Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Top 10 and Bottom 5 of 2011

This year I did not get to see all the movies I wanted to towards the end. There was just no way I could catch up after only seeing 1 movie a month starting October. This school year was just rough, and on top of that working 5 days a week starting Christmas break did not help either. I did get to see the ones important to me, for the most part, and the ones I have left on my list probably were not going to reach my top 10 anyway (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Tintin, A Dangerous Method, My Week with Marilyn, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, War Horse, Carnage, Iron Lady, The Descendents, The Artist and many more).
I'm saddened that this happened, for it has not in a while. I am utterly behind, and it's depressing. But I will end up seeing these movies eventually, and there's no doubt in my mind that most of them will be good. It's kind of funny, I was the most excited for Spielberg to come back this year to the directing world, yet I didn't make any time to see his 2 movies. Life's funny.

But without further ado, my Top 10 :)

10. Fright Night

Here we go, this spot took a lot of thinking. I could have chosen a Korean revenge (Enemy at the Dead End) or a creative romantic Japanese flick (Kimi ni Todoke) or a crazy fun-to-sing-along musical (The Muppets) or the super hero film with the most impressive trailer (X-Men First Class). Why may you ask did I chose Fright Night then? The fact is, this movie pretty much summed up my favorite class this year in school. It is by far the most wonderful horror remake of this decade that strayed enough from the first, but still did little homages as well. I really liked it. I have to admit, though, X-Men was a really close 11.

9. The Help

The most pleasant movie of the year had to make my list. I really liked this movie. It was so well acted and so well done. This movie impressed me a lot because I didn't expect it to be that great. It was a nice feel good movie.

8. 50/50

I really liked this movie, and when I saw it I immediately thought it was going to be my favorite of the year, but as I let it settle in my mind, I found it not as great as the others I saw, and possibly not as fantabulous as I originally first thought it was. The more I thought about the acting overall the less I found it outstanding. Great movie though, fantastic writing.

7. Hugo

The movie about movies :). This one was so touching and beautiful to watch. That, and I needed more than 1 kids movie on my list this year, because I feel this year had better children's movies all around than adult movies (statistically speaking). So magical, so well acted, and so well done.

6. Super 8

My nostalgia got the best of me with Super 8, and I instantly fell in love with it the moment I saw the trailer for it during Iron Man 2. There was no stopping it, I knew from the start it was going to be a favorite and it did not fail to impress. Loved this movie.

5. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

The trailer was great, the movie was even better. I still stand by Andy Serkis getting a best actor nod for his role as the monkey. He's totally brought back monster-movie acting and has made into a pure art form. He's one of the greatest actors of this age. He's been a gollum, a hobbit, a big and smaller monkey. This movie as had one of the greatest moments I've seen all year (Caesar being able to talk much?!). I LOVED IT.

4. Rango

I knew this movie was a love affair the instant I chose to watch it during every usher break earlier this year. I laugh every time, and it's definitely the best Johnny Depp movie to grace the big screen this year. Not only that, but the animation is gorgeous. I'm so glad that someone aside from Pixar and Dreamworks can make an excellent CGI movie. Nickelodeon may have marked themselves as a real competitor this year.

3. Midnight in Paris

This has got to be the best script all year. It was amazingly creative, and if it doesn't win best original screenplay, I will be mortified. I'm still ashamed I missed the first 5 or so minutes of this movie. I cry, I cry. Oh well, this will just convince me I need to buy it on blu-ray yet!

2. Midnight FM

Ah, Korean revenge thrillers. You know just how to make me swoon and sigh (and gasp!). This movie is insanely good, and I cannot stress how much you should watch it eventually. Last year it was I Saw the Devil. Oh man. I just wanna move to Korea and make movies now please. They are beyond perfect. Incredible. This would have been my favorite of the year if it wasn't for one little film...

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

OH MY GOD. The past few years I have withheld Harry Potter films from my lists, but no more shall I repress my love. Harry Potter is my favorite story of all time, and the movies are so well acted and well directed and well shot, I just cannot help myself. I saw this movie a good amount in theaters, and then I bought it on blu-ray and I have successfully cried EVERY TIME. These movies bring the books to life for me, and this one being so close to the films made me just wanna bow down to the Davids (Heyman and Yates). They brought my childhood to life, and they did it so well. I don't know how to thank them more. Behind LOTR, the Harry Potter films are definitely the best films out there. Disagree all you want, but there are 8 HP movies and all of them were good, if not great, if not excellent, if not perfect. The conclusion deserves more recognition than people are giving it. It is the greatest achievement in film. Ever.

A Little Treat: Bottom 5

5. Dream House
4. Apollo 18
3. Immortals
2. The Hangover Part II
1. Red Riding Hood

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Few Quick Mini-Reviews :)

Since I have been gone for some time due to school work and such, I figured for my first post back since October I would write a few quick reviews for the few movies I have seen. Sadly, some are no longer in theaters, but hopefully someone will appreciate that I did see them before writing my Top Movies of 2011 list :D Which I shall begin starting the 1st of January!

Why couldn't this movie be as creative as The Fall?? It was a waste of my time this year, and frankly I almost forgot I saw it. The Grecian myths were jumbled, the protagonist was boring, and the story stayed flat from the beginning. The only thing nice about it was the sparkles and colors, but since when was sequence a popular fashion in BC?? Such a disappointment that, with a better script, could have been a really cool action flick. Many would say this is a male-oriented film, but even my boyfriend hated it, if not more than I. Waste of life.

Immortals: 1.5/5

After what felt like a very long wait, I saw The Muppets a bit after the Thanksgiving break and fell in love with its cuteness. I tried to see it again, but alas! Plans failed and I ended up seeing Young Adult. But I digress, The Muppets was a neat little throwback to puppetry and was also greatly amusing. My favorite part about it was the soundtrack, which this morning I bought on Amazon for $3.99 ;). It's a shame it only got a month in theaters, but what can you do?? With all the kid movies out, it was bound to leave theaters sooner or later. The advertising for this movie was just as great as the movie itself. I hope Disney does more with the muppets now that this movie has kind of brought them back into pop culture.

The Muppets: 4/5

The next holiday movie I did see was Hugo. I know, I know...I'm on a roll with the children movies this season. Probably because they were the best, but also because I have a feeling that my attention span is slipping (oh no!). However, this treasure was longer than most children movies, coming in at a grand total of 2 hours! It would be my only complaint about this one, if that at all. It was slow-paced, but beautifully executed, intriguing, and above all magical. I loved all the blues and golds. It also had enough Harry Potter actors to make me giddy (Helen McCrory being my favorite). And how could I not mention Chloe Moretz, because she is my absolute favorite up and coming actress and as always I cannot wait to see her in more! Sadly, I have noticed this movie is slipping from theaters as well, so please without a doubt go and see it, because it is a grand adventure. Plus, it is getting nominations left and right, so why not??

Hugo: 4/5

I was so excited to see an "adult" movie after so many childrens films, and this one seemed perfect because it had adult in the title :p. Either way, Young Adult is a fine movie, but if I could go back I may have exempted paying $9 to see it. It had quirky conversations that were amusing to listen to, but was in desperate need of some music. The reveal at the end was good. It's not like this writer-director duo doesn't have talent, but it may have flat-lined. I don't know if it has repeat value at all, but it was well acted and well written enough. I would call this one a rental.

Young Adult: 3/5

I really enjoyed the first of this series, but this one just didn't have the same flair. I thought it was a tad too long and the story just seemed way drawn out. It needed some cutting down for sure, but other than that it's a very enjoyable movie for the most part. Jude Law always looks and sounds so dashing ;D. And I really like Guy Richie's style, it feels a lot different that many other blockbusters. I'm intrigued if there will be more, seeing as Robert Downey Jr. is not signed on for a third one. Would be interesting if there was, but I'm sure I could live without it if there was not. The movie was a tad more predictable than the other, even though I was not expecting an early death scene. I must admit, I enjoyed Detective Dee much more than this (and sadly I did not make time to review that one).

