 2001)
Zach Galifinakis (The Hangover, 2009)
Asif Mandvi (The Last Airbender, 2010)
Jeremy Davies (Lost (TV), 2008-2010)
Mary Birdsong (Adventureland, 2009)
Zoe Kravitz (No Reservations, 2007)
Viola Davis (Eat Pray Love, 2010)
Novella Nelson

As my partner in crime pointed out, It's Kind of a Funny Story has a really shitty title. It doesn't sound kind of funny at all. In fact, it sounds saccharine, like something that should be on the Hallmark channel. Possibly about Santa Claus. Nevertheless, wrapped in this ditsy package with those faces smiling banally at each other is a pretty damn amusing movie which has a lovely moral about how them teenagers are too damn stressed out.

The main character seems to figure out the insignificance of his own problems almost immediately, so there isn't too much whining. Emma Roberts, who plays the self-destructive love interest, also spares us any angst (yeah I got's scratches on my face- what of it?) There's a scene where everyone goes all glam rock and she still has the scratches, but they're made of glitter, I thought that was clever.

If I had to complain about something (which I do, evidently) it would be the inconsistencies in the script. Not unlike Kamikaze Girls (which I'm still talking about because I enjoyed it THIS much), this movie played around with some stylistic interruptions, some fantasy elements (Like the glam-rock scene and a part where everything goes all cartoony when Our Hero (sometimes I can't remember their names) discovers he is good at arts (bye-bye business school summer program). These bits were cute and I approve of their inclusion, especially the part where Our Hero returns to his five year old self to have a conversation with his mom, where I think Lauren Graham really stood out in a way that many of her roles fail to give her the opportunity to do (does that make sense?).

However, these bits were few and far between, and I think they could have been integrated better so that I could accept them as part of the story-world and not awkward interjections into a narrative. The other problem was a sort of manic-depressive flip flop between parts that were really funny and parts that were really sad. I guess that's the nature of the beast when you're talking about stuff like depression and homelessness and mental illness, but I feel like I've seen it handled better before, just because the extremes were so stark: this is something you're definitely supposed to find funny, now stop because here's something overtly sad.

I used to volunteer at a group home for schizophrenics and I would sometimes have to bite my tongue to keep from laughing at something. There's this terribly awkward feeling you can get when something is wrong and sad but undeniably weird and ludicrous. In this movie the distinctions were very clear. There weren't any in-between places where you had to wonder whether it was funny OR sad or feel bad about laughing. I guess they were playing it safe like that. Making sure no one left confused.

Anyway, I liked it a lot so you should all watch it too and see if you agree.

09 November 2010

9 Nov - "That's a real shite story"

Ondine (2009)
dir. Neil Jordan (The Brave One, 2007)

CAST
Colin Farrell (The New World, 2005)
Alicja Bachleda
Tony Curran (Blade II, 2002)

The problem with Colin Farrell is that I can never decide whether he's attractive or not. This movie was good -for a lot of reasons- because Farrell plays a salty fisherman who's a recovering alcoholic so he's supposed to be a bit worn out and ragged, but IS good looking enough to be a compelling romantic lead. That being said, Ondine is not all the way in your face romance. There's only one kissing/sexytime scene and it's a classy, pan out and then return once they're fully dressed deal.

So the theme of the story centers around the Irish Selkie legend. Basically, a selkie is like a mermaid, except they can appear as either a seal or a person. In the fairy tale, the fisherman steals the selkie's seal-skin and makes her be his wife. They have lots of children and are very happy, but one day the oldest daughter asks her mom why the father hides an old leather coat in the roof of their house. And then the selkie gets her skin back, and even though she promises that she's only going for a quick swim, to say hi to her parents and whatnot, she never comes back again and it's sad.

So Ondine starts with Farrell's fisherman, Syracuse, hauling up this girl in his fishing net. Ondine ends of paralleling the selkie legend in more ways than one, but something more sinister is actually going on. That's why I don't understand why netflix sorted this as a fantasy - obviously someone didn't watch until the end. It reminds me of how the cable company used to summarize episodes of the Simpsons after they had clearly only watched the first two minutes. Do you all remember how the Simpsons used to start with one storyline and then go in a completely different direction after the first commercial break?

That's all I have to say about that.

