Movable Type 3.2
May 09, 2011
May 05, 2011
April 04, 2011
Green Lantern Footage from WonderCon
I'm not particularly a fan or anything, but this has even me intrigued...
March 31, 2011
Trailer: The Three Musketeers
So . . . on the one hand, this doesn't look particularly good, and people who are more familiar with the book and/or previous movies than I am seem to be outraged.
On the other hand . . . Matthew Macfadyen.
March 29, 2011
Trailer: William and Kate
I haven't been this excited about a Lifetime movie since Logan Huntzberger and Lexie Grey went Amish.
March 28, 2011
Yet another parody Boston Movie trailer . . .
This time with real movies!
March 07, 2011
Trailer: Meek's Cutoff
It's like Oregon Trail or Kate's Book came to life. Starring Michelle Williams. I cannot wait.
March 03, 2011
Trailer: Green Lantern: Emerald Knights
I'll admit I'm more interested in this for the voice cast than for the thing itself. Nathan Fillion! Jason Isaacs! Elisabeth Moss! Kelly Hu!
March 02, 2011
Trailer: Apollo 18
Color me . . . underwhelmed. If your trailer just makes me think "I'd rather just watch the Star Trek episode with this plot," that's probably not the greatest sign.
March 01, 2011
Trailer: The Adjustment Bureau
This is one of those movies that seems like it was made FROM MY DREAMS. Matt Damon! Emily Blunt! Politics! Ballet! Shady men in suits! Complicated secrets! Lauren Hodges! Anthony Mackie! John Slattery! Jennifer freakin' Ehle, as a . . . bartender? Jon Stewart, Carville and Matalin, and Michael Bloomberg, as themselves! Score by Thomas Newman! Lots of New Yorky shots! Ahem. I'll be there opening weekend.
The one Oscar clip you must see...
Zachary Levi (of Chuck), wearing a vest, and singing.
February 25, 2011
Trailer: The Lincoln Lawyer
This mainly reminds me that I've been meaning to read more Michael Connelly.
February 24, 2011
I'm not a big circus fan or anything, but this documentary looks fascinating:
February 19, 2011
I have to admit that I'm kind of excited about this. Beauty and the Beast! NPH! Alex Pettyfer!
February 11, 2011
Trailer: X-Men: First Class
This looks awesome. Also: Kennedy!
February 03, 2011
One of my best friends recently emailed me demanding more movies about Plantagenets, and then the next day I found this trailer. So now I'm trying to figure out what else she should make happen with the power of her brain.
Wheee! It'll probably be "so bad it's good," not actually good, but I'm excited regardless.
January 27, 2011
Between this and Red Riding Hood, Shiloh Fernandez is having quite a spring, huh? I can be kind of hit or miss with the "angsty, indie darling" genre - I generally prefer the flat-out depressing type - but this one seems worth a look.
And seriously, if they don't use Neon Trees' "1983" in an ad campaign, they're missing out. (Warning: this video is not for those overly prone to motion sickness.)
January 22, 2011
Trailer: Perfect Sense
This looks like my kind of end-of-the-world movie: fewer big flashy disasters, more sad people. Wheee.
January 21, 2011
Should Red Riding Hood Be Her Own Wolf?
Honestly, I am so excited for this movie. There's a new, longer trailer:
And Alyssa points out that based on these trailers, it's (almost) perfectly plausible that Red Riding herself is the wolf. (I say almost because it appears that there are a few scenes in which Seyfried sees the wolf.) I'm torn, because that would be a fascinating take, and I'd be really impressed if they did something so daring. But I also like the traditional symbolism of the wolf as the combined danger and appeal of sexual awakening. Which, sure, it could also be if it were Seyfried herself, but I'd almost rather they directly take on the idea of girls being told to think of men they like as dangerous monsters. Underlying this discussion, of course, is the fact that director Catherine Hardwicke also directed Twilight, and we all want her to use Red Riding Hood either to somehow repudiate Twilight or to at least show some sort of movement in her portrayal of adolescent girls and sexuality. In Twilight, men are literal monsters who will choose to make themselves utterly safe if and only if they are provided with a pure, innocent empty vessel worthy of adoration and protection but not agency. In Red Riding Hood, I think it would be enough growth if the wolf would just stay complicated and a little dangerous and the girl grow up to be mature and complex enough to meet him as a real partner.
Obviously Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs is essential listening here:
As are a few songs from Into the Woods:
And "I Know Things Now" wouldn't embed, but here it is. "And though scary is exciting, nice is different than good. . . . Isn't it nice to know a lot? And a little bit not."
January 20, 2011
Trailer: Water for Elephants
Would you like to see Robert Pattinson kiss Reese Witherspoon? Here you go:
It has been noted that Pattinson does little but stare at things and kiss people. Hey, maybe he's found his niche. Seriously, though, he's much more attractive here than in the Twilight movies, and I'm eager to see what he does with a more "serious" role. I've been meaning to read this book for years, so I really should do that before the movie comes out. (April 22. Hey, my parents' anniversary!)
January 19, 2011
Trailer: Scream 4
I don't really do horror movies, and I've only seen the first Scream, and I think I made someone play Magic with me while "watching" so I wouldn't really pay attention and get scared. But that was before I realized that Kevin Williamson is a genius who I will obey in all things, and anything he writes is required viewing. And also, the cast includes Adam Brody and Mary McDonnell and Alison Brie and Kristen Bell and Brittany Robertson and Aimee Teagarden and Lucy Hale. So I'm going to have to catch up on the others via DVD, because God forbid I watch something out of order, and then I'll go see this - probably at 11 am or something to try to keep it as unscary as possible - and not sleep for days. Because, seriously, the man is responsible for The Vampire Diaries and Dawson's Creek.
