Tuesday, April 24, 2012

11 '11 quick movie reviews

1. The Rise of the Planet of the Apes - This is the first Planet of the Apes movie I've seen. I've never seen the original movie or that God-awful Tim Burton one from 2001. But this one was getting good word-of-mouth and thought I would check it out when it was available on Netflix. It stars James Franco who's been testing a drug on chimps to try to cure Alzheimer's which is what his dad (John Lithgow) has. They have to shut down the facility because one of the apes goes balistic and they have to shoot her. Turns out she had a baby and was only protecting him, so Franco ends up taking it home and caring for it. The chimp is named Ceasar and is super smart from the drug. He can solve puzzles and communicate with sign language. However, after he attacks the neighbor (because he is being a bully to Lithgow) he is taken by animal control and sent to a primate shelter where all the primates are being abused by the owner and one of his slimy little workers, Tom Felton, who of course everyone knows as Draco Malfoy. All the apes are created by computers because obviously there's no way they could have used real primates...that would have been a little difficult to have them do what's done in the film by the CGI ones. I have to be honest...while somebody has mad skills with the computers, all the apes still looked exactly like that...like computer apes. The main ape is played by Andy Serkis in the same vein as he played Gollum in Lord of the Rings. The orangutang was my favorite...he was really cute! The gorilla scared me the most, probably because I had a horrifying experience with a gorilla when I was little. Not a real gorilla, but an animatronic one. I used to go to this kiddie place called ShowBiz Pizza (kinda like Chuck E Cheese...do they even still have those around?) and they had a stage where a band of different animals (some animatronic, some people in costume) would play different instruments. You had your cute little bunny or doggie or friendly lion or whatever, and they you had this HUGE gorilla. He was taller and wider than all the other animals, so he was very intimidating and it scared me so much! The gorilla in the movie is much bigger and more aggressive than the other primates and has to be kept in a special cage when all the other primates are playing together. Of course, he's the one who ends up sacrificing his life for Caesar. There's a little teaser at the end of the movie that hints that there may be a sequel...or maybe not because it shows that a virus has spread around the world and is killing people in droves...kinda like Contagion.

2. Beginners - The beginners in question are Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor who play father and son in this coming-of-age film. After Plummer's wife dies, he admits to his son, that, at the age of 75 he is gay and wants to live the remainder of his life as who he really is and has a relationship with a much younger man played by Goran Visnjic. Plummer's scenes are told in flashbacks because he has already died of cancer in the film's "real time" which focuses on McGregor and his relationship with a woman played by Melanie Laurent. It was a sweet little movie with a cute little dog to boot.

3. Friends With Benefits - Dear God in heaven, what idiot came up with the bright idea to have Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis star in a movie where they're naked most of the time?! God, they are so hideous! Calm down, people, I'm just joking. If anything, this movie will make you feel even more insecure about yourself because both actors are ridiculously gorgeous and have the added benefit of being rich so they can afford a trainer. Oh, and I'm sure the airbrushing department helped too.  They're not really friends in the movie, though. They've just met through work so they're more like co-workers who decide to have casual sex with no strings attached (hey, the name of that other movie with the same plot!) so it should have been called Co-Workers With Benefits, but that would have been weird. Kudos to this movie for reminding the world what an awesome song "Closing Time" is. (By Semisonic, NOT by Third Eye Blind :-))

4. Kung Fu Panda 2 - I thought the first Kung Fu Panda was really cute and charming and this one is no different. When it comes to Pixar vs. Dreamworks, I am always Team Pixar; the only animated movies from Dreamworks I've ever enjoyed are the Kung Fu Panda movies and How to Train Your Dragon. In the sequel, we are once again introduced to Po the panda (Jack Black) and his team of fighting animals: the tiger (Angelina Jolie), the monkey (Jackie Chan), the snake (Lucy Liu), the praying mantis who is so strong that he can hold a panda back (Seth Rogan), and a crane (David Cross). Po finds out that he was adopted (pretty obvious since he was raised by a goose) and wants to find out who he really is and where he came from. The villain in this film is a peacock voiced by Gary Oldman. And just like a real peacock, he was also strutting around and acting vain. By the looks of how the movie ended, they definitely have a third movie set up. (It turns out Po's father - his real biological panda father - is still alive).

