Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thanksgiving Weekend Movies!

5 whole days off in a row allowed me to catch up on the Netflix movies I had at home. With 2 of them, I had company to watch it with, which hardly ever happens!

"Man On Wire"

This movie actually won the Academy Award for Best Documentary in 2008. I had never even heard of this story - a tight rope walker named Philippe Petit rigged a wire between the World Trade Center Towers in 1974 and walked back and forth across it for 45 minutes before being arrested. This documentary is all about how he and several of his friends planned the whole thing. It was of course very detailed and took like 6 years to plan. The entire movie was very interesting. And even though you know how the story ends (he did it and lived) you will still feel anxious and scared for him while watching it. Uncle John watched it after me and said he enjoyed it as well.

"Ghosts of Girlfriends Past"

Mom and I watched this together one evening, and it's just okay. It was pretty much exactly what I expected from Matthew McConaughey - his character is basically the same as in "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days." It did have some funny parts that made me laugh, and it was kinda cute at times. But, it was nothing to write home about. The plot is sloppy and quite ridiculous at times, but what else do we expect from these romantic comedies? Anyway, overall I'd say it was a semi-cute, semi-romantic, comedy that you might enjoy, but won't change your life or anything.

"The Ugly Truth"

Now this "romantic comedy" was NOT what I was expecting. This movie also had a few cute parts, but the bulk of it was about sex, sex, sex. It seems like that's all they talked about - even the girls. There were several parts of the movie where I thought "I can't believe they just said/did that." I didn't realize it's rated R, and after watching it I know why! There's no nudity or major sex scenes or anything like that, but they're just constantly talking about it! I actually like Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler and was looking forward to watching this movie, but it was a disappointment. And besides all the sex talk, the plot was messy and moved too fast. I'd say skip this one.

"I Am Legend"

I know, I know, this movie has been out on DVD forever and why haven't I (the movie queen with her own movie blog) seen it yet? The answer is I don't know. Sometimes with these big budget action movies I'm just not interested enough to ever watch it unless somebody else wants me to see it with them. I happened to watch this one because Kelsey had to write a paper about the differences between the book and the movie. I'll say that I enjoyed it, mostly because it was unlike any movie I'd ever seen (what with only 1 human living in New York City) but it was really confusing at times. I kept asking Kelsey things like "so what happened to make everybody die? and "who are those mean guys?" because it's unclear for a long time. But it was interesting and moving - I definitely got teary eyed in a few parts (the dog!!!!!) I wasn't crazy about the ending because it left alot of things unanswered, but I'm sure the book would explain alot of it. There's no sex or language, but there are some very scary parts. Overall, pretty interesting!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

GREAT family movie - "The Blind Side"

Oh my goodness, this movie is so good. The whole story is beautiful and amazing. Sandra Bullock is AMAZING as the Southern mom with sass and spunk. I don't want to say too much though - because I truly want everyone to see it! I'd say you could take kids to it, there's next to no bad language, and they never delve too deep into Michael Oher's past. The movie is more about him moving forward. Bottom line - this is a feel-good movie that everyone should see! It will make you laugh, and it might make you cry. But you will walk out of the theater with a smile on your face. :)

Didn't Disappoint - "New Moon"

I am in the process of reading the whole saga (I'm currently in the middle of book 3) so it wasn't too long ago that I read the "New Moon" book. I must say, this movie is a pretty accurate portrayal of it. Of course some things were rushed or skipped over all together, but that's to be expected. The werewolf stuff was really cool! And Taylor Lautner pulled off the character of Jacob quite well, I thought. The challenge in this movie was definitely the fact that Edward is gone for like 80% of it. I had heard the director say that Bella would "see" Edward in the movie more than she does in the book, but I thought it was about the same. At the end when they are reunited was my favorite part, because of the fight scene between Edward and the Volturi! It was pretty intense. I didn't really like the abrupt ending, but it was highly dramatic (as per the usual with this series.) Bottom line, if you're a fan of the series or at least liked the first movie, you'll like this one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Hilarious - "Frank Caliendo Special"

This isn't technically a movie, but it's a DVD you can rent and it's HILARIOUS. This guy is the best I've ever seen at impressions, especially George Bush, Bill Clinton, and John Madden. He manages to impersonate them, without an overall agenda of "I hate George Bush" or "I hate Bill Clinton," which I appreciated. He's just up there to make people laugh, not convince them of anything political. I laughed so hard my stomach hurt at his Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, and even the people I wasn't too familiar with was still hilarious! He also used hardly any bad language, which I always appreciate from a comedian. Check it out (or watch some of his stuff on youtube - search Frank Caliendo) for a good laugh!