And I wish to God I were kidding about pretty much any of the above, but alas, every word is true.
Yes, I'm enough of a How I Met Your Mother fan that I will probably go see this when it comes out. And I actually really like Josh (and Ted), unlike, it seems, most fans. I am a little suspicious of how seriously this takes the "universe is abundant" nonsense, but other than that, this looks pretty good.
Also, any movie with a line like "My great shame as a writer is that I'm just this suburban kid with good parents. Hardly Dickensian" basically has me at hello.
December 31, 2010
The Best Movies I Saw in the Theater in 2010
Yes, that's kind of an unwieldy title, and I'm actually splitting this into two lists. At the beginning of 2010, I went to see five 2009 movies that were really good. Then I'll give you my top ten for 2010 itself. And there are a few 2010 movies I haven't seen yet but want to, so I'll probably end up doing a similar split list next year.
2009 Movies (Seen in 2010)
Top 10 Movies of 2010
October 20, 2010
Documentary Recommendation: God in America
On Sunday, I found myself completely sucked into the entire six-hour run of PBS's God in America. This sort of thing isn't for everyone, of course, but if you'd at all interested in American history or religious studies or sociology, I highly recommend you check it out. (You can watch it online and find all sorts of accompanying resources here.) It traces the way that religion has played a role in major events of American history from the first interactions between the native peoples and Spanish missionaries all the way through this summer's Koran-burning and "Ground Zero mosque" controversies. The broad outlines, of course, will be familiar to anyone who's been paying attention, but it's presented well and had enough new-to-me information to keep me intrigued. Did you know that Hearst ordered his publications to make Billy Graham into a celebrity as a way to fight Communism, for example? That story was fascinating.
The film has a good mix of expert commentary and reenactments based on primary sources. Stephen Prothero, one of my favorite writers on religious issues, comments throughout, and I have to mention that he's not at all hard to look at. Other names I knew popped up from time to time - Mary Beth Norton, Amy Sullivan. I would have preferred that they give more time to some religious events that were less directly tied to major historical events - the Mormons were only mentioned in passing (perhaps because they did a whole documentary on Mormonism already), and I don't think the Salem Witch Trials came up at all. Still, it was cohesive, informative, and surprisingly watchable.
October 12, 2010
Trailer: Avalon High
Avalon High is my favorite Meg Cabot book, so I was simultaneously thrilled and worried when I heard they were making a movie. But after seeing this trailer, I think I'm mostly thrilled. Especially as the female leads are Britt Robertson (Life Unexpected) and Molly Quinn (Castle)! And really, high school drama and King Arthur? Epic!
October 08, 2010
Trailer: The Tempest
I love the idea of Helen Mirren as Prospero - but then, I saw Vanessa Redgrave as Prospero at the Globe, so the idea of a female Prospero doesn't seem odd to me. In any case, this movie looks AMAZING:
September 23, 2010
September 17, 2010
Trailer: The Nutcracker in 3D
I . . . I honestly have no idea what to make of this.
On the one hand, there is no ballet. There is no Baryshnikov. What is the point?
On the other hand, I'm actually not opposed to a Nutcracker movie based on the original Hoffman story rather than on the ballet. That could be interesting. But did you notice how it said "Based on story and music by Tchaikovsky"? What? Are they that oblivious to their source material? Do they just assume using that name will draw a bigger audience? Because it does not look like it's based on the ballet, with all its candy and romance. It looks like it's based on the original story, which is weird and kind of scary and about a kid, not a teenager falling in love. (Also, in the movie the main character seems to be named Mary, which is closer to Hoffman's Marie than to the "Clara" usually used in the ballet.)
On the other other hand, it's 3-D, and therefore I am skeptical.
On the other other other hand, it's the freaking Nutcracker, so of course I will go see it opening weekend.
September 01, 2010
Trailer: Fair Game
I suppose after all my Rubicon posts, it won't surprise anyone that I love possibly-boring spy things, but I honestly have no idea why everyone is being so negative about the trailer for Fair Game, the Valerie Plame movie:
From that little bit, at least, it looks like it's staying faithful to her book while including the action that audiences demand from spy movies. I can't wait!
August 20, 2010
Trailer: Love and Other Drugs
Another rom-com that looks decent! It's an epidemic!
Playboy falls for real for a free spirit who doesn't want him. Not the most original storyline, maybe, but fine if it's well done. I like both Hathaway and Gyllenhaal, and it will be nice to see them less miserable together than they were in Brokeback Mountain. And the supporting cast includes Oliver Platt and Scott Cohen!
August 19, 2010
Trailer: How Do You Know
First: It bothers me to no end that there does not seem to be a question mark at the end of the title of How Do You Know.
But if we try to get past that: This looks pretty good! To quote Jezebel's headline, "Gimmick-Free RomCom Gives Us Some Hope." No one's traveling across the world or working through an entire cookbook or anything. They're just, you know, people, trying to live their lives and figure out what they want. It actually looks pretty serious for a comedy, but not all weepy and overemotional. Refreshing! (Plus: Paul Rudd!)
August 11, 2010
Trailer: Vampires Suck
I am usually not one for spoof movies, but this looks brilliant.
