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

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)

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

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
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.

Oct 24 - Conquering fears

I finally finished Paranormal Activity! How did I manage it?

Paris's Guide to Surviving a Movie that's too scary

1) Turn all the lights on, preferably, you should arrange your lamps so there is plenty of glare on the screen, if you can't see the monster you won't have nightmares about it later

2) Multitask - the key is to normalize the situation and emphasize the contrast between the fantastic and the banal. So pull out some ironing or paint your nails. I made chicken makhani and blogged.

3) Pause often! Let your heart rate settle down again.

4) Don't pause at all! Get up and go pee with the movie running - maybe the awful pars will be over by the time you get back.

4) Make sure you're going to end the movie before dark!

23 October 2010

23 Oct - "The past is a wilderness of horrors. Lawrence, I'm glad you're home.".

The Wolfman (2010)
dir. Joe Johnston (Jumanji, 1995)

Benicio Del Toro (Traffic, 2000)
Emily Blunt (Sunshine Cleaning, 2008)
Anthony Hopkins (The Silence of the Lambs, 1991)
Hugo Weaving (Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, 1994)
David Schofield (The Last of the Mohicans, 1992)

I did some serious multitasking while watching this one! I also took notes! And I discovered I have problems distinguishing Benicio Del Toro and Javier Bardem!

Ok - I guess they don't look THAT much alike, but they do have that swarthy, hispanic, heavy-jawed thing going on and it wasn't until the movie was over that I was 100% sure it was not Javier Bardem that I was watching. I also thought Benicio del Toro directed Pan's Labyrinth until just right now (Oops! That's not even close).

I don't know where to start! At first The Wolfman was really good! I thought the only reason it didn't do well in the theaters was that gothic horrors weren't really in the mode now (What was the last one? The Others?) But then it sort of devolved into a Van Helsing/League of Extraordinary Gentlemen sort of mess. Was this supposed to be about coming to terms with the undeniable-yet-ultimately-unacceptable beast that exists in the heart of Man or is this about beasties tearing it up? Because you're not allowed to have it both ways.

There was some cool visual stuff, Anthony Hopkins was supposed to be some sort of Great White Hunter type guy, and he had this tiger-fur lined coat that was badass. Also the African-Animal topiary garden where child Lawrence discovers his dead mother makes me want to live in an old-time British estate.

On the other hand, the second half of the movie was really tedious and predictable. Really shameless forshadowing is rampant throughout. The one exception is a silver cane/sword received by a mysterious stranger near the front end, which entirely violates the rule of Chekov's Gun, and I'm not sure whether I should be relieved about that or not.

A few points remaining:
1) Cameo by GOLLUM at the 35-minute mark

2) Death toll in the 20s, but the DEER survives.

3) Old-time insane asylums are the scariest places in all of space and time

4) Requisite circling dolly shot of the anti-hero perched on the edge of a rooftop and howling

5) The romance was SO contrived: OMIGOSH - he taught her how to skip stones! They are soul-mates now! I have asked countless male-types to teach me how to skip stones, and not only have I never fallen in love with any of them - I still can't skip a damn stone. This scene irritates me.

6) Where can I get some arcane old textbooks with monster illustrations?

7) The sequence of full moons is insensible. From Buffy, I know that the full moon lasts for 3 nights a months. However, in Wolfman, it only lasts for one. Fine. Whatever. Here's the timeline.

Moon1) Lawrence visits the gypsies, gets bit by wolf.

Moon2) After recovering from his injury for a month, Lawrence transforms into a werefolf and kills many townsfolk, he is apprehended in the morning.

Moon3) Lawrence has been confined in a mental asylum for what we can assume is one month. He transforms and kills many sinister old-time doctors. In the morning he tells his GF that he has to return home to kill the first Werewolf (for vengeance reasons)

Moon3-4???) Lawrence returns to his home (after dark!!!) pursued by his GF and Scotland Yard after a journey which could not have sensibly taken a whole month, and seems to have only taken the day (making it the night after the full moon). Nevertheless, Lawrence and the original werewolf transform well after night has fallen! Grrr, sloppy storyline.

