The Ghost Writer

“Write up on Unforgiven is gonna wait til during the commercials during the Academy Awards. Partly cause Im still hoping for a chance to re-watch the last 30 min that I totally spaced on. I woulda waited on The Ghost Writer til then as well, but one of the advantages to going to a theater that’s a 30 min walk away is that the trek back is prime for thinking on what I wanna write. So while its still all fresh…

Waiting for the movie to start, one of the things running through my head is how much I love Boston. The impetus for that thought this time around is that I love how accesible movies are. True, its not as rocking for that as LA or NY would be, but just two weeks ago those were the only two cities even showing this movie. If I were still back home, there’s no way I woulda ever seen this one, and no way I coulda seen all the major players in the Oscars this year.

Kinda ironic I was having that thought before diving into a film which was set in New England. Yeah it was a very fake New England, but hey whatcha gonna do when your director isn’t allowed to set foot on US soil? Ah yes, now that we’ve made that segue–Roman Polanski. He might be considered a cowardly creep of a person, but as a director that man \m/ knows his shit. There were some times when I thought the pacing was a bit slow, but I just let myself trust his expertise and went with it.

The movie was suspenseful, but a very slow suspense. I can best liken it to my hazy memory of Michael Clayton (although that may just be due to Tom Wilkinson appearing in both), but at least The Ghost Writer made more sense to me. As far as the mystery of it, cause we all know how much I like solving those, it was kinda strange. I picked up on some things very early and essentially figured out the who (and also guessed how our hero would come to that same conclusion), but could hardly grasp actual concept of what the mystery was. That meant I had no clue on the why, and didnt even realize I’d solved most of it. Strangely, that did end up being rather satisfying, far more than I would have expected. And I wont go into any detail, but the last 30 seconds was probably one of the best executed endings I’ve ever seen. It seriously took less than a minute to take me from feeling “”meh”” about the film to “”that was awesome!””

Great great cast. I love Ewan McGregor and all his charm. Happily, there was quite a bit of that. From his reaction to reading the first draft of the manuscript, to the line he delivered buying his ferry ticket (Im being cryptic, I know), I was with him all the way. Also adore Pierce Brosnan, and his perfect mix of arrogance and grace.

Ultimately, quite a fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon. Given that there aren’t many viable options at the mainstream theaters (in my head Alice in Wonderland doesnt open til next week, cause thats when Im going…IMAX 3D, baby!) I’d definitely give this one a recommendation. My only word of caution is to be prepared for the slow suspense style. It can be a bit of a letdown if you’re expecting a faster pace.

The Ghost Writer – \m/ \m/ \m/

Oscars 2010

“With the 82nd Annual Academy Awards upon us in just a few days (3 days, 23 hours according to the countdown on IMDB) guess its just about that time I do my predictions/choices/thoughts in general write up about this year’s big event, yeah? Typically I go thru EW’s 25 Movies You Need to See Before the Oscars, but while I actually managed more of those this year than ever (23 of 25. Coulda gotten the other two if I really wanted) given that a good number of ’em were a bit off the mark, I think it makes more sense to go thru the nominees systematically. Apologies if I sound like a broken record, repeating comments I may have made in my write ups or in conversation. Least Im consistent, yeah?

Figure I’ll start with the big ones and work my way down, so I can call it quits when I get tired. And the usual “”this is just personal opinion blah blah blah”” thing applies here as always, so without further ado…

Best Picture
I’ll talk about these in the order I would rank them, were I a voting member of the Academy

Up In The Air – Kind of a toss up which I’d put as my first choice between this and Basterds. But I think that for the overall package, Up In the Air was the best picture. The cast was as good as you could possibly get, the story was interesting and timely, the dialogue was funny, everything was near perfection, I thought. And it fit so well with what’s going on in the world today, that it just makes sense to me that this is the best choice. Sadly, it’s lost most of the momentum it had when it first opened. It went from being one of the top contenders to well, not in just a few short weeks.

