Friday, December 31, 2010

The King's Speech

The King's Speech tells the story of King George VI's struggle with his stammer and how he became king (he's Queen Elizabeth II's dad). The movie is clearly a Best Picture nominee and Colin Firth is strongly favored to win Best Actor. Firth was a strong contender for last year's A Single Man, and I think he'll win this year. The acting from the other leads, Helena Bonham Carter, the King's wife and Geoffrey Rush as his Australian speech therapist, is also suburb. It's good to know Bonham Carter can really act. As of late she's played the villainous Bellatrix Lestrange in Harry Potter and various characters in Tim Burton films. She's great in those roles, but its great to see her in a ground role, portraying a real person.
The score is excellent, and I hear its eligible for a Best Score Oscar (several scores, the Fighter, True Grit, Black Swan have been deemed ineligible). At a almost 2 hour run time, the dialogue heavy piece clips right along. I love period pieces done well, the history lessons like this are among my favorite at Oscar time (see also, The Queen, Young Victoria).

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

True Grit

I was the least motivated to see this movie, even in my very excited state of "Oscar homework." I am so glad that I saw it. My lack of enthusiasm may have stemmed from my childhood dislike of Westerns. My dad loves Westerns, in particular John Wayne. After having no choice but to watch them as a kid, it is a genre I shy away from. In preparation however, I watched the 1969 John Wayne original. I was familiar with the images and some of the dialogue but since my viewings were under protest, I never really watched it. Right from the start, in the Coen brother's version, even the opening music is better. The character of Mattie Ross is portrayed by Hailee Steinfeld in the Coen film. In the original, Kim Darby's Mattie, is ridiculously annoying. Tune out of the movie annoying. By that alone, the Coen Brothers version is so much stronger. Hailee's Mattie is tough, whip-smart and a character to root for.
The strength of the film continues with the actors efforts. I have to say, the Dude over the Duke. Several of Jeff Bridges' facial expressions are priceless and his presence in the role is phenomenal. John Wayne won his only Oscar for his portrayal of Rooster Cogburn. It is my opinion that the Academy was looking to award him for his career, not this particular role.

Matt Damon is also notably excellent as Texas Ranger LaBouf (pronounced Le Beef), a fully developed character who often provides the humor. The overall tone of the film, is very entertaining. The original is humorless. The cinematography and editing enhance and strengthen the picture. The song featured over the film's closing credits, is just as awful as the opening song of the original. That aside, True Grit 2010 is an entertaining, well-done, evenly paced movie. While I might not have seen it otherwise, I'm happy to have it checked off my list.

Entertainment Weekly's "The Oscar Race is On!" Issue comes out Friday, one cover with Natalie Portman and one with James Franco. I think this may be the first year that I can guess most of the "25 movies to see before Oscar night" list and have seen more upon publication than ever before. In fact, here's my list:
1) The Social Network
2) The King's Speech
3) True Grit
4) The Fighter
5) Black Swan
6) Inception
7) The Town
8) The Kids Are Alright
9) Toy Story 3
10) 127 Hours
11) Winter's Bone
12) Rabbit Hole
13) Another Year
14) Get Low
15) The Ghost Writer
16) Blue Valentine
17) Biutiful
18) Waiting for Superman
19) Conviction
20) Animal Kingdom
21) Made in Dagenham
22) How to Train Your Dragon
23) Tron: Legacy
24) Alice in Wonderland
25) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

The last few may surprise you, but the Art and Technical awards tend to honor the more popular and well done films in the special effects categories. I've seen 8/25 as I type. By Saturday, 10 out of 25 and come January 11th when the Social Network is on DVD, I'll be at least at 12/25. After the nominations come out, I cease using the ew list and just go straight for the ballot. Hope my excitement spreads! I'm not usually this enthralled until early February. My hope is that this makes it easier to see the ones that are more difficult to track down and easier to see the movies I have trouble being motivated to watch.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Oscar ballots mailed

The Oscar ballots have been mailed out to members of the academy. They are due January 14th and the nominations will be announced the morning of Tuesday, January 25th.

Below is Dave Karger's list of likely nominees for the week.

This year's awards show is Sunday, February 27th.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Kids Are Alright

The opening scenes are scored perfectly, the soundtrack is great. It's punchy as needed, not over the top. The opening shows all the main characters and sets the jumping off point for the story. The movie stars Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as the mothers to two teenage children, Joni and Laser, portrayed by Mia Wasikowska (Alice in this years Alice in Wonderland) and Josh Hutcherson. The plot develops as the kids contact their birth father sperm donor, Mark Ruffalo.
The dialogue is excellent. It is smart, and begins with an ease of wit and humor. The pacing and length of the film seems just right. The camera is not mockumentary style nor handheld, but as a very "real' style. The editing and cinematography of one scene in particular is so amazing, it expresses so much emotion and serves to lift Annette Bening's stellar performance. She is heartbreakingly good (so is Julianne Moore, but Bening's performance in particular shone to me). I don't know the other nominees yet, but with this performance -- Bening's is deserving.

