Monday, May 30, 2011

Latest views

I'm heading out of town for the rest of the week, so I wanted to be sure to post about the last couple things I've watched...

The Education of Charlie Banks: This was an indie starring Jason Ritter ("Mick") and Jesse Eisenberg ("Charlie"). The movie was ok, the plot was basically that Charlie reported Mick to the cops after witnessing him assault someone, but then got scared and retracted his statement, which meant Mick was released. Years later, Mick shows up at Charlie's college, audits his classes, starts hanging out with his friends, and steals his girl. Of course Charlie is wondering why Mick is there and whether he knows Charlie is the one who ratted him out. It was fairly well done, although I think having Jason Ritter play a badass is questionable casting. Not that I'm complaining, since I'm completely in love with him. Jesse Eisenberg on the other hand was fantastically cast (and adorable as usual), and both of their acting was great (also as usual). Unfortunately the story itself that was a little blah for me. But there were some moral questions about the cycle of violence, issues of hope and forgiveness, and some Gatsby references, which, on top of the acting and cute boys, made me glad I watched it.

Planet B-Boy: I love watching b-boy/breaker dance crews (I am a diligent viewer of So You Think You Can Dance and America's Best Dance Crew), and I also am kind of obsessed with documentaries that feature a competition of some sort, so this one was great for me. It was really well made and did a great job putting their style of dance into the context of culture. It tracked 5 teams (Japan, Germany, South Korea, France and the U.S.) through their prep for the worldwide "Battle of the Year" and then ultimately to the competition itself. The intrigue of this style of documentary for me is that they draw out the stories of the people in the competition, and then some win and some lose. Oh the human drama. Anyway this one was excellent, if you are a fan of b-boy/break dancing and the hip hop world, check it out for sure.

Air Guitar Nation: This was... bizarre to say the least. Basically these guys went to the worldwide air guitar championship in Finland (yeah... it exists) and realized the U.S. was not represented, so they started a U.S. competition. The documentary traces the first annual East Coast and West Coast regionals, the U.S. finals, and then the world championship. It was a bit annoying to watch after the b-boy one, because it was all so insincere and ridiculous compared to the b-boy stuff. But once they got to the worldwide competition it was much cooler and the people took it more seriously. That being said, this is probably one to skip.

Inside Deep Throat: I like stuff about the sexual revolution, and also stuff about censorship, so this was really interesting to me. I didn't know much about the release of Deep Throat except that it caused a bit of a stir (in more ways than one?). The production quality of this was surprisingly high for a documentary about porn. It was kind of funny to see interviews with all these people who were involved in the industry back then now that they're older and kind of washed up. I wish they had gone a bit more in to some of the topics, for example, what happened to Linda Lovelace and how she made the transformation from porn star to anti-porn activist, but I guess they only had so much time. Anyway, it was an interesting watch for sure.

Frontline: Flying Cheap: I don't know why I watched this before getting on a plane tomorrow morning. I am clearly a masochist. This was about how regional air carriers work and whether safety is being sacrificed for cheap fares. My only hope is that things have changed since this was filmed... in 2010...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Brief Interviews with Hideous Adaptations

I have nothing to contribute to the discussion about Meek's Cutoff since I haven't seen it yet. So the only thing I can really talk about instead is what else I've watched while you guys were researching for your dissertation about aspect ratios. :)

Brief Interviews With Hideous Men: I think the moral of this one for me was that DFW's novels shouldn't be made into movies. Language that sounds electrifying and inspiring coming out of the mouth of a master of poetry and prose like DFW sounds incredibly pretentious, belabored, gratuitous... dare I say masturbatory? yeah, I said it... coming out of the mouths of actors like John Krasinski. (Who also directed and adapted it, which I find to be all at once brave and irritating. I've always felt like John Krasinski was trying too hard to be cool. Now I'm sure that's the case.) I had flashbacks to all the auditions I've ever been on and acting classes I've ever taken. It was like watching people read monologues from those horrible books... "Monologues for Actors," "Monologues for Teens," you know? Except if the book was billed as "for people trying to sound intellectual and artsy" and written by a much beloved deceased writer. Painful. I'm pretty sure it's John Krasinski's fault. That being said, fantastic acting from Julianne Nicholson.

National Geographic: China's Lost Girls: The story was sad, albeit pretty ethnocentric (Americans come in and save China from itself). But either way it was hard to focus on it because it's nearly impossible for me to take Lisa Ling seriously.

