Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I love it, and I hate it because it reminds me of what could have been *sigh*. Oh well. At least you have close to 4 minutes of Buffy goodness (Don't even get me started on the Veronica Mars season 4 leak, you'll have me in tears).
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Thanks to Travis for suggesting the video!
It's Morphin' Time!
Monday, February 23, 2009
The Goonies!Love it. Mystery, treasure, water slides. Hilarity. Just a funny, feel good movie.
The Goonies, a group of young teenaged friends living in Astoria, Oregon, face foreclosure on their families' homes from the expanding Astoria Country Club. While rummaging through the bric-a-brac accumulated in the Walshes' attic by their father (a local museum curator), they find an old newspaper clipping, a map, and an artifact relating to a rumor of a forgotten pirate treasure somewhere in the area. Hearing the call of adventure, Mikey tries to persuade his friends to join him in search for the treasure hoarded by a pirate named One Eyed Willie.
They head to the coast and stumble upon an abandoned seaside restaurant that seems to match coordinates set by the map and an old doubloon. Unbeknownst to the Goonies, the restaurant is actually a secret hideout of a family of Italian criminals known as the Fratellis. To make matters worse, they find the dead body of an F.B.I. agent stored away in a freezer, and the Fratellis have returned to the hideout, though they remain unaware of the Goonies' presence in the basement.
With the Fratellis in close pursuit, the group risks life and limb navigating the caves and dodging booby traps until they discover the hidden cove and final resting place of The Inferno, before they get too carried away, the Fratellis capture the group on board the ship, strip them of their treasure.
The Goonies barely escape and make their way out to the beach outside the cave, even though everyone is happy that the young adventurers were unharmed, the kids themselves are devastated at their inability to hold onto any of the treasure lost in the cave's collapse. All hope is restored when Rosalita, the Walshes' housekeeper, discovers a handful of precious jewels left in Mikey's marble bag. With this new fortune, the Goonies are able to save everyone’s homes from foreclosure.
Mallrats - The critics really tore Kevin Smith (writer, director) apart for this movie, especially after the success of his directorial debut, Clerks, but I love it because of its flaws. At times, it's campy and unconventionally funny but they're familiar, real characters, who have real situations to overcome.
Brodie and T.S. discover Truth or Date is shooting at the same mall, and ask local troublemaking drug dealers Jay and Silent Bob to destroy the show's stage. Brodie also finds out Rene is being pursued by his nemesis Shannon Hamilton, a clothing store manager who hates Brodie.
Between seeking romantic advice from Stan Lee and debating such topics as the sexual proclivities of comic-book characters and the status of a cookie stand located outside the official food court, the two run into various acquaintances, including a sex researcher who happens to be a minor, and a guy who spends all day trying to see the hidden image of a sailboat in a Magic Eye poster. They also run afoul of Brandi's father, who has the mall security guard La Fours plant marijuana on their persons so they can be arrested. In addition to helping them escape, Jay and Silent Bob get two of the game show contestants stoned, allowing T.S. and Brodie to replace them on Truth or Date and woo back their respective exes.
(The summaries are edited from Wikipedia)
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Did you watch the 81st Annual Academy Awards? Probably not, but I did. And it actually was pretty entertaining. Yes, it was the same movies over and over again. And yes, most people who won the Golden Globes won at the Oscars. But they did their best to incorporate all the movies from 2008. And it was funny, unlike that snore called the Golden Globes.
A brief overview: Hugh Jackman, the host, did a funny job hosting, complete with song and dance at the beginning, pulling a “surprised” Anne Hathaway onto the stage to sing with him. Tina Fey and Steve Martin presented the screenwriting awards and they were hilarious, but come on, it’s Tina Fey. Who wasn’t expecting that? Jack Black made famous people feel uncomfortable. There was even a skit about the David Letterman incident starring Ben Stiller. Judd Apatow did a short film, kind of a parody of the Pineapple Express, nothing incredibly awesome, but creative. Jackman and Beyonce do a musical number with songs from movie musicals (“The Musical is back!”) Zac and Vanessa from High School Musical and Amanda Seyfried from Mamma Mia dance and sang along side them (*squee*). A winner did magic on stage, um, no comment. Will Smith presented! This year’s tribute was to Jerry Lewis. There was a boring/weird performance after the Original Score was announced; 11pm was not the greatest time slot for a long performance. They did the memorial to all those in the ‘biz who died over the year while Queen Latifa sang. Slumdog Millionaire won everything. Kate Winslet gave another babbling speech. Sean Penn said that the people of the Academy were “homo-loving, sons of guns.” Gay rights issue was a big deal at the Oscars this year with speeches during both Milk wins. And it didn’t end until midnight.
The main point is that the Oscars tried to shake things up a bit this year and I think it was a big hit. It was moving, it was funny, it was good TV. Maybe you should have watched it.
