9.29.2011

September rentals and theater watches

I was on such a roll at the beginning of the month. And now where did that month go?? But it's all fantastic...October is one of my favorite months for sure and as I said earlier...I'll be gearing up for Halloween. But anyway, I certainly saw enough movies to blog about...and have had enough pet peeves to rant about. I can't really explain the lack of blogs, but I'll try and make amends anyhow. So now for some mini-reviews...mostly from rentals but anyway...

Take Me Home Tonight. A rotten tomatoes summary stated it best when it said: Tonight is neither funny nor original enough to live up to the comedies it evokes" It's unfortunate though...because there are some quality moments.But a few great moments does not a movie make. But Topher Grace is pretty likable....you could probably do worse for a mindless watch movie. A 5.5 is about right. Also gotta say Anna Faris was completely wasted.

Waiting for Forever. And this is the worse I was just talking about. 6% on rotten tomatoes. I knew it'd be awful. Knew it. But still...those trailer editors made me curious. They are sure good at their jobs. You just know any movie making a romantic case for stalkers is made of win. Some scenes were just laughable...and some plot lines were just incomprehensible. One RT reviewer said, "It's not just bad, it's fascinatingly bad." Totally how I felt too. It's like a car wreck movie and you can't look away. Almost unbearably awful...but a few scenes made it hilariously awful. And it gave me a chuckle to realize (only in the final scene...) that the whole thing was filmed in Utah. I had my suspicions beforehand though ha. Give it a 1.

Contagion. Pretty much the only movie I've seen in theaters in the last month! This movie was gripping, fascinating, realistic and well-made. But...to me hardly memorable. For me...I have to be able to invest in the characters and care about them for anything to really resonate. So people die...so what? Make me care about the characters to break my heart when I see such tragedies. As neat as it was to be so realistic...I'd rather see the other types of apocalyptic films where the movie has more fun with its audience. But that's just me. Gotta say I gasped at the random SLC reference haha. I give it a 7.

Bridesmaids. This movie was hilarious. A different kind of hilarious than I was expecting. For some reason, I anticipated that it would be more about how it sucks being single and also focus more on the actual bridesmaids and their antics. But it was more of one of those awkward disaster comedies that kind of make you feel uncomfortable. Some moments are kind of unbearable...and others are just way too funny. Kristen Wiig is just hysterical. 8.5


Flipped.
I'd seen this before, but just watched it again with Courtney and Ann. The movie is very refreshing and feels honest. I really like the way it's told and what it has to say. It's interesting seeing how different people's perspectives are on the same situation and how that perspective can shift over time. Also, I love how the movie teaches the importance of analyzing both life and people and recognizing the true worth within. A very sweet movie, but I'd probably have edited a few moments out. 8.3

Gone Baby Gone. Honestly....wow..this movie is just...amazing. Ben A f fleck directs this story about a detective couple who is hired to help find a missing child. But the film turns out to be even so much deeper as it introduces a great moral dilemma. Seriously the movie is fascinating... and just as interesting is reading other people's view on whether or not the main character's final decision was right or not. For me, the answer is non-negotiable..but I was shocked to see how many people were on the opposite side. Just fascinating. Very worth watching. Incredibly well-made with strong performances from its entire cast, a great script, and fantastic direction. I give it a 9! Maybe even higher...

Well...I'll have to save my rants for another time. I'm too tired and I've written too much to even continue.

9.11.2011

Ode to NY

I was going to write another blog entry that I've been meaning to do forever....and then I thought maybe I instead, considering the day it is..I should write about my trip to NYC earlier in the summer instead. New York is an amazing place and I had wanted to go for as long as I can remember. Not only is it a city rich with film and television history (to be sure...a lot of my favorite movies and shows have been set here..) it has been culturally significant to our country for a very very long time. When you think of America, the landmarks of New York are probably among the first images that come into your mind. So for me, visiting this city has always been a priority. I really wanted to see Europe again this year, but I knew early on that if I didn't get to travel that far...I still would check something off the list that I've always wanted to see and visit. In July, that was New York.

New York certainly didn't disappoint me....but at the same time it was kind of weird to finally make it to the city of all cities after having been to so many other major ones first. Because of that, it was hard for me not to have some of the uniqueness of other cities pop out more for me than what New York had to offer. In all honesty, had the second and third days of my trip occurred before my first one I would have been wowed immediately...and not just for the things that tourists love...but for the quieter parts of the city as well. Also a lot of my experiences of the city was colored by the experiences I had there and well...I'm not really going to share that on a public blog. But all in all with the art, architecture, food, entertainment and of course central park (which was my favorite of all) I definitely fell in love with it and would put it on a list of places I'd like to return to one day...I just have to explore a lot of other places more before I can return.

