Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Read in order to Live

So not only do I love movies, but I also love books! I had been wanting to get a new blog off the ground to review novels I picked up, but worried I did not have the time to make it an interesting blog. So I enlisted my friends Courtney and Corey, two people whose tastes in books are exquisite, and together we have created a new blog called Read in order to Live. If you enjoy reading, you should check us out at http://lovegoodbooks.blogspot.com/. I've linked us up on the sidebar of this blog, too. :)

Movies Are Life. ~ K

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hilarious!


I have to credit Eric with sending this to me. Even if you aren't a homestarrunner.com fan, you will enjoy this accurate and funny take on independent v. indie films. I especially like the parts about the hand-drawn title sequence and the title of an indie movie.

Sadly, I can't embed the video, but it is only a few minutes long and definitely worth the click. Check it out here.

Enjoy!

Movies Are Life. ~ K

A Good Idea


I have a small bladder. How does this piece of information relate to movies? Well, it often causes me to have to guess about good timing to run to the restroom.

Although I do not necessarily agree with everything on this site, I do think it is a good idea and thought I would share. Let me know if you found it helpful or not.

www.runpee.com

Movies Are Life. ~ K

Friday, August 14, 2009

I forgot one!!!


I didn't realize Ponyo was coming out today, too! I recently saw Spirited Away and LOVED it. (The Academy loved it, too, because it won best Animated Feature in 2003 over Ice Age, Lilo and Stitch, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, and Treasure Planet.) Ponyo is another Hayao Miyazaki film and looks awesome. I've never been into the anime genre (which is maybe odd, since I love American animated movies), but I am definitely into Miyazaki's amazing storytelling.

I'll actually write a review for Spirited Away later this weekend in case any of you are looking for a good rental. It is equally good for children as it is for adults, which makes it fun for anyone. And hopefully I will get to see Ponyo soon, too! :) If you get to see it before me, let me know what you think!

Movies Are Life. ~ K

Thursday, August 13, 2009

TOMORROW! :)


Although I am excited about District 9 opening tomorrow, the movie I have really been looking forward to see is The Time Traveler's Wife. Not only is it one of my favorite books ever, but it also features Rachel McAdams, who I think is fabulous. Can't wait to see it this weekend! :)

Movies Are Life. ~ K

Aliens in the Attic - 3.5 for kids and 2.5 for adults out of 4 Stars

Who Would Love This Movie: Kids under the age of 10

Best Mood to Walk In With: Giggly

Don't See This Movie If: You want a realistic plot or something cutesy


The trailer pretty much says it all for Aliens in the Attic. A fun, fantastical romp for kids that features silliness as well as slightly deeper undertones that show the importance of being who you are and being a part of a family.

While there is not much to say about this movie, other than that kids will like it, there are moments that I thought were funny as an adult. Most of them are technology references that have always been a part of a child's life, but definitely was not present when I was a kid. Examples include the fact that aliens have blue tooth and a comment one of the children makes about how the situation "isn't like xbox, it's real...like wii." Also, the kids in the movie don't recognize what a rotary phone is, which made me laugh out loud. Sometimes I forget how many experiences from my life, children today will never have simply because things like rotary phones and the original NES are relics to them.

Other things of note, there is a very tender moment where the main character tells his father, "I don't want to be like you, I want to be cool." This comment reflects the deeper nature of the movie about normal adolescent struggles to balance being a family member and a "cool" kid among peers. As you might guess, the character eventually comes around to realize that both can be a part of his life and that family is the foundation of everything else.

Keep Your Eyes Closed For: Aliens eating a rat
Keep Your EARS Open For: The funny description of kissing that the aliens give when watching The Mask of Zorro

All in all, Aliens in the Attic is maybe not a movie that adults should see whether or not they have a little one (like Up was), but definitely a life action flick that younger kids can enjoy. My 6 year old companion gave it two thumbs up. :)

Movies Are Life. ~ K

Movie Review I wrote in 2007: The Black Dahlia - 1 out of 4 Stars


Despite all the early Oscar hype, The Black Dahlia is a pale imitation of its film noir predecessors. Even with an interesting performance from two-time Academy Award winner Hillary Swank, the actors could not get past the horribly convoluted script, confusing editing, and overall bad directorial decisions by Brian de Palma.