Awesome - "Vantage Point"

My cousin Josh and I watched this on his fancy new PS3 Netflix deal that streams movies - it's awesome! Anyway - this is an exciting movie! It starts out setting the scene from a reporter's point of view, and when the President gets shot, of course things get crazy! Then just when you think they're about to give you some a big clue about who did it, they switch to a different "vantage point." It keeps doing this through all the perspectives, which keeps it exciting all the way to the end. It doesn't drag on about anything, it's very fast paced and is only like an hour and a half long. With next to no bad language, I'd say this is a thriller most people would enjoy. It is a little violent at times, but nothing too bad.

Pretty silly - "Year One"

It's pretty silly, but I like that from time to time. Don't expect much plot, it kind of bounces around leaving you confused about what are they doing now? But through all the confusion there's some funny stuff. Jack Black was really funny, I think he's pretty brilliant when it comes to comedic timing (not that he had much to work with here.) Michael Cera is also funny at times as the quirky and witty nerd who's along for the ride. Lots of the funny parts are in the trailer, but many of them made me laugh again, especially the scene with the "I don't have a sword, just the holder" (hah!) I think if you don't expect too much, you'll be entertained. It won't change your life or anything, but it has it's moments.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Not really for kids - "A Christmas Carol"

This is Disney, and animated, and therefore seems like it would be for kids. In my opinion, this movie is WAY too scary for kids. Waaayyyy too scary. The stuff with the ghosts was pretty creepy, and there were several jump out and scare you moments that even made me jump! The 3 ghosts were all weird, the ghost of Christmas past was a candle that talked...??? Why? And then the ghost of Christmas present was a big man with a loud booming voice that kind of looked like Santa Claus but then spoke about religious men and how they have failed him...??? Why? The only one that made sense was the ghost of Christmases to come, because he was a shadow that looked like the Grim Reaper. Jim Carrey as Ebenezer Scrooge was pretty wasteful because he didn't talk much (just alot of "Bah Humbug"'s and "Blast!"'s) and therefore you didn't get to see that crazy Jim Carrey that runs around making silly faces and saying funny things. Overall, I'd say it was okay... nothing to write home about. Don't take any kids unless you think they can handle ghosts, you've been warned!

Hated it - "The Men Who Stare at Goats"

I did NOT understand this movie. I pride myself on understanding the point that most movies are trying to make... but I never figured it out with this one. There are a few funny/silly parts, but you've already seen them because they're in the trailer. Other than that, I couldn't figure out if they were criticizing our military, or being sarcastic, or just being ridiculous, or what. I totally didn't get it and couldn't wait for it to end. Jason hated it also. Maybe it was just way too far over my head, and I'm willing to accept that. But for the average movie-goer, like myself, I'd say PASS on this one. Not worth the 2 hours or $10 to see it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Good Thriller - "Law Abiding Citizen"

I'm not really one to jump at the chance to see one of these "thrillers." To me, it's usually the same old, same old catch the bad guy yadda yadda yadda as usual. However, this movie is different. You can really sympathize with the "bad guy" and his grief, yet you want him to be stopped at the same time. Gerard Butler is pretty creepy as the grieving, murderous Dad and Jamie Foxx is SORTA believable as the Prosecutor who failed to get one of the attackers on death row. It's quite exciting all the way to the end, and you'll find yourself wondering "how is he doing all this?!?" Overall, it's a good thriller that definitely entertained me for 2 hours.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Beautiful and moving - "Sommersby"

This was recommended to me by the lovely Elva as one of her must-see's. And... I loved this movie! I even watched it in one sitting, which I hardly ever do with my Netflix DVD's. It's a sweeping and sad love story that made me cry at the end, which I don't often do at movies. It's also intriguing and makes you wonder about who he really is? Is he Jack Sommersby? Or someone else? Could Jack Sommersby be changed so much by the war that he is a new person? It was interesting from minute one, and didn't disappoint throughout. I'd recommend it as a love story that both women and men would enjoy, because it's not just a simple they-love-each-other blah blah blah plot like some other love stories. Not any bad language that I recall, but there are a few violent scenes where the slaves are beaten by a KKK-like group. Thank you Elva for the great movie recommendation! *hugs* :)

