Rabbit Hole

“Well so far I’ve kept up with my uber movie watching plan for the weekend. Although I flip flopped the agenda for today and tomorrow. Id intended to catch Rabbit Hole at the Common on the way home from work, but decided that the walk would do me good today. I blame the chill for my laziness in not walking back as well, as originally intended.

Rabbit Hole is making its way onto a lotta award season must lists because of Nicole Kidman’s performance as a mother coping with the loss of her son. Yes, she was great, and I wont pout if she gets the inevitable Oscar nod. However, it’s all just so expected of her. I did love her character, but I think I would be more excited about an amazing performance from her if she did more fun roles on the side. I dont wanna go comparing her to people, but I will say that the thing that officially made Meryl Streep my favorite actress was the fact that she did Doubt and Mamma Mia in the same year.

While I may have only been moderately impressed with Kidman, the one who really blew me away was Aaron Eckhart. Now really, isnt it time for him to add Academy Award Nominee to his name in movie trailers? He wowed me with Thank You For Smoking, and I’ve loved him since. Sadly, his race is a lot tighter this year, but I’ll still sing his praises here. His performance was so heartfelt yet intense, so believable I was just lost in it.

Little more context before I continue gushing. Partway through the film, I was starting to feel like it may be a little too “”adult”” for me, meaning that I really couldnt relate to the subject matter at all (not that I would ever want to know firsthand what this couple was going to). Its not unlike the feeling I get watching Sondheim’s Company. I can appreciate it for what it is, but it doesnt resonate. Then the next scene started and it was this big emotional screaming fight between Kidman and Eckhart. I started to feel a little choked up. Then I took notice of the situation and sat back with a “”holy \m/””. Yeah. Now you believe the power of this cast?

Should also point out that I loved Dianne Wiest. She started off with a hint of show-stealing-elderly-character but then grew into someone much deeper than that, and so insightful. She becamse the cute little old lady who had the wisdom of her age.

As is often the case with these adaptations, Im curious as to how it played out on stage. It worked well as a film. Did feel a little bare (typical in this situation) but the powerhouse cast carried it incredibly well. And then once I IBDB-ed it and found out that the b’way cast included John Slattery and John Gallagher Jr that made me wish even more that I’d seen it. When I was thinking about this, I realized that while the thought of seeing the stage version after the movie intrigues me, the other way around frightens the \m/ out of me. For example, I dont care if its Roman Polanski directing a cast that includes Christoph Waltz and Kate Winslet, I am scared shitless about how the God of Carnage film is gonna turn out. That show was so \m/ brilliant. When I saw it, the cast included Lucy Liu and Jeff Daniels.

What I did love about the writing was some of the mystery in how things unfolded. One scene would cryptically reference an event or person, everyone on screen would react, then it’d be a little while until it was revealed. I like that. Although, I wonder, if I hadnt known the premise, how long would it have taken me to figure out? It was a good while until they mentioned the son.

Right. So Rabbit Hole was definitely very heavy, but if you want to see some top notch performances, it is definitely worth checking out. Just be sure you’re in the mood for it.

Rabbit Hole – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/”

I Love You, Philip Morris

I really gotta rethink my rating system. Eh, its all arbitrary anyways

The next film was I Love You Phillip Morris down at Coolidge Corner. I had enough time for a mini adventure after I wandered down there. First stop was to cash in a Groupon at Paris Crepe. Oh my \m/ God I had this amazing “”nutella cannoli”” crepe. So rich and yummy. To the point where I’d intended to cash in another groupon at the FroYo place after the film, but I was too sugared out to do so.

Then I meant to go down to Barnes and Noble and buy a calendar, but apparently they’re closed down. Wonder when that happend. So I found myself at Brookline Booksmith where I impulse bought (in the used section) Kevin Smith’s diary/memoirs thing, the screenplay for Dogma, and the graphic novel for A History of Voilence. Whooops. So much for trying to save cash til payday.

