2.29.2008

Top 10 Random Dance Scenes.

I know I just posted up my review of Charlie Bartlett, but I really want to post this, as well, so you get a twofer tonight.

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Have you ever been watching a movie, a movie that was neither a musical nor related to dancing whatsoever, and suddenly, as if out of nowhere, one or more characters on the screen suddenly burst out into dance and/or song? If done right, those random dance scenes can be funny and entertaining. If done wrong, you have Spider-Man 3. But this article is going to concentrate on 10 of the more memorable random dance and/or song moments from film. The further down the list we get, the more random and enjoyable the scenes are.

10. American Wedding

Scene: Looking for a dressmaker named Leslie, Stiffler accidentally insults one of Leslie’s friends. In order to prove himself worthy, Stiffler decides to have a dance-off against a large gay man in a gay bar (not all of the posted videos are this long, either... I just couldn't find a shorter version).

9. Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure

Scene: After accidentally stumbling into a private biker bar, Pee-Wee Herman tries to prove himself (and keep from getting beaten up) by dancing on the bar.

8. Beetlejuice

Scene: Trying to get their house rid of annoying new owners, a ghost couple possesses the new family and friends at dinner, making them lip sync and dance.

7. Billy Madison

Scene: Feeling sorry for himself, Billy gets beaten up by his girlfriend, mulls over his life, and breaks out into song/dance.

6. The Breakfast Club

Scene: The kids are bored; they put in some music and just dance away in the library.

5. Shaolin Soccer

Scene: For no real apparent reason whatsoever, a bunch of people just start going all Thriller.

4. Austin Powers in GoldMember

Scene: The opening credits for the movie. After the fake opening with a bunch of Hollywood stars, Austin talks to Steven Spielberg and then breaks out into a long dance number which involves a back-flipping Spielberg and a head-exploding Britney Spears.

3. Napoleon Dynamite

Scene: When it looks like all hope is lost for best friend Pedro to win over the crowd and become class president, Napoleon walks out on stage and shows everyone his sweet dance skills.

2. The Mask

Scene: There are actually two in this movie, but the one I’m focusing on is Cuban Pete. To try and avoid getting arrested, The Mask turns the entire street into a full song and dance, including a conga line.

1. Clerks 2

Scene: Dante doesn’t know how to dance, so he gets a little help from Rosario Dawson’s boo… I mean, her character…. Yeah. Anyway, everybody in Mooby’s gets in the dancing mood and joins in.

Honorable Mention:

- MirrorMask, when Helena is being transformed by the robot women into Dark Helena and the women are singing and dancing a cover of “Close to You” as they do it. That scene is just too trippy weird not to mention.

CHARLIE BARTLETT.

Charlie Bartlett is a pretty simple movie: Charlie Bartlett (Anton Yelchin) has gotten kicked out of every private school, so his mother (Hope Davis) enrolls him in public school. It starts off bad for Charlie Bartlett, as he’s plagued by a bully, Murphy (Tyler Hilton). But soon, Charlie Bartlett becomes the most popular kid in school, acting as a psychiatrist to the students and prescribing them medications. Unfortunately, he’s also started seeing Susan (Kat Dennings), who happens to be the daughter of the troubled alcoholic principal (Robert Downey Jr.).

First, I might as well get it out of the way… there can be two different drinking games played during this movie: First, anytime somebody uses the full name of “Charlie Bartlett” instead of just “Charlie.” Second, anytime Robert Downey Jr. downs some liquor himself.

Okay, so on to the review. The movie is rather predictable, and you can pretty much figure out what’s gonna happen by the end of the movie. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good movie. Honestly, I really enjoyed it. It started off rather slow, as it feels it takes ages to get to the psychiatric stuff. But overall, it was really good and entertaining. And it had heart.

The acting was actually really good. Anton Yelchin (you might recognize him from Alpha Dog) does rather well, really, except for the really forced closing line of the movie. Kat Dennings (you might recognize her as the daughter in 40-Year-Old-Virgin) is the movie’s eye candy (and plays it well), but she acts her part out nicely, too. The props go to Robert Downey Jr., though, who was really able to pull off that whole down-on-his-luck drunk really well (…hmm…*cough*).

There were some really funny scenes, some really heartfelt scenes, and some really sad scenes (and it’s pretty easy to figure out which characters those might emit from very early on in the movie). I really don’t see the comparison people have been making to Ferris Bueller (granted, those are typically the people who have yet to see the movie). Oh, and I probably would have really rolled my eyes at the whole Ritalin segments had I not actually known people who have been on it and heard some Ritalin-induced horror stories. Anyway, it’s a great movie all on its own. I’d recommend it to anybody that doesn’t get easily annoyed by Anton Yelchin’s voice.

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I Am McLovin!

2.26.2008

R2D2... The Ones with Books to Movies.

For this Random Ramblings, I don't have too much to note, but I have a few minutes before I gotta get ready for class, so I felt I could share a thing or two...

- Any anime and/or manga fans out there? Akira is being remade as two live-action movies starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Tetsuo and Leonardo DiCaprio as Kaneda. Similar to my Most Bizarre Cast Ever post, it's odd that they have two white guys playing two Asian guys, but it should be pretty awesome. I can't wait to see Kaneda's motorcycle live action.

- I just finished reading the teen romance/vampire book Twilight, and I still have a hard time picturing Robert Pattinson (Cedric Diggory of Goblet of Fire) as Edward... I guess he works, but that's still slightly off from how I pictured him.

- Similarly, I just read that a companion book is coming out for the Twilight series where the first book, Twilight, is going to be retold, but through Edward's point of view this time. I think that's awesome.

- For those who don't follow Harry Potter movie news, it was just confirmed recently that a brand new scene that is not from the books is being added to the next movie in which a bunch of Death Eaters are going to attack the Burrow (The Weasley house) and there's going to be this big fight there. I both can and cannot see this working well. I guess I'll just have to wait it out and see.

- The author of the book The Giver let it slip not too long ago that David Yates, who directed Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, and is currently directing Half-Blood Prince, had to turn down directing the film version of her book (at least for now, pushing it back), because he wants to finish out the Harry Potter series. Hooray! I loved Order of the Phoenix. Though it hasn't officially been confirmed, it's a pretty reliable source.

Really, that's about all I have. I told you I didn't have much. And I gotta go. Later!

2.24.2008

The Oscars: Wants, Wills, and Wins.

So the Oscars are over for another year... and boy did at least half the winners come from left field. The following is the list of movies I wanted to win, movies I thought would win, movies I thought would win after I'd actually seen most of them and/or just second guessing myself (AKA Second Choice), and the actual winner...

