Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Monday, December 29, 2008
It's a beautifully shot movie that absorbs the pace of New Orleans from the 30s and which becomes Benjamin's pace of life. It's slower paced, but not slow. It seemed to me a story of magic of a single person living an every day life. Whatever magic touched him and created him the way he is makes him special and able to share some of that magic with others. I didn't love the very end, but I don't know they could have found a better way - you decide. Right now I do think it deserves an Oscar nomination for best picture and for Brad Pitt, but I still haven't seen many of the other acclaimed movies, so I'll reserve judgement on the best picture for a few more weeks. 4.5 Lambs/Stars.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Movies of 2008 I’ve seen:
Be Kind Rewind
Burn After Reading
The Dark Knight
Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Horton Hears a Who
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Kitt Kittredge: An American Girl
Kung Fu Panda
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
My Best Friend’s Girl
The Other Boleyn Girl
Over Her Dead Body
The Secret Life of Bees
Sex and the City
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2
The Spiderwick Chronicles
Then She Found Me
Under the Same Moon
Addendum: As you can see from the reviews I've now see Benjamin Button and The Visitor, so the total became 47. Not bad.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Wanted tells the story of Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy), an account manager in a cubicle that is living a life of unfulfilled potential and doesn't know how he can change anything. He suffers from "anxiety attacks" that he can't understand (he doesn't have anything to be anxious about) and his best friend is screwing his girlfriend. Then one day he's picking up pills at the pharmacy and Fox (Angelina Jolie) appears to save his life from a guy who's shooting at them. He learns from Morgan Freeman, that his father has just been killed and he used to be part of a brotherhood of assassins that have spent hundreds of years fulfilling their destinies. They want to train Wesley to be an assassin too, since he already possesses the skills, trying to contain them is what brought on the anxiety. There's lots of fighting and training and hitting and kicking and riding on trains and obviously getting hurt and fixed and learning to be an assassin. He eventually becomes an assassin (you don't want to find out how they choose the people to assassinate, you wouldn't believe me) and works his way up to hunting the man believed to have killed his father. Some ridiculous stunts take place, most of which are incredible and funny, but there are also explanations that make it even harder to believe. Overall, I liked the movie, it embraces its cheeziness to the point where at the end McAvoy looks into the camera and addresses the audience. Light entertainment, great special effects, wholly unbelievable story, but still worthy of watching. 3 Stars/LAMBS
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
This is Andie McDowell singing a song she wrote in Michael.
Here's Hugh Grant and Nick Hoult singing at the school concert in About a Boy. One of the most painful scenes in movies, but still a good song, and they try so hard.
And finally, the best scene from 27 Dresses. Singing Bennie and the Jets
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Film: Home Alone
Box Office Gross: $285,761,243
Awards: Nominated for 2 Oscars for best Score and Original Song, "Somewhere in My Memory" (which I don't actually remember)
Actors:Macaulay Culkin, John Heard, Catherine O'Hara, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern
First, I was amazed when I made the list of the top grossing movies in the US for the past 20 years that there was a holiday movie on the list, so I saved it. I'm also nearly finished with this series, so I'll do a wrap-up before the end of the year. Since it's been 18 years, I'm not sure there are many people who don't know the plot of Home Alone, but I know some of my fellow movie bloggers are actually under 18 years old or thereabouts, so I will stop being ageist and give a bit of a summary. Basically, Kevin McCallister (Culkin), 8 years old, is being a brat when lots of his family descends on his house at Christmas en route to a vacation in Paris. Inadvertently, Kevin is left behind when the family leaves. However, Kevin's street has been targeted by two theives who plan to break into all the houses while the families are away for Christmas. Kevin overhears their plans and decides to defend his home. Much of the hilarity ensues as Kevin sets up all kinds of booby traps around his house (ice steps, hot doorknobs, a bb gun, a blow torch, ornaments on the floor, glue, spiders, everything). The story I find funnier 18 years later is Catherine O'Hara's determined attempt to get home to her son as fast as possible rather than waiting the two days until a direct flight is actually available. She pairs up with the late John Candy and his polka band to drive across the Midwest. I just like her line when arguing with the airline lady and insisting her quest must be possible. "No, no, no, no. It's Christmas, the season of perpetual hope." Here's hoping you're still hopeful for Christmas.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
"Numb3rs" - Krumholtz plays Charlie Epps, a math genius who uses all his abilities to help solve crimes with his brother Don (Rob Morrow) at the FBI. He lives with his Dad (Judd Hirsh) too (or since he owns the house, his dad lives with him?) and dates one of his former grad students, Amita (Navi Rawat). His former mentor and current colleague is the brilliant Peter MacNicol (so hilarious on Ally McBeal). They solve crimes, try to figure out normal society, how to use your gifts to serve others, and how to be a family. It's a fun show for nerds, and anyone into math. I heard on NPR they even have a module for school kids to better understand the math on the show and have fun learning. Krumholtz is awesome. It's hard to believe one person would know that much math, but he pulls it off.