Frontline: The Released: This was even more sad. It traced the stories of six mentally ill inmates and their struggles to adjust to life outside of prison. As with most Frontline episodes, it was really well done but not at all an upper... to the extent that not everyone lives to see the end of it. Pretty dark stuff.

Exam: This was a really interesting psychological thriller from the U.K. It's kind of a standard plot scenario that's been pretty overdone, but it actually had a bit of a different twist, which I liked. The premise is that there are 8 applicants for a job, and they are locked in a windowless room and given 80 minutes to answer a question. Their directions seem simple - don't "spoil" your paper, don't leave the room, don't try to communicate with the exam administrators or the armed guard standing at the door. Or you will be disqualified. "There is one question given and one answer required." And of course the clock starts, they turn over their exams, and the pages are blank. But after that is where it differentiates itself from other movies with plots like this, in my humble opinion. I mean, as you can guess, it's a movie about humanity, really, what happens to us as the clock winds down, when our goals conflict or align with others' goals, and what we're really willing to do when we're under pressure to come out on top. It didn't feel contrived to me (beyond the basic premise), and I really liked the ending. It was an entertaining 100 minutes.

Oh, and the aspect ratio was Widescreen Anamorphic 1.78:1. xoxo

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Presumed Innocent?

Tonight I watched Presumed Innocent (Pakula, 1993). It's a mystery/thriller starring Harrison Ford, Brian Dennehy, and oddly enough some of my favorite TV stars (John Spencer and Bradley Whitford - both from The West Wing, and Bonnie Bedelia from Parenthood). I'm not surprised that I really liked this movie, considering the fact that Pakula's All The President's Men is one of my favorite movies ever, and, as I think I've said before, I tend to like things about trials, exoneration/DNA evidence, etc. It's also based on a novel, which is usually a good sign on my end. This one had a pretty compelling plot - a prosecutor investigates the murder of his coworker, whom he had had an affair with, and his DNA evidence turns up at the scene, so he becomes the defendant instead of the prosecutor. I can't really say more without giving away what happens, but I will say that I was not expecting it to end the way it did, but I really liked the ending, although it kind of freaked me out. I also thought it was great acting all around. On the negative side I will say that it is not exactly a cinematography wonder. It LOOKS like it was made much earlier than 1993, and not in a good way (you know, it has that made-for-TV-movie feel). Also, there is voice-over at the very beginning and end that was a little ham-handed. But overall I really liked it -- although it started out feeling a bit like an episode of Law & Order, it ended up leaving me thinking about human nature, right & wrong, guilt & innocence, that kind of stuff. But maybe that's just because I over-identify with characters. ;) (Kidding.)

Re: Jason's Weekend Recap post - As I mentioned on Facebook, your review of Dr. Strangelove made me want to see it even more than I already did. I haven't seen Hot Fuzz and am not interested in seeing it (don't hate me but I intensely disliked Shaun of the Dead, it's just not my style I think). Although I will say that I thought Paul sounded like it might be good (yay to sci-fi references) - if anyone has seen it, 1) did you like it, and 2) do you think a person would like it if they did not like Shaun of the Dead? Jason Bateman is in it, so that's a plus for me. (There's always money in the banana stand.) King of the Hill is not a movie I would ever put in my queue based on the subject material - but your review, the fact that it's by Soderbergh who also did another of my favorite movies ever (sex, lies and videotape), and the fact that it has Katherine Heigl back from when I used to love her (her Roswell days), would all actually make me consider it. But I'm not seeing it anywhere on Netflix, did you get it elsewhere?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Uh oh...

Did you guys hear about this? von Trier banned from Cannes for Nazi comments. The video of him is REALLY... awkward?... to say the least. Yikes. Melancholia is still in the running though.

Jason - I'm so glad to find another Patricia Clarkson fan! Every time I mention her name, nobody knows who I'm talking about. I actually haven't seen The Station Agent - it's been in my queue for quite a while but hasn't made it to my house yet. Netflix thinks I'll give it 5 stars, so I should probably move it up. Also, I'm so glad you liked my nerdy science post! I love new suggestions in that area especially, and Netflix does have it (although checking it out from the library is a good idea) -- thanks. It sounds right up my alley. I haven't read the Kick-Ass comic, but I should find it. I didn't even know there was one, but I guess it makes sense that there would be. I really liked the music in the movie - I thought it was all really well selected and well placed in the film, especially the two that you mentioned. (Although I never saw 28 Days Later or Sunshine, so I didn't know the songs were used in those too.) As far as Amy Adams goes, I didn't like Enchanted, but she has really grown on me since then. Her performances in Doubt and Sunshine Cleaning made me change my mind about her. And I like Leap Year, not surprisingly. :) I haven't seen Julie & Julia or Junebug yet, but I plan to.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