Inglorious Basterds – This would be my personal fave of the bunch, and we all know one of the main reasons why. Yes, I am a Tarantino junkie. Now, Basterds wasn’t quite at the level of Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs, but compared to movies made by just about anyone else on the planet, this was pretty impressive. Basterds also had the entire package: great writing, great cast, great visuals, and the list goes on. With the new voting system, Basterds is poised to pull off an upset in this race. And while it means I’d lose points in my Oscar predictions pool thing, they’re points I would gladly give up…Since I like saying this, even though I know I’ve said it before, Id have given anything to sit at the Basterds table at the Globes. Those people were having soooo much fun.

The Hurt Locker – The main race seems to be between Hurt Locker and Avatar, and all I gotta say about that is Avatar had better not \m/ win. I’ll talk more on Avatar when I get to its spot on my list, but Hurt Locker is the far superior movie. Yet another solid nominee with the best of everything. Even on a second viewing, I was on the edge of my seat during most scenes. When I’d first heard of this movie, I’d thought the whole “”war movie”” thing was way overdone, but Locker actually manages to bring some fresh perspective to that jaded genre.

District 9 – Personal preference definitely gives this one a boost on the list. Can I just say first of all how happy it makes me that this film scored a nod. Love love love that the Academy acknowledged a summer blockbuster, and while its not the one I woulda hoped for (Star Trek *tear*) its very deserving. Perfect mix of political allegory with action packed sci-fi. Not a combination I would have thought would ever work so well, and doubtful if anyone could ever pull it off again. Doesn’t have a prayer in hell of winning, but the recognition is nice.

An Education – This movie was one of the most pleasant surprises at the movies this year. From the plot, I woulda never expected to go see this one, much less enjoy it so thoroughly. But it was so fun and quirky (reminiscent of Juno and Little Miss Sunshine, vibe wise at least), and Carey Mulligan was fantastic (more on her later). Im actually really anxious for the DVD so I can watch it again.

Up – As much as I enjoyed this film, I dont think its quite the be all and end all of animated film that people make it out to be. Similarly to Wall-E last year, I thought the first half had some of the most beautiful moments Ive ever seen in a movie (Im particularly thinking of the silent bit). But then the second half just fell flat. I feel like people tend to focus on the better half when they’re raving about the movie, but I tend to think of the later one. Unclear if thats just from my tendancy to be a nonconformist, of if its because the end of the movie is what Im left with afterwards? I dont know.

Precious – Not sure how much I hafta say about this one now. Its was your typical Oscar bait movie, but that doesnt necessarily take away from how powerful the movie was. It was a bit heavy handed, but I think that was part of the point, yeah?

Avatar – Here’s my beef with Avatar. First of all, know that I did enjoy this movie. Very much so. But I dont think its a “”best picture”” movie. Yes, the visual and the effects were phenomenal, ground breaking cinema. For that reason, I fully support any technical award(s) it may receive. But the rest of the package doesnt measure up. I would go so far as to say it was sub-par, but it was definitely below the high bar set by some of the other nominated films. The cast was nothing too special, the plot was dull. Its like the movie is completely relying on the visual to carry it through, which (no matter how good that element is) I dont think it should be enough to have the movie win this race.

The Blind Side – When I saw this movie on the list, my reaction was “”huh.”” Notice that’s with a . not a ? Kinda like how Eddie Izzard said “”I like to end my shows with a kinda ‘huh’ feeling, and I believe I’ve done that”” That same feeling. It was a good movie. Points to the academy for recognizing one of the more popular movies of the past year. But I dont really think it was anything to really write home about. Im not necessarily complaining about it garnering a nod, but there’s others I woulda ranked higher.

