Monday, November 29, 2010

Miss Potter (4)

"The story of Beatrix Potter, the author of the beloved and best-selling children's book, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit", and her struggle for love, happiness and success."

How magical is this?! Two of my all time favourite actors, Renée Zellweger and Ewan McGregor, together. Fantastic. And if that isn't reason enough to watch this film than the story of one of the most cherished children's authors should convince you.

I, and I'm sure almost everyone, grew up with Miss Potter's books. They were my favourite when I was growing up. The whole time I was watching this movie I felt a strange connection to Beatrix. There were some similarities between her and I, or at least the ones Renée portrayed, and that brought me extremely close to the whole story. I love this character. I love Renée Zellweger. Perfection.

Ewan as always was amazing. That man...I swear he can do no wrong. Even if the movie he is in are less than impressive, he is always the best part and ultimately makes his characters and the movies whole. This was no exception. Loved him as Norman. So cute...

Story is brilliant and written so well. I was surprised by the end of it how smooth the whole movie was. Each scene seemed natural and each jump in the story was bang on. Really no complaints there at all. I liked how it's sort of a romantic movie but not really. It never dives into the gushy stuff or embellish on any of the relationships. I guess what I'm trying to say is that it felt very natural.

Some slower parts but nothing really noticeable. Also, it's basically a biography, and like in real life things go up and down. Not sure if I like the ending or not but it wasn't crucial to the film. They did get tears though, which is rare for me when watching movies. High five to that.

Great acting. Beautiful and emotional story. Really great film all around. I will definitely be watching this again soon.


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Tangled (4)

Revisiting the classic Rapunzel tale but with a new twist. A bandit steals a crown and while running away from the guards stumbles upon a mysterious tower. He climbs up and goes inside to hide from the guards only to be greeted by Rapunzel. Through a serious of events Flynn, the bandit, comes Rapunzel's guide as they work towards the city for the lantern festival. It turns out that everything is more complicated and more deceiving than anyone ever guessed.

I rolled my eyes when I say the first trailers for this movie awhile back. I'm not sure why, I've always been a fan of Disney, but this story was never one that did anything for me. So I sighed and mumbled about it but I was in the mood for a Disney flick tonight and this one was rumoured to be good. It was, it was a classic Disney movie.

I loved the story. I loved all the characters and even some of the lesser seen ones. Some of the side characters that were thrown in were my favourite, so random and so weird. I really liked this movie for that, so many great characters. Can I say characters again...

Mandy Moore as Rapunzel was actually amazing. I don't know why she disappeared but I'm glad she's back. Good songs, good job. Her with Zachary Levi (never heard of him before but he's dreamy) was awesome. It seemed that they fit together well.

Rapunzel's little cameleon guy was awesome. The horse was amazing! So hilarious.

Surprisingly enough there was a lack of face palm/sigh-cause-that-was-awful moments for me. I usually suffer a lot more of those when watching the new Disney. Not so much this time. Awesome.

Liked this way more than I ever thought I could. Super fun. Great story and characters. Hilariousness but by the end I had tears in my eyes. Classic, golden Disney movie. See it.


Due Date (3.5)

A soon to be father is trying to make his way home on time for the birth of his child when he runs into an aspiring actor and walking disaster by the name of Ethan Tremblay. Peter gets swept up into the chaos that is Ethan but through a serious of mishaps at the airport Ethan ends up being Peter's only way home. Enter the worst and most hilarious road trip of life.

I'm a big fan of both Robert Downey Jr and Zach Galifianakis and I was really excited to see these two together. I had a feeling that it would be something magical and it turns out I was right. They were perfectly matched in this film. So great to see them work together, I bet it was even more fun for them while filming.

The story is okay, it wasn't anything mind blowing. I also wasn't completely sold on the characters but it was a comedy so I didn't get caught up in it. Some of the scenes were ridiculously amazing and hilarious. There were times I was saying "Oh my God!" in response to the craziness that was happening. So good.

It felt like the movie took awhile to really get rolling. I was rusty at first. The best moments all happen within a 45 minute period, right at the middle of the movie. The beginning and end were meh. The middle was delicious.

I just felt like some things didn't connect and/or were just randomly thrown into the mix to move the story forward but then passed by and forgotten. Like the random best friend (aka Jamie Foxx). Weird.

Loved the pairing of Robert and Zach. I cannot look at Zach without laughing and Robert is an all time favourite. Loved a bunch of scenes but definitely wanted this movie to be more hilarious than it was. It was still pretty hilarious. Writing was okay. Story was okay. It was an over all good comedy and late night flick. I liked it.


