For Everyone

I want this blog to be movie reviews, but since I am broke college student, and can't go and spend money on a new release twice a week I am expanding these reviews to review a plethora of movies. Too many people don't watch a variety of movies. There is so much more out there than the average Hollywood blockbuster, even bad movies are better then big budget flicks only out there for the money. So I will explore the understated movies: classics, foreign films, notoriously bad movies that tried, and others, for those of you who want to expand your movie watching range. And I will try to make these posts not sound too pretentious and film snobby, because I don't know enough to justify being a know it all.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Zelig

     This is the story of Lenoard Zelig, a human chameleon. He is a psychology ill man who changes himself to become like others around him. A young psychologist named Eudora Fletcher cures him of his disease, and they fall in love and live hapilly ever after. This story sounds like a drama, but is actually a mockumentary directed by Woody Allen, who I think is insanely funny.
     I love Woody Allen's sense of humor; it is subtle, and most people do not appreciate it. I feel like a lot of people my age won't appreciate this movie because the humor is not in your face. You have to pay attention to what is said and I think that is the best kind of comedy. However, what I loved most about this movie was all the parts they inserted Woody Allen and Mia Farrow into old stock footage. This movie was made in 1983, but takes place in the 1920s. Allen used some high tech technology to put himself into old footage, and he result is hilarious. My personal favorite is the footage of Zelig in a Facist rally behind Hitler. The whole time I was thinking how they did that. I am sure they used green scene, and then for the other footage they must have digitally made it look old. I was just overly excited as a film nerd I guess.
     This story is funny and quirky and it has inspired me to make movies like it. I suggest that you all watch it and pay attention to the subtle comedy. It will be a nice change for once in comparison to in your face comedies like The Hangover and Forgetting Sarah Marshall. I am not saying they are bad moves, just the comedic styling is different, and we should all add some variety to our movie watching experience. I give this movie an A.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tangled

     As a girl who grew up loving Disney movies and dreaming of being a princess, I was so excited for this movie, and it did not disappoint. Granted I may be a little biased because this movie had romance, action, comedy and an Alan Menken score; which are all the things necessary for me to like a movie. However, it was all well done, and I was not brainwashed by a mediocre Disney princess movie, but entranced in a great story with fun characters.
     Tangled follows the story of Flynn Rider and Princess Rapunzel. Flynn found her locked away and must take her on an adventure in order to retrieve his stolen crown from her. The story is more intricate and creative then my description, and I am just being vague because it is a great rendition of the Grimm's Brothers tale, and very entertaining all the way through.
     I really fell in love with the characters; which is what made this movie worthwhile. Rapunzel was quirky and sweet, and Mandy Moore played her perfectly. Flynn Ryder was played by Zachary Levi and he was the perfect prince, but not a prince a thief. He was funny, and charming, but also cocky enough to be endearing. Also the evil lady, Mother Gothel, was perfect; she made me really mad with her selfish manipulating of Rapunzel.
     This is a short review I feel like, this movie doesn't need a long review because it is great just the way it is. Here is what I say. In this movie I laughed a lot, and I nearly cried at the end when something sad happened. Also I came home and downloaded all the songs from it to my iPod. It is worth seeing because it did what it set out to, and that was make you fall in love with the story and remember what it is like to dream. I give it an A.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Hereafter

     Once again I will state how much I absolutely love Clint Eastwood. He inspires me so much, and I realized last night when watching this movie yet another reason I love his style. Last night I saw Harry Potter, and then right after to see Hereafter. I realized in comparison to Harry Potter's trying too hard cinematogaphy and shots, Hereafter was so simple. Then I remember how when I make a movie, I love simple shots. Quick and easy, and still looking great. Clint Eastwood is known for being a one take director; he knows what he wants and gets great actors to do it the way he wants. It's a very Hitchockian way of filming. Anyways it is so simple, he just tells a great story and makes it look like you are just watching; which I think is the best way to make a movie.
     I probably should explain what Hereafter is about. First we meet Marie LeLay (C├ęcile De France,) a French woman on vacation in Thailand. She is there when the huge Tsunami hit that killed devastated the area, and she has a near death experience. She sees something while nearly dead, a hereafter, as she later describes it. Then we meet George Lonegan (Matt Damon,) who is a middle aged blue collar man living in San Francisco, but he is also a retired psychic who can speak to the dead. We see his struggle with his "gift" that he thinks is a curse and how it makes him live a lonely life. Lastly we meet Jason and Marcus (Frankie McLaren, and George McLaren,) who are two twin brothers. Jason is the talkative one and Marcus the shy one. Jason ends up being killed which leaves Marcus alone and lost. The whole movie follows all their journey's dealing with mortality, and the question of is there life after death.
     I think one of the genius parts of this movie is that it doesn't try to answer the question of is there life after death. Even George Lonegan tells Marcus that he still has no clue about an afterlife; even after all his readings. What it does is leave you thinking about it, whether you came in believing or not. What this movie does do is tell a great story. Simply made and glorious. I give Hereafter an A, and not an A+ only because the little boys were sub par acting wise in comparison to Matt Damon and Ceclie De France, but maybe that is just me being an elitist, they are only about ten or eleven.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

