4.23.2012

Movie Comfort Food

As a foodie, I always love to compare food to film.For example, how in both cases tastes are involved as well as the subject's (food/film's) ability to satiate and stay with you....to be something memorable and filling. Or, conversely, to be merely forgettable junk that you put in your body without a second thought...just because you need something right then. With food, sometimes you will go to a restaurant and try a meal that you conclude that anyone could and should like that meal. It just is perfection itself in every bite and you don't know how anyone could see things differently. You are completely confident that if ANYONE simply tried it and gave it a fair shot they would love everything about it. (No, I'm not about to compare creme brulee to jello.....)

And then....there's stuff that you really can't explain to anyone else WHY you love it. You just always have... and you know that they cannot and will not have the same appreciation you have for it because it just means something different to you. Like for me the best example is chicken nuggets or macaroni & cheese. 80% nostalgia 20% actual food content. And not so much the mac n cheese because I don't know when the last time was I actually ate that, but I still get my chicken nuggets regularly. I know most of the world thinks its gross, but I continue to love it. Why? They just take me back to a simpler time and when I eat them I'm always satisfied (for what I expected) and am happy. Perhaps it's because it makes me remember little Emily and all the fun she used to have and who she was. Well...obviously I'm alluding to something... so what then is the movie counterpart? 

Well, Friday night I embraced that same part of my nostalgic self and went to the dollar theater to see drumroll........Star Wars Episode I in 3D. Cue the groans and everyone no longer taking my film tastes seriously. To be sure, I know my brothers are always waiting for me to admit how awful those prequels are. And don't get me wrong....I really can give you an extremely long list of all of the movie's flaws that do become more and more evident the older I get. "Yipee!!" ?? Really? The winning combo of Jake Lloyd & Jar Jar Binks, poo and fart jokes galore as well as other very cringeworthy dialogue...I really could go on for a bit...

But that said...........it still makes me happy when I watch it and it takes me back to another time. Every time I hear those first few notes of the Star Wars theme followed by the crawling text it just brings a certain joy to my heart and makes me feel a sense of comfort...no matter what's going on in my life! And I'm not gonna lie.....seeing that floating text in 3D was extra cool. When it comes down to it I just love that fictional world and the people in it....and seeing their adventures no matter what the stage in the story makes me happy even if it isn't perfect. And it reminds me of the happy little sixth grader who was all too happy to be obsessed with it when it came out and how much I looked forward to each installment as I grew older. Along with the originals, it was these movies and their stories that REALLY sparked a love of all things film and filmmaking that has stayed with me my whole life and I could never bring myself to hate them. Like the nuggets, I know they're flawed and I know not everyone loves them...but I love them all the same. It's kind of like a time capsule of who I was then. I see how it's easy to make fun of now...but I'll always have an appreciation for it and the great moments that it did have. And I gotta say...George did the 3D right. I'm excited about all the rest. (Also the redone Yoda looked SO much better here. I was very much impressed.)

But Star Wars wasn't the only movie I watched this weekend. I also caught The Vow in the dollar theaters (worse than nuggets...in the food analogy....probably along the lines of twinkies or something gross like that... haha) and then tonight I was in a (500) Days of Summer mood again (the perfect meal I referenced in the first paragraph). I'll skip analyzing that one for now since I've talked about it enough here...(though I still might revisit it again soon in another post...) but seriously....that movie is just perfection to me. And very interesting watching both it and Star Wars this same weekend. It was like viewing two very important stages of my life as represented through film. Star Wars was who I was and still am to an extent, but (500) Days of Summer is who I've become. But enough on that psycho babble and onto The Vow.

This movie was really just not good. Haha! Was I expecting it to be? Certainly not. I just saw it at the dollar theater and can you really say no to anything in the dollar theater? Okay yes, you can as there's currently playing Big Miracle that stupid whale movie with Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski (why Johnnnn why???) worst. movie. trailer. ever. (yeah, I say that a lot what with Country Strong and that other movie with Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah existing. shudders...) But anyway all I can say was it was really hard to feel any sympathy to Rachel McAdams. Oh, boohoo you wake up and find that you have a caring husband that obviously you loved enough to marry, why make a fuss to waking up to a perfect life? I mean don't get me wrong. Channing Tatum isn't my dream man (he looks like he has zero personality or humor...he's basically the very definition of a male bimbo..) but I wouldn't be complaining if I woke up and found out I married him. I'd trust myself to know that it would have had to have been for a reason right? And in fact I'd suggest we go into the other room to see if we could do anything to jog that memory of mine. Heh heh. 

But anyway besides that plot puzzlement it was just pretty junk food in general if you know what I mean. Formulaic, melodramatic and silly to a tee. But when you're going to order something off the dollar menu, (if you will), you can't really expect too much right? As we have learned...sometimes I delight in a bad movie or the occasional junk food here and there. It's good for a laugh in its awfulness and it is what it is. I definitely don't think the world should consume only that or large amounts of that...there is such a thing as movie obesity when you watch ONLY crap. But here and there it's harmless so long as you keep it in perspective and know that entertaining doesn't equal good. But you know what's the best thing? Is that by even writing this review on The Vow, my sister Laurie is gonna put it on top her "must list" hehe


4.10.2012

At A Theater Near You!

