Due Date

“Not sure how comprehensive this write up is gonna be. Im kinda anxious to watch a couple of episodes of Chuck before I go out tonight. Going dancing (salsa, etc) so Im rocking out to Lady Gaga which is very effectively getting me in the rug cutting mood. Yes I listen to Gaga. Occupational hazard from hanging out with a lotta gay boys. I take my pop culture responsabilities as a hag quite seriously, thank you.

Wasn’t particularly keen on the looks of this movie from the trailer. It didnt really make me laugh at all. But you know what, neither did the trailer for The Hangover, and I ended up \m/ loving it. That still didnt entirely sell me because Zach Galifianakis was prolly my least favorite of the guys in that film. Bradley Cooper was totally my number one, closely followed by Ed Helms, and I’d still prolly rank Justin Bartha above Galifianakis despite his minimal screen time. The guy’s just a lil too over the top for me. I can handle him in small doses, as he does have his moments, but I was wary about total immersion. But knowing that I’d have Robert Downey Jr’s handsomeness to look at the whole time was enough.

It took me a lil bit to get into the film. The set up had that nightmare feel, where it’d be so easy to get out of but you’re stuck. Not unlike when you’re watching a horror film and you know that hottie shouldnt go into the basement alone, but they still do it anyway, and then they die brutally. And then Galifianakis’ character was just really nails-on-chalkboard annoying for a while. Eventually, there was a slight bit of depth added to his charcater and as RDJr started to feel the teensiest bit of sympathy for him, I kinda did too, and it sorta picked up from there. Speaking of RDJr, he does a fantastic job of playing that douche bag that you kinda hate yourself for loving so completely.

And Im already getting distracted…will be wrapping up shortly. Appreciated the cameos: Jamie Foxx, Juliette Lewis, even Danny McBride. And I do love Michelle Monaghan (hers was bigger than just cameo).

Ultimately, the film had its moments. I couldnt decide whether or not to give it the last half a rock hand in my rating. But by the end, I did find myself caring about the characters, and there was a little bit of edge of my seat suspense as they’re racing towards their deadline (that feels like the wrong word). If nothing else, RDJr earns that final half a rock hand for being, well RDJr.

Due Date – \m/ \m/ \m/

Paranormal Activity 2

“When I heard talk of this movie comin’ out, I wasn’t exactly planning to head over the theater at my first opportunity. Really, I figured I’d end up skipping it entirely. But the buzz was good, and this week didnt have much in the way of new releases. And we all know how obsessive I am about going to the theater as often as possible, so it was the reasonable choice for a mid week flick.

Had a bit of drama, err not drama but a hiccup I guess, logisticwise. I’d Fandango-ed my ticket so I could use one of my cheap movie credits (I mentioned it before, but I joined this site where I pay 20 bucks a month and get 4 movie tickets. Wicked sweet. Hit me back if you want details so I can hook you up, and get myself a freebie for the referral)). That meant I had to print out my ticket. Between 5 printers that I could find in the office, none of them would \m/ print my \m/ ticket. Instead of being able to just run into the theater, grab a concession stand dinner, and sit down with enough time for a quick game of Tetris on my phone, I had to haul ass to get home and print my ticket there. Hoovered a tv dinner, since Im cheap and I was home anyways, ran like the wind back to the theater and sat down just as the lights went dim. Turns out, it actually was worth all the effort.

Just gonna get this outta the way now and say that yes, a lot of this write up will be making comparisons to the original. That’s the way that makes the most sense to me. Deal with it.

It did take me a lil bit to get into the film for a couple reasons: A)Ive been trained to be skeptical about sequels, so on some level Im always trying to find something wrong. 2)It seems it did take longer for things to pick up than it did with the original. III)Ive said this before, but its been a while so I’ll reiterate. I like to figure things out and solve the puzzle myself. For me, one sign of a good movie is me not being able to get it all sorted too quickly. In this case, I was trying to reconcile what I was seeing happen in this film with the original. I had a few preconceived notions as to how it all fit, which threw off my Sherlock Holmes-ing of the plot points.

