Schindler’s List (AFI #8)

“Before I get into this movie, I got some other film related spit to talk about from this weekend. I’ll just give you the quick version.

Yesterday I went down to NYC to see Behanding in Spokane and God of Carngae. Got to Behanding early and was able to catch Sam Rockwell and Christopher Walken, which had me so \m/ giddy. Then after Carnage, I caught Lucy Liu on her way out of the theater. Such one of the best days ever. I still can’t get over meeting Rockwell. He’s been a fave of mine since Choke. Yeah, still on cloud 9.

Shifting gears slightly. I swore to myself I wouldnt go on a movie buying binge until the AFI project was done. My queue of unwatched movies (not counting the now 7 AFI’s left) is at like 25. Then I saw a blurb in Boston.com about a sidewalk sale at a movie store in Brookline, so guess where I went this afternoon. Cleaned up good though. 13 movies for 48 and change. Not too shabby. Now, I swear, with the exception of new release Tuesdays I will hold off on the film acquisition.

Now we’re into the actual movie write up. Schindler’s List is one that I’ve always known I needed to watch, but its tough to actually sit down and \m/ do it. You just dont wanna go for something depressing when there’s a million other things out there. But its number was up on the AFI project, so here I am. And oh God, it is everything they say it is. So good, and powerful, and depressing, and I wanna say awesome, but I mean it in a more geniune sense of the word than I usually use.

Such a compelling and interesting story. I really didnt know what I was in for, other than it was supposta be one of the best Holocaust movies out there. Liam Neeson was just fantastic, and I absolutely loved Ralph Fiennes as well.

And I just lost my train of thought. Sorry.

I did get distracted by things here and there, such as a phone call from mom, and a neighbor blasting Glee which made for a very interesting soundtrack. All that did sorta take the harsh edge off the film. I did wanna be paying more attention, but its tough when run time is over 3 hours.

Also, that last sequence is just so beautiful. There were some pretty harrowing images throughout, but the end was beyond brilliant.

Damn.”

Prince of Persia: The Sands of Times

“I was gonna wait until I finish Schindler’s List to do my Prince of Persia write up, but Im so \m/ giddy from this movie I hafta do it now.

In short, I _loved_ it. Went in not expecting much, but knowing that if nothing else I’d have some tremendous eye candy. The whole thing (eye candy included) went waaaay beyond expectations.

What I think most impressed me was how much it really did feel like a video game. For those not in the know, yes, this is based on a game. I used to be somewhat of a gamer back in the day. I dropped it ’round junior high or so, but every few months I’ll pick up a game and play obessively for a few days or weeks then drop it again for a while. Come to think of it, Im long overdue for my annual three days of Zelda (Majora’s Mask) that have a tendancy to pop up here and there. Anyways, Im giving ya’ll that bit of backstory to show that yes, I know very well what a game feels like, and Prince of Persia hit that right on. What do I mean? Well, in a lot of the action sequences, particularly some of the early ones, you could actually envision what that level must’ve looked like–where he was jumping to, how the bad guys popped up, etc. Hafta say, incredibly directed (by Mike Newell) in that sense. The potential downside there is that some of the moves were kinda superhuman, more than any parkour master could handle. But thinking of it in video game context suspended that disbelief quite aptly.

Another plus was that it really did have that typical Disney atmosphere of fun. I’d been kinda confused about it being a Disney thing, expecting it to end up being too soft and un-hardcore, but that wasnt the case at all. Think somewhere between National Treasure and Pirates, if that makes any sense.

And now, the obligatory paragraph where I gush about how much I love Jake Gyllenhaal. For those of you who have no interest in that, please feel free to skip ahead to the next paragraph break. If you’re sticking around, dont say I didnt warn you….Oh my God, I love Jake Gyllenhaal so \m/ much. I was swooning and mooning (not that definition of the word) over him the whole time. That charming crooked half smile of his (you know the one) is a deadly weapon, and he pulled it out every 10 minutes. Plus the long hair (a well known weakness of mine, however two notches below guyliner) and the newly acquired uber buff physique. Oooh. I wasn’t sold on the accent in the trailers, but damn that did indeed fit him very well. I’d previously held that he was at his hottest in Donnie Darko, but Persia totally blows Darko outta the water. He also gives Bubble Boy a run for his money on charm. Allow me a moment to collect my thoughts before moving on.