Serenity - Krumholtz just had a small, but pivotal, part in the movie of the space cowboy story Serenity as Mr. Universe. He seemed to have access to all the electronic media in the galaxy and helped out Mal and others when they needed it, so of course he's a good guy. His wedding with the robot is hysterical.
The Santa Clause (1 &2) - This is a thankless part in a possibly forgettable Christmas series (not in my house, I just watched the first one while decorating the tree, and the next 2 are up soon), but that doesn't mean he doesn't do it well. Krumholtz plays Bernard, the head Elf at the North pole. He guides the new Santa (Tim Allen) through his responsibilities as the new Santa. His quick paced dialogue and no-nonsense business-like attitude give credence to the North Pole as a business AND a magical place.
"ER" - He only guest starred in 3 episodes (in two different seasons) as a schizophrenic law student who has a break and kills Lucy (Kellie Martin) and stabs Carter (Noah Wyle) sending him in a tailspin of drug addiction. He's innocent looking, but once he goes off he's scary enough that you remember him 2 seasons later when he reappears.
10 Things I Hate About You - Probably not his best role, but definitely my favorite. He's the super geek at Verona High School (ousted by his clique when a rumor spreads that he busy his izods at an outlet) who introduces Joseph Gordon-Leavitt's character to the school and helps him win the fair Bianca. He's just a background character, and hardly recognizable today, but I still think he's hysterical.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Get Smart, based on the 1960s TV show, starred The Office star Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway. The supporting cast wasn't bad either, with Supporting Actor Oscar winner Alan Arkin, Dwanye Johnson, and Masi Oka. Carrell longs to be a field agent, his agency gets destroyed and only he and Anne Hathaway can inconspicuously infiltrate the bad guys group and save the world. That's about all I understood of the main storyline, but it didn't really matter. The action is only slightly better than a TV series would put together, kind of like a funny Alias. Mostly it's about silly jokes and Carrell hurting himself with weapons. Decent entertainment, but nothing ground-breaking. 3.5 LAMBS/stars
I rented Kit Kittredge because I like Abigail Breslin (see Nim's Island and Little Miss Sunshine) and I'm kind of a sucker for kids movies, and it got decent reviews in the theaters. Based on a doll (The American girl series, which I had when I was a kid) and the books written about her character, Kit lives in Cincinnati during the Great Depression. She wants to be a writer when she grows up and keeps submitting her stories to the newspaper (edited by Wallace Shawn!) and keeps trying to write stories they might publish. Her father (Chris O'Donnell) loses his job and moves to Chicago to find work and Kit and her mom (Julia Ormond) open their house to borders to help make the mortgage. A mix of people move in, helping create fun stories, quirky characters and a good mystery. It was a strangely pertinent story as our own economy struggles that our society's view of poverty might not have changed much since the Depression. They treat "hobos" as criminals, and since few weren't susceptible to unemployment, anyone could become a hobo. I'll admit while watching it I got kinda nervous as they were echoing things that have been appearing in the papers lately. But since it's a kid's movie, it all worked out in the end and Kit solves the mystery and saves the day. It's still fun entertainment. 4 LAMBS/stars.
