Monday, April 26, 2010


So what is this one about?
If for some stupid, insane, inane reason, you don't know the plot of 1996's Scream, Netflix will tell you about it...
Horror maven Wes Craven -- paying homage to teen horror classics such as Halloween and Prom Night -- turns the genre on its head with this tale of a murderer who terrorizes hapless high schooler Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) by offing everyone she knows. Not your average slasher flick, Scream distinguishes itself with a self-parodying sense of humor. Courteney Cox and David Arquette co-star as a local news reporter and a small-town deputy.

And how much did I pay to watch?
Nothing. I actually watched this while I was visiting my beloved in Georgia. The state not the country. She is also a netflix member, because she is amazing--as is netflix--and we watched this after a night of drinking on view it now. It was pretty much the greatest decision ever!

And what did I think?
Wow. When I first saw this movie I thought my head was going to explode. I watched it when I was in middle school and I'd never seen anything so amazingly brilliant in my entire life. I am not even being hyperbolic. It seriously blew my mind! It was so surprising with the way Wes Craven used typical horror movie convention and turned it completely on it's head!!

The movie is so wonderfully quotable. So many amazing quotes. "What's the point? They're all the same. Some stupid killer stalking some big-breasted girl who can't act who is always running up the stairs when she should be going out the front door. It's insulting" and "Your mother was a slut-bag whore who flashed her shit all over town like she was Sharon Stone or something, but let's face it Sydney, your mother...was no Sharon Stone" and "Listen Kenny, I know you're about 50 pounds overweight. But when I say 'hurry,' please interpret that as 'move your fat, tub of lard ass NOW!'" It also has music that is so awesome and retro without being too much of a time warp. I listened to that soundtrack like a million times. It is hilarious to listen to a movie and be able to sing all the songs because I remember them from when I was 13.

This movie may be one of the most responsible for my love of horror movies. I don't just love slasher movies, though, I love all horror movies. This may have been one of the first ones I'd really seen by the time I could sort of understand what I was thinking about anything. It was just so incredible!!

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
Scream is just so gd clever it makes me sick! The characterization was amazing, with using horror movie cliches. And it paints an amazing picture of what was going on in pop culture in 1996.

It is amazing. It is 100% a 10.

I need to buy this on dvd like a million years ago. I have it on vhs somewhere...

Ghost Town

So what is this one about?
Welp, my delightfully under-used friend Netlfix tells us,
British funnyman Ricky Gervais ("The Office," "Extras") stars in his first feature film lead as Bertram Pincus, a hapless gent who's pronounced dead, only to be brought back to life with an unexpected gift: a newfound ability to see ghosts. When Bertram crosses paths with the recently departed Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear), he gets pulled into Frank's desperate bid to break up his widowed wife's (Téa Leoni) pending marriage to another man.

And how much did I pay to watch?

One thing you might not know about me is I have recently (well, maybe not too recently, since the Olympics) started going 10 miles a day on Saturday and Sundays on the treadmill in my basement. For the most part this works well because I have recorded shows from the previous week that I can watch. At most, three episodes of Law and Order (and it's friends) and one episode of Gossip Girl. This seems to fit the time well.

Unfortunately, the weekend I watched this I had nothing left to watch, so I used my HBO on demand and settled on this one. And since I don't pay for cable it really was nothing.

And what did I think?
Well, I am a big Ricky Gervais fan. I like his insane laugh. And his British accent. And his fat little face. He doesn't seem to have a lot of range to me, because I've never seen a role where he wasn't just playing Ricky Gervais. Luckily, though, I like him. So, it works well.

As Bertram he was really playing himself. Grumpy old Ricky. There is something about him, though, that is so sincere, so his character arc was nice. He had a very nice chemistry with each other character in the movie, and you really wanted things to work out well for him.

Interestingly enough, since it is a stupid idiotic romantic comedy, things had to fail then could be built back up. Romantic comedies are so flipping dumb. In life, when you like a boy (or a boy likes a girl) and you do something stupid to fuck it up, you often don't get a second chance. Romantic comedies give stupid people too much ammunition for them to think that everything will work out for them too. Romantic comedies are the devil. (except Love Actually, and does Clueless count?) I sound way more bitter than I am.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
It was funny enough, but mostly, anything with Ricky Gervais will likely be enjoyable for me.

I give it a 6.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Shutter Island

So what is this one about?
My beloved tells us,
World War II soldier-turned-U.S. marshal Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) investigates the disappearance of a patient from a hospital for the criminally insane, but his efforts are compromised by his own troubling visions and by Dr. Cawley (Ben Kingsley). Mark Ruffalo, Michelle Williams, Emily Mortimer and Max von Sydow co-star in director Martin Scorsese's plot twist-filled psychological thriller set on a Massachusetts island in 1954.
Mmmmmm, Leonardo DiCaprio AND Max Von Sydow?!?! Sign me up!!!

