Toy Story 3

“Gonna make this snappy cause its nearly bed time, and I dont wanna postpone cause I got a pretty full day ahead of me mañana.

I really have grown up with Toy Story. I must’ve been in about 5th grade when the original came out, and I remember I saw it in the theater. Toy Story 2 was high school. Also saw it in the theater. Saw the rerelease in 3-D last year. And now, all growed up (or at least pretending to be) Toy Story 3.

Its always kinda forboding going into a sequel for a movie that has such a special place in your heart, epspecially when its so long after the original. But you know what, it was a spectacular and satisfying send off for such a special franchise. Not 3 minutes into the movie I felt like I was 10 again. Actually I felt younger, but I woulda been about 10 at the original.

There was so many touching sentimental scenes (some of which got me close to tears…that doesnt happen to me), but so many hilariously brilliant ones too, and one a-\m/-mazing Cool Hand Luke reference. Or at least I thought the reference was great. I dont think too many others there got it, but it is exhibit A as far as what a good job they did with the “”really big kid”” jokes as well as the laughs for the little ones. Also, major points for a scene that some of the DWTS pros assisted with. Won’t spoil. You’ll just hafta see it for yourself.

I would also like to give the film the prestigious “”most creative use for a tortilla”” award. Again, wont spoil, but that gag had me laughing for a good five minutes.

Right, so if you grew up with these toys like I did, go give them a proper farewell. But dont bother with the 3D. I didnt really notice anything special with it. Buy more candy instead

Toy Story 3 – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

The A-Team

“I hate doing write-ups so long after the movie. Im usually preoccupied with other things (I’ve been obsessing, so I wont mention that certain video game Im desperate to get back to), and I tend to forget what I wanted to say. Luckily, I jotted down a few notes on Sun afternoon before running to the Tony’s viewing, so hopefully that will help this go quickly while still providing content.

First off, the typical disclaimer for these sorts of things. Never seen the original A-Team and except for a few Mr T jokes (which I find inferior to Chuck Norris jokes) I really have no prior knowledge of it at all.

In short, I \m/ loved this one. Very much my bag, baby. Lots of action, lots of smartly done comedy, fantastic cast. Cannot ask for more in your summer blockbuster. Prince of Persia, I think you just got your ass handed to you for fave of the summer so far. Iron Man 2 is still crying in a corner somewhere.

Aaah its getting dark and I dont wanna get up to turn on the light!! Faster!!

Where I really gotta give The A-Team the most props is in the casting department. They took two stars who were relateively unknown until two of last summer’s biggest hits and quickly cast ’em together in a big movie for this summer. Yeah for you in the back not paying attention, that would be The Hangover’s Bradley Cooper and District 9’s Sharlto Copley. Sheer brilliance. Not only a smart logistical move, but they both \m/ killed. Copley’s Murdoch ended up being my favorite character in the whole thing. And apparently he also loved the show as a kid

Continuing on the cast, nice to see a film more worthy of Liam Neeson than his other most recent venture, Clash of the Titans. That one hurt my soul a bit. But it was good to see him having fun. Rounding out the bunch, no previous familiarity with Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, and I worried that he couldnt live up to the epic that is Mr T, but he did quite well and (as far as I can tell, again not having seen the original) made the character his own. Points for Patrick Wilson. Dont wanna get into possibly spoilerific detail, but it was cool seeing a different side of him. And Jessica Biel didnt annoy me as much as usual.

In the middle of all that, there were some surprisingly dramatic scenes. Im thinking of the one where they were put in jail and stripped of their rank (not a spoiler, its in the trailer and an essential plot point). I’ve been really getting into military movies lately, not sure why. Maybe it was my father’s recent military style funeral or I dont know what, but I’ve definitely felt a strong empathy for our servicemen (on screen at least) and that image almost made me cry. Just the shame in what happened, and the outrage knowing it wasn’t justified. Intense. But that was just a small emotional dip, in an otherwise electric film

Definitely a must for my fellow action junkies out there. I had a huge smile on my face before the opening credits were even over. Then on top of that, each action scene was bigger, better, and more inventive than the last. Can’t tell you how much that last point there is worth.

Yup, guess I got my point across. I love it when a movie comes together

The A-Team – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Get Him to the Greek

“I’m trying a new philosphy (or something) for picking movies to watch. Im trying to accept the fact that I dont absolutely _need_ to see everything that’s playing at the theater that I have the slightest interest in. I should only go to the ones I really wanna see, and skip the ones that feel more like a chore. We’ll see how that goes, but for this week that translates to me only planning on viewing one of the four major releases. Screw you Killers, Splice, and Marmaduke (not that you ever had a prayer in hell). Congratulations Get Him To The Greek. If only you’d been better to me.

As most of ya’ll know, ..Greek was a semi sequel, more of a spin-off really, of Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Borrowed character, hazy timeline, and unfortunately new writers. I did rather love Sarah Marshall. I was a bit on the fence about it after the first viewing, but it grew on me as I processed it and I loved it by the time I rewatched it on DVD. However, in going to see Greek today, I should have been a bit more aware of the fact that I really couldnt stand Aldous Snow (played by Russell Brand) in Marshall, which is a problem given that this whole movie is about him. I guess I somehow thought that being immersed in his screentime, I’d somehow just go with it. I was wrong.

