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+.