Last point: They stole this scene from The Lion King, and it's weird how obvious it is.

20 October 2010


I don't know when I'm getting to the next movie (I haven't even opened the envelope yet. I think it's...The Ruins?) But here's a cool little piece I read on some other part of the internet:

Dogs in Science Fiction Movies

It's cute, but it got me thinking, and I wish there was a LOT more discussion on this topic.

14 October 2010

13 Oct - "all we can do is run and hope that we are fast enough"

The Secret of Kells (2009)
dir. Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey

Brendan Gleeson (Mad-Eye Moody, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 2007)

So I started watching Paranormal Activity last night around 10pm - but then it got to that part (Night #3 I think) when the camera slowed down at 2:09am and then there was a scary noise and I thought "Oh no! Something terrifying will happen and it's NIGHTTIME and I'm HOME ALONE" so I quickly turned it off and watched The Secret of Kells from my bathtub instead.

I'll try again some sunnier time.

Secret of Kells reminded me of some of the movies Hayao Miyazake makes. Actually, it was a lot like Princess Mononoke in that there's this dichotomy between where the people are (Kells Abbey) and the Forest (Which is where that Pixie-girl on the poster lives). The Abbey is under the threat of an imminent invasion by Vikings, to protect the Abbey, the Abbot builds an enormous wall and he forbids anyone to go outside of it. The other monks complain that the Abbot has forgotten the true purpose of the order, which is to make books, and he makes the monks spend all their time building instead. So, stuff happens and he learns the error of his ways.

The artwork is awesome. They really play around with perspective and depth and incorporate a lot of Celtic symbols into the trees. There's one scene where Our Hero has to defeat a monster which resembles nothing so much as the "snake" game you probably have on your cell phone, but stunning. That was my favorite part. My only critique is that the snake monster didn't have a long enough scene.

13 October 2010

Oct 13 - "I know I will be alone."

Carriers (2009)

dir. Àlex and David Pastor

Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly, 2000)
Chris Pine (Star Trek, 2009)
Emily VanCamp
Christopher Meloni (Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (TV), 1999-2010)

Starting with The Burrowers from Monday, the rest of October will be all horror/scary movies unless I can't take it anymore, but by then it will be Halloween and then everyone else will be into it too. Unfortunately, I've been heavy dosing on zombie/post-apocalyptic/horror movies ever since I moved to Georgia in August, so I'm already a little burnt out. But I think this is probably my favorite genre so if anyone can stand blood+guts+ghosts for a whole month, it's me.

Carriers is about a virus that causes the downfall of western civilization with no zombies. Other than that slight detail - it's a basic zombie road movie with the threat of constant death. Much like The Happening or Zombieland, the gang of two brothers and their girlfriends get into some misadventures on their way to a vaguely described destination. They have to find gas, supplies, occasionally a new car, and avoid the infected (who do not become zombies). The music and the scenery was cool, the characters were poorly developed. The worst was the younger brother's girl, who was evidently not really his girlfriend (I think because she went to prep school?). When I am the leader of my own post-apocalyptic survival gang (and you all know I'm going to be the leader) I won't tolerate annoy bitches like that undermining my authority and telling me to shoot my own brother. She was supposed to have some character trope where she kept checking the payphones to call her parents who were on a cruise ship when the shit hit the fan, and then she stopped checking and I guess that symbolizes her loss of innocence or something but I'm reaching here. I like it when the fictional characters learn something.

12 October 2010

It's Trailer Tuesday Again!

Last Tuesday I did an imaginary synopsis of Chain Letter, and I thought that was amusing so this week I decided to guess the plot of a more intellectual piece of film.