Best Actor
Want: Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)
Will: Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)
Actual Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood)

Best Supporting Actor
Want: Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men)
Will: Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men)
Actual Winner: Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men)

Best Actress
Want: Ellen Page (Juno)
Will: Ellen Page (Juno)
Second Choice: Julie Christie (Away From Her)
Actual Winner: Marion Cotillard (La Vie En Rose)

Best Supporting Actress
Want: Saoirse Ronan (Atonement)
Will: Cate Blanchett (I'm Not There)
Second Choice: Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone)
Actual Winner: Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton)

Best Animated Feature
Want: Ratatouille
Will: Ratatouille
Actual Winner: Ratatouille

Best Art Direction
Want: Atonement
Will: The Golden Compass
Second Choice: Atonement
Actual Winner: Sweeney Todd

Best Cinematography
Want: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Will: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Actual Winner: There Will Be Blood

Best Costume Design
Want: Atonement
Will: Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Actual Winner: Elizabeth: The Golden Age

Best Directing
Want: Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood)
Will: Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood)
Second Choice: The Coen Bros. (No Country For Old Men)
Actual Winner: The Coen Bros. (No Country For Old Men)

Best Documentary
Want: War/Dance
Will: Taxi to the Dark Side
Second Choice: Sicko
Actual Winner: Taxi to the Dark Side

Best Documentary Short
Want: Salim Baba
Will: Sari's Mother
Second Choice: La Corona
Actual Winner: Freeheld

Best Film Editing
Want: No Country For Old Men
Will: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Second Choice: No Country For Old Men
Actual Winner: The Bourne Ultimatum

Best Foreign Language Film
Want: 12
Will: 12
Actual Winner: The Counterfeiters

Best Makeup
Want: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Will: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Actual Winner: La Vie En Rose

Best Musical Score
Want: Atonement
Will: Atonement
Actual Winner: Atonement

Best Original Song
Want: That’s how you know (Enchanted)
Will: That’s how you know (Enchanted)
Actual Winner: Falling Slowly (Once)

Best Picture
Want: Juno
Will: There Will Be Blood
Second Choice: No Country For Old Men
Actual Winner: No Country For Old Men

Best Animated Short Film
Want: Peter and the Wolf
Will: Peter and the Wolf
Second Choice: I Met the Walrus
Actual Winner: Peter and the Wolf

Best Live Action Short
Want: The Mozart of Pickpockets
Will: The Mozart of Pickpockets
Actual Winner: The Mozart of Pickpockets

Best Sound Editing
Want: Transformers
Will: No Country For Old Men
Actual Winner: The Bourne Ultimatum

Best Sound Mixing
Want: 3:10 to Yuma
Will: No Country For Old Men
Actual Winner: The Bourne Ultimatum

Best Visual Effects
Want: The Golden Compass
Will: The Golden Compass
Actual Winner: The Golden Compass

Best Adapted Screenplay
Want: No Country For Old Men
Will: No Country For Old Men
Actual Winner: No Country For Old Men

Best Original Screenplay
Want: Juno
Will: Juno
Actual Winner: Juno

So I called at least 50% of them, depending on how you look at it. I have to say, a lot of these came out of nowhere for me. I'm still upset that Jesse James didn't win Cinematography. Not even Atonement won it. But There Will Be Blood? Somebody was bribed. I mean, it's a great movie... but the previous two were still much better in the cinematography category.

Also, for those of you who read my Art Direction segment for the LAMB Devours the Oscars... I think it was funny they had a section devoted to explaining what the hell Art Direction actually was... it was like they read my article... and they STILL didn't really explain it very well.

2.23.2008

VANTAGE POINT.

I will warn you now that there is going to be quite a bit of comparison in this review. The reason is because the idea behind this movie’s technique is rare, but has been done a few times before… imagine seeing a new movie that plays backwards: it would be impossible to review it without comparing it to Memento.

Anyway, like a few movies before it, such as 11:14, Go, Rashomon, and even the first half of Atonement, Vantage Point’s technique has the audience see an event from one perspective, rewind, and then see it all over again from another perspective until all the truth is out on the table. This time, the President (William Hurt) is shot during a peace conference, and the movie takes us through every important Point of View (POV), from a secret service agent (Dennis Quaid) to a tourist in the crowd (Forest Whitaker) to the bad guys at the end, until we know the entire story.

The one thing that this movie does differently than its predecessors (except maybe Atonement) is that it only shows a character’s POV up until right before their big climax, then it stops, rewinds, and starts again from somebody else’s POV, waiting to use all the climaxes together at the end. Another difference is that this has to be the most action-packed attempt at this technique I’ve yet to see. The action almost literally never stops, and it all culminates into a really cool car chase scene at the very end.

One of the improvements and drawbacks happens to be in when they do the rewinds. The point of multiple POV movies, at least in the past, has been to conceal a mystery until the final POV. But in doing this, each POV is fully completed upon their turn. This is the innovation and creativeness with this technique: having the ability to write a story where you can tell a full story from different POVs completely without giving anything away until the end. This movie simply stops right before something vital is revealed and keeps the viewer waiting until the very end of the movie when it compiles all of the climaxes into one uber-climax. It is an improvement because it keeps the audience in suspense until the end of the movie to find out what exactly happened with each character’s story. However, it’s a downfall because it can potentially annoy its audience (quite a few in my theater were very vocal about it, even after the fourth or fifth rewind). It also seems to say “we can’t write it well enough to keep everything a surprise if we finish each story individually.” I have to admit, though… the climax was rather suspenseful, and everything did come together fashionably well. It’s really a double-edged sword the way it was done.

Also, because the movie simply revolves around an action-packed sequence of roughly 10 minutes each (except for the longer climax POV), there’s very little time for character development… as there is none… but that’s really not the point of this movie, either. Along with no character development, the acting tends to be kinda bad every now and then, specifically from Dennis Quaid (moreso toward the end of the movie, where he really has some cheesy lines).

I found that the best POV and character was Forest Whitaker’s. He seemed to be the easiest to latch on to and connect with, probably because he’s the everyday tourist, the most human and relatable. He also, I believe, gives the best performance of them all in the movie. Though that is to be expected; I mean, come on, it’s Forest Whitaker.

The ending isn’t too predictable unless you paid attention to the movie trailer. But seriously, I even had it spoiled for me a few months back and I still didn’t expect it, mostly because I had both forgotten and gotten too wrapped up in the action to really think about it. The only bad thing about the big reveal is that it’s not really explained much, so it almost doesn’t make much sense, but I went with it anyway.

So overall, it was a great action movie that took a cool idea and put it to decent use (the thing that bothered me most is that it’s seemingly taking credit for creating this technique, when it’s been done a few times already, but with less commercial films). The acting could have been better, but this wasn’t made to be an Oscar winner. It’s a summer blockbuster that was accidentally released about 4 months early, apparently. And if you liked how Vantage Point was done, go see it done better with Go and 11:14 (they’re like this movie, but with less action and deeper characters). Time to rate this bad boy…

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I Am McLovin!

2.22.2008

ATONEMENT.

Finally came here, finally saw it, so here goes: My feelings on Atonement are quite mixed, really. But before I get into that, here’s the rundown: Robbie (James McAvoy) and Cecilia (Keira Knightley) are in love. Cecilia’s little sister Briony (Saoirse Ronan), in a fit of (supposed) jealousy and rage, accuses Robbie of a major crime he didn’t actually commit. This lie disrupts everybody’s lives, which are sent into disarray, making Briony grow up trying to be forgiven for what she did.