Family is complicated. This film made me think about my own family. It hooks you with its wit and dialogue and keeps you with its accurate portrayal of the real issues of family and marriage.

And I drank wine while I watched. And no one counted how many glasses.

Side-note about redbox-ing this particular movie, the menus allow you to select the special features, but only plays a message from the studio that all bonus features can be viewed by purchasing the blu ray. Boo to that. Bravo to the flick.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

10 Best Picture noms

Good ole Owen, one of the main two movie reviewers over at ew, expresses his opinion about the Academy's decision last year to have 10 films nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars below. A decision that continues this year.

I agree, with many of his points. Yes, it's obvious which are the "top five," which are the commercially successful ones us real people see and which five would not be included if there were only five nominated flicks. Yes, this is an attempt to bring more viewers to the awards show. My main disagreement, that 10 nominees diminish the Oscars. The Oscars are still the highest honor when it comes to movies and back in the 30s, there were always 10 films nominated for Best Picture.

Overall though, I do wish that there were only five movies nominated for Best Pic. It really just made for more "Oscar homework" for me last year and didn't seem to change much. My love for movies and the Oscars isn't really effected by the year to year changes. I do like to see more people genuinely excited and watching.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Best Christmas Movies

My favorite Christmas movies are:

  1. A Christmas Story

  2. The Grinch (the original animation)

  3. Elf

  4. It's A Wonderful Life

  5. The Family Stone

  6. Home Alone

  7. Love Actually

  8. The Holiday

  9. A Charlie Brown Christmas

  10. One Magic Christmas

Judge my list all you want, these are my favorites. I LOVE holiday themed rom-coms: Love Actually, The Holiday and When Harry Met Sally. I know When Harry Met Sally is not technically a holiday movie, but I always think of it that way and make a point to watch it at this time of year. I watched it on Sunday in fact. I've used a couple of songs from it on my various Christmas CDs (Winter Wonderland by Ray Charles most notably).
I can guess that Meet Me in St Louis (which I do watch every year), White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, and Christmas Vacation top many peoples lists.

What are your favorite Christmas movies? Let's see some comments and dialogue peeps!!

this week's ew nominations list

I keep an eye on this list every week, don't you want to too?!

Dave Karger is THE expert at Entertainment Weekly when it comes to the Oscars.

I've been starting my homework really early this year. I feel like my close attention over the last few years, helps me to know which ones to see early, and which to wait for the nominations. Nominations are announced Tuesday, January 25th. And the big show is Sunday, February 27th.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Green Hornet

The fact that I was able to screen a movie almost a full month before its release date, definitely cool. Emily has a way with scoring the passes.

The Green Hornet is a comedic super hero movie, based on the radio show, the Green Hornet. Seth Rogen stars as the title character and he also co-wrote the script.

One of the first scenes of the movie includes, what I feel, is a hilarious cameo (and I totally called it before the person's face was shown).
I thoroughly enjoyed the pace and humor of the movie. It pokes fun at the super hero genre in a very entertaining way. And there is some genuine ass kicking. I enjoy Seth Rogen and his comedy style cracks me up. The soundtrack, is excellent, featuring Coolio and the White Stripes.
I take a movie for what it is. When watching a silly comedy, I draw my conclusion as such. When I watch an Oscar contender, evaluating it is much more analytical and much more of a critique.
I was all in for this movie, but there came a point, when I could no longer suspend my disbelief. It was fun but it did feel a little long.

The photos for this blog had to be taken after the movie. Part of the screening is that you are not allowed to bring even a cell phone into the theater.

SAG award nominations

I love the build up to the end of the year (and Oscar eligibility).
Check out ew list and comments of the SAG noms:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Tourist

After seeing the serious mind bender Black Swan, my and Marleny's Sunday viewing of the Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp Venetian ride the Tourist, was just right. Fun action with humor and pretty people to watch, excellent.
The movie opens on a van of British police officers monitoring Angelina Jolie's character, Elise. They've got her routine down but today is the day things change and they are soon chasing her to a train station. She's searching for someone who can double as her mysterious husband. Enter, Johnny Depp's Frank. Can I just say, I want to meet Johnny Depp the math teacher from Wisconsin, right now!!

The Venice location is gorgeous and Elise is always impeccably dressed, the fashion is just as gorgeous. And we get to see Johnny in a tux (I love me some Johnny but his personal wardrobe is not my preference. Perfect example, what exactly was he wearing on Letterman last week?!)
It's an action movie, well paced, not overblown with excellent support from Paul Bettany as the lead investigator and his boss, former James Bond, Timothy Dalton. Great fun.

