Friday, February 19, 2010

Iron Man
(for some reason, Youtube's not letting me embed these days. I'm not sure why. The link is the next best thing)

As mentioned in my review for Avatar, I usually don't jump at the chance to watch the big-budget action movies. I'd say I'm slightly more excited concerning the super-hero ones, because their stories have a childlike-wonder and probably a little romance. With this one, I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was! I really, really enjoyed this movie - the story is good, the acting is good, and the super-hero stuff isn't so far-fetched that it's ridiculous. Robert Downey, Jr. is funny and charming as Tony Stark, and the "super-hero" he creates is cool because he just uses technology to transform himself. I was surprised that the story wasn't just about how he creates Iron Man, it was more about why he thought Iron Man was necessary. A few parts were a little obvious, like who the bad guy was and Tony Stark's deep affection for his devoted assistant/love interest. Still - this movie is great. I'm now excited to see the sequel! I hope it doesn't fall super short of the first one as most sequels do. Overall, I'd say CHECK IT OUT, if you haven't already - it's awesome!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Lovely Bones

I have a theory that practically ZERO books translate to film well. Whenever I watch a movie based on a novel, it always feels rushed. There are just so many side stories in novels that won't all fit into a 2 hour film, and that bothers me. Such is the case with this one. It felt rushed, it felt pushy, and it felt over-the-top at times. The story is heart-wrenchingly sad, and I don't think the movie really did it justice. Suzie Salmon is murdered at 14, and the movie is mostly about how her family copes with their loss. Stanley Tucci as the murderer is very creepy, he made me uneasy the entire movie. I was worried that the scene where he murders her would be too hard to watch, but they didn't really go into details about how he did it and that helped. That was among the many things that were never explained. Overall I just didn't get this one. I bet it was a fantastic book, and now I wish I had read it before seeing this. Overall, I'd say PASS.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Despite the title - this is NOT a scary movie. Yes, it's about "Zombieland" - which is America taken over by zombies. Not everyone is a zombie though, and this story is narrated by one of the few remaining humans. He's anxious and neurotic, and has all these rules about how to not be bitten by a zombie, including #1 Cardio - so he has the endurance to run from them, and #23 Double Tap - if you shoot a zombie, never shoot them only once, you have to get them twice for good measure. Along the way he runs into some other humans, and they travel across country looking for somewhere with no zombies, killing zombies, and arguing with each other. I really enjoyed every minute of this movie, and it was refreshing to not have any idea how the story would end. It is gory in parts, but it's in a mostly comical way. I'd say CHECK IT OUT for an entertaining hour and a half!

An Education

Woo hoo - a Best Picture Nominee!! After seeing this I have seen 8 of the 10 nominees.

This is a beautiful story. A 16 year old girl in 1960's England, bored with her mundane life, happens to meet a slightly older man who introduces her to all the fabulous things she's always dreamed about: seeing French films, listening to Jazz, wearing fancy clothes, going to art exhibits, etc. Her father is very strict and she has spent most of her life studying to get into Oxford, so this guy is a breath of fresh air for her. While experiencing this new life, you start to see her "mature" before your very eyes. Her parents are impressed and charmed by him, which only seals the deal further. Soon, an intimate physical relationship starts, and before she knows it she's in over her head. Does she marry him, or go to Oxford as was originally planned? Maybe she doesn't need to go to Oxford anymore because she already has a potential husband. But then what was all the studying for? I thought about these issues even the day after seeing this movie. "An Education" is such a fitting title, because she ends up with an education in school, in life, in love, and in herself. I'd say CHECK IT OUT, it's a beautiful story.


I didn't really like this film. It kind of missed the mark for me, mostly because of timing. They kind of switched back and forth between the present and the past, which was confusing. There was no real way to tell where you were in her story. If they had had a more "in-order" plot, I think it would have been alot better. Another thing that bothered me - the preview made it look like Amelia and her husband had this great love story (which they sort of did), but then half the movie is about her falling in love with another man! I wouldn't have minded them putting that in the movie so much if they hadn't tried to make her and her husband's relationship so legendary. I expected that after I watched it, I would have some connection to Amelia Earhart and understand why she was so beloved by America at the time. In actuality, I just felt like I'd watched a pretty bad movie. I'd say PASS.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Best/Worst Movies of 2009?

The Razzie and Oscar nominations were both revealed today, and I really couldn't agree more on about 99% of them.


Worst Picture:
All About Steve
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Land of the Lost
Old Dogs
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Worst Actor:
Jonas Brothers, Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience
Will Ferrell, Land of the Lost
Steve Martin, Pink Panther 2
Eddie Murphy, Imagine That
John Travolta, Old Dogs

Worst Actress:
Beyoncé, Obsessed
Sandra Bullock, All About Steve
Miley Cyrus, Hannah Montana: The Movie
Megan Fox, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and Jennifer’s Body
Sarah Jessica Parker, Did You Hear About the Morgans?

Most of these I have not seen, because they were obviously terrible (seriously, did we need a GI Joe movie?!?) but regarding the ones I have seen.... they're dead on. As mentioned here, All About Steve is pretty awful. Around the same time I watched All About Steve I also started to watch "Land of the Lost" and it was so terrible I didn't even finish it. There aren't many movies that hold that honor for me. I can usually stick with something til the end, but not this one!!


Best Picture:
The Blind Side
District 9
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
Up in the Air

Best Actor/Actress:
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Colin Firth, A Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Jeremy Renner, The Hurt Locker

Sandra Bullock, The Blind Side
Helen Mirren, The Last Station
Carey Mulligan, An Education
Gabourey Sidibe, Precious
Meryl Streep, Julie & Julia

I have seen most of the Best Picture nominees (always a goal for me) and for the ones I've seen I agree EXCEPT for Avatar. I have been told I gave a mixed review about it, which I completely agree with, because I left the theater with mixed feelings. The special effects were cool. But the rest was terrible! I'd give it a 5 out of 10 because the good was really good, but the bad was really bad. This is not a Best Picture movie to me, and I might scream at the TV if it wins (which I doubt it will.)

The rest of the nominations are pretty dead on - see my posts about The Blind Side , The Hurt Locker, Inglorious Basterds, Precious, and Up In The Air to see just exactly what I thought.

So to achieve my goal I still need to see: District 9, An Education, A Serious Man, Crazy Heart, A Single Man, Invictus, and The Last Station. Stay tuned for my thoughts on those!

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus

This is the movie Heather Ledger was in the middle of filming when he died. The story is VERY weird - Dr. Parnassus makes a deal with the devil (which is always such a great idea!) and in return he has to give the devil his daughter when she turns 16. Dr. Parnassus has this mirror that you can walk through, and inside of the mirror you will actually see all of your heart's greatest desires (a kid goes in and sees a candy-filled wonderland, a snobby lady goes in and sees shoes and jewels everywhere.) Dr. Parnassus and his traveling group are not making enough money to survive so Heath Ledger's character gets involved in promoting them.

Heath Ledger had only filmed his outside-the-mirror stuff before he died, so Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Colin Firth were recruited to take over his role in 3 different inside-the-mirror sequences. I was expecting the actor changes to be distracting, but it actually worked quite well. And I'm not gonna lie - a movie where Heath Ledger turns into Johnny Depp, who then turns into Jude Law, and then turns into Colin Farrell is not too hard on the eyes. They're all beautiful which made it seem even more plausible that they could "be" each other inside the mirror. Anyway - this is an odd movie, and I'll confess - I was looking forward to it's ending. But it was cool in parts, and Heath was great. I'd say CHECK IT OUT if you're into fantasy movies, or if you're a Heath fan.