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows -- 3/5

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Puss in Boots

There comes a time every year when animated movies run amok. According to the animated holiday season, it's Thanksgiving! And this year it started with Dreamworks SKG's prequel Puss in Boots.
Now, To be honest I didn't like Shrek the Third (2007) nor did I even see Shrek Forever After (2010), but lately Dreamworks has been on a pretty good streak for me, and there was much hype behind this one so I definitely wanted to see it. The trailers just grabbed me.
And I must admit I laughed my whole way through this movie. From the beginning to the end, I don't know if my smile frayed once. The movie had some incredible gags, some of my favorites belongs to Humpty, the wonderfully hilarious antagonist.
I know, it's hard to convince you to go see another Dreamworks movie that makes fun of fairy tales, because maybe you feel you've seen them all. I mean, what did they not touch up upon in all four Shrek movies? There's no way they had any material left. Well I think the ones they saved for this movie, that was long in the making, fit perfectly with another. They worked, but I don't know if you should expect a Puss in Boots sequel in a couple of years. I don't think there's any way possible they can pull out another creative fairy tale story. I think they have officially used them all.
The movie was of course not perfect, however. It had a really strange structure that I can't say I've seen in a film before, but that made it not very predictable, which maybe was good. It was experimental, and although it was odd, it didn't take anything away from the movie. I still was laughing all the way til the end.
The downside is that if you do not see this movie, this will be Dreamworks third box office bomb. This weekend it pulled a grand minimal $34 million, and even if that may be a Halloween weekend high, it's a weekend low for an animated film, especially Dreamworks (Puss in Boots is actually their second lowest weekend opening to date). With other popular franchises like The Muppets and Happy Feet 2 coming out as well as two other children oriented movies (Hugo and Arthur Christmas) around the Thanksgiving holidays, this movie may mean Dreamworks has met their match...domestically. Now this movie hasn't hit global theaters yet, and seeing as that is where Dreamworks is currently making most of their money, it may still have a chance to make a profit. And it may be because I wrote a 10 page company report (that made an awesome 97) over the company, but I really want to see Dreamwork succeed. Their animation is a feast for the eyes, their 3D above the curve, and their stories original and creative. I feel the only company's issue as it stands is advertising, which has successfully killed them this year in the domestic box office.
But Puss in Boots is funny, quirky, and brings tons of laughs. I strongly suggest you spend that little extra cash and go see this movie, and if you wake up early enough on the weekends catch an early bird special for the 3D showing or something, because this movie is so much fun. And truthfully, according to my movie forecast, unless you're waiting to take your tweens to Breaking Dawn Part 1 (shame on you if you are!!), The Muppets is the next foreseeable grand family movie adventure in the near future, and that's quite a ways away.

I give this movie 3.5/5 paws :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Dream House

Dream House -- 2/5

This movie could have been a mediocre horror/thriller that would probably have fair amount of people watching it on syndication around the Halloween time...if the ending didn't dive into the deep end of "WTF is going on in this movie?"
The plot in the beginning in simple -- from the trailers we all know it's about a guy who supposedly killed his family in this pseudo-magnificent house a few years back. Sounds simplistic enough, and could lead to some very interesting, but possibly predictable twists in the end. But just because a horror movie has the Naomi Watts and Daniel Craig approval apparently does not mean it's going to be pretty okay, but far more terrible than you could even imagine.
I should have known -- September is where movies go to die. It's always been that simple.
The really big problem with this movie is that it did not know its ending. Or rather, it did know it, but it was poorly set up and poorly executed. Once the third act arrived, I honestly didn't care for anyone anymore. They could have all burned up in the house and died for all I cared, at least the world would be a little more at ease without these psychos running around. The bad guy's motive wasn't discovered til a flashback at the very end, nor was the villain even a threat the whole movie. I'll give the flick credit for not having me guess the ending, but it didn't even give me a chance to. The ending sort of surprised you, which is probably why it needed so much exposition and explaining at the end. I felt like I had watched two separate movies by the time the credits rolled -- one a mystery about a man whose family was supposedly killed by him, and another about a psycho jealous ex who yearned for custody over his daughter (both of whom have minimal screen time).
By the end of the film, I had a way better ending thought up in my head that would have made the movie flow a lot better, and have most fun-twist action:
After Daniel Craig discovers his true identity, he runs over the the beautiful blonde neighbor Naomi Watts, who seems to know more than she lets on and genuinely cares for Mr. Craig. Every time Craig leaves the house to visit Naomi, we see his ghosty wife (played by Rachel Weisz) look stony and somewhat angered (possible jealousy alert!!). Well, all this plays out and in the end we discover that Craig was having an affair with Naomi, which made Weisz go insane, and she kills her children, attempts to kill her husband, and then he kills her in self defense.
This all would explain:
- Why Naomi was always worried about Craig and why she visits him in the insane home
- Why Naomi's husband wants a divorce, and custody over the child (because as he sees it: she slept with the crazy neighbor who killed his family AND still looks after him)
- Why Craig was shot in the head and why he shot his wife
- and Why Weisz always looks so angry when he speaks to Naomi

In conclusion, I have come to realize that after this month of crazy-dumb horror movies (Don't Be Afraid of the Dark, Apollo 18, and Dream House), I should just run off and create my own production company called "Awesome American Horror Movies." Maybe Lionsgate will fund me!

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Contagion -- 3/5

Contagion would have been the show-stopper of the month if it weren't for Drive, but that's not saying too much since it's September. The film is an interestingly open-ended thriller about how the world would react if a disease epidemic broke loose in this day and age. Following many characters at once, this film is not afraid to kill off one of their big stars quickly. It's good, it's compelling, and it's a very interesting commentary on how people react to something so scary and so unavoidable.
This film, though interesting in concept, was all about the performances I feel. It hired huge stars for all the tiny main roles in this film. If I were to pick, the protagonist was probably Matt Daemon's character, because the movie starts out with his story, and also ends with his. Played by Gwyneth Paltrow, his wife's death was the catalyst in figuring out the disease and where it started throughout the film. However, my absolute favorite performances in the film belonged to Kate Winslet and Marion Cotillard. I found their stories the most interesting and the most heart-wrenching.
Though creative and compelling to watch, the big question is doesn't this movie have repeat value? Probably not. It was an interesting character study, but I feel watching it again wouldn't have that same compelling vibe. Once the spark for the virus is unveiled, the movie neatly falls into place and the mystery the movie builds up so well is gone. Though this can be said for many films, there are some that once the mystery is discovered, the movie loses its edge. Though it's packed with characters, the audience never has enough time to become fully entangled in their lives to fall in love and become attached to them. When a character dies, it's sad for sure, but it is not tear-worthy. This is where I feel the movie lacks, and why it does not hold that special repeat value, therefore diminishing the film's greatness and making it only good.

Sorry this review is very short, but I fell behind so much that I actually forgot a lot of what I wanted to say about this movie. I guess that means I could also add this movie in pretty forgettable as well, which makes it even less greater. :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Apollo 18

