Thursday, August 28, 2014

4 Thoughts on the Emmy Awards

1. The host - I like Seth Meyers, but not enough to watch his late night show. I like his sarcasm, and I enjoyed his "Weekend Update" segments on SNL, I just have no interest in watching him for long periods of time. I didn't really think he would be a good Emmy host, and I was right. He had some funny lines, sure, but overall he lacks the charisma that is needed for hosting gigs like this. It felt like he was doing a "Weekend Update: Emmy edition" and that's not going to translate well on a big stage like that. Most of his jokes were very "inside" television, which is problematic for the audience that watches - I mean, I understood them, but I know most of my friends would have no idea what the hell he was talking about for most of the show. This is one of the few times in which I prefer broad comedy, mixed with a few inside jokes, here and there. I vote to have Tina Fey and Amy Poehler host every awards show for the rest of eternity.

2. The winners and losers - I realize that Breaking Bad is considered a "safe" choice, however it's one of the best shows ever, and the final season is a masterpiece. It deserved every award it got and more. There are so many incredible dramas on television right now, but Breaking Bad was still better. For me, the nominations for Best Drama were clearly missing the best that TV has to offer right now (Hannibal, Bates Motel, The Americans, Parenthood, and I'm only on season 3 of The Good Wife, but if it stays at this quality then yes, it deserves Emmy recognition). Side note: now that Breaking Bad is over, it's finally Jon Hamm's turn (nominated 7 times, with no win - that's a little ridiculous). I realize that people are upset that True Detective was screwed (I think it only won 1 award), especially for Matthew McConaughey's performance, but the Producers really are the ones that screwed the show. They should have put it under the Miniseries category. It would have swept in that category. Personally, I think Fargo is a better show, but I don't think anyone agrees with me. True Detective had 3 incredible episodes (out of 8), while Fargo had 10 incredible episode (out of 10). The only category that I thought was a lock was the Best Actor in a Miniseries category - Billy Bob Thornton surely had that one, but no, it went to Benedict Cumberbatch!?! What? I watch Sherlock, and it's a good show, but he is not better than Billy Bob, or Idris Elba....or Martin Freeman. I really wanted Allison Tolman to win, but her category was probably the toughest - some of the strongest actresses in the industry right there. I haven't seen The Normal Heart yet, I definitely will catch it at some point, but I actually read several bad reviews about it. I'm surprised that it was favored to win in any category, even more surprised that it won for Television Movie. I will always love Ryan Murphy, though. While I may not like (actually really, really hate) the direction that Glee went, AHS and Nip/Tuck are enough for me me to support him for forever. On the comedy side, I am one of the few who will not complain about Modern Family winning. I agree that there are "fresher" comedies on the air right now like Veep and Louie, but being a broad comedy, Modern Family is still consistently funny. That's a tough accomplishment. I would love to see Parks and Recreation, or even something more controversial like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia or Archer nominated for an Emmy. Also, as many have pointed out the Emmys would benefit from a "Dramedy" category for shows like Orange is the New Black, which is clearly Emmy worthy but should not be put in the Comedy category (just like Kohan's previous show Weeds). I don't hate Jim Parsons, but I've watched a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory and it is an awful, awful, awful television show. I can't imagine his performance is better than the other nominees.

