Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Movie Night 8/26/11 Ceremony

I had never seen the trailer for Ceremony before seeing it, I only read about it in Entertainment Weekly. I thought it was a romantic comedy with Uma Thurman. It was a much quirkier flick. It started with a decidedly Royal Tenenbaums vibe. Sidenote: I love that any of my friends who do not like Royal Tenenbaums, also admit it apologetically. So cute and cool of my peeps. It is one of my all-time favorite movies but I understand that it is not for everyone. In Ceremony, the main character Sam Davis, is portrayed by Michael Angarano. Angarano was most recognizable to me as Jack's son on Will and Grace (Rosie O'Donell was his mom, just sharing trivia here). In the opening scenes I was struck by the way the main character seemed to be channelling some mix of Mark Wahlberg and Edward Norton. Lee Pace, delightful and dreamy as the piemaker on the short lived tv show Pushing Daisies, plays an actor who reminded me of a clean cut, less endearing Russell Brand type. The movie was not the best but it was interesting and ended well. The end definitely redeemed it. My opinion on the movie would have been downright negative if not for the ending. Watch the trailer. If you are interested, it is available at Redbox.

Marie provided the lastest movie night trend, sugarfree Jell-o, with a playful twist, served in martini glasses!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ultimate Romantic Comedy lists

I have not had a chance to see Crazy Stupid Love yet, but anticipation for it and all the rom coms that I have seen this summer movie season led me to contemplate the best, the worst, and those that fall somewhere in the middle. The middle is a loose concept. Some in the middle are considered the best by others and even though I know that they are well liked. Others are ones I love that I know other people do not. Some are highly regarded by the masses but to me have fatal flaws. Immorality and unethical behavior tends to be a mark against in my book. The cheese factor and overwrought cliches also play into judging a rom com.

My favorites:
When Harry Met Sally
The Wedding Singer
50 First Dates
The Object of My Affection
Sleepless in Seattle
French Kiss
You’ve Got Mail
Bridget Jones’ Diary
Love Actually

Friends With Benefits and Going the Distance have not yet stood the test of time, but so far are strong contenders for favorite status.

Are they technically rom coms? Maybe not, but they are really good:
It’s Complicated
Something’s Got to Give
Where the Heart Is
In Her Shoes
Funny People
Knocked Up
40 Year Old Virgin
About a Boy
Sex and the City
Away We Go
Sunshine Cleaners
Circle of Friends
Fried Green Tomatoes
Morning Glory

Maid in Manhattan
Just Go With It
Bride Wars
Something Borrowed
The Ugly Truth
The Back-Up Plan
Sex and the City 2
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Runaway Bride

Bad but good, fun to watch:
The Wedding Date
Must Love Dogs
Kate and Leopold
Did You Hear About the Morgans?
My Best Friend's Girl

Somewhere in the middle. Entertaining and not fatally flawed, just not the very best. Some of these I love very much, many I own. For one or more reasons they are not what I consider to be the ultimate, best of the genre. There are also varying degrees here. I starred my top five of the "middle."
Good but not ultimate:
Pretty Woman
My Best Friend’s Wedding
Return to Me
Picture Perfect
10 Things I Hate About You
Someone Like You
Four Weddings and A Funeral
Keeping the Faith
The Proposal
While You Were Sleeping
Hope Floats
Bye Bye Love
Forget Paris
The Holiday*
Practical Magic*
No Strings Attached
Leap Year
Jumping the Broom
Maid of Honor
The Switch
How to Lose A Guy in 10 Days
Valentine's Day
He's Just Not That Into You
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Life As We Know It*
Sweet Home Alabama*
The Jane Austen Book Club*
Two Weeks Notice

The AFI Top Ten:
1) City Lights
2) Annie Hall
3) It Happened One Night
4) Roman Holiday
5) The Philadelphia Story
6) When Harry Met Sally
7) Adam’s Rib
8) Moonstruck
9) Harold and Maude
10) Sleepless in Seattle
Contemporary movies are in short supply on the top ten, for what is a contemporary genre. When the Top Ten of Ten Genres lists came out in 2008, my confusion and disagreement with the list was immediate. One of which is Moonstruck. It is a great movie. Not what I would categorize as a rom com, nor do I think it was marketed as such. My most significant compliant is that When Harry Met Sally is without a doubt the best Romantic Comedy of all time. It is the mold from which all other Romantic Comedies are built from but rarely live up to.

Upcoming releases:
What's Your Number? looks funny, though depending on the delivery, might be headed to the average list. Could be cute.

