Shutter Island

“I usually dont blog my repeats, other than maybe a one sentance mention. Granted, the number of repeats I go to has come down recently. A few years ago there were prolly like 10 in a year, mostly cause a certain movie buddy of mine would wait to see something and then coerce me to go. But I think last year’s repeat number was at like 2 or 3. And 9 times out of 10, if I do go to a repeat its for circumstantial reasons: someone needs a movie buddy, there’s nothign else to do, its what playing at Graumann’s Chinese Theater (that was HP 6 this year).

This time around, the reason for the repeat was quite simple: I wanted to catch a movie on my bday. My viable options were From Paris With Love (the trailers for which didnt impress this action junkie) or Shutter Island again. Turns out, SI was a good one for a repeat.

It had been pouring down rain all day, and as I walked the two blocks to the theater at 10 oclock that night the wind had really picked up too. I was grabbing onto my hood, desperately trying to keep it on my head and images of Leo Dicaprio and Mark Ruffalo running through the graveyard in the wind were flashing in my mind. That was definitely one of the best mood-setting theater treks I’ve had. The downside there was that my pajama pants were completely soaked by the time I got there, so I spent the movie wet and cold.

As I’d said in the original write up, watching the movie the first time around was all about trying to figure out the mystery. This time, it was about picking up on and processing all the clues that had gone over my head before. I wont give anything away, but there were definitely a lot of those, so I highly recommend a second viewing at some point for those who managed to see it unspoilt.

I was also kinda impressed with the crowd size. Normally when I go to an evening show during the week, there’s only a handful of people there. If its in the big auditorium, every group has a row or two to themselves. I suspected that a late show would be even more sparsely populated. Not the case. No, it wasnt in danger of selling out, but it was fairly full–the way I’d typically expect the early matinee shows to be. I loved sitting there and anticipating all the “”Oh shit!”” moments that had made me jump the time before. I was just waiting for someone somewhere in the room to say that each time. I gathered early on that the group behind me, though annoying most of the time, would be the ones to oblige me with that. And yes, they were. Makes me wonder if that’s what Scorsese or Dicaprio would feel like watching the movie in a room full of strangers watching it for the first time. Do they anticipate all those moments and wait for the reaction? I know I do whenever I’ve been on the dir staff side of a theater production.

Anyways, 30 Seconds to Mars tix go on sale pretty soon so I gotsta be ready for that. Apparently they have these fan package things where you can meet the band and get all this cool stuff. Too bad I can’t justify spending 200 bucks on one of those. The goal for this weekend is 4 AFI’s plus Cop Out (tomorrow) and Im seeing Flogging Molly tonight. I can’t believe how far behind I’ve fallen on the AFI thing. Hopefully now that my late schedule at work is permanent, I’ll actually be leaving on time and less stressed so I’ll be able to get in movies during the week again.”

Shutter Island

“I had so many messages on Rotten Tomatoes this weekend that said something along the lines of “”Read this review of Shutter Island””. I swear, it feels like the whole world saw it this weekend. I actually had some difficulty in managing that task. For some reason, all week I was really in the mood for an opening night movie. I usually avoid these like the plague, and much prefer Sat and Sun matinees or weeknight movie trips. But I rushed home and got there about half an hour early and it was sold out. The roomie had wanted to come with, but had other plans so I told her we’d go to one of the late shows. Showed up early for the first after 10 screening and both of ’em were gone. Decided to postpone til Sun, and on Sat afternoon she shows up with tix for the 6:45 on Sun. But I had tix for New Found Glory so she had to go switch ’em for an earlier time. And then, well lets just say I partied kinda hard on Sat, so I was really \m/ out of it. I half expected to either fall asleep or completely not catch onto anything at all. Thankfully, that was not the case.

I actually went into this one with pretty high hopes, which isnt typically a good thing. I was so pissed when it got pushed back from its October release date. I’d been so psyched for it, and then last minute ended up having to wait longer. And what was worse is that I was already starting to get sick of the trailer that had been playing all summer, and then just like with The Soloist the year before, I got an extra 3 months of watching the trailer at every other \m/ movie I went to.

But was it worth the wait? Oh hells yeah. I absolutely loved it. This sorta psychological thriller is right up my alley (and ya’ll had better not be surprised by that statement). I just thought it was brilliant. Really creepy and suspensful, but very clever and well thought out. And a fantastic cast on top of that.