More stuff I forgot


I agree with what you guys said about the BSG characters. They're great, it's definitely why I kept watching the show. Especially because like you said Ben due to the extreme premise of the show (Cylons vs Humans, very high-stakes situations, etc.), the characters get complex, just like real people, and also like real people, they change based on what happens in the series. When TV can do that well, that is something to be admired. A BSG-viewing party is definitely in order, I'm at least coming home in of June for the B.C. Open (or whatever it's called now) and probably some other stuff, if not before. I'm so down.

I'm a TV junkie and I studied it for my master's, so I'm always down for talking about TV. I agree with the shows you guys like, although as a TV lover I'm seriously ashamed to have only seen about 10 minutes of The Wire in a TV class. I've never watched an episode. So embarrassing. Anyway, I have too many TV loves to give a list. But like I said, I will never turn down a TV conversation. Except when I forget to respond to it in my posts. Like an idiot.

Black Swan

I finally watched it guys! Wow... it was so intense. I just looked up Androfsky's other films (because I never used to pay much attention to directors, I didn't know which were his). It makes sense that he was the director of Black Swan. Why? Because I loved Pi, I really got into that movie and even burned it for my sister... and on the other side of the coin, I had to turn off Requiem for a Dream because it was making me physically sick. The combination of the two is kind of how I felt about Black Swan I guess. I really liked it. And at the same time, whoa.

I always feel really bad for ballet dancers. I took ballet from ages 3-19. Thankfully instead of moving to a competitive studio I stayed at a shitty one and never got all that serious about it. But I have some friends who were serious about it... these movies are not exaggerating the lifestyle. Or all the blisters and puking. Movies about ballet always make me sad that they have to put themselves through all of that.

I think the reason that all at the same time I loved and was sickened by this movie was because I really related to the character, somehow. Hopefully that doesn't mean I'm insane. It's just that I think if I were in her position, a director would probably tell me the exact same things the director told her, and that would be so horrible, to finally realize your dream but at the same time to be criticized for who you are and pushed and pushed to become a different person with everyone breathing down your back and competing to take it away from you. Including your mother? How horrible. I also really understand the desperation she felt to be perfect, I feel that way every day. I loved that that was such a big theme. Maybe I should read this as a cautionary tale... am I headed down the path to insanity? :) But seriously, I can really understand her spiral downward. Clearly she had anxiety issues to begin with, and body/self-image issues. And understanding what that's like too, I really think the plot went exactly as it had to go. How could she not literally go crazy under all that pressure from everyone to be someone else? You guys know I have trouble with over-empathizing with characters. :) But I think in this case it made me like the movie more than I would have otherwise. I don't know why I was expecting something a bit different from Black Swan, but I'm glad that it was what it was. I'm also glad I finally saw it.

I think I might go see Meek's Cutoff here so that I'm not left out of the discussion. :) I'm sure it will be playing somewhere. But first I will watch Wendy & Lucy. (Finally.) Ben has only been telling me to see it since it came out.

A few other things I forgot to say earlier

I was talking earlier with Ben about my bad habit of reading things on my phone and thinking I responded to them when I actually didn't. That goes for film club posts too. I always think I responded to stuff you guys have said but seemingly never actually do. Fail. Here are a few things from some of your recent posts that I would have said if I wasn't an insane person.

I'm much too chickenshit to get into a heated debate about Brokeback Mountain as the newcomer in the group. So instead I post about a movie about bridesmaids. I am a bit shy, obviously. ;) I also haven't seen it in a realllllly long time. I should probably rewatch it soon, definitely before saying anything else. Speaking of rewatching, I also really like the conversation you guys have been having about Match Point, I need to rewatch that too - I actually bought it when it came out because I liked it so much, but I haven't seen it in quite a while. I'm a fan of his and I don't mind his repetitive themes. Annie Hall is easily one of my favorite movies of all time. I'm also looking forward to his new movie. But Jeffrey, I haven't seen Crimes and Misdemeanors. Adding it to the list. There are actually quite a few of his I haven't seen - some are in my instant queue so hopefully I'll get to them this summer.