5. 30 Minutes or Less - Jesse Eisenberg plays a pizza delivery boy who finds himself in a situation where these two idiots who need money have knocked him out and strapped a bomb to him and tell him if he doesn't get them $100,000, he's going to be blown to smithereens. Aziz Azari plays his friend who tries to help him rob a bank. There were a few funny moments (like him speeding to the houses so nobody gets a free pizza), but for the most part the movie is filled with stupid racial and homophobic jokes.  Okay, I did laugh when one of the idiots calls Aziz's sister "Slumdog".  Only see this one if you can see it for free.

6. Crazy, Stupid Love - I didn't love this movie as much as all the critics did, but it was an enjoyable watch. Steve Carrell and Julianne Moore play a couple who split up after he finds out that she's had an affair with someone she works with. Carrell, who plays a bit of a doofus, spends some time at a bar to try to pick up women and gets some help from Ryan Gosling who is a certified smooth-talking ladies' man. Carrell soon starts picking up women and starts a relationship with Marisa Tomei, who turns out to be his son's middle school teacher. Meanwhile, Ryan Gosling makes the moves on Emma Stone who's already in a lackluster relationship with Josh Groban (in what I believe is his first movie role). Carrell's son is in love with his baby-sitter, who in turn, is in love with Steve Carrell. I didn't buy that at all because what teenage girl would have the hots for some goofy older guy? There's a little twist at the end that I won't spoil.

7. Cowboys and Aliens - You think a western/sci fimovie with Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig (Indiana Jones and James Bond, for God's sake) would be awesome, but no, it was just as bad as all the critics said it was. The concept was cool, but they just couldn't get there. Skip this one, folks.

8. The Hangover 2 - Everyone was right when they said this is an exact replica of the first one, only it takes place in Bangkok instead of Vegas and there's a monkey instead of a tiger. This time the gang is in Thailand for Stu's (Ed Helms) wedding and once again he, Phil (Bradley Cooper), and Alan (Zach Galafanakis) get drugged and spend a wild night and forget everything they did when they wake up the next morning. Stu's fiance's little brother was with them and he's the one they lose and need to find. (Of course they check the roof first since that's where they found Doug in the first movie). There were some funny lines, but you'd be better off watching the first movie. I really don't understand how you could be so stupid that you get that s***-faced twice! And now I heard they're making a third one. God, please, no!

9. Our Idiot Brother - Paul Rudd plays Ned, the "idiot brother", his three sisters are played by Zooey Deschanel, Elizabeth Banks, and Emily Mortimer. After Ned sells weed to a cop (in uniform!) he loses his job and his girlfriend kicks him out of their house after he returns from jail. To make matters worse, she has a new boyfriend and is keeping Ned's dog, Willie Nelson. Ned seeks help from his family, but only makes matters worse. He finds out one of his sister's husband is cheating on her, accidently tells another sister's girlfriend that she cheated on her with a guy and is pregnant, and messes up the friendship of the third sister with this guy she knows. Of course his intentions are good, but he doesn't know that he's not always helping. The scene that made me laugh the most was when he was on the subway and is counting a big chunk of money while everyone is staring at him. He drops his bag and gives the guy next to him the money to hold while he picks up the things from his bag. The guy is just looking dumbfounded at everyone and it looks like he wants to bolt, but he doesn't.

