Legally Blonde – When a blonde sorority queen is dumped by her boyfriend, she decides to follow him to law school to get him back and, once there, learns she has more legal savvy than she ever imagined. (from IMDB)
Being a HUGE fan of Shaun of the Dead (the hilarious spoof of the zombie classic Dawn of the Dead), I was über-excited to learn about Edgar Wright and Simon Peg’s most recent foray in to genre, The World’s End. Reality being reality and life being lifelike, I wasn’t able to see The World’s End in theaters and only managed to finally watch it this past weekend.
Short analysis: I loved it.
Longer analysis: This story of five friends meeting up in their hometown to perform the epic pubcrawl they failed to complete as younger men, only to find the town they knew invaded by replicant-style robots, hit all the right notes for me.
Like with Shaun of the Dead, this movie plays manages to lovingly spoof the genre while offering up characters to care about and just a bit of heart. It maybe didn’t pull off the relationships between the characters as well as Shaun of the Dead did, but it was still a fun movie, with lots of action and humor.
Plus booze — there was lots of beer drinking and drunkenness.*
One of the most impressive things, in terms of acting, was how well each of the characters portrayed being drunk. It’s apparently one of the hardest things to do in acting and each of them pulled it off just about perfectly. Watching the characters do the Slow Blink at about level 7 on the drunkeness scale reminded me of my
For those interested, here’s the video of Simon Peg showing Conan O’Brian the twelve stages of drunkenness:
*Actually, I wasn’t clear on how these drunken, untrained gents managed to fight as skillfully as they do in this movie — at some points it was almost too slick — but that didn’t stop from the entertainment value for one second.
My movie watching habits have changed significantly over the past several months. It used to be that I would go to the theaters about 2-4 times a month to see new movies. Now I’m lucky if I go once a month, mostly due to financial reasons. Also, when I get access to Netflix (while housesitting), I tend to not want to watch new-to-me movies and go for TV shows instead.
For example, last month I watched significant amounts of Doctor Who (season three and most of four) and The X-Files (rewatched all of season one). So I’m thinking I might start posting my TV watching thoughts more often, though I’m not how I want to approach that yet. In the meantime…,
1. 2 Guns (2013)
2. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters (2013)
REVIEWS (behind the cut):
STATS: Total (new-to-me) Movies Watched = 67, of which
27 were General (Drama/Action/Etc.)
17 were Scifi/Fantasy
10 were Horror
5 were Animated
4 were Comedy
4 were Documentaries
5 were Foreign (non-English)
In addition, I watched a total of 9 short films.
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013)
Pacific Rim (2013)
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012)
The Cabin in the Woods (2011)
Sherlock Jr. (1924)
Wreck-It Ralph (2012)
Fast & Furious 6 (2013)
Django Unchained (2012)
Best Science Fiction/Fantasy Movie
I loved The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which is a fantastic adaptation of the book. The political tension in the film had me on edge and is so well done.
Runner Up: Pacific Rim was also fantastically fun with some really great leading characters.
Best Horror Movie
I just loved The Cabin in the Woods for it’s sheer fun, humor, and gore (that ending sequence, OMG).
But for technical, eerie horror Rosemary’s Baby is also at the top of my list.
Best Animated Movie
Wreck-It Ralph — The old video game throw backs (awe, Q-Bert, how I miss you) and the friendship between Ralph and Vaneilope make this a winner for me.
Honorable Mention: Night of the Living Dead Reanimated (2009), which may not be the best, but deserves a mention for creativity, as it brings together artists from all over the world to recreate the visual elements of the classic 1968 zombie flick.
It may seem odd that I’m choosing an old silent movie for top place, but Buster Keaton charms me every time and Sherlock Jr. had me laughing out loud throughout the story. So creative and inventive for any time.
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry was a great exploration of the artists life.
Best Foreign Film
I have to give Amour (2012) the honor here, because though it’s terribly sad and hard to watch, it also has the most moving acting performance I’ve seen in a long time. Amazing cinematography and a beautiful film all around.