With this sort of movie, I like trying to solve the mystery. There’s two things that will make me really enjoy the process: I need to not figure it all out too quickly, and if it is something unexpected I need to believe its possible. It cant just be “”oh yeah by the way Ben Kingsley is an alien””. For Shutter Island, the wheels in my head were turning the whole damn time. I did figure out most of it, but there wasn’t really a point where I knew I’d solved it. This is kinda tough to get into without giving stuff away, but I’ll try to be cleverly cryptic. I’ve seen a fair amount of these types of movies, so from the beginning I had about maybe 3 or 4 ideas for how it’d play out. By the halfway point, I had it narrowed down to 2. I knew it was one of those, but I was never convinced one way or the other until everything was revealed. And when it was, it all just made perfect sense to me. Or perfect enough.

I become a bigger and bigger fan of Martin Scorsese with every movie of his I see. Im jealous of Leonardo Dicaprio having been mentored by this genius of a director. The man knows his shit: the dead silence suddenly being shattered, dim & spooky lighting, flawlessly framed shots. You really just can’t get much better.

Speaking of Leo, I still love him so much. One of those rare actors who is as talented as he is gorgeous. I hear that he was really close to insanity a few times as he’d just get lost in the role, and it really paid off. This is gonna sound cheesey and cliche but he really is one of the absolute \m/ best actors of his generation.

Im contemplating seeing this one again this week. I got no plans for my bday on Thur, so the default plan is catch a movie. Right now the options are From Paris With Love, which is likely to suck but I haven’t seen it before or Shutter Island again, but its a bit on the lengthy side (just north of two hours) and likely to get out a touch later than I’d like. Really leaning for the repeat though.

Shutter Island – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

The Silence of the Lambs (AFI #74)

“Tonight is one of my favorite nights of the year. Its my bday movie night. I’ve been obsessively cleaning the apartment all day (something that only happens two or three times a year and always for a party). The line up is Aladdin, Zomebieland, (500) Days of Summer, each followed by an act of Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. Got going well enough on the cleaning thing that I had time to sneak in a movie. Since I was likely to be distracted, I wanted something familiar, which narrowed it down a bit. From there, I wanted something on DVD cause I didnt feel like changing around all the settings on the system. The next restriction was a 2 hour time limit. Between all that, Lambs was the only one left.

This is another movie that I forget how good it is, mainly because the first time I saw it way back when (it was one of the first DVD’s I ever rented) I didnt care much for it. I cant remember if I saw this or Red Dragon first, but I’d always prefered Red Dragon. Mostly cause Edward Norton is my fave actor. Now I think I’d prolly see them equally, even though its prolly been a couple years since I last saw Dragon.

Notably, I’ve now seen all 3 grand slam academy awards movies. You know, ones that won Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, & Screenplay. The other two were It Happened One Night and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I just love the fact that a movie like this, which is right up my macabre alley, could won best picture. The rest is just icing.

Love the story. Love the characters. Love the cast. Similar to Psycho, I still get creeped out listening to Hannibal Lector speak. Im just so entranced by his relationship with Clarice. This time around, I really noticed what a bad ass she is too. I dont know how to describe what it brings out of me, but Im just in awe watching the two of ’em.

Also worth mentioning that since there had been a while since I’d seen this, I didnt even get the HUGE reference in Clerks II until it was pointed out to me. Then of course I rewatched Lambs and it all made sense. Heart Kevin Smith.

Anyways starting to get antsy for tonight and I got a few last minute things to do within the next 75 min.”

Ben-Hur (AFI #100)

“Here was another pleasant surprise of a movie. Also didnt know what to expect other than the length–a whopping 212 minutes. I’d actually woken up earlier than I intended to today, and likely coulda squished the whole thing in before heading to the theater. But then I fell asleep for like 30 min which killed that possibility. Had some trouble getting into it at first, but eventually got hooked. Momentarily considered saving all of the second half (so nice of them to include an intermission) until after Percy Jackson, I woulda had the perfect amount of time to watch an episode of Chuck, but decided I was too into the story at that point. I actually came this close to giving up on PJATO:TLT when I wasnt sure if the chariot scene would end in time.

Yeah, that chariot race was \m/ badass. Im just amazed by how well done it was. Even though you could kinda figure what was gonna happen, I was on edge the whole time. I was even yelling along as stuff happened. Apparently, acc to IMDB trivia, the part where he flips over the chariot while jumping the broken one, was an accident that the kept in cause it looked good. That was the point when I yelled “”\m/!””

Really impressed with the way the story flowed too. Its tough to keep my attention through a movie that long, without it either dragging or getting too choppy. Enjoyed the Biblical tie-ins as well. Its kinda tough to pull that off without being either too heavy handed or too hokey.