Aesthetically, the characters, sets, and cinematography create the right atmosphere for this crime drama. However, the director and cast seem to get too caught up in their ambitions for the movie to take care of the first order of business--telling the story.

The first three quarters of the movie tries to develop the characters of do-gooder detective Bucky (Josh Hartnett), his corrupt partner Lee (Aaron Eckhart), former prostitute turned homemaker Kay (Scarlett Johansson), and bed-hopping trust fund baby Madeleine (Hillary Swank). Unfortunately, the lackluster performances of Hartnett and Johansson give the audience little reason to care what happens to them, while the character of Lee is so confusing it is easy to write him off, also. As always, Hillary Swank does not mind getting gritty with her hard-to-like character, but even her solid performance is lost in the needlessly elaborate entanglement that this movie becomes.

The final quarter of the movie reveals the "whodunit" stage. Sadly, it is done so quickly and confusingly that it is impossible to follow or care. All in all, this movie does not live up to the widely successful Scarface or L.A. Confidential and becomes another typical Josh Hartnett film, perhaps not in genre, but certainly in execution.

Movies Are Life. ~ K

Movie Review I wrote in 2007: Black Snake Moan - 4 out of 4 Stars


Black Snake Moan is practically perfect in every way. The gritty drama about two abandoned people, crippled by their self-destructive emotions is both raw and captivating. Marked by two incredible performances from Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci, the audience is drawn into the world of sin and redemption.

Jackson’s portrayal of Lazarus, a man whose wife left him for his brother, is possibly the best of his career. A large leap from his last movie (Snakes on a Plane) and a very definitive turn from the action roles he normally takes, Jackson gives his character a believable and artistic blend of strength and vulnerability, compassion and anger, and faith and cynicism. Jackson is so convincing as Lazarus, that as he runs from his house terrified and clutching his Bible, I felt fear and pity for a man chased by such strong emotions. This is no small feat, as it proves Samuel L. Jackson was able to lose me in his character and forget his real-life branding as a “bad ass.”

Although some people may have a hard time believing the basic plot (a chaste and enraged Christian who chains a young, half-naked hussy to his radiator), if you can get past the situation and see the intention behind the actions, then the beauty of the film and its characters becomes evident. Even more interesting are the religious undertones of the movie. Like Tyler Perry movies (Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Daddy’s Little Girls), the faith of the characters range from those who never waver from God to those who never seem to have found Him. However, unlike Perry’s movies, the audience never feels like Black Snake Moan is trying to convert them or convince them. Instead, Christianity, although an important part of the movie, is simply motivation for the characters rather than being pushed as motivation for the world.

Christina Ricci’s character Rae was characterized early in the movie by a simple image of her walking in the middle of a country road in a Rebel t-shirt that barely covers her chest and daisy dukes that leave little to the imagination. Behind her is a large tractor that wants to pass her. As she continues walking in its way, she shoots the driver the finger and the screen is frozen as “Black Snake Moan” is stamped across it. Welcome to Rae’s world at the beginning of the movie – sexual and defiant. Christina Ricci’s performance definitely has erased my previous thoughts of her from Casper and Now & Then. From the child actress has evolved a woman who can dive so deeply into a character, it is difficult even now for me to divorce the characteristics of Rae from Ricci herself. At one point, she is standing in a field and gives Lazarus a glance so smoldering with its lustful invitation, I actually gasped out loud. Even after Rae meets Lazarus and begins her ascent to the way of truth and light, there is no immediate transformation into a saint, which lends an honesty to the movie and a realness to the character. Instead there is a scene in a bar, where though her change is evident at the end of the night, the audience still sees her sensuality and inner demons as she dances. On a personal note, although Christina Ricci’s body was undeniably sexy and role-appropriate, after watching her for 2 hours I was overwhelmed with the desire, as a woman, to feed her a loaf of bread and a porkchop.