I haven't blogged in ages I know. I've been catching up on a ton of DVD releases from 2011 in hopes to finally create my best list for the past year (stay tuned for a worst list since I feel more comfortable making that...) But I have seen a few movies worth writing about in theaters. We'll start with the one that's all the rage...

THE HUNGER GAMES. It pays to work at a news station and be offered free passes to random midnight premieres. I was actually editing a story on the movie when I got the email and I thought "why yes I WILL go see the movie I've just been editing a story on." So I went to a premiere of a book turned film series that I had never read and barely knew a thing about and was thus surrounded by tweens everywhere  (SIDE NOTE: I wound up on the news again when I walked behind an interviewee haha!). In such circumstances, as well as  being relegated to the first two rows, it wasn't completely ideal...and it certainly contributed to the massive headache I was sporting near the end of the movie. But despite the circumstances, I did really enjoy the film. It was incredibly entertaining and creative.

Am I in love with this series and rushing out to buy and read the book? No, not really. But it was very enjoyable all the same. Jennifer Lawrence is a very talented actress and she gives a very strong performance here, AND she had surprisingly decent chemistry with Josh Hutcherson (my initial reaction: him?) I gotta say though, the cinematography in this movie was absolutely awful. Too much shaky cam (also a factor in the headache....especially being so close to the screen!) and you could barely tell what was going on in some of the most pivotal action sequences. Also, another complaint would be the lack of character depth and development for anyone other than the two leads. That said, nothing took away from the film TOO much...but hopefully they'll be ironed out in a smoother sequel :) I'll be looking forward to it. One more side thought: Liam Hemsworth. Please dump Miley Cyrus. You are too good for her, I promise. Until you do, I will see you as nothing more than a really good looking buffoon (hopefully your older brother has more smarts..)

MIRROR MIRROR. Boy did the critics (Rotten Tomatoes) and people (IMDb) eat this one alive. In my opinion very unfairly so! Yes, there was a somewhat ridiculous Bollywoodesque musical number during the credits (apparently the director is a Bollywood vet) and there were some pretty shoddy special effects during the film's climax...AND the film was pretty silly in general...but come on, there is a lot to really like here too. The film is fun, goofy and doesn't take itself too seriously. It's based on a fairytale and that's the way it should be. The magic is still there (we'll see how the drab Snow White and the Huntsman fares) and the cast is pretty great. Admittedly I would say Julia Roberts is miscast as they could have definitely found someone more cunning (weird though...she was incredibly convincing in My Best Friend's Wedding) and altogether more downright evil....but she has such a fun time with the role it's hard to hate her. And her costumes, as well as Snow White's are just incredible. I thought Lilly Collins (daughter of Phil how crazy is that?) was perfectly beautiful in appearance and personality as Snow White. Eyebrows and all :) (Honestly, I don't really see the fuss...)

But come on...YOU know why I truly loved this movie aside from those gorgeous production values of the sets and costumes. Yes, that's right. It was my celebrity crush, Armie Hammer. He was just perfect as the prince. Incredibly handsome and also hilarious when needed to be. He and Collins had a very sweet chemistry and had some really tender moments. Aww. Where's my Prince Armie Hammer?? Honestly, it's not perfect. But...I'd recommend it for him alone. It's harmless.

 Oh to be her..


CHRONICLE. It's that time again. Time for another entry in the "found footage" saga! (Nevermind that this was a dollar movie theater watch..) Actually I don't really have too much against this genre... I really enjoyed Cloverfield.. and I guess that was it haha!....that is...until Chronicle. The first two-thirds of this movie, if you watch it unspoiled (no trailers or knowledge whatsoever), are just thrilling and downright fun. Exactly what you would picture if you REALLY got superhuman powers.  I hadn't really felt that sense of fun in a hero discovering their abilities since the first Spider-man film a decade ago! Who knew it was so hard and rare to honestly portray that giddiness and delight?

But this film does portray these teenagers' discoveries very honestly and, as a result, the audience thoroughly enjoys being taken along for the ride throughout the course of the film. However, that feeling couldn't be sustained through the whole movie...what would be the point? So the final act definitely took a darker turn that did make me sad and kinda took me off the high that the film had previously set up...but I still respect where the story decided to go and how everything all turned out (even if I would have done things differently and that I noticed there were a few plot holes..all I'm gonna say is come on...go for an ATM dummy!); the conclusion was certainly thrilling. Not a life changing film or even genre changing film....but it's well made, fun and entertaining. I was pretty captivated throughout and I keep thinking what I would do if I had powers. There would probably be a few more car accidents. And also somehow Armie Hammer would come to love me.

Well, that oughta do it. Unfortunately, there's really nothing noteworthy coming out til May...so I guess I'll have to stick with the rentals til then. And the t.v. shows of course :) Anywho. Stay tuned for my best and worst of 2011. Hopefully, it shall be worth the wait...