Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Friends With Benefits

Bottom line, FWB more than passes my rom com test. The movie successfully takes jabs at the cliches romantic comedies are often saturated with. The raunch of the language and obvious subject matter works because there is humanity behind it. The characters are well developed and have back-stories and families. Plus, the two leads live glamorous bi-coastal lives that they work hard for so they still seem attainable and relatable. And they are hot.

Though I appreciate the Black Swan/That 70s Show connection that binds them beyond their subject matter no end, there is no contest, Friends With Benefits is far superior to No Strings Attached. When the time comes for a cliched moment in FWB, it does so by winking at the audience. You get your cake and to eat it too.

Rom coms get a bad rap but they are among my favorites. When done right. Unfortunately for every stellar one, there are dozens of bad ones. Something Borrowed is the worst one I have seen in recent memory. Not every one can be When Harry Met Sally.

Many lines and elements have remained memorable in the days since I saw the flick Saturday. Not specific to FWB, to all movie marketing, some of the best lines are ruined because I had heard them repeatedly beforehand. I even fast forward through the clips shown when actors are on talk shows, I do what I can to keep it fresh. I refuse to go to movies less or not arrive in time to the trailers. There were a couple of jokes I was surprised to hear laughter after, merely because I knew them so well by the time I saw the movie. Hollywood really needs to take notes from JJ Abrams and Super 8, less is more people, less is more. In this summer movie season, I can not wait to re-watch Bridesmaids and Friends With Benefits.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Larry Crowne

The word of mouth I had heard prior to seeing Larry Crowne was split 50/50 favorably and against. The premise of the movie has been well marketed. Heck I blogged about the first time I saw the trailer. How could a movie with Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts not be good? Well after the feedback I received Thursday, Friday I noticed that the movie was about to disappear from theaters with only one showing at most theaters. I saw it at Tigard Cinemas in trusty theater number seven. I honestly could not tell you how many Oscar homework movies I have seen in that theater. I do think hearing the less than stellar conclusions some had helped improve my experience by completely resetting my expectations.

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. My one criticism involves one significant scene and it was not aided by the overuse of music. Despite the heavily scored moment, the soundtrack is excellent. Two Tom Petty songs. I loved that the trailer set-up of the premise was over within the first few minutes. I had no idea how the third act would progress which pleased me greatly. I also did not know that actors Ian Gomez, Pam Grier, Bryan Cranston, Wilmer Valderrama and George Takei had roles in the movie. I enjoy being surprised. I should have known before the movie started that the great trailer for The Descendants, a George Clooney movie I had never even read about, was a good omen. That and the obnoxious girls in the theater miraculously stopped talking when the movie began.

I knew Tom Hanks starred and directed but I was not aware of Nia Vardalos and Hanks co-writing the script. You all know that the production company of Hanks and wife Rita Wilson is called Playtone after the record label Hanks' character reps in his first directorial effort, That Thing You Do! and that both Wilson and Hanks were producers on My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Of course you do. Playtone produced My Big Fat Greek Wedding after Wilson, who is Greek, saw Vardalos' one woman show for which the movie is based. I leave it to you to spot the not yet famous daughter of one of, if not the, greatest living actresses of our times but will tell you that one of Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson's sons, has a brief role in the movie, "thanks, you're a babe."  Thus concludes the trivia portion of this post.

Tom Hanks is my favorite. My list of "one of my favorites" is a longer list but Tom Hanks has been my hands down favorite for years. My mom can confirm this. On a trip to Southern California in the nineties Patty and Mom convinced me that they had seen Tom Hanks while picking up breakfast. My exasperation at missing out on the chance to see him was so severe that they cut short what had been planned as a day long prank because I would not let it go. Hanks' character of Larry is the everyman, definition of a good guy that he plays best. He looked like a regular, real person. His house was not perfect and looked like a real house, in a real neighborhood. I really liked Julia Roberts in the flick as well. I have always liked her movies but struggled to like her. I think after Eat Pray Love and now Larry Crowne I officially do.

I will remain true to my no spoiler policy and say in my best effort at code that I liked one scene better in Larry Crowne "with an e" than the similar scene in You've Got Mail. That may be so veiled that only my mom or sisters could decipher it. Maybe not even them.

The closing credits of the movie are original and fun, the cherry on top of my movie going experience.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two

The final film in the Harry Potter series was everything it should be. It was epic, it was fantastic. It was thrilling and emotionally wrenching. And that is pretty much all I am going to say.

I had the pleasure of seeing the last installment at Cinetopia with a group organized by Emily. Needless to say, this was one movie going experience where I did not have to try and remember to take a picture for my blog (as already evidenced by my previous post). We saw Harry in 3D. Not necessary but we saw the movie in the lap of every luxury available. What other way could there be to send off such a great movie series.
There are video movie posters. So the Daily Prophet, moved liked the Daily Prophet would.

I have read much about how well reviewed this entry in the Potter story and what its chances for Oscar glory are. While any acting nods and a Best Picture win is a stretch, a nomination for Best Picture and many wins in technical categories are hopefully likely.


A large part of why my experience seeing Harry Potter was so magical, was because of the location. If you have never been to a Cinetopia, treat yourself. The Vancouver location is great, way beyond the typical multiplex. The new location in Beaverton, is even more beyond amazing. In the ultra Living Room theater, servers walk down the aisles taking your order. Standard movie theater fare, popcorn, soda and treats like cheesecake and bottles of wine.