And finally, the ugly. Over Her Dead Body is a bad redo of Just Like Heaven (with Reese Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo) which wasn't a good enough movie to do again. Basically, a woman dies, can't accept it, haunts someone, and there's a love story. Lake Bell is the main character and isn't interesting enough to carry a movie. That's my first problem with it. The second was that someone convinced Eva Longoria Parker (who I love in Desperate Housewives) that she should both tan extensively and dye her hair blond so she's the same color all over. Plus, half the story is about how Paul Rudd can't get over the death of his fiancee and thus won't smile anymore. Most of Paul Rudd's appeal is his humor and his smile. So basically this movie stinks. The reviews weren't good, but they were kind. It's worse. 1 LAMB/Star. Don't watch this movie.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
1. One movie that made you laugh: Step Brothers
2. One movie that made you cry: Out of Africa
3. One movie you loved when you were a child: The Little Mermaid
4. One movie that you have seen more than 10 times: Groundhog Day
5. One movie you've seen multiple times in the theater: Aladdin (5 times)
6. One movie you walked out on: Battleship Earth
7. One movie that you can and do quote from: National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
8. One movie you loved, but were embarrassed to admit it: Stuck On You
9. One movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven't gotten around to watching yet: Blade Runner (I know, I know...it's in my queue)
10. One movie you hated: The English Patient
11. One movie that scared you: Seven
12. One movie that made you happy: WALL-E
13. One movie that made you miserable: Finding Neverland (very sad)
14. One movie musical for which you know all the lyrics to all the songs: Most of them, but I'd say I know all the lyrics to all the songs in Mary Poppins
15. One movie that you have been known to sing along with: Almost any movie that has music
16. One movie you would recommend that everyone see: Out of Africa
17. One movie character you’ve fallen in love with: George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life
18. One actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie: Robert Downey Jr.
19. One actor that would make you less likely to see a movie: Nicole Kidman
20. One of the last movies you saw: Australia
21. One of the next movies you hope to see: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Milk
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
I expected Nicole Kidman's character to annoy me - her hairstyle mimicked The Golden Compass which was a dreadful role with coldness and dispassion (the opposite of what's required for Australia) but I did believe her falling in love in with The Drover (how you could you not?) and Jackman's acting was terrific. He reminded me of Robert Redford in Out of Africa, playing the disinterested loner who falls in love, but doesn't want to admit that comes with responsibilities. His character has lots of depth, that unfortunately, due to the script, only gets to come up in pieces. When he appears in a white tuxedo jacket at the top of the stairs I kept thinking how much he invoked Humphrey Bogart. However, the absolute winner of the film that makes it a story worth following is Nullah (Brandon Walters). You can feel the yearning for goodness in his eyes. On a personal note, I live in Kenya for a year studying zebras (another life) and lived at a research center where the next youngest person was the three-year old daughter of the manager and she became my best friend. She was Kenyan, half white, a quarter black, and a quarter West Indies, with the creamy skin and dark soft hair and huge curious eyes. We called her Dudu (swahili for little bug) thanks to the look of her eyes. Nullah looked very much like Dudu, so I had a strong connection to his story throughout the movie, wanting people to take care of him and make it all right. But this was a movie, so all kinds of things happened, including using all kinds of magic and aboriginal culture to bring the stories to life from a unique place in history. I really liked the overall effect of the movie, the stories were beautiful, the plot was fine (yes, predictable, but not cliched), and the love story (both between Kidman and Jackman, AND Mrs. Boss and Nullah) was wonderful. Great movie, definitely go see it in the theater, completely worth it. 4.5 LAMBS/stars
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Film: Toy Story
Box Office Gross: $191,773,049
Awards: Nominated for 3 Oscars (before Best Animated Feature was a category) including winning an award for Special Achievement for a feature length computer animated film
Actors:Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger
This movie holds up even though computer animation has made leaps and bounds since this movie was completed. It was an innovative concept as a script even before we were awed by the new techniques behind animation which most people only notice when they're bad, not that they're amazingly new. I just read that Joss Whedon helped write the screenplay, which was nominated for an Oscar which, with Finding Nemo, are the only animated films nominated for best original screenplay. The characters they created were iconic toys, but given voices that seemed totally appropriate (wouldn't you assume that Mr. Potato Head spoke like Don Rickles?) and then sent on an adventure to return to the little boy who loves them. It's a great story, and deserves the accolades heaped upon it. This description of Buzz Lightyear sums it up for me.
