Precious: Based on the Novel Push By Sapphire

“Got a green bean casserole in the oven, and Green Day’s performance of “”East Jesus Nowhere”” on SNL with special appearance by Will Ferrell and his cowbell (not a euphemism) playing in the background. Life is good.

Was really psyched to finally see Precious. Its had so much buzz that I was just dying to find out what it was all about. Ultimately, I think it mighta been a bit too hyped, setting my expectations a nudge too high. But everything they say about the amazing cast is absolutely \m/ true.

First of all, I absolutely support anyone who says that Mo’Nique deserves an Oscar nod for this role. Dayum she was a-\m/-mazing. Her bit at the end nearly had me in tears, and I def heard a lot of sniffling around me in the fairly well populated theater. Im not particularly familiar with her work, but from her repuation I know that this role is quite the transformation, and she \m/ sold it. I was actually uncomfortable during some of her early scenes when she and Gabourey ‘Gabby’ Sidibe (Precious) were fighting. I felt like I was actually watching real events happening, and I had no place to there. Thats something that was so good about the movie–it all felt so real. More on that in a bit.

And Gabourey ‘Gabby’ Sidibe had such range. Her “”real”” character and her “”fantasy”” character were like two completely different people. She really carried the film quite well, and earned the audience’s sympathies. Was also really impressed with Paula Patton. Points also to Mariah Carey, another actress with a very uncharacteristic role.

Back to the realism of the film. That whole world is something I guess I never really wanted to know existed, and it was a bit of a wake up seeing those intense scenes. Makes you realize what all you take for granted, y’know?

Not sure how much I support it as a front runner for best picture, but would not argue it getting a nod ‘specially with the whole new 10 nominees thing.

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire – \m/ \m/ \m/

Unrelated side note. Big movie plans for the weekend, both theater-wise and catching up on the AFI’s I slacked on the past week. Tomorrow: AFI movie in the morning, Turkey Day stuff, possibly Christmas Carol at the Imax. Friday: Black Friday shopping (w00t) and Thanksgiving 2 with the hallmates. Likely no blogworthy movie. Saturday: Dawn Dawn “”double feature”” of The Road and The Messenger. Details unclear. Both are at the Kendall, but its not a good double feature theater (sub-par snackage options). Might catch The Road at the Common instead. Will figure out later. Hopefully 2 AFI movies that day too. Either one before and one after or two late ones. Sun: AFI movie, Fantastic Mr Fox, another AFI movie. Some point during next week (likely Tue): New Moon. Hopefully the Twi-hards will have died down by then. And AFI movies on the other days.”


“I’ve been too distracted by the new tv and need to watch a few movies on that shiny Blu-Ray (I could seriously count stubble hairs on Spock’s cheek…whoa), which is why there’s been a few day hiatus here. But I should be back on track now.

I’d been on the fence about whether or not I wanted to see 2012. These type of movies are rarely better than mediocre, and the trailer just annoyed me. But I promised the roomie (and strangely, within an hour of that someone else tried to get me to go with them) and I figured with as much of the country that was running off to see this, that would make it a fairly blog-worthy flick. So off I went.

It actually wasn’t bad. Yes, it was flawed. These type of movies are inherently so. And yes, it hit on every cliche of the genre–predictability, corny dialogue, science fail like whoah, deus ex machina like a mother \m/, but it succeeded in its primary goal: entertainment.

Was a bit too far on the lengthy side. 158 min according to IMDB. I felt a lot of the first half could have been streamlined. The second half was really suspenseful, edge of your seat, heart in your throat sorta thing. Roland Emmerich (writer and director, also responsible for ID-4 and Day After Tomorrow) stated that this was to be his last disaster movie, and he wanted to make it the be all end all of the genre. Well, it was. It crammed in every possible thing you could imagine–fire, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis–the only thing missing was aliens. With this typically mediocre genre, you can’t ever really get better. What you can get is bigger, and 2012 certainly delivered there. It will certainly be hard to top the sheer magnitude of this film, and I fear that Holllywood will unfortunately try some point in the future.