Apollo 18 -- 2/5

I'm going to drive right into this review with budget comparisons! So apparently according to IMDB, this movie cost $5 million to make. Well, at least it can say it made money, but did it really cost that much to make this super unappealing movie? Though I'm not crazy about it either, when someone can make Paranormal Activity for $15,000 and it honestly looks better than this movie, I worry. Now, let's compare + contrast my favorite and least favorite horror movies of this first person POV genre (from greatest to least amount spent).
Paranormal Activity: $15,000 (3/5)
The Blair Witch Project: $60,000 (3/5)
Rec: $2 million (4.5/5)
Apollo 18: $5 million (2/5)
Cloverfield: $25 million (4/5)
I would say my favorite out of them all would be Rec, the Spanish zombie infestation movie (maybe you have seen the remake Quarantine?). I think it was done very well, and it was quite spooky. And the best part about it was the fact that it didn't shake as badly as some of the other previously mentioned movies above do. They all have similar-types of stories, but the one thing that can totally mess up one of these movies is the direction, and Apollo 18's was horrible.
I liked the idea that someone had captured alien life on the moon and no one knew about it, and I also thought the acting wasn't too awful, though it wasn't fantastic either. The problem was the plot holes and the direction. The fact that most of the footage was caught via super 8 film that was destroyed by a crash or left behind, confused me a little. How did someone retrieve said super 8s? It was quite a perplexing little plot hole.
Also, the way time lapsed was really boring to watch. I understand the reason for no music, but the action was so painfully slow to get into, that I never really got scared. There were no jumps, because they were a little obvious and expected.
I also found the aliens a little laughable. Attacking rocks? Apollo 18 should go meet up with Don't be Afraid of the Dark and look at their "scary" tiny monsters, and see where they went wrong. It's not that tiny monsters can't be scary, you just present them and design them better, and on top of that write them better. No fairies, no rocks.
I suppose I should have known this movie would be bad when it kept jumping around with release dates (a tell tale sign that a production company doesn't know how to advertise the movie, and on top of that they do not have faith in it). September movies also tend to be on the not so good side, so that maybe should have been flashing red lights already. Oh well, time goes on, and people waste time watching mediocre movies. Maybe you saw this movie, and maybe you were lucky enough not to. Even if it hits Netflix instant (which after this month, you may not even be a subscriber), I'd say skip it and watch something better.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Don't Be Afraid of the Dark

Dont' Be Afraid of the Dark -- 2.5/5

There was so much about this movie that I wanted to like, but it never came through for me. I loved that Guillermo del Toro's name was attached to this, and that it looked like a classic haunted house story not so different from one of my favorite horror films El Orfanato (also produced by del Toro). It also had a pretty creepy trailer attached to it, and furthermore I had no clue what it could be about. Maybe not knowing was for the best.
[spoiler alert] The movie starts out in possibly the 1800's. A creepy old scientist who lives in a ridiculously gorgeous mansion knocks out his maid's teeth to feed to these evil sounding creatures who have captured his son and will not give him back until he gives them "child's teeth." Needless to say the scientist angers the whispering creatures by offering them adult teeth and they pull him down some shaft to his death.
Jump to the future, where the movie doesn't seem to quite know where it is. The airport has old fashioned arrival signs, Katie Holmes (the evil step-girlfriend) carries around a Polaroid camera, and the father (Guy Pearce) has a smart phone he can text on. What? At first I thought they could be in the 90's, but the texting really through me off that scent.
Then we get to the house, and it's gorgeous. Probably the only thing that made the movie worth viewing to be honest. Now it's the time where characters are established (sort of). The little girl's parents are divorced, she is taking some pretty strong medication that could be the cause of her depression, and the dad seems like a class-A jerk. Oh, and I shouldn't forget that Katie Holmes' character apparently had a really bad childhood, but don't worry -- apparently that's not important because they never ever mention it again in the movie. Actually, the character's lives aren't important either because all this back story that could be potential character development is shoved to the side for the rest of the movie.
We move on as the secret basement is discovered by young Sally (played by Bailee Madison). After roaming around a fairy-tale-like labyrinth (complete with fairy mushroom circle and all), she finds a window covered by one giant bush, thus the discovery of the basement. Of course, one of the construction workers (Harris) attempts to keep the family away from this discovery, but fails miserably. When the father and girlfriend Holmes discover the basement, they go hog wild. Of course, the audience realizes this basement is the one where the mad scientist killed his maid for her teeth and was in return killed by these whispering creatures. Right away, Sally notices the shaft that has been conveniently bolted up. This intrigues her.
It all seems so simple and easy to follow up until this point. So potentially good and interesting. But alas, this is where the plot holes and weird parts start and keep on coming. This is where the movie gets bad.

Plot Hole #1: Apparently Harris's grandfather was the one who bolted up the shaft (what?) but we never know why his family doesn't own the house anymore and why on earth he's working to restore it if he knows the house's dark and scary secrets.
Plot Hole #2: Even though the creepy whispering creatures sound, well, creepy it doesn't stop Sally from wanting to be their friend (why?). Maybe this is because her parents don't love her (the creatures repeat that a lot), but as a kid if I heard creepy voice who demanded me to "turn off the light!" I would be running away and not trying to release them from there bolted shaft. Maybe she was just lonely.
Weird Part #1: Grown up men can't seem to escape the wrath of these hunchback, limping creatures with tiny sharp objects. And they almost kill poor Harris for attempting to protect Sally. I don't know why he couldn't just walk or run up the stairs to the light and save himself, but apparently these little guys are very...strong?
Plot Hole #3: After Harris' demise and the father refuses to believe the daughter about anything, girlfriend Holmes decides to rush off to the library on the command of Harris. 16 minutes before closing time, she is able to find the young librarian and they run off into a restricted section to discover more about the scientist who owned the house, Blackwood. While she must wear gloves, the librarian doesn't seem to need them while touching these old sketches and diary entries. It is now where we discover the secret of these hunchbacked tiny creatures. Apparently they used to kill people to replenish their ranks, but after making a treaty with the Pope (what?!?!) they started to live off of children's teeth. To get these teeth, at night a child would place his or her tooth under a pillow and in the morning find a silver piece. So, like Darkness Falls, we are dealing with...a tooth fairy. Oh how scary.
Plot Hole #4: After successfully crushing one of the creatures, Sally doesn't show anyone the body's remains. Maybe that would have made someone believe she wasn't mental??
Weird Part #2: While these creatures can apparently drag a little girl down to a basement, attack a grown man, and break a woman's legs with a rope, they seem to have issues with stabbing someone with a poker in the face.
Plot Hole #5: Once girlfriend Holmes is taken by these creatures, the father and daughter seem to get out of the situation OK. No police questioning, no anything. The disappearance of Holmes goes unnoticed it seems.
Plot Hole #6: The ending was just of the charts confusing. After sacrificing her life to save little Sally, apparently girlfriend Holmes is now the master and commander of these little tooth fairies (wait....what? why?...the world may never know).

The characters never grow, we only ever get to know them skin deep. It attempts to be a commentary on modern child abuse (what with the medication and the neglect), but stops concerning itself with that about 30 minutes in. Who knows why the creatures were able to make a treaty with the Pope, but were never documented otherwise. The story is all over the place, and it doesn't seem to be very good and understanding what it wants to be. The movie is just confusing.
The sad part about it, is that there were some interesting parts to this movie that if done right could have made it really great. But it fell so short of greatness and completely fell off the map into craziness. It seemed like del Toro mashed all the things he likes (labyrinths, dark houses, children) into one film and didn't care where or how the story would pan out.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fright Night: Gay Vibes vs. 3D remakes


Up front I'm going to say I really like both of these movie, but in extremely different ways. The 80's Fright Night was undeniably gay and very much enjoyable to watch with a group of people, while the current Fright Night remake was exciting as well as fun and a tad bit self aware.
Last week I watched the 80's Fright Night because I wanted to see the remake, and also because it was mentioned once or twice in my Horror film class. I cannot say it was scary at all, but it was super enjoyable. I love the sexy music that played every time the vampire would stalk a young male, I loved the mom's line regarding the neighbor "with my luck, he'll be gay," and I loved the absurd thought process of the teenagers. The special affects were cool, and the death of Evil Ed was really great. The original has everything going for it, except terror.
And though there are quite a lot of thing that separate the original from the remake, terror may be the biggest one. I would say, Fright Night the remake had a little bit more tension to it. The opening scene was very good to establish that.
I also enjoyed the film's self awareness of the original. It wasn't too distracting, and it gave the movie a little something special for me. I enjoyed Collin Farrell as the new vamp eating the old vamp (Chris Sarandon) for dinner. I thought it was funny how they constantly poked fun at the name Jerry for a vampire. But above it all, I loved it when Ed (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) screamed "I'm feeling a little homo right now!" Total kickback to the homosexual awesomeness in the original one.
[spoiler alert] But there's also something else special about the remake. While the original run amok with homosexual not-so-secret undertones, the new one deals with the difficulties of high school. This time around Ed wasn't popular and had just lost his best friend Charley (or Brewster) to a hot and sexy popular girlfriend (who also turned out to be sweet and kind). Though I would complain that the death of Ed wasn't as devastatingly long as the original's, it had a lot more depth and back story as to why it was so sad. Also (it may be a stretch) but by creating Charley as the killer of his old friend, it was a metaphor for him leaving behind his confused adolescence. [/spoiler alert]
Other little things that made this remake stand out was David Tennant as the vampire hunter (who also had a nice back story), and the 3D surprisingly enough. I would say see it before it leaves theaters, because I fear that will be soon what with all the horror films like Shark Night 3D coming out and hogging the horror spotlight (for better or for worse).
In the end, I love both movies the same, but very differently.

