Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Family Stone (April 27, 2010)

This is one of those movies that I wrote off as a cute little romantic comedy, so I wasn't in any rush to see it (I like those kinds of movies, but there's no need to see them right away). Then suddenly people all around me were telling me what a good movie this was, people who don't usually go for simple romantic comedies, so I bought this movie fully intending to watch it, then I let it sit on my shelf for like, five months. I just watched it today, and let me tell you, it's far more than a simple romantic comedy.

Dermot Mulroney plays a very serious guy who plans to take his future fiance home to meet his family for the first time. Sarah Jessica Parker plays his girlfriend, and she's wound MUCH too tightly, which his family sees right through and exploits for everything they can. See, they're one of THOSE families...they're close and loving, but they're very sarcastic with each other, which is fine for people who are in on the joke, but hell for someone from the outside who is intimidated and uptight. Basically, the holiday is a disaster and things go unexpectedly apeshit, but the movie manages to tie everything together and be an enjoyable experience just the same. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll leave it at that. I guess one of the plot twists within the first five minutes of the movie but the rest came as a pleasant surprise, and this is definitely going to go down as one of my favorite Christmas movies ever.

Latter Days (April 27, 2010)

People have been bugging me to see this movie for awhile now. I try to ignore it when people do that, because people bugged me to see "Borat" and "Napoleon Dynamite" and I'd like to puke on the people who got me to see those movies. But I finally caved today and watched "Latter Days," and damned if people weren't right this time (there's a first time for everything, right?) This movie focuses on Christian, a happy-go-lucky guy who flits through life seemingly without a care, and Aaron, who is on his 2 year long mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (the Mormons). For those who need a crash course, Latter Day Saints (LDS) send their kids away on a mission once they turn 18, and said kids spend two years going door to door and teaching other people about their church. So Aaron is sheltered and kind of geeky, but he takes his faith seriously (more seriously than his 4 roommates who are on the mission just like he is) and when Aaron and Christian meet, sparks fly and Aaron has to make a choice (his church is...um...less than thrilled with gay people, to put it mildly).

I know why people were badgering me to see this movie. I kind of wished I'd listened to them earlier, but at the same time, this movie came at a good time in my life. I've been on this ridiculous roller coaster with my faith for years now, and I just started going to a new church on Sunday. It's not that I don't realize that I can pray at home by myself, I just miss being around other people who share my faith (of course, being around them always seems to get me in trouble, so we'll see how that turns out). I related to every single scene in this movie in a different way, and it didn't seem forced or manipulative. Others may disagree with me, but believe me when I say I know what manipulation looks like, and I think this movie rises above that. It's unflinchingly honest, and while watching it felt a little like running sandpaper across my skin (it rubs my issues raw, you see) it was still something I think I needed to see. You should check it out sometime, too.

Diary of a Mad Black Woman (April 27, 2010)

Again with the Tyler Perry movies, Lillian? Really? Yes, really. I happen to love Tyler Perry's movies and I know I'm not in the minority because they always make a lot of money. I just appear to be among the minority of REVIEWS who like his movies. No matter, I enjoy them anyway. This one stars Kimberly Elise (who I love) as a faithful, longsuffering wife whose complete jackass of a husband dumps her after 18 years to take up with his mistress. She suffers but makes it through, even finding new love with an almost too perfect man played by Shemar Moore, when tragedy strikes and she's forced to confront her ex husband and see if she can forgive him and let got of the past. I'm a sucker for movies like this, and I enjoyed this one. I know that redemption is a hard road, so I like watching movies where characters find redemption because they give me hope that it's still possible, plus I like all the actors here. All the characters, too (even Medea is starting to grow on me). I enjoyed this movie a lot. Bring on more Tyler Perry!

Role Models (April 27, 2010)

This movie is hilarious. I bought it awhile back and then kept shuffling it off and letting it sit in my pile of unwatched DVDs until I finally got around it it today. I ended up loving it just as much as I'd predicted I would. Paul Rudd and Sean William Scott play two immature men in their 30s who commit a crime and wind up with a sentence of community service. They serve out their sentence by mentoring two young boys, and hilarity ensues. First of all, these are the LAST two guys who should ever serve as role models. Scott plays a guy who really only cares about partying and hooking up, and Rudd plays a guy who feels stuck in a rut and hates himself and his life. Luckily they wind up with two kids who can help smack some sense into them. Scott winds up with a mouthy, street wise kid who doesn't take shit from anyone, and Rudd winds up with a weird kid who likes role playing games. throughout the course of the movie, the men learn to act like men and the kids learn to act more like kids, and everyone is better for it. I like smarmy sweet movies as much as the next person, but my heart really belongs to movies like this; movies that are jaded and cynical and they EARN their emotional scenes because they don't seem to be out to manipulate me to jerk those tears out in the first place. This one is highly recommended.