It’s really that simple. I also say supposed jealousy, because she at one point admits to having had a crush on Robbie, so I just figured that had something to do with it. But anyway, to the review. I enjoyed the first act (pre-war) of the movie the most. Saoirse Ronan was utterly engaging (those eyes were just captivating). Just everything that occurred in that first act made for some good drama and entertainment. The second act (war and 18-year-old Briony) started to lose me. It wasn’t bad; it just didn’t keep me nearly as entertained as the first act. The quite short third act (future Briony) was just bizarre, taking a big turn with a not-so-surprising reveal (I was already raising my eyebrow to the fact it was 3 weeks in the past during act two and Robbie was home from the war).

I really loved the rewinding and re-showing of scenes from different perspectives, but after the first act, that really slowed to a halt. Yet another reason I liked the first act the most.

As far as acting is concerned, Saoirse Ronan did amazingly well. Keira Knightley was okay, as was James McAvoy. However, I really wasn’t feeling the romance part of the story, which is really bad considering the movie is centered around their romance. I never cared if Robbie and Cecilia would ever get back with each other, nor did I really care if they would end up with each other in the first place. I felt almost no chemistry between them. Let me put it this way, I felt about 20x more chemistry between Dane Cook and Jessica Alba in Good Luck Chuck than I felt between these two. As for the character of Briony, Saoirse’s version was the best version. I didn’t give a hoot about the 18-year-old version, or really even the old version at the end. Neither were even close to being as captivating or watchable.

However, there were some excellent, excellent things about this movie. For starters, the music was amazing. I loved how, at least half the time, the props or noises from the sets ended up adding to the music (such as opening a door, lighting a cigarette lighter, or banging on the police car). Then, of course, the typewriter was the best. But on top of the music, the movie was visually stunning, as well, especially in the first act. However, after the first act ends, the movie seems to be more selective where it wants to be pretty or artsy. The most notable parts from the war sequence were walking down the grass and seeing the planes fly by in the stream next to them, and, obviously, the nearly five minute continuous shot on the beach. The last real cool shot of the movie was seeing 18-year-old Briony on what I’m assuming to be a train, and the lights flickering on her face.

Personally, I believe the music and the visuals make up for some of the issues, much like how the visuals of The Assassination of Jesse James made it a better movie for all its flaws. It’s a difficult movie to score, honestly, but I suppose I have to give it something…

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A Keanu 'Whoa'

(P.S. Is a woman really going to keep the exact same haircut for her entire life? Seriously now...)

2.20.2008

Quick Update: IMDb Hit List!

Now THAT'S a birthday present! R2D2 has been featured on IMDb's Hit List for my 10 Years, 10 Great Screenplays article.

Also, fellow blogger Fletch over at Blog Cabins is up on the Hit List right along side me with his 20 Best Movie Characters in the Last 20 Years (Part II).

It seems there's a theme going along with that between the two of us. Anywho, just felt like sharing! Have a great day and all that.

2.19.2008

Off Topic: Apologies.

Just wanted to update by apologizing and saying I have nothing to update with right now. Sorry for not having anything since this past weekend, but this week is proving to be quite busy. Tomorrow (2/20) is my birthday, and I don't even have time to celebrate it (I'll actually be working until 7 PM. The previous year was similar, in which I had classes from about 8 AM to 9:15 PM). I have 5 classes (4 of which are online, which means a lot more reading is involved. And 3 of my classes are already Reading classes, one of which has me reading about 6 books in and of itself. Another is a humanities class with another 6 books or so. Ironically, I'm actually rather caught up and/or ahead with those two classes. The fifth class, if you were curious, is a communications class)... and I have a job. I have Tuesdays off from work because I have my one face-to-face class then, but the professor was sick so I had the day off... and I worked on homework the entire day, and I *maybe* hit the halfway mark, but probably not, on what I have left for this week (just for it to reset on Sunday and start all over again).

On top of that, I have to take the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities (PPR) test this Saturday... which is basically a qualifying test so I can become teaching certified. I have to take a Content test at some point, too, but I'm not worried about that at the moment. And I also still need another 21 hours of Observation to do before the semester ends.

I think once I have this dang test behind me, the load will start to lighten off of me... Spring Break can't come fast enough. As for right now, somebody hold me...

2.16.2008

DEFINITELY, MAYBE.

The selling point of this movie to me was Ryan Reynolds. I’ve loved him in everything he’s done. It’s a little different with this movie, as he’s playing something I don’t believe I’ve seen him do before: a dad. The premise is very simple: Maya (Abigail Breslin) has Sex Ed one day at school and goes home with her divorcing father Will (Ryan Reynolds) and asks about how she came to be. At first he refuses because it’s too complicated, but he decides to do it as a love story mystery type thing in which he changes all the women’s names. So thus begins the intertwining love adventures between Will and Emily (Elizabeth Banks), April (Isla Fisher), and Summer (Rachel Weisz).

As far as romantic comedies go, this one was pretty good. While it was predictable at times and had a by-the-book ending, it threw in a unique twist to the story, being the flashback-laden story, which the majority of the movie takes place in. For the most part, the acting was actually done very well, though it got pretty sappy and a bit cheesy toward the end. I still loved Ryan Reynolds in this, as he kept his usual Ryan Reynolds wit and charm. Rachel Weisz was okay, but her character was pretty boring to me. Elizabeth Banks was good, too, but my favorite, of course, was Isla Fisher (which is probably because the movie sets it up that way. In other words, if this had been your average Rom Com with only one main female to fall in love with, it would have been Isla Fisher).

The props, however, have to go to Kevin Kline’s horny professor, Hampton Roth. It was an interesting role for Kline, but it worked. He was entertaining every time he was on screen. Actually, he was probably the good half of the Rachel Weisz part of the story. On the other hand, Abigail Breslin, for the little bit of movie she was actually in (as I said, a huge chunk of the movie was in flashback), did very well. She actually had some of the funniest lines in the movie, but that could be because you don’t really expect a girl of her age to say some of the things she does. It catches you off guard.

All in all, I didn’t think the ‘mom’ was as predictable as everybody is saying, but the ending itself was quite predictable. But it fit, too, as this is a Rom Com. So yeah, it was pretty good for what it was. Ryan Reynolds wins me over again (it really sounds like I have a crush on the guy).

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I Am McLovin!

(P.S. Did anybody else who saw it suddenly get the strange urge to go out and read Jane Eyre afterward?)

2.15.2008

JUMPER.

Remember that movie a few years back called The Covenant? This movie is basically like that movie: a simple and relatively unimportant plot, really freakin awesome action, and an ending that makes you feel they’re setting it up for a trilogy that might never come. Except this one has Hayden Christensen in it.