And how much did I pay to watch?
Erm. Well, my mother and I went to go see this at Cinema Arts. I don't remember if she paid. I think she might have, and then I bought some snacks. mmmmmmm, Cinema Arts popcorn! So, i think I paid nothing.

And what did I think?
Well, the more I think about this movie the more I like it. Interestingly enough, when I first watched this I didn't really like it as much. It really wasn't what I expected from the ads. I wanted it to be much, much, much scarier. (Love me some scary movies!)

But now that I think about the movie, and its "twist" I think it is very smart. I'd like to see it again to see if there were any clues to figuring it out while the plot was moving forward.

And I love Leonardo DiCaprio and Max VonSydow. Yumm.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
Like I said, the more I think about it, the more I like it. So I'll give it a 7. Or maybe an 8. Something like that.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Pregnancy Pact

So what is this one about?
Ah ha! Lifetime (yes, that Lifetime. Television for Women) tells us about their movie,
Inspired by a true story, the film explores the costs of teen pregnancy with a story of a fictional "pregnancy pact" set against the backdrop of actual news reports about teen pregnancy from June 2008. Sidney Bloom (Thora Birch), an online magazine journalist, returns to her hometown to investigate the sudden spike in teenage pregnancies at her old high school. Almost immediately, she comes up against Lorraine Dougan (Nancy Travis), the head of the local conservative values group and mother of Sara, a newly pregnant 15-year-old. Meanwhile, the school nurse (Camryn Manheim) tries to convince the school to provide contraception to students to address the pregnancy epidemic but is met with great opposition from the school and community. As the number of pregnant girls climbs to 18, a media firestorm erupts when Time Magazine reports that the rise in the number of pregnancies at the school is the result of a "pregnancy pact." As the mystery unfolds about whether or not "the pact" is real, Sidney soon realizes that all of the attention is disguising the much larger issues that are at the core of the story.
Shazaam that is long.

And how much did I pay to watch?
Zero dollars. I watched it on Lifetime. On my tv. At home. Awesome.

And what did I think?
Oh lord. One thing you might not know about me is that I love me some Lifetime movies. I mean, how the shit can you not?! Think about the fabulous Kirsten Dunst as star Fifteen and Pregnant. Or, Too Young to be a Dad with Paul Dano. Or Student Seduction with Elizabeth Berkeley. Or Co-Ed Call Girl with Tori Spelling. Do I really need to go on?! No. I do not. Lifetime movies are awesome. Awesomely bad. Awesomely awesome.

And man, they really hit the nail on the head for me. I love the whole teenage pregnancy focus on tv these days. Why? I don't know. It actually might be a little sick. Because while, when I watch 16 and Pregnant, often times these girls are stupid and unimpressive and I think they are dumb and sort of got what they deserve, I feel so incredibly bad for them. Because they are so unprepared and just sad.

So, this movie was awesome in that it was showing the typical tv teenage reaction to getting pregnant--you know, going to parties and drinking, saying ridiculous things like "I have to spend time with my friends, I can't spend time with the baby all the time!" (actually, yes, you can. When you decided to have a baby that is essentially what you decided. It isn't your fault. You're just a stupid 16 year old), and being clueless as to the fact that the boy who got you pregnant is pretty much not going to stick around. But, through wise old, old, old Thora Birch it also showed that teenage pregnancy isn't all the fun and games you think. Do people really think it will be all fun and games? Be serious.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
It is a hard movie to rate because all lifetime movies are pretty much awful. So, is it good because it is awful, or is it just awful?

It certainly is not the best Lifetime movie I have seen, but lets be serious, if it is on some Sunday afternoon, I'm not gonna pretend like I am not going to watch it. And it isn't like I spend a few hours watching Lifetime movies today. Be serious.

So, I'll give it a 6. Better than average, but not by much!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

F*#k You Sidney Crosby!!

*I apologize in advance for all the cursing. I especially apologize if you are Canadian and reading this, because it must suck being Canadian.

So what is this one about?

my hate for Sidney Crosby

And how much did I pay to watch?
Nothing, thankfully. But I did waste a metric fuckton* of time on Olympic Men's hockey in the hope that Canada would not win the gold.