Okay, so how did it fit together with its predecessor? Pretty damn well, I thought. Dare I even say impressively so? It was that rare sequel that not only stayed true to the spirit of the original, it actually enhanced the story and made more sense of it (Why couldnt The Matrix sequels have done that? Oh right, what Matrix sequels? There was only one film) When watching the original at BYOP on Saturday, a friend made a comment about how it was kinda disappointing that you never entirely found out the motive of the evil spirit. The sequel made it much more clear. And while it took a while to work up to the actual connection, that link ended up fitting perfectly. Ugh, its hard to explain all this cryptically so as to not give spoilers. It also cleared up my own confusion with the timeline in this film since I was trying to figure out how all the “”whens”” coincided with the other. While the ultimate ending was predictable, it was still very satisfying. Really, there was no other way it could have played out.

I think another reason why the paranormal activity in Paranormal Activity 2 was so slow to build up is that they were face with the typical sequel challenge of trying to be original without being ridiculous. So things were kept to a bit more of a minimum than I would have liked, but it was still effective.

I also like that they were able to find a way that made sense to work Katie and Micah into the film. That was another one of my concerns going in, when I saw that they were back for it. I really had been impressed with them last time, and this new cast was just as good. I even found myself really sympathizing with the teenybopper stepdaughter, when I usually despise teenage girls. They scare me. More than the creepy invisible demons.

Anyhoo, definitely a good companion piece to the original film. If you were a fan of the first, I highly recommend checking it out. I dont think it’d be worth watching without knowing the other since it wont be so impactful (is that a word?). So I guess I know what I’ll be screening at next year’s BYOP…

Paranormal Activity 2 – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Red

“Happy Halloween, all you lovely creatures of the night! Hope ya’ll had tons of fun during this spooktacular weekend. I know I did. Last night’s party was leaning towards epic. And of course, in keeping with recent trends, my costume was movie themed. Yep, I was a Ghostbuster this time, with the cats as my ghosts. Fun for the whole family!!

Okay I got distracted looking at signs from the rallies this weekend

I dont know how I got so behind in seeing Red. I know part of it was since I realized I was gonna be behind, I held off so I could use my freebie.

Crap, the cats are yowling for dinner. Quick break.

Back now. Not that you actually woulda noticed that I left.

Right, so I somehow fell behind in watching this one. I feel there was some reason I was apprehensive about it, but I cant for the life of me figure out why. I know today when I was there, I was worried about falling asleep since it’d been a crazy weekend and I’d been trying to finish up the leftover pumpkin beer before the movie. (Alcohol puts me to sleep unless I have a buddy to keep me hyper). But as it turns out, I absolutely loved the film. It was very much a Dawn movie.

I do rather love action comedies. I was actually having a discussion with someone a few weeks ago about whether or not multi-genre movies can work, and I do believe that action comedies can be brilliant if they find the right balance. Red pretty much had it. I feel it could have upped the action just a smidge besides what was in the climax, but Im not complaining. And the comedy was definitely there, without being forced.

The main driving factor of the film was the characters. I loved each and every one of them, and they were all cast so perfectly. I dont even know where to begin with them. John Malkovich stole every one of his scenes with his wonderfully witty words. Helen Mirren was one of the most absolute bad ass women I have ever seen on screen, while at the same time maintaining a high level of girlyness. Morgan Freeman, well was your typical Morgan Freeman character, but that didnt make me like him any less. Its wonderful watching Bruce Willis continue to kick ass just as hard as he did waaaaay back in the day. That shootout where he jumps outta the spinning cop car definitely wins for the most bad ass (yes, I’ll likely keep using that phrase throughout the write up) moment. And then there’s Mary Louise Parker. I’ve adored her for years, ever since watching The Client. Her work on Weeds has brought a whole other side to her acting, and while her Red character was very Nancy Botwin-esque, it worked beautifully. The film dragged a bit when she wasn’t around. Also, I couldnt get over the chemistry she had with Willis. Not a movie couple I woulda ever thought of, but there was some crazy voodoo magic in it.

I feel if I stop here, I haven’t really said much, but I do believe I’ve gotten my point across. And there’s just enough time left in this All Hallow’s Eve to watch my usual festive flick of choice – Frailty. Why that’s my pick every Halloween, Im honestly not that sure. Im just drawn to it.