August 10, 2010
Trailer: Easy A
I hadn't even heard of this movie until I saw the preview at both Charlie St. Cloud and The Kids Are All Right. Oh, and maybe then Eclipse. Anyway:
The main character looks like a strong and interesting but fairly realistic teen girl, and it seems hilarious, unless they put all the funny bits in the trailer. (I especially liked the father's line about strippers for governors.) The cast is solid, and I'm always a sucker for a good Hawthorne/Lady GaGa mashup. September 17. Can't wait!
August 02, 2010
Review: Charlie St. Cloud
(Most posts this week are coming to you from my iPad, and I'm still getting used to the spell correct, so please let me know if you notice any typos.)
Honestly, I would never have guessed I'd make a point of going to see a Zac Efron movie on opening night. I hadn't even really planned on going to this one. But a few entertainment writers I follow on Twitter were extremely excited about it, and it was a Friday night at the beginning of my vacation, so I figured hey, why not? And truthfully? I pretty much loved it.
I don't want to spoil anyone, because the plot was more surprising than I'd anticipated. So if you click through to read the rest of this review, you will, I hope, be spoiled on nothing that the previews didn't already make obvious. If you don't want even that level of detail, here's the really short version: it was good! Better than I'd expected! And Zac Efron is pretty! And can actually act!
Okay, the slightly longer version! First: the plot. There were flaws. And some gaping holes. I will not try to get around that. I don't want to go into too much detail, so let's just say that I was more or less able to turn off my brain and just go with it while I was watching, but when I started thinking about it afterward, things didn't quite add up. Here's a non-spoilery example: As you see in the trailers, the main character, Charlie, plays catch with his dead brother Sam. But how does this WORK? He seems to be using a real, not ghostly, baseball, so how does it get thrown back to him? Therre are a bunch of logistical issues like that, and a few of them do get in the way of the plot.
I'm not sure I'd seen Efron in anything since High School Musical, and I'm pleased to report that he's grown up quite nicely, both in that he's now a good-looking adult, and can also actually act! I was pretty neutral about him before this, but I was impressed enough by this role that I will now make a point of following his career. Some critics have complained about the movie pandering to its audience by featuring Charlie wet and/or shirtless more often than may be strictly necessary, but I choose to see this as a feature rather than a flaw.
The rest of the cast was solid as well. The young actor who plays Sam does a good job of keeping the character appealing and realistic, if a bit precocious. (I am often annoyed by precocious kids in movies, but I was not here.) the female lead is believable as both a sailor and a romantic object, and Charlie's slightly frantic British friend/coworker provides some nice comic relief.
One more nit I have to pick: I spent most of the movie assuming they were somewhere on the coast of Massachusetts, and that seems to be the case, although their version of Quincy bears little resemblence to the parts of the actual Quincy, MA I've seen. But one character questions another's obsession with "the team from Boston" - the Red Sox - and that made so little sense that I started questioning whether I'd completely misunderstood the setting. If you want to make a Boston-area kid's baseball loyalties seem noteworthy or odd, make him interested in some other team. No one would even bother commenting on an 11-year-old MA boy collecting Red Sox cards.
A few people have asked if the movie made me cry. It did not, but then, I rarely cry at movies - the last time I remember crying in the theater was at Serenity. But this one did make me choke up a bit, so if you are the sort to cry at movies, you will probably cry at this one. Even when the plot fell apart logistically, it held together emotionally, and it was a genuinely affecting story without becoming a generic tear-jerker. The sincerity of the story and themes overcame the sometimes clumsy writing, and really, if all else fails, Zac Efron alternately sailing and emoting makes for a thoroughly enjoyable movie-going experience.
July 30, 2010
This historical teen romance from Rob Reiner looks completely adorable:
The clothes! The soundtrack! The adorable children! The dad from Frasier! I somehow hadn't heard anything about this until the last few days, but now I'm pretty excited.
A five-minute trailer for Thor was shown at Comic-Con and then, of course, showed up online:
Honestly, I don't know much about Thor other than that some of my friends are really excited about it, and that I'm predisposed to be interested in anything dealing with mythology, but this footage certainly got my attention.
July 23, 2010
Trailer: Ramona and Beezus
I had almost entirely avoided learning anything about the new movie Ramona and Beezus (opening today), because a) movies of beloved children's books are almost always disappointing, and b) if Ramona's going to be on screen, she should be Sarah Polley, obviously. But I finally broke down and watched the trailer and I have to admit it looks really cute. And hey, Sandra Oh is in it! I had no idea.
So . . . anyone have a little girl I can borrow, or do I have to be that weird grown-up seeing a kid movie alone? (Or maybe I'll wait for Netflix. This doesn't necessarily look like the sort of movie that you have to see on the big screen.)
July 19, 2010
Trailer: The Town
Bank robbery movies aren't necessarily my thing, but this looks really good:
I've always liked Ben Affleck, and look! Blake Lively! Jon Hamm! Jeremy Renner! A chance to evaluate more fake Boston accents! Good times.
July 16, 2010
But who will Josh Malina play?
It's a very Aaron Sorkin day around here. Sorry. But it's sounding more and more likely that Sorkin has or soon will acquire the rights to The Politician, the tell-all by John Edwards aide Andrew Young. According to THR, Sorkin will be not only writing and producing but also directing. I'm thrilled that Sorkin will be writing the Edwards story, but I'm not so sure about the directing part. The balance of having the writing and directing done by different people can be useful, I think. And, of course, I'd love if Tommy Schlamme were involved. But we'll see.