3. The show - Definitely one of the worst Emmys that I can remember - last year was pretty bad as well. I laughed very few times. One was the Billy Eichner sketch. I usually find him annoying, but this was pretty good. Another was with Jimmy Kimmel roasting Matt McConaughey. They were both much funnier than the host, and that's sad. I am not a fan of Weird Al. I never understood the appeal and his performance was one of the worst things I've ever seen on the Emmy stage. Julia Louis-Dreyfus clearly stole the show with her "Hang on, Clark Gable" jab to Bryan Cranston, and of course their kiss before her acceptance speech was perfect. She's always one to entertain. The audience Q & A thing would have been funnier, if the questions were actually funnier - and if there were more comedians involved - like Amy Poehler. That's my advice for any awards show: always more Poehler. Some of the presenters were very wooden - like Adam Levine and Gwen Stefani. They had zero chemistry and looked so uncomfortable. It certainly does not make me want to watch whatever crap reality show they are on. Halle Berry doesn't fuck around - she just walked to the microphone and read the nominees. Done and done. Speaking of Halle, the show seemed to focus waaaay too much on the fact that there were "movie stars" at the show. We get stars are better than television stars. Now shut the fuck up. Both Julia Roberts and Matt McConaughey looked uncomfortable with the amount of attention they were receiving (and they didn't even win....hahahahaha!). The best speech of the night belongs to Ryan Murphy - "find a cause that you believe, that you will fight for, that you will die for". The memorial for Robin Williams was perfection - Billy Crystal knows how to give a speech; touching and respectful. The end "what a concept" almost broke me (but I was able to stay strong). I do think it's weird that they didn't highlight his performance in Mork & Mindy. The big "controversy" about the show was Sophia Vergara's stunt as an objectified female literally standing on a rotating floor, giving the audience something to look at, while the head of The Television Arts & Sciences gave a speech about diverse storytelling in television. It instantly screamed "sexism", however, I do see both sides of the argument. Vergara saw the intent of the bit to highlight the fact that she can be both "hot and funny", which is something misogynist assholes think is impossible. I don't think it's a surprise that men enjoy looking at her (and they should - she is stunning), and I don't think it's a big deal to make a joke about that. This is what bothers me about some feminist activists - they focus on garbage like this; instead of the real inequalities women suffer. First, this show is actually a great step towards female equality in the world of television. Did anyone notice how many women were on that stage winning awards??? Writers (Sarah Silverman, Moira Walley-Beckett) and directors (Gail Mancuso)!! And almost all of the nominated actresses were women OVER the age of 40. My biggest question: Do these Emmy award winners earn the same pay as their male counterparts? It's highly doubtful. So....if you want to fight the feminist cause, please fight the bigger fight. The only way to make the Emmy awards (and ALL awards shows) truly equate the sexes is to not separate male and female acting categories. It's almost barbaric. Women can clearly compete with their male counterparts in the same category. I think the excuse that is used now, is that separating allows for more nominees - but instead I offer the alternative: separate genres, by adding "Dramedy" "Science Fiction" and even a "New Series" category (with acting nominees in each category).

4. The fashion - Something else that's sexist? The way the red carpet pre-show focuses on the "what are you wearing" question, instead of the work of the nominated actress (I do notice the interviewers asking more men about their fashion in an attempt to lessen the rampant sexism, however, does anyone care what men are wearing? Suits are so fucking boring.). I do love fashion, though. So I play the game. Who had the best dress? Leslie Mann has worn my favorite dress for the past two years, but she wasn't at the show this year, which left me extremely disappointed. I think my favorite dress was worn by Taylor Schilling. It's the same style she always wears, which is a little annoying, but still...she looked insanely gorgeous. I also loved Julia Roberts dress. It's hard to wear a short dress to a red carpet event, but this dress is really cool. I love a short dress/long sleeve combo. There were so many red dresses this year, which I am not a big fan of - but Julia Louis-Dryfuss looked amazing. A lot of people gushed over Lizzy Caplan's dress, but I didn't see the big fuss (although, I hope all of this attention she is getting for Masters of Sex, will translate to a Party Down revival. I miss that show so much). Zooey Deschanel's dress looked like a prom dress from the 90's (or a really ugly Bridesmaid dress) - certainly, not fashion forward. Actually, that is what most of the dresses looked like, which is why I didn't really love the fashion this year. Oh and Lena Dunham....I don't even know what to say about that one.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. Divergent - I liked a lot of things about this movie, but overall I don't think it will leave any lasting impression. It really needed to be about 30 minutes shorter; there are so many repetitive/unnecessary scenes. The plot is interesting - it basically sets out to test the "nature vs nurture" debate; while also arguing an inherent sense of a contradictory human nature. We are not just one defined label; we are built with many labels, and often, forced to pick one. It is also a direct commentary on religion; although, it steers clear of being that controversial, which is ultimately disappointing. The movie doesn't really pick up until the whole "divergent" part, but I think it built a solid beginning to a story that will grow with the sequels. The cast is endless (aside from the main stars, the cast includes: Ashley Judd, Mekhi Phifer, Ray Stevenson, Tony Goldwyn and Maggie Q). I like Shailene Woodley (because she is an alum of The O.C. and therefore, I will always root for her), as an actress. She's given some solid performances and she is strong here. I just hope that she educates herself before she opens her mouth and says something stupid again (Miss "I'm not a feminist because I love men"). On a side note, I sort of love the scene where she gets to smack around Miles Teller because that's what should have happened in The Spectacular Now (I'm kidding of course, I would never condone violence in a any kind of relationship)