I Love You Phillip Morris

Made it into the theater just in time. Finally got to see something in that last screening room there. I’ve seen plenty in the big auditorium, a few in the medium one, and two or three in the itty bitty room, but this was the first in the almost itty bitty room known as “”the screening room””. On the one hand, their small rooms are a unique intimate setting for watching a film. On the other, it almost seems like a rip off paying 10 bucks for that tiny screen and projector connected to a computer. Not complaining though.

Anyhoo, I’d been intrigued by this one for a while. Mostly because it’d been mentioned here and there on my usual entertainment news media outlets off and on for the past couple years. I cant remember what the delay was, but my love for Ewan McGregor had me outraged and dying to see this one. Very much worth the wait.

Im fairly sure we’ve been over this before, but little is guaranteed to make me as giddy as gay boys in love. I’ve been a hag since I first started secretly watching Will & Grace locked in my room back in high school. Needless to say, this film very much satisfied that side of me. As far as the boy romance goes, it was so sweet and original and the boys sold it quite well.

I continued to love Ewan McGregor as always. He was about one step away from crossing the line for too over the top stereotypical gay. Prolly just a hair further down the rainbow from Kurt Hummel, but enough for me to want to keep him in my pocket for always. I had some concerns about Jim Carey taking on a more dramatic role. At first, it seemed like he was trying to be typical Jim Carey (yet another bad haircut to boot) but eventually he fell into the character quite nicely. I did absolutely believe that he was hopelessly in love with McGregor’s Phillip Morris, and the comedic background did help the whole elaborate conman thing.

The film was so quirky and funny. I had a few rare laugh out loud moments, and the lil screening room was bursting with laughter. Add in a few WT\m/ moments, and it was a great little indie gem.

I Love You Phillip Morris – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

And now Glee Karaoke!!”

Yogi Bear

“Now for real, happy new year ya’ll. To be honest, its taking all my willpower to sit here and write this now. I ran out of reasons to postpone buying Glee Karaoke Revolution and now Im itching to play it. But procrastinating the first write ups of the year is not a good way to kick off 2011, so here we are.

I had my original plan for today, then when I woke up, I went thru about a dozen other possible permutations of the plan for the next three days and ultimately decided to just stick with the original. Mostly cause I couldnt go back to sleep, so the early(ish) start plan ended up being the best. First up, was Yogi Bear 3D

I approached this one with the utmost apprehension. I LOVED Yogi Bear growing up, and I was scared he was falling the way of the Chipmunks. Two things finally made me go see this. First off, yeah I had the time and exhausted all other movie options. And then I really was intrigued to hear Justin Timberlake voice Boo Boo. And y’know, Im kinda glad I went.

As I was sitting in the theater, I was already writing in my head a whole rant about how I never notice 3D anymore and the whole depth thing doesnt do it for me. Then something jumped out from the screen at me. Then something else. And I was a happy little five year old. For the most part, the 3D was no specialer than any of the other 3D kiddie films. However, this is one of the few that actually used some of those out into the audience gags, and for that it was worth it. Before this whole wave of extra dimensions, that’s what I always associated with 3D. The first few that didnt utilize that disappointed me, and now Im just jaded.

Another thing that made me happy was the father/daughter duo sitting on the other end of the row from me. She was bite sized, prolly around 5. He was telling her stories from his childhood, including how he loved Yogi Bear. Just reminded me of the kinda thing my Daddy woulda done.

Oh and there was a Wile E Coyote/Road Runner cartoon at the beginning. While that was the most pleasant of surprises, I dont know how I feel about them having been computer animated.

As for the rest of the movie, I actually did enjoy it. Yeah it was some of your typical kiddie drivel, but it wasn’t phoned in or half assed like a lotta them are. It was no Pixar flick, but it beat the pants off some of the other recent crap. The voice talent was clearly having fun, and the human actors were great as well. Usually they’re too over the top trying to hard, or totally dont give a crap in these type of films, but I didnt get either sense with the Yogi Bear cast. So props to them.