Black Swan

Going to see Black Swan, was quite the experience. Katy and I arrived downtown and there was a very long line despite the three theaters showing the movie at Fox Towers. The 8 o'clock showtime we had arrived for, was sold out. So we purchased our tickets for the 10pm showing and hung out downtown. Then there was the line to be seated, and then there was the problem with the projector that delayed the start of the film. But finally the trailers for other Oscar fare began (I can't wait to see The King's Speech). I'm impressed with the Portland movie-going public, the movie does not even release wide until this Friday.
 From the get-go, Natalie Portman's character Nina is repressed and in an odd childlike state. This is best demonstrated by her relationship with her mother, played by Barbara Hershey. Her bedroom is pink and full of stuffed animals (and her mom helps her get ready for bed). The mother-daughter issues are just part of the craziness. Nina is driven and completely dedicated to being a perfect dancer. As she seeks perfection in the dual role of both the White and Black Swan, she becomes obsessed and starts to lose her mind. The ballet's director (Vincent Cassel, the aerobatic thief in Ocean's 12) encourages her in a range of, shall we say, unprofessional methods. There are glimmers of her breaking away from her mother and becoming an independent adult, but all the weird stuff that's going on in her mind, gets in the way. Lily, portrayed by Mila Kunas, is the antithesis of Nina. She's wild, uncontrolled, her technique may be weak but she expresses raw emotion. I don't think Lily has violently bad intentions against Nina. Its my interpretation that Lily's most extreme actions, are all in Nina's head. It speaks to the script and the direction of the film on how all these elements subtly build and crescendo to conclusion.
The music is fantastic. Throughout the film it sets the creepy, confused tones, without being over the top or too obvious. Excellent cinematography, though I must say, I was not at all prepared for the gore of the film. One scene in particular still makes me shutter days later. I was definitely not sitting back, enjoying the movie. I was uncomfortable throughout, which I think was the intention. It must also be said that Winona Ryder is excellent as the drama queen ballerina Beth, who has been made to retire.

I could go on and on, listing the specifics but I'm not going to rattle off all the nuanced details that make the film what is, but I would sure love to talk about it after you see it. I've read that the ending needs interpretation or to be explained, but unlike my experience with director Darren Aronofsky's previous picture, The Wrestler, I have a clear understanding of the end of Black Swan. I know what happened.
I recommend seeing this movie in the daylight, and be prepared to talk about it the whole ride home.

Golden Globe nominations

No real big surprises, though it is interesting that The Tourist got three nominations, must be the international locale (a blog on that coming up soon as well). And yea for Johnny for his two noms.
Such a fun show to watch. All the celebs sitting with their cast-mates, drinking. And its an incredible build-up to the Oscars. The Golden Globes award show is Sunday, January 16th on nbc, Ricky Gervais is hosting.

Good ole ew, I think their list is a little easier to read. I also think its funny that the Wall Street Journal, just copy and pasted from the NFPA (Golden Globes) website!

Here are the movie noms. Its a movie and tv award show, but this is a movie blog. I do love me some tv though.
Best Picture — Drama
Black Swan
The Fighter
The King’s Speech
The Social Network

Best Picture — Musical or Comedy
Alice in Wonderland
The Kids Are All Right
The Tourist

Best Actor — Drama
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Colin Firth, The King’s Speech
James Franco, 127 Hours
Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine
Mark Wahlberg, The Fighter

Best Actress — Drama
Halle Berry, Frankie and Alice
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone
Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Best Actor — Musical or Comedy
Johnny Depp, Alice in Wonderland
Johnny Depp, The Tourist
Paul Giamatti, Barney’s Version
Jake Gyllenhaal, Love and Other Drugs
Kevin Spacey, Casino Jack

Best Actress — Musical or Comedy
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right
Anne Hathaway, Love and Other Drugs
Angelina Jolie, The Tourist
Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right
Emma Stone, Easy A

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, The Fighter
Michael Douglas, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps
Andrew Garfield, The Social Network
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King’s Speech
Mila Kunis, Black Swan
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan
David Fincher, The Social Network
Tom Hooper, The King’s Speech
Christopher Nolan, Inception
David O. Russell, The Fighter

Best Screenplay
127 Hours, Simon Beaufoy and Danny Boyle
Inception, Christopher Nolan
The Kids Are All Right, Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg
The King’s Speech, David Seidler
The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin

Best Original Song
“Bound to You,” Burlesque (performed by Christina Aguilera; written by Samuel Dixon, Christina Aguilera and Sia Furler)
“Coming Home,” Country Strong (performed by Gwyneth Paltrow; written by Bob PiPiero, Tom Douglas, Hillary Lindsey, Troy Verges)
“I See the Light,” Tangled (performed by Mandy Moore & Zachary Levi; written by Alan Menken & Glenn Slater)
“There’s a Place For Us,” The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (performed by Carrie Underwood; written by Carrie Underwood, David Hodges, Hillary Lindsey)
“You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me Yet,” Burlesque (performed by Cher; written by Diane Warren)

Best Original Score
127 Hours, A.R. Rahman
Alice in Wonderland, Danny Elfman
Inception, Hans Zimmer
The King’s Speech, Alexandre Desplat
The Social Network, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Best Foreign Language Film
The Concert
The Edge
I Am Love
In a Better World

Best Animated Feature
Despicable Me
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3

Monday, December 13, 2010

Before the Golden Globe nominations tomorrow...

My post about Black Swan is coming up. In the mean time, its starting to get on lists and more award show buzz.