Don’t want to be left out of an Oscar convo? Check out how to fake an Oscar conversation: http://www.moviefone.com/insidemovies/2009/02/18/how-to-fake-your-way-through-any-oscars-conversation/
Here’s who won:
Best Motion Picture of the Year
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - Christian Colson
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Winner: Sean Penn for Milk (2008/I)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Winner: Kate Winslet for The Reader (2008)
Best Achievement in Directing
Winner: Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Winner: Okuribito (2008)(Japan)
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - A.R. Rahman, Sampooran Singh Gulzar("Jai Ho")
Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Score
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - A.R. Rahman
Best Achievement in Editing
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - Chris Dickens
Best Achievement in Sound
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - Ian Tapp, Richard Pryke, Resul Pookutty
Best Achievement in Sound Editing
Winner: The Dark Knight (2008) - Richard King
Best Achievement in Visual Effects
Winner: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) - Eric Barba, Steve Preeg, Burt Dalton, Craig Barron
Best Documentary, Short Subjects
Winner: Smile Pinki (2008) - Megan Mylan
Best Documentary, Features
Winner: Man on Wire (2008) - James Marsh, Simon Chinn
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Winner: Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight (2008)
Best Short Film, Live Action
Winner: Spielzeugland (2007) - Jochen Alexander Freydank
Best Achievement in Cinematography
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - Anthony Dod Mantle
Best Achievement in Makeup
Winner: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) - Greg Cannom
Best Achievement in Costume Design
Winner: The Duchess (2008) - Michael O'Connor
Best Achievement in Art Direction
Winner: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008) - Donald Graham Burt, Victor J. Zolfo
Best Short Film, Animated
Winner: Maison en petits cubes, La (2008) - Kunio Katô
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
Winner: WALL·E (2008) - Andrew Stanton
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published
Winner: Slumdog Millionaire (2008) - Simon Beaufoy
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen
Winner: Milk (2008/I) - Dustin Lance Black
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Winner: Penélope Cruz for Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008)
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Details: 2004, USA, Cert PG, 96 mins
With: Josh Duhamel, Kate Bosworth, Topher Grace
Sweet Home Alabama
Details: 2002, USA, Cert PG-13, 108 mins
With: Reese Witherspoon, Josh Lucas, Patrick Dempsey
Monday, February 16, 2009
High School Musical Series (Submitted by Hayley)
It started off as a movie-of-the-month Disney Channel Movie and grew into a pop culture phenomenon. Zac Efron, Vanessa Hudgens and Ashley Tisdale became house hold names. All because a bunch of high school kids wanted to star in a high school musical. If you haven't seen the movie, you've probably heard the plot-- it's basically a Disney version of Grease. A super smart, beautiful girl (Gabriella) moves to a new school district to discover that the boy (Troy) she karaoked with over vacation is the most popular guy in school. They accidently try out for the school musical only to discover that they have a call back. But Sharpay and Ryan, the musical king and queen of the school won't let the parts go away without a fight. There's love, there's dancing, and there's singing!
I seriously love the High School Musical series. It sounds completely cheesy on paper but it turns out to be incredibly charming. Efron's and Hudgen's off screen chemistry transfers on screen. But the best part is the music. If you like musicals, you'll love this series. And the third one, in my opinion, is the best worst movie of the series. Check it out, it comes out on DVD and Blu-ray today! (I'm not a commercial, I promise.)
Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (Submitted by Rachel)
With only a few days before their high-school graduation, Bill S. Preston, esquire and Ted 'Theodore' Logan are doomed to flunk out of school. The history teacher, Mr. Ryan, decides to give Bill and Ted a chance. If they can ace an oral exam on the topic of how a famous historical personality might react to modern times, they will be allowed to pass. If not, Ted's father will place Ted in military school, thereby disbanding the Wyld Stallyns, the heavy metal band that was formed by Bill and Ted. Bill and Ted get help from an unexpected source: Rufus, an Emissary from the Future. It seems that in Rufus' time, Bill and Ted's music is the basis of all existence, and if the Wild Stallyns are disbanded, Rufus's world will no longer exist. Bill and Ted are whisked off in a time machine to retrieve a few historical characters for their oral exam so they can pass, but Bill and Ted soon discover that finding the historical characters and getting them to the high school won't be easy. (Summary taken from IMDB)
It seems to be the makings of the perfect Best Bad Movie. There's time traveling, there is "dudes", there is Keanu Reeves... It's a typical 80s movie. I personally haven't seen this movie but it's considered a classic. And I think Keanu does the acting of his life, but seriously, that's not saying much. People say it kind of rips of Back to the Future. I think it inspired people using "bogus" in their every day lives. Bummer dude.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
When reviewing movies, you sometimes have to compare one to another. There’s always a fall back. When one director fell flat another one is there to show you why it sucked. When it comes to film noir, Touch of Evil is the compass-north reference point. Not only are there whispers of it being the last good film noir movie, but the best B-Movie of all time. It wasn’t even appreciated by its own country in its own time (It failed at the box office). All the “classic” movie praises used by all those movie snobs. But sadly, most people have never even heard of Touch of Evil, let alone consider it one of their favorites.