The basic movie is thus: 15 year old David (Max Thieriot) is all crushing on 15 year old Millie (AnnaSophia Robb). He gives her a snow globe as a gift, but a bully throws it out on the ice. When he goes out to get it, he breaks through and is about to drown when he suddenly teleports to safety. His home life sucks as his mom (Diane Lane) ran off when he was 5, and his dad (Michael Rooker) is a drunk. So he runs away and starts a life of independence and bank robbery. So 8 years pass and David (Hayden Christensen) is living the good life, but decides to make a trip back home. He meets up with his old crush, Millie (Rachel Bilson) and decides to take her on a trip to Rome. However, he also meets up with a Paladin, people who hunt Jumpers, named Roland (Sam Jackson), as well as a fellow Jumper named Griffin (Jamie Bell). Griffin informs David that Paladins will kill everybody he knows and then him and welcomes him to the war. Action ensues.

Now, the premise is very cool, which made me super excited about the movie. However, besides the premise, all the movie has going for it is the action, unfortunately. As far as acting goes, it really isn’t the best, especially with Hayden, who seems to be channeling his performance as Anakin. His voice-over at the beginning couldn’t sound any more unenthused and dry. His acting in some of the scenes literally made an image of a piece of cardboard flash into my mind.

As for Millie, I liked AnnaSophia’s portrayal more than I did Rachel Bilson’s. They should have just left them 15 years old and let the two 15 year olds play the part. It would have been much better. And David and Millie’s first meeting after 8 years of being missing is bordering ridiculous. David’s dad and even Millie’s mom are all brought to tears because he’s just been missing and presumed dead for 8 years. But Millie is just like “Hey, what’s up?” like they had never been apart. Not to mention he shows up out of nowhere in 8 years, asks her to go to Rome after talking for about 10 minutes, and she accepts immediately.

And Sam Jackson wasn’t really in the movie a whole lot, to be honest (I mean, he had his fair share of scenes). But when he was, he said a lot of the same lines over and over again (“I’m from such-and-such government agency” and “Only God has the right to be everywhere at once!” and “He got away!”).

Oh, and Diane Lane’s subplot was almost completely irrelevant unless they plan on using it for a sequel. She literally only has 2 scenes in the entire movie, and one of them only lasts about 15 seconds at most.

The one character who did save the show, though, was Griffin. He was funny, witty, and a pretty neat character. Ironically, from what I’ve heard, he’s the only character that’s not from the original book (he was added just for the movie). The only thing I disliked about Griffin’s character was that he seemed contradictory with himself. The whole beginning he’s following Hayden around all stalker-like. But once they finally meet and he tells him about the Paladins, he no longer wants anything else to do with Hayden’s character whatsoever and complains because Hayden won’t leave him alone. It’s almost like “what’s the point, then?”

But what was really cool was the action. The visual effects and just the action in general is worth seeing this movie, especially toward the climax. It’s just super fun to watch. Unfortunately, a lot of things were left hanging and unanswered. You don’t know what happens to a handful of characters. Everything is just left with you asking “…but what about…?” And the screenplay was co-written by the same guy who did Fight Club, which is interesting. Oh, and for those interested, the soundtrack was on-again-off-again with me. Sometimes it had some really cool orchestral stuff, other times it was rather forgettable… so it mirrored the movie nicely.

So really, the only thing going for the movie is the action and such, which is insanely cool. If it weren’t for that, it’d probably have gotten a lower rating from me, but the action itself is worth seeing the movie.

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Feed Me, Seymour!

2.14.2008

10 Years, 10 Great Screenplays.

Update: Yeah, I know, there's technically 11 years/11 screenplays. I wrote this near the beginning of my blogging career... it's a big rough, and there's been controversy around it. But... whatever.

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In light of the Writer’s Strike having just ended, I thought it might be a fun idea to write an article based around 10 really great movies within the last 10 years (1 movie per year) that were just incredibly smartly written. Whether it be dialogue, scenario, or just brilliance all around, something about each of these screenplays turned out 10 magnificent movies. Each of these descriptions isn’t overly long, and they say roughly the same thing. I just felt it was important to at least state some reasons why I thought these movies were chosen for their specific year. So let’s get started.


1997 – Chasing Amy.

Written by: Kevin Smith

Arguably one of Kevin Smith’s best movies (though maybe not his wittiest, which would go to Clerks), Chasing Amy is a story about a lesbian and the man in love with her. Whether you are straight, gay, or bi, you can’t deny that Chasing Amy has heart. And its script is really well done, at that. My personal favorite scene would be when Jason Lee is trying to explain to Ben Affleck why the relationship can’t work, using examples with Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and the Man-Hating Dyke. It’s just classic Smith dialogue.


1998 – The Big Lebowski.

Written by: Joel and Ethan Coen

Very quick, smart, and hilarious. It’s a movie full of memorable characters and scenarios. And when the main character is known as The Dude, you know you have a classic (in one form or another) on your hands. Fuck it, let’s go bowling.


1999 – Fight Club.

Written by: Jim Uhls (based on the book by Chuck Palahniuk)

This was the hardest year to choose from. Do you have any idea how many great movies came out in 1999? A large chunk of them, actually. It was almost like everybody was afraid the world was going to end with Y2K and decided to get all their best movies out all at once. From movies such as The Matrix, The Sixth Sense, and American Beauty, it was incredibly hard to pick just one. But I finally decided to stick with Fight Club. Yes, it’s based on a book, but it was just so smart and witty that it was hard not to choose it. There’s so many scenes in this movie that are memorable, dialogue-wise, it’s hard to even pick one thing. And to top that off, you even have that narration about the ‘I am Jack’s’ such-and-such. At the very least, it was intelligent adaptation.


2000 – Requiem for a Dream.

Written by: Hubert Selby Jr.

On the other hand, 2000 was the year of a lot of crap, with such gems as Battlefield Earth. It seems that in getting out all their best ideas in 1999, and upon realizing the world didn’t end come 2000, they realized “Well hell, we still have movies to make… um…” I’ll be honest, I haven’t completely watched this movie all the way through because I didn’t care for it while I was watching it. It’s possible that it was because I was watching it after midnight, but still… this was one of the only highly acclaimed movies of the year, so I chose it.


2001 – Memento.

Written by: Christopher Nolan (based on a short story by Jonathan Nolan)

(See what I did there?). And that scene where he’s running from somebody thinking he’s chasing somebody and realizes he’s being chased instead is classic. The idea behind this movie was brilliant in and of itself. This movie can’t get enough recognition. So what can I say about Memento?


2002 – Donnie Darko.

Written by: Richard Kelly

This movie is such a mind-freak (sans Chris Angel). It still boggles the minds of us years later. It’s twisted, dark, and smart. Time travel is tricky business, and this movie handles in a great way.


2003 – Adaptation.

