Why I didn’t watch the Oscars…

There are a lot of reasons I could list for not watching the Oscars (namely the fact that while I want to see most of the movies that were nominated, I’m too cheap to see them before they’re out of theaters … and then I probably won’t anyway) but last night there was one that came out above all the rest.

THE WALKING DEAD

Three simple, true words.

How gives a rat’s ass about what color Liza Minelli’s hair was (electric blue, just like her pantsuit – according to my morning Googling) when you had the chance to watch an entire hour of Norman Reedus and Emily Kinney (the only people on the episode) killing it so beautifully that I now want a spin-off featuring just them, all the time. Rick and Carl who? It’s Daryl and Beth for me.

A weekend at the movies…

So I have a cold. Saturday I had a killer sinus problem… shivers, sweats, nausea, splitting headache, whimpering while laying on the cool-ish bathroom floor and all that good stuff.

Too much information?

I apologize. It’s only excuse for watching seven (yes, seven!) movies this weekend. Good excuse, right?

I’m feeling better so I’ll tell you watch I watched and what I thought.

WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOUR EXPECTING — I really thought this movie would be funnier. Maybe it was more of the new trend in comedy, i.e. crass. Elizabeth Banks talked a lot about farting, peeing, and pooping for example. Cameron Diaz was just irritating. Brooklyn Decker was the one I liked best. But the entire movie would have been better if it hadn’t been brought to a heartbreaking halt with Anna Kendrick’s story line. I get that it was supposed to be about the book of the same name, and that it’s reality, but maybe “comedy” wasn’t the best genre to go with in that case.

BUTTER — It’s a movie about, yes, butter. How good could it be? You’d think it would be better with Jennifer Garner, Olivia Wilde, Hugh Jackman, Ashley Greene, and the guy from Modern Family but you would be wrong… because it’s a movie about butter. Butter carving, to be exact, at the Iowa State Fair, of course. I never, ever thought I’d say this but Rob Corddry saved this movie. I have never really been a fan of his, but this movie would have been DOA without him.

LIKE CRAZY — Girl is English in America, girl falls in love with American boy, girl has to go home to England, girl breaks passport rules to stay with boy, boy and girl must be separated because boy’s a twit and won’t move to England… girl flirts with English boy, boy dates American girl… English girl and American boy decide they MUST be with each other, they make it “official” so she can come back to America… girl takes new English boy to meet her parents, he proposes, she dumps him and moves to America with American boy. A lot happens in between, and it’s good, but that’s the summary of it. I admit I watched it for Charlie Bewley and Jennifer Lawrence (NOT the American boy and English girl, mind you) but it was a very good movie.

THE HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET — Note to self: this is not the movie to watch home alone after dark. Nope. In other news, Jennifer Lawrence can also act well enough to make the possibly cheesy, campy plot of a horror movie damn creepy! That is, of course, also thanks to Max Thierot who brings creepiness to a level that would make his small, tv screen “brother” Norman Bates squirm. Watch this movie!

A WARRIOR’S HEART — This is the typical high school chick flick. It’s about lacrosse, though, even more than the romance. Or more specifically it’s about Conor Sullivan (Kellan Lutz) and his love of lacrosse. Passion for it, really, and passion it always placid, peaceful love. There is romance, though, because Conor falls for the lacrosse coach’s daughter, who also plays lacrosse. There is more to the story but it’s good enough that I don’t want to spoil it for you.

UNITED — I’m American but I know that “our” football is not the football of the rest of the world. I used quotes where I did because I think the rest of the world has it right. But I digress. This was the best of the seven movies I watched. I know, sort of, the David Beckham once played for Manchester United but I didn’t know about the 1958 plane crash that killed part of the team. I like Sam Claflin and David Tennant, though, and I like the “true story” movies so I turned it on. It was brilliant. I felt connected to the characters, to the men on that team so much so that I went online after it was over and Googled them to find out more and how true to fact the movie was. I’m very impressed and I will probably watch this one again.