Runner Up: Blancanieves (2012) is a retelling of the Snow White fairy tale in black and white, silent film format. Plus, bullfighting. The ending is strange and sad, but it’s a fascinating movie.
Best Short Film
Paperman (2012) is an adorable little animation that is practically perfect in every way.
Last night, I forgo-ed writing to go to the premiere party for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire at The Tech Museum’s Hackworth IMAX Dome (the dome is amazing in and of itself, eight stories tall and astounding to watch movies on). The party was fun with chocolate fondu fountains and a very creepy looking pig-shaped cake. In honor of the movie, a group presented sword and fighting demonstrations, as well as an archery demonstration. Before the movie, the staff also asked trivia questions and offered tee shirts and posters as prizes. (^_^)
Note: Spoilers from the first movie are likely to show up here.
Catching Fire after the first Hunger Games ending, with Katniss and Peeta both as heroes and in a constant state of threat by the government. The tension is present from the beginning, because we know Katniss defied President Snow with her berries trick and he is very pissed off about it. What follows is a political struggle as Katniss and Peeta decide whether to do as they’re told or to fight back.
Jennifer Lawrence was amazing. She can show so much of Katniss’ inner conflict without saying a single word. In fact, everyone in this movie did an amazing job, each one approaching their roles with respect for their characters. The director allows a few brief moments of quiet from time to time, in which the characters can just be themselves and all the worry and fear comes through.
The tension at the beginning is powerful and the action in the games is exciting (one of the game threats gave me chills). Since this is the second book in an ongoing story, things did fully wrap up, but paused in preparation for the third movie to come in 2014.
Catching Fire was a fantastic adaptation of the book and proves once again why book-to-movie adaptation is so fascinating to me. Books being the wordy things they are, tend to have more dialog, longer speeches, more explanation. As a reader seeing a movie of a favorite book, it’s tempting to want every scene and every bit of dialog included in the movie. But movies are different creative creatures entirely, and it’s often better to simplify, strip away a bulk of the words.
I remember reading Catching Fire and wondering how some of the scenes would be pulled off. In the book, the moments were dramatic and powerful and full of dialog and multiple scenes. Yet, the movie managed to pull out the heart of these scenes, make them powerful and moving, and all while having them be shorter. The scenes rely on trusting the actors to pull it off and the cinematographer to find the right distance. It’s fascinating to see this work.
The third and final book, Mockingjay, will be following the Hollywood trend these days and be split into two movies
in order to suck all the money they can out of viewers. I have no idea how this will be pulled off (I never do). It has me a little worries (always does). But based on the first two movies, my hopes are high.
Several years ago, I used to spend a ridiculous number of hours watching Inside the Actors’ Studio, hosted by James Lipton. The show had a blend of celebrity, study of craft, and personal exploration, all combined with Lipton’s unique soft-spoken tone, that made it fascinating.
At the end of every episode, he asks ten questions, an adapted version of the Proust Questionnaire. I am always fascinated by the answers given and couldn’t help thinking what I would say should I ever become a director and appear on the show.
Here are my answers to those ten questions as I would give them today.
1. What is your favorite word?
I have many words and phrases at catch my attention and linger. Some due to meanings, some just because of how they sound. At the moment, “indubitably” comes to mind as a favorite. I like the playful way the syllables fall of the tongue. It’s a fun way of saying, “Absolutely. Yes.”
2. What is your least favorite word?
Should. I don’t like the way “should” tends to put me into a state of arguing with reality, which just causes frustration.
3. What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
I’m tempted to say “everything,” though that would be an untrue exaggeration, because not everything can be pleasing or enlightening in life. But every time I take a deep breath and think about the world and all its interconnections, I very much want to believe in the beauty of things.
4. What turns you off?
Humiliation. The feeling that I am being judged negatively by others.
5. What is your favorite curse word?
F*ck. Sometimes it’s the only word that fits, and it’s hands down the best curse word in the English language. Here is evidence.
6. What sound or noise do you love?
My niece’s squealing laugh. The patter of rain on my window. The crunch-pop sound of snow beneath my feet.
7. What sound or noise do you hate?
The screaming of car brakes. Nothing good comes from that.