     I do not remember a lot about this book thanks to my selective memory thinking Harry Potter was less important than my sophomore year of high school, which I wish I could forget. The point is, since I did not remember much of the book; for all I knew the director was keeping a vast amount of the book correct since he decided to make it two parts. However all I heard after the movie were the annoying people telling each other how much they changed and/or left out. All in all though I am glad I do not remember it because it really makes you biased against the movie in your review if the movie left out 90 percent of Tom Riddle's past, which was your favorite part (I'm looking at you Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.)
     I digress. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 was a well made movie. It was very dark, which I appreciated because I think that is how it should be, not all goody gum drops and smiles, because after all Voldemort is running things now, and you can't expect it to be a pretty world anymore. In all of the Harry Potter movies they have had some nice color correction throughout the movie. Basically the way that the movie looks very dark and cold is beautiful editing on the editors part, because in reality it does not look like that.
     The acting is the same as always, good, but nothing too impressive. Maybe it is because these people have played their characters so long that I now believe that they are Harry, Hermione and Ron, in which case maybe that is great acting since I no longer have to suspend my disbelief and now just believe.
     My biggest complaint with this movie runs true with all the other Harry Potter movies directed by David Yates, and that is his excessive use of steady cam and jump cuts. I hate hate hate them. He is trying to look like a cool hipster and have the kids relate and think he is the best, but really I think it looks lame and trying too hard. Harry Potter needs to be just simply made and pretty, no shaky steady cam for no apparent reason to make it look gritty and real. It is a fantasy, not a documentary David Yates.
     Overall I liked Harry Potter though. I was thoroughly entertained throughout and I am eagerly anticipating the next one, and I hate them for making me wait until next summer, because I might just kill someone. The ending was perfect by the way. *spoiler alert* When Voldemort gets the elder wand and just shoots up evilness into the air, because he now has the strongest wand ever, that was kick ass. A perfect ending. I give Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 a B+.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Megamind

     I was severly dissapointed in this movie. I feel like all of the funny parts of the movie were shown in the eight trailers there were out in the past couple of months. Now that I think about it, I should have expected that this movie would not be too entertaining because they advertised for it so much. It wasn't horrible, but it was not worth the insane movie ticket price I paid for. I saw it in 2D and I am very glad I didn't waster 14 dollars on 3D, because there was no use for it to be in 3D.
     Megamind is about a supervillian who shares the same name as the movie. Basically he finally defeats his arch enemy and realizes once he has it all that he misses fighting good, so he makes a new super hero. The idea is pretty original, and it could have been better, but I think the reason it wasn't up to it's full potential was that it tried to hard to be funny, and it just fell flat, and that is really sad because some extremely funny people were in this movie. Maybe since you can't improv with animated movies they were stuck with the crappy script and couldn't make it funny with their SNL charm. I will say that the romance between Megamind and Roxie was cute. All and all there is not much more to say except if you are bored you could watch this movie, but there are way better ways to spend your money. I give this movie a C.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Matrix

     I know what you are thinking; how can it be that you, Viki Lopez film major and lover of all things movies, have not seen The Matrix? Truthfully I never really watched it because I thought it was a whole bunch of hype over a lame action movie. Boy was I wrong.
     I don't even know where to begin. We shall start with my favorite character, Agent Smith played by Hugo Weaving. He totally scared me the whole way through. Not in a Freddy Kouger kind of way, but in the way of a stern teacher chastising you for cheating on an exam. Maybe that was a bad metaphor, but basically when this movie was over I was convinced that Agent Smith should be high up on the AFI Top 100 villians list. He wasn't which devastated me to the extent that I want to hack Wikipedia and change it, if not momentarily. Weaving did a great job being so cold and slowly robotic, and I think that is what made him so scary. I can't say much about the other acting roles, because there is not much to say. They aren't bad, but the aren't spectacular they just are. I have heard once that all Keanu Reeves can play well is confused and that is why everyone likes him in the Matrix, because he is perpetually confused, and I agree with that.
     What drives the Matrix is definitely the action and the story. The action is really cool, even when now ten years later all kinds of movie have copied the "new" types of stunts they had when it originally came out. I think though that I was still so enthralled in the action because I really cared about the characters and the plot progressing to a happy ending, because I like happy endings. The story plays to all kinds of archetypes and motifs that I think attribute to why it resonates so well with people. There are so many more layers to The Matrix and I am just barely scraping the surface, but I can not go into too much details without a) doing more research or b)writing about 2,000 words, which no one wants to read, so I shall contain myself and just say that I give The Matrix and A+.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Due Date