2. Locke - Sometimes I like these confined space type of movies, if they are done well and if there is a strong actor/actress involved. Tom Hardy is definitely strong enough for a role like this. My problem with the movie is that it takes place at night in a moving car - so I had trouble focusing (I have really bad eyesight - and I haven't been to the eye doctor in over 10 years. I KNOW!).  I really like watching Tom Hardy talk - the whole movie is pretty much him talking, which is much different than his past roles (Lawless, The Dark Knight, Warrior). I love his accent. It almost sounds a little Irish. I have no idea where he is from; and I don't care enough about him to look it up. Anyway, it's an interesting movie, and it flies by. It's a pretty short run-time, which is great because if it were any longer I may have been bored; instead I was like "'s over?! It just started!". I do have some issues with the way it portrays women with the "bitches be crazy" mentality. He's obviously a dishonest asshole, but we are forced to sympathize with him because both women he talks to are irrational. But, that's a minor issue (and one that I am sadly used to). I wouldn't really call it a "thriller" as it's described (it's even on the poster), but overall, it's a solid movie.

3. Gambit - This is one of those movies that I put on to fill the silence while I cleaned my apartment. It was released in the UK over 2 years ago, but was just recently released in the US (via VOD). I had interest because of Colin Firth. I LOVE Colin Firth. Yes, he almost always plays the same character, but when he doesn't he is fantastic - like with A Single Man. Absolutely stunning performance. I figured the movie would be bad (Cameron Diaz is a box office draw, so if they are shelving this, it must be bad). Her accent in this movie is embarrassing; that Texas slang never sounded so cringe-worthy. The whole movie can be boiled down to one scene - an innuendo that she is a prostitute and refers to his penis as "the major". It's overt comedy, with no intelligence behind it. I just don't find stuff like that funny.

4. Transcendence - Dumbest movie I've seen this year. It didn't even try to make sense. First, it's a plot that Ross (from Friends) came up with (15 years ago!), so needless to say, the story seems very outdated. It started off okay, because it questioned "the soul" - where it lives and what happens to it when we die. Then, it goes all "technology is scary and it's going to take over the world" and takes it to such extremes that technology is actually becoming the world (like...physically.'s that dumb). Second, there is such a strong cast that is wasted. I don't hate Johnny Depp (and I never will), but I will agree that he's kind of given up a bit. I was more excited about Rebecca Hall and Kate Mara, but they could not save this atrocity. Kate Mara's hair in this movie is scary bad. Plus, she's not even in it that much. Does Hollywood not realize how great she is yet? She should be a HUGE star by now. Get it together, people.