A Serious Man – This is the only nomination that got an “”aw hell no”” out of me. I’ve found this movie is quite polarizing. You either love it or hate it. There’s more people who love it, but I think us “”hate it””s are more vehement. I didnt get it at all, but I could have potentially appreciated it more if I was clued in to the whole Job parallel beforehand.

Who’s Missing? – I would have loved to see Star Trek make the cut. It was a big of a longshot, but I had hope the super size nominee list would have helped. That was my fave movie of the past year. As far as summer blockbusters go, that was perfection: action packed, great comic relief, wonderful cast. Nothing else you could have hoped for…I would also have liked to see The Messenger make the shortlist. Were this a few years ago, its exactly the kind of film that woulda been nominated. Though of course at the time the complaint woulda been that it was yet another nominee no one saw. But I thought it was a very powerful and interesting film…The other longshot hopeful was (500) Days of Summer. I hate rom-coms but I absolutely loved every minute of Summer. Also, The Hangover’s win at the Globes and inclusion in AFI’s list of 10 best of last year gave me a distant hope for a nod. Didnt expect it, but it woulda been wicked cool. And since its the only one of my fave movies of last year that hasn’t been mentioned: where’s the love for Zombieland? I know, longshot doesnt even begin to cover it, but hey a girl can dream right?

Best Actor
The rest of these should start getting a bit shorter.
Best actor. Jeff Bridges has it in the bag. I wont argue that. If we’re looking career wise, yes he’s overdue. And he was quite impressive in Crazy Heart. However, personally I thought that Colin Firth had the strongest performance. A Single Man was so hauntingly good, and Firth’s performance had such an understated and contained intensity. As far as the rest of the boys–George Clooney for Up in the Air, Morgan Freeman for Invictus, Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker–I have no complaints. All are very deserving of the nominations.

Who’s Missing? – I really hoped Ben Foster would be up here for The Messenger. It wasn’t very likely, but I felt his performance was stronger than Woody Harrelson who did score a nod. Then again I might just still be a bit bitter that Foster didnt get the supporting nod for 3:10 to Yuma a few years back. Also would have liked to see Matt Damon for The Informant! but I actually dont think I’d wanna displace any of the nominees for him. Tobey Maguire in Brothers is another I’d have liked to see make the cut.

Best Actress
The one that’s really gonna come down to the wire. Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side vs Meryl Streep in Julie & Julia. Depends on which camp you belong to: Should an Oscar be awarded for a single performance, or should the whole career and Oscar history be taken into consideration? Between the two, Bullock had the bigger arc and the most substance to her performance. On the other hand, Streep is LONG overdue for statue number 3, and given that its Bullock’s first nod, that should be enough, yeah? If I were voting, I’d go for Streep cause she’s my favorite but I wont complain if Sandy wins. That said, I think the best performance in this category was actually Helen Mirren. I dont expect her to stand a chance. Not many people saw The Last Station, and she just won a few years ago. But I was definitely most impressed with her. Gabourey Sidibe and Carey Mulligan were both fantastic in Precious and An Education, respectively. I think if Ellen Paige isn’t available when they make a movie about my life one day (cause its sooo gonna happen…right) then I’d be more than happy for Mulligan to take her place. Although as loveable as those girls may be, this year is definitely gonna award a longstanding career, one way or the other.

Who’s missing – Yeah cant really think of anyone

Best Supporting Actor
Most of the time, I’ll moderately agree with the frontrunners. I’ll be fine with them winning, but I woulda gone a different direction. For best supporting actor, that is not the case. I whole heartedly agree with what everyone’s saying: the statue should go to Christoph Waltz for Inglorious Basterds. Quirky, larger than life character with an unforgetable performance (three words: Thats a bingo!). And on top of that, he flowed gracefully in and out of not one, not two, not three, but FOUR languages. My next choice would be Woody Harrelson for The Messenger. I just love the fact that in the same year, he rocked an action comedy (Zombieland), appeared in a big budget blockbuster (2012) and got an Academy Award nomination (The Messenger). Actors who can pull of that sort of year have the highest respect from me I could possibly give them. Nothing too special about the rest of the guys in this category. No arguments about their nominations, and dont expect them to beat out Waltz.