Im not saying this was the greatest kiddie movie of the year or anything. Not even close, by a long shot. But the whole “”low expectations”” going in thing really played a factor because it way surpassed those. If you find yourself in the same boat I did, with all other viable movie options exhausted (some of which had been better than others when I saw them), Yogi is worth a watch. Also worthwhile if you got munchkins. But its not somethign to go outta your way for

Yogi Bear – \m/ \m/ \m/

Little Fockers

“Happy New Year to all of yall. Or rather happy new years eve. Im likely to be posting again tomorrow anyways. Yep, still on track with the uber movie watching weekend. Today was apparently awkward humor day. Actually, there’s a theory of mine that got tested quite well with the day’s selections…

For the most part, the only times I see trailers are at the theater. I dont like watching them online because A)I dont have much attention span for watching things on my PC and 2) Im likely to catch them multiple times at the theater anyways. Ive found that the frequency with which I catch a trailer can sometimes be indicative of the quality of the film. When you have the trailers that I’ve seen so often that I’ve memorized them, that’s when you know that you’ve got a mediocre movie that the studios put too much hope into, and they’re trying to publicize the crap outta it in order to try and curb their potential losses. Another situation, is when the studios really dont have much hope for a film, and hardly play the trailer. Perhaps its their way of disowning it, or they feel they’ve spent enough money, or something. Not an issue with smaller films, or indies, but definitely a bad sign when you’ve got a star vehicle that’s being completely ignored. That was sorta the case with these films. I dont think I’d seen a trailer for Little Fockers at all, and I’d only seen Gulliver’s twice and just in the past week. Given that I’d been seeing the cardboard cutout promos for both of those hanging in the theater, the fact that the studios weren’t pushing trailers really did not bode well at all. Of course, I didnt put two and two together until I sat down at the first, with a ticket for the second already in my wallet.

Little Fockers
I partly realized the lack of trailer thing when the film started and it occurred to me that I had no friggin’ clue what it was gonna be about. I figured it must focus on the kids somewhat given the title. That turned out to be a bit of misdirection. Clearly, they just liked the title because the focus was not on the kids. Actually, Im not even sure that the screenwriters knew what the film was about.

You hear people toss around the phrase about “”there being another story there”” when suggesting a sequel. I really didnt get that sense with Fockers. It was a lot more of the same. DeNiro intimidates. Stiller flounders. Awkwardness ensues. I really couldnt even sum up the plot into a single sentance if I wanted to, other than just saying that the Meet the Parents/Fockers characters are at it again.

I wouldnt say I was bored, but I wasnt as thoroughly entertained as I’d generally like to be when Im at the movies. It did have its moments, most of which you saw coming from a mile away. Barbara Streissand and Dustin Hoffman stole the show in their limited scenes. Jessica Alba and Owen Wilson contributed to the overall awkwardness of the film. I wouldnt say DeNiro and Stiller phoned it in (esp not Stiller) but there was nothing dazzling there.

Really, I kinda wondered why they even bothered. The previous two flicks were great. This one was just eh.

Little Fockers – \m/ \m/

True Grit

“Greetings all. We’ve reached the long weekend that indicates the end of the year. How do I plan on spending it? Why watching as many movies as possible, of course. Seriously, I’ve got a fairly intense plan for the next couple of days. Well I suppose there’s ways to make it intenser, but the current plan includes 7 movies in five days (today counts as one movie and one day), and should leave me having seen EVERYTHING currently playing at the Fenway. Im not sure that’s a feat Ive managed before. I know I’ve come close, in the summer when everything’s on multiple screens so there’s really only like 7 things showing. I wont give away my plan, in case I dont end up sticking to it.

But yeah, kicked things off tonight with True Grit. I actually sorta wanted to go see this over the past weekend. Mom had suggested catching a movie a couple times, but the weather was so awful (note: I do love the snow, but I love admiring it from indoors) that I just didnt wanna deal. Kinda felt bad later when I realized that she was stuck in doors for two days straight with nothing to do. That’s not unusual for me, but this was supposta be a vacation for her. Right, so I opted to go tonight. Was close to being persuaded not to, but we all know how stubborn I can be. I had a plan, and goddammit I was gonna stick to it. At least tonight.