08 November 2010

8 Nov - "Fuck off! For Sure! Like totally!"

Valley Girl (1983)
dir. Martha Coolidge

CAST
Nicolas Cage - Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)
Deborah Foreman
Joanne Baron Real Genius (1985)
Colleen Camp - Wayne's World (1992)

Valley girl is one of those Nicolas Cage movies I've been trying to get around to watching for a long time. That and Leaving Las Vegas, plus I don't think I ever saw the end of Raising Arizona, although I assume that they gave the baby back. I don't know if this counts as a chick flick in the vein of my last two movies, since Nick is clearly at least half of the protagonists, but it's certainly an 80s teenager movie. I don't think it represents the decade as fabulously as Desperately Seeking Susan.

So We've got a Romeo and Juliet-style story between Julie, a bubbly valley girl, and Randy, a punk from Hollywood. Naturally, her friends disapprove, as does her preppy ex-boyfriend. At some point, the pressure gets to Julie and she breaks up with Randy, and he goes to extreme lengths to win her back. Of course it all comes to a head at the PROM.

I guess the first assumption one would make is that Julie is a vapid and impressionable twit who doesn't know what she wants. But then again, all the characters, even Randy and his punk friends, are kind of dopey and just doing their best to fit in. Maybe Julie just wanted Randy to prove that the she was worth some extra effort. All these girls are just clucking all of the time about who's a babe and who's bodacious and tubular or whatever, and they're fooling around with each other's boyfriends and being conniving all the time. You'll have to recall from yesterday that the moral of Kamikaze Girls is everyone else can just screw off, because you gotta be true to you. And if those dopey teenagers want to be mismatched airheads together, godspeed.

Which is why I think this era is Nicolas Cage at his finest. Face/Off and The Wicker Man, aside, Nicolas Cage has continued to make some quality pictures, usually playing the slightly loopy depressed guy as in Adaptation. and Matchstick Men. It's like a grown up version of the well-intentioned dope embodied by Randy. Some people say they can't stand Nicolas Cage, but I think the real problem is that they can't stand Ghost Rider.

07 November 2010

Nov 7 - "...and you obey, no different from the world we left behind"

Kamikaze Girls (2004)
dir. Tetsuya Nakashima
starring
Kyoko Fukada (Ring 2, Japanese version, 1999)
Anna Tsuchiya

What do you call that genre where a realistic storyline is infused with elements of surrealism? Not like Pan's Labyrinth, which was overtly fantastic, not even like Like Water for Chocolate, which is, of course, magical realism. I mean like real-life but just infused with a little bit more imagination. That's what Kamikaze Girls was like.

It's a buddy movie about a sweet Lolita-type girl (Momoko) who is way overdressed for her rural Japanese town. She doesn't have any friends and she doesn't care about family and just likes to dress up and go shopping. She gets tossed together with Ichiko, a yanki-type biker chick. Both girls are way overdevoted to their style-identity, but the twist is that it ends up being Ichiko who is playing a part to fit in, Momoko is alienated, but at least she's true to herself.

This is some quality storytelling right here. It's not melodramatic except where it's supposed to be, and the two female leads are true to their characters without hitting you over the head (OH I GET IT SHE HAS INNER VULNERABILITY OK). Ichiko is particularly well-performed, the kind of girl you sometimes meet who's a little to cool to be natural. Momoko gets a little bit of guts in the end, and learns the importance of friendship. There's a little bit of bloodshed, but it's cool.

Celia and Julianne- you two should totally watch this, but separately, because you don't know each other. Or together, that would be a different kind of awesome.

3 Nov - "I'm really hoping it's cats that look like Hitler"

The Social Network (2010)
dir. David Fincher

CAST
Jesse Eisenberg (Cursed, 2005)
Rashida Jones (I Love You, Man, 2009)
Brenda Song (The Suite Life of Zack and Cody (TV) 2005-2008)
Justin Timberlake (Black Snake Moan, 2006)

This is the first time I get to post about a movie I saw in a REAL LIVE THEATER! Even though I already said that I didn't really want to see The Social Network (soon to be shortened to just "Social Network") It was either that or Hereafter, and I think we've established that I already know how that ends.

1) Why didn't they just call the movie "Facebook" - is "The Social Network" (put in quotes and not italics because I'm not referring to the movie itself, but only the title) supposed to be a metaphor for the networking and subsequent alienation necessary to create the website.

2) Everyone's freaking out about how cool the Facebook is. It's just a website though, I mean, I know everyone is about making money and stuff, but it's not like Mark Zuckerberg invented something VERY cool - on the contrary, he invented something lame enough to catch on like wildfire, so did the Snuggie guy, but nobody's making movies about him (or HER?)