Far as the rest of the cast, I do love Gemma Arterton. She’s been on my radar since Quantum of Solace, cause I thought she was the superior Bond girl in that flick. The playful chemistry she had with Gyllenhall this time around was superb. Wonderful, nearly scene stealing (nearly, cause um, did you see Jake? Can’t steal a scene from him. Sorry, I’ll stop) stuff from Alfred Molina. And Ben Kingsley just always rocks.

A few minor gripes, but nothing that will detract from my rating of the movie. The first big gripe is too many snakes, but that’s just cause Im ophidiophobic. Next minor gripe is that it borderline dragged on too much. There was definitely a sense of “”why the \m/ is something else going wrong”” and you coulda done without some of that crap. And real nitpicky complaint is that I couldnt understand what any of their names were. They were unusual and not pronounced with any consistency between actors. But at least they were all different enough from each other than it only caused mild irritation and minimal confusion.

Yeah so def a fun fun movie. Not as stupid as it looked like it had the potential to be. Highly recommended. Winner for the summer so far.

Prince of Persia – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Vertigo (AFI #9)

“This is one of the ones I’ve been most stoked for. Alas, outside circumstances got in the way of what woulda prolly otherwise been a fantabulous movie watching experience.

Stayed a bit late a work and was in a mood when I left. So that put a damper on the evening to begin with. Then I start watching the film and about 30 minutes in, it freezes up on me. I take out the DVD, try wiping it off, and put it back in. The best I could do was skip 5 minutes, which was acceptable. But another 10 minutes later, the same thing happened. So I gave up, shelled out 4 bucks, and streamed the HD version from Amazon. Downside there, besides it being really annoying to queue up, is that I lost the subtitles. And with all the sirens outside and other assorted noises, that makes following dialogue quite difficult. I was also distracted by a really addicting game on my ipod. Its this one where you have a whole bunch of blocks that can only slide in one direction, and you need to rearrange them to free the red block. Had to actually get up and put the ipod in its dock to keep me from playing for a while.

Between all of that, I was only catching bits of it here and there. And I swear, I really was trying to pay attention. I had to IMDB the full synopsis to make sure I got it all, and it really does sound wicked cool. Im just gonna hafta give it another watch when Im in a better mood and much more awake.

I do love James Stewart oh so very much. He’s def one of my fave parts of the AFI project. Was really struck by Kim Novack in this one. And of course, this goes without saying, but Hitchcock is a \m/ genius. I love how he can take something really ordinary and use it to scare the shit out of you. In Psycho it was a shower. Here its a large staircase. Yep, he’s another check in the WIN! column for this whole quest of mine.”

The Wizard of Oz (AFI #10)

“Wooo hooo! I finally reached the top ten, just only a little bit waaaaaay behind my anticipated schedule. But my distractions should be down to a minimum for the next couple weeks. Here’s hoping Im done before arbitrary goal number 10 or so. This “”deadline”” is June 8th cause that’s when Green Day Rock Band comes out. I’ve already promised myself a Wii and Rock Band as a yay-im-done present.

Speaking of promises, I swore I’d go back to my more comprehensive write ups once I hit the top ten. Guess I gotta try and stick with that, huh? Right.

Wizard of Oz. I very much did grow up with this movie. Although I do remember being terrified of it at some point. Not sure why, but I think it was just the witch in general. But second grade sorta made this movie have a permanent special place in my heart. Why, you ask (or not)? Let’s take a trip back thru memory-ville with Dawn Dawn.

Throughout elementary, there was a group of parents of my classmates who dubbed themselves the “”Moms and Dads Club””. They were responsible for events and get togethers and all sortsa fun things for us kids that would also give them socialization opportunities. Now you know how most towns have some sorta big festival celebration thing every year? Well, Laredo’s thing is Washingtons Birthday Celebration. Dont know why, but yeah that’s our thing. Basically most of February is this big city wide party. When I was little I cared for two reasons: 1-the good carnival was in town then, B-parades! There were always 2 parades during this whole thing: the youth parade on a Wednesday night, then the main event the following Saturday morning. When I was in first and second grade, the Moms and Dads Club was in charge of organizing my school’s float for said parades. The overall parade theme back in first grade was “”We are the world”” or something like that. We picked Holland cause that’s where our principal came from. And yes, we were forced to listen to “”We are the world”” on loop throughout the whole \m/ thing. The next year, the theme was movies. And as upset as I was that stupid United Day got Aladdin, ours turned out not to be too bad. As you prolly guessed, cause otherwise it wouldnt be relevant in the slightest to my post, we had The Wizard of Oz.

