Monday, December 17, 2012

2013 Golden Globe nominations

The Golden Globe nominations have been announced. The known Oscar build-up is of course where my focus is at. Some clues to what the Oscar nominees may include are the multiple nods given to Argo, Lincoln and Django Unchained. The best acting drama categories are often helpful hints towards the acting categories of the Academy Award nominees. The winners at the Globes tend to be more dead on predictors of actual Oscar nominees or even winners. The Academy announces its nominations on Thursday January 10 at 5:30am so they will be out before the Globes. I love me some quality tv programming as well so the entire Golden Globe experience is enjoyable.

The 70th annual ceremony broadcasts Sunday January 13th on NBC. The awards show will be hosted by Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. I am delighting in how amusing these two will be together (both are nominated for Best Actress in a comedy series as well). Check out the promo.

Here is the full list of nominees:

Best Motion Picture — Drama
Django Unchained
Life of Pi
Zero Dark Thirty

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Drama
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Richard Gere, Arbitrage
John Hawkes, The Sessions
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama
Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty
Marion Cotillard, Rust and Bone
Helen Mirren, Hitchcock
Naomi Watts, The Impossible
Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea

Best Motion Picture — Comedy Or Musical
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Les Miserables
Moonrise Kingdom
Salmon Fishing in the YemenSilver Linings Playbook

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture — Comedy Or Musical
Emily Blunt, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
Judi Dench, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook
Maggie Smith, Quartet
Meryl Streep, Hope Springs

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture — Comedy Or Musical
Jack Black, Bernie
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Hugh Jackman, Les Miserables
Bill Murray, Hyde Park on Hudson
Ewan McGregor, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

Best Performance by an Actress In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Amy Adams, The Master
Sally Field, Lincoln
Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables
Helen Hunt, The Sessions
Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy

Best Performance by an Actor In A Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Alan Arkin, Argo
Leonardo DiCaprio, Django Unchained
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained

Best Director — Motion Picture
Ben Affleck, Argo
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Ang Lee, Life of Pi
Steven Spielberg, Lincoln
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained

Best Screenplay — Motion Picture
Argo, Chris Terrio
Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino
Lincoln, Tony Kushner
Silver Linings Playbook, David O. Russell
Zero Dark Thirty
, Mark Boal

Best Original Score — Motion Picture
Anna Karenina, Dario Marianelli
Argo, Alexandre Desplat
Cloud Atlas, Tom Tykwer, Johnny Klimet and Reinhold Heil
Life of Pi, Michael Danna
Lincoln, John Williams

Best Original Song — Motion Picture
“For You ” (music and lyrics by Keith Urban), Act of Valor
“Not Running Anymore” (music and lyrics by Jon Bon Jovi), Stand Up Guys
“Safe and Sound” (music and lyrics by Taylor Swift, John Paul White, Joy Williams and T Bone Burnett), The Hunger Games
“Skyfall” (music and lyrics by Adel and Paul Epworth), Skyfall
“Suddenly” (music by Claude-Michel Schonberg and lyrics by Schonberg and Alain Boublil), Les Miserables

Best Animated Film
Hotel Transylvania
Rise of the Guardians
Wreck-It Ralph

Best Foreign Language Film
The Intouchables
A Royal Affair
Rust and Bone

Best Television Series — Drama
Boardwalk Empire
Breaking Bad
Downton Abbey
The Newsroom

Best Television Series — Comedy Or Musical
The Big Bang Theory

Modern Family

Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series – Drama
Steve Buscemi, Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom
Jon Hamm, Mad Men
Damian Lewis, Homeland

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series – Drama
Connie Britton, Nashville
Glenn Close, Damages
Claire Danes, Homeland
Michelle Dockery, Downton Abbey
Julianna Margulies, The Good Wife

Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Kevin Costner, Hatfields and McCoys
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock
Woody Harrelson, Game Change
Toby Jones, The Girl
Clive Owen, Hemingway and Gellhorn

Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Nicole Kidman, Hemingway and Gellhorn
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story: Asylum
Sienna Miller, The Girl
Julianne Moore, Game Change
Sigourney Weaver, Political Animals

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Max Greenfield, New Girl
Ed Harris, Game Change
Danny Huston, Magic City
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Hayden Panettiere, Nashville
Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife
Sarah Paulson, Game Change
Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Sofia Vergara, Modern Family

Best Performance by an Actress In A Television Series — Comedy Or Musical
Zooey Deschanel, New Girl
Lena Dunham, Girls
Tina Fey, 30 Rock
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Amy Poehler, Parks And Recreation

Best Performance by an Actor In A Television Series — Comedy Or Musical
Alec Baldwin, 30 Rock
Don Cheadle, House of Lies
Louis C.K., Louis
Matt LeBlanc, Episodes
Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory

Best Mini-Series Or Motion Picture Made for Television
Game Change
The Girl
Hatfield and McCoys
The Hour
Political Animals

Cecil B. DeMille Award
Jodie Foster

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall catch-up

I have not written a straight up movie review since July. This summer and fall have been very busy and I may not have been seeing movies at the rate that I usually do, but I certainly have been seeing movies. It's time to catch up because Oscar season is just around the corner.