5. You're Next - So, in a way, I'm disappointed by this movie because I heard that it is supposed to be a genuinely terrifying movie and it isn't. I'm not easily scared by movies, but I was looking forward to something that would give me a fright. However, I really, really like this movie. A lot. It goes against a lot of horror tropes - and not in the same way that current horror movies do (the trend that started with Scream is to pretend that the film is different by satirizing horror, but then doing the exact same thing - more current example would be Cabin in the Woods. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy both the Scream franchise and Cabin in the Woods). This movie is about a family, instead of a group of friends - which already sets up a different dynamic. They are also adults instead of dumb teenagers. And, the best part, the young, pretty girl is actually the bad-ass hero. Not only does she take control of the situation, she never once relies on a man to save her. It's kind of awesome. The best line "how were we supposed to know you were really good at killing people?!" Made me laugh so hard. There are some pretty gruesome kills, but the one I felt the most, is the wire through the throat scene - only because I ran into a wire when I was a kid (playing midnight Hide & Seek...bad idea). I remember the initial pain so clearly; I honestly thought I was split in half - and I felt blood everywhere (sorry, gruesome, I know...I'll stop). Luckily, I didn't hurt myself too seriously (not even a scar!). Still hurt, though. Anyway, I also LOVED the music in this movie - I don't even know how to describe it, but it's memorable. And the scene in the dark, with the camera flashing - perfection. I definitely recommend this movie, even if it didn't scare me - it's still a really solid, well-made movie.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

3 Thoughts on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

1. It's better than I thought it would be - I went into this movie with the lowest expectations possible. I love the old Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movies, but I haven't seen them in probably 20 years. I'm positive that if I watched them now; I would laugh at how awful they are. I'm not opposed to updating something that was popular over 20 years ago, but I was hesitant with the new appearance of the turtles. They look weird. With all of the critics shitting on it, I assumed it was going to be painful to sit through. It wasn't. The story is decent, the turtles are fun (still weird looking), Megan Fox is hot, Will Arnett made me laugh a few times, and the movie moves really fast. It's a typical Michael Bay production - action scenes galore. One in particular, the truck flying down the snow-filled mountain is a really, really well executed scene. It's an adrenaline rush, for sure. I left the theater with a sense of "nothing gained, nothing lost" attitude, which is better than expected.

2. It's still not a good movie - I'm not going to lie or over-state my enjoyment. It's not a *good* movie by any sense of the word. But like I said, I doubt the original movies are *good*, if I watched them as an adult. Kids, however, will probably enjoy this movie and that is kinda the point....right? It's a big, loud, obnoxious summer blockbuster made for teenage boys (generally) and it succeeds at that.

3.'s ridiculous - I can't understand how certain plot points get overlooked. There are so many what the fuck moments that seriously don't make any sense (but that can be said for some critically praised movies as well....*ahem* Snowpiercer). The biggest one that bothers me is that same snow-filled scene mentioned above, apparently takes place about 20 minutes outside of NYC - yet, there is no snow in NYC...not even a flurry. I didn't even get the impression that it is supposed to take place in the winter (April O'Neil exercises outside on a seemingly warm, sunny day). Also, the convenience of the story is just a little too silly for it to be taken seriously, even if it is made for a younger generation; it doesn't have to be so simple and straightforward. A little depth never hurt any film.

Fall Movie Preview: 15 Movies that I am Excited About

1. Maps to the Stars 9/? - David Cronenberg is one of my favorite directors, so obviously this is at the top of my list. I was really surprised by his previous film with Robert Pattinson, because Pattinson is a terrible actor, but Cronenberg still made it work. Maps to the Stars looks like a fascinating (and horrifying) look into the Hollywood elite. The cast is fantastic: Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska and Olivia Williams.

2. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Them 9/12 - I can't wait for this movie!!! The trailer blew me away. I'm most excited by the "gimmick" behind it; because I actually had this idea 10 years ago (aaaaaaaahhhhh!). My original senior project in college was a play about a couple in a relationship told from both perspectives - I wanted to do a split stage type thing with one side from the male perspective and the other from the female perspective. The logistics behind it frustrated me and I ended up writing a screenplay instead (with a completely different subject). Anyway, I'm glad someone turned this idea into a film, and I'm even more ecstatic that James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain are involved. I can't even contain my excitement. So, "Them" is being released first, but I will definitely watch both the "Him" and "Her" versions when they are released in October, as well.

3. The Skeleton Twins 9/12 - Awful, awful title, but the trailer is super cute. I laughed, I almost cried, and I've been thinking about it since - just from the trailer. I adore Kristin Wiig now (I didn't when she was on SNL - I actually hated her. Imagine that.). This role looks perfect for her, and I can definitely see her and Bill Hader as twins. Plus, any movie that features Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now", has my attention.