And what did I think?
If you know me in real life you will know that I have hated the Olympics since High School. One of my classic lines was "The Olympics are gay." Rachel then asked me, "Oh really, Julia? Are they gay? Do they love other Olympics?" at which point I said, "yes"

I think they are a colossal waste of time and money. Back in ancient times the Olympics were supposed to stop people from fighting. Ooh, sports! Lets take a break from our wars and conflict and do the whole sportsmanship thing.

But in the modern age, what is the point? Additionally, I've got an awesome idea. Lets give the Olympics to shitty fucking places like Beijing and Rio--places that are so colossally underdeveloped and could use $20billion (or however much it costs to stage the olympics) towards, you know, its citizenry. Heaven forbid. HEAVEN FORBID!

But, because of my renewed love of hockey (GO WASHINGTON CAPITALS!!!!), my love for Sergei Fedorov, and my desire to see Canada lose the gold medal (because they said it would be a national embarassment if they lost) I got real into the Olympics this year. The Russian roster was unstopable. The Swedes are powerhouses. And even Team USA has the best goalie, like, ever!

So I bought into the stupid competition--at least as far as Men's Hockey was concerned. I watched the opening ceremony and enjoyed it. I liked seeing Wayne Gretzky and the silly Canadians be into being Canadian. And, as someone who went to grad school in Canada, you rarely see things like that...Canadians are pretty calm.

Then one by one, the teams I liked were eliminated. My Russians (with Capitals Ovechkin, Varlamov, and Semin and former Capitals Fedorov and Gonchar and Kozlov) lost to the Slovaks (WHAT?) (with former Capital Milan Jurcina) but it was ok. Team USA was crushing and ended up at the top. They beat the Canucks last weekend while I was tapping my toes to a live Sweeney Todd show. I was so floored that they lost. I really got on the Team USA train. (I was slow to join because I thought they wouldn't pose much of a threat to Canada. My only hope for these 2010 games was that Canada would not win the gold. I thought team USA's only hope was Ryan Miller--and I don't blame him, not at all. He is wonderful. And the Capitals have to play Buffalo on Wednesday as their first game back. Ugh) Then my Russians lost horribly. But it was ok because Sweden (with Capital Niklas Backstrom, swoon) was still around. Then Sweden lost, the SLOVAKS!

The Slovaks almost beat Canada on Friday. Almost. Poor Jurcina and Halak were so sad. And I was too. Because if Canada went up against Team USA there was a chance Canada would win the gold. And if you've been following, that was what I didn't want more than anything.

But that life ruiner Sidney Crosby had to go and ruin that. Even after Zack Parise scored a goal that took USA into overtime. Fuck Cindy Cosby. I hate that guy.

Why? Because he is that girl in high school who got whatever she wanted. He is Casey Kemp. "Wah, I fell asleep driving because I had been cheerleading to much and I love god and all the boys love me." Nothing bad ever happens to him. He already won the fucking Stanley Cup (hah, look at that link. What a fag.) Now he gets to be a Canadian Hero. Going down in the annals of history with all those other Canadian heroes, like... um, uh. Well, are there Canadian heroes?! Nah.

And while we're on the subject of Canada. Why do they have thanksgiving? What do they have to be thankful for? And on a Monday?? You don't even get a four day weekend. What the shit is that?!?!?!!

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
The rating is a 0. I am back to not watching the Olympics. Ever. And my hatred of Cindy continues.

I am even thinking of buying this.

(I am glad to have my life back though. And now that the month of February is over I can resume shopping. Some J.Crew will make me feel better. But also, I don't really care. Because it is sports. And in 9 days the Julia and Lori Birthday Extravaganza 2010 begins. Thank Jesus up in Heaven!!)

Oh, and this too ;)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Chapter 27

So what is this one about?
Netflix's description says,
An overweight Jared Leto stars as Mark David Chapman -- the young assassin who infamously killed John Lennon on the front steps of The Dakota -- in this independent drama from fledgling filmmaker Jarrett Schaeffer. Lindsay Lohan (who in real life is a friend of Lennon's son, Sean) co-stars as a Lennon fan appropriately named Jude, who meets Chapman a few days before the murder without realizing what lies ahead.
And how much did I pay to watch?
WAY more than it was worth. (Netflix'ed)

And what did I think?
Jesus. Why does this movie even exist? Honestly. The Netflix description is the most exciting thing about this movie.

Thinking back over the movie I don't even know what to say. I rented it because I wanted to see fat, fat, fat, fat Jared Leto. Apparently, he gained so much weight for this movie so quickly that he had a hard time walking. I thought to myself, "why would someone want to do that? wont' he get a lot of stretch marks?" This is where my brain was.

Ok, I also rented it because I like Lindsay Lohan. This was one of the movies that she was in that flew way under the radar.