Fright Night (1985): 4/5
Fright Night (2011): 4/5

Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris -- 4.5/5

Even though I missed maybe the first 5 minutes of this movie, it did not take away from its creativity and fabulousness. I loved loved loved the way the story flowed. It was creative writing as well as total eye candy. I'm really glad I was invited to see this movie, because otherwise I wouldn't have seen it til it somehow hit Netflix instant.
Underneath the movie's creative concept it's a (not so average) story about a man who doesn't know if he's making the right decisions. Move to Malibu with his fiance or stay in Paris alone? Does he even truly love his fiance? Does she love him or his money and prestige success? Midnight in Paris uses the imagination of a nostalgic writer to help answer these questions. And I loved following his journey all the way.
Midnight in Paris is about a screenwriter (Owen Wilson) who travels back in time to Paris in the 1920's every night at midnight. Along his adventure he meets the Fitzgerald's, Ernest Hemingway, Picasso, Salvador Dali, and a beautiful "art groupie" who has a nostalgic fantasy for the 1890's (played by the gorgeous Marion Cotillard). It's hard to decipher if his trips back in time are actually real or a fantasy inspired by prescription drugs, but it doesn't matter because it's fun to experience either way.
I really enjoyed the message this movie concluded on -- it's doesn't do well to consume oneself with dreams of another life in some other time and to live your own present the best you can. Do not settle for less than you feel you deserve :). It's cute to watch Owen Wilson find the right girl in the end, who appreciates the 20's like him and loves to walk around Paris in the rain. Smiles all around, this movie is so cute.
I also really love the cast in this movie. Previously mentioned Wilson and Cotillard, Adrien Brody (<3), Rachel McAdams, Michael Sheen, Kathy Bates, Alison Pill, and Tom Hiddleston (also known for Loki in Thor! <3) are some of the more well known faces. They're all great actors, but as good as they are, they were given great characters to play. Though I cannot say I am much of a Woody Allen fan, he really knew the famous names he was writing. My favorite would have to have been Hemingway's voice (played by Corey Stoll). I couldn't prevent myself from laughing when he talked about how "it was raining." I can finally appreciate reading A Farewell to Arms, something I never thought I would be able to do.
I really want to go to Paris now. Maybe I can catch a Peugeot 401 and head back to the 1920's myself :).

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Help

The Help -- 4/5

To be honest, nothing about this movie really screamed interesting to me. I usually skip out on films like this, because they really feel generated towards a certain older female audience. It doesn't really help either that the poster has this awful yellow that is unappealing to the eye. Actually, the only reason I was remotely interested in this movie is because I remember my madre reading the book a while back, and if she read it and liked it maybe it's good. I honestly never saw a trailer for this movie because the movies I go out and see wouldn't be advertising this one to their audience.
Well, after good reviews and this movie being at the top of the box office, I decided to switch it over from the "maybe I'll go see it if I have time" list to the "I want to see this pretty soon" list. It had Emma Stone in it at least, and she's been in the spotlight as of late. So I found someone who was interested in it too, and that's when I found myself in a theater watching this movie rather than Final Destination 5 (which I still want to see).
Oh gosh, the trailers leading up to this movie were dreadful, and if I hadn't read raving reviews about this movie, I would have been very much skeptical about the movie I was about to see. The trailers were so bad -- each one I had never heard of and there was a reason for it. It was torture. But finally the movie started and things were starting to look up.
First and foremost, this movie had some spectacular acting. Emma Stone really showed off what she can do outside teen-type roles, but other than her everyone else was spectacular too. Who knew Bryce Dallas Howard of Twilight fame could really act? I honestly wouldn't have bet on it. But all the actresses are solid, and it is so much more than a girly movie (referring to its dominant female cast). I also wouldn't be surprised if there was a best actress nomination in store for Viola Davis who plays Aibileen Clark. So there's one reason for seeing this movie if you think it's honestly not your thing.
And it's not just the actresses that make this movie work. It's a really great story, that brought a little tear to my eye at the end. It's funny, it's heart-warming, it's sad. It doesn't stay at one note the whole time. The movie has a depth to its story that's historical, but it doesn't stop you from thinking about racism that still exists. Not everyone's crying the whole time, but everyone isn't giggling uncontrollably either. Even the shallow characters appear to have some depth to them in the end, which is something I really enjoyed viewing.
Watching the movie makes me wish I had just stolen the book from my mom's bookshelf and read it, but sadly I never did. Maybe someday I will get around to it, because the movie has convinced me it is probably a great book (because all books are better than the movie).

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rise of the Planet of the Apes -- 4.5/5

One word: brilliant. I'm not going to pretend that I've seen all the previous Planet of the Apes movies in full, nor will I pretend that I remember them because I watched them on TV when I was so much younger. I remember those movies as much as I remembered Star Wars, which I realized 6 months ago when my boyfriend forced me to watch a marathon of the older movies I had only retained bits and pieces of the films. I blame my sleepiness and my short attention span for movies on TV that weren't The Wizard of Oz :). But I digress.
This movie was just so well done. And dare I say it near perfect. This movie is one of the few summer films that really delivered what they promised (much like X-Men). The perfect trailers told no lies -- this movie was worth the long trudge through the under-preforming summer remakes and reboots. It flowed with such an ease, and it felt so effortlessly good. This movie delivered what it promised, which is something so many movies struggle with.
And it's not doubt who stole the show in this movie -- Andy Serkis. The other day I read an article that was about how he felt that he didn't get as much respect as an actor, because his CGI characters sort of steal the show from him. I can see where a lot of people would overlook him, for sure. He never looks like himself in movies, and always looks like something else, whether it be Gollum or Caesar. It's a shame that he's so far down the cast list on Internet Movie Database, really. He not only stole the show, but he really was the main actor in the movie. He's fabulous. There was one specific scene where Caesar is communicating to his fellow monkeys without any words or subtitles and it's beautiful. When an actor doesn't need words to keep an audience engaged, that's when you know he's among the great. Andy Serkis was much of the reason I went to see this movie, and he is very much the reason I fell in love with this movie walking out. Like Boris Karloff, Serkis brings life to his characters that are not necessarily human; A monster-actor like no other*.
If my rambles about Andy Serkis don't convince you to got out and see this movie, then please go see it for the quality. It's beautiful, it's wondrous, and it's ever so fabulous. The story is so well paced, the movie is edited so well, and I really want to go out and see this movie again before it leaves theaters. This movie does not fall short on writing. Do not miss this greatness on screen please :).