THE IMMORTALS — I was feeling better by the time I got to movie #7 so I rewarded myself with this movie. Why? Eye candy, of course. I saw pictures of Henry Cavill from this movie. Shirtless, mostly pantless, covered in sweat and dirt and blood… it’s easy to have a moment watching this. Kellan Lutz and the other gods were nice to look at too, of course. But Greek mythology has always been a little about my head so I’ll trust that the story was “real” and enjoy my memories of Theseus becoming a god among men.

And that’s how I spent my weekend.

How was yours?

Is it November yet?

Since my last post wondered about why it can’t be October yet, for The Walking Dead reasons, I thought it only appropriate for this post to wonder why it can’t be November yet, for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire reasons.

See, the second trailer for that movie came out at ComicCon and, well, I need to see this movie. Yesterday.

Why?

Let me show you…

Now you know, I’m waiting for November with very good reason.

Movie Review: “Star Trek Into Darkness”

I’m a Trekkie of sorts. Let’s just lay that out there. (Best captain ever? Janeway.)

Anyway, I went to see Star Trek Into Darkness for a few different reasons.

  1. Like I said, I’m a Trekkie of sorts.
  2. I liked the first Chris Pine as Kirk movie.
  3. I was very much intrigued by the fact that the bad guy, as played by Benedict Cumberbatch, appeared human.
  4. It seemed like something fun to do. Because, really, there is no better reason.

Going in, I’d heard some of the discussion that the trailers made it look like the movie would be a rehash of Wrath of Khan but that didn’t concern me. Mostly because I don’t remember if I’ve ever seen that movie. I don’t think I have. Even if I had, I’d like to think that I’m open-minded and imaginative enough to realize that this is science fiction, not some treatise on real and true exploration of space. Seriously. Who cares?

And that’s the feeling I walked away with.

The movie was awesome.

So good that absolutely none of that matters to me.

Yes, Khan was in the movie. Yes, Google tells me that they kept most of his backstory but changed some of the plot. Again, who cares? Not me.

Cumberbatch was the perfect villain. I read one article where someone argued that part of what made him so good was that his voice is sort of a mix of Alan Rickman, Ian McKellen, and Patrick Stewart having an elocution contest. Maybe that’s it. I remember reading that Charlie Bewley said he kept his British accent for the non-British Demetri in Twilight because everyone expects villains to speak British. Maybe that’s true.

Best actor, even above Cumberbatch, Pine, and Quinto, would have to be Karl Urban as ‘Bones’ McCoy. Or maybe Simon Pegg as Scotty.

I’m not going back to the theater to see it again, and I don’t know that I’ll buy the DVD but I will definitely get it from Redbox or watch it when it’s on TV.

Did you see it? What did you think?

The last money I shall spend on Twilight…

I did it. I caved. I bought, nay, I pre-ordered The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2.

There really wasn’t ever any doubt that I would buy it. After all, I bought the other movies so why would I not complete my set?

But I have a few things to complain about, and these are things that made the title of this post “The last money I shall spend on Twilight”:

  1. I pre-ordered said movie on Amazon for $14.96 for the 2-disc DVD. $14.96 is an excellent price for a 2-disc DVD, don’t you think? It is, I know because Amazon told me that $14.96 is 52% off the suggested retail price. 52%!!! I wondered why they didn’t just lower the original price but then I got wise to their schemes. You see, the DVD is only really worth $14.96 (or less) but if you think you’re getting it for 52% off, you’ll be inclined to say “heck, I’ll buy two!” I only bought two, but I still fell for it.
  2. Did you see they released an “extended cut” of Breaking Dawn – Part 1? True story. Will I fall for that one? No, sir/ma’am. Why? A) I had to work hard to convince myself I wanted to buy that movie in the first place. B) If the stuff they cut out is so awesome, and dollar-worthy, why not just put it in the movie in the first place. Nope, I know a thorough milking of a cash cow when I see one. I shall not be taking part in that.