Maybe it was because I don't really care much about The Beatles--I was raised as a hard core Rolling Stones gal--or John Lennon, or the fact that he was murdered (what is the difference between murdered and assassinated? Was Lennon actually assassinated?). And I certainly don't care about Mark David Chapman's pysche and his reason for killing John Lennon.

Seriously, why did I even think to rent this!? It was slow, and tedious, and weird. At least Jared Leto did some quality acting. It was the single thing that kept me from turning this off immediately.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
I don't care. This movie was no good. 2.

Paranormal Activity

Movie poster says: "Paranormal Activity is one of the scariest movies of all time. You will be affected as it's hard to ignore the imprint it leaves on your psyche. Nightmares are guaranteed"
Julia says: disagree.

So what is this one about?
The 'flix tells us,
When Katie (Katie Featherston) and Micah (Micah Sloat) fear their San Diego, Calif., home may be haunted by a demonic presence, Micah sets up a video camera to document all the jaw-dropping, hair-raising action over a series of several nights in fall 2006. The paranormal occurrences increase in frequency and significance, leaving Katie more and more distraught -- and determined to put an end to the terror.
oooooooooh. Scary! (Don't you like that the actors used their own names? I really like it when that happens.)

And how much did I pay to watch?
Eh, some amount. I got this bad boy on Netflix. In fact, I got this to watch on New Year's Eve. (Isn't it impressive it has taken me so long to update this?! So much for that resolution of only having two movies in the Coming Soon section at one time.) We went to Ruby Tuesday--the epitome of class and sophistication--then fell asleep while watching Jersey Shore. I actually had to watch this on New Year's Day...before the NHL Winter Classic.

And what did I think?
So, what did I think. Well, one of the reasons we didn't watch this movie at Mel's house on NYE was that she is scared of horror movies. But really, she had nothing to really be that scared of.

Despite the commercials that you have likely seen (and that I see all the time on FIOS) that are filmed in night vision watching an audience watch Paranormal Activity and they are all TERRIFIED, I was not. It really wasn't that scary.

On the one hand, I think I wasn't willing suspension of disbelief enough. I wasn't into it enough to buy into the whole premise. Yes, when I think about it, if I watched video of creepy shit happening to me while I was asleep it would freak me out. For some reason though, I just didn't find myself getting very scared.

The ending was good though. Shocking, I suppose. I also enjoyed watching the alternate ending.

Paranormal Activity is not that scary of a horror movie, despite what they all say. If you watch to watch a scary movie in the similar vein, watch [REC]. Now that is some scary shit.

Paranormal Activity gets a 5.
So what is the rating? (out of 10)

Jungfrukällan (The Virgin Spring)

So what is this one about?
Netflix tells us,
On the way to deliver candles to a church, the virginal daughter (Birgitta Pettersson) of feudal landowner Töre (Max von Sydow) is savagely raped and murdered. But fate takes a vengeful hand when the killers unknowingly seek food and shelter at the girl's home. Will the grief-stricken Töre learn the truth about his visitors? Set in medieval Sweden, this disturbing tale directed by Ingmar Bergman earned an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.
However. I didn't read the netflix description before I received this disc in the mail. So I didn't have the plot ruined for me by the description.

And how much did I pay to watch?
Eh, some amount. Obviously, as stated above, I got this bad boy from the 'flix.

And what did I think?
Well, I love Ingmar Bergman. Love, love, love, love, love. If you have never seen an Ingmar Bergman film you simply must. I recommend The Seventh Seal. He is so wonderful! And the fact that Max von Sydow is in practically as his movies really does it for me too. (Holy smokes that guy is sure something! And he is acting all over the place still! The Tudors! Even Shutter Island!)

The disc that I received was the Criterion Collection version with an Introduction by Ang Lee. Foolishly, I watched the introduction and gd Ang Lee told me what happened in the movie!! Now, as I said, I hadn't read the netflix description before I watched the disc, so I forgot what the plot was. (Did you know, the plot of The Virgin Spring was the plot of The Last House on the Left? Oh Wes Anderson, Ingmar Bergman you are not)

Now, I didn't really care for this one. I was slow like The Seventh Seal but not nearly as pretty. It still had that theme of Christianity that Bergman seems to enjoy but, ya know, it just didn't do it for me. The woman who played Ingeri was gorgeous, but the woman who played Karin--or, I guess the character of Karin--was so annoying that I didn't really care that she died.

Oh well. Additionally, this took me like 5 months to watch, so I would recommend another Bergman movie before this one.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
I like Bergman. He is great. The Virgin Spring, not as much.