Everything is Illuminated (4.5)

A 2005 directorial debut for Liev Schreiber, based on the novel by the same title by Jonathan Safran Foer.

A young jewish man loses his grandmother and realizes that he never really knew his grandparents, especially their lives before they immigrated to America from Ukraine. He enjoys collecting things, specifically family artifacts, so he decides to go to Ukraine to discover his families past and add to his collection. He in lists the help of a local named Alex who ends up being beyond eccentric. What Jonathan finds on his journey he will never forget.

This is one of my all time favourite movies. This is also one of my all time favourite books/authors. The book is amazing. It's different than the movie but together they are double fantastic. If you like the movie please read the book, it will answer some questions and vice versa.

Big Elijah Wood fan. He is amazing in this role. I really, really, really liked him throughout the entire movie. This is another film that I have no idea who else would have played Jonathan if Elijah had not. The movie would've been ruined...maybe not ruined, but definitely not as good. Such a good actor. Love it.

Eugene Hutz who plays Alex and just so happens to be the lead singer of one of my life favourite bands Gogol Bordello (check it out, they're so good) was amazing. I am always surprised at how well he can act. Don't ask me why. It's not like it's the first time a singer is also an actor, but he was extra impressive. Once again, no idea who else could have played Alex. He was even better than Elijah in this movie and for me to say that is the biggest of big deals. Double thumbs up. So hilarious.

I think Liev did a wonderful job of getting this movie just right. It was his first movie as a director but you wouldn't of been able to tell. At least I couldn't. Hat tip to you good sir.

The dog was amazing. I love that dog. I want that dog. And Alex's grandpa...fantastic character. Brilliant. So hilarious.

Well written. Well adapted. Amazing characters. Hilariousness to the max. The story is beautiful. I cried for sure, a lot. The balance and flow from one emotion to the next is flawless. I love this film.

Love it.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Made in Dagenham (4)

A new movie looking at the true events surrounding a group of machinist that worked for a Ford plant in Dagenham, England in 1968. They began fighting for one thing: equal pay for women. With 187 women in one factory who walked out on strike and never gave up until they got the respect and equality they deserved.

I love a good based on true events film. This one was no acception. In fact, it's more powerful than ever seeing how I'm a woman and seeing what my not so distant sisters (if you will) had to go through in order to lives their lives and make mine easier.

Sally Hawkins who played Rita was amazing. I wasn't sure of her at first but by the time her major speech came near the end you would be heartless to not get a little teared up and fall in love with her. Very powerful character and I think she did a great job.

A few bonuses: Bob Hoskins, love him! Loved him in this movie. Rosamund Pike, so beautiful and fantastic, always a treat. Miranda Richardson and every single scene with her was hilarious and magical.

Over all I liked this movie. There were some strange edits (at least I noticed) and they slowed down a little too much right before the climax, but nothing major. I liked how they kept the look natural and didn't try to fancy anything up a bit, including the actors involved. All were wonderful and real. Some more than others of course, but really good job with casting.

Humour. Intelligence. Strong story. Strong characters. Didn't make it blockbuster-esque, kept it real and down to earth. Very powerful and inspirational film.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (4.5)

The epic story continues as Harry, Hermione and Ron begin the search for the Horcruxes. In a race against Voldermort's rapidly increasing army, Harry and all wizards must begin to make sacrifices, take life or death chances and in some cases walk away from those they love. The discovery of an old legend may change the outcome for both sides: the Deathly Hallows.

I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I've grown up with these characters so I feel an extra intense connection to everyone and everything. The nerd in me secretly believes there is a Hogwarts and that in an alternate reality I'm dating Harry Potter, but that's a whole other discussion...

I am one of those people who was glad when they announce it would be in two parts. The book covered so much, not only action and plot wise, but so much character development and interaction takes place, especially within the first half of the novel. Therefore, I knew this wasn't going to be a fast action and rapid paced film so the conversations were all the more delicious.

All actors involved have been absorbed into this world completely and you can see how intense their connections of their characters are. The most beautiful scenes were ones filled with behind-the-back faces and quick looks to one another. Of built up tension and a truly believable past between all characters...awesome.

An interesting note, at least for me, was I found myself paying more attention to Rupert (Ron) a lot more than in any other movie. I'm not sure why but he seems to really be blossoming as an actor these days and I look forward to seeing what he does next.

