Monday, May 31, 2010
In chronological order, I saw the following movies:
An Education – Enjoyed this one. Two friends gave it lukewarm reviews and I went in with low expectations but ended up enjoying it. Peter Sarsgaard had the lead male role and I generally like his work. I was also thoroughly taken by the acting of Carey Mulligan – the lead female. Her ability to pull off both a clever young girl and the witty, knowledge of someone older was excellently executed. The movie also had some solid commentary on the situation of women in the early 60s – should they just marry and have kids or go and get their education and possibly work as a lonely teacher?
The Lovely Bones – So-so. Intense but I’ve never been a fan of any movie that attempts to portray what death or between life and death or whatever may be like. Invariably they end up making it a bit sugary. Stanley Tucci did do an amazing job of being a creepy and disgusting killer.
Sherlock Holmes – Mainstream fun. Robert Downey Jr. does a great job playing the smug smart guy who can (surprisingly) kick ass (think about Iron Man). The filming is done well (everything looks to have the hue of an old but crisp daguerreotype photograph) and the storyline keeps you thinking, as one would expect from Sherlock Holmes.
Clash of the Titans (2010) – Not good. Lots of fights not much substance. Funny to see Liam Neeson as Zeus though.
Dead Man Walking – Unsurprisingly engaging. Don’t know why I waited so long to see this one. Susan Sarandon was (as always) fabulous and definitely overshadowed Sean Penn. Tough subject though – the replay of the murder and rape scenes are haunting me a bit.
Those are the five that I saw prior to Sex and the City 2. Don’t tell anyone, but after getting home from a fun dinner last night, I watched G-Force. Yes, it’s the one about the FBI agent guinea pigs and yes it was pretty stupid (but sort of funny too!).
Saturday, May 29, 2010
I saw Sex on the City 2 last night. I was joined by my friend Hillary, it was also my goodbye to her before her voyage to Salt Lake City and her new life very soon.
The movie was over-the-top opulent and it was not a “good” movie by many standards. BUT as a long-time Sex and the City fan, it was a lot of fun to watch. It was a bit long at 2 hours but I guess if we only get our Sex and the City fix every few years, then it’s got to be a bit longer. The movie did contain lots of cheesy parts. For example, the four women sang “I am woman” at a karaoke bar in Abu Dhabi but even that had some energy.
I did have a little nagging thought in the back of my brain about how spoiled these women characters are. I know I’m not supposed to think about this during this type of movie. I suppose I was hoping for a bit of dialogue on how lucky they are to live such affluent lives of freedom when confronted with women wearing veils and hemmed in by morality police in the Middle East. There was not much comment from the women on this, which I found a little disappointing but I guess that would take away from the fantasy and decadence that makes Sex and the City what it is – fun, witty and amusing.
I do have to say that the movie, from a very privileged perspective, did hit on the issues of motherhood, modern marriage, not having children, and respect for women in the professional world. But, thinking about the women I know who have kids and work, a woman who doesn’t work and who has a nanny and is freaked out by motherhood (and then goes on to obsess about her nanny’s sexuality)is a bit pretentious. Of course, this is coming from someone who has no children, so, admittedly, what do I know?
Oh but guess what! There was a new hamster commercial. Yes, I know this is consumerism (and cars…) but it’s also hamsters!
Sunday, May 9, 2010
I should have said this long ago (maybe I have…), my movie opinions are not opinions by which you should make your movie selections. Probably 8 times out of 10 my movie favorites are the detested of others. That’s ok with me but I thought you should know.
I saw a movie that I liked, Men Who Stare at Goats (2009), but I’m guessing most thought it was fairly stupid. I can see that. This is the description from Netflix:
Journalist Bob Wilton (Ewan McGregor) latches onto an unbelievable story in Iraq when he meets Lyn Cassady (George Clooney), a man of mysterious origins who reveals he was a "warrior monk" trained by the U.S. Army to develop psychic powers. Jeff Bridges co-stars as Lyn's mentor, the man who dreamed up the top-secret operation.
Unfortunately, I saw this film over a month ago and my memory isn’t strong. Reading the reviews now, I’m wondering why it appealed to me but I do remember enjoying the absurdity. For instance, there’s a guy interviewed in the beginning who claimed that he was a member of the New Earth Army (an official branch of the US military at one time, in the movie that is, not in real life) and could kill a hamster by staring at it. He showed a video of this but the hamster was just stunned. It does all seem pretty stupid. I still recommend it.
I’m wondering if my movie tastes would be different if I had a quiet life that didn’t crave escape at the end of the day so much that movies like this really made me laugh.
Anyway, George Clooney’s performance is great and really underscores his range as an actor. Also the “more of this is true than you think” aspect is intriguing to an amateur conspiracy theorist like myself.