Red – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Conviction

“So far so good for sticking to the movie schedule. Back a few months ago, I earned a “”night at the movies”” coupon for AMC and somehow managed to get a free movie back then plus a set of certificates for freebies. The expiration date isnt until this coming January, so I’ve been kinda sitting on it for a while. Its annoying the whole having to wait until the second week to use a coupon, and I didnt wanna sit thru a movie at the Common that I coulda seen at the Fenway. Opportunity finally presented itself with Conviction, although I held onto the popcorn and soda coupons.

Reason for watching this: I heart Sam Rockwell. So much that I stalked him in NYC this past May. Yeah, that was kinda awesome. Main reason I heart him is because of his role in Choke, but the man can act, and he hasn’t betrayed my trust when it comes to his choice of movies. Therefore, I continue to follow him blindly. And yes, he delivered as expected in this film, even if something was kinda off about his aging.

I know this is all b-ass-ackwards from how I usually do my write ups, but I guess I’ll continue on the cast before I even get into a general overview. Mixing it up, y’know? I have mixed feelings on Hilary Swank. For some reason, the idea of her annoys me. But then I watch her performances and she’s fantastic. I think I just have it in my head that she’s overrated, what with the whole 2 for 2 streak at the Academy Awards and the inevitable buzz she gets for every new role she takes. But the truth of the matter is, she isnt actually overrated. She’s good. Conviction was no exception. She even had a tolerable Boston accent!

Continuing with the cast, actually loved Minnie Driver. She typically annoys me (especially for her part in that other Boston-area-set movie of hers) but I daresay she redeemed herself with this one. Tough as a nails with a heart. Pleasant surprise to see Bailee Madison, even if this role wasn’t nearly as meaty as what she had in Brothers. Juliet Lewis was also fantastic in a role where you both hated her because her character was not a nice person, but loved her for the quirks of her performance. The other pleasant surprise was Clea Duvall. Been a fan of hers since The Faculty, mostly because I could really related to her character Stokely (except for the whole “”we’re gonna prove she’s assimilated”” happy ending thing with her wearing lilac *gag*). Weird seeing her with long hair in the 80’s scenes.

Okay, so now that I’ve broken down the cast, what did I think about the film itself? I really liked it. I’ve said that a good sign of the enjoyability of a film is how long it takes me to check my watch for the first time. We made it over an hour. That’s rare. It really was such a compelling story, even if I knew how it was ultimately gonna play out. There was a bit of a drag about 2/3 of the way thru, but not significant enough to make me think any less of the film.

What really struck me was the relationship between the two main characters, in particular in the childhood flashback scenes. It really made me wish that I had a brother growing up, to the point where the scenes actually were getting a bit emotional for me. Yeah, being an only child kinda sucks sometimes.

Sooooo yeah, I kinda wonder if we’ll see this one hang around a bit during Oscar season, but the fact that it was released so early doesnt bode well. Its definitely over the top Oscar bait, but good nonetheless

Conviction – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Hereafter

Moving on. Quick break for a froyo from Ufood, a tv dinner, and an episode of Vampire Diaries, then went to Hereafter.

I had some reservations about going. Stone had been such a disappointment, and I was kinda falling asleep. I was sorta in that mood where it felt like an obligation to go to the movie, as opposed to something I wanted to do. Had I not paid for the ticket already when I bought the earlier one, I just mighta bailed. And then I walk into the theather and most of the crowd is geriatric (hence the reason I managed a less than stellar seat even though I walked in nearly 15 min early). Then it filled up with more people, and the lady next to me was annoying and couldnt shut up. But it all proved to be well worth it, because I thoroughly enjoyed the film.

I’d read a review in EW that gave just a lil too much away, so I kinda knew where things were headed. I’ll try not to do the same to you. I will say there were three storylines: Matt Damon as a reluctant medium, a French chick who comes back from being dead momentarily, and a boy who loses someone close to him. Frankly, I didnt quite care about the French lady’s story, but I found the other two utterly compelling. It was definitely heavy subject matter, so not the movie to pick if you want something feel good. And all of the talk of death and pain got me really missing my Daddy, then again anything I’ve seen in the past 7 months that remotely broaches that subject gets me thinking like that. I loved and sympathized with the characters and was just totally captivated by them.