Dan(Harry) no shirt was a plus too. Heh...classic awkward emotional talking though. Classic.

And actually Emma (Hermione) was the least amount of annoying since the beginning of time so that was good for me too. Definite plus!

When the action started to happen though I was on the edge of my seat. Or bunched into a seat ball in anxiety. It was all really well done. The directing and script AND score were all so amazing. So amazing.

Only down side was that some of the scenes dragged on a little too long. They weren't boring, no, no, not at all. But they did need to have a more even pace when it came to scene changes and flow. It was so minor though that it didn't even matter.

Best moments: The dance scene, when the Horcrux opens, the end (obviously) and over all DOBBY!! *sigh*

Loved it. Cannot wait for the next one, it is going to rock me to the core. I liked where they ended it. I was worried about that but they picked the perfect spot. Hat tip for that!

Sit back. Enjoy the characters, get to know them even more and love the interactions that take place. Don't mistake carefully thought out dialogue/conversations for bad edits or whatnot and get bored. Just listen and you'll get how every word spoken is important.

Loved it!!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Easy A (4)

A nobody girl makes up a lie about sleeping with a boy. Then makes a deal with a nobody boy at her high school that she'll pretend to sleep with him at a party. Everything spirals down high from there. Suddenly everyone is either trying to pay her to have fake dates or hates her for what she has become.

Someone told me months ago that this was actually a good movie, but I still had my doubts. How would I be remotely interested and entertained by watching some girl pretend to be a slut?

I enjoyed it a lot.

The character Olive aka big skank was hilarious and amazing. Emma Stone is ace in this role. I really loved watching her. The way her character was written, how she spoke and dealt with things....well, let's just say that I wanted to be her best friend.

So many perfect one liners. So many scenes that had me completely surprised due to their overly fantastic hilariousness. I really had no idea this movie was going to be as funny as it was. Brilliant. I love surprises.

Ending = BRUTAL. It was awful. I was literally groaning over it. Really, really bad. Did I say bad...ya. Not even corn but like a corn field of bad. Which sucks because the film was really good up until the last 10 minutes.

Great character. A lot of familiar faces. Super wicked humour.

And Thomas Haden Church. *grin*

Perfect late night film. I still cannot believe how much I liked this movie...


Monday, November 8, 2010

Amores Perros (4)

An awful car accident connects three people who are all dealing with loss, regret, and life's harsh realities, all in the name of love.

This movie started off with a bang. Literally, gun shots. I was really involved with the story and the different characters but then they started to switch to one of the other three people and I lost my connection. In all honesty, I started to get pretty darn sleepy. I could relate to and be interested in 2 of the 3 characters but the model who messes up her leg did nothing for me. Not sure why, I just didn't give a rats ass.

I've always been a fan of Gael García Bernal who played Octavio and was one of the three main characters. I liked the character and his story. And the dog. Really did not like the dog fights, not because of the way they were filmed but because I hate animal fights. Makes me angry and sad. They did a good job of making it look like real fights though...I was right pissed when they happened.

The old man with the dogs I didn't get at first but I'm glad they wrap up the film by looking deeper into his story. I got to really understand and feel empathy for him. Also, amazing last shot. Beaut.

Great stories and generally good characters. I liked how they didn't make their stories connecting the main focus, if anything it was used as a transition rather than a turning or focus point. I liked that.

Over all good film. Boring for a good chunk though, but once you get past that bump it's all roller coaster from there.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Black Book (4)

Original title: Zwartboek (2006, Netherlands).

A Jewish women tries to survive in Nazi occupied Holland but after her family is brutally murdered in front of her eyes she joins the Resistance and poses as a German women to infiltrate the Nazi headquarters in Holland. After many missions turn into traps the Resistance tries to find who is the traitor, but who could really kill their own people in order to save their own lives? Could she? One tiny book holds all the answers...

Carice van Houten who plays the main character Ellis was amazing. She defiantly rocked this movie. Not only did she look the role but she fit the role. I was completely convinced. Not sure the film would have been quite the same with someone else.

I enjoyed this story because it didn't follow the usually good guys or bad guys of WWII films. It didn't even seem to fall into the usually set up of Resistance-esque classics but rather it merged all of them together. It wasn't your every day war film and I liked that. So much more emphasis was on the characters rather than the action. This is definitely not an action movie but it is anything but boring.

It was based on a true story, so that already is in my good books. I love me a good story that actually happened, it's instantly easier to believe and therefore get sucked into.