Who’s Missing – Last year I woulda had a list that was twice the length of the nominees of men who were missing here. This year all I gotta say is that I really do think Stanley Tucci was nominated for the wrong film. While his role in The Lovely Bones was more intense and a bigger stretch for him, his role in Julie & Julia was far more memorable in a much better film.

Best Supporting Actress
This one’s going to Mo’Nique for Precious. No contest. And no real argument from me here either. Watching it, knowing early on she was the front runner, I was about half way sold. Then we got to the last ten minutes of the film and I wanted to just run up there and hand her an Oscar. I dont think anyone in the theater was left unaffected by that scene. In spite of that, Im not sure that I would vote for her. I personally prefered Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air (and not because Im a Twi-hard, because Im very much not). I connected with her a lot better, which makes sense. Not much of a stretch to believe I’d relate to her better. But she also had a really big arc that I hadn’t expected, and for that young thing to stand her ground (and then some) against George Clooney is no easy feat (that’s how Vera Farmiga rightfully earned herself a spot here too). She was also quite spunky, which is another plus for me. As for the rest of ’em, I was happy about Maggie Gyllenhaal sneaking onto the list. I wasn’t particularly impressed with her in Crazy Heart, but she is a fave of mine and Im glad she can now introduce herself as “”Academy Award Nominee Maggie Gyllenhall””. Penelope Cruz seemed like an obvious choice for a nomination. I do love her, but Nine was kinda weak.

Who’s missing – The girls of Inglorious Basterds. Diane Kruger got a nomination or two along the way this awards season, but I really loved Melanie Laurent (bad ass chicks get more points in my books, and she was as tough as those cookies come). Woulda been happy to see either here.

Best Director
This one’s going to Katheryn Bigelow, which is very deserved. The whole feel of The Hurt Locker is just so real and powerful. We all know who my vote woulda gone to, though. I wont go into yet another “”I \m/ love Quentin Tarantino”” rant, but just know that I do. I’d love to see Jason Reitman win one of these one year, but this aint his year. James Cameron is another kinda obvious one to show up here. Nothing in particular to say about Lee Daniels.

Who’s Missing – Im fine with the list as is, but it’d have been cool to see Tom Ford for A Single Man. If this was a few months ago, I would have been surprised that Clint Eastwood didnt make it for Invictus, but that one also lost momentum along the way.

Best Original Screenplay
Its between The Hurt Locker and Inglorious Basterds. Basically what I said for director goes here too. Wont complain if Mark Boal takes it for Hurt Locker, but I’d like it to go to Tarantino for Basterds. And he’s actually got a decent shot here. Happy for The Messenger getting a nod. Definitely a really good really original film. I’ll refrain from ranting about A Serious Man. Am I the only one who thinks Up is here just cause people wanted to find one more nomination to give it?

Who’s Missing – (500) Days of Summer. So inventive and sweet and funny and great overall. I still think the split screen scene is one of the cleverest bits I’ve ever encountered.

Best Adapted Screenplay
Odds are this is Up in The Air’s only real chance at a win, but it’d be a good win. The writing was just fantastically brilliant. Snappy and clever dialogue, wonderful characters, timely theme that’s not too forced or overdone. I actually just finished reading the book a few weeks ago, and the screenplay is a great adaptation. Reitman and Turner started from a good source and made it even more relevant and fitting for today. I’d also be happy if District 9 took it. Just reread my comments up in best picture about the scifi/allegory balance. Should note that I haven’t seen In the Loop. From the categories I care about, its pretty much the only one Im missing. But since Im not expecting it to win, Im in no rush to see it.

Who’s Missing – I can tell you who’s not missing: The Lovely Bones. Just finished the book two days ago. I think if I’d read it first I would have absolutely hated the movie. It soooo missed the point completely.