* My friend Tasha inspired this line by telling me about an article she read on Andy Serkis a few weeks ago :)

30 Minutes or Less

30 Minutes or Less -- 2.5/5

30 Minutes or Less was...less than good. Though it had a few chuckles and giggles, it felt so formulaic and just not very enjoyable. It was alright, it was okay. If anything it was a rental, not a movie you go to see on the bigger screen for $10.
It was so lack luster, and so underwhelming for me. I really thought this movie could do no wrong. It had the director, it had the actors, and it had the girl from Greek! What more could a person ask for in a comedy?? Nothing! And this is why I shouldn't judge a movie by its flashy big names. It only brings disappointment, really.
The biggest complaint I have with this movie is Danny McBride and everything his character's story brought to the table. I used to have the highest admiration for him as a comedian, and now I'm not so sure. As my friend Tasha said, sometimes crass for the sake of it isn't funny at all. What Danny McBride did in Pineapple Express was refreshing at the time, and now it's just annoying to listen to. I don't want to hear about all the code names for a BJ, I'm not interested! Also, his character had zero development. He ended the way he started -- a loser. Maybe if he ended up admitting he was in love with his best pal it would have elevated the movie a teeny bit, but not by much. Everyone just ran around in circles and learned nothing. It was the result of really poor writing.
One thing I learned from this movie is that Jesse Eisenberg and Aziz Ansari are a really great comedy duo and can make an script more enjoyable. They were pretty funny throughout and their energy really balanced each other out. I'd love to see them in more things with another.
And the hugest disappointment of them all was the complete lack of Dilshad Vadsaria, my favorite sorority sister from the TV show Greek. She showed up in maybe 3 scenes, had very little dialogue, and could have easily been cut from the script. I thought that maybe she would end up dating Eisenberg in the end, but the movie left that really open ended. They kissed a few times, but not enough to convince me that after that night they would be together for the long haul.
If you are interested in this movie, I would say wait to rent it :) It would really be the best bet.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Barefoot Dream & It's Kind of a Funny Story

A Barefoot Dream (2010) -- 3/5

Awh, how cute. Underprivileged children running around smiling, laughing and crying with their eyes set on one specific goal -- to become soccer stars. It's a movie that can really translate to all cultures alike. Sports just work that way, and that's why we have the Olympics. So even if you were a little weary on watching a film with subtitles, a movie like this would be a good place to start. There are even children with a sports dream! And all children are adorable, no matter what culture.
I'm not a sports movie kind of person. They kind of all hold the same formula and either has one of two endings (they win or they don't). I don't care what sport it is, I get bored. However, this one had its amusing parts thanks to the adult actor (I honestly could not tell you his name). He talks out loud to himself like no one else can hear him, which is a really amusing character quirk and it also helped hold my interest.
There were some rather irking plot holes. The main character has a family he calls via phone every once in a while, but the director really doesn't dive into their estranged relationship. All the audience knows is that he has a son and possibly an ex-wife/girlfriend and neither want anything to do with him. You are also aware that he was a popular soccer player before, but no longer is and after his career he got in a lot of money trouble somehow. Honestly though, I didn't care enough for them to dive and deeper into his personal life back in Korea.
The children were very cute. They reminded me a lot of the kids in Slumdog Millionaire. The little girl was especially wonderful and was very close to bringing tears to my eyes when she was crying for the main actor to stay.
Another issue with the film was the languages. I'm sure this could possibly happen, but when the Korean character could easily have a conversation with the Indonesian guy who only speaks English it's odd to listen to. They can understand each other's languages, but cannot even speak one word of them? It felt slightly off to me.
It feels like every sports film to be honest. So if you like those types of movies, but are a little nervous to watch an international film, one like this could easily be a great segue into watching more of them.

It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010) -- 3/5

I had this movie forever sitting by my bluray player, waiting for me to watch it. I put my expensive Netflix membership to such great use, obviously. To be honest though, I was going through a Harry Potter obsession that this movie could not break into. I had been wanting to watch this movie for some time, and maybe my hopes were too high, but it just didn't click with me at all.
I feel like I missed the point of this movie. A kid checks himself into a mental ward at a hospital, has some good times with young females and older males, possibly discovers himself, and then after a week leaves because all is well! Oh, but in the end he specifically states that all is not really well, but it's a great start. I don't buy any of this. I also honestly cannot remember, but I'm pretty sure he falls in love with Emma Robert's character at the end, which also feels a little odd. Of course he's in love with her, just like he was in love with his best friend played by Zoe Kravitz of X-Men: First Class fame. Maybe I am jaded. Maybe I've seen one too many teen indie movies like this, but I'm a little tired of them. They have the same formula as Juno, and I feel like they want me to think the movie is oh so original. I honestly don't. And it bores me more than sports films.
Maybe the book is better, and just cannot be made into a movie (like many books!). Maybe I'm a grumpy 21 year old who dislikes romantic-y movies already. Or maybe my Post-Potter-Depression was still working into me and I cannot like anything that's not like Harry Potter. Maybe, maybe. It's all a maybe.
The acting and characters are what makes this movie interesting and worth watching I think. It's not unenjoyable. It's cutesy. The characters are solid. I'm sure the book goes into more depth with them (one would only hope) and all this movie could do was skim the surface with them. At least they could pull a great cast together to bring these characters to life. Great characters can stitch up any plot holes in a film, by making it more interesting and watchable :). It's also a lot better than most American rom-coms out there (please see my review on Friends with Benefits). I'm sure if you're an indie film fan, you will probably go gaga over this film. I can guarantee it.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Star Studded Weekend Filled with Faulty Writing


Well to be perfectly honest, I wasn't going to go out and see The Smurfs this weekend to make this blog review totally complete. However, I have been looking forward to this weekend for quite some time. I thought it was going to be the cherry on top of the summer, the solid 2-movie weekend that was going to be ever so enjoyable.
So I maybe got a little carried away. If there's ever such a good great movie weekend, it would be heaven, but not in this movie climate. However, little blue people aside, this weekend wasn't all too bad.
This big curse that harmed this weekend was poor, patchy writing. Each of these movies could have been great, but sadly the writers must have forgotten to let someone look over their scripts, because there were plot holes galore in Cowboys and it was most definitely a very bumpy up and down ride in Crazy. The real super saver of both these movies were the unbelievably fabulous casts that really help the movies' less than glamorous plots.
With Cowboys and Aliens I had one huge character complaint, however. Ella Swenson (played by Olivia Wilde) is just such a let down. She walks around like a robot for the most part, and the only words that ever come out of her mouth seem to be, "Do you remember?" Not only is she super annoying, but he character contains the most plot holes in the movie. I was also very disappointed with the amount of screen time Paul Dano had. I love Paul Dano. I think he's a pretty great actor, and it makes me really sad that he's not too often in films for longer than 30 minutes. I figured after There Will Be Blood a lot of people would like to hire him, but negative. Or maybe Dano just doesn't like being in movies. Maybe, maybe. Either way, I should have known from the trailers that he wasn't going to be a big character in this particular movie, even though his name was dropped in the early credits.
Other than annoying characters and disappointing credited actors, the thing that made this movie fun was definitely the alien design. It was really interesting, and I'm a sucker for aliens and all that :). And Indiana Jones and Jame Bond didn't hurt the funness of this movie either :)
Regarding Crazy, Stupid, Love, I found it a little bit too long. The story arc was very slowly paced. There were a few mini-climaxes throughout, which all led up to the biggest plot twist of them all, and I found this formula super hard to pay attention to. The trailers and posters promised me equal Ryan Gosling and Steve Carell time, but the first half of the film was definitely more Carell, and all the Gosling parts were actually in the trailer. Disappointment. He's The Notebook guy, why should he get shoved aside in a romance film?? Psh, there's no reason. In all honesty, the film's character are what drives the movie, not the story. The story has an interesting plot twist, but it's the same old same old really. I learned nothing new, and I felt nothing new. No tears in this one and no super fast heartbeat. I would maybe see it once more if asked, but after that I don't plan on really watching it ever again.
So this weekend was a little bit of a let down, but I guess I shouldn't have let my hopes run free!

