Sunday, August 31, 2008

The House Bunny

So what is this one about?
Netflix explains the simple plot as,
When Playboy bunny Shelley Darlington (Anna Faris) gets evicted from the mansion, she is a woman without a country -- that is, until she meets the sisters of Zeta Alpha Zeta, a sorority on the brink of losing its campus chapter. The Zetas need Shelley's makeover expertise so they can attract a new pledge class -- otherwise, their house goes to rivals Phi Iota Mu. But the Zetas have something Shelly needs, too: the confidence to be herself.
oh yes. Very deep and complex.

And how much did I pay to watch?
Well, I watched it at Cinema De Lux, at night. So I think it was $11.

And what did I think?
Going into a movie like this one, well, you pretty much know it isn't going to be amazing. You don't expect much. Oddly enough, I saw some previews for this movie in May that made it look really awesome, and then I saw some previews in July and August that made it look like every brain-dead, basic, stupid comedy. I gave this the benefit of the doubt and went and saw it...all while dragging a friend along (oh he is so nice for putting up with the shit movies I drag him to), and I am going to be honest, it wasn't all that bad.

Sometimes I love to watch a normal movie. Between grad school concerns of democratizing or totalitarianizing countries, between the nightly news that is never good, and between figuring out what I am going to do with my life, it is nice to watch a movie or read a book or watch a tv show that isn't so heavy. Isn't so complex. Doesn't require much brain power. It is just a fun addition when it isn't the worst thing ever.

God, there was one part in this movie that was so funny I was actually laughing so hard I was crying. I mean, tears streaming down my face. Good god it was funny. I attribute that to Anna Farris. She really is quite funny. Oh yeah, and she has a killer body too. Who knew?

I also really liked the girl from Superbad who was the main Zeta girl. She was pretty funny too. Did you know Bruce Willis and Demi Moore's daughter was in this movie? Well, she was. Also, some girl from American Idol (I read it somewhere, because I do not watch that show). Oh yeah, also Beverly DeAngelo was in it.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
It was pretty funny. Moderately predictable but not that bad. An entertaining movie that made me stop thinking as much as I usually do. So, kudos for that.

I'd rate it a 5 because it was pretty average, but I'm gonna give it a 6, because I haven't cried from laughing in forever.


So what is this one about?
My beloved tells us,
40-Year-Old Virgin veterans Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen team up again as producer and co-star/co-writer (respectively) of this high school comedy starring Jonah Hill and Michael Cera as best buddies facing separation anxiety as they prepare to go off to college. Attempting to score alcohol for a party (believing that the babes will follow), the boys' evening quickly dissolves into chaos. Bill Hader ("Saturday Night Live") co-stars.

And how much did I pay to watch?
Nothing, because I own that shit. However, when I saw it the first time I was in Hungary. Man, that was awesome!! Watching it with an audience (half of which were native english speakers, half of which were reading the Hungarian subtitles...)

And what did I think?
Man, this movie is so awesome! It really is hilarious and smart, which is so unusual for a mainstream comedy that I like. Another one that I find similar to Superbad is Super Troopers (maybe the "super" part is what makes them...well, super)

Anyway, there are so many parts of this movie that actually make me laugh out loud. Not lol, mind you. But actually, vocally, laughing out loud. This is incredibly unusual for me. The scene where the three boys are talking about the fake id...jesus. That is funny. ass. shit. I feel like this movie deserves massive credit for making me really laugh.

I think the boys are adorable. The actors manage to exactly capture the fear of a senior in high school about to leave everything they know in order to go to college. And god, the fact that they are such good friends is so precious. It reminds me so much of me and my best friend in highschool...god, we were attached at the hip! I think the two actors capture so well the emotional heaviness of that period in a young person's life while still completely being accurate about how awkward high schoolers are. God, I mean, all the teen actors did an amazing job at capturing how awkward teenagers are while still making them wildly endearing characters!

Watching the movie for the first time in Hungarian was also hilarious and demonstrated the subtlety of the film. For some reason it seemed like there were some kids who were native english speakers because they were sons and daughters of people who worked for the English embassy. Those three and me and my roommate. Then there were some Hungarians. And the native english speakers laughed at all the funny parts and the Hungarian speakers laughed at the bawdy sex jokes (incidentally, sex, or secks po-ungarische, was used throughout the translation despite the meaning of the "making love" was "sex", "fucking" was "sex", "donkey punch" was "sex", etc...). It was quite an interesting exercise in how differently abled speakers understand the same thing. ...Wow, that was way off topic. But interesting nonetheless, I think.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
Hah, what is the rating? Obviously a 10! I loved this one, it is so funny and heartfelt at the same time. I mean, how could you not love it?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Automaton Transfusion

So what is this one about?
Netflix tells us,
In director Steven C. Miller's indie scarefest about science gone awry, a U.S. Army experiment to turn corpses into a military fighting force unleashes bloody hell on a small Florida community. As the rampaging undead begin to terrorize the town, a trio of resourceful high schoolers takes it upon themselves to end the carnage once and for all. Garrett Jones, Juliet Reeves and Joel Hebner head the cast.
ok. fair enough.