You see, once I get this movie, my collection will be complete. I own all the books and I will own all the movies (sort of, since my copy of New Moon might technically be borrowed from my sister but if she doesn’t like it enough to ever take it back when she’s near it, that’s not my problem. I even own The Official Illustrated Guide, which I only bought because I won $30 at a casino so it was like found money. That thing is so chock full of errors and just plain stupid mistakes that I’m surprised I’m even admitting to owning it here, in public.

Anyway, Stephenie Meyer, Catherine Hardwicke, Chris Weitz, David Slade, Bill Condon, and the cast have given me hours upon hours (we’ll just leave it vague like that) of enjoyment but that’s all the money I’ll spend. After all, with what I’ve got now, why would I need anymore?

Keep on walking, you cash cow milking studio/publisher people. Nothing more to see here.

So I watched Cosmopolis…

I watched it for a few important reasons:

  1. Robert Pattinson eye candy
  2. I was bored
  3. I had a free rental voucher for Redbox

I watched Cosmopolis with my sister. We did a few things while we watched:

  1. Gaped openly at the screen as we tried to keep a tally of how many times Eric Packer had sex
  2. Giggled when he kept repeating that his prostate was asymmetrical and his deadpan delivery of “I don’t know what that means”
  3. Reminded each other that the movie was free, it didn’t hurt to sit through all of it (not really)
  4. Wondered aloud why the barber didn’t wipe the pie out of his hair
  5. Snickered about Paul Giammatti’s barefoot, towel-covered hobbit-like appearance (we didn’t understand a darn thing he said)

When it was over, we had the following discussion (in a nutshell):

  • ME: He kept talking about “The Complex,” but they didn’t say what it was, did they?
  • HER: Who knows? His prostate was more important.
  • ME: Look up asymmetrical prostate on your phone and find out what it means.
  • HER: No.
  • *crickets chirpped*
  • HER: That bodyguard women he had sex with (not in the limo!) sure had big nipples.
  • ME: Yeah. Did we just watch porn?
  • HER: Probably. But Robert Pattinson was sexy. Sometimes.
  • ME: Yep. And it was free.
  • HER: Always a good thing.

Snow White and the …… zzz

Sorry, fell asleep writing the title there. Much as I did watching the movie.

That’s right, I finally watched Snow White and the Huntsman starring Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, and Sam Claflin.

And I kind of wish I hadn’t.

To put it all in a nutshell, it is my firm belief that Rupert Sanders (the director) decided to see just how many special effects and how much CGI he could cram into a two hour movie, and leave it at that.

Yes, Snow White was there. Yes, the evil queen was there. Yes, there was a huntsman. But no, there was no plot – other than what fit around the special effects.

Movies, stories, what have you… they all need plots.

Or, at the very least, they need characters that get your interest and actors who can bring said characters to life and, you know, act.

So we’ve established that I don’t think Snow White and the Huntsman had a plot beyond the fact that there was, indeed, a Snow White being hunted by, yes, a huntsman.

We’ve also established that, while intriguing for a little while, the special effects were just a tad overdone.

Onto the acting…

The only actor who made his role compelling and interesting and likable was Sam Claflin. I was rooting for William throughout the movie, even when he was a little boy. In the end, I decided that it was right that he wasn’t paired off with Snow White (or was he? I’m not totally sure they clarified that, although it was blatantly obvious that they left it open for a sequel or six.) because she was just not good enough for him.

Chris Hemsworth, as “The Huntsman,” did what it appears he does best – he beat the crap out of things, scowled, and showed off his muscles while attempting to seem forlorn. I found myself wishing that it was Liam Hemsworth in the movie instead.

Charlize Theron was badly underused as Ravenna. She can do so much more. I kind of wonder if she was disappointed in herself for agreeing to the role at all after she saw the final product.

Last but not least is Kristen Stewart, i.e. Snow White. I’ve seen her in a lot of things now, and they aren’t all Twilight movies. I’ve seen Speak, Adventureland, In the Land of Women, and part of The Runaways. I’ve come to a conclusion; she acts the same in every role. Even with a British accent, she had the same facial expressions, the same body language, the same bearing as she’s had in every other movie. In this, all she had to do was look conflicted, in pain, sad, determined, and occasionally alarmed. She’s got those things down. But I need more. Even the final scene, when she’s crowned (spoiler-y, but we all knew it was coming) she looks conflicted and in pain which doesn’t at all jive with what she should be.