Written by: Charlie and ‘Donald’ Kaufman (based… around?... a book by Susan Orlean)

After the first time I saw this movie, I couldn’t watch another movie without it messing with my brain. This is the movie about movies that will forever alter the way you see movies. Love or hate Nicolas Cage, this is one of his best flicks. Not to mention it was written by Charlie and Donald Kaufman about Charlie and Donald Kaufman… and Donald Kaufman doesn’t even exist. Seriously… a movie about adapting a book that cannot be adapted so he adapts his own life and merges it with the story of the book he can’t adapt… all of this being based on the true story of how Charlie Kaufman being unable to adapt a book that cannot be adapted so he adapts his… yeah, you get it. My brain hurts, too.


2004 – Shaun of the Dead.

Written by: Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg

This movie has one of my favorite scripts in existence. I continue my claim that this movie was one of the most brilliant things ever written. Everything in this movie is either said or done at least twice in two different circumstances. And everything that happens in the latter half of the movie is foreshadowed in the first half. It had to have taken ages to plan this movie out to the degree it was. I still catch stuff in this movie after countless times of seeing it. It’s a hoot.


2005 – Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang.

Written by: Shane Black (based on a book by Brett Halliday)

Regardless of the entirely overcomplicated and confusing ending, this movie was insanely quick-witted and smart. The story is tight and the characters are vibrant. It’s funny and it’s just good all around.


2006 – Brick.

Written by: Rian Johnson

Originally, this year had gone to Stranger than Fiction. But then I realized that Brick came out the same year, and I already had one movie that was somewhat similar to Fiction in premise (Adaptation). So Brick it is. It has a great idea: Take a classic Noir Film with your basic 20s detective or whatnot… and set it in a present-day high school with the same type of dialogue and everything. You have to know what you’re in for before watching the movie or you’ll be utterly lost and confused, but once you get into it you realize how well and smartly written this movie really was.


2007 – Juno.

Written by: Diablo Cody

Possibly not the best film of 2007, but it was certainly one of the most original and funny. The characters are round (in the literature sense), the dialogue was fast and snappy, and everything about this movie screamed “love me, I’m brilliant.” You can’t help but love the character of Juno and her quick wit.

2.13.2008

R2D2... The One With Scarlett Johansson.

I have about 25 minutes before I have to start getting ready for work, so here's some randomness for the day...

- I hated Woody Allen's Match Point. However, I just heard yesterday that Woody's next movie starring Scarlett Johansson is going to include a hardcore passionate lesbian scene between her and Penelope Cruz. I'm totally there.

- Similarly, there's a movie coming out called The Other Boleyn Girl staring Scarlett and Natalie Portman in the same movie. Totally there.

- Unrelated to movies, but U2 is one of the most overrated bands ever. Bono is an okay dude, but U2 just plain sucks. I can't stand them (and I often get burned at the stake for that opinion).

- I should totally do an article on top 10 overrated movies. That way I can get lambasted (I really just wanted to use the word lambasted).

- Jumper this week! Hooray!

- I was watching Ghostbuster II the other night and I got to thinking... with all these sequels lately where previously fit actors are now old (namely Rocky, Rambo, and Indiana Jones), they should totally do a Ghostbusters 3, where all the guys meet up again after 20 years of going their separate ways. Maybe they can have a death match between the Stay Puft Marshmellow Man and the Statue of Liberty.

-It seems American Gangster and Michael Clayton are coming to DVD right before the Oscars... I might be able to do a quick rental and check them out right before the ceremony. Then I'd really be caught up (minus, say, Atonement).

- I watched The Nanny Diaries last night... it wasn't too bad, though Scarlett Johansson helped... a lot.

- Can you tell I like Scarlett Johansson? I'm actually DVRing (or about to) The Girl with the Pearl Earring, because it's one of the only SJ movies I have yet to see.

- Really, I'll just leave it at that.

2.10.2008

2 In 1: The Dead Girl and 11:14.

For this 2 In 1, I’m concentrating on two movies that have a large ensemble cast of decently-known actors and actresses, that have 5 inter-connected stories, and that have at least one dead body at the center of its plot. Also, both movies end with the last story being the one of the actual dead person. The first one I will discuss, The Dead Girl, is a movie I just saw on television for the first time, and it reminded me somewhat of another movie I actually own that is entitled 11:14.

The Dead Girl.

This movie’s cast is just full of ‘wow, I wasn’t expecting them to be in this movie’ moments. The more well-known names on the list include: Toni Collette, Giovanni Rabisi, Rose Byrne, James Franco, Marcia Gay Harden, Britney Murphy, and Josh Brolin. Each story is broken down into a title segment, and each segment is connected in some form or fashion to this particular dead girl. The basic stories are as follows:

The Stranger focuses on the very timid and quiet Arden (Toni Collette) who lives at home with her verbally abusive mother (Piper Laurie). One day, she stumbles across the dead body of a young woman (Britney Murphy) and calls it into the police. Unfortunately, this gets her some attention that she doesn’t want, nor that she can really handle, especially when a very frank grocery bagger, Rudy (Giovanni Rabisi) grows attracted to her and asks her out.

The Sister focuses on Leah (Rose Byrne), a young mortician whose sister disappeared 15 years prior, and whose mother (Mary Steenburgen) is overly obsessed with continuing to find her, which just drives Leah into a deeper and deeper depression. But when Leah stumbles across a Jane Doe of the young dead girl, she believes it might be her sister. With hopes of closure ensuing, Leah is able to finally free her emotions and become attached to long-time crush, Derek (James Franco).

The Wife focuses on Ruth (Mary Beth Hurt), a religious woman whose husband, Carl (Nick Searcy), owns a storage facility. He often leaves her, sometimes for long periods of time, which drives Ruth into an angry depression. However, when Ruth accidentally stumbles upon a storage unit that has stuff in it, mostly a dresser full of women’s clothes, when it’s supposed to be empty, Ruth starts wondering if her husband is behind these recent disappearances and murders.

The Mother focuses on Melora (Marcia Gay Harden), the mother of the dead girl after her identity is found. Her daughter had run away from home to Los Angeles and became a hooker. Melora goes to where her daughter had lived and learns as much about her daughter as she can from her old roommate and friend, Rosetta (Kerry Washington), including the fact that her daughter has a daughter of her own.

The Dead Girl focuses on Krista (Britney Murphy), the actual dead girl before she dies. This is the shortest of the stories and basically focuses on Krista trying to get a birthday present to her daughter by the next day, including trying to bum a ride off her friend and occasional lover, Tarlow (Josh Brolin).

Overall, the acting is really good, but there was just something that felt lacking, and I can't put my finger on it. The movie starts off awkwardly with The Stranger, as Toni Collette’s performance is very quiet, subtle, and awkward in and of itself. The scenes between Giovanni’s character and hers can best be described as a tense awkwardness. But this is in a good way, considering that’s the character’s point. This first segment is also the most beautifully shot. The Sister is decent, but it underused James Franco, who really brought the Charisma to the segment. When The Wife begins, I felt immediately annoyed with Ruth and her mannerisms, but it actually became one of the most interesting segments of the movie as it focused on the possible killer. The Mother, though, was the best segment, I have to say. It was the most informative, the best acted, and the most heartfelt. You can really feel Marcia Gay Harden’s sadness over her daughter, as well as the subtle pain from Kerry Washington. The movie ends with The Dead Girl, and it felt like a pretty weak ending. There wasn’t much special or surprising about what happened. You don’t see her get killed, but you know it’s coming. Though, the sole voice singing over the ending credits is very haunting. I had a hard time scoring this movie, because it did have a huge emotional impact... but like I said, something just felt missing.