And how much did I pay to watch?
Since I got this one on Netflix this month, it cos $1.54 also.

And what did I think?
Well, I'm gonna tell you...that movie poster is FULL. OF. LIES! One of the best zombie films in decades? No. Not at all. But, the zombie aspect was quite innovative as far as zombiefication goes.

I completely forget how I heard about this one...maybe something when I was in Toronto or something. But I added it to my netflix queue because I was unable to see it in the theatre when I initially saw that the film existed. However, maybe a year later, otherwise measured as about three weeks ago, I learned that someone I went to elementary, middle, and high school with was in the movie. (If you went to any of those things with me...ask me who it is) Turns out he is a model for a 'non-typical' modeling agency, called, and I'm not joking, UglyNY. hahaha. Anyway, I learned that he was in the movie so I decided it was about time to move the movie up the queue. Well, he is totally visible in at least 4 I guess its pretty cool what happens to us once we leave school.

I have digressed. The movie really did seem like a student film. I think it was, so I guess that is what happened. For making this movie for $30k I was pretty impressed about its production values. One thing that was an interesting technique they used in order to make it seem like there were more extras (so, to mask a failing in their film) which made the camera jolt around. It made it seem like the camera was being held by someone who was running. As an audience member it was hard to quickly look at what was going on before the shot changed. I thought that was pretty cool.

The special effects were pretty good. The blood looked really good. The bites and other things (including a zombie grabbing a fetus out of a pregnant teenager and eating it) were a little student film-y. And for a zombie aficionado like myself, that was no good.

And man. The acting. wow. It was really bad. I mean, if the movie was a student film, then the actors were just student actors, but I mean, come on. I acted in highschool and I think there were people I knew who could have sold being-chased-by-zombies much better than these guys.

The plot was interesting enough. The zombies were, get this, a creation by the US government as a way to create a super soldier. I've never heard of something like this before, so it was interesting.

The end was bad, because instead of having the zombies eat the characters who were clearly trapped the film makers decided to go with a "to be continued"

If that isn't the biggest storytelling cop out, then I don't know what is.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
OK. I feel a bit like an asshole because I am critiquing a movie made by some young filmmakers. I mean, I watch a lot of movies but I have no idea if I could ever make one. I'd like to...but if I could, that actually remains to be seen. But, what I do know is that bad acting makes any horror movie especially atrocious.

Then, as a zombie purist I know that it is mental to try and act like the government would willingly create a special, hard to kill, breed of Z. Shoot, zombie invasion is the biggest nightmare of the US government!! They would never create them.

I do have to give the filmmakers credit though, for being inventive.

Overall I would say this movie shouldn't break a 5. So, I will give it a 4 (I can't start being soft with my ratings...) with my apologies because I don't know that I could do any better. Well, I mean, I could make a more convincing story line.

(UNRELATED. World War Z is being made into a movie by Brad Pitt's production company.

Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq

So what is this one about?
Maybe one day I will pay for cable and get HBO. Everything they produce is fabulous, and they are so helpful with descriptions on their website. Thanks HBO!
In a war that has left more than 25,000 wounded, ALIVE DAY MEMORIES: HOME FROM IRAQ looks at a new generation of veterans. Executive Producer James Gandolfini interviews ten Soldiers and Marines who reveal their feelings on their future, their severe disabilities and their devotion to America. The documentary surveys the physical and emotional cost of war through memories of their "alive day," the day they narrowly escaped death in Iraq.
And how much did I pay to watch?
Well, I've been pretty busy lately. I haven't been able to dedicate as much time towards watching movies because I've been traveling, hosting guests, working on my thesis paper (which is done....YAY!), and redoing my room. I have only gotten 11 movies from Netflix in the past 30 days, which puts the price of the disc at $1.54. (still pretty cheap though, right?)

And what did I think?
Well, I was very interested in watching this when everyone in the news world (Brian Williams) was talking about this new documentary by James Gandolfini. And kudos to HBO for getting it on dvd so quickly.

It was an interesting film which told ten different and interesting stories. It was a good film that would demonstrate to citizens the cost of war. A cost that likely they don't see. The idea that 25,000 soldiers have been wounded is kind of shocking.

However, though the film tries to demonstrate the human cost of war I never got an "anti-war" vibe from the film. Rather, Gandolfini did an excellent job of laying out a narrative that could let the audience decide for themselves what they think of war. I think this is hard to do in a war time documentary, but this one managed to stay pretty unbiased.