Big city lists:

And the AFI Top 10 of 2010:
Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, 127 Hours, The Social Network, The Town, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter’s Bone.
Two films that were not eligible for the top 10 received special awards: The King’s Speech (ineligible because it’s British) and Waiting for “Superman” (which couldn’t be considered because it’s a documentary).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Love and Other Drugs

The pace, music and editing of the first scene of Love and Other Drugs, are excellent. It opens in 1996 with Jake Gyllenhaal as an electronics store salesmen, set to the sweet sound of the Spin Doctors. The energy and sly charm of Gyllenhaal's character, Jamie Randall, continue throughout much of the movie. He's a smooth operator and its not the least bit offensive. Its completely cute and funny.

Now as a pharmaceutical rep, Jamie soon crosses paths with Anne Hathaway's free-spirited artist, Maggie Murdock. They are two of a kind and fall right into bed. As the buzz for the movie promises, there's lots of skin and sex scenes. Maggie's character faces a challenge in her life that much of the second half of the film and the conflict of the movie revolve around. I did not know it before seeing the movie, and though most reviews probably mention it, I won't. I like that I didn't know everything about the movie before seeing it.

Over all, its a fun picture, and I enjoyed the trip back to the 90s and the exposure of the relationship between doctors and pharmaceutical companies. The only silver bullet, is the "grand gesture" scene that frequents many rom-coms. It is based on a real story, the screenplay is adapted from the book Hard Sell by the real Jamie. And it wasn't cheesy, my main element to determine a good or bad rom-com.

I'll be seeing Black Swan Friday and The Tourist on, you never know when there is more Oscar news this time of year.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part One

This was the first of the Harry Potter movies that I needed to hurry up and finishing reading before the movie came out. And I failed at that. But I did try really hard to get half-way, its only part one after all, right? Why, you may ask, am I taking so long to read the final book? Well, I'll tell you. With the last three books, I tried to wait to start reading them for as long as I could and then to read as slowly as I could. I flew through the first four books the summer before the first movie came out and had time to reread them. It was a long time to wait between books, and with the final book, that was it. Well, spoilers everywhere soured me on the final book. My own sister and step-brother chatting about it while I waved my hands about "hello, haven't read it yet, PLEASE stop talking about it, RIGHT NOW!" and Stephen King writing an article in ew with no spoiler warning and then saying any true fan would have read the book by then: these things shut me down. To Uncle Stevie, my protest would be, "My fandom is strong and my delay is based in my love of the Potterverse." I open this post with my reading history because I find it fascinating that there are people who see the movies and never read the books. While my brain does not have the capacity to hold all the details of the books at quick reference, I find that there is such a deeper viewing experience to the movies, when you've read the books.
With my dash to read the book before I saw it on Black Friday with Emily, I couldn't help but notice all the nuances between the book and the scenes as portrayed in the movie. Overall, the changes are minor and the entire series as been very true to the books. In fact, I noticed in the credits that JK Rowling was a producer. After doing a little imdb research, this is indeed the first film in which Rowling has a producing credit.

When I first heard that the final installment would be broken into two parts, I was displeased. I felt like they were "pulling an HBO" (HBO often divides the final seasons of their tv series into two parts for basically additional DVD revenue, ie Sex and the City). If the last few, both similar in length, were made in one, why now? Well, there is certainly enough plot to fill Part One, so I'm thankful for the extension of my Harry Potter experience.
The impressive thing with the Potter movie series is that the production value has always been phenomenal and Deathly Hallows holds true to this. While the main, extended characters are all present, the movie centers on Harry, Ron and Hermione and then Harry and Hermione. Wonderful action and visually stunning.

I'm sure that I am not the first to make this observation but the terror of Voldemort and his followers reminds me of Hitler and the Nazis. I've read that some have regarded the last Potter books as a critique of the Bush administration. As much as I am not a fan of the Bush administration, that leaves me scratching my head. It seems so evident to me that the reference is to the Nazis. The hiding that so many must do, the trials over peoples race (muggle or pureblood) and the distinction of those that are muggles.

If your a fan of the books and movies, or just the movies, continue to keep up with the series.

Oscar news for Blue Valentine & early predictions

Looks like Harvey Weinstein made his case. As I mentioned in my Holiday Season movie preview, if the NC17 rating had stuck, it could have been detrimental to the film's chances of a successful Oscar season.

Here's an early, early list. Can't wait for the ew 25 to see before Oscar night list. Its not 100% but it gives me "homework" before the actual nominations come out.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Oscar Season, let it begin!

Time to start talking about the Oscars. I'm WAY addicted to Entertainment Weekly, or ew, for those of you not so inclined. I'm sure that there will be several other of these updates throughout the season.

This is my first Oscar season with the movie blog and I couldn't be more excited to have an outlet to share what I find. I'm thinking that there will also be items shared that friends send my way. I know last year Jennica, Kate, Katy and others all provided me with interesting articles and Oscar related tidbits. HOORAY!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Holiday Movie Season

Well, I can't wait to see Harry Potter. I know I'll be seeing it with Emily, and I hope that we'll be seeing it over Thanksgiving weekend. Laura and I also have plans for a movie that weekend. Holiday movies also mean Oscar bait time. Here's my glimpse at what is coming out soon...