Wreck it Ralph
This Disney animated movie takes place in the world of videos games and has an adorable concept. An arcade game bad guy, voiced by John C Reilly, is fed up with his existence and decides to venture into other games in the hopes of earning some respect in his home game. His adventure takes him to a modern Call of Duty type game, featuring an awesomely kick-ass Jane Lynch, and to the candy covered land of a go-cart racing little girl voiced by Sarah Silverman. The animation captures various genres and eras of video games in excellent detail. I predict that Wreck-It Ralph will join Brave in the Best Animated Feature race this year. The animated short "Paperman" that preceded the full length movie was sweet and is also a strong contender for Best Animated Short.
To be fair, I was predisposed to like this movie because of Ben Affleck and a historical topic. The era of the Iran hostage crisis is well captured and Bryan Cranston, Alan Arkin, John Goodman and Victor Garber make up the strong supporting cast. Fun trivia, Victor Garber married Jennifer Gardner and Ben Affleck after playing her father on Alias for five seasons. George Clooney co-produced the film and Jimmy Carter speaks about the real life events over the end credits. This one is likely to have award season buzz.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower 
I did not expect this film to be as dark as it was but it certainly captured the high school experience. There were many moments of humor and the three young leads, Logan Lerman, Emma Watson (Hermione Granger in Harry Potter) and Ezra Miller are fantastic. Paul Rudd is also excellent in a small role as a freshman English teacher. As a kid of the 80s and 90s I had to love the references to mixed tapes and early 90s time frame. Though I have not read the book and can not comment on the strength of the adaptation, interestingly enough the movie's director is the novel's author Stephen Ghbosky.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Seth MacFarlane hosting the 2013 Oscars

It was announced today that the writer/director/star of this summer's Ted and the creator of Family Guy will be hosting the 85th Annual Academy Awards.

Despite never having hosted an awards show before, MacFarlane did a strong job hosting SNL this September. He will need to work on his cues, as evidenced by his appearance at last month's Emmy Awards as a presenter.
Hopefully the edgy humor that roars through the movie Ted will bring some new twists to the Oscar ceremony.  It seems like a much more calculated risk by the Academy than say the fail of 2011 with Anne Hathaway and James Franco. The Oscars will take place Sunday February 24th at the Dolby Theatre, formerly know as Kodak Theatre.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

2012 Emmys

As far as the Red Carpet coverage went, the main headline seemed to be how hot it was in Hollywood this weekend. The stars of television were sweating buckets. I enjoyed Jimmy Fallon's well wishes to host Jimmy Kimmel as well as Kristen Wiig's comments about missing SNL. I am not certain why she made her departure but the sentiment was appreciated. Nominee Amy Poehler looked stunning in a black dress with a plunging neckline. When I Googled for a picture of said dress I was horrified to see the Poehler and Will Arnett have separated -- a) where have I been and b) what a bummer. Jon Hamm's much talked about navy tux looked black. Tina Fey looked gorgeous in a dark red dress with gold and black collar detail. Many comediennes looked fantastic in deep red tones including Mayim Bialik and Kat Dennings. Bright yellow was another winning color for the ladies. The light gold dress Christina Hendricks wore was a big miss -- the usually hot Hendricks looked unremarkable. Hendricks did confirm on the Red Carpet that she will re-team with her Drive costar Ryan Gosling in his directorial debut film (How To Catch A Monster, which is not expected until 2014).

The opening sketch that featured actresses back stage consoling a nervous Jimmy Kimmel was hilarious. Memorably included were Zooey Deschanel, Christina Hendricks, Mindy Kaling, Kathy Bates, Martha Plimpton, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, various reality tv hosts and Ellen DeGeneres.

Kimmel's monologue did not open with a bang but as he warmed up to topical issues it became very amusing. One winning line, "Being a Republican in Hollywood is like being a Chick a fil sandwich on the snack table at Glee," was particularly funny.

The awards began with the comedy section and this was certainly my favorite portion of the show. The year in comedy montage was awesome. Louis CK and Amy Poehler presented the first category and the nod to CK's appearance on Poehler's Parks and Rec was appreciated. The bit about the child actor who plays Lily on Modern Family being a holy terror was hilarious. Jon Cryer's win for Best Actor in a Comedy seemed just as off base as Steve Carell's loss in the category last year. His humorous acceptance speech that there had been a mistake and that he could not have possibly won partially made up for it.

Claire Danes continued on her victory streak at the Emmys for Homeland. She won previously at the Golden Globes for the role and in the previous season for Temple Grandin at both the Golden Globes and the Emmys.

During the variety and miniseries segments there were some comedic highlights. Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert tackled Jon Stewart after his win was announced. Ricky Gervais presented and was reliably entertaining, keeping in tone with his reputation. When Julianne Moore won for her portrayal of Sarah Palin in Game Change she commented that it was validating because Palin gave her a big thumbs down. Who knew Tom Hanks produced Game Change? Well delightfully so because we were able to hear him speak when it won Best Miniseries or Movie.

The main awards, Best Drama and Best Comedy, went to Homeland and Modern Family respectively.