Hereafter is a supernatural thriller starring Matt Damon. Mattie is having problems coping with his superpower, much like Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost. He pisses a lot of people off by refusing to communicate with their loved ones until his GF is killed in a tsunami with a bunch of other loosely associated characters as well. Matt finally understands the nature of his gift and then DIES!@!!!

10 October 2010

Oct 10: "You'll be awake in your grave"

The Burrowers (2008)

dir. J.T. Petty

Clancy Brown (Mr. Krabs (voice), Spongebob Squarepants (TV) 1999-2010)
William Mapother (Lost (TV), 2004-2010)
David Midthunder (Terminator: Salvation, 2009)

OK - Now we can start spooky October movies - With ANOTHER western!

As far as movies about underground monsters in the old west go, I have to say that I liked The Burrowers at least twice as much as Tremors 4: The Legend Begins.

But for serious, GREAT monster movie! There were some awesome motifs, including an obnoxious military guy who brushed his mustache while the Indian captive was being tortured and kept telling Our Heroes that "As long as you ride with my unit, I am in charge of this rescue operation!" And I was really excited for this guy to die, except they went all for an ironic face-palm ending, and well, I won't spoil it for you because if I ever enthusiastically recommend a movie - It's this one. You have to watch it. It's October and you need to see this monster movie.

The main guy was a charming Irish immigrant named Coffy who was looking for his sweetheart, presumed kidnapped by Injuns. You know he's a good guy because he stuck up for the token black guy (who was not a slave) and they bonded 'cause hahaha, doesn't it suck to be different in the USA?

My only beef with this flick is the amount of time the rescue party spends worrying about how many times their womenfolk have been raped since they went missing. There's also a bit at the beginning where Partcher tells the kid, Dobie, that he should be brave enough to shoot his mother if Indians ever attack their house. The obsession with the white women being "tainted" reminded me of a movie called The Searchers, in which John Wayne spends the whole movie looking for his daughter that was kidnapped by Indians, and at the very end when he finds her and you think everything is going to work out, he shoots her. Because she's spent time with the natives and now she's ruined forever. In these kinds of stories, the woman only represents the integrity of male members of her community, and that's just too much pressure for a woman to fairly bear.

ALSO I found out that The Burrowers was a TV series BEFORE it was a movie - So I want to know if anyone has ever seen that and is it any good?

06 October 2010

5 Oct- "It's hard to imagine a man's scream from here"

The Wind that Shakes the Barley (2006)
dir. Ken Loach

Cillian Murphy (28 Days Later, 2002)
Padraic Delaney
Frank O'Sullivan

War movies are harder for me. And for some dopey-do reason I spread this out over three days in which I was really distracted by stupid schoolwork. And there was lots of talking bits about whether they should accept the treaty and whether wealthy landowners should be buying guns for the IRA. With all the talking, I'm not really sure this should be called a war movie. It's really more of a political drama with some skirmishes.

Cillian Murphy is great though. But honestly, I didn't really know who he was until I recognized his face and did some internetting. I found out that he's from CORK, IRELAND and his wife is named Yvonne McGuinness and that there is a name that is the most Irish ever and that's it. Yeah, he's also super-cute and was in Sunshine and Dark Knight.

My favorite scene occurred between Damien (Murphy) and the English officer, in which our Irish hero demands that the English cease their occupation, and the English guy kinda freaks out and you can tell that he doesn't want to be there AT ALL,and this skinny young English kid holds up an enormous rifle and looks scared and then the officer gives the kid a pistol and orders him to shoot Damien in the temple and he's scared but he does it, but it just clicks empty and everyone looks very upset and impotent. It's a perfect scene, epitomizing the theme of the film quite succinctly.

Okay - so no more watching movies in chunks. In for a penny, in for a pound; that's what I always say. 'Cause it's October, I put a bunch of ScAAaaARry movies on my netflix queue. which means a lot of sleepless nights alone for me. All well. Look out for Jesse James next time.

05 October 2010

Movie Trailer Tuesday!