My larger concern about this movie is how Sorkin will manage to make any of the main characters sympathetic. I haven't read The Politician yet, but in the interviews I've seen and read, Young does not exactly come across as a good guy. No one (except, you know, Edwards) ever liked Rielle Hunter. John Edwards is obviously no Josiah Bartlet. And by this point, even Elizabeth Edwards seems pretty yucky. It is, of course, possible to make a movie in which the audience isn't really intended to side with any of the characters, but I'm not sure that's Sorkin's forte. One of the most impressive things about The West Wing was the way he humanized politicians while making (some of) them seem good and admirable, if flawed. The John Edwards story is basically the opposite - "We thought this guy might be good, but nope! He's even worse than we imagined!" How will Sorkin deal with that? We'll find out!
Of course, there's a more fun question - who will he cast? Sorkin fans on Twitter have been lobbying for Sorkin alums - Bradley Whitford, Allison Janney, Matthew Perry, Janel Moloney, etc. - but I'm not sure any of them are really right for any of these characters. Wait! I could see Peter Krause as Edwards and Felicity Huffman as Hunter. I think they both could pull off those roles in a way that would make the characters seem interesting rather than cartoonish. Krause might be a little too young, though, especially if one were to suggest Stockard Channing for Elizabeth Edwards, as I was about to do. Nah, I'll stick with that. They're good actors. They could pull it off. (Rob Lowe might be my second choice for Edwards, though.) I don't know what Cheri Young is like in personality or mannerisms, but Sabrina Lloyd (Natalie from Sports Night) looks a fair amount like her. Andrew Young was the toughest to mentally cast here, but actually Josh Charles looks like the right type and could probably make it work. Wow. That was more Sports Night-centric than I'd planned. Oh, Elisabeth Moss could be Cate Edwards. And obviously Josh Malina must have a role, although I don't know which one. It wouldn't really feel like a Sorkin feature without him.
New Social Network Trailers!
Here's the second teaser - I love the format:
And here's a full trailer!
Love. Love love love. Now, I will readily admit that I am a Sorkin fan and tend to assume the best of anything with which he's involved, but I honestly don't understand why so many people seem to be discounting this movie out of hand. I can only assume that those who keep saying, over and over, that a movie about people updating their status messages and playing Farmville would be boring are being deliberately obtuse, and I have little patience for that. It's pretty obvious that this isn't about random people using Facebook, folks. On the other hand, I do see the point of the criticisms based on the veracity (or lack thereof) of the source material. I was startled to realize that people were thinking of the movie as nonfiction - I was thinking of it as a heavily fictionalized account from the get-go - but if that's the case, then sure, this might not be what you're looking for. But questions of truthiness aside, just as a movie, this looks awesome and I'm very excited to see it.
July 12, 2010
I saw a preview for Red when I went to see Eclipse over the weekend, and it looks like it's going to be completely delightful. Spies! Pretty houses! And look at that cast - aside from the obvious attractions of Helen Mirren, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Mary-Louise Parker, Richard Dreyfuss, and John Malkovich, a quick glance at IMDb reveals a supporting cast including Karl Urban (LOTR, Star Trek), James Remar (basically everything ever; recently, The Vampire Diaries), Emily Kuroda (Gilmore Girls) . . . and Ernest Borgnine? Wow. Yet another reason to be eager for fall.
July 06, 2010
Trailer: Let Me In
I get the impression that many fans of the original Let the Right One In are less than enthusiastic about this American remake - quelle surprise! - so clearly I'll have to Netflix the original before this new one comes out so I can be properly disgruntled about it. I'm actually slightly more curious about the original novel: I've been reading Swedish mysteries recently and I'm curious how other Swedish genre writing compares. I just requested the book from the library, so I'll let you know how it goes.
July 02, 2010
What happens when neutron stars collide, anyway?
Obviously, one of the lingering questions about The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is what the heck is going on in "Neutron Star Collision," the song Muse wrote for the movie? Is a neutron star collision good or bad? What happens? Death and destruction for all? It's kind of unclear from the song, so I asked my favorite Muse fan, who also happens to work in the planetarium field, so I expect him to be an expert on all things astronomical. Obviously.
He kindly took up the question on his blog:
In any case, colliding neutron stars don't so much whack into each other as orbit each other very fast until they merge in a great explosion of energy. They may orbit for many years, but once the death spiral begins it can end almost instantaneously, with the stars traveling close to the speed of light. . . . So hearts combining, figuratively, are not badly represented by the literal fusing of two stars. What becomes of those two stars is something new -- perhaps a black hole.That actually makes more sense in the context of the movie than I'd expected it to! But memo to Bella and Edward: Notice how you end up with a black hole there? Yeah. Not exactly a happily-ever-after. Just, you know, something to keep in mind.
July 01, 2010
Trailer: The Social Network
This came out while I was on vacation, so apologies if you've all seen it already, but it is an Aaron Sorkin movie trailer, so clearly I must post it.
There's . . . I don't know, not much there yet, really. I guess I'll say that there's nothing in it that makes me less enthusiastic about the movie, but I'm one of those people who will happily listen to hours of Aaron Sorkin dialogue about any subject whatsoever, so I'm going to be pretty easy to please here. I think my main concern is whether the rather young cast will be able to pull off Sorkin's trademark abundant and complicated dialogue. I don't think it's necessarily an accident that many of the actors who have done best with Sorkin come from theater backgrounds, and I'm not sure that's the case here. But I love Justin Timberlake, and I just noticed that Malese Jow is in it as well; I'll give them all the benefit of the doubt for now.