That about does it for the categores I really have something to say about. Few other assorted thoughts:
-Up is a shoo-in for animated feature. For the animation itself I woulda gone with Fantastic Mr Fox, but I do think that Up was the overall better movie. Also sad that Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs lost that last spot
-Im rooting for The White Ribbon for Best Foreign Picture. Having seen and absolutely loved Funny Games in all its effed up absurdity (even if it was just the remake), I’ve been really interested in Michael Haneke. Never quite managed to see The White Ribbon, but would very much like to at some point.
-Star Trek is predicted to win Best Makeup, so I like the idea that it will likely be an academy award winning film.
-Anyone else find it kinda funny that Ryan Bingham is the name of Clooney’s character in Up in the Air and one of the nominees for best song (The Weary Kind from Crazy Heart)?”

The Apartment (AFI #80)

“I fell asleep for the last five minutes (which is by no means the movie’s fault) so Im gonna keep this on the short-ish side so I can go to bed. Case in point, I’d actually just posted this on my old LJ. Almost didnt notice until the font color caught me off guard.

First reaction to The Apartment is that its far more risqué than I woulda expected for its time. And parts of it were rather heavy too (the whole sleeping pill thing). Not that that’s a complaint. On the contrary, it was all a rather pleasant surprise.

The other thought was how much the setting reminded me of How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. Half the time, I was expecting Baxter to start singing “”The Company Way””. Notably, The Apartment was turned into a broadway musical back in the 60’s. There’s a revival coming up this year starring Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenowyth. I absolutely adore the two of them (Hayes in particular) so Im hoping to catch that. We’ll see if it actually happens since I tend to average only one NYC trip a year, and I already know Im gonna go see American Idiot in May.

Really liked the cast. Jack Lemmon’s character in “”Some Like it Hot”” was my favorite, and this one multiplied my love and respect for him. Yet another wonderful actor I’ve become familiar with thru this project. Also nice to be able to put an iconic performance with Shirley MacLaine’s name in my head. I feel more movie-ly educated now.”

All the President’s Men (AFI #77)

“Just before staring the movie, I spent some time working on a spreadsheet of what films were left on the list including their running times, divided between those I have and haven’t seen. Hopefully that will help me prioritize the rest. Movies that are under two hours can prolly get viewed on weeknights, and the longer ones on the weekends. We’ll see how that goes.

The plan for tonight was to hit an over two hour one. Looking at the time I finished, I prolly shoulda gone for an even longer one, but its all good. All The Presidents Men was rather enjoyable.

What I found particularly cool about it is that its intriguing on two fronts. On the one hand, there’s the whole Watergate mystery. But at the same time, its very much a story about reporters and gives a pretty good look into their line of work. Apparently (acc to IMDB trivia, of course) this movie often gets shown to journalism students.

Mad props to the cast as well. We all know how much I love Dustin Hoffman, so I’ll spare you the usual paragraph about his awesomeness. Really loved Robert Redford as well. Kinda nice to have another great role to think of him in besides Sneakers (not that I am in any way knocking that wonderfully fun flick).

Not too much else to say on it. Mission accomplished for the weekend, movie wise. Really hoping to get two in during the week, but we’ll see how that goes. And now I’ve got two hungry vampire kitties awaiting their dinner”

Cop Out

“On my list of fave directors, Kevin Smith prolly comes in at the 4th spot. So even though the trailers for Cop Out didnt look too promising, I had to go. Incidentally, this is the first time Smith directs a film that he didnt write himself. While the movie definitely had its moments (one in particular got a \m/ huge laugh outta me), for the most part I think Smith should stick to his own shit.