10. Abduction - This movie did not make any sense. I was confused throughout the whole thing. It stars Taylor Launter, who is a horrible actor but does have some charisma, I'll give him that, as a high school senior, who, while doing a project for a class, finds out he is in the database for missing children. Jason Isaacs and Maria Bello, his "fake" parents are killed off by the bad guys who are alerted when Launter accesses the missing children database. In a plot I don't fully understand, Launter's mom was attacked and killed in Paris when he was a toddler because....uh.....I don't remember. I honestly don't know why. Well his dad is still alive and he has some list that the bad guys want...IDK. This movie was so effing stupid! I thought it might be good because it was directed by John Singleton and it has Jason Isaacs in it! Alas, he does not last long in this movie.... Lily Collins (I believe she's Phil's daughter) plays Launter's love interest and she's always with this other guy who is fighting with her and giving Launter the evil eye, but she tells him that he's not her boyfriend and there's this weird history between her and Launter where they used to be childhood friends, but then they drifted apart. They're also neighbors...sounds like Drive Me Crazy! She really has no use for the movie other than to be arm candy for Launter (and let's face it...he's the prettier one between them!) Sigourney Weaver (another cool person wasted in a crappy film) was right when she tells him that he should get rid of her. The movie was confusing because I was really never sure where they were. It takes place in Pittsburgh, but they (Lautner and Collins) find themselves in Virginia, but then I see Lautner's friend and I'm wondering how the hell he got to Virginia, but they were back in Pittsburgh...uh....HUH? And that happens twice! Stupid movie.

11. Rango - This won the best animated Oscar this year. Johnny Depp voices a lizard who finds himself in a town full of interesting characters that included mice, cats, birds, and snakes. (Still not sure what exactly Beans, his love interest, was suppose to be). He had been used to being alone his entire life and always wanted to be somebody and now gets the chance when he is put in a situation where he has to find out what's happening to the town's water supply.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Class of '93

I wrote about the first two seasons of Beverly Hills 90210 and now it's time to share my thoughts on the third season! I know you are as excited as I am!

Gotta love that theme song!

I'm slowly but surely getting through each season of BH, 90210 and I just finished the third season aka the gang's senior year of high school. Again, I will go through each of the eight main characters but first I should tell you one of the biggest storylines of the season involved three characters: Brenda, Kelly, and Dylan. As you know, Dylan and Brenda were a couple last season, but Brenda's dad wanted her to stop seeing Dylan because he thought he was a bad influence on Brenda, but they still see each other behind her parents' backs. The Walshes think Brenda is getting too serious with Dylan and decide to send her on a six-week school trip to Paris so they can spend some time apart. While they are apart, Dylan and Kelly start spending some time together and they kiss and there are sparks between them. When Brenda comes home, Dylan and Kelly don't tell her what happened and Kelly avoids them when they are together, but Brenda eventually learns that Dylan had a summer fling, but she doesn't know who it was with. When she finds out it was with Kelly, she gets pissed and she and Kelly stop talking to each other for awhile and Dylan leaves town for awhile because he has to think things over. Eventually Kelly and Brenda become friends again and they decide to tell Dylan he has to choose between one or the other and Dylan eventually chooses Kelly and this pisses Brenda off again and she stops talking to Kelly...again, but by the end of the series they're cool again. :::exhaustive eye roll:::

Brenda - So like I mentioned earlier, Brenda goes to Paris with Donna for six weeks. While she's there she meets a pre-Superman Dean Cain, a college student from Wisconsin. Brenda decides to have some fun and pretends to be Parisian and offers to show him around the city. They kiss (and Brenda feels guilty because she's with Dylan even though she has no idea he's cheating on her back home, poor thing) and Dean wants Brenda to join him in touring the rest of France together but she says no, that she has a boyfriend. Well imagine what a coincidence it is when she's been back in BH for awhile and when she and her friends are at a video store (yes, you read that right!), Dean happens to come in the store and instead of just hiding and waiting until he leaves, Brenda goes up to him, still pretending to be French and says she's in the States visiting family after Dean tells her he's transferred to UCLA (another coincidence!) They go out a couple times and I can't remember if Brenda has already broken up with Dylan or not. She confesses who she really is and decides she doesn't want to be with him even though he likes her and is not mad at her for deceiving him. At the end of the series when the gang is getting ready to start their college journeys, Brenda was planning on going to California University (is that even a real school?) with her brother, but starts deciding she might attend the University of Minnesota. When her mom asks if this decision has anything to do with Dylan, she says, "Mom, this is the '90s. I'm not going to base my decision on where to go to college based on some guy." BWAH!