There was a lottery thing to decide whose kid was gonna have what part. In the original lottery, me and all the rest of the second grade girls were supposta be emerald city girls. Then the chick who’d drawn Dorothy had to back out–and the role passed to me. I dont remember all that much from it. Again, I was like what, 8? I remember I couldnt pet my stuffed Toto because then I’d get black dye all over my hands. I mostly stayed in the munchkin land side of the float, surrounded by all the kindergarteners until when we stopped in front of hte judges table, I’d skip along the yellow brick road collecting “”friends”” until we ended up on the Emerald City side. And I also developed an immense hatred for wigs. Apparently my hair wasn’t Dorothy-esque enough on its own, so they put this itchy curly animal on my head. *shudder*

So since then, my mom’s always collected Wizard stuff (in particular Dorothy stuff) for me.

Thus endeth the Dawn Dawn backstory. Thoughts watching it this time around:

I can’t remember the last time I saw this. There’s so much I’d forgotten, or never got to begin with. But it still magically produces warm fuzzies in me. Also this time around I have a great appreciation for some of the effects. Its not exactly something I woulda noticed when I was 8, but when you think about what limited resources (compared to nowadays) they had back then, it really is incredible what they were able to accomplish.

I guess I sorta, I dont wanna say forgot about this film, but how about mentally misplaced it for a bit (if that makes any sense). I really shouldnt let so long go by before my next viewing

As a side note, I still need to see Wicked. Hoping to catch it this fall when it comes back yet again to Boston.”

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (AFI #34)

“Really trying to focus so I can do this write up, but its frickin’ hard to concentrate when Nosferatu is going nutso around the apartment chasing a fly. So cute!!

There was a slight hiccup to the start of the movie. I had it on a hand me down VHS, that IM not sure I’d ever even watched–now Lestat’s joining in on the fly chasing…sorry–so anyways I put the tape in the VCR and its not quite working. Adjusted the tracking to no avail. Its times like these that Im ridiculously happy to live 2 blocks from a Best Buy. Also quite lucky that Snow White wasn’t currently in the “”Disney vault”” ( still disagree with that policy, BTW) so I was able to just run over and pick it up. I woulda been quite the sad panda if this plan had been foiled.

I can’t remember the last time I’d seen this one, but it musta been when my age was in single digits. Even though Im 25 now, I still love classic Disney. Although, Im much more fond of the second golden age (Aladdin, Little Mermaid, Lion King, etc) than the original classics.

Also, you know how I’ve said before that I dont typically go for slapstick comedy? The exception to the rule is animated slapstick. I fall for that every time. So it should be quite easy to guess which dwarf is my favorite Yep, that’d be Dopey.

Should also not come as a surprise that I dont care for Snow White herself that much. She is faaaar too much of a girlie girl for my taste. I do believe in girl power (to some extent, Im not a feminazi or anything extreme) so on some level I do find her airheadedness and one track mindness a bit disgusting. Luckily the more recent ones have been much more layered. My fave Disney princess would be Jasmine (mostly cause she’s Aladdin’s girl), but you gotta admit she is quite tough and strongwilled in her own right. Ariel comes next on my list, but the one I have the most respect for would be Mulan. Why is she always left outta the princess stuff? Love Belle for being nerdy, and most recently, very much admire Tianna’s work ethic. I love that there is a princess out there who worked for her goal and didnt just sit there singing and wishing.

The other thing I was thinking is how much more fitting would it have been that if instead of the evil queen dying, it turns out her ugly spell was irreversible? Poetic justice trumps unimaginitive death any day.

The end is in sight. That was the last of the bottom 90. But before I can start to think about the top ten, Lost finale tonight!!”

Macgruber

“Took a break from my uber LOST weekend to go see Macgruber. Actually, if ABC’s site woulda been working properly this afternoon, I’da finnished up pretty much exactly on time. Ah wells. Break for a write up then back to finish ‘er up.