     I love movies that catch me off guard. There I was laughing one minute in Due Date, and the next I am feeling so sorry for Zack Galifinakis's character that I am internally yelling at Robert Downey Jr. to go give him a hug. A lot of people dislike when comedies take a turn for the dramatic, but I think it is something to be applauded, because it is crazy hard to make those transitions in a movie without it crashing and burning. However, do not fret movie patrons, this movie has far more laughs then sadness, so all of you Zack Galifinakis fans who went to see It's Kind Of A Funny Story and were sorely disappointed with the lack of penis jokes, there are plenty in Due Date.
     You should all know what Due Date is about from the trailers, but just in case here is the trailer. The second movie by director Todd Phillips of The Hangover is very much like it's predecessor, but I feel it is it's ugly cousin in comparison. Maybe ugly is harsh, perhaps slightly less attractive cousin is more like it. The Hangover had an outrageous and impossible plot, but somehow it all worked together very nicely. In Due Date there are many plot holes, and parts that just leave you confused. I read the original script for The Hangover, because I am strange, and it was insanely different, and didn't make as much sense as the end result did, and I feel like Due Date needed one more draft for it to be up to par with The Hangover.
     But enough comparison. On it's own this movie is good I think. You can't be expecting Annie Hall a director who made a movie called The Hangover, but you can expect to laugh, and that you will. Robert Downey Jr. and Zack Galifinakis are two very great actors and I loved just watching them act. Take some time in the movie to just look at Robert Downey Jr. and his facial expressions, they are small but powerful. Then there is Galifinakis who I think steals the show with his outlandish antics, but still poignant greif. I hope I get the pleasure of working with them some day as a director because they are truly talented.
     All in all this movie is funny, and if you want some good inappropriate humor, then spend your money watching this. I give Due Date a B.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Harold and Maude

     I am starting not to like Roger Ebert's reviews, he gave this movie one and a half stars, but I however am going to tell you my reader that it gets an A+. I do not see what Roger Ebert has against this movie, his review doesn't even say what he doesn't like about it either; what happened is his girlfriend probably broke up with him the week he wrote that review in 1972. However you are not here to hear me complain about Roger Ebert, but to hear my review of the cult comedy Harold and Maude.
     First off, this movie is a dark comedy, which is, and is even more now, my favorite genre of movies. If you do not know what a dark comedy is, it finds comedy in things that are usually not considered to be funny, like death, suicide, war, racism, etc. For instance one of my favorite examples of dark comedy from this movie is the scene where Harold preforms the samuri ritual suicide for his date. He stages his own death multiple times throughout the movie, and everytime is funny. I realize I have not sumarized this movie so I will now before I say much else. Harlod is a young man who is obsessed with death. He visits funerals for fun, and he stage suicides all the time for his mother's attention. His mother however is unphased and unamused. Harold meets Maude, a seventy nine year old woman who too visits funerals for fun, but she does it to celebrate life. She is the ying to Harold's yang(or visa versa I am not quite sure.) Anyways they become friends and Maude teaches Harold how to live. It's quite lovely.
     The acting in this movie is great and the story is what got me the most. Harold and Maude fall in love, which I used to think was gross before I saw this movie, but when I was watching it i was cheering for them, because they are so perfect for each other in a weird way. I think more than anything I wanted Harold to be happy, because he is one messed up kid, but Maude fixed him. The comedy of this movie is very subtle, and I love it. It is so elegantly just there for you to notice, and quitely laugh at. I am sure if I watch it again I will see more to laugh at. All in all this movie is great, and I suggest you watch it with an open mind, because it is not your average movie; hence why it is a cult classic. As I stated earlier this movie gets an A+.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Coco Before Chanel

     I have a love hate relationship with movies that had bittersweet endings. On the one hand as a movie maker I can see how awesome they can be, and that bittersweet endings are very popular in the artsy community right now, ie. Up In The Air and Remember Me (which shouldn't be in the same category as Up In The Air, but it was the first other bittersweet ending to come to mind.) However, as a girl I hate bittersweet endings because usually this means that the lovers are torn apart by death, or circumstances they can not control etc. Coco Before Chanel has this type of an ending, and it has made me sad. Right now as I write this I am fighting back tears because Coco bore her heartbreak so stoicly that I just feel the need to cry for her.
     This movie follows the life of Coco Chanel, before she was the fashion icon that she was. In fact there is very little of the movie directly dedicated to her being a fashion designer, and frankly I love those types of movies; like Becoming Jane was for Jane Austen this movie is for Coco Chanel. I don't want to tell the plot because I find that defeats the purpose of you watching this movie. So you can look up her life here. You will probably find out more about her in that then from the movie, but this movie channels her inner feelings and the motives behind her becoming the way she was, and that is way better than a wikipedia page can tell you.
     Audrey Tatou plays Coco Chanel and I think she does a marvelous job. Just her facial expressions alone were so in tune with her character that I was enthralled. Also there was some great cinematography; like really cool zoom in close up shots. I think the shots reflected her feelings and/or mood at the time, and it was used masterfully.  All in all I say any person who loves great stories and just an all around good movie should see Coco Before Chanel, and if you don't like subtitles, so what! Man up and read, it will be good for you. I give this movie an A-, and the minus is only because it made me sad.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Inception