Im trying to think of more specifics to write on it, but Im blanking. Guess that’s what I get for trying to do two write ups at once when really all I wanna do is get back to The Vampire Diaries (Damon Salvatore is my new vampire obession…we all saw that coming). Jumping back for a moment, I will say that given Clint Eastwood’s track record (he directed Herafter, btw, if you weren’t in the know) we’ll prolly hear this one’s name tossed around come Oscar season, so if such things interest you, get thee to the theater.

Hereafter – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Stone

“As I tweeted yesterday, the movie watching plan for this week is: Stone, Hereafter, Conviction, and Red. I think I went thru about a dozen different possible schedules before settling on the most time and cost efficient one. Luckily, Stone got added to the Fenway this week, so today I double featered that with Hereafter. That way I have tomorrow open for Halloween shopping with my BFF. And today’s tickets earned me a freebie I can use for Red during the week, plus the AMC freebie I’ve been sitting on which can go towards Conviction. w00t.

I realized I never really do double features at the Fenway, which strikes me as kinda odd. You’d think with all those days I end up with nothing to do, I’d fill them by going back and forth the whole two blocks to the theater. But I guess it tends to make more sense to me to double up when I hafta go outta my way a bit. The only time I actually remember doubling at the Fenway was before I lived over here. I think it was Crank and The Illusionist, and it was my last summer movie trip of that year.

Anyhoo, so Stone started things off today. Yay Edward Norton! So happy this one actually made it to the theater. His previous one, Leaves of Grass, didnt expand wide enough before the DVD release. But you should check out the DVD because it was quite good. Had a done a write up on it, it woulda earned 4 rock hands. I digress. Stone, unfortunately, not so great.

I’ll be honest. The trailer didnt particularly sell me. The only reason I went was because of Norton. Robert DeNiro was bonus points, but his movie choice of late hasn’t been so hot *cough*cough*Everybody’sFine*cough* And it seems the majority of Boston had the good sense to stay away. There were 6 of us in the theater–prolly the smallest crowd I’ve ever seen at a weekend show, even if it was just a matinee.

The movie just didnt go anywhere. The structure was bad, pacing poor, story boring. The opening scene just lost me, I still dont quite understand its significance, and it just kept fallign from there. There were feeble attempts at character development that made no sense. I couldnt understand anyone’s motives, or even what they were actually doing for that matter.

The cast was good, but the movie was just so beneath them. DeNiro is capable of soooo much better, no wonder he just phoned it in. I can see why Norton took the role. It is very different from what he’s done before (arguably there’s a fair amount of his American History X role, but not quite the same). And while the cornrows and accent/slang thing were a bit distracting, he did pull it off. It just seems like such a waste. Surprisingly, I did love Milla Jovovich. Her character was the type that shoulda annoyed me, but she had me under the same spell as her leading men. Makes me wonder what she coulda done with a more superior film.

Stone – \m/ \n

Howl

“For me, going to the movies is such a frequent occurance, that I dont tend to put much thought into it. A lotta people need to see a trailer multiple times, get feedback and reviews, and then make an informed decision about what to watch. While all of that can influence me, its not unheard of for me to go see something based on the tiniest bit of information. A few weeks ago, that was Never Let Me Go. Today, it was Howl. My knowledge of the film was it starred James Franco, and had something to do with a poem called Howl. Id YouTube-d the trailer once, but didnt actually pay attention. Really, they had me at James Franco. I love and adore that boy, and have enough respect for him as an actor that I trust his choice of films. In this case, I feel a lil more research would have been beneficial since I prolly wouldnt have put such a high priority on it.

Im not saying it was bad. It was rather good. Im just saying it wasn’t for me. The fact that it was centered around a poem shoulda tipped me off. I have never had the attention span for poetry. There may be the occasional poem here and there that I can get thru, but usually my brain shuts off after the first line. I can’t explain it. A good chunk of the movie was just the poem. You’d see Franco reading it, then there’d be some animated sequences with his voiceover reading it, then it’d be read during the courtroom scenes. I really tried to focus, but its like I have a special brand of ADD. My mind was all over the place except that poem.