Not sure where to start with this one. Typically on the walk back from the theater (yes, a whole two blocks) I start phrasing things, picking out scenes to point out, etc. This time, I spent the whole five minutes debating whether or not I felt comfortable with describing the film as “”retarded, but the fun kind””. Well shit, I guess I said it, huh? Hope Im not ordered to some sorta sensitivity training for it, but I really do mean it in the best possible, not intentionally offensive way.

Expectations were kinda in that weird limbo, where they’re low but you know they’re low which means you’re likely to enjoy it rather than be disappointed cause you’re expecting to not enjoy it, so they’re kinda raised a bit. Follow that? Yeah me neither. But the movie fit perfectly into that.

I think it ultimately knew its place in the grand scheme of movie-dom. Wasn’t trying too hard, wasn’t pretending, just was. And between the awkward and the unfunny were some pretty classic and clever gems, that were all very much appreciated, cause again, you weren’t quite expecting them, but yet you sorta were cause you weren’t. Sorry, did it again.

But yeah, def got a few laugh out loud moments from me, and some serious WTF ones too. It helps that it was an action comedy, cause action comedy is typically my genre of choice.

I was also quite impressed with how well it did translate from SNL. Normally the concern there is how do you take 3 minutes (or in Macgruber’s case 30 seconds) and stretch it into 90 minutes. The answer here is you give all the set up that would normally lead into those thirty seconds that no one has ever gotten to see. Then you play out those 30 seconds very much like the SNL skit–complete with Kristin Wiig kinda changing her voice a bit to match her usual “”30 seconds Macgruber!””. Then you conclude. And you kick some ass and take some names along the way, of course.

Will Forte definitely owns this character, and its great to see him have fun with it. I read in EW that it took weeks of the writers pitching the Macgruber character before he even accepted it for SNL. But Im so glad that he did cause he does it so \m/ well. What I was most excited about going in, or I guess I should say who I was most excited about going in, was Ryan Phillippe. Thought he was an interesting choice, and if nothing else would provide some wonderful eye candy if the movie sucked. He kept his cool playing the straight character quite well. Woulda been easy to lose it around the wackiness of the rest of the cast. Points for Val Kilmer as the baddie and Powers Boothe as the head good guy as well.

Yeah so if you’re a fan of the sketch, check it out. Preferably while drunk, cause I think it’d go over even better that way. If you’re not a fan, then you’re just not gonna be into it. The crowd at the theater was small, but fierce. There was much laughter coming from the fans.

Macgruber – \m/ \m/ \m/

The General (AFI #18)

“It was a silent. I dont like those. For \m/ sake I couldnt even get into Nosferatu. And I wanna watch more Lost.

I promise, when I hit the top ten (one more to go), I’ll be more comprehensive with my write ups.”

Iron Man 2

“‘Bout freakin’ time I make it over to Iron Man 2. Waiting nearly 2 weeks for the first big movie of the summer is unheard of for me. I can’t even remember the last time I delayed summer movie season. I blame Mom. Although, of course, today she says I could have gone anytime I wanted, I really couldnt’ve. So I put her on a plane this morning, and this afternoon was at the movies.

While its rare that I’ll see a non-indie movie at a theater other than the Regal Fenway, I decided to go to the AMC Loews Boston Common. Reason being that they have a new IMAX auditorium, or should I say “”IMAX””. Yeah, it turned out being one of those fake ones, which is what I suspected. How can an IMAX be fake, you ask? I’d actually heard about these a while back, and was somewhat morally outraged over them. What’s the first thing you think of when you hear the word IMAX? Prolly the giant-ass screen, yeah? Well these dont have a giant-ass screen. Yes, the screen is somewhat larger than usual, but it was still less than half the size of a real IMAX. So why call it an IMAX? Slightly bigger screen, even higher definition picture, rumbling speakers in the seats, high quality audio. If that’s the direction movies are headed, great. However, I dont feel justified in paying an extra 5 dollars for that. Yeah, you heard me. They charge extra of course (again, expected). Was it worth it? No. The best picture quality was during the trailers. Kinda like what often happens with me with 3D movies, once we got past the first 20 minutes I really wasn’t noticing anything too special about the screen. I think my biggest point of contention is again the lack of aforementioned giant-ass screen. That’s the novelty of IMAX. If you’re gonna do these uber quality film screening thing, pleaes give it another name. But if I want real IMAX, I’ll stick to going to Jordans. They have Fuddruckers downstairs.