Tonight I have to write an application for a graduate workshop which I really want to attend not only because it's really close to Philly and afterwards I can go straight home and have an extra-long Thanksgiving vacation with my family that I miss terribly. So I think I'll have to skip movie time again :(

ALTHOUGH yesterday I watched the first half hour of The Wind that Shakes the Barley (just like I said I would!) while I was treadmilling and let me say that electric thrumming + Irish accents make for poor conflict comprehension but I get there was some problem with the train and so that cute guy from Sunshine decided to join the Irish resistance even though in the previous scene he was pretty set against it. Whatever. So I've got that going on, PLUS Jesse James came in the mail today - so I'm really itchy for some historical kick-assery.

As promised, now I'm going to watch the trailer for the horror movie Chain Letter, and then I'm going to give a detailed plot synopsis, so...spoiler alert???

OK - so i'm calling Urban Legend (1998) crossed with Final Destination (2000). Obviously you start with a group of 7-8 friends because nearly all of them are going to be killed off. Among these there is at least one stoner, one sassy black guy, a geek (he's the one with glasses), a male love interest (prolly that dark haired guy who says 'delete' near the beginning), plus the spunky female protagonist played by Nikki Reed (who was the bitchy sister vampire in Twilight). So the premise here is omigosh, what if those chinsey chain emails were 4 realzies? and the killer tracks his victims via computer virus and dispatches those who fail to "pass it on" with lots of chains 'cause that's, like, symbolic or something. Everyone dies - Nikki is betrayed by her bf and they DON'T BANG (because if you remember Scream 2, you'll know that only virgins survive horror movies) but he gets TOTALLY STRANGLED to death by chains, and then Nikki and the last friend remaining (probably the black guy, because black-guy-dies-first is getting too obviously cliche) find out who the killer was (the AV nerd they excluded from their friend group! He got the chains from the set of the school play) not before the black guy gets his, and then Nikki gets the killer with an axe.

Probably, anyway.

Social Network

You know what, I'm changing my mind about The Social Network. I had my reservations already, and then I read THIS blog post about how sexist it is and then I watched THIS interview with Colbert and writer Adam Sorkin - and he didn't really have a good answer to why there are no cool ladies in this movie, besides token Rashida Jones. So now I'm a bit turned off. I don't think I will make any active effort to see The Social Network - if I need some sharp, quick dialogue. I'll watch rerun of Gilmore Girls.

04 October 2010

Monday Movie Wishlist

Here's a list of the movies in theaters now that I want to see but probably won't, because I don't have a "movie buddy" here in Athens yet and going to watch a movie by myself in a theater is less fun than watching a movie by myself at home (where pants are optional)

Case 39: I love horror movies, it might be my favorite genre (maybe western??) I'm not wild about Renée Zellweger, but I could see how she might work well in that style, kind of like the naive and sweet protagonist of The Haunting (what was her name?)

Chain Letter: I haven't seen a trailer for this, but moviefone tells me its playing at my local Georgia Theater. It's another horror movie (about a chain letter? Maybe I'll explore this one on guess-the-plot-based-on-the-trailer Tuesday) I'll probably rent it someday.

Let Me In: Omigosh! ANOTHER horror/drama I haven't heard about yet. Sounds a lot like Let the Right One In, which I DID see in theaters and it was FABULOUS. The synopsis for Let Me In reads "an alienated 12-year old boy befriends a mysterious newcomer," and the poster has a creepy looking snow angel.

OK - I did some further snooping and yes, this IS the American remake of Let the Right One In, which was Swedish, I believe. Maybe this marks the upswing of Swedish cinema (those Girl With the Dragon Tattoo books/movies are doing well also).

The Social Network: At first I thought this was a stupid idea for a movie, but all I hear are awesome things, like comparisons to Citizen Kane. So I guess I'll have to get around to it.