And at last, my scores:

Cowboys & Aliens: 3/5
Crazy, Stupid, Love: 3/5

Thursday, July 28, 2011

This Film Is Not Yet Rated

This Film is Not Yet Rated -- 3/5

My totally favorite podcast (Mugglecast) suggested this movie to me, so I finally got around to watching it! I give this documentary credit for being interesting, but there were some parts that made me a little irritated.
The director of the documentary hired a private investigator to stalk down all the members of the MPAA. Although I found it interesting that they were all super secretive about who puts those giant letters on posters that prevent kids from going to certain movies, I thought the persistent chase to catch the people on camera was overkill. It was a little creepy, especially when they showed one of the houses the people lived in. Maybe I respect people's privacy too much, but I feel like if they wanted to stay unknown to the public, the director shouldn't try to defy their wishes. Also when the private investigator told her best friend's daughter "I get a kick out of watching people who don't know I'm watching them," I felt really uncomfortable.
Creepiness aside, I agreed with some of the points the film made, and I disagreed with others. Though I declare myself a "gore-hound," I do think that the USA film rating system lets a lot more violence get by, while laying the smack down on sex. Recalling last year's ratings battle declared by the Weistein Company, I can agree with this statement the documentary made. How was it possible that a movie like Blue Valentine originally get an NC-17 rating, but Piranha 3D easily get an R? That movie had more cheap sex ploys and sexually violent acts than Blue Valentine had it in. What gave Blue Valentine the dreaded NC-17 rating was realistic sex scenes of the oral kind. However, the film did win its battle and finally got the R rating it deserved. The Weinstein Company had another ratings battle with a film that had gotten smacked with an R. This same movie in Britain got a 12A, the equivalent of our PG-13. This film was The King's Speech. Because it dropped the f-bomb more than once, it was thereby given the dreaded rated R. Now, any 13 year old knows this word, and this film didn't even use it in a super inappropriate way. There is a drastic difference in inappropriateness between The King's Speech and Piranha 3D, so why do they both share a rating? I believe the Weinstein Company's two news worthy fights will mark the revolution between film makers and the ratings their movies are given.
Now, that being said, there are some movies I feel no sympathy for getting an NC-17 rating. One they mentioned was called The Dreamers, which is a film where 3 housemates explore their sexuality during the entire film with each other. Though I have nothing against movies like this, I also don't think they should be available to people under the age of 17. These movies have very niche audiences, which mostly include very artsy students. If shown outside the art house theater, it would be very difficult to keep little 13 year old kids from sneaking into them. A film like The Dreamers would not resonate the same to an art student as to a middle schooler, and if given R status it wouldn't necessarily help its chances at the box office. But oversexed films are not the only ones I feel should be totally unavailable to those annoying little kids who get dropped off at the movie theater. Extremely violent and gory horror films like Saw 3D should not be available to these kids either. If the parent wants to take their child to this movie, that's their choice, but I don't feel movies like this should be so easily available to younger kiddies. I admit, I also have judged these parents in the past as a theater employee. That being said, when movies like American Pie get easy R ratings for exploiting teen sex, but films like The Cooler get NC-17-ed for an interesting choice of nudity, I feel there's something terribly wrong with the system. Something does need to be changed, and hopefully the Weinstein Company's quest for the right rating will spark other studios to do the same.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Captain America: The First Avenger

Captain America: The First Avenger -- 3.5/5

I have really enjoyed the summer blockbusters for the most part so far. There are a handful that I found unworthy of one of my free movie passes (Transformers and The Green Lantern), but Captain America definitely had a solid trailer, which is something I care deeply about. If a movie doesn't have an enjoyable trailer, it will take a few good reviews from people I trust until I decide to go for it. I also have mentioned previously in other blog reviews that I am a sucker for a comic book hero movie (especially an Avengers one), so it was a must see, ASAP.
The First Avenger doesn't disappoint. It has a compelling story, a great cast, and it has really fantastic cinematography, which the other films have not yet been able to achieve. Both Iron Man and Thor look really flashy and whatnot, and they share a similar glossy look that many summer CGI-indulged blockbusters have. The rustic feel in Captain America is a really nice escape from the regular summer look and feel.
This specific Avengers film also ties in very well with the Iron Man films, by having Tony Stark's father in it periodically. The World Fair was also a really great touch if you by any chance saw Iron Man 2. And of course Nick Fury at the end also ties in all the films.
However, this film didn't blow me away. There was something off about it that I really couldn't quite place until the end. This film seriously lacks any tension at all. Because of the intro the audience is aware of the ending, some of the lines give away plot points that are supposed to be surprises, and I got bored during some of the fighting scenes. The absolute best part of the film is the beginning prior to Steve Rogers' 100% transformation to Captain America, the WWII hero.
I would definitely recommend this film, but not before Harry Potter of course. I would also suggest if you are stingy on your summer movie choices, wait for Rise of the Planet of the Apes, because I just cannot get enough of that trailer.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Friends with Benefits

Friends with Benefits: 2.5/5

From the director of Easy A comes a new way to look at romantic comedies...well sort of, but not really. This movie had a lot going for it until the final act. It was really funny, though sometimes it had its cliches, but it wasn't until the 3rd act where it was apparent that there were so many of them hidden (but again...not really so much) in the film throughout.
The cast was great, the jokes were solid, it was just the little bit where it pretended to not be something it is: a generic romantic comedy. I enjoy some romantic comedies, but not many. I usually like the ones that go above and beyond, or really understand its genre. I would say to name a few The Devil Wears Prada and The Holiday are two of my absolute favorites. I was really pleasantly surprised with Easy A last year, so I thought that this movie would have that same feel. Well, I didn't know that same feel would compromise originality. The 3rd act of this movie ended the exact same way as Easy A. The girl had her little mommy talk (with the same mom, too) and the beau swept the protagonist female off her feet with a boom box, but this time there was also some dancing involved. But wait...Easy A had a little song-and-dance number too, so I guess that really wasn't too original either. Maybe the only new thing was the father-son chit-chat that was no different than the mother-daughter one. If the movie hadn't made a big deal about being super knowledgeable about the formula of rom-coms, maybe it could have made more sense, but the fact that it did made the ending all the more cliche. I don't appreciate films trying to fool me, I find it a cheap trick that writers try to put in to make me feel like they're smarter in the end. However, when the credits role I do not feel like the writer was smart at all, but a fool for trying to fool me.
Although, the film had something that was really special, and maybe (somehow) the writer should have focused on that. The father with alzheimer's was terribly sad and brought complete silence to the audience. It produced some pretty powerful scenes, but in the end the subplot all went flat when he thought he saw his "only true love." It was a cop out, and a disappointment.
I would probably keep this on for a few moments if I saw it on TV, but probably not for too long. It's worth viewing if you're a fan of that genericy rom-com, but if your not it's probably a miss in theaters. With all these theatrical summer blockbusters out like Captain America and Harry Potter, I say you should wait for the dvd!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Last Day of My Internship with the Asian Film Festival of Dallas

Total Recap: Thursday July 21 2011

Triple Tap
Keui-Mei, A Woman (1986)
Fallen Angels (1995)
Outrage: 3/5
Golden Slumber

Yesterday was a rather odd day. Instead of heading to the theater first, I had to pick up my boss from a Honda dealership, because her battery was having issues (and I totally know how that feels). However, this was the start of a very lucky morning, because I ended up having lunch with her and the French director of the film Lao Wai. He has been super nice the whole festival, and it was a little sad to see him go. When I finally got to the theater, there wasn't too much to do and I just typed in things to a computer to save time for the other board members, which kept my busy at least! It was very relaxing, and because I was so tired it was nice that I wasn't running around doing things anymore like I had been that morning.
Around 7pm I went off with Teresa to get ready for the closing party at Lumi's, which ended up being a lot of fun and a lot less hot and stuffy like the previous opening party. There was a lot of food, a lot of dancing, and the winners of all the awards were announced. I Am seemed all around to be a favorite, which makes me kinda regret not watching it at all.
The dancing was actually the best part. Some people could bust some moves, and a few guys that had seen Outrage came over to eat at Lumi's, and they seemed to have some kind of classical training in dance. They were great.
At the end, we ate at a place called Cafe Brazil and I ate some pancakes and my boyfriend showed up :) It was a good end to a very good week and internship.
I will now start going back to my regular reviews stating now :) I hope everyone who has read this will follow me and start to read all my blog posts!!! :D

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Days 5 and 6 of my Internship with the Asian Film Festival of Dallas

Total Recap: Tuesday and Wednesday July 19 and 20, 2011

Movies 06/19
Love in a Puff (re-showing)
Our Neighbor (1963)
Midnight FM: 4.5/5
Shorts Block 2
Lao Wai: 3/5
The Image Threads