June 29, 2010
Trailer: The Oxford Murders
This came out a few years ago in Europe; I'm hoping that the trailer floating around is a sign that we'll get it over here.
I love academic mysteries. And Elijah Wood. And things set at Oxford. Wheee! Prediction: I will spend much of the movie wondering when Inspector Lewis will show up.
Trailer: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
It looks good, but, well, more or less exactly as expected. Which is good! Seven movies into the series, and with source material about which people feel so strongly, I think if there was anything really surprising in the trailer for the new movie, it would actually be a bad sign.
Also, I really need to reread all the books before I go see this.
June 11, 2010
Babies is a documentary about the lives of four specific babies from birth to age one in various parts of the world - Mongolia, Namibia, Japan, and the U.S. Really. That's it. There's no narrations. No voiceovers. No dialogue other than whatever adults happen to be saying in the background. But it's oddly riveting. I mean, I suppose it helps if you like babies - and these are some seriously cute babies, but then, most are. But while the babies are charming, the really interesting thing about the movie is the lens it provides to examine everyday life in these various cultures. I thought the lack of narration made the movie more effective, but personally, I would have liked a companion book to learn more about the cultures in question.
This movie didn't seem to set out to have a message or moral, exactly, but there were definitely two messages that seemed clear. The first: Babies are not fragile. They're really hard to break, in fact. These babies were crawling around Africa and getting trampled by cows and being hit by their siblings and falling off things left and right, and they were all completely fine. Nervous first-time parents should perhaps watch this just for that lesson. The second message was that Western babies have an awful lot of stuff they don't need, and are pretty overstimulated, and parents should probably just calm down already.
And one thing not exactly about the movie itself: It seems that, because the movie is about babies, parents have concluded that it is for babies. This is not the case. I have no problem with small babies being pretty much anywhere as long as they stay fairly quiet, but there were a bunch of toddlers and preschoolers at this movie who were pretty bored. And there were crying babies who were not taken out of the theater. The content of the movie makes this complaint sound slightly ridiculous - "Please take your screaming child out of the theater so I can hear the screaming child on the screen!" - but I don't think I'm wrong here. It doesn't matter what the movie is about. If your baby is screaming, he's not happy, and your fellow movie-goers aren't happy either. Please do something about it.
May 23, 2010
Not-Quite-Review: Letters to Juliet
Warning: The following will, in fact, include spoilers for the movie. But really, if it isn't completely obvious to you how this movie is going to end, then apparently you've never seen another movie before, ever. So it barely counts as spoilers.
Okay, I was going to write an actual review, but then I read A.O. Scott's review in the Times and I pretty much agree with everything he says. So go read that, and then I'll add the following points:
1. Christopher Egan, who plays Charlie, half of the younger of the two couples whose story this movie tells, looks exactly, distractingly like Daniel Truhitte, better known as Rolfe from The Sound of Music. So let me give you some peace of mind about one thing: he does not, at any point, turn Amanda Seyfried or Vanessa Redgrave over to the Nazis. I know you were worried. I certainly was.
2. I've never been a big fan of Romeo and Juliet. I mean, it's Shakespeare. It's great. Obviously. But it's a tragedy, about dangerous prejudice and dumb teenagers, so I've never understood setting it up as this great love story. And the whole premise about women leaving letters asking Juliet for advice - and yes, I know this really happens, but still - seems absurd, because - really? Juliet is extremely low on my list of people from whom I'd want advice. I was afraid this would ruin the movie for me, but it didn't. The actual Juliet stuff doesn't come up much once the plot really gets going.
3. I'm always unsure about these romances in which one of the people is supposed to be with someone else, but this didn't bother me while watching, just afterward. And I think it was handled pretty well. Of course, part of me also wishes that Victor, the fiance, had been a more three-dimensional and sympathetic character, but then I'd be complaining more about Sophie's relationship with Charlie. So. I am fickle.
4. Scott mentions the Italian scenery, which was, of course, lovely, but it was the food and wine that really got me. So either make dinner reservations for after you see the movie or be ready to cook.
5. The cast was actually pretty amazing. I've been a fan of Amanda Seyfried since Veronica Mars, and it's nice to see her getting starring roles. Christopher Egan, once I got past the Sound of Music thing, was a revelation, and while I'm not quite ready to call him our generation's Hugh Grant, well, I'm considering it. Vanessa Redgrave was perfect, of course. And the fine supporting cast - Oliver Platt, Gael Garcia Bernal, Franco Nero - left me wanting more of them.
6. The big obstacle making Sophie and Charlie "hate" each other was Charlie's grandmother's quest to find her lost love. I felt like the movie wanted me to sympathize with Sophie here, but I was completely on Charlie's side. So, now that I think about it, the movie did a nice job of offering these two different points of entry, rather than making one of the positions completely ridiculous.
7. Lastly, I really liked the way they handled Sophie's work in relation to the two men. She didn't need a man to encourage her to pursue her dreams - she was going to write regardless of what Victor or Charlie said about it. And it wasn't that one of them believed in her and the other didn't. They both expressed confidence in her abilities and future. But Charlie really wanted to read her writing, because he was actually interested, whereas Victor couldn't be bothered to read a piece even when she specifically left it out for him. And that was the moment when Sophie made up her mind once and for all.