Love and Other Drugs -- Pharmaceutical sales rep Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway love story (Nov 24th). I'll be seeing this.

Burlesque -- Cher and Christina Aguilera musical (Nov 24th).
Tangled -- Disney's animated Rapunzel (Nov 24th).

Black Swan -- Natalia Portman is a ballerina, it may not sound like it but this is supposed to be a real mind trip. And is anticipated to have Oscar nominations (Dec 3rd).

The Tourist -- Have you seen the trailer for this? Hotness! Just knowing it stars Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie is probably enough said but the Venice location and caper/thriller feel add to it (Dec 10th).

The Fighter -- Mark Walberg stars as the boxer and he has been working to get this movie made for years. There were talks of Matt Damon playing his brother at one point (oh the Boston hotness that brings to my mind) but after seeing how Christian Bale looks in the film, it wouldn't have been the most sexy role for Damon. Plus he has all those 30 Rocks spots to shoot, right?! Amy Adams also co-stars as Walberg's girlfriend (Dec 10th).

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader -- The third in the series of the CS Lewis books (Dec 10th).

Tron: Legacy -- I really only remember Tron from tv but I still really want to see this. It looks badass. Jeff Bridges is back and the plot and space between movies seems well written (Dec 17th).

Yogi Bear -- Was pretty horrified to see clips of this. Its a mix of live action and Yogi and Boo Boo are animated. Dan Aykroyd does a good Yogi voice but Justin Timberlake as Boo Boo?! What? (Dec 17th).

How Do You Know -- James L Brooks wrote and directed (As Good as It Gets, Terms of Endearment, Spanglish) this movie starring Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Owen Wilson and Jack Nicholson (Dec 17th). I'll be seeing this one too.

Country Strong -- This is the Gwyneth Paltrow as a country singer movie. As some of you may recall, the Duets soundtrack played constantly in my ford escort for a good year or so (Dec 22nd). Looking forward to it.

Gulliver's Travels -- Gets an update with Jack Black (Dec 22nd).
Little Fockers -- There needed to be a third one? Well, here's to an open mind and the right mood. Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman are back as Ben Stiller's parents, though I think its more of a cameo thing (Dec 22nd).

True Grit -- The Coen Brothers remake of the John Wayne Western classic. Jeff Bridges stars as the one-eyed Rooster Cogburn (Dec 22nd).

Blue Valentine -- Tough drama of the marriage between Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Harvey Weinstein is appealing the MPAA's NC17 rating of the flick. This one has had Oscar buzz from the get-go and the rating may effect the likelihood (Dec 31st).

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Morning Glory

Monday Miss Emily Ficker scored passes to an advanced screening of Morning Glory, starring Rachel McAdams, Patrick Wilson, Diane Keaton, Harrison Ford and Jeff Goldblum. We arrived more than an hour and a half before the movie started, and for these screeners, that sounds crazy early, but it was perfect. Well, perfect may not be the right word, early enough, yes. In time for the crazies, yes. In case you missed Emily's and my delightful exchange on facebook, there was a group of people that had chairs, they all knew each other and they were coo-coo for cocoa puffs. I was completely prepared to wait in line, next time I'll be prepared for the side of crazy. I'll try not to over-boil with furry when they cut in line just because they know someone already there.

I loved the movie! It delivered. It was hilarious, it made me cry...well almost, I did well-up. It completely passed my new standard of: "did it reflect the trailer while being more than than just the trailer." (ps, I totally love the song that is played in the trailer, Natasha Bedingfield's Strip Me). I find myself in my usual spot between the rock and the hard place -- when I like a movie, I don't want to oversell it or give too much away. I am a big believer in movie expectations, if too high, one might not like a movie, they have every reason to like!
Another shout out to Marla's movie night! We watched the Back-Up Plan last night (not the best, its slapstick in parts, serious in others and as a result is too uneven. And my rom-com test of the too cheesy ick factor, totally does not pass. Way too many moments that make me squirm because of the cheese). Movie night is SO much fun! There is no movie the week of Thanksgiving, but next week in honor of the holiday, we'll be watching HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS! One of my all-time favorite movies.

Friday, November 5, 2010

New trailer!

Time to update my movie blog. I know, I know, it is about time.

My decision to update came because I just saw the trailer for the Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston movie that comes out 2/11/11, Just Go With It.
It looks fantastic! Its just the sort of Adam Sandler rom-com that are my favorites of his (50 First Dates, the Wedding Singer). And, I think we can all exhale a sigh of relief, looks like Jennifer Aniston's finally due for a hit!! Plus with a V-Day opening weekend -- no doubt.

With Oscar season ahead, and all the seriousness that that entails, its exciting to know a solid rom-com will be out in February.