And the winners...
Outstanding comedy series: Modern Family
Outstanding drama series:
Outstanding miniseries or movie:
Game Change
Outstanding lead actor in a miniseries or movie:
Kevin Costner, Hatfields & McCoys
Outstanding directing for a miniseries or movie: Jay Roach, Game Change
Outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or movie:
Julianne Moore, Game Change
Outstanding writing for a miniseries or movie:
Danny Strong, Game Change
Outstanding supporting actor in a miniseries or movie:
Tom Berenger, Hatfields & McCoys
Outstanding supporting actress in a miniseries or movie:
Jessica Lange, American Horror Story
Outstanding variety series:
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
Outstanding directing for a variety special: Glenn Weiss, 65th Annual Tony Awards
Outstanding writing for a variety special:
Louis C.K., Louie C.K. Live at the Beacon Theatre
Outstanding lead actress in a drama series:
Claire Danes, Homeland
Outstanding lead actor in a drama series: Damian Lewis, Homeland
Outstanding directing for a drama series: Tim Van Patten, Boardwalk Empire
Outstanding supporting actress in a drama: Maggie Smith, Downton Abbey
Outstanding writing for a drama series: Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon, Gideon Raff, Homeland
Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series: Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Outstanding host for a reality show: Tom Bergeron, Dancing with the Stars
Outstanding reality-competition program: The Amazing Race
Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series: Jon Cryer, Two and a Half Men
Outstanding directing in a comedy series: Steve Levitan, Modern Family
Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series: Julie Bowen, Modern Family
Outstanding writing for a comedy series: Louis C.K., Louie
Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series: Eric Stonestreet, Modern Family

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Liebster Blog Awards

The Amateur Reviews blog nominated me and below are my 11 answers to their 11 questions.
The rules for the Liebster Blog Awards are:

1. Tell 11 things about yourself
2. Answer 11 questions the blogger who awarded you asked
3. Pass the award to 11 people
4. Give them 11 questions
5. Tell them about the award
6. Don't award people who are recipients already

The questions I received from Amateur Reviews and my answers:
1. Favourite James Bond and film?
Sean Connery is the best all time Bond without question. The best Bond film is 2006's Casino Royale because it completely reinvented the series for the 21st Century.
2. What film has the best sound track ever?
My favorite soundtrack is Good Will Hunting -- and this is a seriously tough question for me to answer because I love movie soundtracks.

3. If you could cast one leading lady and one leading man who would they be?
Tom Hanks and Keri Russell. Hanks was an instant answer though my leading lady took a little more thought.

4. Which is the film you secretly love, but feel you should hate?
The Wedding Date -- rom com drivel but for some reason I like it.

5. If you had the casting vote at the last Academy Awards, which film would you have win best picture?
This year if I was in the Academy, The Help would have won Best Picture. While I am at it, Demian Bichir would have won Best Actor for A Better Life.

6. Who would you chose to play you in a biopic of your life?
Alicia Silverstone.

7. What is your favourite movie scene of all time?
This is the question I struggled most with and really had to think about. I wanted it to be one that just came to me. This was the first one I thought of and I have decided on: the graveside scene in Steel Magnolias. It always makes me cry no matter how many times I have seen it and it ends in humor.

8. In your opinion, who is the most overrated director ever?
James Cameron. He makes Blockbusters, not amazing movies.

9. Harry Potter or Lord of The Rings?
Harry Potter.

10. If you could only ever watch comedies or action films for the rest of you life which would it be?
Comedies -- without a doubt.

11. What was the last movie that made you cry?
Hope Springs. I cry easy at the movies and that's ok.

I nominate:

A couple are not movie specific bloggers but I want to see their answers!!

My 11 questions for my nominees:
1. What is your all time favorite movie quote?
2. If you could only watch one movie at home ever again, which one would you select?
3. What are your desert island top five movies?
4. Which movie in the last ten years is your favorite?
5. Which movie that was made before you were born is your favorite?
6. What actor or actress do you wish you were friends with because you just like them so much?
7. Who is in your top five?
8. What is your favorite movie adaptation of a book that you have read?
9. What movie has not yet been released but you can NOT wait to see?
10. What is your first recollection of going to the movie theater?
11. If you had a job in Hollywood, what would you want it to be?

11 movie thoughts from me:
1. Auntie Mame is my all time favorite movie.
2. Going to the movies is literally the best thing ever.
3. Oscar Season is like Christmas to me.
4. I have an embarrassing number of DVDs though I do not have blue ray or a flat screen tv.
5. I can watch When Harry Met Sally, Clueless, Steel Magnolias, and Field of Dreams over and over and over again.
6. This summer I have actually read more books than movies I have watched.
7. After the 2012 Oscars, I no longer subscribe to Entertainment Weekly but read online only.
8. People who say going to the movies is a bad date are silly. Going to the theater is never bad.
9. More theaters should serve beer. Regal and Cinemark really need to get on board.
10. I know everyone likes things like pizza and music but the way I love movies is truly a unique personality trait.
11. After this exercise, I am so glad I have plans to see two movies this holiday weekend!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Jimmy Fallon not to host 2013 Oscars