Now that the “”IMAX”” rant is out of the way. How was Iron Man 2 itself? Decent. Not quite the big bang I usually expect to start my summer. I think part of the awesome that was Iron Man 1 is that it was very unexpected. Not too many people knew much about this obscure Marvel hero. Robert Downey Jr hadn’t fully reemerged from his, shall we say, dark period. But it all ended up kicking major ass. This time, it was all very much expected, and very much expected is what was delivered. RDJr was suave while clevery narcissistic (spelling?). Shit got blowed up. There was some fuzzy science. Nothing we didnt really see coming.

What I most approve of this time around is the addition of Sam Rockwell to the ensemble, as baddie Justin Hammer. Rockwell has been on my fave list since Choke (speaking of, nice to see Clark Gregg as well). He played awkward yet slightly deranged quite well here. Side note: really psyched to see Rockwell play opposite Christopher Walken in Behanding in Spokane on b’way. Will be going there on the 29th.

RDJr was great at playing RDJr x10. Although I hafta say, as a bit of a nerd myself, this single sequence I found him hottest in was when he was, hmm trying to phrase this without spoilage, engineering something. As bad ass as he his kicking butt and taking names or smooth talking like the best of ’em, super smart = super sexy every time.

While on the subject of nerd stuff, one disappointment that Im sure the rest of my fellow beavers (you’re likely included in that group if you know what it means. For the rest of you, that’s MIT’s mascot) will feel with me. One of the greatest subtle surprises in Iron Man 1 was the screen time that Stark and Rhodey’s brass rats got (non-beavers, thats our class ring). I remember hearing about it before seeing the film last time, and just being on pins and needles waiting for it. Stark’s was kinda subtle but Rhodey’s was a lot more blatant. This time, not only was there no money shot of the rat, but the ring Rhodey was wearing clearly wasn’t a rat. It looked like your typical class ring with the big heaping stone on it. Sadness.

Anyways, getting tired now, so wrapping it up. Decent start to the summer, but considering the lead in we got from April I was expecting more. Although there was a trailer for Inception that just looks \m/ awesome. Can’t wait

Iron Man 2 – \m/ \m/ \m/

The Philadelphia Story (AFI #44)

“Managed to sneak in another AFI while mom’s still here (3 more days). We had our whole Sun afternoon ahead of us, so I figured it was a good opportunity…and I fell asleep halfway thru, with one cat snuggled up along one leg, and the other cat along the other. Luckily I’d seen this before.

I first had to watch The Philadelphia Story for my comedy literature class some time back. I’d mentioned it before when we came across other flicks from the class on the list (City Lights, Duck Soup). This was one that I gave me zero interest going in, and then I ended up loving it. We’ve established by now that screwball comedies and old rom coms just aint my bag baby. But this one is gorgeous. I really dont know what it is that draws me to it.

I’d actually been excited about rewatching it. Dont know why it took me til the end of the road to get to it.

I should write more, but again, fell asleep. And I also decided to marathon S6 of Lost this week, so Im antsy to start that.”

American Idiot

“Prolly shoulda written this last week, cause we all know how the content of my write ups tends to decrease with time. But then again, I think Im just enough over the high of the show that this wont be all OMG’s and excess exclamation points. Also, I wasnt sure if I really would do this, but I’ve got some time to kill now. 30 min til DWTS, and with mom having invaded my room, there’s no space to D on my own like I usually do right after work. No I wont explain that.

First, some Dawn Dawn backstory. I wont go too far back, except to say that the short version of the far back is that punk rock is what helped me survive high school. The \m/ you rebellious attitude kept me going until I could get outta there. While Blink 182 was the band that actually got me into punk, Green Day wasn’t too far behind. Fast foward a bit to 2004. I’d heard rumors of Green Day putting out a Tommy-like concept album. This being the time I was heavy into musical theater one of my first thoughts was how \m/ awesome it’d be if that album made it to the stage.