Friday, February 26, 2010

It's Complicated

So what is this one about?
Wellllllllll, Netlfix tells us,
Ten years after their divorce, Jane (Meryl Streep) and Jake (Alec Baldwin) enjoy an amicable friendship. When the two unite for their son's college graduation, their romance is rekindled. But Jake is married, and Jane's architect, Adam (Steve Martin), has a thing for her. Now cheating on the younger woman for whom he left Jane, Jake wants his ex-wife back. But Jane's busy getting to know Adam. Nancy Meyers (Something's Gotta Give) wrote and directed this Golden Globe-nominated comedy.
Ok. So far, so good.

And how much did I pay to watch?
Actually, I paid nothing. Why? Well, Erik and I went to go see it at the Georgetown AMC, and this old guy in line asked what movie we were going to see. We said "It's Complicated" and he said, "if you wait a minute, I am waiting for my friend, and if he doesn't show you could just buy my ticket from me." We were like, "nah, that's ok". So right as Erik went up to buy his ticket this guy flagged me down and was like "tell him to stop!" His friend hadn't showed up, and since the movie was starting in like 2 minutes he just gave me his ticket. AWESOME!

Now, Erik, like a sucker, still had to pay for his. It's ok Erik!

And what did I think?
Well, I went in seeing a movie like this one knowing it wasn't going to be amazing. For some reason, though, when I saw the commercials I thought it looked really funny.

And it was pretty funny. We laughed quite a bit during this one. Some of the laughs were actually very uncomfortable--there was a lot of naked Alec Baldwin. An uncomfortable amount. That guy is seriously fatter and seriously hairier than one would expect. (Unless you have seen It's Complicated, I suppose.) We were also some of the youngest--if not the youngest--people in the theatre. It was like old folks' city in there!! And watching old Alec Baldwin be naked and having sex and to have him say creepy gross things to Meryl Streep was even creepier when the old folks around us started to laugh. unCOMFORtable!!

As far as something like characterization goes, Baldwin and Krazinski were completely ridiculous. They weren't even real people, they were absolutely absurd caricatures. They were not real people. The only man in the entire movie who wasn't a total freak was Steve Martin. The family in the movie was creepily close and Erik kept leaning over to me saying "I know you are totally that way with your brother" a joke. They were like REALLY close and comfortable with each other in a way that was weird for me to watch.

The plot was pretty predictable, which is about what you would expect in a movie like this. Additionally, it made me hungry because Meryl Streep's character was a chef. Making fresh chocolate croissants. Yummmmmm.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
Honestly, it was about what I thought it would be. It was funny. I was entertained.

It gets a 5.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Up in the Air

So what is this one about?
Netflix tells us,
Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) racks up miles flying around the country firing employees on behalf of companies. But he faces losing the job he savors to recent college grad Natalie Keener (Anna Kendrick) -- and losing the ability to escape emotional ties to anything. A connection he builds with Alex Goran (Vera Farmiga), however, might change his outlook on the future. Golden Globe winner Jason Reitman's smart comedy also stars Jason Bateman.
It should probably more accurately say "the ability to escape emotional ties to everything" because that is what it really seemed like he was trying to do. To be an island. (Also, I frequently mistake Jason Reitman and Jason Bateman, I know who both of them are...but their names are just too, too similar!)

And how much did I pay to watch?
For all those times my mother has treated me to movies, I treated her. So I paid $14. Interestingly enough, if we had gone to Cinema DeLux instead, that is what I probably would have paid for only one of us. Thank heavens for locally owned, independent theatres ;)

And what did I think?
When I see television ads for this movie they use a trite description that declares "Up in the Air is a movie for our time!" Except that is really, really, really is! It is an absolutely correct statement. Whether it is that I have never seen one, or that now I am much more aware of, well, everything, I have never seen a movie that so wholeheartedly encapsulates the zeitgeist of a point in time--specifically "these times".

Everyone in the film is so desperate for a connection. Isn't that sort of what popular culture is consistently selling us? All these dating reality shows--where 500 women fling themselves at one man because all of them so badly want that connection (or maybe they just want to be on tv...who knows?)--and the commercials for and and, isn't that what they are telling us? That in today's world of go-go-go and digital communication instead of face-to-face communication, that we are really all very desperate to connect with people in a very real and authentic way? It seems like if someone wants to make a connection, they can't. And then those that are alone and like being that way, will realize that they actually don't really want to be alone.