I have an intense love for Jimmy Fallon. Have since his SNL days. He survived the 2010 Conan/Leno debacle after beginning his role as host of NBC's Late Night March 2nd 2009 before Leno ousted Conan by January of 2010 (Coincidentally, Conan's last turn as host of the Tonight Show aired on my 29th birthday and still resides in my DVR). On the flipside, Fallon has amazing rapports with his competitors, Jimmy Kimmel, Craig Ferguson and Stephen Colbert. Fallon has truly come into his own as of late. He is a class act nice guy and at the same time an utter screwball who also does ads for Capital One and Maker's Mark. This year alone he had a special post Super Bowl episode of his show, he Slow Jammed the news with the President of the United States, he and his amazing house band the Roots released a comedy album of the show's best songs and had a primetime music special just before the London Olympics began. He is it! And I really could go on.
I have often said I want to see Fallon host the Oscars. He hosted the 2010 Emmys with acclaim and he is nominated this year for two Emmys for his Late Night show and his return appearance to SNL as host of the pre-Christmas show. He has the experience and the pop culture relevance to host a big show like the Oscars. So why did Fallon shut down rumors when Matt Lauer interviewed him in London this week? Well, it seems Mickey Mouse may be to blame. Seems that ABC, the network that airs the Academy Awards, unofficially of course, was none to thrilled to see Fallon of NBC host on their network. ABC's Jimmy Kimmel is already booked as host of the Emmys which airs Sunday September 23rd on ABC. When Lauer asked Fallon about hosting the Oscars, Jimmy's response was serious and nondescript. He simple said "It's an honor to be asked by the Academy, but it's not my year."

In addition to the ABC shutout stories, apparently the president of the Academy's term change played a role. Tom Sherak was reportedly negotiating with Fallon and for Lorne Michaels to produce the Oscar telecast. Michaels is of course SNL's famed creator and producer as well as producer to Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Late Night with Conan O'Brien before it, and 30 Rock, Portlandia and Up All Night. Sherek commented today that the Academy's Board of Governors gave him the authority two months ago to find a producer for the 2013 show but he was not able to complete a deal before his term as president was up.

Main sources for info: LA Times article from 6 days ago that was updated today and the Today Show interview between Matt Lauer and Jimmy Fallon.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Madagascar 3

The third film in the Madagascar franchise was special to me for one big reason. It was the first movie that my best friend's three year old daughter attended in theaters. Since this child was a mere babe I have expressed how the first theater movie is a milestone that I must be present for. I was honored to be part of the event. And it was an event!
We watched the movie at good old Oak Grove 8 in Milwaukie. A place where Laura and I saw many a movie as kids. The original Star Wars on the big screen for the first time, Wedding Singer, Toy Story. My strongest memory at Oak Grove 8 is a post school one but it still makes me smile. My sister and I saw Anchorman there and I think we almost laughed the walls down during the fight scene. Saw Julia's first movie in that same theater. They have great rates and concession prices -- cash only, though their website does not specify payment type.

I do not know if it was seeing the movie through a child's eyes or just the fun and nostalgia of the activity but the movie was surprisingly funny and enjoyable. I had watched the first Madagascar (2005) movie at home but did not feel strongly one way or the other about it. I have not seen the sequel, Escape 2 Africa (2008) but this year's Europe's Most Wanted was very fun. I laughed out loud frequently. I now understand why I kept seeing Ben Stiller and Chris Rock on the talk show circuit, with good reason.

Next up, Ted and Magic Mike. Slowly but surely catching up on my summer movies.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Peace, Love and Misunderstanding

This is the first time that I have watched a same day as theaters IFC film onDemand. It was a fun experience. Not the best movie but I am glad I took a chance on the feature.

Catherine Keener's husband, Kyle McLachlan, asks his lawyer wife for a divorce in the opening scene of the film. Diane, Keener's character, takes her children, played by Elizabeth Olsen and Nat Wolffe, to her mother's. Her mother Diane is portrayed by the lifeforce that is Jane Fonda. Fonda's character is the hippie of all hippies. They say Dylan had a thing for her.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Chace Crawford, Roxana Arquette, Maddie Corman and Katharine McFee round out a solid supporting cast.

I could not help but think, this is a weak stab at the next version of On Golden Pond. Now Jane Fonda is the grandparent. And in the first eight minutes, there is a that's what she said joke. Not a noteworthy movie but fun to play with the onDemand option and watch something that would usually require a visit to Fox Tower or a wait for DVD.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My 10 Favorite Beatles Songs -- Special Music Edition

Laura proposed that we each come up with a list of our Top Ten Beatles songs and simultaneously publish on them our blogs. What an excellent idea. My friendship with Laura began during our track warm up laps. We talked constantly about the Beatles during those early times in our friendship. There was even a dark moment late in high school when Laura said she preferred the Rolling Stones. I feared for our friendship at that moment! Clearly there was no threat and Laura has since retracted that statement.

1) She Came in Through the Bathroom Window (Abbey Road) I think my sister Patty is the one person that knew before now how much I love this song. I absolutely love this song and it is part of the wonderful Abbey Road album that must be heard in order, in it's entirety to fully be appreciated.

2) When I'm Sixty-Four (Sgt Pepper's) I infamously cried the first time I heard this song on the radio after Linda had died.

3) Eleanor Rigby (Revolver) Beautifully haunting with amazing lyrics.

4) Yesterday (Help!) This was an early favorite of mine. I also love the Boyz II Men cover. I may have sang along to my Walkman so loudly that even in a closed office I could be heard throughout an entire office suite. Probably sounded better than when I sang it as part of an in-class required solo assignment when I got nervous and sang an octave higher than my alto range.

5) In My Life (Rubber Soul) This song can also bring me to tears.

6) Here, There and Everywhere (Revolver) Romantic and beautiful. How could Don Drapper turn off a record of Revolver?! See Mad Men season 5.

7) I Will (The White Album, disc 1) Again, a beautiful, romantic ballad.

8) Lovely Rita (Sgt Pepper's) I love the quirkiness of this song. So much so that I might dare to bestow the name unto a daughter if I had the chance.

9) She's Leaving Home (Sgt Pepper's) Great companion song to Eleanor Rigby with a sad beauty.