Easy A: Emma Stone is a cutie; I loved her in Zombieland. I like teen comedies based on classic literature, and I like teen comedies (especially when murder is involved, but I guess that's not the case here)

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole: As a pithy sophomore wrote on my FB wall: "Owls carrying buckets of lava? Yes, please"

Devil: Just seems cool - I love movies with that old-time-Catholic bent.

I think that's all. I have a lot of homework today, so I probably won't watch a movie. But Jesse James should be in my mailbox soon, and I've got The Wind that Shakes the Barley as a backup on my instant queue, so look out for both of those in the near future.

03 October 2010

TEETH - it could happen to you!

I remembered a news story I read a while back while I was watching Teeth (below) A South African doctor invented an insertable vaginal sleeve which would protect women from rape by spiking their attackers. Obviously, this invention was controversial. But there you go, life imitates art (or is it the other way around?)


3 Oct - Kids and whales and vaginas

Free Willy (1993)
dir. Simon WIncer, starring
Jason James Richter (Clown #2, Bones: Double Trouble in the Panhandle, 2009)
Lori Petty (Tank Girl, 1995; A League of Their Own, 1992)
August Schellenberg (The New World, 2005; Eight Below, 2006)

So for the very first time in my life I got around to watching this classic tale of child-large mammal camaraderie, and as I expected, it was wonderful! I definitely got teary-eyed when Jesse (who has a really depressing resume) transferred his own unrequited love for his mother onto that big ol' whale. And bonus points for having an actual Native person, August Schellenberg, play the Haida park manager. However, the best part of the movie (besides the iconic leap over the marina wall) was the reprise of Michael Jackson's "Will you be there" during the final credits, which is an appalling $1.29 on itunes. I'm always pleased when I hear a MJ song I like, because I'm so sick of "Billy Jean" and "Thriller" ("I want you back" is also starting to wear on me). Anyway, the Free Willy theme is nothing short of uplifting. In summation, if you haven't already seen Free Willy, get around to it.
Score: 5/5 - this isn't great cinema, but it perfectly accomplishes what it sets out to do, make me empathize with an orphan kid and his cetacean buddy

Teeth (2007)
dir. Mitchell Lichtenstein
starring Jess Weixler (no movies that I've heard of)
John Hensley (that insufferable kid on Nip/Tuck)
Josh Pais (Adventureland, 2009)

Why? Needed to see something more grown up than Free Willy
This one popped up on my netflix recommendations and since I'm still waiting for The Assassination of Jesse James to show up, I had to pick something I could stream online. I didn't know quite what to expect from the description, which said "when virtuous high school student Dawn becomes the victim of sexual assault, she discovers that she has an unusual line of defense: a toothed vagina." Given that, this movie was a lot smarter than I expected, and I think well executed overall. Dawn is a sweet, sexually repressed girl who publicly advocates abstinence (there is a scene where she almost masturbates while fantasizing about herself in a wedding dress). Around her is a culture which openly denies female sexuality. In science class, the teacher finishes his piece on the penis, and asks the class to turn the page to a big gold sticker covering the vagina diagram. When one students asks why its okay to talk about penises and not vaginas, Dawn answers that females have modesty built into their nature. Dawn's toothy metaphor is that women aren't passive at all, they're active and volatile. Dawn is violated over and over by men who convince her they are trustworthy. In the process Dawn comes to own her sexuality and realizes that her "Vagina dentata" is a badass weapon that can control (the male in the consensual sex scene finishes unscathed). The highlight of this movie is the final scene with John Hensley, who plays a perfectly awful stepbrother and almost redeems his suckiness in Nip/Tuck (plus his face annoys me - stop plucking your eyebrows, asshole). The cinematography is awesome, I like the recurring image of the nuclear towers above most of the shots. I love Dawn's dorky outfits (long sleeve shirts under tank tops). Sometimes these indie films really blow but this was a treat, that being said, I wouldn't recommend it as a date movie, unless you're a lesbian, then I think it would a fun pick and you would both appreciate it.
Score: 5/5 - clever, pretty to look at, and made me feel empowered