Dont you love how I can write for paragraphs and still not mention a single thing of consequence about the film Im blogging?

True Grit. Remake of an old John Wayne film. This time helmed by Joel and Ethan Coen. As a rule, I dont like westerns. I did enjoy the 3:10 to Yuma remake with Christian Bale and Russell Crowe (one of two films where I’ve liked the man. The other should be an easy guess), but everything else Ive seen: Unforgiven, Shane, The Searchers, etc; didnt quite do it for me. It was like my brain’d shut off as soon as it saw sand. Not sure why. But this one, you can lump it with Yuma because I very much enjoyed it.

The main reason I liked it has to have been the characters, Mattie Ross (played by Hailee Steinfeld) in particular. We’ve long since established that dialogue is key for me. And I love a character who can spout off words quicker than you can think. That was her. Just quick, smart, dialogue. Hell, the girl was able to hold her own in a silver tongued mouth off against Matt Damon. Its no wonder there’s talk of a possible Oscar nod for this lil half pint.

Josh Brolin was the one who struck me next most, even if his screen time was limited. I dont know, I think it was his voice. Just so different from usual. (Im \m/) Matt Damon was fantastic, of course. I was a bit concerned because he kinda annoyed me in the trailer, but I guess it was just some weirdness with how they cut it because he really was great and amusing. Or maybe I just have a soft spot in my heart for Texas Rangers. Yes because of Chuck Norris.

That leaves us with Jeff Bridges. Im not sure if it was quite the uber performance that some are making it out to be, but it was quite spectacular. I just loved his delivery when stating the obvious. That right there woulda made the whole movie (if Steinfeld hadnt done that for me already). He’s got nothing on Colin Firth for the big prize this year, but an honorable performance nonetheless.

The musical score in a film doesnt often catch my ear, but it did this time around. Mostly because I recognized it right away. The whole thing was based around an old church hymn. Interesting choice that worked rather well, even if the vocalist they added over the end credits sounded funny.

Sooo yeah, I guess this holiday weekend got kicked off on a good note

True Grit – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

The King’s Speech

“Yeah I know. I said I’d get to this tomorrow. Oops. I had thought about going to see True Grit today, but Im in a lazy mood, and dont feel up to deal with the blizzard that’s just starting to hit (even if I do only gotta travel 2 blocks).

Friday’s Xmas eve late lunch plans didnt quite work out, so my Mom suggested we wander the city then catch a movie. I figured King’s Speech would be the one on my list she’d most enjoy. Goddam did I make a good choice.

Such a fantastic fantastic film. Intriguing story, wonderful characters, and phenomenal acting beyond all reason.

Im sure that last point is the buzz ya’ll have been hearing, although maybe slightly less enthusiastically than my endorsement (I do get carried away at times). The main reason for that is the illustriuos Colin Firth. The current speculation has him poised to win an Oscar this year, and I couldnt possibly agree more. Actually, he was my pick for last year (while I was more than okay with Jeff Bridges winning, based on the nominated performacnes alone I felt Firth’s was the strongest). I usually think its such a cheap shot going for a biopic, but this was more than your typical Oscar bait. Just based on intensity and emotion, yes he did have all the base qualifications for an Academy Award nominated performance. Then there was the stammer. It was more than just a p-p-p-porky pig stutter. You could see him fighting with everything he had to get his words out, and the frustration as he sorta choked on his speech. Its really kinda difficult to describe, but absolutely worth a watch if the opportunity presents itself.

Helena Bonham Carter is also worthy of praise, as the regal Queen Elizabeth. She just had such class about her, with just enough entitlement minus the arrogance. And she played different with Firth (more compassionate and supportive) than with other characters, flawlessly going back and forth between the two. Such an incredibly nuanced performance. The other one getting all the talk is Geoffrey Rush. Now I dont think he has anything on Christian Bale as far as the race looks so far, but Rush was still nothing short of great.