May 20, 2010
Do we need to do this to Vivaldi?
I suppose after Immortal Beloved it was just a matter of time before movie makers decided other classical composers would make for good period dramas. Now that I think about it, I'm amazed there isn't a movie about the Schumanns. (Is there?) Or Tchaikovsky. Or Bach, with all those kids. But Vivaldi? Not my first choice for a period romance. And yet Raffaella De Laurentiis, whose name I am astonished I spelled correctly on the first try, is making one. (Oh! Giada's aunt! That's why I thought I recognized the name.) I mean, I'm all for historical movies in general, but . . . we all know Vivaldi was a priest, right? (There were rumors about his relationship with this woman, but so far as I know most modern scholars don't believe anything was going on.) But then, I suppose ecclesiastical sex scandals are somewhat timely. Still. I am skeptical. And on the casting: Luke Evans has done a fair number of historical movies, although I don't actually remember him from Clash of the Titans. But there's a reason Vivaldi was called The Red Priest. Okay, multiple reasons, but one of the reasons was his red hair. So, please, dye Evans's hair, and hope he looks believable as a redhead. Jessica Biel is playing the love interest, and while I don't actually have anything against her in general, but she always plays as very modern, and I found that distracting in The Illusionist.
Oh well. At least we know the soundtrack will be good!
May 13, 2010
The Most Incredibly Exciting Week Ever
Okay, that may be overstating things a little, but seriously, folks, there's a lot of exciting pop culture stuff going on in the next week or so. Here's a rundown of the things that interest me. (Notes: All times are Eastern. Here's an explanation of "upfronts".)
Thursday, May 13
Friday, May 14
Monday, May 17
Tuesday, May 18
Thursday, May 20
May 07, 2010
I can't decide how to feel about this.
There were rumors going around that the band Muse wouldn't have any songs in Eclipse, the third Twilight movie. (If you don't care about Muse or Twilight, feel free to just stop reading now.) Muse had songs in the first two movies (and on the soundtrack albums), so there was sort of an uproar when they were supposedly not going to have anything to do with Eclipse. But don't worry! They are in fact putting out a whole new song for the movie! Everyone take a deep breath!
On the one hand, Muse is a good band, and I'm happy that they're getting more exposure. On the other hand, well, I try not to be one of those people who refuses to like popular things, but I'm not necessarily wild about the idea of bands I like being co-opted by screaming teenagers. (Actually, I maintain that Muse exited indie-cool status three years ago, when a poster of the band was used on a failed CW summer teen soap to telegraph that a boy was angsty and depressed, but since I seem to be the only one who watched that show, I generally fail to convince people of this. And by people, I mean my best friend, who runs MUSE: Simulacrum. Anyway. Moving on!)
On the other other hand, my feelings about the whole Twilight franchise are rather mixed right now. There are a few reasons for this, but first - okay, I'm getting into Casey McCall territory here*. And now that I think about it, I might write something longer about my Twilight issues at some point. But a summary: I enjoyed the books. I think it helped that I read the first before it was popular, before there was any hype. But I think the movies are pretty bad. And I think the plot sends some iffy messages to young girls. But without Twilight, other things I really REALLY like - namely The Vampire Diaries - would have been given much less of a chance.
So! New Muse song for Eclipse. The name is kind of dumb: "Neutron Star Collision (Love Is Forever)." I mean, with this trend in Muse song titles, I'd really rather they be used in a movie about space rather than vampires. And what the hell is the point of subtitling a song WRITTEN FOR A TWILIGHT MOVIE "Love Is Forever"? Is that really necessary? Not to put too fine a point on it, or anything. But hey, new music from Muse. So I'll stop complaining. For now.
* "Let me answer that question in four parts, with the fourth part first and the third part last. The second part has five subjects--" - Sports Night
March 07, 2010
Oscar Red Carpet Liveblog
6:00 Here we go! It's Ryan!
My Oscar Picks
These are what I WANT to win, not what I think will win. HS/NO means that I haven't seen any of the films and have no opinion.
Best Picture: The Hurt Locker
March 05, 2010
The Oscars are coming!
The Oscars are on Sunday! I love awards shows. I'll be liveblogging the red carpet show from 6-8 and then the ceremony starting at 8, so if you're watching, make sure you come hang out. I'm expecting that there will also be quality coverage at Jezebel and Go Fug Yourself. (Oh, it looks like the Fug Girls will be liveblogging at NYMag. I'll give you the link once it appears.) I'll let you know if I find any more good liveblogs.
Of course, this ALSO means that this weekend I need to post my own Oscar picks and predictions. I'm hoping to see one or two more films on DVD before the ceremony, so I'm sort of waiting for that before I make my picks, but I promise that post will appear at some point over the weekend.
February 18, 2010
The Hurt Locker
I'm way behind on writing up movie reviews, so I'm going to banish the word "review" from my mind here and just tell you a little about what I thought.
In brief: The Hurt Locker was very, very good. I don't tend to watch a lot of war movies - I can't remember the last one I saw, unless we count White Christmas or The Sound of Music. (Dad: Feel free to send me a list.) So I wasn't really sure how I would like this, but the reviews were so good that I had to give it a try. I wouldn't say that this was an enjoyable movie, exactly. It was uncomfortable to watch, and I realized I was pretty tense. My shoulders hurt by the end of it because I kept steeling myself for imminent explosions. But movies don't have to be fun to be good, and this was one of the best movies I've seen in a long time.