The first thing that I will say is actually brilliant is the title. If you’re unaware of the backstory, yeah it seems kinda stupid. The original title was “”A Couple of Dicks”” but we all know about the hateful relationship the MPAA has with Kevin Smith (even worse than Smith with Southwest Airlines if you’re up on that recent drama), so that didnt fly (hadnt thought of the SA thing when I picked that phrase). With that bit of history, yes I daresay, brilliant title.

The cast was good. Bruce Willis apparently had been really wanting to work with Smith, especially after appearing together in Die Hard 4.0 and he really fit into his world quite well (even if it wasn’t the beloved View Askew-niverse). Tracy Morgan was great, but I really wish he could enunciate and didnt sound like he’s got a constant stuffy nose. Maybe then, I’d be able to understand more than half of his lines. There wasn’t as much Seann William Scott as the trailer had led me to believe, which did make me a bit sad. Even if he’s constantly playing a variation of Stifler, I do love him so. Some surprising faces in the supporting cast that I was happy to see: Jason Lee (of course a hardcore Smith collaborator had to be there), Kevin Pollack, Adam Brody, Guillermo Diaz (he’s Guillermo on Weeds), Michelle Trachtenberg, and Rashida Jones.

Again, the comedy was kinda hit or miss. Nowhere near as classic as Clerks or even Dogma, but hey at least it wasn’t Jersey Girl (sorry, cheap shot. To be fair, I actually didnt hate Jersey Girl like most other peeps did). But I think low expectations is really the key to maximum enjoyability here

Cop Out – \m/ \m/ \n

Bonnie & Clyde (AFI #41)

“Penultimate Amazon rental. 1 more to rent, 2 free online, and 3 on order from I should have access to all the pending movies on the list pretty soon. Should also note that this one was an HD rental. Really didnt notice much difference, but it was only a buck more.

Aw crap, I feel this is gonna be another one of my infamously incoherent write ups, like …Virgina Woolfe yesterday. I had a similar issue where I’d get really into it, then my mind would wander and it’d lose me for a bit. When I’d come back, I’d feel like I’d missed something important.

The first thing that really caught me off guard about Bonnie and Clyde is that they had a gang. You always just hear of them as a deadly duo. So I was a bit confused when they first picked up their accomplice, and by how much they were riding around with Clyde’s fam. Just something that struck me as odd.

According to IMDB trivia, this movie was pretty groundbreaking as far as some of the violence in the film. Among its acheivements, it was the first time you’d see a gun fired and hit someone in the same shot. So I guess all those violent films that I crave nowadays owe a lot to this one.

Now I’d like to take this opportunity to say that Warren Beatty was quite pretty back in the day, and I absolutely loved him as Clyde. But really, I loved Faye Dunaway as Bonnie even more. I’d like to think of myself as a fairly badass chick, and I like movies that showcase tough girls who can kick some butt. Bonnie Parker definitely fits that description. Dunaway is one of many actors/resses that I was introduced to thru the AFI project. Each performance of hers just kicks her up another notch in my book.

Spent a good chunk of the movie thinking bout Public Enemies (mostly cause of the whole “”we’re here for the bank’s money”” bit), to the point where I just put it on in the background while Im writing this. It has been sitting in my movie queue for a while. Only about 10 inutes in, but can def say that the decision to get that one on Blue-Ray was a good one. I’d been on the fence, but this is one of the few where the quality really is just awesome. Just leaving it on for a few minutes while I eat lunch, then head over to Cop Out”

The Sixth Sense (AFI #89)

“While pondering my afternoon, I remembered that the best solution to the “”I should watch an AFI but I dont know if Im in the right mindset”” conundrum is to watch one of the ones I’m fairly familiar with already. That way even if I space completely, I’ve seen it before and can prolly work out something to say here.

As mentioned on Twitter this movie has actually come up in conversation several times during the week, so it seemed the logical choice once I’d decided on a semi-repeat movie.