One thing I found particularly interesting, whether or not it was intentional, was the way the film mimicked the Bible. If Lazarus represents God and Rae stands for an imperfect humanity, then you can easily see the movement from the Old Testament to the New Testament in their relationship. When Lazarus tries to inflict his purpose for Rae by chaining her, I found it not unlike the wrath that drove God to bind the Israelites to him through captivity in the Old Testament (particularly seen in Isaiah). Once Lazarus releases Rae, he shows an understanding that he can only hope his teachings will guide her in her freedom to make the right decisions and fight the good fight. This part of the movie seems to transition to the New Testament stories of God binding mankind to him through love rather than fear or judgment. Also, I found the ending a great example of how faith in God does not remove the reality of life’s harshness or cause you to never stumble, but rather comforts you through your trials and motivates you to fight temptation because of the importance of your relationship with Him.

I only have one complaint with the film. At times the editor ended scenes by fading to black and letting the audience have a moment or two before cutting to the next scene. This gives the movie a “made for tv” feel since you find yourself wondering if a commercial is about to roll. Although Black Snake Moan is very thought provoking, it is not so fast paced that the audience needs a second to catch up to the action.

Also, I had to feel a small amount of pity for Justin Timberlake. If you took his performance as Ronnie and put it in another movie, you would walk away impressed with the pop star. Unfortunately, because he is sharing the screen with Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci, their smooth performances make Timberlake’s own seem choppy and less than natural. Also, his character’s history is not well-defined, and you can’t help but wonder how he acquired the problem that haunts him through the second half of the movie.

All in all, I would have to give a standing ovation to Craig Brewer. Although he shows promise as a director, I am more in awe of his excellent writing. Not only are you drawn to love a character that you would possibly cross the street to avoid in real life, but his sense of conversational rhythm is spot on. Due to the religious undertones of the film, it could easily give way to long, preachy monologues as either Lazarus or his friend try to help Rae; instead, Brewer avoids this and keeps the movie realistic with all actors verbally participating.

I also am impressed with Brewer’s ability to so realistically capture pockets of Black culture in the South. In Hustle and Flow, we cheered on a rapping pimp in the inner city as we are drawn into his daily life and aspirations. This time around, he portrays black culture in the countryside of the Deep South. From the relationship between Lazarus and his friend to the infiltration of faith in their daily lives and conversation, I find it remarkable that a white film maker can so accurately capture different types of Black Southern culture as shown through both of his films. Movies that use the “N” word off handedly (even by black characters), usually make me cringe, yet even this word in Black Snake Moan seems natural when coming out of Lazarus’ mouth and gives a closer look at the life he was born into.

I also really love Brewer’s continued theme of redemption in music. Although it is not as overt in Black Snake Moan as it was in Hustle and Flow, Brewer uses it effectively to set the tone of the setting and draw you into Lazarus’ world. The incredible selection of the soundtrack also evokes a sense of irony at critical parts of the movie. The music paired with faith acts as a savior to the two main characters as it draws Lazarus and Rae to an inner peace that belies the problems in their lives.

Not to detract from the immense talent shown in Hustle and Flow, but Black Snake Moan definitely shows Craig Brewer’s growth as a film maker and a screenwriter. Hopefully he will continue to hone his talent and produce even more remarkable movies in the future. I, for one, will be waiting in line to see his next film on opening day.

Movies Are Life. ~ K

Movie Review I wrote in 2007: The Queen - 3.5 out of 4.0 Stars


Many times when you think Oscar, your mind drifts to a showy performance that consists of an actor dramatically changing their appearance (Charlize Theron, Monster; Nicole Kidman, The Hours) or pushing conventional limits with edgy plots (Hilary Swank, Boys Don’t Cry; Halle Berry, Monster’s Ball) or showing a dramatically different side of their talents (Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line; Cher, Moonstruck).