Pretty Brilliant - "Pulp Fiction"

Okay. I watched this like 10 years ago and didn't understand it at all. Probably because I was 19 and not really paying that much attention. So I've spent the last 10 years trying to explain to everyone that I didn't really "get" what the big deal was about this movie. Skip forward to present day and I totally understand after re-watching it. This movie is brilliant. And confusing. And funny. And makes you think. It is VERY gory and has LOTS of bad language, so I wouldn't recommend it for everyone. But for adults who can handle all of that - I'd say this is one of the best movies I've ever seen. (Whoa, I know!)

Austin Film Festival wrap up!

Okay, I didn't get to see ANY of the movies I listed as hopefuls. But, I did go to 3 events that were awesome!

First night of the festival, my boss and I went to the Ritz on 6th to hear the creator of Mad Men talk about the show and show an episode. It was SO cool. They played a recent, craaazy episode (the one with the lawnmower incident, for those of you who watch it!) and then he did a Q & A afterward. It was awesome to hear him talk about this world he created. If you don't watch the show, you should. It's the best show on TV - and I take my TV very seriously :)

Last Friday night, I drove all the way out to the Alamo Lake Creek (next to Lakeline mall, which is oh so far from my house) for "The Donner Party." For those of you who know me, you know I am SO into this kind of stuff. I love movies and documentaries about true stories of survival and the human body being pushed to it's limits. (I've seen the movie "Alive" about the rugby team stuck on the mountain like 8000 times.) However, "The Donner Party" was not really what I was expecting. I did enjoy it - it was VERY independent (no budget) but it was good. It even had Crispin Glover (McFly from Back to the Future) and let me tell you, that guy is creepy. But it wasn't what I was expecting because they weren't really pushed to the limits by their situation, more like from the mean man who was deciding who should be killed next for food. Alot of the crew that made the movie was in attendance, and the director, a few producers and one actress talked to the audience at the end about making it and working with Crispin Glover. It's really interesting to hear about how to make a film - alot more goes into it than we realize!

Monday night I convinced my friend Michael to go with me to see some "Shorts." We went to "Shorts 6" at the Hideout Theater on Congress near the Paramount. It was weird because the theater is in the back of a coffee shop, where, NO JOKE, they were having poetry readings in the front. The theater had probably only like 60 seats total, and reminded me of those little shady theaters you see in foreign films or old movies. Anyway, we both really enjoyed the "Shorts." Here's a list and descriptions of the ones we saw:
"My New Toy" - made in Australia, 5 minutes long. A little boy works hard to earn money for a special reward.
"What's Virgin Mean?" - made in the UK, 3 minutes long. The Birds and the Bees are the secret ingredient in this mother's recipe. Haha - "so what's extra virgin mean?"
"Good Advice" - made in Sweden, 15 minutes. When a boy runs away, he leaves behind a helpful tape for his unborn sibling.
"Love Child" - Sweden, 7 minutes. Kittens and kids - more alike than you think.
"An Evening with Emery Long" - USA, 14 minutes. On a cold Saturday afternoon, as day gives way to night, industrial carpet salesman Emery Long prepares for his first date with the sales department's receptionist.
"HIV: The Musical" - The UK, 12 minutes. A Playwright's socially conscious script turns into a "bloody" nightmare, proving that important social messages are best delivered in a pink tutu.
"All My Dreams on VHS" - The UK, 14 minutes. A man's videotaped dreams make for an awkward ice breaker.
"Las Pelotas" - Switzerland, 15 minutes. In bad economic times, there is nothing like a son with soccer talent. If you don't have one, it takes a good mix of science, sex and a grandma to get there.

Overall, I really enjoyed the Film Festival and can't wait to go again next year! Now that I know what to expect, hopefully next year I will make it to more events.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Austin Film Festival!