Now before I get into the negative, I should note that I think Im in the minority on these feelings. Clearly, Brand’s career took off as a result of Sarah Marshall. And the majority of the sell out crowd (we were in a small auditorium) at today’s matinee seemed to disagree with me as well. I think it all comes down to (as it often does) just being a different style of comedy than I typically like.

I go for the smart, clever stuff, meaning witty dialogue and the unexpected, unexpected usually including a far amount of offensive. For exhibit A look at just about anything by Kevin Smith. I can also go for the other end of the spectrum, the really dumb stuff that’s best at 2 AM when drunk. Dude Where’s My Car comes to mind. Greek’s primary comedic weapon was WTF-itude. There was just so much that was messed up and random. But to me it felt a bit phoned in I guess. Either always saw it coming or didnt find it in any way inovative or imagintive. Sorry.

To his credit, I will say that Russell Brand did kinda grow on me a bit by the end. No, dont expect me to run out and pick up his My Booky Wook or anything like that. But there was a surprising amount of arc to his character and I was into it. I adore Jonah Hill, but his style reached a new level of awkward here, another thing I dont particularly go for. I kinda think he peaked back in Superbad. I got my fingers crossed for him that he’ll get that level back. Was very happy to see Elizabeth Moss, since this is the first time I’ve seen her as not Peggy Olsen (stuff I’ve seen pre-Mad Men doesnt count). P. Diddy had some moments, but he also had a bit too much of the awkward comedy thing going.

While its on my mind, what’s up with all the trailers lately that include scenes not in the movie? Im not sure how I feel about that.

The one big positive I can give is that there were some righteous cameos. Wont spoil cause half the fun is in the surprises.

I guess in summary, one of the reviews I skimmed earlier this weekend had the right thought. It was something along the lines of if Aldous Snow was your favorite part of Forgetting Sarah Marshall, then Get Him to the Greek is definitely for you. Otherwise, you might wanna steer clear.

Get Him to the Greek – \m/ \n

Casablanca (AFI #3)

“Victory Wii has arrived. I may have cheated and started playing it already. But Im keeping the movie watching my priority. Rock Band is scheduled to be here on Tue.

I think Casablanca is the movie on the list that I’d most wanted to be able to say that I’ve seen. It gets referenced so often, yet I felt pretty in the dark about the whole thing. So happy to have seen the light, as it were.

Biggest impression is that the dialogue is all so classic and beautifully written. One line after another after another that have been immortalized in film over time. I’ve said many times before that dialogue is capable of making or breaking a film for me. I wonder how much snobbier I’d be about it if I’d grown up on this venerable verbiage. And all of it delievered beyond perfectly by Humphrey Bogart and the rest of the cast. I talk about eye candy a lot. This was def ear candy.

One thing Im curious about, just how many of the AFI’s are related to WWII in some way? Seems like an awful lot. Guess there really are a million different stories to tell about that period of time.

Yeah so add Casablanca to the list of reasons why the AFI project was worthwhile.”

Raging Bull (AFI #4)

“So. Close. Almost. There.

Rewind a few months. Once I’d decided to undergo the AFI project and figured out the basic logistics, I made a first run to Best Buy to acquire movies. Raging Bull was one of the ones purchased then. And its been sitting on my shelf taunting me ever since.

Turns out, I think we got a situation of too much anticipation. For one, just being ranked so high on the list is gonna set the bar way up there. For two, I absolutely adored Rocky and Raging Bull is held in even higher esteem. For three, couple words: Robert DeNiro, Martin Scorsese.

Then what happened? I swear I was paying attention at the start. But it just lost me. Maybe it was too slow at the beginning, or spent too long focusing on the Jake/Vickie thing (or dropped it too quick). I dont know. But I was bored by the time we reached the halfway point. I coulda kept going on my sewing project, something which is usually quite helpful in getting me to focus on a film, but I just didnt wanna.

Once my attention was drifting in and out, more out really, I’d catch bits here and there that seemed intriguing but I still just couldnt get myself into it. Maybe if the first half hadnt let me down so much it woulda gone better.

Kinda sad to have such a negative outta one I’ve been on edge for for so long. Oh wells. C’est la vie. Done, done, and Im on to the next one. Done, Im done, and Im on to the next.”

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/

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/

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 Losers

“Funny how staying out until nearly 3 AM, pushes back the start of your day until noon. Any other Saturday, and I woulda managed an AFI in the morning. Whoops.

Still managed to drag my lazy ass over to The Losers, for the last matinee show of the day. Its not so much the three bucks I save that motivates me, its knowing I’m have a personal bubble of empty seats next to me and in front of me (Im a feet putter upper).

Did very much enjoy the movie, although there wasnt anything particularly special about it. No complaints, but no major commendations either. Pretty standard plot. Good characters, that I very much loved. Decent action scenes. But nothing that’s gonna result in me telling everyone I meet that they need to see this one.