Still not sure about the very beginning. They tried to do the whole her-in-the-future thing and then he looking back on the war. I feel like seeing her in the future at the very end would have been just as good. Actually, it would have been better because you immediately knew she was going to survive and that killed a little bit of the suspense as she experiences these life or death situations. You know she's going to make it. Ruined.

Still fantastic. You will enjoy this if you like war flicks.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Zach Galifianakis: Live at the Purple Onion (5)

2006 live taping at the Purple Onion in San Francisco. This was back in the day when very few people, myself included, knew who this guy was and how fcking hilarious he is!

This is my new favourite stand-up since Robin Williams Live on Broadway. The thing with Zach that I love and cannot help but laugh constantly to are all his one liners. He's the king of one liners. Some comedians build this story or talk about one specific topic and throw in punch lines here and there. I like that sometimes but comedy for me needs to be more spontaneous, a little more random than a funny story.

He nails it. Every time. I mean, there really is NO way you can tell what he will say next which had me listening even harder and laughing even louder. Just...ridiculous. I'm laughing as I type this...

His face alone. His facial reactions and expressions are what get me the most. I cannot look at that guy anymore without chucking. Even a picture of him makes me smile. Hilarious. Just, fantastic.

I also liked how they broke away from his routine to show you a mock interview with his 'twin brother' Seth or his road trip to San Fran with his friend. Not as funny as the stand up for me but still hilarious. *head shake* So good.

Watch this movie if you need a good laugh. I give you a 100% laughter guarantee.


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Before Sunrise (5)

A must see from 1995. The original film who's sequel Before Sunset I fell in love with and had no idea there was a film that showed how they first met. I wish I had watched the films in order now that I've seen them both, but they are both such amazing films that it ultimately doesn't matter.

An American backpacker meets a french traveler on a train. After talking for most of the train ride, Jesse (Ethan Hawke) talks Celine (Julie Deply) into getting off the train and spending his last day in Europe exploring the city of Vienna. She agrees. Is it fate that put them on the train or just a happy coincidence? Regardless, as the day progresses, they both realize this will be the only day they have together and make the most of it. Could you really say goodbye after the best day of your life?

I liked this movie even better than Before Sunset. This film is perfect. The delicious conversations, the focus completely on the characters and those they interact with. The simple shots and casual scenes. Every word, every place they visited, every look was perfect. There is really nothing I would change about this film. It had my complete attention. Especially when they started having conversations that I have had myself. Almost the exact same words. So surreal to me that it added this extra layer of connection to the whole story.

Ethan and Julie are amazing together. Completely believable. It's almost sad to me to know they are actors and they really didn't fall in love and live this story. I really wish they had. It was that good.

I loved how it was real. They were clumsy and said stupid things and had the nervous laughter and the weird yet beautiful first kiss. Everything. Just awesome writing, direction and acting.

Ya. IF you didn't get it by now I am in love with this film. I could keep going and going but I'll save you the text.

This movie is one of my new favourites.


Monday, November 1, 2010

Shine (3.8)

A 1996 Oscar winning biography focusing on the life and talent of pianist David Helfgott.

David has a tough childhood growing up with a controlling and sometimes abusive father who pushes him to play the piano. As David begins gaining popularity and winning awards his father begins to turn on David, forcing him to leave home. At music college David is the top of his class, until a life changing performance does just that, changes David forever. He is diagnosed with a mental illness and put into a psychiatric hospital. For awhile, David's life is on hold. Until he has a chance encounter that will change it all and put him back in the spotlight.

Geoffrey Rush plays David Helfgott. This is a once in a lifetime performance. He was astounding. He was this film for sure. He made it. Hence the Oscar win. Definitely deserved it!

The music was fantastic. The story is heartbreaking but uplifting at the same time. I love movies like this that remind you that life is never a straight line, that everyone experiences an innumerable amount of experiences that shape them. Very inspirational.

This movie was different from other biography type films I have seen. They didn't try to make David come across as some hero. They didn't elaborate on his personal struggles and strife. They just showed us how it was for him. Plain and simple and perfect. There was a perfect balance between story and character. I got to know David so well and also everyone around him at the same time while getting deeper into the story that was David's life. Fantastic.

Only complaint is sometimes they stayed on one part of his life just a little too long. I guess that was it, I'm not entirely sure. I just found my attention coming and going during certain parts of the film. Mostly during the second half of the movie. Not entirely sure why but it did.

And the ending. Not sure if I really liked it or not.

Geoffrey good!!

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