Movies 06/20
Amigo (re-showing)
Home Sweet Home (1970)
Shorts Block 3
The Drunkard: 1.5/5
Tell Me Something (1999)

Yesterday morning I was so tired, I forgot to write a review of Tuesday! Lucky for me this morning I wasn't too tired to write about both days today :)
Tuesday was a pretty slow day. I was the only volunteer in the morning, which was rather boring. Being alone and in charge isn't all that fun once you get down to it. However, not too long after people showed up that I was able to talk to. Around 4pm, I went to go watch Midnight FM, and it was really quite fabulous. You don't have to tell me twice to go watch a Korean film ever. That country really knows what's up with the film business. Especially if we're talking thrillers.Midnight FM is about a radio voice whose family is being held hostage by a crazed fan on her last night hosting her show. It's sad, it's exciting, and its twisty. I would have maybe ended it differently, or made the main character a little more nice to one of the supporting, but other than that I was really excited about this movie after the credits rolled, and the only 2 other movies that have affected me that way this year were Super 8 and of course Harry Potter!
I skipped the shorts block so I could help out some more, but after that I watched Lao Wai, which had the director in attendance. I thought the film was sweet, and for his first narrative piece it had really fabulous cinematography. I think my only issue with the movie was the protagonist male seemed a little unlikable, and I know if I found my boyfriend in the position his girl found him, there would be no second chances.
At the end of the day, I met up with a friend for late dinner :) She came up from Austin to visit family, and I was so excited she called me!

Onto Wednesday! It was a really slow day yesterday. There was never more than 15 people in a theater for the first 3 movies, so I finished Dead Until Dark and watched some Harry Potter. I was told to watch the shorts block, and I did. All of them were good except the ending documentary, which I found a little boring. The producer of one of the shorts was there, which was neat. Here is a little preview of it. It was a good one. Then I stayed to watch The Drunkard, which highly reminded me of the movie In the Mood for Love, which if you appreciated that film, this one would be for you as well. The Drunkard is based of a stream of consciousness novel that is actually the same author that wrote In the Mood for Love. The audience primarily enjoyed the film and had a lot of questions for the director afterwards.
Then sadly, tragedy struck and Alicia's car wasn't starting at her apartment. However, I came in to save the day and picked her up an took her back to the theater, so she could hang out with our 2 directors and producer at this very Texan-y bar. I ended up just drinking water :). I was too tired for anything else!
Today I am not seeing any films, because I have already seen Outrage and Golden Slumber, so I will just be hanging around until the after party at Lumi's :).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Day 4 of my Internship with the Asian Film Festival of Dallas

Total Recap: Monday July 18 2011

Shoalin (repeat showing)
Ch Medley: A Dream of Iron
Shorts 1
City Under Siege
I Am
Enemy at the Dead End: 4/5

Today I feel like I did the most, even though it was probably the most relaxing day! I got to tally up all the little surveys, and I drove the director of the short film The Good Daughter to the airport, and I simply was just a little bit more busy than prior days.
In the morning I spent my time eating, working with other volunteers, and recording those surveys I mentioned earlier. It kept me busy enough to keep my mind of the slowerness of Monday. All-in-all a good day.
The only movie I ended up catching today was the last one, which was worth staying up for. Enemy at the Dead End was a surprisingly funny Korean revenge thriller. The actor of Oldboy was the main guy in this film, and the audience follows the film through his POV. The word was that this movie is "Oldboy set in a hospital room," which is almost half right. Because of the straight up humor in this movie, though, I would say it has a very different feel of any Korean revenge movie I've ever seen. The film itself is also a tad predictable, and the twist isn't its usual twistiness as many Korean films do, but the film still is enjoyable throughout. Whenever you have the option to see it, I would very much recommend it, even for the faint of heart. This movie is not scary at all in any way, but some hilarious fun. Who doesn't want to see practically paralyzed men attempting to kill each other off with feeble attempts?? I do! :)
Anyway, today I must get to the theater at 11:30am because there are no other volunteers signed up for the first spot. Oh well, the most boring part of the day hopefully will go by fast because I am reading the first True Blood novel Dead Until Dark. Also, the Deathly Hallows Pt2 mugglecast has finally come out, and you bet I'm listening! :)
Today I'm seeing Midnight FM hopefully and Lao Wai.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Day 3 of my Internship with the Asian Film Festival of Dallas

Total Recap: Sunday July 17 2011

From Me to You (君に届け): 4/5
Seven Samurai (七人の侍)
Love in a Puff: 3.5/5
Bedevilled: 3.5/5

Yesterday I was very lucky to catch 2 films that were both cute and quirky. At the beginning of the day, I saw the cutesy Japanese romantic movie From me to You. This film had a really interesting plot, where the protagonist female has been avoided all her life because of her liken to the scary ghost Sadako from Ringu. She then meets a very kind transfer student who immediately forms a crush on her. In the process of their relationship budding, Sadako also meets 2 girls that become her very closest friends. It's very sweet, very heart warming, but can seem slow at times. The character development is really grand as well.
I skipped Amigo and Seven Samurai to help out a little bit with holding iPads and whatnot :p I went out to lunch at Village Burger Bar (very delicious french fries!) with Sara and another Jenny and we discussed the film festival, soccer, and dangerous pets. It was a good time :).
Then after a reception that was fed by Thairiffic, and some good little pastries from Community Coffee, I watched the Chinese film Love in a Puff. It had really brilliant dialogue and revolved around a very interesting story of people meeting over a smoking spot in Hong Kong during post the 2007 smoking act. I highly recommend seeing its second showing Tuesday at noon if you have time in the week. It's really great!
I had previously viewed Bedevilled, so I skipped it, but I was curious if some of the people read "drama" not realizing that it was ultra-violent as welll.
Today I hope to see the last film Enemy at the Dead End. It's a Korean revenge thriller, and I absolutely love those. It's on at 9:30, so you should come and see it as well! :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Day 2 of my Internship with the Asian Film Festival of Dallas

Total Recap: Saturday July 16 2011

Little Big Soldier
Saigon Electric: 2.5/5
Wedding Palace
The Stool Pigeon
Zebraman 2: Attack on Zebra City

Today was a lot more eventful that Friday because of Saturday's official weekend status. The first two films got rave reviews from everyone who went to go see it. I myself was lucky enough to catch Saigon Electric, which even though its story is a jumbled up mess (because it had story-focusing issues) it's a very pleasant film to see and the dance-off at the end was very cool to watch. I would say if you are very into dance and romance movies like Step Up, you are very much likely to enjoy this film. It will be showing again in Dallas come October.
After I kicked back and watched a movie and tallied up the audience scores, I went out to lunch with some of the people who are in charge of me :) It was quite pleasant, and I learned how to hold a fork properly whilst cutting. Something that will help me my entire life to come! And also will be a great dinner conversation topic for those awkward times.
After lunch, it was time to get back to business and I helped out with crowd control after the film Monga so that everyone could have a taste of the samples from the restaurant Mr. Wok. I too helped myself to a delicious pork sandwich that was very excellent. Then the line died down and it was time to head of the Malai Kitchen with one of my other bosses, Sara. We had to set up early for the reception for the director of the movie Wedding Palace, which went very smoothly an about 90 people showed up, which was a fantastic turn out! And after that we all headed back over to the Magnolia for midnight karaoke, which lasted until about 2am! It was loads of fun. Both directors from the features shown earlier that day showed up (from Saigon Electric and Wedding Palace) as well as a director of a short film that will be shown in the last slot of "Shorts 1" this Monday at 4:05pm. Come out and see her movie! She's a really fantastic and quirky person :). I'm sure her short The Good Daughter will be the same!
Today I plan on catching From Me to You and Love in a Puff hopefully. I hear fantastic things about Puff, so I'm very excited! On to another great day! :D

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Day 1 of my Internship with the Asian Film Festival of Dallas

Total Recap: Friday July 15 2011

Golden Slumber: 4/5
Cyrano Agency
Dance Town
Battle Royale: 4/5
Karate-Robo Zaborgar