Helen Mirren employed none of these tactics in The Queen. She played an aging British woman from the most respected family in the UK and furthered her acting resume with another royal role. Additionally, the film represents a real life occurrence that my generation cared little about – we were too young to idolize Princess Diana’s life and too old to study her death in history class. Yet when Mirren took home Oscar gold, the movie goers of Generation X took interest.

Mirren’s portrayl of Queen Elizabeth II is neither warm nor comfortable, but this evolves into the strength of the movie. Although few people would link a British monarch and a Southern Belle, Mirren’s performance captivated me for the same reasons Vivien Leigh captivated hearts and the Academy with Gone with the Wind. The audience does not agree with the actions of either Queen Elizabeth II or Scarlett O’Hara in these movies, and that is not the filmmakers’ intent. Instead the beauty is that the actresses allow you to understand a character which society is so quick to judge.

Mirren’s understated performance draws you in with its simplicity. Just as the Queen did not originally feel a need to prove her intentions, Mirren’s portrayal does not try to prove that Elizabeth is good or bad. Instead, Mirren gives a humility and humanity to a royal fa├žade few others have the imagination to see behind. The intentions of the character would have been lost or waylaid with an overly dramatic performance, and Mirren’s naturalness in the role presents a crystal clear view of what she believes the Queen felt during Princess Diana’s death.

There are few other aspects to note in this movie as the only reasons to watch are either interest in the royal family or interest in Helen Mirren’s performance. At times the script assumes the audience needs to be beat in the head with a point, which gives way to a few awkward symbolic moments. Also, Michael Sheen’s performance as Tony Blair is hardly inspiring though his character’s supposed motivations are interesting at times. When all is said and done, it is Mirren who makes the movie.

Those needing fast cars or fast plots should not take the time to rent this movie as they will regret their actions. Those who like elaborate sets or extravagant costumes also need not apply. However, those who watch movies for the truth of the characters and for the originality of a new viewpoint will not be disappointed. If you appreciated films such as Capote or Little Children, I would definitely add this to your Blockbuster list.

Movies Are Life. ~ K

Monday, August 10, 2009

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra - 3 out of 4 Stars

Who Would Love This Movie: Folks who like action-driven, summer blockbusters

Best Mood to Walk In With: Energetic

Don't See This Movie If: You demand realism or subtlety


You know if you're going to like G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra already. Seriously, you do, so if you see it and don't like it, you should have watched the preview. As a summer, mindless, action blockbuster, I really enjoyed this movie. As a lover of fine films, I really enjoyed making fun of this movie. Therefore, instead of one of my normal reviews, I am going to tell you the top 10 ridiculous things to watch out for in this movie. :) Hope you don't mind me deviating from my normal format.

10. Rachel Nichols and Sienna Miller have all the boobies. And you know this, because they never cover them up and wear incredibly "realistic" costumes for espionage and the armed forces.
9. The inspiring acting of Channing Tatum...'s abs
8. Automatic, incredibly violent reaction of the kid trained in martial arts, though all martial arts teach that you never start a fight
7. The fact that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would be in this movie AND (500) Days of Summer AND have them released on the same day
6. The plotline of Sienna Miller having to be married to the scientist...If it makes sense to you, please explain it to me.
5. There is a long explanation of what all the cool things the accelerator suits can do, and then all they use them for is running really fast. Haha.
4. The detailed verbal explanations of the flashbacks, even though the flashbacks easily explain themselves.
3. The Hummer that is indestructible. Seriously, apparently Hummer beats gigantic bus.
2. This wording is stolen from Roger Ebert's review because he explains it much better than I ever could, "At one point the ice cap is exploded real good so it will sink and crush the G. I. Joe's submarine. We thought ice floated in water but, no, you can see big falling ice chunks real good here. It must be only in your Coke that it floats."
1. The dialogue...all of it. Seriously.

