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, 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.