The Princess and the Frog (April 27, 2010)

This movie caused quite a stir. It's Disney's first classic animation movie in years (for awhile here, computer animated movies have ruled the day) and while there's nothing wrong with computer animation, I have to say, this movie is absolutely beautiful. Seriously. Some of the scenes are sop lovely that I had to catch my breath. The story is groundbreaking in another way, too. Tiana in this movie is Disney's first black Princess. It's about damn time, too. And like all the other Disney princesses, she's got spunk and attitude to spare. She doesn't wait around for her Prince to rescue her, in fact, she's not much interested in looking for love at all. Tiana works two jobs trying to save money in order to open a restaurant (a dream she inherited from her Daddy before he died). The prince in this movie isn't a gallant warrior, either, he's a carefree layabout. He doesn't like to settle down, he likes to throw away his money, and his family are sick of his shenanigans. When he reaches New Orleans, he gets mixed up in some voodoo (from the coolest Disney bad guy in years) and before he knows it,. Prince Naveen is a frog. He sees Tiana in costume for a masquerade ball and he mistakes her for a princess, but when he kisses her in hopes that she'll turn him human again, things don't go as planned.

This movie is a ton of fun. The songs were catchy (I love Randy Newman) and there are some scenes that made me laugh out loud. I also loved the love story of these two opposites who meet and bicker for most of the movie until they realize their feelings for each other (I'm a sucker for stuff like that).

Cats Don't Dance (April 26, 2010)

I remember seeing ads for this movie back in the 90s when it came out. My mom used to make me watch old musicals when I was a kid, so I recognized the plot (starry eyed kid from a small town comes to Hollywood trying to make it big in the movies). Of course, this is an animated movie where a cat is the "starry eyed kid" and when he arrives in Hollywood, he learns that filmmakers don't think animals have talent for anything besides being, well, animals, so it's hard for him to get anyone to take his singing and dancing seriously. He tries to get himself and his friends noticed by movie producers, but it's tough. The animation is in the "Warner Brothers" style that was popular at the time (think "Tiny Toons" and "Animaniacs") but the story is old Hollywood through and through. I had a lot of fun with it. I'm well-rounded that way.

The Swarm (1977)

If you'll look at the bottom of the movie poster, you'll see that practically everyone in Hollywood was in this movie. Apparently in the 70s there was a big run on disaster movies and Hollywood was churning them out and packing them with as many stars as possible in order to get people to see the movies. It's too bad that this particular movie sucks as badly as it does. I read the novel when I was a kid and I don't remember it being too bad, but I also notice that it doesn't really resemble this movie very much. The filmmakers must have just cribbed the basic idea from the book (swarms of killer bees massacring people) and slapped it together with some scientific mumbo-jumbo in order to make the script. Let's put it bluntly: this movie is garbage. It's hokey and stupid and full of plot holes, the dialogue is atrocious and the acting is terrible and everyone in the damn movie knows how to act (hell, half of them won Oscars at one point or another) so there are no excuses for the movie to be as bad as it is. Irwin Allen, the guy who made the movie, must not have cared or he must not have thought that anyone would notice that the movie sucks and every "plot twist" was stolen from another movie (I'm not fucking kidding, even the ending of the movie was taken from a low-budget sci-fi movie called "Beginning of the End"). Skip this movie and watch something else. Anything else. Watch paint dry if you have to.

Alligator (1980)

There's not a whole lot to say about this movie. It's a ripoff of "Jaws" right down to the theme they play when the alligator is about to attack, but I had a blast with this movie anyway. It's fun to watch a giant Alligator eating people, and don't tell anyone I said this, but the plot moves faster so it's more fun to sit through than "Jaws" any day.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kick Ass (April 20, 2010)

Well, let's see. I first heard of this movie a few months ago, and everything I read promoting it made it sound like it was going to be a farce, like "Superhero Movie" or something, about a real life guy trying to dress up like a super hero and fight crime. I was excited to see it. Then a few days ago I got wind that this movie was super violent, and I was confused. Nothing I'd read up to that point made the movie look like it was going to be really bloody and violent, so I was fair warned when I went in to see the movie. It's clear that a lot of other people weren't as lucky though, and the violence seemed to piss off a lot of the other movie goers.

