Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Insomnia-Driven Repeat Viewings

Movie: Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist
# of Viewing: 4th time
Better or Worse then previous: Better
New/Not so New observation: have gum, will travel

I have had a bad bout of Insomnia this last week. I'd mostly used the unrelenting, sleepless hours catching up on my favorite TV shows, but that can only last for so long. Tonight, or rather, this morning, I decided to watch a movie. When I have insomnia, my brain is at a slower processing rate so I like to rewatch films I really enjoyed. The last few months of my life have been pretty much a downer so I wanted something light, something funny. The perfect choice was Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist. You might wonder how I can enjoy the same movie for th 4th time; the answer is simple. A good movie is like a good song. You listen to it as much as possible and it never gets old. After the 4th viewing, N&N still isn't old to me. I love the authentic feel to the film. I feel like I could be friends with those people and could see myself going on an adventure like that in NYC. The places feel more like actual destinations then ripoff sets. The music used in the film seems to fit every image. Its like the film's music is narrating NYC @ night. There's a song in the film by Paul Tiernan called "How To Say Goodbye"; it's a beautiful song and I feel like it truly captures the film's spirit.

Living isn't quite the same
You said to me, it's runnin' away.
If you're scared or tired of what you're scared of
Why should you stay
You love to say goodbye
And always counted all the time
'til he was free
to get up and leave
to learn how to breathe

Slippin' out to have a cigarette
with someone else that he'd never met
Ask her if by the way would you like to
run away and try to forget
Just not to stay
To leave without saying why

To get up and go
To catch the last train
To get in some car and drive out again
To never come back this way
Left to say:

so long

so long

Nick & Norah are two people who begin the film stuck in a rut and they make the choice to leave that all behind and start a new chapter in their lives.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Basterds, Alien Robots, & Talking Dogs:The 10 best & worst films of Summer Pt. 2

Now its time for the bad news...

The 10 Most Disappointing films of Summer 2009

10. Angels & Demons - The latest thriller, starring Tom Hanks as everyone's favorite professor of Symbology, Robert Langdon, wasn't bad. In fact, the only thing that disappointed me was the last act of the film. The repercussions of having left a major character out caught up with them and the significant changing of the film's climactic scene spoiled the chances to watch Robert Langdon free-fall from a helicopter, something I'd been excited about seeing on film since I read the book. All in all it was a good, but not great movie. Just enough to disappoint a lover of Dan Brown's Angels & Demons

9. Land of The Lost - A couple hundred viewings (not by choice) of this trailer was all it took to tell me it was a disappointment. Even beyond that, who wants to see Will Ferral ruin another one of their favorite classic TV shows. Don't forget, after he got his hands on Bewitched it was about as "bewitching" as a Witch's wart.

8. The Taking of Pelham 123 - This film was destined to disappoint me; mainly because the original Taking Of Pelham 123, starring Walter Mathou, was just SO GOOD. The one thing positive I can say about the film is they did a good job updating it to fit the current issues facing our society. But, the fact remains, there shouldn't be a giant car chase set piece in any film resembling The Taking of Pelham 123, it just doesn't fit.

7. X - Men Origins: Wolverine - This one just hurt. I was so excited for Gavin Hood's film about the origin of everyone's favorite mutant, that is, until the film had been on for about an hour. The film overflows with cheese. Hugh Jackman is does good with the little he has. The surprise standout though is Liev Schrieber as Victor Creed, the absolute last person I ever expected to be good in this film. The best scenes are in the beginning, when Wolverine is still a part of Stryker's mutant task force. We get a tease of a good movie thanks in large part to Ryan Reynolds too brief appearence as wise-cracking Deadpool. Beyond this though, the movie just fails to deliver. The pacing was so bad it felt 3 hours long instead of 2. Also, someone should remind Gavin Hood that the events surrounding the origin of Wolverine happened a long time before the events of X-Men 1-3, since they didn't do a great job establishing what time period we were in and it all looked too "new millenium".

6. Imagine That - The only reason this makes my list is because I saw it. Why, you might ask, would I subject myself to a film that would obviously disappoint? Well, there just isn't enough to do on a long airplane flight. If I hadn't seen the film, I wouldn't be wishing for almost 2 hours of my life back and would have gone on without thinking about how bad the film was. Eddie, if you're reading this, (hahahah i crack myself up) STOP MAKING FAMILY FILMS. I miss the wise-ass, foul mouthed Eddie Murphy. The Eddie Murphy from 48 hrs who walked into a predominantly white, blue collar bar and pissed off everyone inside, just for the hell of it. I also miss Axel Foley. DID YOU SEE THAT EDDIE, I WOULD RATHER WATCH AXEL FOLEY CHASE BAD GUYS IN WALLY WORLD THEN SEE ANOTHER ONE OF YOUR SHITTY FAMILY FILMS. Ok....moving on....

5. Public Enemies - Its a shame Michael Mann's film about John Dillinger wasn't better, for if it had been, I believe it might have gotten Johnny Depp an Oscar. He was brilliant as Dillinger, too bad the film was, at times, poorly shot and clunky. The worst thing was, at the end of the film, almost nothing had actually happened, save for a bunch of people dying. Bad Chrisitan Bale Summer acting job #1

4. Bruno - I had high hopes for Sacha Baron Cohen's follow up to his hysterical and culturally aware film Borat. Unfortunately, he failed to deliver. Don't get me wrong, the film had several funny moments, but what made Borat so interesting to me was how it was so funny and crude yet so culturally aware at the same time. Bruno only succeeds at being very crude and funny.

3. Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen - Oh Michael Bay, how you suck. As my friend would say, Michael Bay sucked the summer's dick. 149 minutes of loud, dumb movie that was basicaly the same thing he put out in 2007, only the first one was better. The effects were nice, as they were in the first, but the racist annoying robots weren't a welcome addition. Nor were the new annoying human characters. The funny thing is, the movie actually got good for a few minutes when John Tuturro's character showed up. Roger Ebert sums the film up perfectly: "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments."

2. Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince - Most of my friends who are even interested in Harry Potter have already heard me rant enough. The bottom line is the film focused on the wrong things and left out crucial information needed for the final installments in the films of the Harry Potter books. The film also felt way too much like a wierd fantastical romantic comedy of sorts, something HP should never be.

1. Terminator Salvation - Ok, first the positives. Sam Worthington's performance was great. He single handedly stole the movie from Christian Bale. The effects were magnificent, as was the representation of the bleak world of the future. Everything else was mostly stupid and pointless (im looking at you MOON BLOODGOOD). The film suceeded in the worst thing it could have done: make me feel like I would rather watch the pretty much awful Terminator 3. McG made some good choices regarding the use of prosthetics over complete CGI, but made a terrible choice in having Danny Elfman score the film. When I think of a bleak futuristic Terminator film I do NOT think of Elfman. A Danny Elfman Terminator Salvation score would be best set to images of Terminator robots flashing jazzhands; his music is just too "peppy" for conveying a bleak future. Bottom line, Terminator Salvation was all talk with little deliver. Bad Christian Bale Summer Acting job #2

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Basterds, Alien Robots, & Talking Dogs:The 10 best & worst films of Summer Pt. 1

As the outside temperatures begin their downward spiral and the memories of a summer movie season filled with alien robots and basterds begin to fade, I figured it was the perfect time to look back at Summer's 10 best, and 10 most disappointing films. Good news first...

The 10 Best Films of Summer 2009

10. The Brothers Bloom - The Brothers Bloom, the second film written and directed by Maryland native Rian Johnson, was a stylistic and entertaining overhaul of the traditional con-man picture. I loved the look of the film, and the performances from Adrian Brody, Rachel Weiz, Mark Ruffalo, and Rinko Kikuchi.

9. Away We Go - Sam Mendes and "summer comedy" are phrases usually not spoken in the same sentence. This film had such spirit and heart. I loved John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph. I thought Maya Rudolph gave one of the best performances of the summer season.

Julie & Julia - When I think of Norah Ephron, I think of charming, yet, simplistic romantic comedies. In 1993 she wrote and directed the timeless "Rom-Com" classic, Sleepless In Seattle. In 1998 she wrote and directed one of my personal favorites, You've Got Mail. Now, in 2009, she delivers another film, but to call it a simplistic romantic comedy would be doing it a great disservice. Julie & Julia feels like two films folded into one. We get the funny story of Julia Child's forray into cooking, the heartwarming story of her relationship with her husband and her quest to finish her cookbook; we also get the story of Julia, a woman seemingly in a mid-life crisis who decides to start a blog as she attempts to cook every one of Julia Child's recipes in 365 days. The film is very funny and proves to be a fun time at the cinema.

7. The Hangover -
If there will ever be a PSA of the dangers of Las Vegas, the main characters of The Hangover probably inspired it. Calling this film outrageously crude is being generous, but who cares. It was the funniest film of the summer! Mike Tyson had the funniest cameo of the summer.

6. (500) Days of Summer - The tired, old mule that is the "Rom-Com" got a serious overhaul in this charming, hilarious film. The soundtrack was a huge standout. The creative ways director Marc Webb found to convey Tom's (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) thoughts and emotions were ultimately what put such a fresh spin on an otherwise boring, tired genre of movies.

District 9 - Made for $32 Million dollars, District 9 has gone on to make over $100 million at the box office. Why? Because its AMAZING. The story was very well developed and well executed. The film also set itself up for a sequel better then any other film I saw this summer.

4. Up - This is the best Pixar film to date. Now that I got that out of the way, let me just say the film was so heartwarming and entertaining. The animation was first-rate and the voice acting was perfect. My favorite creation in this film had to be the dogs. One of the best running gags Pixar ever came up with. What made me enjoy this film so much was how it wasn't just a kids film. There were some pretty intense adult themes at work here.

(TIE) 1. The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, Star Trek - These three films were all too good for me to separate so I have called it a three way tie.
The Hurt Locker was an incredible pressure cooker of a film. The intensity was constantly building until it blew up(no pun intended) all over the screen. Jeremy Renner deserves an oscar nomination for his performance as SSgt. William James. The film also could get a Best Picture nomination. Inglourious Basterds was so much fun! Never have I ever seen a funnier WW2 film. The academy should just give Christoph Waltz the supporting actor statue already, for he was brilliant. I loved every minute of this film. I loved the music, the cinematography, the editing, the writing, EVERYTHING! The film also had the best, most satisfying
(albeit nonsense) ending to any WW2 film I have ever seen. Also, Eli Roth proved to be a pretty good actor. I have seen Star Trek 4 times; 3 times in theaters and once on the plane while on my way to Arizona (THANK YOU CONTINENTAL AIRLINES!). Each time I saw the film, I enjoyed it just as much, if not more, then the previous time(s). J.J. Abrams provided the most exciting film of the summer, as well as the most character driven, action packed, summer sci-fi blockbuster(take that Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen!) I have seen in years. The most exhausted film franchise was given new life thanks to everyone involved and the great cast especially. The effects were incredible and the score, to me, was oscar worthy.

This is only the beginning, coming soon..THE 10 MOST DISAPPOINTING FILMS OF SUMMER!