I also thought it was important that Gandolfini used two female veterans. Many war films or documentaries seem to only focus on the male soldiers, and this does a disservice to the female soldiers.

Last, one of the soldiers (I think he was second)has been covered on Nightly News. It was a few weeks ago, in a story that told about New York firefighters help him with this physical therapy at home because he couldn't (as in didn't want to, not as in wasn't able to) stay in the military hospitals anymore. And compared to what we saw in the film, he is doing much better now. That was a nice part of the story.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
Rating movies is sort of odd, because it is impossible (probably) to separate my feelings about a film from the actual goodness of the film in terms of film. If that made any sense. I think what I would change about this film was its length. It was only an hour long. I would have liked to see more.

Other than that it was pretty interesting. I give in an 8.


So what is this one about?
Netflix tells us,
In this drama based on the critically acclaimed novel by Ian McEwan, a childhood lie irrevocably changes the lives of several people forever. When 13-year-old Briony Tallis (Saoirse Ronan) misinterprets a moment of flirtation between her older sister Cecilia (Keira Knightley) and a servant's son, Robbie Turner (James McAvoy), her confusion causes her to finger Robbie as the perpetrator of a crime. Brenda Blethyn and Vanessa Redgrave co-star in this Oscar nominee for Best Picture.
And how much did I pay to watch?
Nothing, because I got this dvd as a gift for my last birthday (5 months ago).

And what did I think?
Good god almighty. I have waited five months to watch this movie because I wanted to put it off. You know like when you're reading a really good book (World War Z) and you want to read it slowly because you don't want it to be over? That how I was with Atonment. I read the book in November when I was in Norway and I loved it. I mean, I loved it loved it. I think it was my favorite book of the year. Unquestioned. (I mean, I did pretty much only read all the Harry Potter books and Atonement, so I dunno that it was a fair contest.) So I've put off watching it because I've been afraid...the book was so amazing I knew the movie probably couldn't live up to it. I wanted to keep the book in my mind for as long as possible, for fear that the movie would ruin it.

Turns out, big surprise, the movie wasn't as good as the book. But, the movie didn't ruin the book. In fact, I went and ordered the book online so I could read it again. The movie was better than the book in that it had two incredibly sexy actors who had amazing, off the screen smoking hot, chemistry with each other. It almost broke my heart to watch them together (god, I'm such a soft hearted tragic romantic), god there were times that weren't sad or tragic during the movie when some sort of water started coming out of my eyes. I mean, I guess it was a little dusty ;)

Unfortunately, where the film failed compared to the book was the density of the story. The book had 300 pages to build background and fill out the plot so it was flawless. The movie had to severely abridge the content of the book to fit into a reasonable, and workable, film. Whereas in a book you can use a narrator, in a movie it doesn't work as well if the narrator isn't a character.

There was an interesting method that the film makers used to capture a bit of the essence of the book. Throughout the book the author used different narrator's points of view to show how the same event could be interpreted in different ways. The movie used this method, but I don't know that it was entirely effective.

The first part of the movie was amazing, I think it was truest to the book. However, the second and third part seemed awful thin. Perhaps because I've read the book and understand everything that happened in the story it seemed like the film didn't do a good enough job of explaining what was going on. It is hard for me to tell if a movie made based on a book explains enough to make sense to someone who didn't read the book.

I also think the end came too quickly and didn't stick enough to the book. In the novel the build up made the reader think that things would work out well. The slow unraveling made it more poignant for the reader. In the film the ending came so quickly that there wasn't the same emotional build and connection for the audience.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
Man. As I've already alluded to, it is difficult for me to separate the book from the film. The book had amazing advantages that the film didn't have. But the film had an advantage of two gorgeous and sickeningly sexy actors who had amazing chemistry that just ripped my heart out. To see the story on the screen rather than in my imagination was quite a delight.

I can't really rate how good this movie was because reading the book makes it impossible for me to judge the two things separately. As a movie it doesn't get a 10. I guess probably an 8 or a 9 would be reasonable. So, I'll give it an 8.5.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Cure for Love

So what is this one about?

Well, I saw this film at the Toronto Cinematheque on John St. However, when I tried to go back to the website of the theatre the description was already down. SO, I went to the CTV (you know, Canadian Television website) and I found this description...

There's the bride, dramatic in white -- and the groom, beaming in his Sunday best -- and the customary happy gang of friends and relatives.

But this is no ordinary wedding.

Ana and Brian are both self-declared ex-gays — adherents to a controversial evangelical movement that purports to convert gays and lesbians into heterosexuals.

Cure for Love goes inside this unusual Christian subculture — fashioning a nuanced critique of 21st century fundamentalism through the moving testimony of young people whose homosexuality is at odds with their religious beliefs.

ta dah!