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I Am McLovin!

11:14.

I’ve discussed this movie before in my Top 10 Twists article. Therefore, I won’t spoil the ending here. If you want to know what happens, you can see it there. However, here is the list of the biggest names in the movie: Henry Thomas, Hilary Swank, Shawn Hatosy, Colin Hanks, Ben Foster, Patrick Swayze, Jason Segel, and Rachel Leigh Cook. This review will be pretty short to make up for The Dead Girl’s being rather long. To make it easy, I can just copy and paste my plot synopsis from my Top 10 Twists article, as it basically says it all:

A story is told from five different perspectives that revolves around the events that occur at 11:14 PM. 1) Jack (Henry Thomas) is driving down the road talking on a phone. The next thing he knows, a human body lands on his windshield from out of nowhere. 2) A group of misfits (Stark Strands, Colin Hanks, Ben Foster) is driving down the road when they accidentally hit a girl. 3) Duffy (Shawn Hatosy) wants to rob the convenient store that he and his friend Buzzy (Hilary Swank) work at so he can give his girlfriend Cheri (Rachel Leigh Cook) money for an abortion. 4) Frank (Patrick Swayze) is Cheri's dad, and goes out to try and protect her when he stumbles upon the dead body of Aaron (Blake Heron), the guy Cheri went out with that night. 5) Cheri's story.

I really love this movie. It’s similar to the movie Go, in which you see one story, and the movie rewinds and you see the whole thing again from a different point of view. By the time the movie is over, you know everything that lead up to 11:14 PM and why. I actually like this movie better than Go, and I think it was just done really well. The only bad thing is that Ben Foster really got the short end of the stick in this role (…that’s a really bad joke for those who have seen the movie). The acting might not be the best in the world, but the story makes up for it. Plus, dark comedies are awesome.

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A Keanu 'Whoa'

2.08.2008

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN.

You know the drill: Oscar Movie + Small Town = Me Going ASAP. This time it was No Country for Old Men. This movie is about Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) who, while out hunting one day, stumbles upon a drug deal gone badly, as well as a couple million dollars in a suitcase. He does everything he can do to keep the money, but he’s being pursued by a crazy killer, Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), who is leaving bodies in his trail. However, local police officer Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) is also trying to find him, but to protect him.

For the most part, this movie was excellent. The acting was great, the story was good, and it was overall intriguing. There was very little music, but that was okay. The acting was good on all accounts, although Javier Bardem was very intimidating all on his own (he even made me nervous). And Anton’s air gun thing was an awesome weapon.

There’s only one real downer, and that’s the last 15-20 minutes or so of the movie, whenever the motel thing occurs and everything after that. It’s just like “that’s it? That’s how it ends? That’s lame.” It reminded me of Sunshine, except less confusing; it was just really disappointing. I guess you could call it anti-climactic, in more ways than one. And I'm pretty sure I understand what happened. I think I was able to put everything together (if you want my theory, hit me up in the comments). I still think the ending sucked.

Honestly, that’s about all I have to say about it. Great acting, great characters (and I almost laughed when Woody Harrelson appeared, because I totally wasn’t expecting it), and a decent story. It did remind me a bit of Fargo, but much better. Fargo annoyed the crap out of me. I couldn’t stand that movie when I watched it (I know, blasphemy). Anywho, I guess I’ll just score it, then…

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A Keanu 'Whoa'

(Edit: After going back and reading Fletch from Blog Cabins' review of the movie, I have to say it's quite funny that our reviews are actually insanely similar, even down to mentioning Sunshine.)

It's Over!

The Writer's Strike, that is. Michael Eisner (former chief exec of Disney) revealed that a deal has finally been struck with the WGA and by the end of Saturday (tomorrow), everything will be over.

For (not much) more information, you can check out this link.

So yeah... that's awesome. NOW BRING BACK HEROES.

2.06.2008

2 In 1: Jesse James and King of Kong.

Every now and then I buy a couple movies on DVD and, because of the randomly silly rule I set for myself with this review blog (only give formal reviews to movies in theater, everything else gets discussed in some kind of article), I find it increasingly difficult to actually do just that. However, it’s always fun trying to find loopholes to my rule (because I’m too stubborn to break it). Therefore, I’ve come up with this idea to do an article where I just review two movies on DVD or whatnot together, but in a shorter fashion. So here I go.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.

First I’ll start with the good. The acting was great, and I’m stumped as to how Casey Affleck received an Oscar nod but Brad Pitt did not. Both were great, but Brad Pitt was just purely fantastic. The whole time watching, I never thought “hey, that’s Brad Pitt.” But anyway, as I said, the acting rocked. Another great thing, which is a vast understatement, is the cinematography. This was really one of the most beautifully shot films I have seen in a long time. Every frame of this movie felt like a piece of art. Finally, the movie’s musical score was awesome, as well, especially the song played during the initial train robbery and at the end after Jesse James gets shot (if you call me on a spoiler for that, you need to be slapped). I loved that theme.

If this movie had any downfall, it was the actual story. Or the lack of one, really. There were quite a few times in this movie where I had no idea what the hell was going on (moreso in the first hour and a half or so than the second half of the movie). But really, there is no over-arching plot. It’s seemingly just a bunch of random occurrences strung together, like somebody opened up a biography of Jesse James, pointed out some key chapters, and filmed it. And, like the title, the movie was a tad too long. Without the ending credits, it’s about 2.5 hours long, with half of that time frame being scenes mostly unimportant to the little story there was. It just seemed to jump from one character to the next and back again with nothing in between, and the voice-over narration didn’t do much, as it was basically reading from the aforementioned biography book detailing what will happen to characters after the timeframe of the movie. I’m a very visual learner, so following along with a history lecture in an auditory fashion was very difficult for me.

However, that doesn’t make this a bad movie. I really think the great acting and the beautifully stunning cinematography keep it pinned to a high rating. And if this movie doesn’t win the Best Cinematography Oscar, I’ll be upset. It better. Anywho, my rating is…

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A Keanu 'Whoa'

King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters.

Now THIS is a great movie. I can’t comment on the acting, because there wasn’t any. It’s a documentary, so these are just real people doing their thing. I can’t really comment on cinematography, because, as I said, it’s a documentary, and those aren’t known for breath-taking camera angles and wide-lens masters. But what I can discuss is entertainment value. This documentary really feels like it’s a scripted movie, though it isn’t. You have your villain and overall hypocritical jackass, Billy Mitchell. You also have your down-on-his-luck, family man, school-teacher, and overall underdog, Steve Wiebe (pronounced Wee-Bee). You have your villain’s henchman, Brian Kuh. And you have the nice, old middleman, Walter Day.

