Monday, November 23, 2009

Twilight Cycles

WARNING: If humor about menstruation upsets you, don't watch this Funny or Die clip. :) If you're ok with it, I highly recommend it since it makes fun of Twilight very cleverly.

Movies Are Life. ~ K

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pirate Radio (British Title: The Boat that Rocked) - 2 out of 4 Stars

Who Would Love This Movie: People who like fluffy indie coming of age movies

Best Mood to Walk In With: Relaxed

Don't See This Movie If: You're looking for a heavy hitting plot

Although the movie itself is not bad (so-so, in my opinion), I refuse to write too much about it based on the fact that one scene is intolerable. Although half the plot is focused on the fact that Britain has pretty much outlawed rock-n-roll music, forcing fans to listen to a radio station that is boat-based, the other half of the movie is focused on a young man set on losing his virginity. And although this is not a new story line, it certainly crosses the line in how it is presented.

At one point, a deejay on the boat begins getting intimate with his girlfriend and then turns off the lights to try and trick her into actually having sex with the ingenue virgin. Not only is this scene not funny due to bad execution, but the basic premise is offensive. I'm sick of movies putting disgusting moments like this in films for a cheap laugh (In Observe and Report, Seth Rogen is shown having sex with a drunk girl who is passed out.). What are we teaching people by making these scenes "funny"? Would it be funny if someone tricked your daughter, sister, or female friend into having sex with someone they didn't think was in the room? Obviously not, so why are we making light in film what would be horrifying and illegal in real life?

So Hollywood, clean up your act and stop making violence toward women funny. This is one consumer who is sick of it.

Movies Are Life. ~ K

The Blind Side - 3.5 out of 4 Stars

Who Would Love This Movie: People looking for a feel good comedy

Best Mood to Walk In With: Hopeful

Don't See This Movie If: You don't like dramatized films of real life inspirational stories

The Blind Side is surprisingly really good. Although it takes place in Memphis, and obviously was not shot there, I still really enjoyed it. (Big words coming from a Memphian!) And like most inspirational flicks, some impossibilities do occur (like Sandra Bullock's character going into the ghetto and challenging gun carrying thugs and making it out alive). But these things aside, The Blind Side served its purpose of inspiring and surprisingly also made me laugh often.

Despite what Bullock has said about how she's not the kind of actor who does work that wins awards, I think The Blind Side is completely dependent on her best performance yet. Without her remarkable and subtle performance, it would be too sugary sweet and over the top. Somehow, unbelievable, trite lines about how Michael, a boy from an underprivileged background, has changed her life seem less gag-worthy coming from Bullock's lips.

Although other performances are good, they're nothing to write home about. (Sorry Tim McGraw. Keep trying buckaroo.) However, possibly my favorite part of the movie is when the credits are rolling and you see footage of the real life Michael Oher with his family during career milestones. The movie itself is sentimental and moving, but the real story it is based on is heartwarming and a reminder of what open hearted people can do to change others' lives. The Blind Side made me proud to share a hometown with the Tuhoys.

Keep Your Ears Open For: The best line of the movie, "Who thought we'd have a Black son before we knew a Democrat?"
And Stay Aware That: As amazing it is to watch the film version of Oher escaping from the projects, let it be known that real life Memphis projects are much worse than portrayed in the film, making Oher's transition that much more incredible.

All in all, The Blind Side is a refreshingly touching movie that somehow excels amongst its too Hollywood-contrived "inspirational" brethren. Definitely a hit, and definitely a movie for fans of Oher or fans of true life happy endings.

Movies Are Life. ~ K

Twilight Saga - New Moon - 3.0 out of 4.0 Stars

Who Would Love This Movie: People that enjoy the Twilight series books

Best Mood to Walk In With: Ready for cheesiness

Don't See This Movie If: You are not a fan of the books

I enjoy the Twilight series as books; however, I was incredibly disappointed with the first movie. The awful effects, the plot gaps if you hadn't read the book, the bad acting...all of it ended in disappointment for me. However, I was overwhelmingly in the minority since most of the people who had read the book loved the movie. I chalked this to obsessive fan power of tweens and let it go. I debated even seeing New Moon in theaters because I still felt so cheated out of what could have potentially been a great film had it not been rushed through production and packaged for those with lower movie expectations. But since New Moon is my favorite of the 4 Twilight books, I decided to go ahead and fork over the $10.

Let me just say, it was worth the money. Please note, though, that this statement is based on a lot of conditions. First, you must already like the Twilight series, whether because you enjoy the books or because you somehow saw the movie on its own and joined the phenomenon. If you don't know what is going on, this movie may slightly confuse you because it relies on your knowledge of past events. Secondly, you must be ready for the corny romance. This is not a subtle love or a slow moving romance, this is an obsessive, over-the-top relationship that says the most ridiculous things every chance it gets. And that is inevitably part of its charm, but you have to be ready for it or the sappiness will get tiresome quickly. And finally, you have to be a good sport. I didn't see it opening night or the night after. In fact, the theater was more empty than full, but still every time Taylor Lautner appeared, girls screamed. Also, some middle aged women sitting in front of me made inappropriate comments about what they wanted to do to this 17 year old boy whenever he took off his shirt (which was often).