Apparently there is going to be a third Bridget Jones movie. The first was true to the spirit of the book and even though it took some liberties it was a great movie. The sequel was so different from the second book, much to its detriment. There is no third Bridget Jones book, so this could be troubling.

The trailer for New Years Eve looks Ah-Mazing. It was announced after the successful box office draw of Valentine's Day in February 2010. NYE is directed by Garry Marshall like VD and features at least two of the same actors with a whole new slew of them, including Sarah Jessica Parker. And thankfully, it would appear, no Taylors. The movie releases on December 9th of this year. It is also significant that I think the trailer looks so promising because I did not want to see Valentine's Day originally (Laura convinced me). Even though I enjoyed Valentine's Day, I was cautious when the production of NYE was announced when VD was still in its theatrical release. Not a rom com but SJP's new flick I Don't Know How Does She It.

My lists were completed in no particular order. I tried to keep the movies in the order in which I thought of them. I worked on the lists over several days. Of course, these are my opinions and I fully realized that some I have said were the worst or not the best, will be the opposite for others. Please take no offense, but do please comment your opinions!

Midnight in Paris

As the first scene or two unfolded I became concerned, was this going to be an overly talkie movie with unlikeable characters with dialogue that does not remotely reflect reality? Luckily the plot started off and the movie became enchanting and excellent. I can not wait to re-watch at home and google all the referenced artists and writers from the 1920s that I may not have caught on first viewing. Owen Wilson is stellar though one warning, the usually likable Rachel McAdams, is not in this film. I still like her because she is fabulous, her character just is not.
As Midnight in Paris is Woody Allen's highest grossing picture to date and the movie has been well reviewed, some Oscar attention seems fairly definite.
Seeing this movie was an experience thanks to the Parlor Room at Cinetopia Progress Ridge. Jennica and I arrived early and were first to the theater. We took the opportunity to try out every seat and each of the four rows in the space. The room has framed LED screens that tie into the movie currently playing. The screens featured the Eiffel Tower flashing between day and night, a Paris street scene, and works of Monet and Picasso. Before the movie began, the main screen alternated between a poster shot of Owen Wilson in a Van Gogh like stroll through Paris at night and old Woody Allen trailers. The room also has a fireplace and being as it is brand new smelled like new upholstery. The trays with cup-holders were built into the armchairs we sat in. Primo-lux movie viewing. I am so glad that my first experience there was with Jennica. I went with her to my first and all but one of the movies I saw at the original Vancouver Cinetopia.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Help

I had my concerns before watching the film adaptation of the book I loved reading. Movies based on books is a reoccurring topic in my posts. I am happy to report to those who have read the much beloved novel that this is one of the best movie adaptions that I have seen. The trailer does seem to have a light mood but the movie is as serious as the book and most certainly captures the tone of the novel. The movie is also true to the spirit of the characters. There are a few minor detail changes and some backstories are absent from the movie. Overall it was clear that spectacular care was taken to be faithful to the source material. See my book blog for the filmmakers history with the author of the book.

Big thanks to Emily for having such extraordinary luck in obtaining the screener passes for the Help. I second her statement that this was the best movie we have seen at a screener. It was also the movie that I was most excited to see. Pretty slick of me to be first in line as well.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Singin' in the Rain at the Venetian

Last Friday night, the movie night girls took a field trip to Hillsboro to see Singin' in the Rain. The Venetian's website encourages costumes for their summer classic movie series. All in all the whole experience was a good one, however, the man working the ticket booth grouchily told us to put our umbrellas down. Laura had the perfect polite retort, "We were following instructions." And she was the one who found the ponchos, decorated them and presented each of us with personalized mister bottles.

Inside, the man at the concessions was much more cheerful. Much more in keeping of what the true mood of the place should be. He even took a picture of three people in the group with his iPhone! The location is beautiful and very fitting for enjoying a classic film. We seized the opportunity to sit in the balcony. There was an interesting odor but it became less potent or I just got used to it. Food can be ordered from the bistro and there is beer and wine. If in the balcony, alcohol is not allowed and you have to go downstairs to pick up your food. In the main theater seating, food is delivered to you.

I have been lucky enough to experience movies in some very fun ways this summer. I hope that movie night can make another field trip this month to Flicks at the Bricks.
Marla and Marie had not seen Singin' in the Rain before and very much enjoyed it. Sarah, Laura and I enjoyed it again. Such a great musical (there is a purpose for their singing) and as someone pointed out after, it remains one of the best movies about Hollywood.