It's a shame, too, because "Kick Ass" is actually a really cool movie. It's gory and kind of disgusting, but I can handle that. I watch violent movies all the time. the problem arises not when a movie is violent but when I have no idea that a movie is going to be violent and then I see it and get blindsided by a lot of gore I wasn't expecting. In short, I don't blame people for being pissed off at this movie, but I think the blame should go to the marketing campaign, not the movie itself, because the movie is awesome. It's not the movie's fault that ad execs wanted to make more money so they made commercials that made the movie look like it was going to be a laugh-a-minute riot.

In point of fact, there are a lot of laughs to be had here. The movie is really funny, but it's also really bloody and violent. Not only that, the movie shows a young kid doing some of the worst of the violence, and I suspect that's what pisses a lot of people off the most. I've heard a few feminist blogs calling the movie "misogynistic" and I suspect that stems from the scenes with this little girl (and from the fact that one of the bad guys tells her "I wish I had a son like you") but I think the problem is that they're taking those scenes out of context. Yes, the movie is stylized and cool in its violence, but it also looks horribly painful and not at all like something I'd want to try at home. Basically, I don't think kids are going to be out emulating this movie because I think it definitely shows the consequences of the actions it depicts.

Also, I personally like the little girl and I like that she can kick ass, and I also think there's more than enough of the idea that she shouldn't HAVE to be fighting like this and she deserves to have a childhood (a character says as much in the movie) and thus I don't think the movie is giving parenting suggestions or anything. Plus, I can see why the "I wish I had a son like you" line would bother people, but I think they're wrong. I think that line shows that the little girl is awesome and that the guy saying that line is an asshole. I don't think the movie is espousing the idea that we should like this guy (he's the villain, for Christ's sake, what did you want him to be a nice guy?)

In short, yeah, I get it. I get why some people are pissed, and I get why they are shocked. I think the movie should be separated from its initial marketing campaign and judged on its own terms, because it really is one of the best movies I've seen in awhile, and I think it deserves to be appreciated for what it is, not punished for what it isn't (that is was never trying to be in the first place).

Settle the Score (April 20, 2010)

And again from the "Lillian is obsessed with movies she saw as a kid" files, I bring you this gem from 1989, "Settle the Score." This is another movie I saw on TBS in the early 90s. My mom let me watch it because there wasn't any hint that it was a horror movie, and like the previous review, this movie is more of a thriller than a horror movie, but there are some pretty terrifying things onscreen here and I still can't believe my mom let me watch it (though I'm grateful, of course).

Here, Jaclyn Smith plays a snippy, nasty, unpleasant woman who is going home to her small town and her parents. at first we don't know why (or why she's in such a godawful mood when she does it) but soon we learn that she's a cop in the big city (Chicago) who is on leave because she shot a man dead and enjoyed watching him die a little too much, so her bosses are worried about her mental state. They have good reason to be worried, we learn, because when she was a young teen something terrible happened to her and she's back in her town to try and track down the man responsible and make him pay.

Let's not beat around the bush here. She was raped when she was a teenager, and the opening sequences are pretty horrific (plus we keep flashing back to them throughout the movie) as are the details of the rape. The man raped other women as well over the fifteen year period since this happened to her, and each time, he left his victims hog-tied and let them slowly strangle themselves trying to escape. It's pretty disturbing, and watching it now, I can't believe this was ever shown on daytime TV (an d they say TV these days is violent! Holy shit!)

The horror of what happened and the mystery of the events surrounding this rape have always stuck with me, so I was happy to track this movie down again. I was worried that it wouldn't live up to the hype (I really really really wanted to see it again, and that meant that I had pretty high expectations for it) but despite a few questionable wardrobe choices and some godawful cheesy music (Mark Snow, the man responsible for the music in this movie, should be ashamed) this movie holds up surprisingly well. It might even be better than I remember it.