10) We Can Work It Out (Past Masters volume 2) We Can Work It Out was originally released as a double A-sided single with Day Tripper, recorded during Rubber Soul sessions. A great message much like the ones in the End and All You Need Is Love.

My honorable mention goes to Junk. I was first exposed to this song via volume 3 of the Anthology. It also plays over the goodnight kiss scene in Jerry Maguire.

My Razzy goes to Come Together (Abbey Road). One of the most covered Beatles tracks and a rare one that I do not love. I do not even have it in my iTunes library. Though I did find a cool video to compensate.

Sgt Pepper's was the clear winner in album representation. Could it be because growing up my mom not only had it on vinyl but also had a spare copy?

Props to Laura for this great idea and check out her Top Ten picks here.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What to Expect When You're Expecting

This past Saturday night at the movies, I was not seeing the number two box office finisher Prometheus. It found me at a very strong, large scale ensemble comedy. When done right, this genre can be my favorite. Kari commented after the showing at Bridgeport that it was better than she thought it would be. We discovered that we each had not expected much. Funny that a movie with expect not once but twice in its title had so much to do with expectations as a movie goer. It goes to show that the genre has not been doing so well lately when lowered expectations make for an improved viewing experience.
I think a big part of the success of the ensemble was that while the cast was large, it was not unmanageable large much like Valentine's Day or New Years Eve. Both movies I enjoy watching but by no means favorites or extraordinary. The well know actors, Cameron Diaz and Jennifer Lopez, were charming and funny. The film is honest about pregnancy not being all hearts and flowers and glow. The movie is also very heartwarming. I would even go so far as to say that it was well written. Editing five plot lines together well plays a big role in the success of the stories being woven together believably.

If you like these types of movies, go see it! I had even thought about waiting for DVD...but do go with low expectations, makes all the difference. From what I hear, the theme of this week's movie goers regardless of genre seems to be managed expectations.

And on DVD...
I have been eager to see this 2010 independent movie since I first saw the trailer and heard it had been to Sundance (it premiered there on my bday of that year). It is written, directed and stars Josh Radnor, Ted on How I Met Your Mother (which will henceforth be known on my blog as HIMYM). So well done. I watched this movie Sunday and now Wednesday it is still with me. Shout out to the Tigard Library for placing it in my line of vision and letting me renew it twice before finally watching and loving it. The film is about a 30-ish writer in New York, as two people enter his life, a new love interest and a young boy, as well as the lives of those closest to him. I really did not know what to expect as it had been sometime since I had been interested in the movie. In following with today's theme, go in with no expectations and see what you like. NPH, Jason Segel, Radnor -- HYMYM is overly abundant with talent and a cast that will have long careers. Even when they finally tell us who the dang mother is.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dark Shadows

As the credits ended and the overhead lights came back on, a Regal employee asked Laura and I if we liked the movie. In a word, yes. He then added that Johnny Depp fans like it. To which I replied, "yeah, we fit that category."

This film is a classic Tim Burton vision, a Beetlejuice flourish here, a Corpse Bride-esque darkened eye and pale complexion there, and of course, Helena Bonham Carter (she is great with an American accent, as is Depp with an English one). The Burton-Depp collaboration is one any fan of theirs would enjoy. Johnny Depp is also a producer on the movie. It is the producers that have the power, the say and that win the Oscars.
The score by Danny Elfman was fantastic as are all of his Burton film scores. The songs selected for the soundtrack were equally terrific hits from the late 60s and early 70s; The Moody Blues' Knights in White Satin kicks things off over the opening credits. With the Carpenters, Donovan and Alice Cooper also making appearances. Steve Miller Band's The Joker also makes it into dialogue. To sum up as Barnabas did, "I really enjoy the music of this era. 'I'm a picker, I'm a grinner. I'm a lover and I am a sinner. I play my music in the sun.'" sizzle. The end credits feature a Killers cover of the Raspberries' Go All the Way.

I am not familiar with the 1966-1971 soap opera for which the film is based upon but I have heard boomers reflect on it fondly. The cast of characters are the same in name and there seem to be acknowledged nods to the original throughout the movie.

The movie has many laughs and is very fun. This is certainly a fantasy so be ready to suspend your disbelief. The extensive main cast that includes, Michelle Pheiffer, Eva Green, Jonny Lee Miller and ChloĆ« Grace Moretz, is strong. Get your Depp on.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Las Vegas special edition for Scott and Shannon

In honor of Scott and Shannon's wedding in Las Vegas, I give you some of my favorite Vegas pop culture moments on film, and one from tv. After all, there would be no blog without Scott suggesting it!

Ocean's Eleven
George Clooney and Brad Pitt leading a crew that was originally made up of the Rat Pack? Fantastic. Blows the original away. Say what you will, I love the third one too.
Fools Rush In
I have not watched this one in awhile but when I was younger it was one of my favorite romantic comedies. I saw it at a theater that no longer exists.
Honeymoon in Vegas
Another fun one from youth. Much more fun than Nicholas Cage's Academy Award winning role in Leaving Las Vegas. And all the flying Elvises you can imagine.
I just watched this tonight in honor of the Vegas edition. Classic gangster Scorsese. Excellent use of classic rock and Vegas standards for the soundtrack. I was a bit daunted by the nearly three hour run time but over the break for Mother's Day dinner, my sister Erin told me how fantastic it was and when I resumed watching the last hour and ten, it was much improved. I think that is where the plot picked up for me. The end is perfection.