John I love Battlestar Galactica, although as Ben knows, I got a little bored when they ended up on New Caprica at the beginning of Season 3 (not to mention a little confused about why the writers chose to do that). Don't worry that won't spoil anything for you. Anyway, you've inspired me to finish watching the series - Ben I am rewatching the "Exodus" episodes and then continuing on from there. I was a bit farther than that but it's been so long I barely remember anything about what was going on. But John definitely post about BSG on here, I love talking about it. And I can't wait to see how it ends.

Speaking of TV series I need to catch up on, Ben, remember when you let me borrow the Tudors DVDs? Are you glad you bought the DVDs so that I could keep them for like 4 years? I'm so sorry, I hate when people do that - I am going to watch it and give it back to you the next time I see you. Just remember: you love me.

Kick Ass - Ben, I'll be interested to see what you think. As a warning though, it's really violent. Which in my opinion was a lot of the point. I really liked the themes about heroism and how they turned what I was expecting on its head - I started wondering who the good guys really were, you know? I love movies like that. I also think there's some stuff in it about the voyeurism of internet culture that you may be interested in. But I did just want to give you a heads up that if you're expecting a cute movie, it's more Kill Bill than Spiderman.

I also promise I will watch The New World soon. I feel super left out on that front.

More on the 2005 lists - I didn't like Broken Flowers. It was really upsetting to me and not in a good way. But I think that probably means it was successful. I saw it in theaters when it came out, so I don't really remember it enough to say anything substantial or to give a real explanation. Jeff, I liked Batman Begins too. Sadly it's another one that I don't really remember that well, but I am a big Christopher Nolan fan. It was definitely a flawed movie. But for a prequel type of movie (which I usually don't really like), I thought they did a good job. For example, MUCH better than X-Men Origins: Wolverine. (Sigh.) I loooooved Munich. I'm kind of a sucker for anything based on real life events. But I thought it was really well made, especially because I usually get annoyed by Spielberg. I think the fact that he was restricted to something that really happened meant that for once he didn't ruin a great movie by adding on an unwarranted neat and tidy ending. It's been a while since I've seen it, but I still remember it pretty clearly. 5 stars.

Ben, congrats on the mention in the article - seriously, that's so awesome. :) Remember me when you're famous, ok?

Jeff - definitely watch KKBB. I really think you will like it. If you don't watch it, I will find you and force you to watch it, just like I do to all my friends. Tina Fey is the holy grail to me - I wouldn't say Bridesmaids is up to her quality, but it's close enough to make me think she would watch it and enjoy it. You should give it a shot when it comes out, you'll probably think it's funny. Just skip the food poisoning scene.

To all: I am very jealous that you're all going to see a movie together. That is all.


I went to see Bridesmaids last night. I should preface this with the fact that a) I hate stupid humor and was expecting this to be that, b) I hate Kristen Wiig's characters on SNL so I was expecting it to be like that since she wrote the movie, c) I didn't know why people were saying anything comparing the movie to romcoms since to me it was so obviously not going to be one, and d) I had had two beers, a "creamsicle" shot (which I do not recommend, gross) and my only food for the night was a few handfuls of Sour Patch Kids. (Classy.)

That being said, I actually thought it was really funny, minus a few scenes, namely the scene where everyone had food poisoning. I hate that kind of humor. (South Park excluded.) But I was surprised by the fact that that was really one of the only scenes with that kind of humor in it. The rest of the movie was surprisingly funny - it reminded me more of a Tina Fey script or an Apatow movie, which I guess makes sense since he was a producer. But do not be fooled by all the people telling you that this movie is not a chick flick (we had drinks with my friend Pearce before the movie - he had seen it a few days ago and that's what he said about it - I also saw other people on the internets saying the same). It's a funny romcom, but it still is one. (It's also not the only funny romcom ever made... I grew up watching romcoms with my DAD of all people, which is probably why I write about them so often. I know you guys will never watch them but I do watch them and therefore must write something about them per the rules of film club. Anyway I'm just saying, there are some funny ones out there.)