     Last night I watched Inception for the third time at the student union, and I can not decide what to say about it. I won't summarize the movie because hopefully everyone has seen it by now and if you haven't I demand you go and see it now. This blog is just going to be a very long stream of conciousness me talking about Inception, it will either be idiotic or genius.
     So first things first I have mixed feelings about the end. After the first time I watched it I read an analysis about it that said that it was all a dream and that it did not matter at all if he was awake or asleep in the end. What mattered was that the movie was about movie making. Here is the review, read it, it is interesting. So I liked that idea, the fact that the movie was an allegory for movie making "The whole film being a dream isn't a cop out or a waste of time, but an ultimate expression of the film's themes and meaning. It's all fake. But it's all very, very real. And that's something every single movie lover understands implicitly and completely." It sort of inspired me and reminded me why I want to make movies; it's to change people's lives and view of the world and themselves, for better obviously. However, there is one flaw to this arguement and that is the fact that yesterday after watching it again I paid attention to Cobb's wedding ring like many people had told me to. In all of his dreams he wore his wedding ring, but in real life he didn't. So I looked and at the end of the movie he was not wearing his wedding ring, which means he was awake. The romantic in me really wants to believe that he was awake and it was a happy ending and that all is well. However, the movie person in me knows that it can't be that simple. Although who cares if he was awake at the end? That does not subtract from the fact that they as dream weavers or what ever they are, are still very similar to moviemakers so that connection can still be made. 
     After yesterday I was really exctied because the movie must be coming out on dvd soon and I want to buy it and hear the commentary from Christopher Nolan, but my friend told me that Christopher Nolan said he would never tell and that in fact he wants people to always analyze and question this. Which angers me a lot, because I am no good at analyzing, I like reading other people's analysis of it.
      I should review this movie in some way since it is my duty in this blog, so I shall for a bit. Basically, Inception is a really great and interesting story. After watching it three times though you see lots of flaws, but I have a feeling they are intentional flaws. For instance in a movie where you weren't analyzing everything, you would wonder how these people can go into each others dreams. You would question how they are able to get away with half the things they do in reality. You would want to know how long this was taking, because there was no sense of time in this movie, MAYBE CAUSE THERE IS NO SENSE OF TIMES IN DREAMS! Sorry, I just got really excited because I am trying to be more analytical and that was a big step for me to make on my own. I have lost my train of thought, but basically Inception is a great movie because of it's story, and how many layers there are to it, just like the layers of the dreams Cobb makes, Nolan makes us an equally confusing web of a film. That metaphor sounded cooler in my brain.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Not really a reivew

Instead of watching Hereafter this weekend like I had planned to, I made three movies. You see I joined Campus Movie Fest, a student film competition where they give you all the equipment to make a movie and you have to make it in a week. I had ulterior motives though because although I made my five minute movie for the competition, I also made a 30 second movie for another competition. Then today was supposed to be my day of rest of sorts, but instead I volunteered to make my cousin, a budding rapper/singer, a music video, so I made that.
You may be thinking to yourself, wow, that sounds like a lot of work, and yes it was, but I have realized that all the work was nothing really because I like it so much. I can not see myself doing any other job but making movies because a) I am good at it, and b) I have so much fun making movies! This is a totally crap blog and it is past it's deadline and the only reason I am writing it is for my own benefit so Professor don't hold it against me please. Basically I am using this as a media outlet for two of the things I made this weekend.
There first is my 30 second action movie. It is for a Sprint competition for epic 30 second movies, the one you will see is the 34 second version which is the better, not edited one.

http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1694254238425&subj=1299883761

And then this is my cousin's music video. I like to think it is pretty cool for it's limited amount professionally.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyNKuDoknac

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Goodfellas

     I had the privilege of interviewing Henry Hill last Saturday, he is the ex-mafia man who the movie Goodfellas is based off of. He was really old, dressed in a nice suit, but still really cool. However, you would have never known that he was an ex-mafia guy, that is because he was in witness protection for 30 years. But Goodfellas isn't about that, it's about about Henry's life in the mafia, the good, the bad and the ugly about it. 
     Henry Hill is the main character who is played by Ray Liotta, who I just loved. You see the natural progression from him loving the Mafia and all the people in it, to him not wanting to do it anymore because it was just too much for him to handle. Along the way you meet all of his Mafia buddies, most notably Jimmy Conway (Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci.) They are a trio of friends, but more like brothers, they do everything together; from smuggling cocaine, to killing, to vacations in Hawaii. They have it made. The other main character is Henry's wife Karen Hill (Lorraine Bracco) and you see her progression along with Henry's into the chaos that is the life of a Mafia wife.
     Everyone should see this movie, and if you have not by now I suggest you go out and rent it right now, it is that great. Everyone knows it is great, so last night I decided to re-watch it and try and find reasons why it was so great. What amazed me was how into it I got, again, and I remembered that I had been just as enveloped in it the first time I watched it as the second time; that is one sign right there a movie is great. I also realized that this movie is neither excessively violent, nor action heavy, nor anything but just a great story. There are no crazy special effects, Robert De Niro isn't half anamatronic, and there are no dragons; it's just inner workings of the mafia. You follow Henry along 30 years in the mafia and it is just brilliant, you yourself begin to want to be in the Mafia, I know I did; until the end that is.
     Back to what you are here for, why Goodfellas is so great. It's different. It's different from movies now adays, it's different from movies back then, it is just in a league of it's own I think. Martin Scorsese did a brilliant job of finding just the right ways of telling the story to make it interesting. I can see how this story could have been boring, but Scorsese did so many things with it to make it different. There is breaking the fourth wall, voice over, montages of how people were killed (that's my favorite), flashbacks, freeze frames, everything we are told as film makers to be wary of over using he did and it worked so great. I applaud him for that, and am also jealous, because if I tried that in any of my movies it would be dismissed as amateur.
     My film teacher used to tell us a movie is only as good as it's script. You can have a great director and actors and a bad script, and the movie will be just average, but if you have all three, then a movie is bound to be genius, and Goodfellas is, it really is. I give it an A+ and demand that you all see it because it is so amazing.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

RED

Before I write all my reviews I first read over Roger Ebert's review, not to steal his ideas, but to see if we agree. Usually we are fairly close, but when it comes to this movie we are pretty different. He was really mean to RED, and I think that it is because he is sad that he is old and can't kick ass like the characters in this movie, instead he has to live vicariously through them, and he is dissatisfied.
RED is about Frank Moses (Bruce Willis), a retired CIA agent who is thrown back into his former life when somebody tries to kill him. He embarks on a journey to find out who it is, and he has to kidnap Sarah Ross (Mary Louise Parker,) the pension lady who he fell in love with over the phone, for fear that they will kill her too. Along the way he has to recruit his old CIA buddies for help: Joe Matheson (Morgan Freeman), Marvin Boggs (John Malkovitch), Victoria (Helen Mirren) and Ivan (Brian Cox.) Along the road of debauchery they travel, they are chased by William Cooper (Karl Urban) the CIA agent assigned to killing Frank; though he does not know the real reason why the CIA wants Frank dead. The plot isn't a very new one, same old CIA stuff, except the whole retiree fact, which I found charming.
The reason I think Roger Ebert needed to be nicer was that I do not think Helen Mirren came into this movie aiming for an Oscar, nor Bruce Willis or any of the other amazing cast they had. This movie was made for fun. If actors do intense roles without a fun break they end up like Marlon Brando or Heath Ledger, it is exhausting to become someone else, so sometimes Meryl Streep just needs to do Mama Mia, so she does not wind up with a drug addiction. That was a tangent, sorry. I digress, this movie is sheerly a movie to enjoy; go and laugh at John Malkovitch because he is hilarious. Oh, and this movie was based off a comic book, which I didn't know, but they have some cool homages to comics in the movie, which adds some flare.
This is not one of my most structured posts, I'm a bit scatter brained at the moment, I think I am sleep deprived, so I shall cut this short and just tell you don't go see RED in theaters because it is crazy expensive, but do go see it at a discount theater or when it comes out on DVD, because it is definitely worth a watch. I give it a B-.



Lord of War

I had no interest in seeing this movie, my friend  made me watch it, because he said it was amazing. However I liked it, and you probably would too readers. Here are some reasons why Lord of War is not a waste of your time.
First off it has a neat storyline. Nicholas Cage plays Yuri Orlov, a gun runner, and basically the story just follows his rise and fall as a gun runner. Sounds kind of boring, but you would be surprised how many shenangigans gun runners get into.
Second off, the opening sequence is really cool. It follows a bullet being made from start to finish, and the finish is poignant. It was obviously used by the director to get you on his side right off, and it works. 
Thirdly the story makes you more aware as a citizen. You get to see all the corruption of his world as the gun runner/lier/rich man, but you also get to see all the corruption in the countries he sells guns to. You see young children being shot, and then to the other extreme you see children handling AK47s.  The moral of the story basically is that gun running will never stop, and that our world is very corrupt. It basically just reaffirmed my idea that humanity is depraved.
Also this movie is funny, in a dark sort of way, and I love that sort of humor. Nicholas Cage basically plays Nicholas Cage, so the acting was not Oscar worthy, but it was not bad. Also I feel like Ethan Hawke's character,  an over zealous do-gooder cop named Valentine, could have used a bit more development, but maybe it would have been too much; I'm on the fence. I have a feeling this is more of a guy movie and that is why my friend liked it so much, and I like guy movies far more than the average girl does, so I can sense that our female readers will not appreciate this movie. So I give this move a B+.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