Thanks to Eric for helping me remember and compile these for your enjoyment. :)

All in all, G.I. Joe: The Rise of the Cobra is better than this summer's Transformers and The Terminator , but definitely a popcorn flick. If you're looking for content, see Gordon-Levitt's (500) Days of Summer.

Movies Are Life. ~ K

(500) Days of Summer - 3.5 out of 4.0 Stars

Who Would Love This Movie: Folks who don't need a formulaic movie happy ending

Best Mood to Walk In With: Peaceful

Don't See This Movie If: You're looking for a traditional rom-com


Just as the tagline says, (500) Days of Summer is a story about love, not a love story. And because of that, it is believable, relatable, and a story most people can identify with. In fact, the line that struck me the most as I watched the movie was when the manager of a greeting card company said, "Just because I didn't write it, doesn't make it any less the truth." I felt that way about this entire film.

Zooey Deschanel has finally found the perfect conduit for her talent. (Not that The Happening wasn't great and all. GAG!) She is charmingly off beat and the cinematographer perfectly captures her beauty. It was just as easy for me to fall in love with her as Summer as it is for Tom, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. And while Deschanel steals the show, Gordon-Levitt proves himself to be back in action with a great performance as well. Although he was alright in G.I. Joe, (500) Days of Summer is a much better vehicle for him to showcase his talent. Don't believe me, check out the look on his face as he and Summer sit on a bench and she covers his hand with her hand with the engagement and wedding rings on it. Immediate emotion that everyone can identify with.

Although a friend thought the film was too formulaic, I would disagree. Perhaps for an "indie" film it is much more predictable than most, but among rom coms like The Proposal and The Ugly Truth it is very uniquely enchanting. And although normally I do not like movies that go back and forth amongst time with subtitles letting you know exactly what moment of time you're entering, I really enjoyed the way this film was pieced together. There were many moments you where you saw the effect first and the cause later, and it made for a much better form of telling this very human story.

Keep Your Eyes Closed For: Disaster blind date...so uncomfortably awkward
Keep Your Eyes Open For: Hilariously awkward scene when Summer asks Tom if he needs anything from the supply closet

All in all, (500) Days of Summer is tender and lovely, and a film unlike any other released this summer so far. I believe almost everyone would like it, which is more than I can say about other films I've reviewed. Definitely worth your $10 if you're only seeing one movie.

Movies Are Life. ~ K

Julie & Julia - 4 out of 4 Stars

Who Would Love This Movie: Folks who like movies about relationships or cooking, fans of Meryl Streep

Best Mood to Walk In With: Not hungry! :)

Don't See This Movie If: You want lots of action in place of character development


Julie & Julia is the new The Devil Wears Prada. Not because of the storyline, but because of the way it was put together. You take a so-so book aimed at a mostly female audience, let Meryl Streep work her magic to create an unforgettable character, add a newer but talented actress that can hold her own with Streep, add them to a script that has both humorous and touching moments, and turn it into a film that caters to women but will still be bearable for their male escorts.

Without a doubt Meryl Streep carries this movie. Anyone else in the role of Julia Child would have been either annoyingly grating or amusingly caricature-like. Instead. Streep creates a larger than life character that captures both Child's renowned mannerisms and voice without making them seem like a SNL skit. Streep also successfully shows how not only the people who met Child's fell in love with her, but how she captivated America with both her cooking and her presence.

Without Streep's endearing performance, it would have been difficult to believe why Amy Adams's character could have ever fallen in love with Julia Child. But playing off such a veteran as Streep, Adams gets to reveal why she is one of Hollywood's brightest new stars. Adams had already captivated us in movies like Enchanted, Doubt, and Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, all of which played up her wide-eyed innocence and amusing lack of understanding for reality. While I loved those movies, I enjoy films, like this one and Sunshine Cleaning, that allow Adams to still be adorable while also giving her more range for her character.