And how much did I pay to watch?
Well, because I still have my U of T id (which has no expiration date AND an AMAZING photo of'll have to take my word for it), and because I was in Canaduh this cost $4 CAD. I dunno how much that is in Americuh. I guess like $4. (Oh the failing US dollar, woe is me!)

And what did I think?
Well, it was very interesting, for sure. The film actually followed three gay men (or ex-gay men), only one of which who got married to a woman and the other two stayed in the gay lifestyle. The guy who got married to a woman, Brian was his name I guess, I did believe that he was trying to adhere to his religious beliefs. I felt so genuinely happy and sorry for him at the same time. He admitted that he was still attracted to men, but that his commitment to his female wife trumped everything else.

In a lot of ways I respect that immensely. I mean, and maybe this is widly unromantic and disgustingly pragmatic, isn't that what a marriage is about basically? Making a commitment to someone and holding it above everything else? My friend who accompanied me to the movie was horrified that I suggested that.

Now, Brian's wife Ana, good lord I felt sorry for her. It was so clear that she was miserable. That she thought because she was married to a man she would somehow become a heterosexual. And it was like she was waiting for the straightness to kick in, and it never did. Or at least it never did during the coverage of the film. She was not in love with Brian. I thought Brian seemed happy, but Ana was the opposite. God, it was so depressing.

Now, the two men who tried the ex-gay lifestyle and returned, or became ex-ex-gays (as they said), they were much happier. And how could you not be happy for them too? I mean, as an audience you love to see people in documentaries that are happy or fulfilled or at least content. These men who left the ex-gay lifestyle were happier than Ana, but maybe not happier than Brian.

So how was the film itself? I'd say (despite the audience of nearly all gay people...I would assume) it was pretty though provoking. I mean, it forced the audience to look at their beliefs for what is important or necessary for a person's happiness. Additionally, since it was filmed a lot in Toronto, I think I, an most of the people in the theatre, felt some sort of a connection to the film.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
Make no mistake, this was absolutely a film that was sponsored by the film board of...wait...what was it? Quebec? I remember it wasn't Ontario which was surprising because it seems like every film and tv show is sponsored by the film board of Ontario. Anyway, it was a film that was sponsored in someway by the Canadian film industry. The industry in Canada is not the industry in the US. It isn't massive and unrestrained with oodles of money to produce documentaries about anything and everything. So, they didn't have the resources that documentarian film makers have here. The film production values were a little bit less than in the US.

But, the film was interesting and the characters was sympathetic and endearing. I give it a 9.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

El Espinazo del Diablo (The Devil's Backbone)

So what is this one about?
My beloved provides us with this description,
Twelve-year-old Carlos (Fernando Tielve) is the latest arrival at Santa Lucia School, an imposing stone building that shelters orphans of the Republican militia and politicians during the last days of the Spanish Civil War. Carlos gradually uncovers the dark ties that bind the inhabitants of the school: hidden riches, sexual intrigue and the restless ghost of a murdered student, who may be the only one to provide resolution.
The film, of course, is written and directed by Guillermo del Toro... the man who can't get enough of the Spanish Civil War and orphanages... and who looks nothing like what you would expect.

And how much did I pay to watch?
well, I got it from netflix, so some small ammount ;)

And what did I think?
First, I loved the blood coming from the dead boy's (Santi) head. It was amazing and spacey and captivating.

Second, I loved the bad guy. I guess one of delToro's themes is the Spanish Civil War sucked and everyone was an asshole. But the bad guy was just so mean for no reason. I always like antagonists like that.

Third, I think I probably don't watch nearly enough spanish cinema, because, from the few I have seen, it is creepy and haunting. I guess the movies I watch most are French films, or Japanese.

Fourth, and a real "what did I think point", I like that this movie didn't resolve everything at the end. In The Orphanage there were no loose ends and it ended up being really annoying. It seemed like the director (who wasn't delToro) decided at the very last minute to make it all wrap up, and it just seemed unnecessary. However, in this movie the end wrapped things up just enough that the audience felt satisfied without feeling like they were being beaten with the obvious stick.

Fifth, I think delToro is a gifted director. His movies all have this slightly scary, foreboding, fairy tale quality to them. His films have lessons for the audience to learn and he presents them in such a simple and fantastical way that they are somewhat easier to extract. He deals a lot with the concepts of good and evil, and maybe how in wartime it is harder to tell them apart. They are very intriguing to watch.

Oh, and sixth, the title was stupid.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
This was very enjoyable. It was well made, and well thought out. I am really so impressed with del Toro.

This one gets an 8.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (2005)


So what is this one about?