Box Office Gross: $217,350,219
Awards: Nominated for 5 Oscars (before Best Animated Feature was a category) including winning 2 awards for Original Score and Best Original Song for "A Whole New World"
Actors: Scott Weingner, Robin Williams, Linda Larkin, Jonathan Freeman, and Gilbert Gottfried
Aladdin was the first movie I saw in the theater more than once. I think I actually saw it 5 times in the theater (back when movies cost $2 for kids) I liked it so much. Robin Williams' comedy as the genie was terrific and started the trend of big stars voicing characters in animated movies. I'm not sure this movie holds up as well for grown-ups because I've only seen it once since I was a kid, and most of the other animated movies I love I still watch. I'm still surprised this movie was the highest grossing for 1992, even over Batman Returns (the one with Penguin and Catwoman), Home Alone 2, and Lethal Weapon 3. Okay, maybe I'm not surprised.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Reese and Vince Vaughn have been dating a while, and they like doing things together and having fun (I won't ruin it, but the opening scene is hilarious) and avoid their families at Christmas. They usually lie ("you can't spell families without lies") and go off on a wonderful vacation. This year, flights grounded for a day and being seen on the local news means they have to actually see their divorced families. While each family represents stereotypes a bit, they're not quite caricatures (though Jon Favreau as Vaughn's brother was annoyingly over the top). Vaughn's dad and brothers are middle class NASCAR fans who love to wrestle and be men's men. Vaughn never fit into that mold, left and became a lawyer. Now he's back and has to figure out how to avoid getting his ass kicked. There were two supporting characters that made this scene work and relatable, Tim McGraw as a father of two boys he can't afford to give big presents to, and Katy Mixon as Favreau's super pregnant wife who makes bologna casseroles and extols the virtues of her husband. He's touching (without meaning to) and she's hilarious without actually being crass.
Each of the other Christmases has something that would resonate with anyone from or with access to a large family. There are elements of not fitting in, rising above what you were born into, trying to meet your family's expectations and just plain disliking your family. The bigger theme I liked throughout the day was whether Reese or Vince actually knew enough about each other to have a life together. Can you love someone if you don't know where they come from or who their family is? How much do you need to know about someone so you feel like you really know them? They did a good job of exploring that a little bit more with each family. I liked the movie and give it a 3.5 LAMBS/stars
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Box Office Gross: $403,706,375
Awards: Nominated for visual effects and sound
Actors:Toby Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Willem Defoe, J. K. Simmons,
The first Spider-Man tells the story originated in the comics, with Peter Parker (Maguire) becoming Spider-Man and fighting the Green Goblin (Defoe). Everyone knows the story so I won't fully elaborate here. Instead, I'll whine about what I don't like about the entire Spider-man series. Mostly the acting is fine, the special effects are good, though often overwhelming the story. The first film has a cohesive story, they have background on most of the characters (Green Goblin used to be Norman Osborn who made weapons, Parker is trying to figure out what it means to be Spider-Man "With great power, comes great responsibility", etc.). The story was well established and well written. The successive films lost a lot of that, and thus the acting suffered. Without a great story, even terrific actors like Alfred Molina (Doc Ock) can't make the movie better. I like movies based on comic books but this series never really grabbed me.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Season 1 - "The One Where Underdog Gets Away" This episode brings all the friendless Friends together when they're supposed to be celebrating elsewhere. They pretend that Wonderdog escaped from the Macy's parade and ends up down in the Village near their apartments, getting locked out and missing dinner. Not the best, but a classic.