Julie & Julia is a coming of age movie, a genre we have seen often in the past few years in theaters, but for an unexpected audience -- women who have already gotten married and made it to adulthood. Although this movie is somewhat about cooking, the main theme is about women who find something to be confident about and a way to be successful in their own right. And though the focus is on the women, the film also shows how important the men in their life are as well. After all, success's sweet taste is multiplied by the number who you can share it with.

Keep Your Eyes Closed For: Meryl Streep sex scenes (PG-style, no skin shows, but still not something I cared to see insinuated)
Keep Your Eyes Open For: Amy Adams's meltdown in the kitchen. Hilarious.

All in all, Julie & Julia is a wonderful movie for a date night with the ladies, but most men will still find it bearable if not enjoyable. Although Nora Ephron is known for her hits like When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle, this film rivals them in both content and execution, but comes up the winner concerning mass appeal.

Movies Are Life. ~ K

Thursday, August 6, 2009

For "Wild Things" of Any Age :)

I'm sure you were thinking to yourself the past few months, "Wow, this blogger is sure into Harry Potter! What will she have to look forward to once Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince has appeared in theaters?"

NEVER FEAR! WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE IS (ALMOST) HERE! :)

To be more exact, this awesome looking film from Spike Jonze is coming October 16 (as of now anyway, you know these things are subject to change...ahem, Harry Potter). I'm sure you've noticed that I tend to get the most excited about films that cater to children, whether they be in adult bodies or not. :) While many might think it strange for a 26 year old woman to look forward to animated features and movies based on children's books, I would love to take a moment to explain my way of thinking.

Most people are never more imaginative than when they were children. Because of this, it is my opinion that media focused on younger audiences have much richer imagery, more vibrant colors, more exciting visuals, more over the top ideas for symbolism and connections, and just better creativity all around. Why, you might ask, is this awesomeness directed towards children? Because munchkins below the age of 12 don't judge negatively as easily as adults do, so it is easier to take risks.

Think about it. When was the last time you ever heard a child walk out of a movie and say, "What a waste of my time! This movie was horrible! The acting was bad and the plot made no sense!" Please! While kids definitely gravitate more towards quality, they rarely make criticisms of movies or books. Instead, they just stop paying attention. Therefore, it is much easier for film makers to go out on a limb and do something wacky, because even if it is not appreciated by the critics, children will likely still enjoy it because it holds their interest.

That's my theory anyway. :) And that's why I look forward to movies such as Where the Wild Things Are. Because there is incredibly potential. True, Spike Jonze may not fulfill it all, but there is much greater promise that it may happen. And to be honest, based on the trailer, I think Jonze won't disappoint. If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself!



Whoever put together that trailer deserves a big bonus! :) Also, don't you love the song choice? Makes me excited about the soundtrack!

Movies Are Life. ~ K

"Guest" Blogger

A friend who knows much more about film than I do and is much more aware of non-mainstream flicks has a great blog. I've asked him if I can link it to mine, so hopefully I'll get a go ahead soon. But I just couldn't wait to share one of his entries with you now! He chose what he thinks are the top 20 films of the decade up to now and will be reviewing each of them in his blog. Since I've only seen about a quarter of them and respect his opinion, I'm really excited to see what he has to say about them. Also, I've decided to try and challenge myself to watch each of them. I may not like them as much as he does or maybe I won't like them at all, but I'm excited to open myself up to new types of movies, some of which I've never even heard of. So here's to being open-minded and fun self-challenges! I'll let you know what I think of them as I watch them.

Without further ado, an excerpt from my friend Daniel's blog:

These are the top 20 films of the decade as of now. These will not change. Chosen from just over 2000 films seen from the decade.

* denotes a top 10 film.