Since I can't really speak about the acting (I mean, let's be honest, that's not why you're going to see this movie anyway), I do want to point out that it is unfortunate for Rob Pattinson that he takes his shirt off after Lautner has already stripped numerous times. My friend Sara remarked that Pattinson did not have a great body, but I think it is hard to find Edward attractive when Lautner is undeniably so easy on the eyes. In fact, overall this is the basic issue I have with this movie. The entire movie makes Jacob so attractive and perfect, that it is hard to understand why Bella doesn't fall in love with him. Granted, reading the books, you wondered the same thing, but in the end whether or not you were Team Jacob or Team Edwards, you could understand why Bella did what she inevitably does. However, for the purposes of the movie, it seems completely like she is getting the raw end of the deal.

Thankfully, not only is the acting moderately better (Lautner is much more impressive in this movie than the last), the effects are where you see the biggest difference. From the completely awful running through the forest scene of the last movie to the incredible CGI wolves in this one, the special effects are like night and day. I sincerely look forward to seeing what tricks are in store for us with the upcoming Eclipse.

Keep Your Eyes Open For: The movie theater scene...I was laughing out loud for a good 5 minutes with that one
And Stay Aware That: Billy does not miraculously free himself from the wheelchair he was bound to in the first movie. That's actually Harry, who seems to take over the best friend role that Billy has in the book concerning Charlie.

All in all, Twilight lovers will be pleased that the movie franchise has upped the ante, but New Moon is still only a frothy dessert compared to the much more filling entree of the book itself.

Movies Are Life. ~ K

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Christmas Carol - 3.75 out of 4 Stars

Who Would Love This Movie: Adults that enjoy the gritty original story of A Christmas Carol

Best Mood to Walk In With: Ready to be spooked

Don't See This Movie If: You prefer a feel good version of this story that is more commonly shown in media

Probably the most important thing to know about Disney's A Christmas Carol is that, despite the animation, this is not a movie for children. At times I was actually frightened, and the theme of death and sin is very strong in this film as it was in the original Charles Dickens novel. If you're looking for a kid friendly version, rent the Muppets Christmas Carol instead.

So once you get past the fact that this is not an overall feel good movie, the film is actually wonderfully executed. Although I did not see this film in 3-D, good friends have told me it was one of the few 3-D movies that actually utilize 3-D in creative and ongoing ways. However, I did not need to even ask them, because the animation was so vivid, it was easy to tell where the more dynamic 3-D effects could be placed to enhance already rich images. The creativity of the animation is quite outstanding, particularly with the way the ghosts are presented.

In addition to the wonderful presentation, Jim Carrey proves his relevancy in today's filmography by lending his voice to all the major characters. He does a really great job and it is creepy to see parts of his face represented in all the people he brings to life. Additionally, the underlying soundtrack of noises and music blend so perfectly with what you're watching that you're drawn deeper into the story than with most animated features.

Keep Your Eyes Closed For: The passing of the Ghost of Christmas Present...scary!
Keep Your Eyes Open For: The emotion-invoking animation of the horses drawing the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come's carriage (that emotion also being fear)

All in all, A Christmas Carol would win a 4 Star rating from me if it weren't for the fact that I walked in expecting a more feel good movie. It's time for studios to start marketing films as they really are, rather than how they think will sell the most tickets. Shame on production companies for not giving us realistic expectations, particularly when the reality is much better than what you advertised.

Movies Are Life. ~ K

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Box - 0 out of 4 Stars

Who Would Love This Movie: I find it hard to believe anyone would find this movie worth $10

Best Mood to Walk In With: Ready to walk out

Don't See This Movie If: You have better things to do with your clip your toe nails or watching any other movie

Donnie Darko fans are going to be disappointed, because The Box is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. Seriously though, don't waste your money. I know Donnie Darko is a bit out there and not for everyone, but filmmaker Richard Kelly steps it up a notch this time and made a film that no one will likely enjoy.

I've decided that film names that consist of a noun explaining what the movie is about is always a bad idea. For instance, last year's Fighting. What was the movie about? Fighting. What was the movie named? Fighting. Was the movie good? Decidedly not. Now let's repeat those question but insert "The Box" for "Fighting". Not only was the script convoluted, but there seemed to be no motivation for the characters acting as they did. Additionally, there was no resolution, no explanation for the mysteries that had been presented for the entire time.

To be honest, even if the movie did make sense, The Box would still be difficult to watch because of Cameron Diaz's atrocious accent. I just felt all over bad for Frank Langella who made an awful decision lending his talent to this horrible film.

All in all, don't waste 2 hours of your life on The Box unless you feel the need to punish yourself for something.

Movies Are Life. ~ K