I have not been to the movies since early September, thus explaining my lack of movie blogging. I never did post about Going the Distance, which was very cute. Good solid rom-com. Drew Barrymore uses colorful language and its really funny. I saw it with Mindy at Clackamas Town Center over Labor Day weekend -- good grief that seems like forever ago. Makes me realize what a great run I was on late summer/early fall. I would go to a movie, know which one I was going to next and be sure to blog about the last one I saw before seeing the next. I was even taking pictures and at Going the Distance, more creative ones, thanks to Mindy.
Last weekend I recently re-watched SATC2 on DVD, which purchasing was no easy task. I accidentally bought the Blu-Ray, which I do not own. Target was kind enough to exchange, and then that copy had a crack in the special feature disc. Third time is the charm, I now have a good copy, in the correct format. I'm eager to watch the special features. Looks like no commentary though.

Shout out to Marla's Movie nights! Every Friday. We have watched so far: Hot Tub Time Machine, Leap Year, Killers, Julie and Julia, Babies, Practical Magic and Date Night.

A couple of weekends ago, I red boxed The Joneses. Its Demi Moore and David Duchovny, very fun, very clever commentary on upper-middle class suburbs. I had seen the trailer and knew I wanted to see it. Seems to have gone straight to DVD -- which is not a reflection on the movie. Its one where the movie is actually as good as the trailer and the trailer is not the whole movie. I watched Greenburg with Laura back in mid-September, her first experience at the red box machine. That was not so good and an example of when the trailer and what the movie could be, is better than the actual movie.

I don't know what I'll be seeing next, but hopefully something soon! Marla's Movie Night is tonight and Thanksgiving is upon us. That long weekend usually means at least one trip to the theater. I vow to movie blog more. ;)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Marla's 1st Movie Night

The first selection was Hot Tub Time Machine. The snacks were excellent and there were some laugh-out-loud moments from the 80s time travel.
Next week's Friday Night movie is Leap Year.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Switch

I thoroughly enjoyed the Switch. I've read about the poor opening box office, I attribute that to the fact that people just didn't go to the movies that weekend. The parking lot was noticeably empty for a Saturday night, and yet the theater I saw the Switch in, was full. Just saying.

The movie is laugh-out-loud funny. Much to the credit of Jason Bateman. His scenes with Jeff Goldblum in particular are hilarious. Bateman's rapport with the young character, Sebastian, played by Thomas Robinson, are sweet and humorous. I don't understand the backlash often directed at Jennifer Aniston. I like her, I enjoy her, I won't defend or convince why others should like her.
Amid the rom-com antics, there is genuine emotion and this flick passes my most stringent romantic comedy gage, it didn't make me gag and has no "too cheesy to tolerate" moment. Also, I think the Switch is better than the Back-Up Plan. I think its cool that unconventional ways to make a family are being portrayed in mainstream movies. There was nothing specifically wrong with the Back-Up Plan, but it wasn't great. The Switch is funnier, in my opinion, and has less set-ups for the laughs; my laughs came during the Switch from the dialogue.

I think my next movie will be Going the Distance, so the romantic comedy blogs continue!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Coming Attractions -- September

Here are some movies coming soon!
  • September 1st -- The American, the new George Clooney one.

  • September 3rd -- Going the Distance, the one with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long about the long distance relationship.

  • September 10th -- I'm Still Here, Casey Affleck's documentary about Joaquin Phoenix's bearded, rapping phase.
    -- The Romantics, Katie Holmes, Anna Paquin, Candice Bergen, and Josh Duhamel, college friends attend a wedding.

  • September 17th -- Easy A, Emma Stone and the kid who's Courteney Cox's son on Cougar Town in a high school movie about a girl giving herself a bad reputation.
    -- The Town, Ben Affleck's second directing effort, Boston bank robbers, also starring Jon Hamm and Jeremy Renner.

  • September 24th -- Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, the sequel to the 1987 flick.
    -- You Again, Kristin Bell, Jamie Lee Curis, Sigourney Weaver and Betty White, in a family wedding comedy.

    The plan is to do these each month. And I've got one coming for The Switch (thumbs up), but hey, the Emmys, True Blood and Man Men are on tonight!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Eat Pray Love

This movie, is a delight. Its emotional, deep and thought provoking, and light and fun too. Forgive me the run-on but...what stands out most to me is the idea that we can decide to shape our lives and be bold in making that decision but we will still be faced with the unexpected and the whole endeavor can be more than we could possibly imagine, good and bad. My devotion to Entertainment Weekly and my ear for all things movie and pop culture can often cause little surprises for me when going to the multiplex. I was surprised that there was more pre-journey backstory for the protagonist. Thank goodness I have not read the memoir that the film is based on yet (but I am eager to read it; very much like my experience with Julie & Julia last summer, loved the movie and read the memoir before seeing the movie for the second time). Here's to seeing the movie based on a book first and then reading the book -- greatly increases the odds of enjoying both independently.