4. This is Where I Leave You 9/19 - I'm not on board the Adam Driver express train. I've only seen him in Girls (and I've only seen the first season), and I don't get it. He doesn't do weirdo, creepy guy any better than anyone else who has tried. It's not exactly a hard role. I'm still willing to give him a chance though. Hopefully, this movie will change my mind. I love everyone else in this movie: Tina Fey, Jason Bateman, Connie Britton and Jane Fonda.

5. Gone Girl 10/3 - I haven't read the book, and I refuse to watch the trailer (or any pre-trailer stuff), because I want to see it with a fresh mind. I'm a huge fan of David Fincher, although, I don't love all of his movies (Benjamin Button is a terrible movie), his great movies are among favorites (Se7en, Fight Club, Zodiac). I also think Ben Affleck can give an incredible performance when his heart is in it (Argo, Good Will Hunting, The Town). I'm not a fan of Rosamund Pike - I want to be, but she is terrible in both Wrath of Titans and Jack Reacher. Maybe Fincher can get something more out of her. I've heard both good and bad things about the book, but I am most intrigued about the "shocking" third act.

6. Kill the Messenger 10/10 - Jeremy Renner!!! That's all I got.

7. Birdman 10/17 - Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu is one of my top 5 favorite directors. Amores Perros and 21 Grams are among my favorite movies, and Babel, while it's not one of my favorites is still a beautifully made movie. I severely miss his partnership with writer, Guillermo Arriaga. I don't think either have them have excelled in their work since the dissolution of this partnership. This movie looks completely different from anything Inarritu has previously done, but it still looks fascinating. And very relevant to the status of "former A-list celebrities". The cast includes Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Naomi Watts (who gave her best performance ever in 21 Grams) and Emma Stone.

8. Men, Women & Children 10/? - Jason Reitman really disappointed me with Labor Day. Like, really, really, really disappointed me. I'm willing to forgive, though. Hoping this movie is back to form. He excels at dark comedy (like Thank You For Not Smoking - brilliant movie).

9. Laggies 10/24 - I think this is a movie my mom will want to see, so I've added it to my list. My mom goes to the movies maybe twice a year, so if she is excited about a movie, then I am excited. Chloe Grace Moretz is one of my favorite young actresses and I absolutely adore Sam Rockwell. He's been in two of my favorite movies of the last two years (Seven Psychopaths and The Way Way Back), so maybe he will go for 3 in a row!

10. Interstellar 11/7 - I'm going blind for this one. I trust that the trailer looks fantastic. I trust that the movie will be, at the very least, interesting. I'm not as big of a Nolan fan as most movie fans - Batman Begins is my favorite movie of his, which is a deeply unpopular opinion. Still, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises and Inception all ended up on my "Best of" list the year that they came out, and I assume Interstellar will too.

11. Big Hero 6 11/7 - Oh my God...this movie looks so cute. The trailer makes me laugh so hard. I don't even know why, but that marshmallow robot thing trying to pick up the ball, it gets me every time. I don't even know anything else about the movie, but apparently there are 5 other "hero" characters that are not shown in the trailer.

12. Rosewater 11/7 - Gael Garcia Bernal is one of those actors who always chooses solid roles. He's in one of my favorite movies of all time, (Yes, I'm mentioning Amores Perros twice in one post); and a few other movies that I love (most recently The Loneliest Planet - I'm still thinking about that one). The real reason that I want to see this, though, is to support John Stewart in his directorial debut. The story is personal to John, but important for the world to see. I think some people dismiss Stewart as a comedian, but he has brought a lot of attention to issues that Americans don't get from their local news programs.  

13. Fury 11/14 - Brad Pitt. WWII. David Ayer. Shia LaBeouf. I'm all in.

14. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 11/21 - I loved how Catching Fire ended. I'm hoping that the whole "games" thing is over and now it's all about a revolution. I haven't read the books, but I'm positive that they could have made Mockingjay into one movie, so I'm nervous that they are going to drag out a great plot and beat it to death. I've been impressed with the first two movies; so I just have to have a little faith that this will impress as well.