Some time passed and I hadnt heard much else about this mysterious album. Then American Idiot came out. I think I tried downloading it at first, but that five songs in one thing confused me, and I figured what the hell and went and bought it. Keep in mind, at this point in time, I legally bought maaaaybe one album a year. I think I listened to it a few times through before realizing “”holy shit this is that concept album””. I devoured it at that point.

That entire fall, everywhere I went, American Idiot was with me. Now this was a few months before I got my first ipod. So I was carrying around a walkman all over MIT and Boston. And this was also when I’d busted my knee, so I was hobbling around on crutches. I’d specifically carry around my little black and blue Superman satchel so it would hold my walkman, with just one cd on me. I studied the lyric book like whoa. I even went so far as to write out all the lyrics on my wall–no easy feat when my uber knee brace limited my range of motion.

Obsess much? Yeah. But I loved it. I connected with it on so many levels–the rebellion, the desire to get out, the angst and insecurity, the outcast-ness (?).

Fast foward a bit more, and I hear that the stage show has finally happened. I dont wanna say I’d given up hope on it, but it wasnt something that’d crossed my mind in a while. From hearing about it in December, I was on edge until finally getting to see it last week.

Woke up at 4 AM to catch the 6:30 bus to NYC. Got in around 11 and had a solo lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Wandered around a bit til I ended up at the St Jimmy (okay so its officially the St James) theater. They let us in through this side hallway with red and black walls. On the ledges were silver and black sharpies, and the walls were covered in graffitti. I ran to a wall and tried to find a spot to squeeze in a signature. I got in a better one on the way out, but my flashless camera phone couldnt get a good shot. Walked to the merch table and blew my budget before settling into my seat.

Was it all worth it? FUCK YEAH! We weren’t even through the first verse of the title song when I was already screaming “”Again! Again again!”” in my head. I fear the people next to and behind me musta been really annoyed cause I was rocking out, mouthing every lyric. That opening number in particular was just phenomenal. Really intense and physical choreo (<3!), bright set, tv screens with assorted Americana images, string players on fire escape type platforms, actors suspended from the air, costumes I want in my closet, energetic cast. Love all around. Now I will admit there were points that weren't perfect. The minimal book is a bit questionable. At times they explained too much, and at others not enough. And most of that limited dialogue did seem a bit forced. There were some images, especially in a lot of the middle songs, that I didnt quite understand. Although when listening to the original album on loop on the bus ride back, I got to process them a bit and they did make more sense. In particular, Im thinking of some of the more symbolic imagery, especially with the whole soldier storyline. But that's about all of the negative for me. I'd had almost a week to chew on the tasty soundtrack, which the wonderful Nikki had procured for me. And the unthinkably impossible happened. They actually made the original songs sound even better! Was really interested in how they characterized it. As much as I absorbed the album, I'd pieced together a different story in my head. Same basic concept, but different details. The one I'd particularly not seen coming was the aforementioned soldier subplot, which was for (semi)new character Tunny. Also thought that newbie character Will staying behind in the ficticious Jingletown while Jesus of Suburbia and Tunny ventured into the city was an interesting touch. Took me a while to get which St Jimmy interpertation they were going with: alter ego or bad influence. Im not sure how apparent the alter ego thing would be for someone not familiar with it (hell, it took me a while to catch onto that interpertation of the album, even with the line ""The St Jimmy is a figment of your father's rage and your mother's love). Loved the cast. Such a great and energetic bunch, and all so perfect for their roles. The ensemble worked incredibly well. It seemed like one of those shows where its almost more fun to be in the ensemble than a lead. That always gets points from me. I dont think its possible for me to gush anymore. So we'll move on. On the way out, I saw people lining up behind barricades by the stage door--something I always forget about on the few occassions when Ive been to b'way. So I grabbed one of the extra Playbills I'd stolen and a sharpie from my bag and waited with the rest of 'em. By the end, my Playbill was full of signatures. Missed out on John Gallagher Jr (Jesus of Suburbia) and Tony Vincent (St Jimmy) but I got all the other major players and a good chunk of the ensemble. Even took a pic (which ya'll see on my facebook profile) with Michael Esper (Will). Wrapping up cause its almost DWTS and my hands are dying, but all I got left to say is I cant \m/ wait to see this again and again and again. Anyone up for a trip to NYC?"