So what does any of that actually mean? Well, as far as movie things go, the acting was excellent. Why? Because you really start out not liking the characters, or not caring about them. But at the end you are so wrapped up in them and their issues. It is funny and poignant and affecting. Everything about it was excellent. I don't know if America wasn't suffering from a recession, and the auto industry wasn't in the toilet, and people are trying to blow up airplanes on Christmas, that the movie would have been as absolutely spot on as it was. If the movie had been made in 2002 when Reitman started writing the screenplay it wouldn't have been nearly as excellent as it was when it came out in 2009.

I guess that can be the theme of today's entries. Right place, right time.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
The movie was absolutely crushing. Just the way I like them. It was exactly, exactly, exactly the sort of sad I like, because sometimes it feels like the sort of sad that my life is when I get to thinking about it. (I am actually a pretty happy person, not really emo at all, but I understand Ryan Bingham's dealy).

This will likely win Oscars--and probably whatever other stupid awards they do before the Oscars--and it will deserve them. But it isn't so stupid and simplistic that it is like the typical Oscar formula (at least, I don't think so). I'd love to read the book, because I love to see the way movies slaughter good books--but I don't think this one was really close to the book, rather more of an adaptation--and then see the movie again.

But for now, I will give it a 10. It is certainly my choice for awards this year. Not that Precious movie... I swear...*shakes head*


So what is this one about?
Netflix tells us
This heartfelt documentary was created by award-winning French filmmakers Jules and Gedeon Naudet, who simply set out to make a movie about a rookie NYC fireman and ended up filming the tragic event that changed our lives forever. The program includes additional footage and interviews with the heroic firefighters, rescue workers and the Naudet brothers, providing exclusive insight to their extraordinary firsthand experience of the day's events.
Woah. Talk about right place, right time.

And how much did I pay to watch?
Got it on the 'flix. But I am not sure how much I paid.

And what did I think?
Well, I rented this one because The Bob and Abe Show recommended it as Bob's favorite (or was it Abe's favorite?) documentary of the decade. (As you have seen, mine would be considered Children Underground). I was interested in what these guys saw in this film.

Now, as I said, right place, right time, for sure. I found the two Frenchie filmmakers very sympathique (as the French would say) and entirely adorable. It was actually the relationship of the two brothers that I found more affecting than the actual 9/11-New York stuff. I am pretty sure that doesn't make me an awful American. (It isn't that I find 9/11 stuff in general un-affecting, but for some reason this movie just didn't really do it for me. Now, if you want to see some 9/11 stuff that just rips your heart out, you gotta come to Washington, to the Newseum--yes, the museum of news--to the 9/11 Gallery sponsored by Comcast: Chronicling the Attack on America and the 11 minute video they have. Talk about the waterworks!)

The conclusion of the film was very shocking. But it was shocking in a nice uplifting way. It was really unexpected--maybe that is why I didn't find the movie that affecting?

I don't know. The footage was amazing. Like nothing you would ever imagine. Ever. I suppose the film is really worth watching for that alone. What was it like on that day on Ground Zero? This is 100% the closest you would ever get if you weren't there (which, of course, I was not. I was safe in my dorm when the 2nd plane hit and was away from Washington in my Political Science 101 class when the plane hit the pentagon--a mere 15 miles from my home) and for that insight this film deserves all the credit it has been given.

I suppose that is the thing about documentaries, eh? The filmmakers don't write scripts, and sometimes the things that happen in the subject's lives write the film and take it in a new direction. For this reason, I suppose, it is one of the truest documentaries that was made in the 2000s, if not in the 20th-21st century. The filmmakers explain in their narration that the events of the day really did change the direction of their film. So, kudos to them for being able to do so very well.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
For all of the reasons above, I think this film deserves at least an 8. Like I said, it was the relationship between the filmmaker brothers that I was so intrigued by and for some reason the other "plot lines" weren't as affecting. However, it was an excellent achievement brought on by pure luck on the part of the filmmakers (maybe not so lucky for America) and by their ability to take what they had an make it work.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunshine Cleaning

So what is this one about?
The 'flix tells us,
Financially on shaky ground yet determined to send her son to a top private school, Rose Lorkowski (Amy Adams) teams up with her unreliable sister, Norah (Emily Blunt), to start a new company that specializes in biohazard removal and crime scene cleanup. Tired of doing all of the work for other people, whether in her job cleaning homes or in her failed relationships, Rose is finally ready to use her entrepreneurial spirit to tidy up her own life.
Doesn't that description just make you smile? It makes me smile.

And how much did I pay to watch?
I got it via netflix. Though, it didn't take me as long to watch it and return it as other movies I've gotten recently. Less than a month, in fact. What an accomplishment!!

And what did I think?
Well, I thought this movie would be sort of quirky and cute, but it was pretty much quirky, dark and depressing.