Anyway, all things in the first paragraph considered (including my pit-of-hell low expectations and my beverage intake), I enjoyed watching it. I wouldn't pay $13.50 to see it if I were any of you. But as a Netflix rent for a Saturday night, you could do worse. Just have a few beers before you watch it. :)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Re: sorry this took so long

Blue Valentine - I just moved it to the top of my queue. I've got Black Swan here, which I'll watch tonight, so Blue Valentine will be the next one that comes through. But like I said before, I'm coming and crying on all of your shoulders when it makes me even more depressed/hopeless about relationships. ;)

Brandon - We showed up to the cookout Friday night, rang the guy's doorbell, and he opened the door half asleep and his apartment was completely dark. Apparently it had been canceled but my sister's boyfriend lost his phone so we had no idea. Such a waste - I totally could have come to see your band after all! How did it go?

2005 - I'm really glad you mentioned KKBB... it would definitely make my top 10.

Monday, May 16, 2011

David Lynch Music Company

Uh... was this the next logical progression for him?

From The A.V. Club:
As promised by the recent transformation of into the “David Lynch Music Company,” the filmmaker has lately turned his idiosyncratic attention to making music his chief pursuit. And while so far that’s been limited to last year’s “Good Day Today” single, his collaborations on Dark Night Of The Soul, and digging through his soundtrack archives, we may soon have an entire album of Lynch to contemplate: According to a press release, he’s officially completed work on his first record of electronic music due out later this year, and plans to reveal details during his keynote address at the Ibiza International Music summit on May 26—though only via Skype, as he and his “Good Day Today” engineer will appear live from his home studio, where he’ll discuss his music and the process of making it. Here’s betting it didn’t involve a few beers and some late-night guitar jams.

Weekend viewing

I watched quite a few movies this weekend... here's my rundown:

Kick Ass - This was not what I was expecting, and I really liked it. I'm glad I haven't read anything about it, and I really don't want to read anything about it, because I feel like it will definitely ruin it. I was gearing up for a superhero movie (which I like) starring kids (which I thought was pretty gimmicky). Instead I was shocked and thrilled by what they ended up doing with it. (Plus, I had no idea Mc Lovin' was in it. Win.) I don't really want to say any more in case people haven't seen it.

Chaos Theory - Bizarre little indie movie starring Ryan Reynolds. It gave me an anxiety attack for the first 3/4 of the movie. A comedy of errors this extreme really puts me on edge... I mean sometimes Curb Your Enthusiasm was too much for me. Nevermind an entire movie where his wife setting the clock back 10 minutes leads to serious consequences. But I did like the ending - I was glad that the moral of the story wasn't that you should be less rigid, which was what I expected and was prepared to take personally. ;) But that being said, I wouldn't watch this one again.

Evidence of Blood - I don't know why but the production quality of this kept making me think it was a made for TV movie. It was a crime mystery starring David Strathairn, who I really like - the plot was basically that he was a true crime writer who comes back to his hometown and ends up helping try to exonerate someone who was executed for a murder like 40 years prior. I really like these kinds of stories, for some reason I'm obsessed with exoneration (lucky for you all I went on my exoneration documentary watching spree BEFORE I joined film club - although I still have a few I'm saving for a rainy day, so get excited). However, I thought this one got a bit convoluted, which made me really like it up until the climax and denouement. Bummer, right? Oh well.

Easy A - I really liked this one. John I know you didn't and aren't but I have to say, I am a huge John Hughes fan, and I was really glad that they did (like you said) capture the John Hughes spirit in this movie. Plus I like anything with a reference to literature because I am a huge nerd. The scenes with Olive and her parents were by far the best part of the movie - I am a huge Patricia Clarkson fan (that is a severe understatement). I think she's excellent and hilarious. The dialogue in those scenes was really quick and quick witted, which I'm a sucker for. Anyway, it's kind of a girl movie, so I'm not really recommending it. I just wanted to note that (not unexpectedly) I watched and liked it.

Speaking of being a huge nerd... I have been concealing this but I also watch an obscene amount of NOVA, National Geographic, History Channel and Frontline specials. Seriously guys I mean I'm like weirdly obsessed with them. The four I watched today were pretty good so I thought I'd mention:

- Science of Evil (National Geographic) - This one made me think I (and all of you) may be capable of disgusting amounts of evil if we were put in the right (by which I mean wrong) circumstances. That is really a scary thought. But it was pretty compelling.
- Crash of Flight 447 (NOVA) - This one made me never want to get on an airplane ever again. I'm not sure if any of you read the cover article from last week's NY Times Magazine about the crash now that they found the wreckage, but if you haven't, the article was horrifying. I have to say, this special (which was pre-wreckage-finding) was actually kind of MORE horrifying than the article. ::cancels upcoming flight to Chapel Hill::
- The FBI (National Geographic) - I give this one a "meh." I really just watched it to see if they would mention Waco (I watched a documentary about Waco pre-film club and have been a little bit preoccupied with it lately - but you should just be glad this replaced Jonestown as my cult obsession of the moment because seriously Jonestown was all I could talk about for months and months. Have you SEEN Jonestown: The Life and Death of People's Temple? Anyway...)... Interestingly an FBI agent who was involved in the Waco operation said that the fact that it ended in a "suicide fire" was his biggest regret. Suicide fire? HA, that's a good one. Anyway, conspiracy theories aside, I was glad to watch this one but do not really recommend it, it was kind of boring and clearly had to go through like governmental approvals or something.
- How Does The Brain Work? (NOVA scienceNOW) - Unlike the regular NOVA programs, these scienceNOW ones have this host guy who is SO goofy that it's really hard to look past it. I don't know if you've ever seen these (the one on Pluto was particularly painful), but usually if you can grit your teeth through the parts with the host they have some pretty cool stuff. This one had a couple different segments which were all about the brain, which is another topic I'm overly fascinated with. One of the segments talked about AI and was mostly focused on Watson (the computer who beat Ken Jennings on Jeopardy), another one was about magic and why our brains get tricked by simple legerdemain (that's sleight of hand, guys... GRE word... good thing I remember ONE thing from that stupid test), and another segment was about synesthesia. Look it up, it's so cool - if any of you have this and have not told me I'm going to be so mad at you.

Ok clearly I'm totally geeked out and excited from a night of watching all my nerdy science shows so I'm going to try to go to bed. 

Host of NOVA scienceNOW. Need I say more?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Jeffrey's 2005 List & The Switch

Jeffrey, I love your 2005 list, with one exception. I just really hated A History of Violence. I guess it makes sense now that I've been writing out my movie preferences - I don't think any of you at this point would put money on me having liked it. But it was so critically acclaimed that I really thought I was going to love it, but I didn't like it at all. I thought it was unnecessarily gratuitous and didn't really go where I wanted it to go, I just ended up being mad that I watched it. Of course I was watching it on a couch with a cute boy, so who knows, maybe I would have liked it better under different circumstances. Bygones.

All your other picks I agree with - at least the ones I've seen. I love Brokeback Mountain, what a great romance. Although Brandon I totally agree with you that I thought it was so unfair how Ang Lee vilified the wife character. I thought that was pretty crappy, how did anyone expect her to feel? But it's a beautiful film, I can't believe people were so outraged by it. I don't think Match Point is overrated at all, I love it and totally have your back in sticking up for it. I like your comparison to Crime & Punishment - I never read that one, so I wasn't aware of that. Great themes. I also loved Capote, especially because it was understated, like you said. I loved reading In Cold Blood but I worried that they might really go hog wild with the Hollywood movie and really play up all the drama and make it into an action movie or something. I also was wary because I tend to dislike biopics as well. But I was pleasantly surprised - I thought it was so well done. (And you know my feelings about Hoffman.) Good Night And Good Luck was sooooo great. I have always been fascinated with Murrow and his whole story ever since I learned about it in some of my TV classes. I thought the movie portrayed everything SO well. I loved the stylistic approach to it and it had such great acting, directing, everything. I can't resist showing it to people. (In fact, I tried to make my parents watch it for like a 4th time when we were in Florida. Lost that battle. Oh well.) Paradise Now is one that has been in my queue for forever. I'll get around to it soon. Is Cache SFL?

Jason thanks for sharing your music tumblr - I downloaded some of the songs you have on there today.

Brandon - I have this cookout thing I said I would go to on Friday night on the upper east side, but I'm not sure what the timing is. Send me the details of your gig, if I can work out the timing to go to both I totally will - I'd love to come and hear you guys!

