Monday, June 25, 2012

If You're Anything Like Me...

You will have watched this new trailer at least ten times in anticipation of this freakin' awesome-looking adaptation of the musical Les Miserables.

Omigodomigodomigod! I AM SO excited for this movie to come out. Even my prejudices against Anne Hathaway's cocker spaniel-like face will have to be put aside because it looks like this will truly be a great movie. Starring Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as Javert, Anne Hathaway as  Fantine, Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, and Samantha Barks as Eponine, this awesome cast looks like they're going to blow this musical out of the water.

Also all actors are going to be singing live in the film, with no dubbing being provided, which is THE COOLEST THING I HAVE EVER HEARD. So tired of shows like Glee or..well, mostly Glee, but shows and films that revolve around singing that have been auto-tuned to the point where they really just could've used a computerized voice to stay on pitch and no one would've noticed the difference. Really stoked to see how well all these actors and actresses can sing!

Oh my god, seriously every time I watch this trailer I get goosebumps.

What do you guys think?? Trailblazing success? Or is there no way that it could live up to the stage production?

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Madagascar 3(D): Yay Fun!

So, this may come as a surprise to you all, but when I'm not typing my fingers to the bone for all y'all, I am babysitting an adorable 10-year-old named Kate. Now, Kate was a little miffed at me last week because I got her all excited two weeks ago after I told her I had Finding Nemo and that we could watch it on Friday. Well, guess who forgot Finding Nemo? Yup.

So in order to make it up to her I told her I would take her to see Madagascar 3. Her eyeballs almost popped out of her head. So we went to the theater, got our 3D glasses on our heads, and sat back for some good old-fashioned fluff.

Oh my god, guys. It was hilarious.

Now, I am not the biggest fan of the quality of animation that the Madagascar movies use. I'm probably just spoiled by the beauty of all of Pixar's movies but Madagascar always sort of weirded me out a little (for one, why is Alex's mane shaped like a diamond?). Even after seeing the first one somewhere a few years ago it never really stuck out in my memory. But this third one really takes the cake.

I'm pretty sure I was laughing harder than Kate was.


The plot takes off where (apparently) the second one left off, with the animals escaping Africa to find the penguins and their army of monkeys in Monte Carlo. Once with the penguins they plan to use their flying machine (I guess it's an airplane?) to fly home to NYC. But while they are trying to escape, the keep getting intercepted by French animal control freak Dubois, who is on their tail (haha puns...) for the rest of the movie.

Seriously. Dis chick cray.

At one point, while trying to escape her evil clutches (don't worry I can tell you about it cuz it's relatively in the beginning), they hop aboard a circus train headed for its next gig and join them under the guise that they are, in fact, from an American circus themselves. The plot then continues with Dubois trying to track them down and with the animals "teaching" the circus animals how they do things in the "circus americano".

Circus americano: exhibit A

As with all truly worthwhile kids movies there is enough adult fodder to keep you awake if the cutesy cheap laughs aren't getting to you (you weirdo). That being said, the movie isn't all cuddles and rainbows and learning about friendship. They make some pretty clever jokes that have some pretty big laughs. Madagascar 3 isn't afraid to be ridiculous and in a world full of tear-jerkers like the ones that Pixar keeps churning out (still have yet to see Brave), that can be so refreshing. If you're tryina guffaw all night, watch Madagascar 3.

Please please please watch the scene with Stefano (voiced by Martin Short) getting shot out of a human cannon. Aaaaand also any other scene with Stefano. (He was my FAVORITE!)

8 and a half outa 10. Hilarious and so cute.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Prometheus: Wait..I'm Confused..

Dude. What the heck, Ridley. Got me all excited to see this crazy movie you cooked up as a not-quite-prequel to Alien. You had a pretty cool trailer with some nice lookin' camera work, had a foreboding foghorn sound that reminded me of War of the Worlds and pre-freaked me out, looked like some good actors. But alas. You join the ranks in creating a lackluster and unimpressive add-on to a classic movie. You oughta be ashamed of yourself.

Oh alright, Ridley, I'm sorry. No need to cry...

Alright...primary outburst has been finished. We may now begin with the actual opinion minus the fueled disappointment.

I really did have great expectations (Dickens? Anyone?) about this movie. It looked like it had a new and interesting cast with some plot twists, alien civilizations, and mystery. But unfortunately, Scott doesn't quite make the masterpiece that he intended.

Prometheus is the name of the ship that doctors Shaw and Holloway (who are also married, btw) take to the far reaches of space to try and find the Engineers, the things responsible for the creation of mankind. Along with them for the journey are various other scientists, pilots, and crew members, including Meredith Vickers, the person under the man funding the expedition. But as soon as they arrive on this planet they run into trouble. While finding evidence of humanistic creatures, they soon find that there is another darker creature lurking there too ($50 if you can guess!).

Nope. An even darker creature than this.

While the sets and imaginativeness of the whole thing are really quite interesting in this film, I feel like it totally lacks direction. It seems to be caught between wanting to tell the story of the creation of the thing in Alien and playing with the idea that humans are not alone in the universe. The latter is really the more interesting story, I think. Or at least a little less explored.

I mean doesn't the poster kind of suggest that it's gonna be about the Engineers?

But the storyline ends up getting convoluted in the director's attempt to stuff everything into this one film. It ends up being kind of a curve ball to the viewer, attempting to wrap their mind around first one storyline and then the other. Very cool how Scott fabricates the creation of the Alien in a somewhat believable fashion, but disappointing in that it creates an incredibly deep plot point and then ends up sort of saying "we'll probably get back to this in a sequel". He should've focused on the Engineers in this one and gotten to the Alien prequel next, or vice versa, if you ask me.