In case you haven't heard much about it: The Hurt Locker is basically an action movie about a team of soldiers in Iraq who are responsible for defusing IEDs. It manages to follow the stories of these soldiers without turning the movie into too much of a political vehicle. Jeremy Renner is amazing as William James, the main technician who is something of a wildcard. So far, at least, he's my choice for Best Actor, as he manages to display a wide range of emotions without having a whole lot to say. I thought Anthony Mackie was the other standout among the actors, and he should have gotten a Supporting Actor nod.
There was one plot point that I thought was completely cliched and obvious, but other than that, the whole thing was pretty nuanced, and about as understated as something about explosions can be. There's been some discussion about how factually correct this portrayal of the Iraq War is, but honestly, I don't know enough to come down on one side or the other of that. I just know that it was a powerful film. (Also check out Alyssa on the gender-role reversal here with a woman making an action movie.)
February 08, 2010
Reasons to Go to the Movies Alone
I have decided to make 2010 the year of going to the movies as often as there are things I want to see. More often than not, this means going alone. And I've decided - contrary to popular opinion, I love this. Here's why:
See what you want, when you want. This is obvious, I guess, but it really can't be overstated. I can't tell you how many movies I missed in the theater during the past year because some friend or other said they wanted to see it with me, and then either our schedules didn't mesh or we just never got it together to make a plan. No more of that.
Get there when you want. I like to get to the movies early. (It's my father's fault.) I understand that some people do not. But it drives me crazy when my movie companions laugh at my suggested arrival time, and then when we actually do get there, the show is sold out or we have to sit in the front row or whatever. If you just got there early, this wouldn't happen. Gah.
No one thinks it's weird if you knit during the movie. Well, okay. People probably do think it's weird. But they're strangers.
Get popcorn, if you want. I usually don't, actually, but once in a while I'm in the mood. But it's always weird to be the one person in the group who wants popcorn. And don't even get me started on sharing popcorn. I can't stand it, for reasons I can't quite figure out.
Stay until the end of the credits. I almost always do. (I think this is my dad's fault, too.) Many people get up as soon as the credits roll, though, and I don't like making them stay if they don't want to.
Fewer distractions. I find it much easier to immerse myself in the world of the movie if I'm surrounded by strangers.
There is one benefit to going to the movies with others: my father is much, much better at shushing loud neighbors than I am.
The Truth about Sherlock
Sherlock Holmes may not have been the most faithful adaptation ever, but I'm not going to lie: Every time I've been to the movies since I saw it, I have for an instant been tempted to forget about whatever I had planned to see and just see that again.
There should be another music Oscar.
I started thinking about this when watching Up in the Air, and decided for sure while watch An Education. There needs to be some sort of non-original score award. Best Compiled Soundtrack? Something. It's a totally different act from that of composition, but it takes real talent to find the perfect arrangements of the perfect songs to go along with what's happening in a movie. An Education, especially, was brilliant with this, with everything from the Ravel at the concert to the French music on Jenny's record player to "You've Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger." I walked out of it thinking "Sure, actress, screenplay, whatever, but it should really get an award for that music."
February 05, 2010
I was supposed to be away all weekend, but unfortunately the baby shower I was going to in Pennsylvania has been canceled due to the impending snowpocalypse. I'm sad that I don't get to go, but it strikes me that this is the perfect weekend to devote to seeing as many Oscar-nominated movies as possible. I think I might go to the movies every day this weekend - after work tonight (The Blind Side), Saturday matinee (An Education), and Sunday matinee (Crazy Heart). Because why not, right? I didn't expect to have any of this time free, and it will still cost less than what I had budgeted for the weekend trip. I'm also getting The Hurt Locker from Netflix, and if I get really ambitious, Food, Inc., Paris 36, and Il Divo are on Netflix Watch Instantly.
February 04, 2010
Up in the Air
Warning: Spoilers ahead. I'll try to save them for the end of the post so you have time to avert your eyes.
I saw Up in the Air a few weeks ago, but just realized I never posted about it. I haven't seen any of the other Best Picture nominees yet (working on it!), but I certainly wouldn't be disappointed if this won. The script was witty but not overwritten - and made me want to read the book - and the movie was beautifully done, all around. I thought they did an extremely good job of showing how similar all the airports and cities seemed to Ryan without actually making it boring and repetitive to the viewers. I'm one of those people who loves airports and planes, so this movie actually left me with the overwhelming urge to travel, which I realize is not quite the point. But still.
Confession: Before this movie, I'm not sure I could have picked George Clooney out of a lineup. (Rosemary Clooney? Sure!) I know, I know. I just looked at IMDb and the other thing of his I've seen is his guest spot on Friends. Yes, this seems ridiculous to me, too, and I clearly have some catching up to do. But anyway, I thought he did a very good job, and it made me want to watch more of his movies. He made the character work in all his isolation and prickliness but seem likeable at the same time, which is quite something.
Vera Farmiga was fine as Alex, but among the women, I thought the standout was clearly Anna Kendrick as Natalie. I think her Jessica (with shades of Cordelia Chase, no?) is one of the highlights of the Twilight movies, and I'm excited that she seems to be taking her career in this classy, adult direction. And I had to repress a squee when I saw Chris Lowell's name in the opening credits. I've loved him since Veronica Mars and I think he does some really good work on Private Practice, even though that show as a whole tends to be something of a mess. He did a fine if small job here as Ryan's assistant, although I hope he gets to play a part that doesn't involve answering phones soon. (He's the receptionist/midwife on PP. Yes, I know. I told you it's a mess.)