For those that don’t know, this movie is about the ultra-competitive sport that is arcade games, specifically Donkey Kong. Billy Mitchell took the all-time high score back in 1982 and kept his title. However, after being laid off from work, Steve Wiebe takes up Donkey Kong to pass some time and thinks it might be fun to try and beat the high score. What he didn’t realize is the hardcore world he was getting him and his family into. And after he beats Billy’s score (by a lot) and submits it for the records, it’s refused by a really depressing series of events. So this leads Steve to go to any competition around the U.S. to try and publicly beat Billy’s score.

I didn’t know what to expect when going into this. I had heard nothing but good things, so my expectations were rather high. And, needless to say, they stayed that way. It starts off a bit slow, but once it really gets into it, it’s addictingly entertaining, much like video games themselves. It was a lot like watching Survivor, I think, because you grow attached to some people (Steve and Walter), annoyed by others (Brian), and just plain hate some (Billy). Seriously, Brian Kuh reminded me of like a cartoon sidekick, willing to hump his master’s leg and do any evil deed that was wished, while Billy often made me think back to characters like Dr. Claw from Inspector Gadget. He never showed his face, but he was always in the background doing dastardly deeds.

Anyway, this movie was great, entertaining, and funny. By the end, I was gripping my bed sheets in suspense, just praying that Steve would beat Billy’s high score. So I suppose this one will get…

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Royale With Cheese

2.04.2008

Top 5 Best Jim Carrey Movies.

First, I must reiterate that this list does not make up what are the undeniable best 5 Jim Carrey movies. Instead, it is what I personally believe are his best and/or my favorite. What I think are his best might not be what you think are his best, etc. I’ve had the idea for this article in my head for a few weeks now, and I’m finally getting around to it… So now that we have that out of the way, it is time to move on.

Carrey is a man of insane wackiness and intense drama. Like some comedians before him, his more dramatic roles are often better than his more comedic roles. Love him or hate him, he has made some truly memorable movies. This list is going to document what I believe to be his best 5 (in reverse order). So without further ado, here’s the list:


5. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.

He talks out of his butt, he’s in love with animals, and he solves crimes. He’s Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. Carrey’s breakout role as the incredibly hyper and hysterically insane Ace Ventura introduced the world to the character that is Jim Carrey. It was a role that established that it’s not really just the character, but the man behind the character that embodies the pure wackiness. The butt talking was just a side-effect.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective is about, well, Ace Ventura (Carrey), who is a Pet Detective (imagine that). He goes to solve the case of a missing dolphin mascot of the Miami Dolphins (and eventually a missing Dan Marino), and it turns into a truly bizarre, yet hilarious mystery that leads him to a twisted conclusion (and a not very well received sequel).

Memorable Line: Alllllllrighty then!


4. Liar Liar.

Liar Liar is about Fletcher Reede (Carrey), a lawyer whose son, Max (Justin Cooper), sees as a perpetual liar. But when Fletcher’s wife, Audrey (Maura Tierney), thinks about leaving with her boyfriend Jerry (Cary Elwes), Fletcher knows he has to make everything okay between him and his son before it’s too late. Unfortunately, a few things get in the way. First, the divorce case of the year; second, the fact that his son’s birthday wish is that he, Fletcher, can’t tell a lie for 24 hours, which comes true.

This movie really shows us how necessary some lies can be, and how harmful some lies can be. It also shows us that if lawyers are good enough, they don’t have to lie! But at its heart, it’s a movie about a man and his son, and how the man will do anything to be with him. Looking through its hilarity, it has a touching story, and moral, at its core, which makes Liar Liar a pretty good movie throughout.

Memorable Line: The pen is blue. The pen is blue! The God-damn pen is blue!


3. The Mask.

As number three on the list, this movie acts as a basic median and transitory position between the previous two movies and the latter two movies. While it is not, by far, a drama, Carrey shows us two sides of his acting skill in this movie. Like the former two movies, he shows us his wackiness as the character of The Mask; however, like the following two movies, he shows us a more dramatic side as the painfully pathetic and down-on-his luck Stanley Ipkiss.

The Mask details the life of banker Stanley Ipkiss, a man who has horrible luck and loves old cartoons. His life is sad and boring and uneventful. That is, until he finds an ancient mask that, when he puts it on, brings out his inner cartoon wackiness and allows him to be everything he’s not. He woos local lounge singer Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz in her very first role) and fights crime. Unfortunately, he commits a few crimes along the way and catches the eye of local police, as well as mobster Dorian Tyrell (Peter Greene).

Between the lovable Stanley and the laugh-inducing Mask persona, Jim Carrey really shows both a dramatic and comedic side in one movie (after all, the movie is based on a much darker comic book). And who can hate the conga dance and song number in the middle of the road, or the swing number in the night club (apparently not Sam Raimi, who nearly mimicked the latter in SM3)? Classic.

Memorable Line: It’s party time! P-A-R-T…Y? Because I gotta!


2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

This movie is heralded as what is possibly Jim Carrey’s finest performance, and I can’t disagree. However, this isn’t my number one favorite. His performance was stunning, and the movie itself was original and creative, but it still doesn’t beat my number one spot.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a mind-trip of a movie about Joel Barish (Carrey), a man who had recently broken up with Clementine (a terrific performance by Kate Winslet). Devastated, he finds out that she had procedure done which removed every memory of him out of her brain. To fight back, Joel does the same. However, midway through the procedure, which is being performed by Stan (Mark Ruffalo) and Patrick (Elijah Wood), Joel realizes he no longer wants to forget Clementine due to happy memories and tries to fight back by hiding in older memories where they can’t find either of them.

Again, this movie is incredibly creative and original, and Jim Carrey’s performance is stunning. I don’t see how he didn’t get an Oscar nod for the role (the only acting nod went to Kate Winslet). It’s a trip to watch, and, to me, it’s one of those movies that you have to be in the right mood to watch, which is why it didn’t make number one.

Memorable Line (One of my favorite movie lines ever, actually): Why do I fall in love with every woman I see who shows me the least bit of attention?


1. The Truman Show.

This is my favorite Jim Carrey movie of all time, and one of my favorite movies period (not top 5, but it’s high on my list). The premise is amazing and creative, and really goes into that social commentary of how far entertainment will go. The Truman Show is about Truman Burbank (Carrey), a man who has unknowingly been the star of his own reality show his entire life. Everything has been set up for him by the creator, Christof (Ed Harris), from his best friend Marlon (Noah Emmerich), to his wife Meryl (Laura Linney). But then, one day, when Truman sees his father, who is supposed to be dead, everything turns around, mistakes start occurring, and Truman begins to become paranoid, wondering what the heck is going on.

This is a great movie of paranoia, social commentary, and overall great acting (in more ways than one). I never get tired of watching this movie, and it has one of my favorite endings to a movie ever. Seriously, this movie had what is probably the perfect ending. Carrey’s performance was a decent balance between dramatic and funny, and his character’s dip into paranoia and strengthening goal of reaching Fiji is played masterfully. While Eternal Sunshine might be his greatest performance, The Truman Show is his greatest film.