The small town to which Jaclyn Smith returns is a huge throwback to a time when women thought "Stand by Your Man" meant going through whatever terrible, painful, humiliating things he wanted to put you through. Needless to say, as a result of this attitude, the men in this movie don't come out so well. Hell, even the "romantic lead" guy here holds Jaclyn Smith down and tries to force her to have sex with him, and when she wrestles away from him, he asks her "How long have you been frigid?" And he's the GOOD GUY, mind you. Of course, not all men are psychotic freaks, but you wouldn't know it to watch this movie. I grew up in a small town a lot like the one in this movie, and I can attest that this attitude was pretty prevalent, but it's still jarring to see it portrayed onscreen this way. I guess I'm saying that if you wanted to watch this movie with your kids, make sure you explain to them that men aren't all this crazy and that the movie shows a skewed vision of reality.

I've seen other movies since this time ("I Spit on Your Grave" comes immediately to mind) where pretty much all the men act like bumbling psychopaths from the planet caveman, so I can better place this film within a tradition of movies that showed women fighting back against Cletus the Rapist, but back when I first saw this movie, I didn't have such a frame of reference, so it was shocking to sit through this movie and see how everyone behaved (not just the men, either, pretty much all the women in this movie act like any woman who gets picked up by a rapist gets what she deserves). Like I said, it's disturbing, and I sort of felt like I needed a shower after the movie was finished, but still, I have to give it credit for being able to get under my skin like that. I also admire it for having the balls to be so dark and evil and not trying to wrap everything up in a "let's all be happy" type of ending where everyone learns a lesson and everything is ok in the end. This is a little made-for-TV movie that dressed itself up like a romantic thriller and managed to hide the fact that it was really a gritty "Rape and Revenge" movie, so I give it kudos for managing to unnerve even this jaded, cynical film fanatic.

I won't give away the ending, but suffice it to say that everyone in this movie gives a much better performance than you'd expect from a made-for-TV production, the killer is creepy and skeezy, and even after the wrap-up manages to be sad and disturbing. It's not exactly what I'd call a fun experience, but it's a worthy flick to carry the torch passed down by other "Rape and Revenge" movies (such as "I Spit on Your Grave" and "Thriller: A Cruel Picture") and I for one think it deserves more attention than it gets. The music may be provided by the synthesizer that ate Manhattan, but there's a lot to like here when you scratch the surface of this ballsy little movie. If you like this kind of thing (and if you recognized the titles I mentioned earlier and understood that everything I said about this movie being creepy, skeezy, and making you feel like you need to take a shower after it's over was actually a RECOMMENDATION) then I suggest you track it down and give it a chance. I will definitely be watching it again (once I give myself a few months to get its taste out of my mouth).

The Haunting of Sarah Hardy (April 19, 2010)

This review has been a long time in coming. Years, in fact. See, around 1992, my brother and I started seeing a movie called "The Haunting of Sarah Hardy" advertised on the cable network TBS, and we of course (being morbid little brats) wanted to see it, but our mom didn't like us watching horror movies. One afternoon, when the movie was being re-run, we convinced our mom to let us watch it, though. Since it's more of a romance/thriller, my brother wasn't fond of it, and my mom liked it for the most part but she HATED the ending, so I was the only one in the family who really enjoyed it.

Years passed, and eventually all I could remember about the movie was a few sparse scenes and the ending. I couldn't even remember the title, and I wanted to watch it again, but I couldn't seem to track it down, so I recruited the help of a few friends of mine (including fellow movie lover Ed Tellier) and together we managed to track it down and figure out that it was this movie. I got a nice friend to transfer her ratty old VHS onto a DVD and I finally got to see the movie last night. So was it worth the wait?

I was a little hesitant at first, because the kids in the prologue of this movie are some of the worst actors I've ever seen, and I worried that the movie would be terrible, but my fears were unfounded. Once the story got going, it was just as good as I'd remembered. Poor Sarah had to watch her delusional mother commit suicide, and she grew up living with the fear that one day she'd inherit her mother's mental illness and suffer the same fate. When we meet the adult Sarah, she's just gotten married to Austin, the man of her dreams, and she's moving back into her family homestead, The Pines, which is beautiful, but also the creepiest fucking house I've ever seen. It's even creepier than the Amityville house.

Of course, as soon as Sarah moves back into The Pines, she starts seeing things. Ghostly images outside, broken glass on the mantle that mysteriously disappears, and she starts getting threatening phone calls and hearing her mother's crazed piano playing. Is Sarah indeed going crazy, or is her mother, whose body was never found, finally coming back after fifteen years to get revenge?