Dylan - Besides having to decide between Brenda and Kelly, Dylan's main story line revolves around his dad who has recently gotten out of prison for embellzement or something...I really don't know. Anyway, there are some bad guys after him and they rig his car so when he gets in it, it explodes and he's killed. Dylan almost got into the car because he had to move his dad's car, but Kelly called him and his dad said he would move the car...and that was the end of Jack McKay. He was engaged to be married to a woman and Dylan finds out she was working undercover to find out information from him, but that she had fallen in love with him and had intended to marry him even though he had no idea she was working undercover. We never hear from her again after that. There's one episode where Dylan is trying to "discover" himself after Kelly and Brenda tell him he needs to choose between them and he goes to a horse ranch where he meets an older (and might I say fugly) woman who's suppose to be all sexy and is trying to seduce him and tells him, "You can't just ride the same horse." Uh...yeah. At the end of the season, Dylan decides to travel through Europe and take Kelly with him. 

Kelly - Kelly was suppose to go to Paris with Brenda and Donna, but decides to stay home with her new baby sister, Erin. It's weird to think that baby Erin is now Silver on 90210 the new class and all the shit she'll be going through in about 17 years. Poor baby Erin Silver! Kelly thinks she's fat and starts working out all the time and taking diet pills, so she becomes a huge bitch because she's always exercising and never eats. The thing that drives me the most crazy is that when she's on the treadmill, she's not even wearing her hair up in a ponytail! She's wearing it down! WTF? I don't know anyone with long hair who exercises with their hair down! For one thing, it make you get hot and uncomfortable quicker, for another, your hair would get in the way! Kelly faints at a party and has to be rushed to the hospital where she then joins a support group for teens who are starving themselves. She doesn't stay in there very long... Last season, Kelly's mom and David's dad got married (and produced Erin), but while Kelly, Brenda, Donna, and Andrea were staying at spa with Jackie and Cindy, Brenda overheard one of the massage therapists tell one of the other women she was having an affair with a dentist named Mel Silver, so Brenda tells Kelly who tells her mom who divorces Mel. Kelly is afraid her mom is going to resort back to drugs, but she stays clean. Jackie hasn't used since season 1. I'm so proud of her! Kelly and Dylan win "Best Looking" for the yearbook. Gag me with a spoon!

Brandon - At the senior lunch, a group of girls (including Brenda - how weird) sing a song for Brandon with lyrics like, "Brandon - likes a girl who's dreamy; Brandon - likes a girl who's creamy." No, seriously, that's how they went. WTF? A note about that senior lunch: it was all about the eight main characters and nobody else. Anyway, the song was an ode to all of Brandon's girlfriends this season. He met a girl over the summer while playing volleyball and dated her until he realized she was a racist; then he started going with a sophomore named Nikki who used to be in an abusive relationship with David Arquette, but they break up when she moves back to San Francisco to reconcile with her family. Brandon is definitely the do-gooder as he invites a homeless vet from Desert Storm to spend Thanksgiving with his family (they had this very same storyline last season when Brenda invited a homeles man dressed as Santa Claus to spend Christmas with them). Another social economic storyline Brandon is involved with is when there's violence at another school their football team was supposed to play against and the game and dance that was supposed to follow is cancelled. Brandon also gets in some serious trouble when he starts gambling and when he can't pay his bookie a couple times, Nat has to come and bail him out.

Andrea - So in the middle of the season, Andrea is hit by a car pretty badly and is in a body cast. She has to wear casts on her legs and be in a wheelchair/crutches and then two episodes later, she's totally fine. Yeah.... Anyway, she was hit by some guy who races car and Brandon found out who it was because Andrea told him she remembered there was a star hanging from the rearview mirror and when Brandon was betting on drag racing, he saw a car that fit her description. Andrea butts heads a lot this year with the new English teacher, Gil Meyers, because he made Brandon the new editor in chief of The Blaze and Andrea is livid! 