In other news, tonight I watched The Switch, which is that movie with Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman where the two of them are best friends but he is in love with her and she decides to have a baby and he switches his sperm with her donor's so she ends up having his baby. What? Yeah. The premise is so crazy that I really was prepared to not like it. But I want to marry Jason Bateman so it's really hard not to love everything he is in. (Although it also made it hard to buy the fact that his character is supposed to start out being unattractive. Hard to see past my starry eyes.) Surprisingly it was actually kind of a touching movie. Anything with a cute little kid is kind of a shoe-in for me I guess. Also, Jeff Goldblum was terrific in it, his strange style was perfect for the role he played. I mean, like I said, the movie is totally unrealistic and the premise is insane, but I'm glad I saw it, I really enjoyed it. I liked that it wasn't really a romcom, it was really about the kid.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Waiting for Superman

I'm sure you guys have already discussed this because clearly I'm like 2 years behind with everything I watch. But I finally got around to Waiting for Superman today. I really liked it... although I'm a sucker for documentaries about education and also for documentaries that include animated infographics of any kind. All documentaries are coming from a certain perspective, and I think the perspective this one came from was blatant throughout the film, which I think is a good thing. I can't help but compare it to The Lottery, which I also recently watched. I liked that Waiting for Superman talked about education in the entire country, not just NYC, and it talked about all different alternatives, not just charter schools (for example, the woman from D.C. and what she tried to do with the public schools there). But I also liked that The Lottery was a much more realistic picture of the reaction of the communities where they build charter schools, at least in NYC. It's surprisingly dramatic to have a discussion about these movies with anyone who was born and raised in the NYC public school system. (Take my word for it, my sister's boyfriend was. It's an impossible conversation.) So I think whereas Waiting for Superman painted a very rosy picture, The Lottery was a much more accurate portrayal of what it's really like for community members. In terms of filmmaking choices, like I said, I love animated infographics, so that was a win for me. I thought it got a bit ham-handed at the end of the film, with the cheesy song. That was too much for me, they had me until then. I also wasn't crazy about the use of a narrator. But overall, I think it was good. Mostly just because I wish education was better in poor inner city school districts, and in the country at large, so I'm glad something's at least drawing attention to the need for improvement. I think overall as far as enjoyment of the film goes, I preferred The Lottery.


I just watched Brick. I wanted to like it. I hate to be the naysayer but I really did not like it. I hated the script, I thought it was so affected. I guess the shots and stuff were okay but I just really couldn't past the story itself and the script. I feel stupid about how much I disliked it honestly because I know you all liked it. If there was a gimmick I guess I didn't fall for it? I'm sure it doesn't help that I was not expecting this movie to be about drugs, and I don't really like movies about drugs.  The whole time I just kept thinking, 1) where are these kids' parents,  2) how am I supposed to believe all these drug dealers are in high school, 3) thank god I didn't go to this school, and 4) how long is this movie? I couldn't bring myself to care about the characters or even about the mystery. To me it felt like I Love You Beth Cooper (I never saw the movie but I hated the book) except if it was about a bunch of drug dealers. I feel bad that I didn't like it. I guess it just wasn't my style. Maybe it was a boy movie.

I do like Joseph Gordon-Levitt though, he's a cutie.

PS: I loved Casino Royale too. I am not by any stretch of imagination a Bond fan but that movie was excellent. I saw it twice in theaters I loved it so much.

The Lincoln Lawyer

John - you might end up liking it. It's so hard for me to pretend like I haven't read the book and say whether it's good or not. My sister did not read the book and she liked the movie, she said she was really engaged in it and invested in the characters and everything. But she was also kind of confused in places and asked me about a million questions after the movie. She also said she could tell that they had "Hollywood-ified" aspects of it. (Which of course they did.) But she liked it. So maybe you will like it too, since you haven't read the book. For me there's no saving it, especially since I loved the book SO much. I thought the book was so much more exciting than the movie and I just think it was a poor adaptation. I question a lot of the screenplay and direction choices that were made, I think they could have done such a better job with it. But I mean I'm sure I'm just being overly sensitive because I really wanted people to like the movie since I liked the book so much. Let me know if you do end up seeing it, I'll be interested to hear what you think.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Playing catch up

Well yet again I don't even remember at this point which top 10 lists I missed responding to. Hmm...

I haven't seen many of the movies you guys have been talking about lately, including anything on Jeffrey's 2006 list except The Departed, which I really liked. Brick is one that has been in my queue for a while and every time I set out to watch it I get disrupted by something. I will watch it soon so I can weigh in.

As far as underrated movies go, the two that spring to mind for me are definitely The Life Aquatic and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. KKBB is a totally underrated movie. Nobody has ever head of it, and it's one of my favorite movies ever. I make everyone watch it as soon as I find out they haven't seen it, and I think it always SEEMS like it's going to be crappy so I love watching people be pleasantly surprised when they watch it. The Life Aquatic is actually my favorite Wes Anderson movie. It's beautiful to watch and it's so touching. But nobody ever knows what I'm talking about when I bring it up. I myself as an Anderson fan hadn't even seen it until recently. But now I'm definitely on Team Zissou.