It's Kind of a Funny Story

     It's Kind of a Funny Story, but it's also pretty sad. The dumb teenagers (blah blah, yeah I technically fall into that category, sadly, but mentally I could be their parents) who were expecting to see Zach Galifianakis as the funny man from The Hangover, kept laughing at inappropriate times because they seemed to refuse that this was not solely a funny story; they did not want to feel emotions. However, this movie did a great job of balanicing the comedy and drama, and I applaud the actors for their natural portrayal of their parts.
     The trailer might lead you to believe this movie is a romance story of Craig (Keir Gilchrist) and Noelle (Emma Roberts), but you are sorely mistaken my friend. This movie is about crazy people, not stressing about the little things and just living life. The best crazy person is Bobby (Galifianakis) who does not seem so much crazy as he does depressed; which he is. Galifianakis portrays Bobby so perfectly, making him the right amount of crazy, funny and likable. I was skeptical about his ability to be a serious-ish actor since we all know when comedians try and be serious it usually ends in a flop, but he was so subtle in his acting, never over the top like comedians are known to be; I loved it. Keir Glichrist also did a good job, and I look forward to seeing him in more movies after this. He was very natural on screen, his performance as a suicidal teen never seemed forced. Surprisingly Emma Roberts was not horrible, maybe because she didn't speak too much, and the director figured out the less she  was on screen the better her acting gets. That was mean. She is not a bad actress, I just get annoyed with Hollywood nepotism, and she has yet to prove to me that she truly is not just famous because her aunt is Julia Roberts.
     This movie, true to indie form, experiments with animation, as well as going into Craig's mind/imagination/past. The animation is short lived, but pretty cool, and the going into his head part I find super cool. For instance there is a scene where, in Craig's imagination, all the patients lip sync 'Under Pressure' by Queen and David Bowie and I think that it could have been much funnier and more heart warming it they were actually singing, but that is just a wannabe director's opinion.
In the end it does not really matter, because this movie is worth the watch, although it is not necessary to see in theaters you should support independent films! Don't go see Life as We Know It, please just spend your weekend movie money watching something worth your time, and far more dramatic and funny than anything Life as We Know It can accomplish. I give this movie a B+.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Social Network part deux

I apologize to all of you who are expecting a movie review right now, but I promise my next post will not disappoint. I just could not help but blog about this because I think it is so interesting. Yesterday I visited my former film teacher at my old high school, and in the film class I sat in on he talked about The Social Network. He said he wanted to talk about it because the class was about to study Citizen Kane (the greatest movie ever,) and apparently many people have been comparing The Social Network to Citizen Kane, and saying that it is this generation's Citizen Kane. Not in the way that it is the new greatest movie ever, even though it is pretty great, but in the morals of the story and what happens to the main character.
First a bit of a synopsis of Citizen Kane since something tells me all of about one of you have seen it, which is not something to be ashamed of do not worry (the second one is the best summary.) Now that you hopefully know what has happened you can make some connections to The Social Network. First off both main characters start off as innocent men who want to do something for the love of it, not for money. Mark Zuckerberg never cared about money prior to meeting Sean Parker, who convinced him that being a millionaire was not cool, but being a billionaire was, and Charles Foster Kane also started out with no intent of making huge sums of money, he solely wanted to write for the newspaper. However, throughout both movies the men slowly become sucked into the black abyss that is money and power and lose their souls and goodness while they are at it.
*This is where I warn you that there are spoilers and you shouldn't read this unless you want the end of Citizen Kane and The Social Network ruined for you, although the latter isn't too much of a shame if it is ruined, but the former sort of is.* The end of both movies end with two guys who are miserably rich, but also just plain miserable. Kane dies, alone, and his last words uttered are "Rosebud," and the whole movie the audience is eagerly anticipating the reveal of what is "Rosebud." The last shot of the movie is as follows, it is a long pan through the huge collection of stuff that Kane owns, and you see movers throwing things away and burning everything they can, and after panning through massive amounts of crap, we reach the furnace and in is thrown a sled that we saw Kane ride as a child at the beginning of the movie. The camera zooms in on the sled to reveal that the name on the sled in "Rosebud." Now some might see this as anticlimactic, but basically what it means is that he died alone, only wanting his childhood back; I find it tragic. The same goes for Mark Zuckerberg; after all of his billions he is just sitting refreshing the page of the girl that dumped him, waiting to see if she will accept his friend request. All he wants is one real friend, but instead he is all alone because he let money and fame suck him up.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Social Network