The other thing that didnt work for me was that it was documentary style. Again, that’s just personal preference. I like narratives, to be told a story. This style wasn’t quite that. It jumped around between Allen Ginsberg’s life story (right, I haven’t said so yet, but that’s who Franco was playing), the poem, and the courtroom hearings over whether or not his material was obscene. The courtroom stuff did hook me. The biographical stuff got me when it was acted out, not during the interview-y bits.

Speaking of the courtroom, a big part of why I did enjoy those scenes was the wonderful and dashing Jon Hamm. Yes, he was very much Lawyer Don Draper, but that doesnt mean it didnt work!

Anyways, between chatting with one friend on facebook, texting with another, and talking to the roommate, this blog entry just aint going any further. My recommendation on the movie is that if you’re a fan of Allen Ginsberg, in particular with his poem Howl, then yes go and see this. Otherwise, its not really worth it.

Howl – \m/ \m/

Jackass 3D

“There is something I am not ashamed to admit: I \m/ LOVE JACKASS! I dont care if you think less of me because of it.

Friday at work, Im talking to a buddy of mine who’s asking what movies I plan to hit up this weekend. I run down the possible plans pointing out that Jackass 3D was my priority. His response depicts disdain. At which point, the other person who sits at our pod jumps into the convo and says he’s looking forward to the flick and starts asking if I know what mode of 3D the film was done in. Coworker number one tries to talk down to both of us, but realizes he may soon be outnumbered. Coworker 3 at the next table overhears and adds something along the lines of “”Dawn, you’re seeing Jackass this weekend? Me too! Im so excited for it””. Game over. I win.

There isnt really much I can about the film. You prolly already have an opinion of the franchise, and you either love it or you hate it. This was more of the same. Personally, I find these boys hi-\m/-larious. I cant think of a recent comedy that had me laughing as consistently throughout as this one did. Whenever I watch Jackass, I can’t help but wish oh so bad that I could hang out with those boys. That might be largely due to the fact that I have a HUGE crush on Bam…and Steve-O…and Knoxville…but mostly Bam. But besides that, I just love watching ’em have fun, and you really feel like you’re right there with them.

Oh and about the 3D thing, it totally worked. Mostly just because the image quality was much higher def than usual. Im not such the 3D snob that I was back in the beginninog of the trend , but I will say that it’s worthwhile. For one, its just such a creative use of the technology. What I liked more than the 3D-ness, actually, was the uber slo-mo stuff. Whatever camera they used for all of that was very top of the line, and those shots were fantastic.

Anyhoo, if you love Jackass, go check this out. And be sure to check it out soon! The big, enthusiastic crowd was a definite plus

PS- Skip the popcorn or snacks in general

Yes, Im actually giving it this rating
Jackass 3D – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

The Kids Are All Right

“This film eluded me all summer. It was the only indie I was really interested in, but JCS kept me from getting out to the theater. I’d pretty much accepted the fact that it was gonna hafta wait fo the DVD. I’d actually intended to go see Howl today, but then I figured if today’s movie watching was gonna involve a bit of a trek, why not go all out and head over to the Kendall for this one. As a bonus, I got to have dinner at CBC which meant A) I got that burger that I’ve been jonesing for all week and 2) a pint of their pumpkin ale which is my absolute fave beer. And it also worked out cause I could use one of my Weekly Cinema tickets (its this really cool deal where you pay a certain amount a month, then get X amount of movie tickets for that month. They work out to about 5-6 bucks a piece. Lemme know if you want more info, cause I think I get a referral bonus). Howl’s at Coolidge Corner which wouldnt work for that.

Sadly, I think this one suffered a little bit from over-hype, or at least overanticipation on my part. I know I know, I always \m/ do this to myself. I get sooooo excited about a film that’s supposed to be soooooooo amazing, and if its anything less I get grumpy. It was good. Really good. But something felt off. I think I expected it to be different, but Im not entirely sure what it was I expected. I still cant quite figure that out.