(By the way, Speak is an amazing movie that everyone should see.)

Sanders flirted with a love triangle in this movie – between Snow White, the Huntsman, and William – but left it too open.

Then, of course, Sanders got himself involved in a real love triangle when he cheated on his wife with Kristen Stewart and, to the horror of Twi-hards everywhere, broke up the all important couple that was/is/never will be/always will be Robsten.

After that little to-do, there were rumors about Sanders dropping Snow White (i.e. Stewart) from future sequels and focusing instead on the Huntsman (i.e. Hemsworth beating the crap out of people for… who knows what). My vote? Get a new director or put it all to rest.

“Les Miserables” – an amateur film review

I don’t see that many movies in theaters for a lot of reasons; it’s silly to pay that much, I don’t live all that close to a theater, and the movies aren’t usually that good. But, on Friday, I saw Les Miserables. I saw it for a couple reasons; I was curious about all the rave reviews, Helena Bonham-Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen are in it, and – although I know the story, and love it, but I’m not a diehard Les Mis fan – I really love movie musicals.

Here, for what it’s worth, is my review:

What could have been better…

  • I went to the theater with my sister. All she knew about Les Miserables was that Susan Boyle sang “I Dreamed A Dream” and what she’d seen in trailers at other movies and ads on television. Her biggest complaint was that the movie didn’t do enough to explain the reason behind why the characters did what they did. And I agree. It was lacking on so-called back-story. My sister’s biggest question was to wonder why Marius, who was briefly shown to be very rich, would join with the students (who she didn’t know were students) to rebel. Very legitimate question, if you ask me. On the other hand, it was already a two and a half hour movie so more would have been, well, too much?
  • The Marius-Cosette-Eponine love triangle has always sort of bored me and it held true here. The story is so strong, so much, without them. I should say that I haven’t read the book, but I intend to. I’m sure it’s more in the book, but for the musical, where everything truly important takes place in the span of just a few days, it seems like too much and too perfect. Don’t get me wrong, Eddie Redmayne and Samantha Barks were perfect as Marius and Eponine and Amanda Seyfried was alright as Cosette… I just don’t like the characters.

What was just right…

  • The casting of Hugh Jackman, Helena Bonham-Carter, and Sacha Baron Cohen was absolutely right for the roles. The innkeepers, especially, stole the show – as those particular actors usually do.
  • The sets and cinematography were amazing and, if I hadn’t known it was filmed in England, I would have been completely convinced that Tom Hopper and company re-built 19th century France somewhere in, well, France.

What surprised me (i.e. what I really, really loved)…

  • Daniel Huttlestone and Isabelle Allen, as Gavroche and young Cosette, were some of the best child actors I’ve seen in a long time. I cried when Gavroche died, because Huttlestone made him come alive. I was sad, too, when Cosette grew up into Amanda Seyfried because Allen was better.
  • Russell Crowe has been largely panned for his performance as Javert but I think the critics are wrong. He was really very good. I remember watching the Liam Neeson (Valjean)/Geoffrey Rush (Javert) film and thinking nothing could surpass Rush’s Javert but Crowe did it. I’m no singing expert, by any means, but I got excited and happy whenever he came onscreen to speak or sing. He made the character.
  • I had no idea who Aaron Tveit was when I sat down in the theater but I knew Enjolras was one of my favorite characters in the story so he had a lot to live up to. And he did. I found myself wishing Marius would go away so Enjolras could be the center of attention because he needed to be. The character could easily have been overshadowed and marginalized, for example I have no idea who played Enjolras in the Neeson/Rush film, but Tveit made sure that everyone remembers Enjolras in this verson.

Will I see Les Miserables again? Definitely.

What did you think?

So the final Twilight movie is coming out…

I don’t know, maybe you’ve heard?