I feel there really isnt much more to talk about with this one, so I’ll end by reiterating that I definitely give this one a high recommendation if you’re looking to catch a lotta major players for this year’s academy awards

The King’s Speech – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Tron: Legacy

First off, a word from Penny Arcade.

Now, the usual preface I hafta give whenever watching a sequel. No, I haven’t seen the original. Usually that’s grounds to not watch a sequel, but given that the original is going for 60 bucks on Ebay, my guess was they assumed most of the viewers are in the same boat I am. And yes, for the most part, it didnt seem like an issue that I had no background. It may have flowed a bit better if I had, but they did a good enough job of explaining things.

Also worth noting, this was finally my chance to check out the RPX at the Regal Fenway. Holy \m/ shit 16 bucks? And not even a discount for matinee times? I hadn’t expected the increase in price to hit me, and I may not have noticed if I hadn’t paid 18 total for two movies the day before. So that was a couple bucks for the 3D then a couple more for the shiny screen and squishy seats. Not entirely worth it. Yes it all looked pretty, but not enough to justify making an effort to get there. My plan for the future is gonna be to just catch whatever time works best for me. If it happens to be RPX, cool. If not, hey at least Im not spending extra. I should check it out for a non-3-D movie too, see if that’s any better bang for the buck.

As far as the actual movie, I found it moderately entertaining, but nothing too special. Been a fan of Garret Hedlund since Four Brothers, so it was great to see him leading something up. Too bad he really didnt have much to work with. Computerized Jeff Bridges gave me the creeps. Love Olivia Wilde. The visual was great, but the story was lacking. Its like they put all their effort into the technology, they forgot that you need a plot. I think some films are prolly just better left in their original state and not updated for the sake up updating them.

Tron: Legacy – \m/ \m/ \n

The Tourist

I really dont have much to say on this one. Why? Because nothing \m/ happened. I was bored and falling asleep. Prolly doesnt help that I double featured it right after The Fighter (with just a quick Best Buy run in between the two), but given that it was billed as a semi-action flick, being sleep inducing is very much a bad thing.

Angelina is great at being elegant and statuesque, but statuesque should not extend to her actual acting. She was just so wooden, only ever standing there and looking pretty. Not much else. And we all love Johnny Depp for being quirky, but he was a bit off too. Can’t tell if he was phoning it in, or trying too hard. Whatever it was, didnt work.

And the plot was trying to make itself more convoluted and confusing than it needed to be.

I’ll give Paul Bettany points for being generally awesome, and taking baby steps to redeem himself from Legion earlier this year. He coulda chosen something better though

The Tourist – \m/ \m/

The Fighter

“Merry Xmas, gentle readers. As my present to you, or really myself ’cause isnt that really who this blog is utlimately for?, here’s the write ups Im behind on. My excuse is that I’ve been kinda sick this past week, so I’d be falling asleep at the theater and would come home with a desire for nothing other than a nap. Then I couldnt fall asleep. But there’s some comments that shouldnt go uncommented so here goes the catch up. Xmas edition!

Going in the order in which I saw these, we kick this off with a Boston movie. Yay! I have so many little antecdotes and such I dont even know where to start. We’ll start with the first reason why I was psyched for it. One of my fave bands, Boston’s local boys Dropkick Murphys have a song called Warrior’s Code that’s the title track off the album with that certain song that was featured in another Boston movie (and what put the Murphys on my radar to begin with. First time I saw DKM in concert, they introed Warrior’s Code by saying it was about Lowell native (actually the show was even at the Tsongas in Lowell) Mickey Ward who they pulled out on stage. Needless to say, I was beyond intrigued when I first heard about the film. Actually I think the first I heard was a blurb on Boston.com that Mark Wahlberg and Amy Adams were spotted filming, but I digress. I did spend a good part of the film wondering if the song was gonna make an appearance. I figured it’d be saved for the end credits, but it actually showed up sooner. That made me happy.