David - David becomes the Vanilla Ice of the season when he decides he wants to be a rap star. At first he hires Steve to be his manager after Steve persuades him, but Steve screws up and David goes to a record company who tell him they'll only sign him if he drops Steve. 

Donna - Like I mentioned earlier, Donna goes to Paris with Brenda and while she's there she meets an older man who wants to make her a model (somewhere my brother is laughing because he thinks, and I quote, "that Tori Spelling is the ugliest person on TV".), but of course he's just taking advantage of her and she doesn't get to live her dream of being a world famous model. Boo - poor little rich girl. There's a funny/awkward scene where Donna and David are in the video store looking in the porn section and Donna's priest just so happens to be there and walk up to them. Uh huh. And she feels all guilty because she's in the adult section and her priest is just making conversation with her. AWKWARD! For the Christmas episode, Donna was in charge of having the gang go to an elementary school and hand out presents and everyone is mad at each other and she's having a hard time getting anybody to go. The episode was really awful; it was a rip off of It's a Wonderful Life where two (celestial) "stars" were narrating the story and at one point the female star calls Donna "an angel sent down from Earth" or some stupid shit like that. In fact the title of the show was called It's a Totally Happening Life". Yeah... Donna gets smashed at the senior prom and all the students were warned beforehand that if they were intoxicated at the prom, they would be expelled from school. David's dad let everyone have a glass of champagne before the dance and Donna had more to drink on the limo ride over. The gang start a crusade to let her graduate and decide to have the entire senior and junior class walk out during finals. While Brandon Brenda, and the others were calling their peers to tell them the plan, I couldn't help thinking how it would have been so much easier if they had Facebook back in '93 so they could just type one message and send it to everyone! Oh, and in case you were wondering, Donna was able to graduate. Thank God! 

Steve - Steve's "freshman buddy" is a kid who's really good with computers so Steve convinces him to break into the school with him and hack into the computer so he can change his grades. Of course it doesn't work and while Steve tries to deny he ever did anything, he is found out and has to serve detention before and after school until graduation and keep up his grades. He was going to get expelled, but he told his mother who was angry with him, but made that deal with the school.

The last episode is a stupid clip episode of the past three seasons and the gang rearranges the Hollywood sign so it says "West Bev HS Class of 93" or something like that. I honestly don't know how they did that. Onward to season four.... eventually!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Are you ready to go back to Titanic?

Director: James Cameron
Cast: Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Billy Zane, Victor Garber, Kathy Bates, Bill Paxton
Released: December 17, 1997; April 4, 2012
Viewed in theaters: December 24, 1997; January 24, 1998; March 24, 1998; April 7, 2012

Oscar nominations:
Best Picture  (won)
Best Director - James Cameron (won)
Best Actress - Kate Winslet (lost to Helen Hunt for As Good as It Gets)
Best Supporting Actress - Gloria Stewart (lost to Kim Basinger for L.A. Confidential)
Best Cinematography  (won)
Best Art Direction (won)
Best Costume Design (won)
Best Sound (won)
Best Film Editing (won)
Best Sound Effects Editing (won)
Best Visual Effects (won)
Best Make Up (lost to Men in Black)
Best Original Song - "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion (won)
Best Score - James Horner (won)

It's been 84 years and I can still smell the fresh paint.
The china had never been used.
The sheets had never been slept in.
Titanic was called the Ship of Dreams, and it was.
It really was.

Let me preface this review by saying I freaking love this movie. I'm not ashamed to say it! Even though I already saw it three times in the theater when it was first released and have seen it many times on video and DVD, I still wanted to see it again in the theater (even though I couldn't escape the 3-D aspect!) This is the only movie which has been re-released in theaters I've seen that I remember seeing the first time. I saw the re-release of E.T. and the first two (ugh) Star War movies, but I was way too young (or not born yet) to watch the first time around in theaters. 