15. Horrible Bosses 2 11/26 - I liked the first one; not enough for it to merit a sequel, but I'll still watch it. I love Charlie Day. The scene in the first movie of him singing "That's Not My Name" has been burned in my memory forever. It's a scene that I think about when I am down and it always brings a smile to my face. I'm not a big fan of Jason Sudeikis, though. I don't really think he's very funny (and he's not hot, like, at all).  I love that they cast Christoph Waltz. That could be amazing.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

3 Thoughts on Guardians of the Galaxy

1. "Star Wars for the new generation" - It's been such an up and down journey for me, with this movie. First, Bradley Cooper was a raccoon, then people freaked out about the trailer. I refused to watch it, thinking it looked dumb. After much convincing, I finally watched it and I laughed my ass off. Then, I spent months looking forward to it, only for it to come out and have people describe it as "the new Star Wars". That really killed any excitement I had. Every single movie fan I know has an affinity for Star Wars, except for me. I can't say that I can judge them fairly, as I've never actually seen Star Wars. I tried once, and I fell asleep (and that's not something that happens often). It was so boring. I don't understand how this is a comparison (other than it being in the space fantasy genre), because this movie is so much fun. Is Star Wars really like this? If it really, truly is - then I will move them up my long list of "to watch" movies; otherwise, they are going to sit there (currently at #352).

2.  Scene-stealing band of outsiders - I was expecting to love Chris Pratt as Star-Lord. I've been a fan since he was Che on The O.C. (so hilarious!). I didn't expect to love everyone else as much. Bradley Cooper absolutely killed it with his voice work as Rocket. I don't even think I would have recognized him, if I didn't know. Also, Rocket Raccoon is a fucking hilarious character, but surprisingly endearing. I didn't expect to get choked up by a drunk raccoon. Or a tree who says nothing but "I am Groot". How does that happen? It's actually amazing how much I cared about these characters. It's hard to decide who my favorite character is, but to my shock, I think it's Drax (played by Dave Bautista). He made me laugh the most, at least. Each one of them steals the movie at some point; and it's glorious. The only character I didn't like is Gamora. Actually, I like the character a lot, but I don't think Zoe Saldana is as strong as the rest of the cast. I don't know why she keeps getting roles like this. Also, I saw Lee Pace and Karen Gillan listed in the credits, but I had no idea who they played until it was over. Amazing. I'm sort of happy that I didn't really follow any of the hype, because I was able to really enjoy all of the little surprises and the movie for what it was:

3. Fun, fun and more fun - In the same way that Pacific Rim entertained me last year; this is my film of the summer. It's just a ton of fun to watch from beginning to end. The dialogue is really snappy, the music is nostalgia-inducing, and there is much more heart than I was expecting. It felt a little bit riskier than the current Marvel movies, and while I don't think it's necessarily better than those movies - it's the first one that I actually want to watch again. And again. And again.

3 Thoughts on I Origins

*slight spoilers*

1. The proof- I saw the trailer for this movie a few months ago and I COULD NOT WAIT to see it. Mike Cahill's second feature starring the devine Brit Marling and one of my favorite actors, Michael Pitt - I was all in. Luckily, by the time I saw this movie in the theater, I forgot what most of it was about. The beginning starts off simple enough - Boy meets Girl, Boy loses Girl, Boy searches high and low and finds Girl. I wasn't all that interested or invested in this particular love story, in fact, I found it a bit odd. I focused more on the scientific ambitions of disproving the existence of God. The only way to actually prove that there is no God, in this story, is to prove the origin of the human eye has evolved and thus our main character develops a fascination for all things relating to the eye - including taking mesmerizing photographs. I couldn't really figure out where the story was going and why this character was fascinated with a girl, who seemed really immature, annoying and definitely not right for him. Then, a sudden shift occurs, and the story takes a swift turn for the better. Suddenly, I remembered the trailer and what the movie was actually about and it all started to fall together beautifully. (p.s - the movie is probably a lot better if you don't watch the trailer).