First, it is important to talk a little about The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919) [in the discussion of the two films I will use the year they were made to distinguish between them]. Wikipedia tells us,
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (original title: Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari) is a 1920 silent film directed by Robert Wiene from a screenplay written by Hans Janowitz and Carl Mayer. It is one of the earliest, most influential and most artistically acclaimed German Expressionist films.
And an abridged plot description follows:
The film tells the story of the deranged Dr. Caligari and his faithful sleepwalking Cesare, and their connection to a string of murders in a German mountain village, Holstenwall. Caligari presents one of the earliest examples of a motion picture "frame story" in which the body of the plot is presented as a flashback, as told by Francis.

The narrator, Francis, and his friend Alan visit a carnival in the village where they see Dr. Caligari and the somnambulist Cesare, whom the doctor is displaying as an attraction. Caligari brags that Cesare can answer any question he is asked. When Alan asks Cesare how long he has to live, Cesare tells Alan that he will die tomorrow at dawn—a prophecy which turns out to be fulfilled.

Francis, along with his girlfriend Jane, investigate Caligari and Cesare, which eventually leads to Cesare kidnapping Jane. Caligari orders Cesare to kill Jane, but the hypnotized slave refuses after her beauty captivates him. He carries Jane out of her house, leading the townsfolk on a lengthy chase. Francis discovers that "Caligari" is actually the head of the local insane asylum, and with the help of his colleagues discovers that he is obsessed with the story of a medieval Dr. Caligari, who used a somnambulist to murder people as a traveling act.

Cesare falls to his death during the pursuit and the townsfolk discover that Caligari had created a dummy to distract Francis. After being confronted with the dead Cesare, Caligari breaks down and reveals his mania and is imprisoned in his asylum. The influential twist ending reveals that Francis' flashback is actually his fantasy: The man he says is Caligari is his asylum doctor, who, after this revelation of the source of his patient's delusion, says he is able to cure Francis.

I know that was long, and lets face it, probably no one read that. But you should have. You've got to understand where all this is coming from.

So this 2005 version
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is a 2005 independent film, and a "talkie" remake of the 1920 film of the same name. It was directed by David Lee Fisher and released in the U.S. at the ScreamFest Film Festival on October 22, where it won three prizes - the Audience Choice Award, Best Cinematography and Best Special Effects.
Innovative director David Fisher has used original footage of the film, with its eerie modernistic sets, removed the original actors ascenes, Fisher's version of this timeless classic will take the sinister legend of Doctor Caligari into the realms of the 21st century without losing the quintessential substance of the original film.
which is a description I yoinked from the website of the actor who plays Cesare, and can be found at

And how much did I pay to watch?
I got this sucka on Netflix. It cost me $1.30-ish. I'll probably bnd replaced them with a contemporary cast led by Doug Jones as the melancholic and sinister somnambulist Cesare. Now with sound, spoken dialogue and tinteduy it though, because it was incredible.

And what did I think?
Man oh man. I can already tell this is going to be another nerdy entry. I can't believe I took so much time just putting stuff in that first section.

I first watched this movie during a course I took in grad school titled "Comparative Totalitarian Culture". I took it because we got to watch movies in it. I mean, seriously?? SWEET. When I saw the original version I didn't quite know what to think. For one thing, the audience I watched it with made me not like the movie. There was this girl who was SO annoying. I cannot even communicate how annoying she was for those who were not in this class. But her comment about this movie was "I thought it was so beautiful." Really? A movie about a sonambulist who kills people? riiiiiiiiiiiight.

The movie was sort of mesmerizing. It was a German expressionist film but it had this goth, dark, burlesque feel to it. It reminded me of that time I went to see Panic at the Disco! (don't laugh) and they did this creepy expressionist, burlesque, goth show.

do you see what I mean?

Anyway, I guess because I am a modern film viewer I am not used to silent films so I didn't like this one very much.

The remake, however, is extraordinary! Through a digital process the backgrounds from the original film were used in the new film with the new actors. Now, unfortunately I was not able to find two photos of the same backgrounds in the film so that I could give you a side by side comparison, but just take my word that it is amazing!!!!

Now, another thing that was excellent was the makeup and clothing of the actors. They kept this really 1920s goth-y feel to the clothes and the makeup. And the actors acted in a way that was very reserved...just like a silent actor would in the 1920s. By doing all the visual things in a very stylized manner they kept the integrity of the original film. Adding spoken dialogue just brought the film into the modern times.

Finally, after I had first watched the film, I went onto imdb to get some more information. The director's email address was on the site so I emailed him. And he responded, which totally floored me, because he was kind and down to earth. I mean, who doesn't like that?

Really, just rent this one. But first, watch the original so you can see what I mean about how incredible the remake is. I feel like you wont understand without seeing the original first. Then you need to make sure you watch the making of documentary on the 2005 version. Now...GO. DO IT!!!!