Today is October 22, 2009. It is my 9 year anniversary at work, and my high school best friend's birthday (Happy Birthday, Wendy!!). It's also the start of the Austin Film Festival - and I'm the film geek who's going. Here's some of the movies I hope to see this week!

"Precious" - this looks so good.

"The Young Victoria" - looks beautiful!

"An Education" - I've heard it's getting great reviews, even from the NY Times.

"Godspeed" - looks depressing but interesting

"How I Got Lost" - (earmuffs for the trailer)

"Holy Hell" - okay, this looks quirky and VERY interesting!

"Passenger Side" - I love movies like this.

I'm so excited!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

By request (hah) - "The Proposal"

It was recently released on DVD - I saw it in theatres a few months back. This is a cute movie! It's pretty ridiculous at times, but it's a romantic comedy that doesn't disappoint. I, personally, don't understand the concept of falling in love with someone over a weekend..... but I suppose crazier things have happened (?). There's a few weird parts - there's an awkward strip scene for the Bachelorette party, and Grandma (Betty White) does some sort of rain dance at one point. Like I said, ridiculous at times. But other than that, I enjoyed it. The scenery from Alaska was beautiful! Overall, it's a cute romantic comedy that most people would enjoy (if you don't expect too much.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Didn't live up to the hype - "Paranormal Activity"

Okay. This movie is scary in a FEW parts, but mostly it's alot of speculation and silly arguments between the couple concerning what's in the house. I'd say there were like 3 parts where I was really scared. It is very creepy at times, but I wouldn't say it's the scariest movie I've ever seen. As with most scary movies, teenagers will enjoy it alot more than adults will. It definitely has that cheesy scary movie feel at times (For example: The one guy who can help these kids is out of the country for the next few days. How convenient.) The really scary parts are mostly all in the last half, maybe even last quarter of the movie. Overall, it didn't live up to the hype to me, but what ever does?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

LOVED IT - "Away We Go"

Okay, I loved this movie. But to be fair - it's totally my kind of movie and I looooooove me some John Krasinski (Jim from The Office!!!) and I love Sam Mendes (the director - American Beauty, Jarhead) and I love movies that seem like real life. So, the couple is trying to figure out where they want to raise their child, and in the process they reunite with all these people from their past and get to observe how screwed up they've managed to make their family life. Through this, they know exactly what they don't want... not what they do want. By the end of the movie, they've found the perfect place and even you, the viewer, knows they will be perfectly fine there for the next 50 years. John Krasinski is so sweet as the doting new Dad-to-be, and Maya Rudolph is believable as a pregnant woman who's a little freaked out. There are many other well-known actors who play their extended family that were great as well. Maggie Gyllenhaal is hilariously weird as the woman who hates strollers, and Catherine O'Hara and Jeff Daniels as the grandparents are ridiculously clueless and therefore funny! Overall, I thought this movie was GREAT. I will say a few times I felt like the movie was trying a little too hard to be artsy-fartsy. But despite that, I LOVED it. The opening scene is a little shocking - so be ready! It's on DVD now.

"Couples Retreat"

Pretty funny! Vince Vaughn is, of course, hilarious as usual. The yoga instructor and the black guy's young girlfriend are also hilarious! The movie does a good job of balancing the funny and serious stuff. The couples actually grow together during the movie to understand what they're not providing for their spouse, it's not just silliness the entire time. There is quite a bit of silliness, though! I liked that they didn't joke around about the fact that marriage is hard sometimes (like I would know, haha). Overall - very enjoyable! It's rated PG-13 so it's not too raunchy, but a few parts are borderline. And, ear muffs for some bad language.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Good remake - "Fame" (2009)

For those of you who have seen the original, this is almost an exact duplicate. Same format, same story line. Some of the characters from the original are mixed together to make one character in the new film. They did upgrade some stuff to make it a little more contemporary, though. The kids in the movie were great, again I wish I was more talented like them. I could see some people not understanding these kids' hope of "making it," and therefore not really liking the movie. It does seem unrealistic, because it so rarely happens. It's shocking at times to see what these type of kids might do in order to get their shot. They do seem a little whiny at times, like WAA WAA why doesn't anyone understand my talent? But I think we've all felt misunderstood, especially in high school. Overall, I enjoyed it, but some might not. I guess you could say it's a little "artsy fartsy." Not that that's a bad thing - I'd consider myself a little "artsy fartsy!" :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