Other antecdote. Remember my buddy who I teased about not being in The Town? A few weeks ago we’re chatting and he brings up this movie, asks if I’ve heard anythign about it. I give him a “”bitch please”” look, and prolly say the phrase as well. He then proceeds to remind me that he grew up in Lowell (I knew this) and that he actually had a few classes with Mickey Ward. The two of ’em were somewhere between friends and acquaintances, closer to the acquaintance end of the spectrum though. He told me a few stories about guys picking on Ward, who’d then kick their ass, and then be really calm and nonchalant about it. And he mentioned that his older bro Dicky really was as batshit as the movie seemed to suggest, and that he was always in trouble. I then proceeded to tease said buddy, asking him who was playing him in the film, and made some comments about how he coulda played himself if the whole thing with The Town had worked out.

Okay enough on the backstory. Did I like the film? I did, although I felt it slowed down for a bit, almost enough to lose me. Basically it felt like there were two story parts, and the connection is where things dropped. First you had the whole family story, then what I typically refer to as your “”Mighty Ducks”” story. Both were equally intriguing, and you really couldnt have one without the other, I jsut feel the transition may have been done better.

The strength of this movie was the Oscar buzzing cast. Christian Bale is definitely poised to receive his long overdue first Oscar nod, and possibly some actual gold along with it. We know this man is known for making transformative changes from role to role (The Machinist anyone?), and he did it yet again. He’s also quite the master of accents (you’ll notice he never quite does the same one twice). Hell, it takes effort for me to remember that he’s really got a deep Brit voice, not the American one I tend to associate him with from American Psycho or Batman. Actually, all the Boston accents were pretty good. Its possible my standards have been lowered after how much they’ve been butchered in recent films, but Im gonna stand by my statement. Back to Bale, total embodiment of his character with a high stakes emotional rollercoaster, all flawlessly put together.

The next standout for me was Amy Adams. I’d seen she was starting to get nods here and there for the role, and I wasn’t sure how sold I was. Dont get me wrong, I love the girl and would very much love to see her take home that lil bald statue one day, but something about what I’d seen from the trailer seemed too obviously Oscar bait-y. She actually blew me away. Im so used to thinking of her as Enchanted’s Giselle, I forget that she can be a tough cookie. She nailed the badass attitude (and the accent as well). I loved every scene with her. I did prefer her over Melissa Leo who’s been getting the higher praise. Leo’s performance was fantastic as well, but I prefer my girls tough, not whiny and manipulative.

I dont wanna say that Mark Wahlberg was the weak point, because he really wasnt. He just seemed outta place. Mostly I think it was because he’s a lil too pretty for the role. In contrast, Christian Bale has a high potential to be pretty (again, American Psycho!) and he definitely wasn’t. So I feel something coulda been done about Mahky Mahk. He also seemed like a bit too much of a pushover. He wasn’t really, but it was like he’d back down too easily outside of the ring. Im making that sound waaaay too negative, and I dont mean it like that. Either way, it does seem to jive with what said buddy told me earlier, but it was kinda off to me.

In summary, good Boston flick. Most definitely worth a watch for the wicked (had to work that word in somewhere) good cast.

The Fighter – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

“Im hungry and kinda tired so unclear how talkative I’ll be today. Today’s movie journey was to the magical land of Narnia. If it wasn’t for the big influx of movies this weekend and my fear of falling behind, I prolly woulda skipped it. Gotta get some of my shit together before starting the new job tomorrow, and am also hoping to get some Xmas present wrapping done, and still get to sleep early.

I am a fan of the series (read the books a couple years ago) but when it comes to fantasy I much prefer LOTR. This one felt like the others. Started off fun and magical, then got a lil too drawn out and epic, making me kinda sleepy.

Loved that my fave character, Reepicheep, was featured more. Didnt love that it wasn’t Eddie Izzard voicing him his time, although had I known beforehand that it was Simon Pegg I may have been less sad about the recasting.

Really, what else is there to say? If you’ve seen the other Narnia films, its more of the same. And I want my chicken nuggets now dammit

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – \m/ \m/ \m/”