I have to say, even though it was predictable to my older self, I still enjoyed the mystery here. I think even if I hadn't remembered the ending I would have known what was going on (I've seen too many movies where this happens) but it's still fun to watch. Even though the kids in the prologue are terrible actors, I still liked how the adults chosen to play the kids all grown up actually look like their childhood counterparts, and no matter what my mom said about Sarah being weak, I still thought the movie worked better because she was kind and virtuous and didn't have a mean bone in her body. Yeah, I would have loved to see her kick some ass and get some payback, but I don't think it would have fit with her character, and I think Sela Ward (one of my favorite actresses) manages to make Sarah vulnerable without seeming too fragile (after all, if you thought you were going crazy because of some kind of family curse, you'd be pretty "fragile" too, I don't care what my mom says).

This movie isn't for everyone, but I definitely think it deserves more praise than it gets. It taps into a sweeping romantic/thriller tradition of creepy Gothic mansions and family secrets that makes for a fun two hours, and I'll certainly be watching this again (with my huge collection of DVDs, choosing to watch anything more than once is a huge compliment).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Date Night (April 19, 2010)

I'm so glad I got to see this movie today. I was standing in line to see "The Last Song," but there were technical difficulties, so I went with this one instead, and let's face it, I'd be sitting in the corner slitting my wrists if I saw "The Last Song." I love the guy to pieces, but Nicholas Sparks isn't much for happy endings, and the barrel of laughs I got with this movie is exactly what I needed to cheer me up today.

First off, I have to say, Steve Carell gets better with every movie he makes. Seriously. I'm one of THOSE PEOPLE, so I actually LIKED "Evan Almighty" and I LOVED "Get Smart," and I thought nothing could top that, but I might even like this movie more, which is quite an achievement. And of course I ADORE Tina Fey and I'll watch anything with her in it, so this movie was a treat for me right off the bat.

I also got to see, oh, about every actor in the universe stop by. Seriously, this movie had Tariji P. Henson, Jimmi Simpson, Mila Kunis, James Franco, Mark Wahlberg, and several other people in it, and I kept going "Hey! It's that guy" or "Hey! It's her!" Now these names might not all register, but if you watch this movie you'll know that you know all these people from SOMEWHERE, because the supporting cast here is character actor city, and I'm a movie geek, so I was in HEAVEN.

I can't give anything else away because I don't want to spoil it, but trust me, I nearly fell out of my chair laughing on more than one occasion, and then I nearly cried at the end because it's so sweet, so the movie is well-rounded and I highly recommend it to just about everyone who loves to have a good time at the movies.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Up (april 12, 2010)

I'm a little behind the times here. I've had this movie for awhile, but I haven't watched it. Part of me was worried it wouldn't be as good as everyone keeps saying it is. Part of me is just lazy. But I watched it tonight, and I'm glad I finally did.

Right from the very beginning, I liked this movie (I also cried right from the very beginning and throughout most of the movie...it really is sad in a lot of ways). It starts with a little boy meeting a little girl and the two becoming inseparable. they grow up together, get married, and have a full life together. then the woman dies, and the old man is left in the world alone wondering what to do with what's left of his life. This is incredibly sad and I can relate a lot to the feelings (even though I'm not THAT old...I feel pretty damn old sometimes). The old man is about to be sent to a nursing home when he gets the idea to attach a bunch of balloons to his house and sail away on one last adventure.

As you can see from the premise, it's sad right from the beginning. Well, maybe "touching" is a better word. It's sad that the man has lost his wife and doesn't know what to do without her, and he's cranky and reticent about making new friends because for so long, she was his world. Of course the movie is populated with other characters. A Dog who has a collar designed to communicate what he's thinking (and it's pretty accurate from the dogs I've met). A boy who wants to earn a merit badge by helping an elderly person. A rare, exotic bird trying to escape capture and captivity. Together these characters do indeed have one hell of an adventure. I advise you to watch this movie (just make sure you have a hell of a lot of tissues around when you do).

Song of the South (April 12, 2010)

This is one of Disney's most controversial movies. It seems odd, because I grew up reading the stories of Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox and Brer Bear and Uncle Remus, but this movie generates a lot of controversy, and I would be remiss if I didn't address it in this review. First, let me say that this movie isn't readily available in the US (Disney won't release it on DVD) so I had to do some finagling to get my hands on a copy of it so I could finally see it. Was it worth the wait?

I must say I enjoyed this movie. the animation mixed with live action sequences were cool, and this was one of the first movies to feature this technique (Disney was ahead of his time). The songs were fun, the Brer characters were fun, and the story of the little boy who comes to know and love Uncle Remus and his stories is a cool story to watch.