I dont exactly think Im likely to sit down for the whole thing again any time soon, but really glad that I managed to this time.”

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

“I had so much I wanted to say when I was walking back from the theater, but what I didnt think about was where to start…

The way things were lining up before the movie started didnt bode well. The showing I was going to was sold out (WTF) but luckily they were able to do an overflow room so I got into that. And I hadn’t quite grasped how much of a kiddie movie this was, at least as far as the audience in attendance. Wasn’t quite mentally prepared for that. So this room was packed with losta 8 year old boys, and there was a family sitting right behind me that got split and put one of their people right next to me. While, yes, I was annoyed that I didnt have my one seat buffer on both sides, that wasn’t what made it suck. What sucked was that the lady behind me kept on whispering things to her kid, then would lean over and whisper the same thing to the person next to me. And it was stuff like “”That’s Poseidon!”” or “”thats a Minotaur!”” everytime something or someone new was on screen. Immediately after she delivered her message to both people, someone on screen would identify the new entity. Was that seriously \m/ necessary? What I think the worst part about that was, besides the fact that whispering in front of you is 10x more annoying and rude to the person in front of you that whispering to your side, is that she was basically teaching her kid How to Be Rude at the Movies 101. Usually its the brats that are talking, not the grown up. So yeah, not the best way to kick things off.

Fortunately however, once I was mostly successful in tuning out the excess noise, I was really into the film. As I’ve likely mentioned before, a good indicator for me of how much Im enjoying a movie is looking at my watch. How far into the film do I first check the time, and how often after that. This time, it was an hour in for a total of three times. Those are some pretty good numbers.

Yeah I dont know what it was, but I was just sucked right into it. And that’s really saying something considering how \m/ distractable I’ve been with every other movie this weekend. Part of it is prolly that I’ve kinda always been interested in Greek mythology, although I dont know nearly as much about it as I’d like. They def took a lotta liberties with the stories, but it worked. Really liked the whole modernization thing, so I’ll need to pick up this series soon. Good thing I just finished Cirque du Freak, yeah?

The whole thing was filled with campy goodness. Yes, some of it was a bit excessive. And they did stretch the limits of believability. But it was fun, which is all that really matters.

Great cast. Very impressed with Logan Lerman. He kinda has this whole Christian Slater thing going on. If I were 10 years younger, you can bet I’d be putting up posters of him on my wall, most likely next to Zac Efron. But, if I were 10 years younger I’d be back in high school, and God knows that’s the last \m/ thing I’d ever want. Points for the grown ups in the movie as well, Catherine Keener, Pierce Brosnan, Joe Pantoliano (whose name I’ll never remember, but will still continue to refer to him as Cypher) Uma Thurman as Medusa (side note: my fear of snakes kept me from looking at her when she was on screen. I wonder if the people behind me thought I was some crazy person who was actually afraid of turning into stone), Sean Bean as Zeus, and Rosario Dawson as Persephone (who was prolly my fave of the lot. Loved the dress too). Wasnt too sold on Steve Coogan as Hades, though.

So this was a win. Very much recommend it if its your thing. If its not, you’ll prolly be killed by the kinda kiddy camp.

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Theif – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

The Last Picture Show (AFI #95)

“I had some trouble getting into it at first. Granted, I had a few outside distractions. The ‘rents called just after starting, and I’d also had the soup mishap I mentioned on Twitter. Then I ended up bookending this around The Wolfman. Usually splitting up a movie like that doesnt exactly help, but I think it did this time. I was def more into the second half.

At first, I just tried focusing extra hard on Jeff Bridges to keep my mind from wandering. I knew he was in this, but only knowing him as The Dude and Bad Blake, I woulda never been able to pick him outta the lineup. But that voice of his is unmistakable. And yeah, really did like him in this, to the point where I throw just a bit more support behind him for his likely Oscar win next month.

On the subject of the cast, I didnt even recognize some of the other now famous faces in this: Cybil Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, & Randy Quaid. Was particularly impressed with Shepherd. I think it was when her character picked up that I really got into it, even if I ended up hating her (in a good way, hating the character, which is dependant on a good performance) by the end.

Win overall. Still debating whether or not I wanna get in another AFI tonight. Need to grab my laundry and go to Shaw’s. By then, I’ll have just enough time to get thru a movie and rush the write up (which I’d likely save til tomorrow instead). To be decided…”

The Wolfman

“This afternoon’s AFI, The Last Picture Show, got interrupted by the ‘rents calling. Only got about halfway thru by the time I had to leave for The Wolfman. Figured I’d do this write up, then finish that movie.