As the audience you really want things to go well for Amy Adams (as an aside, I've never really liked her very much. She always looks like she is going to cry, but that really worked in this role, because I think she pretty much was always on the verge of tears), she really deserves to have something go well--be it in her personal or professional life--and it just [SPOILER], well, doesn't.

Emily Blunt, as her sister, is the same way. She is very, very "deep down sad. The kind of sad that just takes time" and apparently it will take a lot of time. She was just drifting in this very emo way. As their father, Alan Arkin was also depressing.

I will tell you who I really liked was the armless guy who worked at the cleaning supply store. Though I don't like for their to be romantic undertones in every movie, I really wanted Amy Adams to get with him. Alas.

So what is the rating? (out of 10)
This movie was just sort of meandering and depressing with not a whole lot of forward motion or positive character development. There was insight into why the characters were do depressive but that didn't really create a cohesive movie.

It was ok though. 5.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Top Ten Movies of the 2000s

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOK. Happy New Years and all that good stuff. If you know me you know that New Years Eve is like my least favorite thing in the world. So, my friends and I ate some dinner, drank some beers, I fell asleep during Jersey Shore, went home, started watching Paranormal Activity and fell asleep. I know, I am a wild woman.

On big bad NYD I finished watching Paranormal Activity (review coming soonish--sooner than usual, because I am making a concerted effort this year to never have more than two movies to review at any given time), then I watched the NHL Winter Classic--go Boston, phuck Philly!--and the announcement of the Team USA men's hockey team (go team Russia! and who are those American guys? I knew like four of them..two of whom were goalies... GO RYAN MILLER!) Then I took a 4 hour nap. All in all, a pretty great way to start the new year.

So, everyone is putting out these best of the year/best of the decade lists. I normally wouldn't partake in this sort of craziness, however, my friends at The Bob and Abe Show already asked me for my best of the decade, movie-wise, so I have my list already. I spent a lot of time thinking about it while I was busy at work one day. This is what I came up with. Let's do this thing in reverse order, shall we?

My Top 10 of the 2000s:
10) Good bye, Lenin! (2003) Have you seen this? It is awesome! It is one of those fall of communism movies I am so into. And the relationship between Alex and his mother is just so freaking precious.

9) Black Hawk Down (2001) My BFF and I saw this movie together in the theatre. Ah, nostalgia. Holy crap, this one is awesome! One I can, and have, and will (so look for the review) watch over and over again. There is literally nothing I can find wrong with this one. And this true life story is amazing on screen!

8) Shaun of the Dead (2004) My love of zombie movies runs deep and this was one of the most innovative of the decade--though Romero made 2 (TWO!) movies this decade--Land of the Dead and Diary of the Dead (how I have not reviewed either of these?) and had a solid remake of one of his movies--Dawn of the Dead--again, how have I not reviewed this? I watch it all the time! I'd include it on this best of the decade list but I don't think there would be much agreement on it.

7) Love Actually (2003) This is included this high on my list hesitantly. I love it, and it is a great movie, but maybe it should be number 10 instead of number 7. Is Love Actually better than Shaun of the Dead or Black Hawk Down? I dunno. But like Chris--Bob's brother--said on the show, this movie is so classic because every single person who watches it can relate to one of the plot lines. My favorite one is the one with Laura Linney and her brother. Because remember kiddies, all love is not romantic love.

6) Donnie Darko: the Director's Cut (2001) Have you seen the Director's Cut? It is so much better than the original cut! Now, unlike Bob--clearly the smartest guy ever--I couldn't really figure out what was going on in Donnie Darko. My excuse was that I was just out of High School when it came out. However, when I was in college and the Director's Cut came out it made so much more sense. I will rarely admit that I am a little dumb, or common, but I liked this one better because I understood what was going on better.

5) The Pianist (2002) Love me some Roman Polanski. And Adrien Brody. And the music. This may be one of the most "obvious" choices on this list. It was an Oscar winner and it contains all those guarentees of one. (remember that Kate Winset episode of Extras where she said you either have to either play a retard or be in a Nazi movie to win an oscar?!) But Adrien Brody is just so good and Roman Polanski, I am sure, was waiting to make this movie his entire life. I think the fact that the movie concentrated on his music instead of like being in a camp makes it less trite--you know, so it wasn't like Life is Beautiful. *rolls eyes*

4) Gran Torino (2008) wow, why is this movie so good? And why doesn't it get the credit it is due? The fact that Clint Eastwood was not nominated as either director or actor in this film is entirely ridiculous. And like I have said a million times, the reason this movie was so good was that it was so unexpected. Unexpectedly hilarious, unexpectedly tragic, unexpectedly wonderful. Kudos Clint!