And now, a few words about the ending. A few friends had warned me before I saw the movie that the ending was disappointing and/or would anger me. It didn't. At all. (Now that I think about it, I wonder if some of the people who said that know of my "happy endings only" rule for fan fiction. I guess I look for very different things in different forms of media. That might warrant its own post.) Anyway, I went into the movie expecting a drama, rather than a romantic comedy, so the ending didn't surprise me. And my dad had recommended the movie, and he's rather known for liking depressing things. (He says he was surprised by the ending, though.) I assumed from the beginning that Alex wasn't exactly what she appeared, and as soon as Ryan got on the plane for Chicago, I figured that either she was married or she had made up a fake identity/given him a fake address.
I liked the ending better this way than I would have if it had been a typical You've Got Mail style sudden revelation and ecstatic declaration of love. (Not that I don't love You've Got Mail, but I don't want everything to be like that.) Ryan developed a lot internally over the course of the movie, but that doesn't magically change anything. He made a small step in writing the recommendation for Anna. But I found it refreshingly honest that he couldn't actually change his life that much, at least not all at once. Even if you have revelations, change your own priorities, decide you want to be someone else, it doesn't mean that the past is erased or that you no longer have to live with the consequences of all of the previous decisions you've made. This ending made Up in the Air both truer and more poignant. (And I wouldn't be surprised if the less-happy ending helped it get its Oscar nominations.)
February 03, 2010
Cowboys! Aliens! Coming to a theater near you!
I somehow either had entirely missed the fact that Cowboys & Aliens is going to be a movie, or not realized that it's THAT Cowboys & Aliens - the one for which my college friend Alana Joli Abbott was writing. (She's mentioned at the very end of the first article I linked there.) It's the sort of thing I would probably see anyway - sci-fi plus nineteenth century America? Sign me up! But now that I realize the connection, I'm very excited.
February 02, 2010
The nominations are here. I'll have more on my thoughts for particular categories later, but first, I want to try to see as many as I can. I'm not sure what's still in the theaters... okay, let's see. (In the lists below, except for the first one, the movies are in approximate priority order, based on the number of nominations, category of nominations, and how interesting the specific movie sounds.)
I have seen these:
These are already out on DVD or Netflix Instant Watching, or will be out before the ceremony:
These are either scheduled to be released after March 7 or don't have DVD release dates on Netflix. Some might still be in theaters. (Okay, this list got crazy long so I'm only including the ones that seem to have a chance of appearing somewhere nearby.)
Definitely in theaters:
January 14, 2010
Janel Moloney (Donna from The West Wing) is starring in a new movie, so of course I have to see it. But - wow. It looks completely bizarre. Apparently she's the wife of a guy who wants to cut off his arms. Huh.
I will see it, but - really? Really?
January 05, 2010
Release the Kraken!
I have to admit that I am extraordinarily excited about the new Clash of the Titans. It promises to be just as "so cheesy it's awesome" as the original, which they actually had us watch in school, if you can believe that.
I mean, doesn't that preview just make you grin with glee? I cannot wait. I'm not sure what it says about me that I'm largely indifferent to the whole Avatar thing but simultaneously feeling that this is the movie that I absolutely cannot miss in the theater. Release the kraken! Damn the gods! So many catchphrases!
January 21, 2009
My head might explode.
May 07, 2008
Ellen Page to be Jane Eyre
Ellen Page (of Juno) is set to star in a new version of Jane Eyre! That's... I have no idea how I feel about that, actually. Huh. I guess it's perplexing. She looks good for the part, but I'm having trouble imagining her being mousy. Or... not snarky. Although I think she's a good enough actress to portray such a different character. I'm more worried about the producer having been involved with The Other Boleyn Girl.
May 02, 2008
Why did no one tell me...
...that Chiwetel Ejiofor sings "Whatever Lola Wants" in Kinky Boots? Terry Gross just played a clip of it, and... hee! (I assume this is funnier if you think of Ejiofor as The Operative from Serenity.) Must get that from Netflix soon.
March 21, 2008
Ten Most Historically Inaccurate Movies
At least according to Yahoo. I'm not sure I agree - 2001 wasn't going for historical accuracy, for one thing. And what about Tristan and Isolde? King Arthur? What are your nominations for least accurate?
March 06, 2008
Movie: The Other Boleyn Girl
A friend and I saw The Other Boleyn Girl last night. Quick take: It's awful. Don't bother.
Some background: I read the book on which the movie was based a few years ago, and thought it was okay, but not great. And in general, I've read a fair amount about the Tudors, but I'm no expert.
So, the movie: it was faithful neither to the novel nor to history. Now, I'm okay with movies or books that take liberties with historical fact, as long as there is clear narrative reason for doing so. In this case, there wasn't. At all. It made the story disjointed and boring. Of all the stories to make boring! There's no excuse for that. The actors did a reasonably good job with what they were given, but the whole thing just felt rushed and half-hearted. There was a lot of telling rather than showing, especially of the various interpersonal relationships. It made the whole thing pretty unbelievable. And really, they just changed EVERYTHING, often for no apparent reason.
There were a few good points: The clothes and scenery were gorgeous. I liked Eric Bana as Henry. And in a few scenes, the banter between Henry and Anne seemed spot-on. But these few things didn't make up for the awfulness of the rest.