On the mini bus to the wedding, the question of how Vegas became what it is was asked by Miss Foltz. I stand by my answer, the Mob.
Thanks for letting me borrow the DVD Cup.

The Hangover
A contemporary classic often referenced. Saw a normal looking dude in Vegas carrying his baby a la Zach Galifianakis and actually said "oh sh8t" when I saw it. Really? I hope it was being done ironically. Also love the tag line, "Some guys just can't handle Vegas."
One of my favorite arcs of the show, just for Ross and Rachel's drunken wedding. At the champagne brunch at Paris the morning after the wedding I could not help but think of Joey "here's where I win all my money back."

Honorable mention to Bridesmaids. The ladies never quite made it there but they had a memorable flight trying. Can not say how happy and honored I was to make it to Vegas to see an amazing couple get hitched.

The Hunger Games, the Lucky One and the Five Year Engagement

I have not blogged in awhile. Life has been busy to say the least. That's part of it. I think the main reason for my delay is that the last three movies I saw in theaters were not that wonderful. Seeing the films with Dana and Kari, and watching Rum Diary with Laura was great though.

The Hunger Games
The widely anticipated adaptation of the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy was very well done. It was a great movie and was also a memorable movie going experience. I saw the film with Dana. Midway through the movie, right at a very serious and poignant scene in the story, a man walked out and yelled, this movie is messed-up, why are you here? Well, sir, maybe you should inform yourself before you go to the theater. Just because something is popular and not what you thought it would be, refrain from attempting to ruin others' time at the multiplex. Despite this interruption, I did enjoy the movie and I have only positive things to say about it. The experience of reading the book was just so powerful that even the best interpretation by a movie pales in comparison.

The Lucky One
Another book adaptation. This marks a first for me -- I read my first Nicholas Sparks novel before seeing the movie. There is a certain amount of cheese that comes with a film based on a Sparks book. There was just too much in this one. It was more A Walk to Remember and very much less than the Notebook. The acting is poor and too much of the story had been changed from the book. Taylor Schilling is a very bad actress, beautiful and very well cast in the role of Beth, but not a good actress. Blythe Danner was a highlight, as was Zac Efron's bod.

The Five Year Engagement
I was very eager see to this flick. I am a big fan of both Jason Segel and Emily Blunt. There were many hilarious moments and the extensive supporting cast including Parks and Rec's Chris Pratt and Mad Men's Alison Brie was excellent. One plot complication just ruined things for me. If you see it and you know me, you will know what I am talking about. If you enjoyed it despite some events, I am genuinely happy that you did because I could not get past it.

And on DVD...
Rum Diary
Laura and I were planning to watch the new Muppets movie but after three Red Boxes I was done searching. I know you can reserve online and there is an app for that but it all worked out. Fresh on my mind from our top five movies as friends, I saw a picture for Rum Diary as I headed back to my car, nearly defeated. The movie is based on a Hunter S Thompson's novel and is a must see for any Johnny Depp fan. The wacky exploits of an American journalist in Puerto Rico during the 1950s unfolds hilariously. There was line after line of laugh-out-loud dialogue. A very fun flick for those who would like the Hangover crossed with the Mexican, taking place in the 50s. I am also very excited to see Dark Shadows this week with Laura. I am optimistic that the film will end my slump.

Monday, April 2, 2012

21 Jump Street

Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are hilarious together in the movie version of the late 80s/early 90s tv show about young cops working undercover as students in high school. The filmmakers made the wise decision to go for humor in their take on the premise. The afterschool special tone of the tv show would not have translated well into a contemporary movie. There are several episodes of the show available on imdb and hulu if you are interested, there are funny moments in the show. Jonah Hill was quoted as saying that they were attempting to make "a R-rated, insane, Bad Boys-meets-John Hughes-type movie." I think their efforts were successful.

I laughed out loud many times and that is the purpose of an all out comedy like 21 Jump Street. The movie knows what it is, it even pokes fun at itself. Things went a bit too far for me to maintain my suspended disbelief, but the chemistry of Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum more than made up for it. I want to see these two together again, it was a blast to watch them.

And on DVD...
The Outsiders
I have been reading Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe and after reading about his experiences filming Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of SE Hinton's novel, I wanted to see the movie which I had never seen before. A librarian, Jo Ellen Misakian, at Lone Star Elementary School in Fresno, California, and her students requested that Coppola make the movie. Filmed in 1982 and debuting in March of 1983, the movie has not aged well. The best thing that can be said for the film is the careers it launched and that it contains the early work of not only Lowe, but also Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, C Thomas Howell, Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise, Emilio Estevez, and Diane Lane. Tying the two movies together, Rob Lowe crossed paths with Holly Robinson Peete early in his career; she was in both the tv show and movie 21 Jump Street. For what it's worth, I enjoyed reading about the making of the movie more than I did watching it.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Friendship Top Five List

The time has come to present a list of the Top Five Movies of my friendship with my bestie Laura. As we ran our warm-up laps for track all those years ago, it is not surprising that all these flicks are from a four year range in the 90s.