Those of you fairly in the know when it comes to movies are prolly aware that The Wolfman’s release date kept getting pushed back and pushed back. I think its arrival is something like 2 years late, and it sorta snuck into a graveyard Feb spot outta nowhere. Never a good sign. And sadly, the foreboding was fully deserved.

It does break my heart a bit to hafta do a negative writeup for this one. I love supernaturally spooky stories. We all know I have a thing for vampires, which means that werewolves have a special place in my heart as well, given that they often show up together. There were a few small positives
-Danny Elfman soundtrack, although I didnt know it until the end credits.
-Gobs of gratuitous gore. Not generally a plus for people, but definitely makes me happy. And a lot of it was kinda clever or at least original.
-Hugo Weaving. He stole every scene he was in. When he first came on the screen I was thinking how whenever he makes an appearance most people instantly think of LOTR or the Matrix. But when its The Matrix, you dont think “”Agent Smith”” you think or rather you hear “”Mr Anderson””.

As far as the rest of the cast: Benicio Del Toro, Emily Blunt, and Anthony Hopkins, I dont have any complaints but I dont particularly have any complements either. This one was just kinda beneath all of their abilities.

Okay so now we’ll get into it. Why didnt I like it? It was painfully slow. Not even two hours, but it felt like an eternity. I actually saw two peeps walk out halfway through. The story itself was kinda boring. While Im typically in favor of streamlining the plot, this was a bit too one dimensional. And lastly it was too \m/ predictable. I called every shot pretty early on, and picked up on every foreshadowing dialogue clue. The effects weren’t anything that special. I’ll give them points for doing actual wolfman makeup instead of CGI, but it seemed too rigid, like a mask.

Right so I think I’ve gotten my point across. You want an entertainly bad werewolf movie, stick with American Werewolf in Paris instead.

The Wolfman – \m/ \n

It’s a Wonderful Life (AFI #20)

“This is one of those where I wish I could just check the movie off the list and skip the write up. I mean, in theory I could. No one’s gonna stop me, but I’d be mad at me.

Yeah so this week’s plan of 3 slapstick comedies wasn’t such the best idea afterall. I just was not in the mood. I’d also just found out about icheckmovies from a friend on Rotten Tomatoes, so I spent the whole time going thru the list and checking off movies. My numbers aren’t as high as I woulda liked, but a lot of these lists have a \m/ton of older films and foreign films–neither of which I’ve ever claimed to be familiar with. Reminds me of back on 1E, we had someone build a site like that for the hall to see who’d watched the most movies.

Anyhoo, not much to say on The Gold Rush, since I wasn’t giving it the attention I’ve been led to believe it deserves. Was noticing the score and it kinda annoyed me. I get that that’s what the soundtrack for all silent movies sounded like, but Im just too spoiled by the soundtracks you find in “”talkies”” I guess.”

The Gold Rush (AFI #58)

“This is one of those where I wish I could just check the movie off the list and skip the write up. I mean, in theory I could. No one’s gonna stop me, but I’d be mad at me.

Yeah so this week’s plan of 3 slapstick comedies wasn’t such the best idea afterall. I just was not in the mood. I’d also just found out about icheckmovies from a friend on Rotten Tomatoes, so I spent the whole time going thru the list and checking off movies. My numbers aren’t as high as I woulda liked, but a lot of these lists have a \m/ton of older films and foreign films–neither of which I’ve ever claimed to be familiar with. Reminds me of back on 1E, we had someone build a site like that for the hall to see who’d watched the most movies.

Anyhoo, not much to say on The Gold Rush, since I wasn’t giving it the attention I’ve been led to believe it deserves. Was noticing the score and it kinda annoyed me. I get that that’s what the soundtrack for all silent movies sounded like, but Im just too spoiled by the soundtracks you find in “”talkies”” I guess.”

A Night at the Opera (AFI #85)

“So this is the second time I’ve ever encountered the Marx bros. The other being Duck Soup. The short verdict is I still dont quite get ’em.

Although, thinking about it a bit more, I really just dont like Groucho. Harpo and Chico have kinda grown on me, but I find Groucho to be rather annoying. And of course, he carries most of the film, which would explain why I didnt care much for it.

It did have my attention for about the first half hour or so. Then I didnt really care so much. It sorta peaked at the state room scene. I guess I can only handle so much slapstick. We’ve been over this before. I like surprises, sarcasm, and sass in my comedy. Not that I expected it, but I guess I was a kinda lost cause all along, yeah?”