Oh also whoever talked about All That Jazz - I LOVE that movie. I don't know why, but I'm kind of obsessed with it. I think because I like things that are bizarre and I also have always been a bit enamored with Bob Fosse because he made such a style and name for himself in the world of musicals. His choreography is always my favorite by far. (If you're in to his choreography, you should watch Fosse. It's terrific.) Anyway, the fact that on top of all that then he would go and make such a self-aware movie about himself too just adds to his allure for me. Crazy dude. Great film.

Ben, I've had All The Days Before Tomorrow in my NWI queue but have never gotten around to watching it. I will though now that you recommended it. I'll let you know what I think once I do. :)

Here's some stuff I've watched lately:

- The Lincoln Lawyer - I was really disappointed in this, I thought the adaptation from book to film was horrible. I guess it usually is, I'm not sure why I expected something different in this case. Bah.
- When In Rome - I went into this with SERIOUSLY low expectations. I thought it looked horrible from the previews I had seen back when it came out. It still wasn't a great movie, but it was cuter than I expected it to be. But I could do without all the slapstick stuff. Meh.
- I'm With Lucy - This was a really cute romcom starring Monica Potter. She goes on 5 blind dates and you know that she ends up engaged to one of them but you don't know which one. They show everything out of order - I love when movies do that. It reminded me of Definitely, Maybe, which is one of my favorites. One thing I will say though is that in I'm With Lucy the main character gets married at the end... I find it really annoying when people get married after knowing each other for like 6 weeks in movies. Oh well.
- Ally McBeal - Along with reading The Hunger Games series, this is the other thing that has been taking up my time. Ally McBeal is on NWI. I used to watch this show every week when it was on TV, so I have been really excited to be able to watch it from the beginning. Great characters.
- thirtysomething - This is the other show I've been watching on NWI. I knew my parents used to watch it when I was a baby. I totally see why, it's a great show that really captures the sentiment of people their age at the time who suddenly found themselves married with a baby and were all wondering - now what? I remember learning about it in one of my TV history classes - the main character's name is Hope. That wasn't an accident. The characters stood for something in the minds of the viewers - I guess hope that their lives behind the picket fence working for "the man" would all turn out ok and would mean something to someone someday.

Hopefully I can stay on top of this now so that I don't get so far behind!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Not that lonely of a soapbox

Hey guys-

I've been reading every single post but have been out of town (again) plus sick the last few days plus reading some really distracting & extremely disturbing books (The Hunger Games series... I don't recommend it). But I just wanted to say Brandon that you're definitely not alone on your soapbox, I was up until 2:30 am because I was so upset by the footage of the parties in the streets. It really bothered me on so many levels, the most selfish of which is that I am a New Yorker with an anxiety disorder who lives a few blocks from like target numero uno Times Square and I can't believe people would be so stupid and ego maniacal and xenophobic as to go on INTERNATIONAL television cheering such obnoxious gloating chants (I watched Al Jazeera for like 3 hours last night... believe me, the footage from DC and NYC was really NOT a good color on us) and also so stupid to say into a camera "It's all finally over!!!!!!" I don't think you could be stupider. But on a bigger level, Jeffrey's quotes from MLK really sum it up for me, it's exactly what I've been thinking this entire time. I mean the entire reaction was so upsetting and disturbing to me, from the reporters to the crowds in the streets. And it seemed to me like everyone was having the opposite reaction as me so I have been feeling like that person in high school who was like, "um hey guys I don't really think you should be smoking on the bus..." -- you know? So Brandon I'm glad you said something. And Jeffrey. And Jason last night (I was "liking" his posts on Facebook like crazy). I changed my FB picture to a peace sign and wore one on my shirt today. As if that's going to make a difference. I just really worry that everyone is missing the point. And it's giving me the blues too. So yeah anyway, the point of THIS post was just to say - "What Brandon and Jeffrey said."

I've been a terrible film club participant and honestly just too overwhelmed to respond to all of your posts of late (it's a vicious cycle once you start getting backed up with them, isn't it?). I promise I'll get back on it tomorrow with some film thoughts, I've seen a few in the last few days... but tonight I need to go to sleep because I probably only got like 3 hours total last night. I just couldn't go to sleep without backing you guys up.

I sign off tonight with the motto of my college: Pax et bonum. (Translated as a wish for 'peace and all good things.') <3