Another disappointing element was the fact that unlike the original Alien, Prometheus seems to forget about its suspenseful beginnings. Although it starts out promising, the film gets preoccupied with its characters searching for answers and any horror element is turned into a more action-y one. Would've liked to see more actual scariness.

Not a horrible movie, but pretty disappointing and a little confusing.

Now, don't look at me like that, I'm just being honest..

Six outa ten.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Rebound: Not as Dumb of a Romcom as One Would Expect

When Netflix recommended to me the film The Rebound the other day, my first thought was "oh goody! A mindless romcom!" But the movie ended up surprising me more than just a little. In the same vein as a movie like Something's Gotta Give, The Rebound starts off making fun of itself, but then takes a serious turn.

Housewife Sandy (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is a perfect suburban mom. She makes pies, drives her kids to school, and makes sure that there is always hand sanitizer around. But when she discovers her husband is cheating on her, she hightails it out of the suburbs and heads for the city.

Apparently, this happens a lot there.

Living over a coffee shop with her two kids, they befriend one of the baristas and he ends up nannying for them. But as Sandy gets more and more frustrated with dating and closer and closer to Aram (Justin Bartha), they both start to wonder where their relationship will take them. The only problem? She's forty and he's twenty five.

Not that you can tell...Jeez...someone give me this lady's genes...

The movie takes its time with putting them together, even though the whole title suggests that (duh) they're going to get together at some point. Sandy goes out on horrible dates and Aram can't seem to connect with the ditzy girls that are his own age (offended.), so they end up hanging out with each other half the time. When they finally get together you'll be screaming "YAY!" (hopefully in your head and not actually that loud). Zeta-Jones and Bartha do a great job of being real (surprisingly for such a low-profile movie) and the kids are hilarious.

S'damn cute!

What seems to trip their characters up is the opinions of their friends and the hardships of dealing with societal agism, which is interesting in itself. Not that anyone hasn't even heard of a couple being significantly far apart in age. I'm sure everyone knows at least one couple that's a little far apart. But in recent years,  cougars seem to be becoming a cool thing. And surprisingly, people seem to be okay with that (seriously, look at Hot in Cleveland, Cougartown, and even Desperate Housewives). In fact, older women seem to have a higher capacity for serious relationships than girls my own age (well, at least on film). And in this film, Sandy and Aram provide a commentary that suggests that age old saying that "Age is just a number".

Seven out of ten stars. Also the ending is adorable.

Sorry the quality of the trailer isn't 100%, my bad yo.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Bernie: A D(m)ocumentary?

I had seen the trailer for Bernie weeks ago and was immediately intrigued. And with the art theater's tickets being cheaper than the ones I would've gotten for The Avengers and such, I was leaning more towards seeing Bernie. So when my fellow film nerd Nicholas came to visit me last weekend (yes, last weekend; I know, sorry, I've been busy, kids) I was like "Bernie?" and he was like "Okay!" So then we skipped merrily to the subway and got ourselves to the Ritz East.

Everyone say "Hiiiii Ritz Eeeeaast"

Each theater is surprisingly big for there only being two of them. Anyway! Bernie.

Bernie is the tale of a charismatic, Southern assistant funeral director (played by Jack Black) who is liked by his entire town. He's a sweet, giving man who has nothing but concern for others in his heart and wants to make everyone feel special. So when he tries to comfort the wealthy, newly widowed Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine), the town isn't surprised when Bernie starts trying to cheer her up.

Purple's not your color, honey.

But when Bernie starts to get suffocated by Marjorie's need for constant attention and care, he snaps and, in an out-of-body moment, shoots her with an armadillo gun. The rest of the plot follows the trial as the town defends Bernie's innocence, despite his own confession that he indeed shot the woman and then kept her in a freezer for six months.

So, going into this movie, I had NO IDEA that it was based on a true story. Like, actually. And the way that they set it up is in little segments ("Bernie", "Was he gay?", "Did he do it?", etc) and then by playing vignettes of Bernie's actual life backed up by commentary from the townspeople.

Honestly, the performances by Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, and Matthew McConaughey (as the prosecutor) are amazing. They play roles that they've done before (Black as the flamboyant, MacLaine as the grouch, and McConaughey as the ballbuster) but they do it all with such attention that I feel like it's worth talking about. Black is absolutely charming as Bernie (I was hoping they weren't gonna convict him either!) and MacLaine is a totally awful human being as Marjorie Nugent.

Seriously. Who does this.

But the real stars of this movie are the townspeople. I was trying to figure out for the entire movie whether they were the real people or actual actors. Turns out that some of the real townspeople are actually in the film (whaaaaat) and the things that come out of their mouths are what make this movie so funny (are we allowed to say that about a crime movie based on real events?). You can get a little taste of what they're all like in the preview, but my god, it's some hilarious stuff.

This guy was my personal favorite.

The weird thing about this movie is that, after discovering it was based on a real murder, I'm a little confused about the genre. I thought that it was a dark comedy when I saw the preview (and I guess it still kind of is?) but it seems kind of weird. I guess another thing that the director was going for was to just show the dramatic effect of what would happen with a positive mob mentality. The entire town is literally convinced that he didn't do it, to the point that they have to move the trial to another town to prevent a biased jury. It also provides interesting commentary on the death penalty and the morality of killing someone who doesn't seem to have a good bone in her body.

Interesting and guilty-pleasure kind of funny. Don't go in expecting to laugh your head off, but expect to be swayed to the townspeople's side. It's cray.