Season 2 - I don't know why, but there's no Thanksgiving episode this season.
Season 3 - "The One with the Football" None of the Friends are dressed well throughout this episode, and it always bothers me. They decide to play football in the park, it becomes really competitive and dirty tricks abound. Joey and Chandler fight over a hot girl, but as they learn, most girls don't want to be told who they get to go out with. The episode ends with Monica and Ross still in the park holding onto the football waiting to see who wins The Gellar Cup.
Season 4 - "The One with Chandler in a Box" This is one of the all time best episodes of Friends. Joey won't forgive Chandler for kissing his girlfriend Cathy. To make up for it, Chandler spends Thanksgiving Day in a box. Monica gets ice in her eye and goes to see the eye doctor - Richard's son (hot Michael Vartan) who she invites to Thanksgiving Dinner. The whole thing becomes kinda weird, particularly with Chandler sticking his fingers out of the hole in the box, but it's got one of the best lines ever from Monica yelling at the others for judging her crush on Richard's son:
"Fine! Judge all you want to but, [points to Ross] married a lesbian, [points to Rachel] left a man at the altar, [points to Phoebe] fell in love with a gay ice dancer, [points to Joey] threw a girl's wooden leg in a fire, [points to the box Chandler's in] live in a box!"
Season 5 - "The One with Thanksgiving Flashbacks" All the Friends flashback to Thanksgivings they remember. The show always did this well, with Monica in a fat suit, Rachel with her old nose, Ross and Chandler's 80s hair. They flash back to the 2 Thanksgivings when Ross brought Chandler home from college. The first year he calls Monica fat behind her back, so the next year she's back to her normal size. She says she hates him, which parallels to their real time affair, deciding they love each other. There's a great moment when Joey has the turkey on his head.
Season 6 - "The One where Ross Got High" This is another of my all time favorites. The Gellars come over for Christmas and Rachel makes trifle but accidentally adds beef with peas and onions. Phoebe dreams about Jack Gellar fighting Jacques Cousteau. And Ross and Monica out each other on all the secrets of their childhood: porn, broken porch swing, pot smoking. They find out they've been blaming Chandler for lots of things which is why the Gellar parents have always hated him. When they find out the truth, they thank Chandler for watching out for their kids. Joey comments on Rachel's trifle: "What's not to like, Jam:good, Custard: Good, Beef: Gooo-od"
Season 7 - "The One Where Chandler Doesn't Like Dogs" This episode didn't really fit into their Thanksgiving canon. Phoebe has a dog she's been hiding in the guest room even though Chandler hates them and says he's deathly allergic. Not too much goes on beyond Rachel flirting with Tag and he finds out she likes him.
Season 8 - "The One with the Rumor" This was when Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were still married. Pitt guest starred as a friend of Ross' from high school who used to be really fat. Rachel spends most of the episode trying to figure out who he was and flirting. But he and Ross had a club in high school called the We Hate Rachel Greene club. Rachel is pissed when she finds out considering she is pregnant and having a kid with Ross. Pitt applauds Ross for knocking up Rachel. It's a really funny episode with lots of Thanksgiving cooking.
Season 9 - "The One with Rachel's Other Sister" Christina Applegate shows up for Thanksgiving and spouts her narcissistic opinions on how to raise Rachel and Ross' new baby Emma. She assumes she'd get to raise Emma if Ross or Rachel die, but they've already planned to ask Monica and Chandler. This causes all kinds of discussions about why certain people would or would not be good parents.