So what did I do while I was there? Well..........as a lover of Breakfast at Tiffany's I had to stop there. But...not the one on 5th Avenue..I couldn't find it. We opted instead for the one on Wall Street....I pretty much felt too poor to even go in there, but we did anyway. We saw ground zero...but unfortunately, it was under construction so we didn't get to see any of the cool memorials that are there right now. Saw the Brooklyn bridge, Chinatown (I should probably see the movie with the same name too...but the location itself probably freaked me out enough haha), Little Italy, The Empire State building. How many movies can you name that are set there? King Kong, An Affair To Remember, Sleepless In Seattle. Equally, if not moreso iconic to the world and film, we saw the Statue of Liberty. Thank you, Cloverfield, Ghostbusters and of course Planet of the Apes for that one. Oh...and we saw Times Square too. In fact, we may or may not be on the Rachel Ray show eating hot dogs sometime this fall.




Of course in television, I love New York for a myriad of reasons. 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother and.......of course Seinfeld all pay tribute to the city and its residents constantly. For that, I made sure to visit Rockefeller center, and I attempted to visit some Seinfeld sights...but didn't really have enough time. We'll save that for a return trip. Also on the agenda for a return trip: a boat ride on the lake at central park and Mamma Mia on broadway. honestly. But, we still did a lot in a short amount of time and I was very grateful to be able to go at all. And I did at least get a black and white cookie like in Seinfeld. Glad to have another destination checked off the list...even if it will need to be crossed off again eventually. Hooray for life and the opportunities to travel. Up next? Well...I've got some ideas...hopefully they can be able to come to fruition....stay tuned.

But back to NY...what are your favorite New York t.v. shows/movies or memories? I've barely covered the tip of the iceberg with famous films set there! It's definitely a place loved by film that's for sure! So let's hear some of the ones I've missed.

9.06.2011

Give it a rest already!

I swear every other day I read somewhere on some website that some classic movie from the 80's is getting a sequel, prequel, or remake/reboot. Or if it's not a movie, it's some old t.v. series that is getting its own movie. Hollywood studios sure are desperate these days. From Ghostbusters to Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, Goonies, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off...apparently no story should ever end and no movie universe is off limits to revisiting right? Basically, it seems like a whole bunch of fan-fiction writers have invaded Hollywood!

Sure you can revisit any story. But that doesn't mean you should. It's like all the sequels they make to classic literature. The author intended their story that they created from their own head to end a certain way...so who are you to come in and not only change the story..but to also capitalize off of it? Who needs a sequel to Pride & Prejudice, Wuthering Heights and Gone With The Wind when they were classics anyway? But apparently there's always some wannabe author who feels the need re-visit classic characters and make them re-learn all the lessons they learned....or give them second chances because they didn't agree with the author's choices.

I mean...it doesn't exactly taint the original...but in a way it kind of does... but just as a small afterthought. "Man that was such a great story....and then there was that crappy sequel....boy was that ridiculous." Still....some editions do work. Who would have known that the prequels to X-Men and Planet of the Apes would be among the best movies of the summer? But honestly....who has been craving a Beetlejuice sequel? Yes, that's the one I read today that prompted me to write this blog. Oh and also I gotta mention the made-for-t.v. sequels while I'm on this subject. Mean Girls, A Cinderella Story, The Cutting Edge? When does it end?? So what to you is completely off limits for sequels, prequels, and remakes? And, are there any years later sequels/prequels that you think were worth it?

Simple pleasures..or perhaps guilty pleasures

There are some movies that I swear only me, as well as the members of my family have ever heard of. And if someone else has happened to have seen it, they more often than not say that they hate it. But for us, they're just silly, entertaining films that are easy to put on at any time...and most likely the majority, if not everyone will agree to it. A favorite of mine since childhood has been Stay Tuned....a very obscure 90's film that pretty much everyone on the IMDB and rottentomatoes hates. I guess I've just always loved the concept, but especially when I was a child.. the idea of being trapped in television was all too interesting. Would I want to live in a Noir film? A french period piece? A cartoon? The possibilities are endless. Sure it's no classic like Back to the Future...but for me it's clever, entertaining and it does always make me laugh with a few choice lines/moments and t.v. titles.

North is another one of these for us. Yes it does have a ton of racial stereotypes...but it's a funny little movie....and again, as a child it's a concept I loved all too much. What kid hasn't wanted new parents when they felt they weren't appreciated? When you happen to be watching a movie with such an outrageous concept, who takes it so seriously anyway? Besides...the weirdest thing to believe in that movie is George Constanza and Elaine Benes as a couple. Whoa.



I watched another one of these sorts of films recently with Jane Austen's Mafia. Come on...I know it's no cinematic masterpiece but the title alone has to give you a chuckle. I feel like this was the last decent spoof movie. Mafia spoofs The Godfather films as well as Forrest Gump and some random others. There's always something that gives me a laugh or a smile even though I probably shouldn't be.. Sometimes as fun as it is being a film snob...you've got to have a few exceptions here and there that you can just let down your snooty standards for and say "well this is entertaining and funny so I'm going to spend my time watching it." It's like the comparison I always love to draw with movies and food. Steaks will always be more satisfying so you should always want that....but sometimes you are just in the mood for cotton candy...or ice cream... or some kind of junk. Kind of how Amelia and I rented the silly-as-expected film The Roommate last week.