1) First up, Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.
Laura and I watched this movie more times than I can recall at sleepovers. We even watched it the night before we attended our own ten year reunion.
2) The Wedding Singer
This is another movie that we have watched several times together. Many of the songs featured in the two volume soundtrack are featured on the CD of songs from the year we were born that Laura made me for my 30th birthday.
3) Interview With the Vampire
The movie that started it all. Literally. Remember in school when a friend became a real friend, when you actually hung out together outside of school? Well the first time Laura and I hung out, I went to her house and we watched Interview With the Vampire. We would watch several other horror movies together before leaving high school. Oddly, as neither of us are horror fans today.
4) Seven Years in Tibet/Meet Joe Black
Through out the years, we have seen many a Brad Pitt flick. Honorable mention goes to Johnny Depp. We have also seen many Johnny Depp movies and Laura's husband Jerre even commented once on "our whole 'Johnny Depp' thing."
5) Psycho (1998)
Part of the high school horror trend. Laura and I creepily saw Psycho in an empty theater. We were the only ones in the theater at the no longer in existence 82nd Cinema. We saw a lot of movies there before it closed in 2004. I think something really depressing like a Baby Gap is there now. Vince Vaughn as Norman Bates? Really Gus Vant Sant, your next project after Good Will Hunting, really?! It remains one of our most memorable movie going experiences.
Maybe in another 17 years we can make it a Top Ten list.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

American Reunion

All the original cast members are back for Reunion, even the minor characters. Surprisingly it felt like a real reunion. Looking back, these actors looked so young back in 1999! Didn't we all. When was the last time you thought about Thomas Ian Nicholas in Rookie of the Year. The same clever casting of Nicholas in the original Pie movie, makes the nostalgia of a reunion all the more on point. Being from the class of 99 myself, the coming of age aspect of the movies always seemed personal. I enjoyed that he characters acknowledged early in the film that it was a thirteen year reunion and were not trying to play it off as the more conventional ten year reunion. I enjoyed all of the sequel movies but this one is my favorite. There were only two years between each of the first three Pies and Wedding. It has been nine years since American Wedding hit theaters. The time since the last one gave the writers much more to work worth and they fully developed the characters.
 Available April 3rd on iTunes, the soundtrack is excellent, a few new tracks and some great tunes from the 90s. I was reminded of how great all the Pie soundtracks are and loaded the previous three CDs to my iPod. And in a further example that everyone is all grown up, Seann William Scott and Jason Biggs are both credited Executive Producers.
The replication of the original poster is spot on and very fun.
As I waited in line for the American Reunion screening with Emily, just in front of us in line were the couple that saved us seats for the Artist. This time we officially met Helki and Jose. Nicest, most normal people I have encountered in the screener lines. Hopefully we will all see each other again at the next one. There is also something to be said for enjoying a comedy in a theater. Laughing with a group of people makes it even more enjoyable. See also Bridesmaids, the Hangover and Wedding Crashers for these types of theater going experiences.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Jeff Who Lives at Home

Jason Segel is Jeff, the kind hearted stoner who lives in his mom's basement. His brother Pat, portrayed by Ed Helms, is not so sweet. Pat is more of an adult in the conventional sense, he has a job, an apartment and a wife. These do not necessarily indicate maturity. Mom Susan Sarandon gets her own plot line in her cube at work. We soon learn that Jeff is not the conventional stoner, he just feels really strongly about finding his destiny. And the movie Signs.
 The film is definitely an indie and takes its time to tell its characters' stories over the course of a day. The score is fun and fitting and the writing style and acting successfully bring the characters to life. If you enjoy movies like Away We Go, Sunshine Cleaners, and Cedar Rapids, you will like this film.

And on DVD...
Midnight in Paris
If you have not seen Midnight in Paris, do yourself a favor and see it. You do not have to be a Woody Allen fan to enjoy the humor and whimsy of the film. Allen most deservedly earned the Best Original Screenplay Oscar he won. Owen Wilson is at his best and carries the movie with humor and charm. The supporting cast is extensive and excellent. I fulfilled my wish to google to my heart's content about art and the real life people referenced throughout the film when I watched the movie for the second time at home.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Friends With Kids

In order to avoid the negative effect on romantic relationships that they have seen when their friends have had children, Jason and Julie decide to have a child together, remain friends and still be free to date. Writer/director Jennifer Westfeldt is endearing as Julie and Adam Scott somehow manages to make his honest womanizer charming. This is Westfeldt's third time writing and starring in one of her films and her first directorial effort.

The tight group of six friends is wonderfully rounded out by a mini reunion of Bridesmaids cast members, Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd, and Kristen Wiig and Jon Hamm (Hamm and Westfeldt have been together since the late 90s). We see the friends briefly before kids and the rest of the film takes place after kids.
This movie has many hysterical moments and lines of dialogue. Much of the scenarios are based in reality and the actually complications of real life -- uncomfortable tension between couples in social situations, people clearly unhappy and not knowing what to do or say. The premise and execution are possible because of the strong writing and excellent acting.

Maybe not a new favorite but definitely entertaining, some tears, lots of laughs.
Headed to Jeff Who Lives at Home later this evening.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

A film about the unlikely story of a government scientist unwillingly tasked with bringing Atlantic salmon fishing to the desert of Yemen may not sound the most entertaining. Premises do not always shed light on the tone and feel of a movie. I was completely charmed by this film. If you are not one to suspend your disbelief or to root for the underdog, I suspect you may not appreciate the movie in the way that I did. To me it never seemed forced, corny or cheesy and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I laughed heartily, I was invested in the characters, and I cried -- all my favorite things to experience when viewing a movie. I am eager to read the novel the film is based on. I suspect that with repeat viewings this movie will become one of my favorites.