Season 10 - "The One with the Late Thanksgiving" Monica reluctantly agrees to cook Thanksgiving dinner again, but Ross and Joey go to a hockey game, and Phoebe and Rachel enter Emma in a beautiful baby contest so everyone's late. They spend a lot of time talking to Monica and Chandler through the door with the chain on, floating heads. Joey of course gets his head stuck. It's a really funny classic Friends episode of fighting, but no one being really upset. Great finale to the Thanksgiving series.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Film: Shrek 2
Box Office Gross: $436,471,036
Awards: Oscar nomination for Animated Feature and Best Original Song "Accidentally in Love"
Actors:Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz, Eddie Murphy, Antonio Banderas, Julie Andrews, John Cleese
This is was the highest grossing sequel until The Dark Knight came along breaking all kinds of records. It expands the story of the original Shrek, our green, ornery ogre who has fallen in love and married the Princess Fiona who is also an ogre. Now they have to return to the Kingdom of Far, Far, Away to see her parents. They're of course shocked that their daughter is an ogre and married to Shrek. The King (John Cleese) hires Puss in Boots (Antonio Banderas) to get rid of Shrek and of course they become friends. However, the real Prince Charming (Rupert Everett) still wants to be Fiona's husband and works with the Fairy Godmother (the brilliant Jennifer Saunders from AbFab) to get rid of Shrek. Lots of hilarity ensues, I think Puss is terrific, the swashbuckling kitty who uses his cuteness to win fights when he knows he's losing. Ultimately, this movie didn't really do much more than the first one. The first was incredibly original, riffing on traditional fairy tale characters and ideas. This one does take that a little further with the new characters, but not a lot further. A good sequel, but not a fantastic stand alone movie.
Monday, November 17, 2008
The second movie I saw this weekend was Blood Diamond with Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou and Jennifer Connelly. The acting is terrific, the story well articulated (which I found remarkable considering understanding conflict in Africa is rarely simple), and the violence overwhelming. If you're willing to watch the film by fast-forwarding the shooting scenes, I'd give the movie a 4.5, if I'd had to sit through this in the movie theater or with someone who won't let me fast forward, I'd give it a 3 for excessive violence. So here's my description of the 4.5 version. Hounsou plays Solomon Vendy, a fisherman from a small village in Sierra Leone in 1999 during their civil war. As he's walking his son to school one day, the R.U.F. (Revolutionary United Front) attacks his village and his family is divided. He is sent to work in one of the diamond mines in Kono where he finds an enormous pink diamond. He manages to hide it before the rebels find it. Meanwhile, Danny Archer (DiCaprio), a Rhodesian (Zimbabwean) soldier from the wars in Angola turned diamond smuggler has managed to get caught smuggling diamonds into Liberia (here's what I learned from the film: to avoid exporting diamonds from known conflict zones, like Sierra Leone in 1999, the diamonds would be smuggled into another country and then exported as clean diamonds to be sold around the world, 60% to the US. Because they are smuggled, the diamonds are dirt cheap and to gain money for fighting the war, both sides sell the diamonds. However, to keep the global price high, the diamond companies hoard the diamonds. The diamond companies even have an interest in keeping the conflict going because it keeps the price of diamonds low. I can't vouch for the validity of any of this, but that's what the movie seemed to be saying). Anyway, Hounsou and DiCaprio eventually meet in jail and DiCaprio convinces him to let him sell the pink diamond. They start to head back to Kono to get the diamond, and meet up with Connelly, a journalist trying to prove the conflict diamonds are being purchased by the diamond companies. They try to reach Kono and run up against government military troops, supplemented by the same Rhodesian/Angolan military DiCaprio used to belong to, as well as the R.U.F, AND local militia who are trying to protect their homes from both sides. Watching this movie you start to feel like everyone's in the wrong, that all the people are evil and just trying to make money. The leader of the R.U.F. has a terrific line that makes the movie seem a little more real, "If I am a devil it is because I live in hell." There's another conversation between Hounsou and DiCaprio where Hounsou is trying to explain how it feels to be living amidst a civil war where most of the people are not on one side OR the other, but living on the battlefield. The R.U.F. would steal young boys and force them to be soldiers. They're brainwashed into believing they are right, and given guns, drugs, money, and gifts to keep the cycle going. I've lived in Kenya and Gabon (neither in any conflict while I was there) but it's still nearly impossible to understand all the atrocities, war, violence, and bloodshed that goes on during these internal conflicts. This was a terrific movie to see how it can work from a single family's point of view, just fast-forward through the gunshots.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
"Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" sung by Heath Ledger in 10 Things I Hate About You
"Golden Years" sung by David Bowie, and danced to by Heath Ledger in A Knight's Tale. Some friend's and I were watching this and drinking one night and somehow decided chocolate ice cream and Pirate's Booty popcorn would taste really good with gin and tonics. It doesn't.