Premiering in 1958, Touch of Evil was the second half of a double bill (that’s why it’s considered a B-Movie) and was based on a novel by Whit Masterson called “Badge of Evil”. The screenplay was written and directed by Orson Welles (Citizen Kane) who also stars along with Charlton Heston (The Ten Commandments) and Janet Leigh (Psycho). I’d warn any viewer that the plot becomes somewhat complicated; it’s not a movie to watch while doing something else (although, you really shouldn’t do that with any movie but that’s another story all together).
As the movie opens, we see a bomb being placed in the trunk of a car right before a construction company owner gets in with his much younger girlfriend. Meanwhile, Mexican official Mike Vargas (Heston) and his new wife Susan (Leigh) begin to walk next to the car in order to cross the Mexican border into the United States. The newlywed couple stops to talk as the car passes them and the bomb goes off shortly after crossing into U.S. territory. (And that is all one continuous camera shot; way to start the movie off with a bang.) The bomb grabs the attention of the American police, since it is technically in their jurisdiction, and along with them a monster of a police officer, Police Captain Hank Quinlan (Welles). Quinlan, who is famous for his correct “hunches”, insists on taking the case into Mexico to look for suspects and Vargas decides he should look into the case as well. At the same time, a peeved-off Mexican mob boss, Joe Grandi is looking to destroy Vargas and his wife for catching his drug dealing brother. Vargas stays relatively unaware of Grandi throughout the whole movie, obsessed with the bomb case, despite the outcries of his Grandi-tortured wife who unwillingly gets caught up the plot to frame her own husband. The bombing investigation ends up putting Vargas against Quinlan and the rest of the movie is the two of them trying to bring one another down.
The direction is amazing. Leigh and Heston took pay cuts for this movie just to work with Welles and it was well worth it. His opening shot is well praised from bomb to boom Welles makes cinematic history. There is also the single shot in the bomb suspect’s apartment that really shines. There are tons of people in one little space, all saying something different and the direction is awesome. There is also a part when three police men ride up a small elevator to meet Vargas who left them in the lobby. Vargas reappears at the very moment the elevator opens to let the men out, very brilliantly done in one shot. Welles’ use of lighting is a black and white film is spot on, it almost becomes another character altogether. Another shining light is the sound used for the film. The music used throughout Touch of Evil was from the sound sources that belong to the movie itself: the radio transmissions, jukeboxes, and a player piano. These are the reasons that the movie is incredibly amazing. If you are a stickler to the direction and the background of films, you will love this movie.
But let me tell you why most Americans (especially when it came out) would not like this movie. Actually, there are multiple reasons. The acting is horrible, the movie is racist as well as sexist, and the plot is horribly confusing with no real victor at the end.
Heston is completely below par in this movie. He is supposed to be the star yet he just blends into the background in almost every scene. Toward the end, he picks up speed a little but only because the character requires it. It’s nothing spectacular especially not Ten Commandments material, heck it’s not even Soylent Green material. Leigh, although better than Heston, makes a mockery of herself. She seems to be in a totally different movie than everyone else.
Maybe the two actors are just making due with what they are given but bad choices on all fronts here. Heston comes across as racist and Leigh plays into one of the most sexist roles in one of the most sexist movies I’ve ever seen. Heston is supposed to be a Mexican. Have you seen a less Mexican looking man? He just looks like the earliest victim of spray-on-tanning. Wouldn’t it be a novel idea to have a Mexican play a Mexican? Even Quinlan says “He doesn’t look Mexican,” the first time he meets Vargas. And to make things worse, all legit Mexican actors play evil characters and it’s blatantly obvious. Leigh’s Susan is the only non-hooker woman in the whole movie and what does she do? She’s part of the plot to bring down her husband, all because she’s weak, defenseless and a woman. Her husband treats her as an after thought and thinks of her as property. And then there is Oscar winner Mercedes McCambridge who has a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it role as a member of Grandi’s gang who “wants to watch” as Susan is gang raped and Zsa Zsa Gabor appears for fifteen seconds as a strip club owner. I was highly disappointed. The only woman that showed any skill or respect in this whole movie was Marlene Dietrich, who although played some kind of nightclub woman, had a strong presence and the ability to hold her own. The classically best line (maybe the only good line) is said by her character Tanya:
Quinlan: Come on, read my future for me.