3) I think I'd really like to delete my facebook account, but sometimes I like to look at pictures of people (not always boys I like, thanks). Would that make me cooler? Or just less accessible?

4) It was a bit misogynistic, but not as much as that other blogger led me to believe. Mostly I was annoyed about how superfluous most of the female characters were. In general, I'm a fan of cinematic conservatism. That's not to say I don't throughly appreciate the intricacies of set design in a Wes Anderson movie, or the over-the-top style of Kamikaze Girls, which is a Japanese movie I watched this morning and I'm going to write about when I get a cool minute. Because in those movies it's understood that all the extra stuff MEANS something. That's why in film adaptations of books it's common to combine or remove characters. Every line and especially every character has to add depth and purpose and direction to the plot, otherwise why would they be there?

Which might have the problem with The Social Network. It had a plot, sure, but what was the story? Did it mean anything? In this respect, the girls, with the exception of Mark Zuckerberg's ex-girlfriend, did not add anything to the story. They were tacked on objects representing, if anything, only the carelessness of the lifestyle coveted by the male protagonists. Brenda Song, who I recognized from the Disney Channel, plays a whacky girlfriend who I can only assume was written in for comic relief (Bitchez be cRazzzy!) Rashida Jones played an assistant lawyer who was so obviously inserted as a token "admirable woman" to serve no other purpose in the story except to appear well-meaning that I feel sorry for her to have taken that part, it's that lame.

So that's a rant I guess. But for what it was, it was alright.

02 November 2010

1 Nov - "She'll ruin you, mate. She's high-maintenance"

Oyster Farmer (2004)
dir. Anna Reeves

CAST
Alex O'Loughlin (The Holiday, 2006)
Diana Glenn

I don't know if I would call it a "delirious romantic comedy," though I suppose there were wry parts, and there was only one sexy part, and spectacular seems like a strong word that should be reserved for, i dunno, Avatar? But I certainly enjoyed The Oyster Farmer a whole lot, and I recommend it to everyone except little kids because the one sexy part is very sexy indeed.

The story is that there's this guy, Jack Flange, who for reasons that are not clearly developed (I thought it was to help his sister get into a better hospital, but at the end she doesn't seem to need any help) steals a bunch of money in what I think is an INGENIOUS scheme where he knocks out the armed guards with a frozen lobster while wearing a mask made of fruit leather, snags the money and stuffs it into a prepaid envelope. Drops the loot in the mailbox, packs the lobster back with the others, and eats the disguise. And he would've gotten away with it too except something goes awry and the package gets delivered to the wrong person but who???. While he's figuring out this debacle, Jack matures as a person and falls in love with a girl named PEARL, which is the most obvious use of the name Pearl as a metaphor since The Scarlet Letter. But don't get me wrong, it was really good (i.e. The movie).

So the whole time I was trying to remember how I recognized the main character, and for I while I thought he was Alan Cumming (here's a picture of him looking fancy) but then I was all, Noo, that's not Alan Cumming. And then I figured it out! Alex O'Loughlin was the star of the erstwhile TV series Moonlight about a vampire detective ("He's Sexy! He's Undead!) in love with a human woman (no it's different from Angel) which was on back-to-back repeat sometime last summer and I'm pretty sure I watched all of the SIXTEEN episodes. This movie is better, a lot.

31 October 2010

November movie wishlist!

1) Due Date
Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifinakis in a road-trip buddy movie. I'm sure whacky hijinks will be involved.

Edit! Celia says Due Date is NOT supremely funny. Avoid!

2) Four Lions
I just discovered this one now searching for November releases on the internet. It's a comedy about terrorists. Looks clever. I guess they won't be showing it at the United Artist's though.

3) Morning Glory
Although I'm a little skeptical about Harrison Ford being paired with Diane Keaton. And even more skeptical about him playing somebody doing anything besides desperately trying to save his family and/or America. Also I don't like Rachel MacAdams. Maybe I don't want to see this one that badly. I dunno, but I thought it was worth mentioning.

4) Skyline
It's a sci-fi thriller with aliens! Alien movies are metaphors for xenophobia, and this one is called SKYLINE. I don't care. I like sci-fi thrillers.

5) Unstoppable
Or "Speed 3: Train in Vain." Trains need to be reintegrated into pop culture because I'm sick of airplanes.

6) Heartless
OK - I really like sci-fi thrillers, but my favoritest of all favorite genres is arcane interpretations of religious doctrine. Heartless is like Dorian Grey or Faust with a deal with the devil. Do you guys remember Bedazzled? Not the Brendan Fraser one...