"Jump (For My Love)" sung by The Pointer Sisters, and danced to by Hugh Grant in Love, Actually
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I like nearly everything Aaron Sorkin has had come to the screen. And by nearly everything I'm including everything I've seen, and the nearly encompasses the stuff I haven't seen. I loved "The West Wing", which continued to be good even after he left thanks to the genius that was the set of characters he created. Even more relevent to the past week was the final season of "The West Wing" when a minority Democrat candidate wins the White House. The NYTimes had a terrific article describing how prescient it was (though Sorkin didn't write it, he did get a cameo in the final episode). "Sports Night" was fun, sassy, and just never found its audience. There are elements of both of these shows in "Studio 60", which never found its footing, but has achieved some of the same brilliant moments of its predecessors. I like the fact that Sorkin picks all kinds of small elements of society and brings them into prominence on his shows. He gave President Bartlett M.S. and educated a whole viewership about it, if only on a superficial level. He always seems to present situations where people matter more than the politics of the action - e.g. it's significant that Tom Jeter was speeding because he wanted to see his brother before he deployed to the Mid-East and not just that he's a celebrity getting out of a ticket, or Toby saving the astronauts by exposing a military asset. Sorkin makes it clear what matters and that things are rarely as simple as they seem at first. He makes us think about why we believe what we believe, and I admire that about his writing.
The feature films he wrote include A Few Good Men, The American President, and Charlie Wilson's War. Here's my favorite speech The American President:
Anyway, I am Thankful for Aaron Sorkin and everything he's brought to television and film.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I just read the Mahnola Dargis review of the film in the NYTimes on October 17, and I loved this line, it does describe the overall feel of the film: "History is said to repeat itself as tragedy and farce, but here it registers as a full-blown burlesque."
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
1. Pick one film to represent each letter of the alphabet.
2. The letter "A" and the word "The" do not count as the beginning of a film's title, unless the film is simply titled A or The, and I don't know of any films with those titles.
3. Return of the Jedi belongs under "R," not "S" as in Star Wars Episode IV: Return of the Jedi. This rule applies to all films in the original Star Wars trilogy; all that followed start with "S." Similarly, Raiders of the Lost Ark belongs under "R," not "I" as in Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. In other words, movies are stuck with the titles their owners gave them at the time of their theatrical release. Conversely, all films in the LOTR series belong under "L" and all films in the Chronicles of Narnia series belong under "C," as that's what those filmmakers called their films from the start. Use your better judgement to apply the above rule to any series/films not mentioned.
4. Films that start with a number are filed under the first letter of their number's word. 12 Monkeys would be filed under "T."
5. Link back to Blog Cabins in your post, cause he made up the rules.
6. If you're selected, you have to then select 5 more people. (I'm not going to tag anyone, though if you do decide to do it, please link back to me!).