The one semi-complaint is that while it tried to partly pass as an action comedy, the comedy wasn’t very comedic. That made so sense cause I was trying to sound clever. Fail. There were definitely some one liners and gags here and there that were supposta get a laugh. Few did. But, at the same time, they were successful in establishing a lighter vibe than if this were going for a hardcore action film (which it would have failed at miserably). There was actually something kinda charming about that element.

I do think the movie was pretty well cast. Im not sure how I feel about Zoe Saldana appearing in EVERYTHING lately, but I was def happy with the boys. In particular, LOVE Chris Evans. And the nerdy edge he got from the goatee and glasses was _really_ working for me. Really liked Óscar Jaenada, as well, who I dont think I’ve previously encountered. His shy yet suave combination was actually distracting me from Evans–no small feat. Jeffrey Dean Morgan seemed very much in his element, and I also came to love Columbus Short.

Yeah so kinda drawing a blank on what else to say. Again, nothing in particular really stood out too far on either end of the spectrum. Enjoyable if this sorta movie is your thing, but not something you’d need to prioritize.

The Losers – \m/ \m/ \m/

Date Night

“Since we last spoke…

Really wanted to get an AFI in after Dragon. But I was falling asleep while I was doing my dance thing (as in I was moving, yet my eyes were closing) and I figured it wouldnt even be worth attempting. So what happens? I end up staying awake thru both Shorts and An Education. Go figure.

Monday was DWTS, and they had a movie night thing. Fave dances featured Pulp Fiction, Risky Business, and Pretty Woman

Tuesday, I saw 30 Seconds to Mars which was oh my God one of my all time best concert experiences ever. Those of you who have me on FB got some of the details from my giddy status update afterwards. Besides them being a rocking band with a damn good live show, Jared Leto (*swoon* like whoa) was great with the audience interaction thing. While the rest of the band distracted during an instrumental bit, he snuck his way to the back of the crowd for a song or two. Then went thru the crowd to get back to the front, hanging out for more than half of “”The Kill””. I pawed at him as much as I could. Then the band actually hung around to sign shit afterwards. No headlining band at that size venue ever does that. Granted, it was kinda rushed thru. One item, no pictures, minimal interaction, but still awesome of them. I managed a two sentance interaction with Jared as he signed my shirt “”I love you movies too”” “”thank you”” and I’ve been on a high ever since. Once I sort thru my low quality pix and video I may post some here.

Yesterday had to take care of some apartment stuff. Watched The Invention of Lying and The Informant! in the background.

Tonight was Date Night, as in the movie, not an actual date night for me. Even though I rarely go to AMC theaters anymore, I’d managed to rack up 100 points on my card last January and got a “”free night at the movies”” freebie which is a movie ticket, popcorn, and soda. Even though I dont care much for the Common (will spare that rant, although add “”the bathrooms reek of piss”” to my long list of complaints cause ew they were gross tonight) the location is much more conveniant than the Harvard theater. So that’s where I went. And of course, no one could figure out how to ring up my ticket, and I had to argue with 3 people that I was supposta get snacks too. The third person finally understood, but was almost too lazy to go get the coupon for me. She finally did and its a little certificate thingy with a tear off for each of those items. And she gave that to me after I’d gotten my ticket. And it doesnt expire until January. That means I essentially got a second free movie (which I feel no remorse about cause I’ve defintely let AMC free tickets expire before), I have months to use it, and I figured I didnt need the snacks tonight so I got that saved for later to. Go me.

And of course, I’ve wasted all this time typing out backstory before I even get into the movie and my wrists are starting to bother me. Crap. Might need to keep this short. Sorry peeps.

Date Night was very much a win in my book. Comedy, action, all around top notch. Love Tina Fey. Can I be her when I grow up? And pairing her with Steve Carel. was genius. The two of them make a believable and utterly hilarious couple. Fantastic performances from the two of them, as should be expected.

While on the subject of the cast, lots of great appearances from other faves. Hadnt known Mark Wahlberg was in this, and there was quite a lot of him (with not a lot of clothing! *grin*). Absolutely no complaints from me there. James Franco and Mila Kunis, two others who are high on my approval list, also making small yet fantastically fun appearances. Ray Liotta playing Ray Liotta, err I mean, playing a gangster. Prison Break’s William Fichtner was there too, as was Taraji P Henson, Mark Ruffalo, and Kristin Wiig (seriously, is she in _every_ comedy released this year?)

The story was simple, but effective. I cared enough about the characters that I was feeling the suspense right with him. The structure was very streamlined, yet satisfying–a difficult feat for a comedy or an action film, even though this qualifies waaay more for the former than the latter. There were only two bits I felt might’ve gone on a bit long (the car crash and the dancing) but thats just me being picky cause the rest of the crowd was in stitches.

Im actually very surprised, and frankly quite happy, that the more recent April flicks have been very good. If April is when you release the movies that dont quite make the cut for summer, that does give me some high hopes for my favorite movie season of the year. There’s definitely some shit Im really looking forward to, so here’s hoping the summer doesnt disappoint.

Date Night – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/