Movies I don't want to see

a) 127 Hours
This is the one about that mountain climber who had to hack off his own arm...SPOILER ALERT.

b) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
WHY WON'T THIS GO AWAY

c) Love and Other Drugs
Anne Hathaway is only slightly less irritating than Rachel MacAdams. Also the tagline says that love is the ultimate drug. Because it's about pharmaceutical sales. Some female friend will probably get me to see this with her sometime. Like The Wedding Planner and How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days, some rom-coms are hard to shake.

d) Tangled
Unless there's a montage scene where Rapunzel tries a lot of different hairstyles and/or hats.

e) The King's Speech
I don't care if Colin Firth is in it. It's about King George's speech therapist.

30 Oct - "I may be a bastard, but I'm not a fucking bastard"

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
dir. Robert Rodriguez (The Faculty, 1998)

CAST
George Clooney (Batman and Robin, 1997)
Harvey Keitel (Little Nicky, 2000)
Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, 1994)
Cheech Marin (Ferngully: The Last Rainforest (voice), 1992)
Juliette Lewis (What's Eating Gilbert Grape, 1993)
Salma Hayek (The Faculty, 1998)
Danny Trejo (Grindhouse, 2007)

Whoa! I guess this is my last horror movie for a while! I can't say that I'm not THRILLED about that, since I still haven't gotten around to seeing The Exorcist, which is probably good for my own peace of mind forever.

Let me start off by expressing an opinion: I don't like Quentin Tarantino. I don't his face, I don't like his voice, I don't like how he writes his own parts. Luckily he died about halfway through.

I guess the cool thing here (sorry I'm kinda tired this morning and my writing style suffers) is that the vampires are not integrated into the storyline in any kind of graceful way. It's a basic runnin' from the law kind of story and then, uh-oh, some whacky monsters show up. I thought the plot was going to a cool place before vampires became an issue. You had the two bank-robbers, the family held hostage, some good tension, maybe some stockholm syndrome. And then it all just devolves into a gory mess. Not a Tarantino fan.

25 October 2010

Oct 24 - "You bought a used jacket? What are we, poor?"

Desperately Seeking Susan (1985)
dir. Susan Seidelman

CAST
Rosanna Arquette (Pulp Fiction, 1994)
Madonna (A League of their Own, 1992)
Aidan Quinn (Benny and Joon, 1993)
Mark Blum ('Crocodile' Dundee 1986)
Laurie Metcalf (Toy Story (voice), 1995)
John Turturro (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, 2000)
Will Patton (The Mothman Prophecies, 2002)
Michael Badalucco (Sleepless in Seattle, 1993)
Kim Chan (The Fifth Element, 1997)

So I actually watched this a few weeks ago but i didn't want to look like i crapped out on my horror-movie October initiative. So i sat on it. But I think this is better now, as it provides a good transition into my next theme: movies about frustrated teenage girls. Even though this one isn't about teenagers, but twentysomethings.

The problem with these older movies sometimes, is that I recognize too many faces and I want to comment on all of them. Thus the long cast list. Richard Hell was also in there, but he's not generally known for his cinematic portfolio. This movie was rife with the luxe extravagance (redundant?) that I associate with (movies about) the 80s.

Desperately Seeking Susan was a classic story of mistaken identity- so I'm going to sound like I know what I'm talking about when I say that it's like an updated and feminized version of North by Northwest (because everyone sounds smarter when they reference North by Northwest, and yeah, I watched the whole thing). Madonna plays hip, transient hot-mess Susan, who communicates with her erstwhile boyfriend through newspaper personals, Arquette is Roberta, a painfully drab housewife who covets everything that Susan lives and represents. There's a theft, and a murder, and some amnesia, and lots of cute outfits and comic relief and everyone's running around after the wrong person. I gave it 4 stars on netflix.

24 October 2010

24 Oct - That chick is annoying when she's worried


Paranormal Activity(2007)
dir. Oren Peli
starring
No one on the cast had any significant credits. So :P

Yeah, it was pretty scary. I coped with this in various ways, as you'll see below. I hope I don't have trouble sleeping tonight - 'cause that would be lousy.I'm not really sure what else to say, as significant critique seems unnecessary. Anyway, I don't want to piss off the demon.

I thought maybe it would be better to put a screen shot from the movie as the leading image rather than the movie poster. I don't know if anyone cares about that.