Really quick, just wanna take a moment to say how happy it makes me that this film made it to the AFI list, and that it got some good Oscar recognition back in its day. Sadly, it didnt actually win anything (American Beauty? WTF? You dont see that on any lists other than the worst of the Oscars lists), but the fact that it was up there is enough.

I still remember the first time I saw it. For a few weeks back in high school the library would show a movie on Thursday (and finish it on Friday) during lunch. The’d charge a buck for admission. The first one they showed was The Sixth Sense. Im also fairly sure that was the first DVD I ever saw. Sadly I was long spoilt for the film before seeing it, but at the time I didnt think it took away from the experience. Thinking about it now, I really do wish I coulda seen it without knowing what happens (I wont say just in case you’re the one person on the planet that doenst know). Its not something I woulda been able to fully appreciate then, but really could now.

I also have a greater appreciation for directors now, so this time around I was just eating up every last one of Shyamalan’s details. Even though his work has somewhat deteriorated over the years, he is still a cinematical genius. I’ve made it a point to see his movies as soon after their release as possible, hoping to make it without knowing the end. The only time I was successful was for The Village, and thats cause I went to an early show the day it opened, immediately running to the theater after class.

Was really struck by Haley Joel Osment’s performance this time as well. You’d never expect such a young’un to be so intense. Found this bit on IMDB trivia about him, that was kinda interesting. Gonna just copy/paste the whole thing:
“”Reputedly, Haley Joel Osment got the role of Cole Sear for one of three reasons: First, he was best for it. Second, he was the only boy at auditions who wore a tie. Third, M. Night Shyamalan was surprised when he asked Haley Joel Osment if he read his part. Osment replied, “”I read it three times last night.”” Shyamalan was impressed saying, “”Wow, you read your part three times?”” To which Osment replied, “”No, I read *the script* three times.””””

While we’re on the subject of trivia for the film, I remember seeing an interview with Osment way back when. Musta been on Leno or one of his counterparts. He was saying how it was always incredibly cold when they were filming, but the crew always had plenty of hot chocolate for him. He first thought they were just being really nice, but it turns out it was specifically to get that breath effect on screen.

Also just wanna go on record saying I love Donnie Wahlberg in this as well. I know he doesn’t do much, but what he does he does well. Enjoyed seeing Toni Collete as well, especially now that I know her as Tara (as in United States Of) and from Little Miss Sunshine. That final scene between her and Osment is just pure magic. And of course, this is also one of Bruce Willis’ all time best performances.

So um, yeah, I’d say this movie is a win”

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe? (AFI #67)

“This one’s been intriguing me for a while, but just now getting around to seeing it. Although I kinda wish I was in a more attentive mood.

I got really into it at the beginning, then got lost somewhere after the “”bourgin”” scene in the yard, and had a hard time getting back into it. Im definitely gonna need to give this one a second viewing at some point and/or tear into the actual play.

Ugh, this is an awkwardly written blog entry. Sorry folks, not sure what’s up with me today.

Anyways, I loved how \m/ up this one was (big surprise there). I really had not expected that. The first half made me feel uncomfortable silently observing the awkwardness. Then there were just so many WTF moments throughout.

I dont feel I got really good understanding of the whole thing, though. I found a spark notes type site online and kinda skimmed it for info. Mostly because the wedding bouquet line caught me as familiar and I was trying to Google where I’d heard it before.

Fantastic cast. I dont think I’d ever seen Liz Taylor in action before, so watching her in the role she considers her best was really cool. Was also thinking that I’d love to play Honey someday. Lately when I see plays (or movies from plays) I’d been thinking about them from a directorial perspective. It’d been a while since I came away from one thinking about it as an actor, but yeah I think I gotta add that to the list of dream roles. Not that Im likely to have a shot at it, and I really dont know how well I’d do, but it’d def be a fun challenge.

Right, well Im really not making much sense today. Gonna stop for now, hit the grocery store, and re-evaluate if I really should hit another AFI before Flogging Molly tonight or not.”

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/