2. The unexplainable - As much as I have strong feelings about the non-existence of God, I can't deny that there are things we can't explain (yet). The "soul", intuition, and love to name a few. I thought that these things could all be explained by chemical reactions (that we just haven't discovered yet), but the more technology advances, the less this proves true. How would we explain people falling in love online, if they've never physically met  - and therefore negate a chemical reaction? In the movie, Ian follows his instinct in order to find this girl that he met once and connected with. It's clear that the universe wants him to find her, but is that God's work? Or is it his own intuition? Their connection doesn't really add up to love, and there is a very revealing statement about his actual feelings for her; so my thought is that he is meant to find her in order to discover this further connection with the eye. The film ends with an "open interpretation", and to me, I think that Ian's initial discovery is correct - he disproved God (the elevator was obviously going to be the trigger, but could this little girl, who has lived on the streets her whole life, just simply be scared of such an odd contraption?). I don't think it has to end there though, Ian did make another discovery - two people with the exact same eyes (and that's not supposed to exist), so maybe, instead of God, he found the existence of a "soul". In this theory, it's found in the eyes and it can be passed to someone else, once one human dies and another is born. It's related to the "21 Grams" theory, that when you die, you lose 21 grams, which may be the soul leaving the body. There's also another theory that the soul is like a 6th sense that we just haven't figured out yet. Anyway, I know I'm jumping around a bit, but it's all very fascinating to think about and I love that this movie is trying to explain the unexplainable in a way that seems very realistic.

3. The critical response - This movie will be in my top 10 list for this year; right now it sits at the top. I will debate, with myself, whether it is better than Under the Skin, until I make my final list - I like this movie better, but Under the Skin is so utterly fascinating (and a better made movie). I am not surprised that critics are not embracing I Origins, as much as I do; simply because people with faith tend to criticize movies that question their faith. The movie is set out to disprove the existence of God, and the main character treats people who "believe" as imbeciles. Of course, if you strongly believe in God, I think with the ambiguous ending, one could argue that our protagonist has doubt in his "proof" and therefore the movie could easily be seen as having pro-God sentiment; it's still the questioning that people don't like. People also don't like movies that ask questions it can't answer. Seriously, read some reviews - most of the "rotten" reviews refer to the fact that the movie asks "big questions" but gives "no answers" - um....did people really expect to get solid proof of the existence/non-existence of God from a movie?  If so, then you don't deserve to enjoy this movie. It's an interesting, unexpected story that allows the audience to interpret their own beliefs or non-beliefs. The only criticism that I would agree with, is the way the story unfolds in such a convenient way (but that also can be argued with the whole "destiny" subplot - it all happened the way it was supposed to happen - so that he could be a part of this exceptional discovery). Overall, I walked out of the theater feeling overwhelmed and excited by the story and I haven't stopped thinking about it since (I saw it a month ago). Some of the dialogue sent shivers down my body. I can't wait to watch it again because there is so much substance; I feel that I need a re-watch just to absorb it all and perhaps, collect my thoughts together in a more cohesive way.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Thoughts on 5 Films

1. The Grand Budapest Hotel - Wow. I am in complete shock by how much I disliked this movie. I was really looking forward to it, not just because of the good reviews but also because it came highly recommended to me by my best friend (and move partner). He even wanted to see it again. We have extremely similar tastes in movies, so I really had no doubt about my enjoyment of this movie. It's horrible. Boring, stupid, annoying and horrible. I hated Anderson's previous effort, Moonrise Kingdom, as well, but I honestly thought that was just a one-off in his otherwise enjoyable filmography. I didn't laugh at all, the actors - although all talented - were so over-the-top quirky; it is just mind-numbingly boring. I don't even want to talk about it anymore. Ugh.