Just to prove my good movie judgment, a day later I watched Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. I’ve never watched the previous Underworld movies. This one was ridiculous! Netflix synopsis:
A prequel to the first two Underworld films, this fantasy explains the origins of the feud between the Vampires and the Lycans. Aided by his secret love, Sonja, courageous Lucian (Michael Sheen) leads the Lycans in battle against brutal Vampire king Viktor. Determined to break the king's enslavement of his people, Lucian faces off against the Death Dealer army in a bid for Lycan independence.
The most hilarious thing was that Michael Sheen was the king of the werewolves or something. Michael Sheen was David Frost in “Frost Nixon” and Tony Blair in “The Queen”! To see him with long hair and shirtless all serious was…wow, funny.
Ok, this is him as Tony Blair:
This is him as Lucian the Lycan:
Um, don’t see the movie unless you are a Michael Sheen aficionado.
Friday, May 7, 2010
I was absentmindedly giving her treats the other day when the back of the package caught my eye. I noticed that it said, “under 2 calories per treat.” I know there are some fat housecats out there but advertising “under 2 calories per treat” – really? For that to really mean anything I would need to know the average daily calorie intake of a cat of her length and weight.
But, whatever. I then noticed the text on the back of the turkey flavored treat package:
Not to be savored but once a year, oh no! This girthy bird of paradise can be enjoyed each and every day. I’ll wrap myself in his arms of sustenance and sink my teeth into those delectable drumsticks! Gravy and stuffing, hah! The only thing that’ll be stuffed is me, once I devour this phenomenal fowl…mmmm…I need my Temptations ® treaaa…zZzzZzzz…”
Is this supposed to get the pet’s person all excited to buy more of these treats knowing that the pet will be virtually sinking his/her teeth into “delectable drumsticks”?? It just made me chuckle…
Thursday, May 6, 2010
About two weeks ago I saw In the Loop and The Box. I didn’t love either one.
In the Loop (2009)
short description from Netflix:
When the US president and the UK prime minister decide to invade a certain Middle Eastern country, skeptical American and British operatives do their best to stop the runaway train to war in this scathing political comedy.This one got good reviews and it looked like it would be funny but I didn’t really get into it. I recognize the humor and the play of politics and the media and how all of it comes together to actually shape the world we live in through decisions made based on those things and all of that, but it didn’t reach me (typical lately). The New Yorker review agrees with me but there were several funny bits, I’ll admit, and I think that others would enjoy the movie.
The Box (2009)
Ok, this movie’s premise was intriguing – a family receives a box with a big red button, if one of them pushes it they get $1 million but someone they don’t know dies. Now, there’s no such thing as a free lunch and we all know that going in but the movie goes in some strange directions. The director, Richard Kelly, is the same person that directed Donnie Darko, which explains a lot. I liked Donnie Darko, but there were some parts that I didn’t 100% get.
If you’ve seen the movie (or aren’t going to and don’t care if you find out what happens) there is a great Slate Spoiler Special on this movie that explores all the bizarre things that happen. All I’m going to say is that the extraterrestrial forces and the time and/or space traveling water box threw me. See it for yourself.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
About two weeks ago my loving significant other sent me an email with a link to a blog: Hyperbole and a Half.
I. LOVE. IT.
First, her drawings are just my speed – I’m a sucker for simple and stick figure. In previous posts, I’ve provided evidence of my joy of stick figure-based art but this one also has stories!
Oh where to start…the first post I saw was one about the woman who does the art and stories and her adventures in illness. Here is one of the pictures in that story – this is one of her in the ER (the doctor is the one tell her to pee).
This is the text along with the drawing:
I knew I had reached a pretty low point in my life. There I was, halfway unconscious on a toilet; trying my hardest to pee into a tiny plastic cup and not on my own hand or the floor. It sounds like a very simple goal to accomplish, but it isn't. I was crying quietly and drooling on myself. I didn't even care that a stranger was standing there watching the whole pathetic situation. In that moment, I had no dignity.
Trust me, this passage is funny in the context of the rest of the story.
I’ve been spending about 15-20 minutes a night reading backwards in the blog. Honestly, I find nearly every post laugh-out-loud funny but, of course, some are funnier than others. For example, the “How a fish almost destroyed my childhood” was…oh, you’ll HAVE to check it out for yourself. At first I was horrified but by the end it all came together.
I also enjoy the blog because I relate to this woman in several respects.
1. We both don’t like spiders. As my man can attest if you add me plus spider you get the same result as below.
2. We both recognize and analyze the business of awkward situations. She has an entire post entitled “The Awkward situation survival guide.” I often say that my super power is the ability to always say the wrong thing. She covers that.
Anyway, I highly recommend you check it out.