     To start off I would like to say that after going to the movies this weekend and seeing all the good movies that are coming out for Oscar season, I am as giddy as a school girl. Oscar season is like an early Christmas for us film majors, so I have a feeling I will be reviewing a lot more new releases than I originally anticipated.
     Now what you all came here for; my review of the highly anticipated The Social Network. Let me start off by saying I saw this movie last night, and loved it so much that I saw it again tonight, and while leaving the theater tonight, I exlaimed that I needed to see this movie again. It is that great! There are so many reasons this movie is great. First off the whole premise is something all we teenagers can relate to, because it is Facebook; we practically live there. Through out the movie little snipits are thrown in about how Facebook started out. For instance it tells you that originally it was called TheFacebook, and then we hear Mark Zuckerberg talk about making "the wall", and about how they thought about adding photos and tagging. All the things we love about Facebook come to light, and it is lovely.
     Then there is the acting. Jesse Eisenberg was one of my favorite actors before I saw this movie, and now he is even higher up on my favorite actor list. His acting was spectacular. He becomes Mark Zuckerberg; his mannerisms, the way he walks and talks, all of it just showcases his great acting abilities. Then Andrew Garfield plays Eduardo Saverin, Mark's former best friend and co-founder of Facebook, and he is also very impressive. Although I cringe at the idea of another Spider-man movie, this guy will not do a bad job because it is obvious he is a good actor. Then there is Justin Timberlake; frankly I was expecting him to suck, because the guy is a singer not an actor, but I was happily surprised. After the movie was over my friends and I were discussing how much we hated his character, Sean Parker, because Timberlake portrayed the jerk so wonderfully.
     Next is the beauty of the movie. The cinematographer must be applauded because it was all so beautifully shot. Also the whole movie has a very dark and desaturated feeling and I am sure the director, David Fincher, made it that way purposefully to portray the bleakness of Zuckerberg's life, or something else symbolic like that.
     Lastly is the last shot of the movie; I definitely geeked out on it. It is just a slow zoom in on Mark refreshing someone's Facebook page, and waiting to see if they are going to accept his friend request. It is so genius, because it just shows how lonely he is. The movie ends with the words Mark Zuckerberg is the worlds youngest billionaire, and there he is all alone; refreshing the Facebook page of his ex-girlfriend. It's heart-breakingly genius, and is as epic as the last shot of The Graduate and Gone Baby Gone. The moral of the story is obvious that fame and fortune is nothing without friends.
There is so much more I have left out, but basically this is the best movie I have seen in a long time. I plan on writing my critical essay to get into the film program on this movie, so dibs to all you other film majors! This movie gets an A+, no questions asked.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Easy A

    Easy A is a story of young Olive Penderghast played by, my lesbian crush, Emma Stone. Olive lies about losing her virginity, and the school's head overly Christian girl, Amanda Bynes, hears the lie, and then spreads vicious rumors that, Olive, is, in layman's terms, a skank, because the guy she lost it to was in college (gasp!) Olive goes with it, because she likes the attention, and then chaos ensues from there. In the end she lives happily ever after, and we learn a valuable life lesson, so don't fret girlies. I say girlies because this movie looks like a chick flick, but I went with two guys and they laughed more than 12 times, so a dollar a laugh means your ticket was not wasted men.
    However, underneath it's chick flick exterior Easy A has likable things for all. Girls (and I am totally stereotyping here, but it is for the sake of the review. I in know way think that this is the only reason the stereotypes will like this movie) there is a really cute love story in it, and it makes a reference to all those 80's movies we love so much. Boys, Emma Stone is freaking hot and wears school appropriate lingerie for most of the movie, so you can ogle (without your date noticing please,) but also laugh because she is super funny. Film people/Intelligent people who think that this movie isn't their type, the script is really smart and witty, because I know I was laughing when others weren't since I got the smart humor, and Emma Stone steps it up even more acting wise than in Zombielad. Also there was some really cool shots, like one that is a continuous shot following the rumor spreading in fast motion around the whole school, I geeked out. Also the opening credits were cool, but only I notice cool things like that.
    One of my favorite parts of the movie was a scene where the Penderghast family are all eating breakfast, and Olive's adopted brother exclaims something about not being related so it doesn't' affect him, and Olive's father exclaims, "Who told you you were adopted?" It doesn't sound funny on paper, but her brother is black, so it's kinda obvious he is adopted. But what I loved most about it, was that the script was refreshingly original in a world of remakes and the never ending Saw series. I mean, yes it was loosely based off of the Scarlett Letter, but there were many refreshing new splashes thrown in. For instance a large portion of the movie is told via webcam by Olive with lots of voice over in between, and it really helps understand her character, and her motives, instead of being left guessing. Also Olive wasn't some dumb bimbo waiting for Prince Charming, she was a sharp tongued ball of sass that wasn't about to be pushed around by any foolish boys. Lastly it was refreshing to see the "if a guy sleeps with lots of girls he's a stud, but if a girl sleeps with a lot of guys she's a slut" double standard blatantly out there for all to see.
    Of course no movie is perfect, I heard some people complain about it being too long, and true it did drag a little in a few parts, but come on even The Hangover didn't have you laughing all 90 minutes. Also the "making fun of Christians who shove their religion down your throat" jokes were excessive, like even people who enjoy laughing at "Jesus Freaks" told me so, because there is a unnecessary subplot that makes the Christians look like hypocrites and although it is kinda funny, it seems under explained so it falls flat.
    I decided to not care about word count and if you actually read all of this I applaud you! All and all I say Easy A is worth seeing, it may not change the history of cinema, or beat Avatar for the highest grossing movie ever, but it will make you laugh and feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and deep down isn't that what we all want? I give it an A-.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Town