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
This was one of the most, if not the most, impressive and extraordinary film I have ever seen. The meticulous attention to detail and the pitch perfect recreation of a classic film was amazing. The of modern technology never overpowered the vintage 1920s feeling that the director and actors created.

I cannot say enough how amazing this was. If there was ever a film that should get a 10, this is it.

10. 10. 10. 10. 10.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Seasons 1 & 2

So what is this one about?
Netflix tells us,
Irreverence is the cocktail of the day for three slacker friends who own an Irish pub in the city of brotherly love. Despite the changing sociopolitical landscape, egocentric trio Mac, Dennis and Charlie cling to their blue-collar, macho attitudes in this sharp-edged comedy series that sends up racism, gun control and other taboo topics. The show's creators, Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day, star as the self-involved pals.
And how much did I pay to watch?
Well, I got it on Netflix, and it was three discs. So whatever that cost ;)

And what did I think?
Well, I've heard about this show forever. I even had someone from highschool say "I was watching "It's always sunny in Philadelphia" and thought that Sweet Dee reminds me of you SO bad." to which another one of my friends from high school responded "you know, actually, billy is right... you are a lot like sweet dee... or at least she reminds me of you back in high school... well, she's a little bitchier." So, even though IASIP had been in my queue forever, those comments made me want to see it even more. Now, granted those comments were made on November 8 and 9, 2007 but I guess I've been busy...or something.

When I looked up It's Always Sunny on wikipedia they told me
Kaitlin Olson as Deandra[5] "Sweet Dee" Reynolds: Dee is Dennis's twin sister and a bartender at Paddy's. She dropped out of Penn (where she had majored in psychology but failed her classes) to become an actress, but has put little effort into realizing her ambition. Although she identifies herself as a compassionate liberal, she will always put herself first and often has the same prejudices as her friends and brother. She is highly sensitive about her appearance and her professional failings. She was unpopular in high school due to her severe scoliosis, which forced her to wear a back brace and earned her the nickname "The Aluminum Monster". Since high school, she has had a long string of failed relationships. Like the other members of the gang, she drinks heavily, especially to calm herself after meeting an attractive man. Deandra also harbors a phobia regarding the elderly. Despite her many insecurities, Dee is aggressively outspoken and prone to violence when angered. Dee was the only major character in the show to be conceived without an actor in mind. Although Deandra was originally written as a female voice of sanity to contrast with her ill-intentioned co-stars, the character became an equal participant in the gang's illicit and morally questionable activities after Olson was cast.[6]
Which made me really wonder...god, am I like this girl?

No. I mean, if I were as hot as her that would be great. But the thing you have to understand about the four main characters is that they are HORRIBLE PEOPLE. But it still ends up being funny as all get out!

I would not recommend this show to you if you're easily offended or if you don't like dark humor. But if you do, man...this one is top notch. The characters are so mean, especially the boys, but you still end up liking them anyway.

I would say that the seven episodes in season 1 were much funnier than the ones in season 2 when Danny Devito joined the cast. But, it was all really entertaining, and HILARIOUS, and I can't wait to see Season 3 on dvd when it comes out next week, and then I can't wait to start watching season 4 when it premiers on FX on September 14.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
This show was so funny. And the characterization created by the actors was amazing. I can't wait to see more.

I give it a 9.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Sex and the City: The Movie

So what is this one about?
Once again, if you don't know about this movie, I wonder if you've been living under a rock. Nevermind though, Netflix will explain it just in case...
"Sex and the City" fans rejoice! Carrie Bradshaw and her girls Charlotte, Samantha and Miranda are back, and this time, they're coming to the big screen with this highly anticipated adaptation of the HBO comedy series. Golden Globe winner Sarah Jessica Parker returns as everyone's favorite columnist who, with her three BFFs (Kristin Davis, Kim Cattrall and Cynthia Nixon), braves the roiling romantic waters of the city that never sleeps.
And, because I am a female I saw this movie. With my mom no less.

And how much did I pay to watch?
I saw it with my mom in the theatre after it was released, and she paid, so I didn't pay anything. And then I watched it again last night on the internets, which was also free.

And what did I think?
Ok. Now I am not one of these women who live and die by Sex and the City. Don't get me wrong, I have seen all the seasons and I've liked them. When the show is on tv I do watch. But, what I am not is someone who has SATC quotes on their facebook wall or aim profile. Even though I do have a favorite quote from them... "And everywhere, little girls in their mothers' pearls will look at that photo and think 'Thats what I want.'" (It was just a really sad line, you know, on that episode where Charlotte's marriage has fallen apart but they are supposed to do a photoshoot of their home, and her husband shows up. The whole thing is that the photos look so beautiful and perfect, but in actuality the marriage is unahppy) Anyway, I've digressed.