Well, after a late night with Mr. Potter, I had an early start! I took my boyfriend to the Dallas Lovefield Airport, checked in at a hotel, took a little nap, and made my way over to the Asian Film Festival of Dallas (being held at the Magnolia theater!).
My day started out slow. My internship is essentially a all-the-time volunteer. I folded some t-shirts, ran around asking people questions, tallied up some score cards, and kept people company. Because it was a Friday morning and many people had work, there were only about 20 or so movie goers, mostly VIPs. However, they all seemed quite pleased with the films they were able to catch, and lucky for most people who were not able to make it, one of those films is showing again on Thursday July 21. That movie would be the ever-wonderful Golden Slumber.
I don't want to give too much away about this film because it is so twisty and turny, but it starts off with a man meeting an old friend, and immediately is framed for the Prime Minister's assasination. The plot really thickens from then on and our nervous hero takes a winding path of conspiracy. I would very much highly recommend you catch this film at its later time, for you are missing something grand and spectacular. Also, for those who like random facts, the Sendai area where this movie was filmed was really struck down hard by the earthquake this past year, so go and see this film and show your support for Japan getting back on its feet.
I also was able to catch the big screen showing of Battle Royale, which was just as fabulous as the first time I watched it. Further more, it was really neat to be sitting next to someone who had not seen it before, and her shock during the twist was very much enlightening. What was further interesting, was that I actually didn't have to read the subtitle sometimes! It's good to know that my Japanese knowledge is sticking, somewhat even after my minor classes are complete :D!
I do not know how many movie I will be able to see today, but hopefully I am able to see all the ones I am interested in for tomorrow (Love in a Puff and From Me to You)! I also hope I will be able to catch the repeat showing of Shoalin. So everyone who's anyone in Dallas or Denton should go to this festival ASAP! It's their 10th anniversary, so it's bigger than ever! :)
Ticket Info:
$9 online
$7 for students at the door

A Decade of Fans Not Knowing What's Next

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt. 2: 4.5/5

I was really nervous to see this movie, as well as over-the-moon excited. With this melting pot of emotions jumping around in my stomach, it's quite shocking I didn't throw them all back up. Sitting in the IMAX theater was torture. One moment I was whispering to my boyfriend "I'm not ready for this movie yet," and then I would be squirming in my fo-leather chair squealing "This is it! One more hour!"
Finally the Warner Brothers logo appeared and the whole theater was silent (well, except for the one Texan guy who shouted "Well, Hello Voldy," but he was promptly threatened to shut up by his hissing girlfriend seconds later). Munching on popcorn and politely sipping at my cherry coke, I laughed, I cried, and I cheered until Harry's Wondrous World play at the end credits.
The film was so different than I imagined it from the books; and sure, almost all of it was previously teased in trailers, clips, and featurettes, but there was something about it that made this movie deeply contrast from the book (by far more than any previous film) that no clip of trailer could have forewarned me about.
Though many of the changes were subtle and albeit unnoticeable to some, there were many and surprisingly a lot of the changes actually worked! This film skipped chapters, deleted scenes, killed new characters and changed the course of events ever so slightly, that the film was drastically different. I feel like I experienced the whole end as new again, and I am forever grateful to experience that wave of emotion twice in my life.
So that being written, I must start out with my favorite things! Pardon my bullet-point style, but I feel like in this case it flows best! I must also say now, many of these contain **SPOILER ALERTS**.
- We'll start off with the one thing I can't stop raving about. One name, two words: Narcissa Malfoy. One could have never guessed from the unbreakable vow scene that it was the beginning of a beautiful crafted, fabulously acted subplot about the Malfoy family. The focus on her love for her son and husband was a lot more focused than the books. Everyone got the gist of what went on with the Malfoys and made very accurate educated guesses, but our wonderful JK never really let her readers dive into the Malfoys train of thought because we followed the train of thought of our hero protagonist. The key scene here would be Narcissa holding hands with her son Draco, quickly walking away from the Dark Lord as Lucius looks back timidly. WONDERFUL <3.
- Lavender Brown dying was so shocking and tragic. Her character was so much biggest in Half-Blood Prince, that it was almost perfect that she had to die. I couldn't handle the surprise, and I burst into tears repeating to myself "Lavender's not supposed to die." It was just the type of shock-value the movie needed for the hard-core book fans who lined up 13 hrs before the midnight movie.
- George asking Fred how he's feeling prior to the battle was so beautiful. I cried as well, knowing Fred's soon-to-be deathly fate.
- And oh how Lord Voldy was ruthless. Reading the books, you know this, but you can't possibly fathom his wickedness. The movies clear that right up for you. He kills people that are on his side when he's furious that his plan in not going accordingly. His cruel laughter at Neville when he discovers he's in fact a Longbottom. His order for Nagini to repeatably bite Severus to his death...even after the awkward hug he hands Draco, I still found him unbelievably sinister.
- Though I love the majestic quality of the Ravenclaw common room, for the film I am glad Luna warned him against this pointless measure (even though she leads him to it in the books).
- Ron and Hermione's Chamber of Secrets kiss was as exciting and sudden as the books and their undying lvoe for another really sparkles and shines through. Also when Ron chases after Draco and his gang in the Room of Requirement shouting "That's my girlfriend!" the waterworks started yet again.
- Neville really shined in this film. He some some great heroic moments, like killing the snake obviously; but his detroying of the Howarts bridge was very brave, and when he fell with it I was genuinely scared for his life. And when he realizes his feelings for Luna, I squealed.
- Hermione hugging Harry and saying "I'll go with you," before he turns himself in is really great.
- Snape's memory was so simple, and like the books so impacting. His love for Lily Evans was pulsing through the screen. Holding her dead body was devastating. It seems Alan Rickman knew a deeper, more passionate Severus than possibly JK knows, even though it was she who revealed Snape's true remedial qualities quite early on to Rickman.
- And finally...the finale. Playing Harry's Wondrous World got me wishing there was more, but knowing there was not. The shot being so similar to the first film made me really want to go back and experience this all again. Sadly, this is not possible.

And now for the disappointing and slightly nerve-killing parts.
- The pacing of the movie was really fast, but I'm sure if watched back to back with Part 1 this problem would cease.
- Was Neville going to really kill the snake?! Oh my god, I didn't know and I was worried. Harry, Hermione, and the Ron all threaten to do the deed that gets Neville his brownie points, and I wanted to punch them all when I thought this was going to happen.
- Harry does not break the Elder Wand before fixing his wand, and when he does not go to the bridge with his two best friends and threaten to jump off it either. WRONG. I refuse to believe this ending, it still makes me angry. Luckily the 19 years later part kept my mind off it, because if I ended on the furious note, things would have been a lot uglier in this review.
- And where was Dumbledore's back story? I really did miss this, even though one article I read said it was really unneeded for a feature film that's supposed to be focusing on Harry. I get it, I understand that, but they cast Grindelwald, so why not include the subplot???
- And I really did miss Grawp and the house elves at the very end. Disappointing and so sad.
- Oh, and there's goes Hermione stealing all the good lines again. Sorry Harry, I know it's your idea to take the dragon, but you have been put in quote time-out with Ron.
- And movie Harry, you seem to know so much more than you let on. In fact, I believe you can read minds! How did you know the mirror was Sirius's? He never showed or gave it to you! And knowing about Lupin's son?! Well, apparently I wasn't watching the films closely enough to see these hidden powers you seemed to possess.
- And finally...the finale. Apparently red heads grow up to be fat or chunky, while all the others stay skinny and young looking. Poor Ron, he never stood a chance.

So this is it, the end of the Harry Potter era. There are no new books to be read, no new movies to be seen. This is the end of everyone's "childhood." But it's not really, is it? Because "the ones that love us never really leave us," and "have a way of coming back to us in the end." Because Hermione's heart-filled words are true, and as she hugs Harry telling him she will go with him, we all feel the same way. As Dumbledore states in both the book and the movie, "Of course it is happening inside your head...but why on earth does that mean it is not real?" Harry Potter is real and lives on in all great fans' hearts, even when his story has come to an end.