That being said, I can understand why people call this movie racist. I grew up watching cartoons that featured racist depictions, and I didn't even realize this until I was older and I took a college course about Racism in popular culture. That class ruined me (I can't watch anything anymore without noting whether it features racist stereotypes). I definitely see those at play in "Song of the South." I know that Walt Disney didn't intend to be racist when he made this movie. Much like Mark
Twain when he wrote "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," Disney was actually trying to be ahead of his time. He was trying to say "hey look, black people are humans too!" That may sound like a ridiculously unnecessary statement (of COURSE black people are people too) but there was a time when this statement was a scandalous one. Quite simply, "Song of the South" comes from a time and place where a lot of people thought black people were inferior to white people, and as a product of its time, there's no way this movie CAN'T be racist. It's not TRYING to be so, it just reflects the prejudices of its time, just like any other movie.

I think the question here is whether this movie should be banned because it features racist stereotypes. I for one don't think so. I found the movie enjoyable, and if I had kids I'd watch it with them (that's the key, I think, I'd watch it WITH them) and maybe we could compare it to a movie like "The Princess and the Frog" and see how differently the characters are depicted in each movie. I don't think I'd turn this movie loose on my kids without being there to explain to them that it's just an old, dated movie with some old, dated ideas, but I wouldn't turn the movie "Gone with the Wind" loose on my kids either without making similar points, and that movie has been available on DVD for years (and in my opinion, it's far worse than "Song of the South" if we're going to talk about racist stereotypes). Basically, Id' say that this movie is good and it comes highly recommended, but the caveat is you need to watch it with your kids and be a parent and do what a parent does: explain some of the harsher realities of the world to your kids.

Twilight in Forks

This is a movie about the real town of Forks, Washington, and how things have changed for the town since the coming of the epic saga that is Twilight. It features interviews with people from the town and fans of the books and movies. It's pretty interesting. I grew up in small towns, so I can relate to the people of this town. It looks like a nice place to live. If you like documentaries, you should check tis movie out.

New Moon

Dude, this is a COOL poster for this movie. It's much better than the ones I typically see, and it gives a much clearer picture of the struggles Bella is facing in this book/movie. I dig it.

Ok, in THIS book (movie, whatever...the movie and book are very close in this case, and I might even like the movie better than the book, which never happens) Edward (boy wonder vampire) decides that he puts Bella in too much danger by loving her, so he tells her he never loved her, she's too ordinary and boring, he's going to leave and he wants her to forget about him, blah blah blah. Basically he's a big fat jerk head. Of course he's lying and he really does love her, but he thinks she'll be better off without him (and if he's going to be that much of a jerk head, I kind of agree) so he leaves her. Of course, she (being a teenage girl without much self esteem) believes him because she's NEVER felt worthy of him, so she falls into a depression, and the only thing that takes her out of her depression is her friendship with Jacob.

Jacob is a local boy (he also happens to love Bella, but he's willing to be her friend because he figures she'll learn to love him) and as their friendship blossoms, Bella gets more and more torn. should she embrace her newfound feelings for Jacob and forget about Edward? Because Edward always tried to protect her, Bella finds that she can still hear his voice and he becomes more real to her if she's doing something dangerous and reckless (that Edward would have never let her do if he were around) so she starts pulling more and more dangerous stunts just to feel Edward close to her again (not a good thing). Of course, this being the Twilight saga, nothing is as it seems, so she soon learns that Jacob isn't an ordinary boy, he can turn into a wolf when he gets angry and he and the other wolf boys use this power to fight the vampires. I wish I had that power. It would totally come in handy at work.

So anyway, the whole story here is about the choice Bella has to make between Edward and Jacob, and the next movie in the series will be a continuation of that choice (Eclipse, the next movie/book in the series is actually my favorite, so the movie had damn well better live up to the book or I'm going to turn into a wolf and go berserk). This movie holds up well. It manages to cram about 500 pages of text into a two hour movie without feeling rushed. I really enjoyed this movie and look forward to the next movie in the series.

Monday, April 12, 2010


Damn, Kristen Stewart looks young in the movie cover. That actually works well for the movie though. This movie is a mega blockbuster of epic proportions, the first in a line of widely hated yet just as widely loved stories of a girl in love with a vampire, but I don't give a shit about any of that. I don't care about the movie's reputation, I care whether I like it or not, and for me, the story here sucks me in. The essence of this movie is a story of a young, gawky teenage girl falling in love for the first time with a boy she sees as perfect (don't we all view our first loves that way?) I care about the characters, I relate to their struggles, and thus I dig the movie.