If not, I promise it’s true. Friday. Or Thursday. Who knows exactly when, since film studios are starting to look like WalMart and Target with their Black Friday sales – it’ll be dawn on Thursday, serving turkey dinners in line in a year or two, mark my words.

Either way, the earliest I’ll see the movie is next weekend – insert Black Friday joke here.

Yes, I’m going to see the movie. I like, and probably love Twilight. Clearly I don’t qualify as a “Twi-hard”, though, since I can wait a week or more to see the movie. Part of the reason for that is that the other movies have left me… underwhelmed so my hopes are not that high for the last one. I’m more of a book person in general anyway.

Say what you will about sparkling vampires and silly teenage girls, not to mention the shirtless werewolves (Team Edward, by the way!), the Stephenie Meyer has provided many people, myself included, with hours of entertainment. Yes, I’ve read the books more than once and yes, I’ve seen the movies more than once (only Eclipse more than once in the theater, the rest on DVD) and I’m not ashamed to admit to either. When I need something to read or watch that I know I’ll enjoy, I know I can dust of Twilight.

Does the story always make sense? No. Does the story portray some sort of abuse between a girl and her boyfriend? I’m no expert, but I say no. Is the story influenced by Stephenie Meyer’s faith? Maybe, but it doesn’t matter – she’s not trying to convert anyone.

If you scoff at Twilight because it doesn’t make sense, because you think Bella and Edward are bad examples for teenagers everywhere, because you think Stephenie Meyer wants you to be a Mormon when the Volturi leave … or any of the other reasons people write the books off, I ask you to remember this:

It’s a book, based on a dream, about a girl who falls in love with a sparkly vampire.

How much sense is it supposed to make? How real can it possibly be?

It’s a story that’s meant for entertainment. It’s not meant for everyone, but we’ve all got our passions so don’t knock someone just because they like it. Not unless you want to be knocked for your passions – and I bet you don’t.

I, for one, know that I am sad that the final movie is coming out but I’m happy too.

Thank you, Stephenie Meyer.

Better late than never, I finally watched the most recent Pirates of the Caribbean

I say “most recent” because, of course, I’ve just discovered that Pirates of the Caribbean 5 (count them, 5!) is in the works. It’ll star Johnny Depp, of course.

But I digress.

I finally got around to watching Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. What took me so long, you ask? A few things;

  • I was not very impressed with Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End and even less so with Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest. I liked the first one, a lot.
  • I was making a silent protest against Jerry Bruckheimer and company for dropping Gore Verbinski as director, Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom as Elizabeth and Will, and even Lee Arenberg and Mackenzie Crook as Pintel and Ragetti. Oh, and they killed Beckett and Norrington. Tom Hollander and Jack Davenport were excellent eye candy.
  • I didn’t see the point of making yet another movie other than for Disney to make more money.

What made me finally decide to watch the newest movie, you ask? A few things;

  • I haven’t seen Ian McShane in much but he seemed like the ultimate pirate villain.
  • Sam Claflin is now in Catching Fire so I thought I should check out something else he’s acted in.
  • And Johnny Depp as Captain Jack is always awesome.

So what did I think, you ask? This is what I think;

  • On Stranger Tides comes in second on my list of favorite Pirates movies, after the first one, Curse of the Black Pearl because it didn’t try as hard as 2 and 3 to be comedy and drama. There were moments of comedy, throwbacks to the first, but it seemed more settled as a drama.
  • Anjelica was miscast. Penelope Cruz is not one of my favorite actresses and I didn’t particularly like her in this movie.
  • Ian McShane was the best villain in the Pirates franchise. He brought a sort of Shakespearean vibe to Blackbeard and that was an excellent way to play off the wonkiness that is Captain Jack Sparrow.
  • Philip and Syrena (i.e. the missionary and the mermaid) are a much more likable romantic arc than Will and Elizabeth ever were. Where Will and Elizabeth mostly annoyed me, I wished there had been more of Philip and Syrena. Here’s hoping Sam Claflin and Astrid Berges-Frisbey are brought back for the next film.

I rented the movie. I think I’ll have to buy it and add it to my Pirates collection.

Have you watched it? What do you think?