Memorable Line: In case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night.

Runner-Up:
Dumb and Dumber.

2.03.2008

THE EYE.

I had seen, and loved, the original Chinese version of The Eye a few years back. When I first heard they were remaking it, I was both excited and nervous. This project has been in the process of being made for a long time now. It had gone off radar for a while, but then, not too long ago, it showed up again, and it was starring Jessica Alba. So now that it’s out, I’m finally able to give my verdict. To catch people up, The Eye is about a blind violinist, Sydney (Jessica Alba), who gets a corneal transplant. However, she soon starts seeing things that she shouldn’t be, namely horrible situations, ghosts, and the very angry ‘shadows’ that transport them to the afterlife.

Now it’s been a while since I’ve seen the original, but I did get flashbacks while watching this version. So, in other words, there are some similarities between the two. However, I still think the original was better (of course). This one didn’t awe me as much (or creep me out as much) as the original, though that could be partially due to the annoying jerks sitting behind me who liked to talk really loud and refuse to silence their phones (Four times it rang, and he answered. FOUR).

Anywho, the only real characters you can get attached to are Sydney and this dude named Miguel, though Miguel isn’t in the movie enough to really matter. But he’s a nice guy nonetheless. Everybody else is either ‘blah’ or a jerk. The biggest ‘blah’ character is Sydney’s sister, Helen (Parker Posey), who gives such a mediocre performance that she’s really more like a random woman in the movie. The biggest jerk would be the potential love interest, Paul (Alessandro Nivola), who really is just a big a-hole. Sydney even calls him on it at one point. But then they randomly throw in scenes where you’re supposed to like him, or that Sydney’s character is supposed to grow more attached to him, but it just doesn’t work. The whole time you’re just sitting there like “This dude’s an ass.”

The visuals were good, though the ‘shadows’ reminded me of like a mix between Voldemort and the vamps from I Am Legend. The movie had a few creepy moments, but really only one or two big jump-scares. The original, again, was much creepier, though; especially the elevator scene, which was much more effective in the Chinese version. And the “Have you seen my report card?” kid in the original was creepy, though the one in this version was almost laughable.

Though, the movie wasn’t horrible. It did manage to entertain for what it was. But it didn’t do anything special, either. There was even a point in the movie where it makes fun of itself, as Sydney is about to say “I see dead people,” but Paul finishes her sentence and then laughs in her face. So in the end, this movie wasn’t awesome, but it didn’t suck, either. If you thought the premise was cool, you can check this one out, but I’d much recommend the original first. At least that one doesn’t have voice-over narration by Jessica Alba. The Eye gets…

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Stop Saying Okay! Okay.

(P.S. The girl who plays Ana Christina Martinez totally looks like the girl who plays Alex on Lost. I would have sworn it was her while watching the movie, but it’s not.)

The World Has Ended.

Box Office:

#1 - Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour - $29 Million.

'Nuff said.

2.01.2008

THERE WILL BE BLOOD.

This movie finally decided to come to my little town, so I went and saw it ASAP. I know I’m a little late into the game with this movie, but here I go anyway. I pray nobody decides to burn me alive over this review, because I’m not giving it a ‘perfect’ or ‘best film of the year’ like basically everybody else. Granted, it’ll be close, but not the best. Anywho, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I can get into the review. The movie is about Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his quest for Oil. He’s brought to a small California town by Paul Sunday (Paul Dano). There he stays, at first, with the Sunday family, including Paul’s brother, Eli (also Paul Dano). And he finds oil. That’s about the gist of it.

Just to get it out of the way first, the acting in this movie was phenomenal. I can totally see why Daniel Day-Lewis was nominated for an Oscar. The character of Daniel was breath-takingly acted. However, everybody gushes over Day-Lewis, but not many people focus on who I thought was the guy who stole every scene he was in, Paul Dano. He played his character(s) with such subtlety (at least when he wasn’t doing the preaching thing) that you just wanted to strangle him. It was that good. I actually realized that the parts I disliked most about the movie were the parts that Paul Dano weren’t in. And that brings us to the movie’s first strike.

There were some really confusing parts in this movie. Two parts strike me the most. First, the opening 10 minutes (AKA the stuff where nobody says a damn thing). The first 10 minutes bugged me for a few reasons. And no, it wasn’t because nothing was being said. I thought that was fine. It’s just I had a hard time understanding what the heck was going on. First he’s digging for silver, and then he’s hunting oil? Where was the transition? How did he go from one to the other? And why? If the point was the oil, then why start the movie with the silver mine? I just completely did not follow that. Another thing about the first 10 minutes was the music, but I’ll get to that in a moment. The second part of the movie that struck most to me was the entire chunk of the movie involving Daniel’s ‘brother’. Now it wasn’t his actual brother that bothered me. That was fine. I just mean the entire portion of the movie starting when he shows up and ending at the portion when he… goes away. Everything that happens during that period of time makes little sense, especially why Daniel’s son seemed to be so pissed off at his dad, and why he sets the cabin on fire. There were some other things in that part of the movie, but I can’t remember specifics. It just felt like that whole section brought the movie down a notch for me (and, coincidentally, this entire section was void of Paul Dano, as were the first 10 minutes. I smell conspiracy!).

Now I mentioned the music. Again, the music was great, for the most part, and was really fitting for most of the scenes. But there were two or three scenes in which the music felt so badly placed that it took me out of the movie. For instance, the first 10 minutes of the movie… nothing exciting is really happening, yet the movie is playing this really tense and scary music like you’d find in a killer-chasing-victim scene of a thriller. It was just completely out of place. And there were at least one or two other times in the movie this happened.

However, those are the only faults I found with the movie. Everything else was spectacular, from the acting to the visuals (Though I still maintain what I said for the LAMB posting that it’s great, but probably won’t win Art Direction. But what do I know?).

So now, for the first time using my new rating system, I give There Will Be Blood

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A Keanu 'Whoa'

(P.S. I drink your milkshake! I drink it up! *slurp* - If there were a ‘Best Line in a Movie’ Oscar, that would take it.)

(P.P.S. It took me a large chunk of the movie to realize it, but I realized that there were quite a few times when Daniel Day-Lewis' voice reminded me of Sean Connery.)

New Rating System!

I've decided to give the place a little makeover. I realized that the place needed a slightly better rating system, so I made one (inspired by Blog Cabins' rating system). I mostly needed it for the next review I'm going to do in just a bit. Let me know what you think of it.

I'm also pondering changing the name of the site, too. Let me know in the comments if you think this is a good idea or not. The 'boomstick reviews' thing was just something I threw out because I needed a title and wasn't incredibly clever. And also, because I just removed the 'boomstick' choice from my rating system, it doesn't really make sense anymore. But I'm asking y'all, those who read here. What do y'all think? And what about the new rating system?

Thanks!

UPDATE: If you haven't noticed, the place got a total make-over. Whoo hoo!