Eat Pray Love is the true story of writer Elizabeth Gilbert's journey of self discovery -- there's a reason its been a topic on Oprah on more than one occasion. As we observe her travels, we get to go along for the ride, taking in the sights, sounds, and flavors. The problem I constantly run into in writing this blog, is how detailed to be and not wanting to give too much away. One thing I dislike about my beloved EW's reviews, is that they reveal WAY too much. So I'll touch on these details: Richard Jenkins, whom I will always enjoy because he was the dad in Six Feet Under, is excellent as Richard from Texas. All the men who cross Liz's path are enjoyable. I felt that Liz's time in India was my favorite in that it was the least seen in the promos and showed the most growing pains.
This is one of those movies that is just a pleasure to sit back and take in. ···
If I were to plan my own EPL style adventure, why not one with a movie theme, Sundance and Cannes Film Festivals, a red carpet walk to the Oscars, heck while I'm dreaming, I need to devise a way to become a voting member of the academy and score all those screener DVDs. A girl can dream. Have you heard of the parody book Drink Play F*ck? Apparently Steve Carell is set to star in the movie adaptation. I'd see that.

I strongly dislike reading stories that report the success at the box office of a "woman's movie" as news. Women get excited about movies, that's NO news flash! Not only do we flock to the Sex and the Cities and the Eat Pray Loves, but we also go see Inception and the summer's latest comic book hero (ps, besides Iron Man 2, which was in May and I saw with my mom for Mother's Day, this summer is missing that element -- looks like summer 2008 was the better summer season for super heroes and Manolo Blahnik wearers -- the first Iron Man, the Dark Knight, Hancock and the first SATC flick). The state of the romantic comedy is something to report on. Granted, I am a little bit older and my standards are a little bit tougher. But Serendipity is in a whole other category than Bride Wars. This is why I'm looking forward to my next flick, The Switch. Yes, I will see anything with Jennifer Aniston and yes Bounty Hunter was AWFUL. But so was the Ugly Truth. In fact, I would argue it was worse, and the common denominator there is Gerald Butler, not a female lead. The Switch looks promising, Jason Bateman and the folks that brought us Juno, heck yea. To sum up my little rant about women and movies today, Julia Roberts, need I say more? She is one of the only true movie stars out there and she was the first woman to break the 20 million per picture glass ceiling.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Summer Movies

I've got some catching up to do! In my humble opinion, it has been a slower summer blockbuster season this year. That said, there have been some great summer movies! Inception, clearly excellent and the most original. Toy Story 3 continues the premium quality of Pixar flicks and both Knight and Day and Salt were dang fun rides. Below is a mix of the Toy Story 3 trailer with Inception audio. Very fun (thanks Laura).

As I will be covering several movies in one blog, the time has come to test using a grading system. I've decided to with a basic 4 star system, with a movie graphic.

Toy Story 3
Scene at: Clackamas Town Center with Laura and Jerre
The typical disappointments that can accompany a sequel, certainly do NOT apply here! It pretty much goes without saying that the animation is impeccable. I can not wait to see it a second time because I was so engrossed in the characters and their perils, I couldn't wait to see how things worked out. It will be nice to slow down and enjoy it on second viewing. Its a testament to the film that animated toys can make me cry. The time in development and the strength of the writing make it all possible. ····

Knight and Day
Scene at: Bridgeport with Laura
I'm a sucker for spy movies, they are just fun! And this was light and playful, a good summer popcorn flick. I really like Cameron Diaz and though I am not a Tom Cruise fan, this is definitely on my movies-with-Tom-Cruise that I like list. Good action, global locales and humor. ···

The Invention of Lying
Scene: on HBO, at home
What a surprise this was! The dark comedy written by and staring Ricky Gervais takes place in a world where lying does not exist -- meaning no exaggerations, no fiction and a blunt lack of sugar coating. It was surprisingly toughing and I highly recommend it. It really has a deeper level to it. I think the home format and having zero expectations really opened me up to it. Check it out. ···

Scene at: Clackamas Town Center with Laura
Just like the marketing of this film, I'm going to say very little about this dream-scape movie. Another amazing Christopher Nolan pic and totally fantastic. To date, the best of summer. ····

Charlie St Cloud
Scene at: Cedar Hills with Katy
The reason to see this movie, to look at Zac Efron. Which is why I saw it and enjoyed the time I spent watching it. Ghost is still the better movie when it comes to dearly departed love ones lingering among the living. ··

Scene at: Bridgeport with Mindy and Candie
Fun with spies, part two! I'm not the first to make the comparison, but Salt is like a female twist on the Bourne Identity action flick. Angelina doing what she does best, being badass (I am of the opinion that she is also an excellent actress, ie Changling, Girl Interrupted, but doesn't strong acting make the ride more fun, when its well executed?). Do you think there will be a sequel?

And friends whom I go to the movies with, we've got to take pictures together at the theater! Otherwise, I have no pics to add to the blog! Plus don't you want to appear in the blog?!

Up next, Eat Pray Love!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Grown-Ups and This Is It

Nothing to write home about. The best part of this viewing experience, was hanging out with Kari and running into an old co-worker. Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade and Rob Schneider are entertaining as buddies but the "I'm stuck in my life as a husband and father" jokes get old, fast. Of course they all come to appreciate their lives, through their friendships. Awe shucks.