2. Enemy - HOLY SHIT!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is this the most unexpected ending to a film in the entire history of film? I certainly can't think of anything as weird and shocking. There are some moments in the film that reveal imagery that is linked to the ending - and the poster is certainly relevant, but it's still an absolute shock. After it ended, I immediately looked up several theories about the ending and I am in awe of its audacity. Jose Saramago is one of my favorite current authors (Blindness completely wrecked me), the novel that this movie is based on (The Double), has been on my reading list for a few years. I read that the book does not have any reference to the shocking imagery in the film (sorry, I'm being vague - there is no way I would ruin that kind of ending for anyone). Aside from the conclusion, I enjoyed the film immensely. The story is really interesting, Gyllenhaal is captivating and the pace builds quickly into a thrilling conclusion.

3. Lone Survivor - I wasn't incredibly enthused to see this movie, but I do like the cast - Marky Mark, Ben Foster, Taylor Kitsch and Eric Bana (and don't forget about Turtle!!! I've never seen him in anything other than Entourage, so that was weird.). It's hard to stay captivated by a story that is built around a group of men, surrounded by terrorists in enemy land, when you already know only one of them survives (and obviously it's going to be the most popular actor of the bunch).  I thought the movie was more about this "lone survivor", as in the after effects of him witnessing the death of his friends - which would have been a much stronger story in my opinion. Instead, the story was fairly cliche, and obviously predictably bloody. I'm not saying that a movie can't be made out of an already well-known story and still be interesting - this is just one that didn't work. There is just no tension, no memorable moments, nothing of interest. I never felt a connection to any of the characters, even the one that survives. Overall, it's just okay.

4. Winter's Tale - I admire this movie for what it is - a fantasy, love story. It makes no apologies for being absolutely bizarre and illogical, so as an audience member, I feel like it would be a disservice to pick it apart for basic plot points that make no sense (although that is my first instinct). So, I'm just going to ignore the fantasy part of it. *slight spoilers ahead - but it's in the trailer* The love story is really, really stupid. The girl is like 16 (okay 21, but still....Colin Farrell is how old? cliche) and she is terminally ill and a virgin. She has sex with Colin Farrell and dies (I don't know....seems like a pretty good way to go to me). The whole thing is very sappy, and ridiculous. Maybe if it was a stronger actress, I would root for the romance more - but this girl is terribly boring. The rest of the movie is kind of hard to follow - because it's stupid (a man you knew 60+ years ago suddenly appears in front of you, unchanged, and you offer him tea? Um....what?), but the best part is Will Smith! I was not expecting that at all. Personally, I would have liked the movie more if it stepped back into reality at some point, but I appreciate that the filmmakers went full fantasy. I have to respect the vision; it's just not for me.

5. Noah - I hold a special place in my heart for Darren Aronofsky. Requiem for a Dream is in my top 10 favorite movies of all time - and, shockingly, I've only seen it once. I don't think I could possibly manage to watch it again. It shook me to my core, like no other film had at that time and no other film has since. I've enjoyed all of Aronofsky's following films; The Fountain is a masterpiece. I was disappointed when I heard he was taking on Noah, because that meant I would have to sit through it, out of respect. I am not a Bible story kind of person. As an Atheist, I really have no interest. If it was treated as the "mythology" or "fable" that it is, then maybe it would hold my interest - but the fact that people take this story as "fact" and "truth" makes me physically ill. Luckily, Aronofsky treated the source material like any other piece of literature and adapted it to tell the story that he wanted to tell. I can appreciate that. I liked that it's dark and twisted, and that it doesn't shy away from the true evil that can form when one loses their humanity in favor of the "word of God".  I'm not a big fan of Russell Crowe; I don't dislike him, but I've never seen him give anything above average. I've never seen Emma Watson in anything (aside from the painful time I tried to sit through a Harry Potter movie), I'm not convinced that she is anything above average either. She does do a great "ugly, cry face" very well (and that has worked wonders for some actresses. *cough* Claire Danes). There are some really beautiful moments in Noah that are captivating and images that are sweepingly epic. I loved the sequence after the "let me tell you a story" bit (right after the flood). It's not a movie that made any real impact in my mind, but it's certainly interesting.