3) Children Underground (2001) I have told so many people to watch this, but I have a feeling no one has. It is a truly devastating film. Maybe if I give you the description you will want to see it. In Communist Romania the government wanted it's citizens to have children--as opposed to in the Soviet Union where the government didn't want people to have kids because it would distract from them being good communists--and provided all sort of material and financial incentives to parents when they had kids. It made parents have kids they didn't want and didn't care what happened to them. This is a story of the abandoned children who live in the Bucharest subway station. It is the truly devastating picture of the post-communist experience, much more devastating and realistic than 4 months, 3 weeks, and 2 days. It is also much better than Born into Brothels...though it was similar. Basically, I am biased because I do Eastern European stuff

2) Downfall (Der Untergang) (2004) There weren't a lot of foreign films on best of lists. Sad. Because this one was 100% the best. The first time I saw it I was just spellbound. Bruno Ganz is extraordinary as Hitler. I cannot, cannot, CANNOT emphasize how amazing his acting was. The film was captivating. It gives you chills to watch it. It is very long though and somewhat laborious. I would still recommend it. It is amazing. And it has one of my favorite foreign actresses in it (one of my favorites? really? who are the others??) Alexandra Maria Lara. She is great.

1) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) It actually sort of offends me that this wasn't at the top of every reviewer's "Best of the Decade" list. This movie is clearly the best. Think of how innovative, wonderful, sad, romantic, and visually amazing it was. 100%, unquestioned, the best movie of the Oughts.

Honorable Mentions:

~28 Days Later (2002) Also zombies (are they really zombies? they were infected with rage. Were they dead? oh, the intricacies of zombism!) and also pretty innovative. Good Work Danny Boyle. 28 Weeks Later was also enjoyable but not nearly honorable mention material.
~Band of Brothers (2001) A miniseries, but the best gd miniseries of the 2000s. The 2nd best one was clearly John Adams.
~Before Sunset (2004) I love it, and Linklater is kind of a big deal.
~Bowling for Columbine (2002) God that Michael Moore is a pain in the ass. But this one is pretty solid.
~Once (2006) when is the last time you saw a legit musical? I'm not talking Moulin Rouge! but like actually a reasonable, accessible musical. It was the last time you watched Once, thats when!
~The Ring (2002) How much did this movie re-define horror movies? Wasn't this one of the first creepy Japanese remakes? When she crawled out of the tv at the end I almost lost my shit right there in the theatre!
~Super Troopers (2001) I watched this movie once a week in college. That doesn't make it good though...but it is entirely quotable and entirely funny.
~Superbad (2007) God this movie is hilarious. HILARIOUS. The bromance, that is definitely one of the themes of the 2000s. And how sweet is Michael Cera?
~The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007) This movie didn't get any credit from anyone. It was great (but very slow) with amazing acting and haunting music.
~There Will Be Blood (2007) Easily the best movie quote of the decade came from this movie. Who drinks you milkshake? I drink your milkshake. I drink it up. SLUUUUUUUUUUUURP. Very slow with amazing music and Daniel Day Lewis? Come on. That guy is a ridiculous actor.

Dishonorable Mention:
Slumdog Millionaire (2008) give me a gd break. Typical Hollywood via 3rd world country bullshit. How can the guy who directed 28 Days Later come up with this? If you wanna watch an actual movie watch City of God, or Born Into Brothels, or even Children Underground. Glamorizing poverty is gross. When you see real unfortunate situations you wont think it is so great anymore. I guess the problem is that "the masses" don't watch movies like those.
Ok. The cinematography was pretty good.

Lastly, I want to plug I don't know much about them, but they provided that sweet best of the decade graphic. They don't know they did but I just credited them, so there shouldn't be a problem, right?! (yikes) (Maybe this year when I become a professional blogger they can be one of my sponsors. Wouldn't that be fun? Please don't sue me!!)

I want to post a link to their The 50 Best Movies of the Decade. They asked their readers to pick their 10 Best Movies of the Decade. This is what they came up with:

10. The Departed
9. City of God
8. Almost Famous
7. Memento
6. Pan’s Labyrinth
5. Lost in Translation
4. There Will Be Blood
3. Amélie
2. The Royal Tenenbaums
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

I've clearly got to spend more time reading Paste Magazine, because their readers clearly know what is up.

As a final note, it was pure coincidence that the place that provided the sweet image had my #1 as their reader's #1. Isn't that fortuitous?!?!

Happy New Years, kiddies!!