So now that I've said that I'm not quite sure where to start on this review that has taken me nearly 3 months to write.

Well, first, I love that tagline. I mean, "Get carried away" get it? like Carrie? the character. har clever.

Now, I dunno. Maybe I'm just not the "target audience" but I hated the idea that women in their twenties come to New York (or I would assume any big city) for love. (Well, Labels and love...but thats soooo inaccurate). And then that your twenties are for enjoying yourself. I guess that makes me sound like an evil old hag, but it seems so dismissive to say that people in their twenties need to be having fun and enjoying themselves all the time. Like...what about getting a career started or something??? (ok, I do sound like a hag)

And then the movie was SO FASHIONY! It was like distractingly so. Like, "here's some pretty clothes/shoes/apartment! Now the movie is great because its pretty!!" I tend to think that movies that try to over compensate for not being amazing with beautiful scenery or clothes are movies that are annoying. Sigh.

Ok, I guess I should get into a more in depth review...maybe about plot or something like that.

Well, when I first saw the movie the scene were Charlotte flips out at Big got me SO choked up. I actually thought the acting and the characterization was really strong in the movie. I think all the actors really acted their characters in a very consistent and thorough way. For example, I loved Samantha's storyline. Good for her. I try to not associate myself with these characters, because every other woman in the whole world does the same thing, but it was hard with this one. She wasn't willing to lose herself in a relationship, and I guess, I know how she feels. Felt. Have I ever mentioned that i tend to talk about characters in shows and movies like they are real people? Maybe you've already noticed that.

I thought Carrie's characterization was bizarre. I had a hard time beleiving that she would get so insane about her wedding. That this woman who young women seem to idolize everywhere as a strong female role model would just lose all perspective seemed weird to me. I hope that women who are mental about having the "perfect" wedding will think about this movie when they go all bridezilla. There are much more important things than a wedding. Like a marriage. And that Carrie Bradshaw forgot that fact, maybe it will help other women remember it in their lives. (I doubt it, but I can at least hope)

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
I liked this one. I didn't like it as much as the show, not at all. But, it was entertaining.

I give it a 6 or 7. Maybe I'll stick with a 6.5.


So what is this one about?
Netflix says,
In a futuristic world, human beings have destroyed Earth and evacuated the planet, leaving the cleanup to an army of robots they've programmed to do their dirty work. Due to a mishap, the dutiful WALL-E is the only one left. But with the arrival of a female probe named EVE, the monotony of WALL-E's existence is broken -- and he experiences love for the first time. Andrew Stanton (Finding Nemo) directs this Pixar tale with a sci-fi twist.
And how much did I pay to watch?
Lets see if I can remember...I went to see this one in the theatre (at Joe's urging since he keeps telling me how amazing this movie is, and that it will change my life) at night, so I think maybe I paid $10.50.

And what did I think?
I mean how sweet is this guy?? His little voice and his big eyes...god, he is just the cutest robot ever!! The way he says Eve "eeeeee-vuh", I mean, come on!! His little robot claw hands... awwwww. There is no denying that he is one cute-ass mother.

I liked when Wall-e and Eve were taken into the space station (or whatever it was). I loved the fat humans who never walked anymore and had chairs that they lived in. Man, I hope one day humans will be that lazy.

But I'm not sure the message of the movie was very lasting for me. I guess it was something about the environment, or maybe love. It just wasn't too memorable as far as the message goes. But, who am I kidding. Pixar movies are amazing to watch because they're so well crafted in their animation. I think I was slack jawed for the first few minutes just in wonder about the animation (in the same was I was when I watched the first Harry Potter was all just so magical!)

Oh yeah, also Eve's voice was awesome too. The emotions you could hear in her voice....ADORABLE!

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
Now, I didn't think this was the most amazing movie ever. It didn't change my life. But, like most pixar movies I did watch with rapt attention and awe at the animation.

The characters were adorable, I mean really, they were just too sweet.

I feel ambivalent about it, really, so I'm gonna give it a 6, rather than a 5, because of the animation and the voices. I really can't get over those characters!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Mad Men: Season 1

So what is this one about?
AMC (yes, American Movie Classics) tells us about their show on their website.
Set in 1960s New York, the sexy, stylized and provocative AMC drama Mad Men follows the lives of the ruthlessly competitive men and women of Madison Avenue advertising, an ego-driven world where key players make an art of the sell.
The series revolves around the conflicted world of Don Draper (Hamm), the biggest ad man (and ladies man) in the business, and his colleagues at the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency. As Don makes the plays in the boardroom and the bedroom, he struggles to stay a step ahead of the rapidly changing times and the young executives nipping at his heels. The series also depicts authentically the roles of men and women in this era while exploring the true human nature beneath the guise of 1960s traditional family values.
And how much did I pay to watch?
Nothing, because my mom recorded it off the tv during a marathon and then I watched them all on dvr. Because we are a family of ballers who have a dvr.