Ewan McGregor has been number one in my top five for years and suffice to say, he is one of my very favorite actors. Right on the heels of a performance I loved in Beginners, he delivers again in Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. I am also a big fan of Emily Blunt and she is equally delightful in the film. Kristin Scott Thomas is a feisty government PR rep and contributes much to the movie. The wealthy sheik funding the project is beautifully played by Amr Waked. There are gorgeous landscapes throughout the movie and the film has a fun, genuine style. 
I was able to see the movie at a sneak peek with the queen of obtaining screening passes, my friend Emily. Our enjoyment of the film was complimented by a glimpse of our future. Sitting next to us, were two women in their sixties who were dead ringers for the pair of us in thirty years. Apparently in the future we will talk whenever we feel like it during a movie. Somehow they chatted not in an annoying way, but in a manner that was endearing.

Random trivia:
Conleth Hill, the actor portraying the boss of McGregor's character also stars in this year's Best Live Action Short Oscar winner, the Shore. Incidentally, the photo on imdb for Hill, is not accurate. It currently displays a picture for another actor in the Shore.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston star as a married couple, George and Linda, who can no longer afford their Manhattan lifestyle. They are unexpectedly detoured to a hippie commune in Georgia.

The eclectic supporting cast includes Justin Theroux as Seth, the unofficial leader of the compound and Alan Alda as the elder-statesman and only original founding member of the naturist village Elysium. Also completing the community, Malin Akerman, Kathryn Hahn, Kerri Kenney, Lauren Ambrose and nudist wine-maker Wayne, as portrayed by Joe Lo Truglio. Ken Marino is George's obnoxious brother Rick. Marino is brilliantly outshone by one time SNL cast member Michaela Watkins in every scene they share. Watkins is fantastic as the kooky sister-in-law.
In case you were wondering, Wanderlust is defined as a strong desire for or impulse to hike, wander or travel and explore the world. Seems like a fitting title telling the story of two characters that did not know that they had the desire but stumble upon the exploration.

The movie is quite raunchy and over the top. The set-up of the main characters lays a good foundation that is based in reality and the current economic climate. All the more to veer off later.
Stay for all of the credits, even when you think the extra stuff is finished, there is one more scene.

And on DVD...
I enjoyed this movie with Emily when we saw a screening of it before its original release in September. We enjoyed it just as much the second time around. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a young man diagnosed with cancer and Seth Rogen is his buddy. The story is based on the real life happenings of the writer/director Will Reiser and his friendship with Rogen. Believe it or not, despite the heavy subject matter, it is a comedy. This movie received some awards attention at the Golden Globes and the Independent Spirit Awards, though no Oscar love. Comedies really need to be included more, even in a year when Bridesmaids received two Oscar nominations.

Monday, February 27, 2012

2012 Oscar fashion

My favorite look on the red carpet was Jessica Chastain. Her bold black dress with gold details was dramatic and fantastic. Her fresh, flawless skin and beautiful hair perfectly complimented the look.
Jennifer Lopez and Cameron Diaz were a hot pair of presenters. There was much debate about the placement of J Lo's dress and if there was enough coverage over her left breast.
Lopez in Zuhari Murad and Diaz in Gucci Premiere

The ladies of Bridesmaids each had their own looks but there must have been some coordination to all select neutral tones. They looked identifiable as a group when they presented the three short categories.
The trending color of the evening did appear to be white. I loved Gwyneth Paltrow's Calvin Klein dress, without the cape she wore on the Oscar red carpet. On stage presenting with Robert Downey Jr the dress looked amazing. At the Vanity Fair party, a glimpse of her fabulous gold shoes was shown.
Red always has a solid presence at the Oscars. While not the overwhelming trend that it was last year, Michelle Williams and Emma Stone wore unique red pieces. I am not a huge fan of the bow on Stone's dress but overall it is a solid look. Natalie Portman's red dress was my favorite in that shade.

The two nominees from the Help were hit and miss for me. The dress winner Octavia Spencer wore was a bit safe and she had better looks this awards season. I loved the structure and color of Viola Davis's dress but it was not my favorite red carpet look of hers either this award season.
Another green dress I did enjoy, the light mint of Best Supporting Actress nominee for her role in the Artist, Berenice Bejo. Bejo wore Elie Saab and is seen below with Artist director and beau Michel Hazanavicius. Check out each of the side views of her hair as well.

Did the dress seal the win for Meryl? The votes were already counted and envelopes printed but historically when an actress wears gold she is more likely to win.
Not a huge fan of Meryl's Lanvin gown but this pic with Jean Dujardin is too cute.
Angelina had her outstretched right leg stance down, even a little too much so as a presenter, in her black Atelier Versace. Some sad soul even made a twitter page for the leg.
As much as I missed Oprah's after show this year Good Morning America and Live with Kelly and co-host Neil Patrick Harris almost filled the void. Kelly even did the backstage interviews with winners that Gayle used to do and the show was live from the theater formerly known as Kodak as O used to do. NPH tuxedo suited up to recap the 84th Annual Academy Awards. The on the red carpet reporting of Isaac Mizrahi was fabulous.

It has been a wonderful Oscar season this year and I already look forward to next year. A big thanks to all my readers who made it a record breaking month in views, beating last year's Oscar month.
Here's a few more dresses...