There is art, the Batman piece was my favorite. It was the most movie themed item. There are also multiple seating areas including a living room with fireplace. The outside glows with a stain glass look and water features. All this luxury does come at a price but it is a dream for this movie lover. 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

2011 Emmy Nominations

Yes, this is a movie blog, not a television blog. I am known for my love of film but I also enjoy good tv. DVR is a must have for me. And let's face facts, many film actors appear on tv. We are going to see overlap at the Golden Globes anyway. Have I justified myself?!

I have just recently concluded that Showtime has surpassed HBO in volume of qualify programming (Dexter, the Big C, Weeds, Nurse Jackie, and United States of Tara). With the final season of Entourage about to premier and Curb Your Enthusiasm a little long in the tooth, all that is left for me is True Blood (neither Broadwalk Empire or Games of Thrones interests me). Of course HBO makes a mini-series/movie better than anyone else out there. With no real competition, that's why they take home so many awards. Are Hallmark or Lifetime really going to crank out anything remotely on HBO's level, no.

Mad Men and Modern Family are the most nominated shows with 19 and 17 respectively. Both are favorites of mine and I highly recommend each. You can catch up with Mad Men on DVD; you have a year until its next season starts. The first season of Modern Family is also on DVD with the second soon to arrive September 20th. All six of the adult actors on the mockumentary style sitcom, are nominated in the supporting comedy acting categories. The Emmys are on Sunday, September 18th.
Now, without further ado, the nominees.

Best drama series: Boardwalk Empire, Friday Night Lights, Dexter, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, Mad Men.

Best comedy series: Modern Family, 30 Rock, Glee, The Office, The Big Bang Theory, Parks and Recreation.

Drama actress: Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife; Elisabeth Moss, Mad Men; Mariska Hargitay, Law & Order: SVU; Kathy Bates, Harry’s Law; Connie Britton, Friday Night Lights and Mireille Enos, The Killing.

Comedy actor: Steve Carell, The Office; Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock; Jim Parsons, Big Bang Theory; Matt LeBlanc, Episodes, Louis C.K., Louie; Johnny Galecki, Big Bang Theory.

Drama actor: Jon Hamm, Mad Men; Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire; Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights; Michael C. Hall, Dexter; Hugh Laurie, House; Timothy Olyphant, Justified.

Comedy actress: Tina Fey, 30 Rock; Edie Falco, Nurse Jackie; Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation; Laura Linney, The Big C; Martha Plimpton, Raising Hope; Melissa McCarthy, Mike & Molly.

Supporting drama actor: Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age; John Slattery, Mad Men; Alan Cumming, The Good Wife; Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones; Josh Charles, The Good Wife; Walton Goggins, Justified.

Supporting comedy actor: Ty Burrell, Modern Family; Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Modern Family; Ed O’Neill, Modern Family; Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family; Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men; Chris Colfer, Glee.

Supporting comedy actress: Julie Bowen, Modern Family; Sofia Vergara, Modern Family; Jane Lynch, Glee; Betty White, Hot in Cleveland; Kristen Wiig, Saturday Night Live; Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock.

Supporting drama actress: Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife; Kelly Macdonald, Boardwalk Empire; Christine Baranski, The Good Wife; Michelle Forbes, The Killing; Margo Martindale, Justified; Christina Hendricks, Mad Men.

Movie or miniseries
Mildred Pierce, HBO; Downtown Abbey, PBS; The Kennedys, ReelzChannel; Cinema Verite, HBO; Too Big To Fail, HBO; Pillars of the Earth, Starz.

Reality competition: So You Think You Can Dance, Top Chef, The Amazing Race, American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, Project Runway.

Reality host: Jeff Probst, Survivor; Cat Deeley, So You Think You Can Dance; Phil Keoghan, Amazing Race; Tom Bergeron, Dancing With the Stars; Ryan Seacrest, American Idol.

Variety, music or comedy series: The Colbert Report, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Saturday Night Live, Conan, Real Time with Bill Maher, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

The full nominations are 66 pages of a Word doc long. These are the main categories that are awarded during the televised event.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Looking forward to...

Just caught the trailer for Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol. It looks good! The Bad Robot logo was the first strong sign (JJ Abrams' production company). I liked seeing Simon Pegg (who also popped up as Scotty in Abrams' Star Trek), Josh Halloway, Paula Patton and Jeremy Renner. The Lost full-circle-ness of it all is still blowing my mind; Evangeline Lilly was Renner's wife in the Oscar winning Hurt Locker, and we all know her as Kate. Abrams is producing this installment and Brad Bird is directing. Bird is best known for his work in animation (the Iron Giant, the Incredibles).
Guess I need to see the third one from 2006. That was at the height of Tom Cruise's craziness and I was relishing in it. I almost saw if for JJ's direction and Felicity, I mean Keri Russell's role in the flick.
Tom Cruise is the true work of some modern PR genius.

The new movie arrives in theaters December 16th. Even at the height of the summer movie season and knowing that mid-December is when the Oscar race gets going, I love it when I am energized and excited by a trailer.

Laura's cousin Mary was an extra in Salvation Boulevard. She is third from the left at the 1:44 mark, the girl with dark hair during the protesting, angry crowd scene. http://youtu.be/TYiYHfciJwE. Movie is out July 15th. Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly and Marisa Tomei are all in it. Looks wacky fantastic. I had actually never heard or read of it. Love new stuff.