Welles’ Quinlan is eerie. He is a very large man who sweats buckets all the time and barks orders at his little minions. He is down right scary yet you can’t help but feel a little sorry for him. He forces facts to be true when they aren’t and believes that his hunches are enough evidence to send men to the electric chair. He shoots his only friend to keep an illusion of himself that fooled everyone around him and ultimately himself. You hate his toughness but he still has this pitiful glow about him that makes you feel more sorry for him than his victims. Although Quinlan is the character who in the end has the “touch of evil” he clearly is the character that makes the most impact in the whole film. I doubt that there will ever be a more unpleasant, impertinent, or disgusting detective than Welles’ Quinlan or a more captivating one.
The main thing I disliked about the movie was that the plot was horribly confusing. There were so many random characters that I couldn’t keep them straight. And the whole subplot with Grandi seemed like a waste of time. It eventually comes together in the end but not enough for my liking. Welles once said that he wanted the plot to purposely be a little confusing but just because it is supposed to be that way doesn’t mean I have to like it. There was attempt at comedy with the bumbling, strange “Night Manager” who I think was supposed to be some kind of comedic relief but comes off as a little creepy. Plus, it is so hard to laugh in scenes that he is in because the situation is so serious. I just kept feeling bad for Susan who is supposed to be on her honeymoon but her husband won’t give her the time of day, she gets gang raped, comes across a dead body, is accused of murder and is thrown in jail. And then finally Vargas pays attention to her. The scene that sums up Susan’s and Vargas’ relationship is when she is screaming on a fire escape, naked right above him to come to her rescue and he doesn’t hear her. Quinlan was just impossible to watch. He was big, depressing, and desperate, humanity at its worse. The close-ups on his face made me cringe. As Tanya says at the end, “He was some kind of man.” On the other hand, perhaps the best thing about Touch of Evil is the bitter, foreign and unsympathetic impression of its dark city full of racism, prostitution, illegal substances, and gang rape as almost a universal corruption. Once you pull yourself of the movie itself and start thinking about what it represents, the movie seems much more profound.
Overall I would say that I liked the film but mostly admired it. I doubt I would sit at home on a Friday night and watch it for fun just because it is very depressing. I can appreciate the artsy-ness of the film and the brilliant directing. I do think it is cinematography in its greatest film noir form. But as I said before, I don’t recommend this film to people who like seeing movies for the story or the acting but rather to those who see film as an art form and wish to explore that angle. And if you would like to see the film closer to the version that Welles originally intended, look for the extended alternative version that is entitled “The Director’s Cut”.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Lost Why It's Smart: What started as a simple desert-island drama has morphed into a dense, kaleidoscopic serial that really bakes your noodle. For every question the show answers, it raises five intriguing others. Why did Oceanic Flight 815 crash? We're really not sure, but it has something to do with electromagnetism, time travel, redemption, absent fathers, fertility issues, an abandoned nuclear warhead, and some guy named Jacob… so far. It's a wild ride. How Smart Is It? Among the staggering number of books woven into the show's mythology are Homer's Odyssey, Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, and Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. PCF: I might get things thrown at me but giant polar bears and secret "Others" really don't float my boat, meaning I would be on that island forever. It was disappointing that I couldn't get into it since I loved JJ Abrams' Alias. And they killed Greg Grunberg in the first episode! Is nothing sacred Abrams?
Law & Order Why It's Smart: Any journalist worth his notepad will tell you that the most dramatic stories originate in the court system. Producer Dick Wolf knew that, and created a crisply written series chock-full of meaty New York lawyer-and-police stories, many of them inspired by true events. How Smart Is It? It has been on the air for 19 years. PCF: I'll watch Law & Order when nothing else is on. It doesn't keep me coming back every week, I don't love the characters. At the very least the writers need to be smart to be writing the same show for 19 years.
Late Night with Conan O'Brien Why It's Smart: In addition to savvy, lighthearted takes on current events and pop culture, O'Brien's on-screen persona (let's call it Self-Deprecating Nerd) has won the hearts of many a starlet looking for a nice guy with a sense of humor. How smart is that! How Smart Is It? They don't hand over The Tonight Show to just anybody. PCF: I love Conan! And I have a shirt to prove it. Humor in a guy is his best quality. It is smart for a host to make a character of himself. And did you catch his superbowl commercial? Hilarious. More Conan!
House Why It's Smart: Unsolvable medical mystery gets solved by TV's crankiest supersurgeon. And... scene. That's the basic blueprint for every hour of the Fox megahit. Yet almost every week, the story unspools in such a unique fashion – and is accompanied by just the right amount of the doc's personal lives – that it feels fresh. How Smart Is It? David Shore, Katie Jacobs and the show's other executive producers should get honorary MDs from House's alma mater, the University of Michigan. PCF: House is another one of my favorites. I think House took the Law & Order format but twisted it to know more about the characters. It welcomes people who want the mystery of the week type format and those who love characters and back stories. Now THAT'S smart.