 “The right thing is really the difficult thing to do because it has consequences that are unpleasant often times. Otherwise, everyone would do it,”- Ben Affleck

     I did not know that this movie was directed by Ben Affleck until the end credits rolled, and I was shocked. That meant he also directed Gone Baby Gone, which I love. I don't know why I hadn't put two and two together, but now that I have seen the movie and know he directed it, I like it even more. The Town is about Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck) and how his life of crime is turned upside down when he falls in love with Claire (Rebecca Hall,) who isn't from Charlestown; his home/prision. He tries to leave his life of crime, but it isn't easy with his best friend Jem (Jeremy Renner), his ex-girlfriend Krista (Blake Lively), an asshole FBI agent (Jon Hamm), and his mafia-esque boss, Fergie (Pete Postlethwaite) in the way.
    The screenplay is based on the novel, The Prince of Thieves by Chuck Hogan, and, although the idea isn't an all too original one, it is made great by the directing and acting that takes place. First of all you know a movie is achieving it's goal if you sympathize with the bad guys, like how in Silence of the Lambs you like Hannibal Lecter. I digress, with bad acting and directing, these characters could have seemed two dimensional and average; just another movie about robbers. Boring! But instead the subtle acting makes the characters come alive as you learn their back stories, and why they act the way they do. For instance you learn that Jem killed someone to save Doug, and served nine years in prison for it. So, when Doug tells Jem he is leaving Charlestown you sympathize with Jem, because his best friend is leaving after all he did for him. Also, I applaud Ben Affleck for being able to make Blake Lively, who is most well known for being on Gossip Girl, look like a cracked out super skank.
     I have very few complaints about this movie; the only ones I can think of are that their Boston accents were hard to understand at times which made me miss important information, and that towards the end the movie was a bit too "shoot em up" heavy.
Since I am way over 200 words I shall end with this, Ben Affleck is going to become a great director. He is following in the footsteps of, my favorite director, Clint Eastwood, and, like a good autuer, he has put in similar themes of making hard choices in both of his movies
, ergo I am looking very forward to what he has in store. Go see The Town! I give it a solid A, since it's not perfect, but close enough.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Prologue

      Before I begin writing any actual reviews I should tell you about myself and my taste in movies, so that if you disagree with one of my future reviews you can come back and see why I believe what I believe. So, we shall begin with the ever needed back story as to why I love movies.
      At the ripe age of eleven I saw the movie Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and thought to myself that if movies as great as this could be made, then I needed to be a part of it. Fast forward seven years, and here I am; with five years of film/video experience under my belt, in college, and ready to begin my journey to making real movies.
      Now in my years of learning about movies I have developed some likes and dislikes, and here are the most important ones. My top ten favorite movies go a little something like this: Lord of the Rings, A Clockwork Orange, Up in the Air, The Hours, Scream, Mystic River, Fantasitic Mr. Fox, Juno, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Psycho. Although that is always subject to change based on my lack of memory, and my watching of new movies, you now have an idea as to what I like. One thing I'll tell you out right is that I love movies that have an interesting story and developed characters. I also appreciate cinematography, editing and special effects, but deep down I love writing screenplays and acting the most which influences my likes. My favorite genre of movies are dark comedies, and regular comedies in general. My least favorite are horror movies, so I don't watch them really, and the only reason I love Scream is, because, it is a horror movie making fun of other horror movies. 
     I feel like I have wasted a blog with this, but, oh well, I'm just doing my civil duty to you as the reader. And now we can get to the good stuff. Let the reviews begin!