* 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days, dir. Cristian Mungiu

Almost Famous, dir. Cameron Crowe

* Amores Perros, dir. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Cidade De Deus, dir. Fernando Meirelles

Dancer in the Dark, dir. Lars Von Trier

* Fa Yeung Nin Wa, dir. Wong Kar Wai

Ghost World, dir. Terry Zwigoff

Happy-Go-Lucky, dir. Mike Leigh

* The Hurt Locker, dir. Kathryn Bigelow

* In the Bedroom, dir. Todd Field

* Lost in Translation, dir. Sofia Coppola

Match Point, dir. Woody Allen

* Mulholland Drive, dir. David Lynch

Paranoid Park, dir. Gus van Sant

Requiem for A Dream, dir. Darren Aronofsky

* Storytelling, dir. Todd Solondz

* Traffic, dir. Steven Soderbergh

Wonder Boys, dir. Curtis Hansen

* Up, dir. Pete Docter

Yi Yi, dir. Edward Yang

Honorable Mention: The Shape of Things, Touching the Void, Irreversible, Me and You and Everyone We Know, La Pianiste.

I'm attempting one a month. Game on! :)

Movies Are Life. ~ K

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Funny People - 2.5 out of 4.0 Stars

Who Would Love This Movie: Folks who like Adam Sandler's more serious movies

Best Mood to Walk In With: Thoughtful

Don't See This Movie If: You are looking for something more like Knocked Up


Funny People lasts 5 and a half hours. OK, that's an exaggeration, but it seems like it which maybe tells you a little something. In fact, despite its misleading name and cast of actors, Funny People is a drama with a few comedic elements rather than a straight up comedy.

Although I can understand what the movie was trying to chronicle, an aspiring comic who needs to lose his naivete and a debauched, famous comic who needs to find joy in more innocent pleasures, this adds up to only semi-interesting crossed journeys. Interspersed in the storyline are occasional jokes and stand up routines. Unfortunately, most of the stand up is bad (purposefully) and a lot of the jokes get lost in the awkwardness of the characters. Though quirky characters are all the rage lately (think Juno and McLovin), Seth Rogen's character is more uncomfortably different rather than endearingly weird. Honestly, it was difficult to like or be sympathetic to any of the characters. Just when you thought you might start to like one, they go and do something incredibly annoying.

Also, there were just too many incongruencies in the film making for me. First, there is often weird pairings of action and music. Although many films use the soundtrack to oppose the situation you see for symbolism or effect, hearing James Taylor sing beneath Adam Sandler doing stand up was just bizarre. The following scene reveals the link between the two, but it was still a buzz kill pairing in my opinion. Equally strange was the closing shot. The ending was not one I would have chosen for the movie, but it somewhat works. However, the last camera shot made it even more awkward, as you will notice if you see the movie.

Now despite all this negativity, you'll notice my rating didn't completely pan Funny People. Although I did find all of these things to be annoyed with, a lot of it can be marked up to two things. The first is completely misleading advertisements and trailers for this film. The second is my high expectations for a Judd Apatow-Adam Sandler-Seth Rogen-Leslie Mann collaboration. Even if this movie did not meet my expectations after hilarious romps like the 40-year Old Virgin, it was not horrible. In fact, redeeming qualities included the acting, particularly of Mann, and fun cameos by almost every stand up comic in Hollywood as well as Apatow's and Mann's children.

Keep Your Eyes Closed For: Eminem's appearance...so awkward and needless
Keep Your Eyes Open For: Jonah Hill doing stand up for the first time in his life (for real!)

All in all, Funny People is much more of a rental than a $10 in house ticket. Not only because you're more likely to get your money worth, but because you then have the ability to pause it if you're not ready for the drawn out plot.

Movies Are Life. ~ K

Bad News for G.I. Joe


Producers have announced that critics will not be allowed to see the movie before its release date. And since only movies that will get bad reviews choose this route, sounds like bad news bears.

But let's be honest. G.I. Joe will still blow up the box office this weekend. I know I'll certainly see it with Channing Tatum at the helm. Yum! :)

Movies Are Life. ~ K