8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Explorer. I imagine this in the sense of seeking out new realms as yet unseen (providing the conquer, destroy, and colonize aspect could be taken out of the process), of which there is not much left on Earth. In which case what’s left is space (the final frontier), so maybe a more accurate answer is Astronaut.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
Coal miner. I don’t like the idea of the dirt, grit, or dark.
10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“You did good.”
Post inspired by Daily Prompt: Inside the Actor’s Studio.
* * * *
In other news, the first trailer for Maleficent, staring Angelina Jolie, is out. I am cautiously optimistic.
Due to a crossing the Atlantic forth and back last month, this list is a bit longer than usual. (^_^)
1. Taxi Driver (1976)
2. White House Down (2013)
3. Blancanieves / Snow White (Spain, 2012)
4. Tteu-Geoun Ann-Yeong / Rockin On Heaven’s Door (South Korea, 2013)
5. Duck Soup (1933)
6. Now You See Me (2013)
7. Stoker (2013)
8. The Monster Squad (1987)
9. The Conjuring (2013)
10. Insidious (2010)
REVIEWS (behind the cut):
This, my friends is my favorite holiday. I love a good scare, the costume, the creepy decorations, the delight of believing in the ghost in the attic or the monster under the bed even if for just one night.
My sister is less enthused. Anything to scary gives her anxiety. My baby niece is also getting to an age where she’s paying attention and could get frightened of what’s on the screen.
So my family has had to modify our scary movie watching quite a bit (at least during the daylight hours). Here is a list if Halloween-ish movies that we love and can all watch together.
Note: None of these movies are terribly scary, but each kid will react different (I remember being terrified of Labyrinth as a kid). Judge this list based on what you know of your own kids and their readiness level.
1. Hocus Pocus (1993)
“Three hundred years ago the Sanderson sisters bewitched people.” These witches might be silly and rather stupid, but they’re a lot of fun to watch cavorting around the modern era. There’s plenty of corniness, but also some great jokes and a dance number. Bette Midler and her fellow witches are all great.
This is a favorite of my family and one that’s almost always one TV during the Halloween season.
2. The Monster Squad (1987)
A group of kids, obsessed with horror comics, have created their own monster squad to battle evil. Little do they know, Dracula and the other classic monsters are real and are coming to town to find a secret amulet that will allow evil to rule the world.
This one doesn’t translate as well. The humor is cornier and the story is silly, but it’s still a fun movie.
I remember watching it as a kid and not knowing what a virgin was and thinking it was a nationality (because the virgin has to read from a German book to stop evil). Also while it’s never specified, the virgin in case apparently has to be a girl.
Still, gotta love the appearance of all the classic baddies at the same time. It’s ridiculous and absurd and fun.
3. The Witches (1990)
A young boy goes to a retreat by the sea shore with his grandma, and discovers that it is has become host to a gathering of purple eyed witches (with Angelica Huston as the head witch). When the boy gets caught by the witches, he is turned into a mouse and has to convince his grandmother to help him stop their nefarious plans.
The monster makeup when the witches peel off their human skin is fantastic and some scenes are genuinely delightfully gross. Great dark fantasy movie.
4. Young Frankenstein (1974)
Mel Brooks retelling the classic Frankenstein story in the most hilarious way possible. When Dr. Frankenstein’s heir inherits a castle in Transylvania, he can’t help but follow the same experiment and bring the monster to life once again. The black and white filming, fantastic comedic timing, and Brook’s genius all make for a fun homage to a classic movie monster.
5. Beetle Juice (1988)
This is probably belongs at the top of the list in all its weird, hilarious awesomeness. For those who don’t know, the story involves a couple who die suddenly in an accident and are trapped within their house, haunting it. The realm of the dead is twisted and strange with the dead locked in their bodies as they were when they died. When a family moves in and starts restructuring their dream home, they call on Beetlejuice to help them get rid of them and end up with more than they bargained for.
This is probably the best (or at least my favorite) movie on the list.
I know there are plenty of others that I missed. The Adams Family movies come most immediately to mind and there are many others, I’m sure.
What are your favorite not-so-scary Halloween themed movies?