And what did I think?
Well, there are plenty of things to say about this one. But my neftlix commentary accurately, if only in 200 characters, gives the basic explanation of what I think. I said, "This one is odd, because I can tell it is very good, but I feel as if I missed something. Like there was some chunk of exposition I missed...otherwise it is just too nuanced and goes over my head." Its weird. I guess it is how the show was designed, but it always seems like I've missed something. I guess AMC has decided to not work in a linear fashion which piques interest so people keep watching because they want to learn more about the characters, but perhaps my brain is too childish and stupid to understand what is going on. This is a very depressing realization for me. But I don't really get it, because I don't understand why characters do what they do, or even how the agency works (or even what the agency does!!).

But, I do keep watching.

Why? Oh, many reasons.

1) the costumes are amazing!! I mean amazing. And the sets! And the actors! Everything and everyone in this show is so beautiful, it is like watching a beautiful painting. (Just like Solyaris) And because I clearly only care about visually appealing things, because my brain is too puny to understand complicated things, this show is ideal for me.

2) I like seeing the 'moment in time' aspect of a show that is supposedly so spot on in it's description of 1960s life. I think a lot of people, including my mom, have a problem with the entrenched sexism in the lives of the women characters (or the gay characters), but I actually like it. I think it is really interesting to watch. And because I am so far removed from that sort of life/expectations/ blah blah, I don't find it offensive and it doesn't really make me angry. I just think to myself, "well, thats how things were"

3) Because some of the characters are so fascinating to watch in their development. I know this is completely contrary to what I said about the show earlier. Some of the characters--Peggy, Joan, Pete, and Betty--are just so intriguing to me. I think this has to be credited to the acting and the writing. For example, Pete is so irritating 95% of the time, but sometimes he is so sad and conflicted and as an audience you feel so bad for him! The fact that the writers can create someone who is so abhorrent and yet, the actor can make you feel so sympathetic for him...DAMN, its amazing!

4) Last but not least, because if I were a character in this show I would be one of the women who are the mistresses, not the wives. The men are always so tragically in love with the mistresses, and their wives are labotimized women who are totally sheltered. It all just goes to how romantic it all seems that the men are trapped in their lives, and their mistresses are the one bright point in their day. (That said, I don't condone real life people cheating on their partners) It just adds to the intense characterization that the writers have created. And, because as an audience member it pulls me in.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
Well, now I understand that Mad Men is supposedly the greatest thing to happen to tv since The Sopranos. But I don't really like it as much. I don't think they are equivalent. (Well, maybe except that Don Draper is a sociopath just like good ol' Tony Soprano) As I have already communicated, I just feel like there is something missing from the show, some sort of explanation that helps the audience understand what is going on more.

So I sort of think all of the praise is a bit overrated. However, the show is amazing, like I would expect an AMC show to be, its like each episode is a little movie. And for that I really appreciate it.

This show is not a 10. But, I am drawn to watch to see what happens. I give it an 8.

The Simpsons Movie

So what is this one about?
Netflix tells us (you know why I always say where I get the summary from? Because my grad school student self can't just steal a quote and not cite it. This way if netflix ever comes after me it wont be for plagiarism, but rather to thank me for talking them up all the time...)
Homer Simpson is used to alienating people, but nothing compares to the level of animosity he's inspired with his most recent foul-up: polluting the river with toxic waste from the nuclear power plant. Now, Homer's been fired and the citizens of Springfield forced to evacuate in this first-ever big-screen outing for Matt Groening's animated clan. Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright and Yeardley Smith voice the Simpson family.
And how much did I pay to watch?
Lets do the math here... 14 movies this month at $16.99 a month equals $1.21 for this movie.

And what did I think?
I like The Simpsons. They're clever and smart and use good voice actors, but I really question why they bothered to make this movie.

Granted I watched it on my smallish tv and not a movie screen, but the animation was actually really odd. It seemed very computer manipulated rather than illustrated. This was odd because normally the show is incredibly flat in its animation.

I also found the story kind of annoying. I mean, I get it, Homer is dumb. And inconsiderate, obviously. But why bother making this story, as opposed to any other one, three times as long as a normal episode of the show? I didn't find it especially funny or interesting. But, people watch The Simpsons to laugh and be amused. I don't think I laughed one time during the whole thing.

Also, why did Lisa get an Irish boyfriend? I want an Irish boyfriend (hahahaha)

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
I like The Simpsons (I guess I've already said that) but I just didn't like this movie.

Now, because I like the show I will not rate it a 1 or a 2. I will even keep it out of 3 territory, but I am going to rate it a 4, and say that I was not impressed with this movie in any way.