Sean and I watched another film with simple laughs last night: Napoleon Dynamite. Now I hadn't seen this film in years because frankly I got burned out with people over-quoting it. In fact, I put it on thinking the whole movie would probably be laugh-less because of that fact. But to my surprise, there really some genuinely funny moments in that movie. I still believe some of it was killed by hype and people embracing it too much.....and the movie definitely has nothing in the way of plot....but there are some pretty worthwhile moments. Kip and Uncle Rico steal the show with Pedro close behind too. Shame the movie wasn't a bit more fine tuned because then it would be a classic that would actually stand the test of time...instead of the unevenness that defines it now.

Haha, since it'll probably most likely be my family that comments what else did I miss? And...what t.v. or movie would you choose to be trapped in? Gotta be the Star Wars saga or a Jane Austen flick for me!

9.03.2011

Pacing is Everything

The fall movies are underway and I've been starting to cross off the films that were on my list. So far pretty much everything I've been excited for has not been good....and the one I wasn't really looking forward to (The Help) did surprise me. Well today I finally got to see Apollo 18, a film I've been looking forward to ever since I read the cheesy tagline on a movie poster in a theater "There's a reason we haven't gone back to the moon." At best, it surprises me as a genuinely creepy film since the concept is actually half decent (hehe...well for me) OR at worst, it's campy fun like The Wicker Man bad, right? Well....there was another option I wasn't counting on with what I got... A film that either needed to dumb down to become silly fun because it took itself wayyyy to seriously OR change its pacing completely so that the audience can feel and care about the intensity (which was non-existent).

Two things ultimately did this movie in. #1, as I mentioned....the pacing in the film is awful. I get wanting to create suspense in setting up a film....but it can only go on for so long without boring the audience out of their minds. Insidious flirted with focusing too much on setup too, but ultimately had enough payoff to make up for spending too much time on setup. Apollo 18 bores you to death with all the astronaut talk and supposed weird happenings...but the audience doesn't have the patience. And it's a shame because the film had some fleeting moments where it is actually pretty decent. But they're way too few and far between....which is far too tedious for the audience.

Secondly, the whole "found footage" genre really only works half the time...it's such a gimmick that really does nothing but hinder most suspense films. There's nothing scary about a video going out. We're still in the dark, and it's not scary...it's just annoying. You can't just constantly TELL an audience that something is scary, you have to SHOW why it is. Now I'm not talking about showing gore in horror films...but still we have to know why it's scary...not just hear characters talk about it. We have to feel the terror along with the characters for us to be invested. If this film had been made as a normal film instead of this gimmick, we could have gotten some more character development, better setup, and better payoff. It's a shame because like I said, there were a few great moments. But ultimately not enough. I get that the cinematography looked unique with the super 8 camera feel, but just shoot the whole movie like that then instead of the found footage thing because it hinders way more than helps. Instead of wasting your time just go rent Alien and Aliens to see the same idea done right.


I give it a 3.5/10. Ouch.

9.02.2011

I think I learned something...which would be great if I wasn't dead.

Recently I watched Insidious, a pretty decent flick as far as the horror genre goes...and a perfect handbook for anyone with supernatural problems in their lives. #1. If your spouse finds something eery/suspicious or terrifying going on around him/her BELIEVE THEM!! Do not spend half of the movie trying to prove to them that they're crazy...this is all time wasted you could be spending on solving your problem. #2 Children are creepy, if not outright evil and cannot be trusted. #3 If you own a baby monitor you'll probably be creeped out by it at one point or another. and #4 If you think you've solved your problem,,,you're almost always wrong.

Now, as to the movie itself. It has a really well done, creepy atmospheric start to the film...but it perhaps goes on a bit too long. But when it finally gets to the goods I feel like it delivers. It's almost inevitable for a film in this genre to be completely original and not fall back on familiar tropes.....so while it is guilty of that, I think it does some pretty cool stuff that is unique to it. Plus, it always helps when you have a decent cast; Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson give pretty decent performances for a horror flick. That's all I'm going to say so I don't give anything else away!


We're only a month away from the beginning of Halloween season (or if you're like me...you already have a costume in mind...) Last fall I didn't really get much of a Halloween since I was living in Paris and they don't really celebrate the holiday...so I'll have to make up ten fold when October rolls around by watching lots of horror classics and Halloween films...then blogging like crazy. Well...that's about it! Shortest blog ever?

I guess I'll ask y'all what are some funny lessons you find from horror movies or any other genre films? Annnnnnnnnnnnnd what are your favorite scary movies? What should I be watching come October?