Two things drew me to this movie. One was the Oscar buzz earning cast. More on them later. The other was just the premise itself, for many reasons. The idea of the “”modern family”” is very interesting to me. I come from a very traditional family, and that is something I very much want for myself, but I do realize that doesnt have to be the only kind of family out there. Also, Im very much a hag. I have a collection of gay boys whom I love and adore, and I wouldn’t hesitate to kill for them. Therefore, Im often drawn to gay characters (Case in point, Kurt is my fave Glee kid. No question). Seriously, I get kinda annoyed with your typical rom-com hetero storyline, but give me a homo storyline and Im jumping up and down squealing (first example that comes to mind is Will & Grace when Taye Diggs guest starred as a love interest for Will).

So yes, the story was unique and compelling, and was flawlessly acted. Walking out of there, I absolutely adored Julianne Moore. From early on in the film, I was thinking that I would totally love to have her as my mom. But then in discussing with my roomie on the walk to CBC, I realized just how nuanced Annette Bening’s performance was. It must have been really difficult to maintain just enough of a sympathetic edge, rather than becoming a totally hated character at times. Definitely will be seeing those wonderful women wandering ’round during awards season. Mark Ruffalo was also quite impressive. I think he’s just been waiting for meatier and meatier roles, and this is certainly a step in the right direction for him.

Getting sleepy now. Go see this movie if you wanna get a jump on Oscar season

The Kids Are All Right – \m/ \m/ \m/

Buried

“Aw man, the whole walk home from the Common I was thinkin’ thru everything I wanted to say ’bout this one. Then I got distracted when I got here. Now Im thinking about fishsticks. Gonna try to keep focused and actually do a decent write up.

First off, before we get into Buried, worth noting that I saw The Town again last night. Equally good as the previous viewing, especially since this time I wasn’t getting stuck on the whole hey-thats-right-down-the-street-from-me thing and could actually pay attention to the \m/ movie.

I had some concerns going into Buried. For one, I was in a bit of a funk all day, and was very much distracted on the walk over. That means the movie’s gonna hafta work extra hard to keep my attention. Nextly, there was the concept itself to be concerned about. The thought of the entire movie taking place in a box underground could either be brilliant or godawful.

Verdict? Brilliant! Im not even sure where to start. Guess the beginning. I was hooked from the opening credits. We’ve established that clever opening credits are something Im very much a sucker for. Between the music and the animation, it reminded me of the sinister aspect of the Lemony Snicket’s credits. Yeah, random, I know. Then from the first moments of Ryan Reynolds in the coffin, claustrophobia set in quickly. They wasted no time in establishing that.

In general, I was very impressed with the direction. The shots were beautiful in a sense and very interesting. The emotion was there on screen, and elicited from the audience. The concept actually worked incredibly well. I dont think there’s a better way to put that. It seems as though it accomplished exactly what they set out to do.

So yes, very very emotional movie. I hate the cliche “”emotional rollercoaster”” but this was a perfect example of that. There were scenes that almost choked me up, little bits of laughter here and there, utter digust and anger, suspense, just everything. The disgust and angry inducing bit came outta nowhere for me. Major points for any movie who can blind side me, given that I’ve seen just about everything that can be done on screen. The last few minutes of the film (dont worry, I wont spoil) were absolutely intense. I was sitting at the edge of my seat with my hand over my mouth and my eyes wide. When it was over, I had to sit there for a few minutes to process and let it sink in.

My biggest complaint really isnt reflective of the film itself, more just something that bothers me. As much as I enjoy (or at the very least am more than okay with) going to the movies alone, it really sucks when there’s a snake on screen and I dont have anyone to tell me when its okay to look up again. My usual position is hands in front of my face, head turned away and down a bit, eyes shut as tight as possible. When its just me, I hafta keep peeking to see if its okay again, and its usually not.

I think the only thing I got left to talk about is Mr Reynolds. Damn, I love that guy. You know, there are many far worse people you could choose to be essentially the only actor (voices and video clips dont count) for an entire film. So no complaints there! What I loved is that despite how desperate his situation was, they still managed to work in some of his signature charm/snark combo. But yes, he was def quite good in this one, thankfully because there woulda been no way to work around a bad actor this time.

Okay…fishsticks!!

Buried – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/