American President, The
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Fifty First Dates
Gone With the Wind
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Just Like Heaven
Knight's Tale, A
Little Mermaid, The
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
Out of Africa
Princess Bride, The
Sense and Sensibility
Under the Tuscan Sun
V for Vendetta
When Harry Met Sally
You've Got Mail
These are my favorites under each letter, but some are definitely better than others. Since I'm that nerdy, I actually alphabetize my own collection of several hundred DVDs, so this was pretty easy.
"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" - 50 First Dates
"Tenderness on the Block" - Sliding Doors (okay this is a pretty obscure movie so I couldn't find the right clip, but this song plays at the very end of the movie where you finally see that everything happens for a reason).
"Thriller" - 13 Going on 30. I know there are probably lots and lots of other things to think when you hear this song, but I still love this scene with Jennifer Garner dancing.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Adam Sandler (50 First Dates) - This movie is probably one of the most original romantic comedies, telling a story about love and relationships without everything working out perfectly but making a very satisfying ending. Sandler's best work as an adult shows lots of sides of falling in love and what it means to create a relationship. You want them to succeed and you're impressed that they overcome a lot of the problems.
Jimmy Fallon (Fever Pitch) - Drew plays a woman who falls in love with a Red Sox fan who hasn't figured out the difference between obsession and fandom. Their relationship transforms them both (isn't that what you want from romantic comedy?) and they figure out how to be together, but still pursue their individual goals.
Hugh Grant (Music and Lyrics) - Her character in this is more than a little kooky, and that gets in the way of their romance, but given that they sing together, and Grant's dry wit making fun of her all the way through, they seem like good friends who fell in love, rather than two weirdos stuck together.
Adam Sandler (The Wedding Singer) - She is super cute in this movie, and really believes in true love, which almost makes you believe she'd turn down what she thought was a happy, successful relationship for the Wedding Singer. She makes him believe in himself and then he realizes he loves her. It works pretty well, but their chemistry definitely improves in 50 First Dates.
Dougray Scott (Ever After) - As Cinderella, she has more chemistry fighting with her stepsisters than she does with the Prince, but since you know the Prince will finally sweep her away, it's easy to believe. Her intellectual fights with the Prince over his entitled attitude sometimes breed chemistry, but mostly you just think "how stupid is this guy to not get that he's a prince?"
Michael Vartan (Never Been Kissed) - The sketchy nature of the teacher crushing on his student never really goes away, even though you know Drew is old enough to date him. He's impossibly cute, and her nerdy-girl crush works, but it never makes sense that they would actually get together.
Eric Bana (Lucky You) - Their chemisty NEVER comes together. He's a gambler who can be turned into a good guy by the love of a good woman. But Drew doesn't seem all that interested in the role, and Bana can barely see past his cards to realize Drew is sitting right there trying to flirt with him. Dreadful and unbelievable chemistry throughout.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Top 50 Films
1. Sense and Sensibility
2. Gone With The Wind
3. The Princess Bride
4. Out of Africa
5. The Shawshank Redemption
6. Star Wars Trilogy
7. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
8. When Harry Met Sally
10. 50 First Dates
11. Finding Nemo
12. The American President
13. 10 Things I hate about you
14. Good Will Hunting
15. Walk the Line
17. Little Miss Sunshine
18. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
19. Sliding Doors
20. Top Gun
21. V for Vendetta
22. My Fair Lady
23. O, Brother Where Art Thou?
24. The Philadelphia Story
25. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
26. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
27. Grosse Pointe Blank
28. Groundhog Day
29. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
30. Men in Black
31. 12 Angry Men
32. Forrest Gump
33. The Little Mermaid
34. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
35. The Sting
36. A Few Good Men
38. Notting Hill
39. The Lion King
40. Live Free or Die Hard
41. Say Anything
42. March of the Penguins
43. The African Queen
44. Minority Report
46. Bridget Jones’ Diary
47. Almost Famous
48. The Incredibles
49. West Side Story
50. Cold Mountain