Even after fifteen years, the special effects still hold up and the story still moves me and the 3-plus hour length never seemed that long to me. Now I'll be the first to admit that it isn't perfect. It had cheesy lines ("a woman's heart is like the ocean - full of secrets!") and a few scenes were unintentionally funny, like when the guy falls off the boat and hits the propellers - that always makes me giggle. :::hangs head in shame:::

It's been fifteen years and I can still remember seeing this movie in the theater for the first time. The date was December 24th, 1997 and I went to see it with my mom. I used my free movie passes. I remember being awed throughout the whole movie, crying my eyes out during several scenes (Rose jumping out of the lifeboat to be with Jack, the montage of people preparing for their inevitable deaths when the orchestra is playing, Rose letting go of Jack and calling for a boat with the whistle). Titanic was called the biggest movie ever and it was. It really was!

This time around, I noticed a few young girls in the theater between the ages of ten and fifteen and it warmed my cold little heart because while it's possible they've seen the movie before on DVD, you knew this was their first time experiencing it in the theater as many of them wouldn't have been born or way too young when it first was released in theaters. No young boys in the theater, though! There were only a couple guys...they were probably being dragged along by their girlfriends or wives! I didn't cry as much as I did the first time I saw it...but I did cry when Rose is on the drifting wood and hears somebody shouting for survivors and starts saying "Come back! Come back" and swims to a dead officer in the water and uses his whistle to get their attention. Yep, that made me cry a little! 

Somebody left the water running!
I absolutely LOVED Kate Winslet's wardrobe in this movie: the white dress with the purple trim and matching hat when she first boards the ship, her beaded red dress when she's going to jump off the ship, but my favorite was the blue dress she wore during the "Jack! I'm flying!" scene. Oh, and speaking of that scene, who hasn't been on a boat and gone to the bow and pretended to "fly" or shout "I'M THE KING OF THE WORLD!" Or is that just me?  Yes, I do that. Luckily, I haven't been on that many boats...

I was seventeen when I saw this movie, exactly in the age bracket that the movie was targeting. I always thought it was cool that I was the same age as Rose. Now, while I thought Leonardo DiCaprio was cute in the movie and while I do think he's a good actor, I was never one of those annoying Leo fangirls. (I think my mom was more enamored with him than I was!) I didn't see the movie in the theater those two (now three!) other times because of him, I saw it again because, as I've said before, I love this movie! 

You know, before I saw this movie, I hated being a redhead. Like, seriously, hated it. I would long to be a blonde or brunette and I was so jealous of my friends with dark or fair hair. But then I saw Kate Winslet with those gorgeous red curls, and I thought, damn, if the female lead in The!Best!Movie!Ever! (which is what I thought at the time, I was only 17 ;-)) has red hair, then red hair must be awesome. So now I'm all like, "Yeah, my hair is awesomel" Of course, Kate Winslet is way prettier than me! She was 22 when this movie came out and want to hear something crazy? The little girl who played Cora ("You're still my best girl, Cora!") is probably the same age now as Kate Winslet was when she was in Titanic. Stuff like that just blows my mind! 

Okay, so my favorite scene of the movie is the one at the very end. Remember, they show Old Rose sleeping, and they pan through her photos (okay, how awesome did Kate Winslet look in those, I especially love the first one - she just has that classic look, some actresses look too modern, but she really does look like she could have been born in another era) and then we see the Titanic underwater, but it morphs into before it sank and the camera pans into that room with the staircase and we see a big group of people - the men in the orchestra, Tommy and Fabrizio, Cora and her father, and I love that Mr. Andrews is the last person we see before Jack. Then of course, it's revealed that Rose is the one who has just entered and she and Jack kiss and everyone claps. Shut up, yes, I love that scene! It still gives me chills! I think she dreamed that, but died right after and is now in "Titanic heaven" with the other people who died on the ship. Yes, that's how I interpreted it!