Wish it was better - Confessions of a Shopaholic

This movie is cute, and has a good message, but it's a little sloppy. It was based on a book, I believe, and sometimes novels don't really translate well to film. I was confused a few times (how did she get the job? who's the blonde?) but I enjoyed it. It's hard to not like Isla Fisher. She's so cute! And Hugh Dancy is pretty dreamy himself. Also, the message of NO MORE CREDIT CARDS was great. This is something I firmly believe in so I liked the idea of a movie about it. Despite being a little messy, the movie got it's point across. I wish it had been a little better, and therefore more popular, to get this VERY important message out there. But overall, cute and fun. On DVD now.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Best movie I've seen in a LONG time - "Inglorious Basterds"

Starring Brad Pitt, directed by Quentin Tarantino

Like the title says, "Basterds" is definitely the best movie I've seen in awhile. I can honestly say that I didn't want it to end. The trailer does a good job tempting you with what it will be like to see war through Tarantino's eyes... but there is much more to this movie than blood and gore. There are probably 4 really disgusting parts that last about half a second each. And, despite what the trailer makes you believe, the Inglorious Basterds are not the only thing the movie is about. Alot of the movie takes place in France, and therefore they speak French for quite awhile (beautiful language!). However, there is still quite a bit in English. Brad Pitt's character is hilarious as the leader of the American Basterds, he has some of the best one-liners I've ever heard.

With a total run time of about 2 1/2 hours, it's a little long, but I didn't notice. I was sad when it ended. I would have continued to watch it for 5 hours if it went that long. Overall, I've never really been a Tarantino fan, but THIS movie I get. It was brilliant, in my humble opinion. I wanna see it again!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oldie but Goodie - Fame (1980)

"Fame", made in 1980 (not the new one coming out soon). I watched this trailer and was then expecting a bad 80's movie with bad acting, bad film quality, and bad music.

HOWEVER! I loooved this movie. Watching a movie about students learning to sing, dance, act, and PERFORM is right up my alley. I love movies about these things, probably because I wish I was halfway decent at any of them (which I'm not.) The movie is divided into several parts, starting with the auditions of the main characters. It then goes on to highlights of their Freshman year, Sophmore year, and so on. Watching the differences between what they did as they evolved as performers was really cool. It wasn't at all what I thought it would be. I think the DVD must have been remastered recently because the quality of the picture and sound was actually really good, which made it seem not so 80's. Don't get me wrong, some of it is so 80's it makes you sick. The outfits are weird, the girls AND the guys were leg warmers, the hair is ridiculous, etc. However, I was so wrapped up in what the kids were going through I didn't even care! The ending is a little disappointing, because there are a few things that didn't get wrapped up. But, because of this, I was still thinking about what happened to each of the characters after school ended. Overall - I loved it and would watch it again. Now I feel totally prepared for the new version coming to theaters soon, which is really why I watched it in the first place :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Loved it - "Sunshine Cleaning"

"Sunshine Cleaning" starring Amy Adams (love her!) and Emily Blunt (my nemesis: dated Michael Buble and is now engaged to Jim from "The Office")

I really enjoyed it (even if I did a little knitting while watching). It's one of those movies where you really feel like you're in their shoes. Amy Adams is great (again, love her!) and Alan Arkin is hilarious as the girls' crazy Dad. Overall: simple and real (2 qualities I love in a movie). Ear muffs are needed for a little bad language. Available on DVD now.

So so - Extract

Mike Judge's new film Extract, doesn't quite live up to "Office Space," but it's semi-funny.

Okay - MOST of the funny parts are in the trailer. There are like one or two they left out for your enjoyment. This movie wasn't exactly what I was expecting, because there are a few sub-plots that are a tad ridiculous - such as Mila Kunis as a scam artist, and a young, dumb gigolo Jason Bateman manages to hire to make his wife have an affair. The scam artist stuff got old and made me wonder why they even added it. The gigolo stuff was really funny though - the kid who played him is probably that dumb in real life :) I have a feeling that, like "Office Space," this movie may be funnier the 2nd time around. But, maybe not. Overall: funny in parts, and the plot is sometimes a little hard to follow. It's in theaters now.