Well, sort of. The first time I saw this movie I had JUST finished reading the book, and the book is way better than the movie (as it often is) so I spent the whole movie being pissed off that they "screwed it all up." This second viewing took place over a year after I'd read the book, so I had enough distance to appreciate the story they told rather than the story they failed to tell. There are still too many jump cuts in the movie for my taste, and the film still leaves out too many important details for me (and adds long scenes that don't make much sense when it could have been including the shit it cut out that would have made more sense) but the movie isn't as bad as I remember.

The Twilight saga tells the tale of Bella swan, an ordinary teenager coming to live with her father in the small town where she was born (she hasn't lived there in years). She tries to fit in at school, but soon falls madly in love with an aloof, strange teenage boy named Edward. she finds out that Edward acts so strange because he's a vampire (but really he just acts like a teenage emo boy, which is the kind of boy I'd have fallen in love with too when I was 17). Edward lives with a "family" of vampires who refuse to feed on humans, but there are other less scrupulous vampires around, and Edward has to protect Bella from these other vampires. Fun times ensue.

People hate on these movies way too much for my taste. I never got into the Harry Potter stories...I'd rather gouge my eyes out with a rusty fork than read the books, and yes I have tried, more than once...I don't DO fantasy unless it takes place in OUR world. I don't like the Lord of the Rings books either (oh scandal)or the Chronicles of Narnia, they're not my thing, I don't care, I can't get into them, I'd rather eat broken glass. But thing is, even though I don't like the books, I don't go around bashing people who DO like them. The fuck do I care what other people read? Seriously? So I can understand that people don't like the Twilight series. that's fine. I don't care if other people like them or not, I just care that I like them. What I don't get is why in Sam hell people need to bash people who DO like the movies and books. Don't you have something better to do with your time than to care what I read and watch? Really? Can't you come up with something more intelligent to say than "These books are GAY!" Oh God no, GAY is the worst thing to be. Ew. Some people need to grow up (and the gene pool needs some SERIOUS chlorine, stat).

So anyway, yes, I love these books, and yes, I like this movie. It's much better than I remember from the first time I watched it.


Someone likened watching this movie to watching a video game play out onscreen, and that's basically what this is. The main character pisses off a rich drug dealer and wakes up one morning learning that he's going to die unless he keeps his heart rate up really high blah blah blah. Basically the plot is an excuse to watch Jason Statham run around and kick ass, and the movie succeeds mightily in this. Jason Statham is today's action hero., We don't have Chuck Norris anymore, or even Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger or Chuck Bronson hanging around in movies. We have a dearth of really cool action heroes in film these days, and Statham fills that void well. I love every second of every one of his movies because he's so damn cool.

Two Weeks Notice

Here's the deal about this movie. I've watched it about a hundred times or so, so I think I can qualify as fairly well-versed on the subject, an while I admit I love the movie, I must agree with people who complain that Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant don't seem to have much sexual chemistry in this movie. Don't get me wrong, they have CHEMISTRY. I love watching them banter back and forth and I totally believe their grudging friendship with and respect for each other...I just don't buy the whole kiss at the end and the whole OMG ROMANTIC LOVE thing. I don't know what it is. It just feels a little odd...off somehow. But that doesn't dampen my enjoyment of the movie any.

In this movie, Sandra Bullock plays a lawyer who attempts to do good and crusade against a rich real estate tycoon who's never really grown up. He is so taken with her passion that he offers her a job, much to her chagrin, and she accepts, attempting to do some good from inside the evil, soulless corporation. Things don't go as planned, of course, and Bullock quits her job, giving two weeks notice for her boss to find a replacement. They realize they're in love (or something) and everything follows the typical romantic comedy track that we all know and love
(or hate, or love to hate, as I often do).

The movie is fairly predictable as to its plot elements. as with every movie like this, God is in the details. What makes this movie worth watching in spite of its flaws are the lead actors. Sandra Bullock is great in anything she's in, and this movie is no exception. Hugh Grant is great as the ridiculously immature millionaire who is more like a 12 year old in an adult male body. Watching him learn to have a heart and watching Sandra Bullock's character learn to back off and live a little makes this movie eminently re-watchable for me.