This Is It 
I had yet to see the concert/memorial movie from Michael Jackson's last days. Friday being the one year anniversary of his death, I thought it was a good time to watch the film. I'm not a huge fan of concert movies, but this one is very well done and of course eerie in that it was filmed right up until MJ's death. The opening title sequence is very well done. I couldn't help but consider Michael's health while watching the movie. Clips of several rehearsals are included. No one will ever really know, but I wondered if he had the stamina for the full length show. I'm going by the outfits MJ wears. Each song rehearsal shows at least two sessions in tandem; no one outfit/session is shown for every song. It was cool to see his involvement in everything from the selection of dancers to the camera use for a 3D Thriller update (a 3D Thriller update, HOW COOL IS THAT?!). The movie definitely ended on the note of Save the World, one of Michael Jackson's legacies: we better save the environment before the damage becomes irreversible.

Great Oak Film Festival

Friday June 18th, I was lucky enough to attend the Great Oaks Film Festival -- Short Films Under the Stars. I was lucky, because this is an invitation only event in Walla Walla. One of the two couples that host the event, are clients at the vet clinic where Jennica works.
The first movie was Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty. A very funny twist on the fairy tale, Granny tell the little girl a bed time story. The "evil" fairy is not so much evil, as just offended to have not been invited to the party because of her age. Animated and excellent visually.

De Beste Gar Forst (United We Stand) is a cute film about a group of octogenarians on their annual hiking trip. A pretty young woman is found, stuck in mud calling for help. Each of the men assist her out of the mud, and then are stuck themselves. Singing and jovial up to the minute of their demises.

The protagonist in Beats Per Minute is a young man from Europe who loves to dance. He receives his big break, a call from Hollywood.

Probably the zaniest and funniest of the shorts, Istallet for Abrakadabra (Instead of Abracadabra) is about a young man who still lives at home, who does magic. His mom is supportive (to the point of injury) and his father has had enough.

The Moon and the Son is animated and deals with the film maker's grief and difficult relationship with his father. His father had ties to the mob and spent time in jail during his son's childhood.

There was a technical difficulty with the subtitles for 7:35 De La Manana (7:35 in the Morning). It was announced that this film would be played at July's festival.

With people who resemble mannequins, Fits and Starts is wacky and fun. A couple drinks orange soda on a couch.
There were delicious drinks and yummy dishes. The hosts provide a drink (lemon basil vodka gimlets) and an entree (homemade sausages) and the guests bring wine, side-dishes, deserts and appetizers. SO good!

Any one know of any other events like this? Please invite me! Flicks on the Bricks, Ferris Bueller's Day Off is July 23rd at 7pm.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sex and the City 2

I'm delighted to say that upon second viewing, my fondness for the much anticipated sequel to my beloved series, was much improved. As much as I loved having Cosmos beforehand and seeing the movie opening weekend, decked out with my girls, I was a bit disappointed. Scott suggested before seeing the movie that I do a blog about movies. I decided that once I gave SATC2 a second chance, I would start my blog.

 The movie begins in Manhattan. Even the studio logos have been Sex and the City-ed with glitter and glam. A delightful remix of the well known theme plays and ebbs into a remix of Empire State of Mind with Alicia Keys. Glimpses of how Carrie and Co met in the 80s are a sweet treat. How time has passed in the last two years for the four begins to unfold and the story shifts to Stanford and Anthony's Connecticut wedding. While grateful that the pairs initial disdain for one another was acknowledged, I still would have liked an explanation of what happened to Marcus, Stanford's boyfriend when the series ended, and a bit more of how Anthony and Stanford became a couple. A constant discussion throughout the movie is the modern and traditional definition of marriage and how everyone shares and varies in their definitions, mainly how Carrie is adapting from ultimate single gal to married life.
We've grown to love these characters for the New York dwelling friends that they are. The departure to Abu Dhabi, is difficult to love as more than half of the film takes place there. Clearly Michael Patrick King, who helmed the series and the first film as well, was looking to take us on a fun adventure, to forgo the drama and darker elements of the first film. While executed, something is lost in the move. I did enjoy the adventures abroad more the second time around. The extended time away from New York was the main hang-up I had with the movie the first time around. That and that the characters seem to become more caricatures of themselves when away from home. I heard many say one of their biggest beefs with the first film was that the time in Mexico was too long. I did not feel that way about the Mexico trip, so in a way I find my perspective on this all the more perplexing. When I saw the movie the second time, maybe it was that I was prepared and also really motivated to be loyal to my SATC, but I did get much more of a kick out of it.
The movie is visual stunning, the fashion more over-the-top then ever before. This is a hallmark of the franchise, always pushing the envelope. The production value is flawless, no critiques there.
As the box office has been less than stellar, outlook for a third film is not promising. My enthusiasm for another venture would depend on a guaranteed glowing love of the movie on first viewing, not one that I would have to learn to like/cheer-lead myself into. That is completely unrealistic, but my sentiment. I mean how many of you would be motivated to go see a third installment opening weekend? The film does leave with a 'The End' visual, so maybe all will be left to our imaginations at this point. The four will continue to lead their lives in New York and take the time to travel to exotic locations for quality time together.