One of the key elements to a disaster movie is that you need good characters. Otherwise, who gives a \m/ ? While these characters weren’t particularly great, I did come to care about their well being. John Cusack has really grown on me in the past year or two, and he’s a great choice for the All American Dad. Chiwetel Ejiofor aka the Operative in Serenity, played what was prolly my favorite character, the scientist dude with a heart. Oliver Platt annoyed the \m/ outta me like always, but I think that was intended here. Really liked Thandie Newton, and points for Danny Glover as the president, even if he’s no Morgan Freeman (Deep Impact) or Dennis Haysbert (24). And even more points for Woody Harrelson, cause I always love finding him in movies.

I wont even start on the scientific inaccuracies. We all know how bad that can get. I’ll just say, that they went as far as contradicting themselves. Thats just special

And the amusing antecdote that goes with this film. Walking out of it, my roomie turns to me and says that at first she couldnt believe all the fuss with one of the characters trying to save her dog. Then she looked over at me and realized I woulda done that for Lestat. At which point, I pointed out that she’d totally do that for Nosferatu. Yeah, I love my vampire kitties. Anyways…

2012 – \m/ \m/ \m/

A Serious Man

“I’d been on the fence about this one. I absolutely \m/ love the Coen bro’s dramas (Fargo, No Country…) but dont so much get their dark comedies. I’d heard some good things about it, but also didnt think I was the right target audience (Im not Jewish). Yeah, I was right.

Most of the rest of the theater (good size crowd for a Mon night) seemed to really enjoy it. I just didnt get it. Apparently it was supposed to be a Job type of story. Knowing that now, it makes some sense. But I also didnt get most of the humor, and I dont think this shiksa was supposed to.

It definitely had the WTF feel I come to expect from the Coens, in particular the end. Thats one thing I can always count on them for–a great ending. If you’re looking for closure, something wrapped up in a neat little bow, you’re not gonna get that here. But if you want a clever ending, they never disappoint. That earned it an extra half rock hands in my rating.

What I did find amusing was that the leader, Michael Stuhlbarg, seemed like a perfect cross between Eugene Levy and Quentin Tarantino. And I can honestly say I ever expected to describe someone like that. It was Levy’s look and mannerisms with Tarantino’s voice and way of talking.

Well, Im almost ashamed to give my rating for the movie, because its not that it was bad, its just that the movie was lost on me. But if I cant get into a movie, Im not gonna enjoy it, soooo

A Serious Man – \m/ \n

The Men Who Stare At Goats

“New release Tuesday at Best Buy! Stopped there on my way home. Bought my first Blu-Ray: Up. No haven’t upgraded my system yet, but Disney does that combo pack thing where they give you a DVD and BluRay disc. Figured since I should hopefully be getting that hook up in a little over two weeks, it was worth buying that now. And Bones is on sale. Just got season one. I expect to lose focus on the AFI project as I try to get in episodes of Bones in between.

Enough of that. Tonight’s movie, The Men Who Stare At Goats. I went in there with zero expectations. Entertainment Weekly gave it an F (I just read the review and theyre just being whiney). This weekend it had been in the big auditorium, but tonight they moved it to a little one. And I dont typically put a lot of trust into George Clooney’s movie choices. At least for me, they’re very hit or miss. All of that equalled not such the best outlook. But we all know what happens when you go into a movie with zero expectations–I actually kinda enjoyed it.

The main comment I’ve got is WTF?! Every other minute, there was another WTF moment. Kinda felt like a Coen bro’s movie. But I was chuckling at every one of those WTF’s–as was everyone else in the overcrowded tiny theater. And there was one moment that got every last guy in the audience to groan out loud with sympathy pain. That amused me.

Most of the film didnt make sense, but I went along for the ride. Well I guess its not necessarily that it wasn’t sensical, more that it was just over the top absurd. However, I felt that our main guys, Ewan McGregor and George Clooney had enough charisma to pull it through. Was also very amused by all the “”you can be a Jedi like one of us”” talk at Ewan, who as well all know played Obi-Wan in the Star Wars prequels. That got a smile outta me every time.

Props to the supporting cast as well. Kevin Spacey was a total scene stealer, and I love him for it. Also wanna point out Glen Morshower, who plays Aaron on 24. Aaron is the only character other than Jack Bauer to be in every season, and he’s one of my faves. Wasn’t particularly special in Goats, it just made me happy to see him.

Yeah, so totally didnt deserve the F that EW gave it. This is why I get upset at movie critics, and why Im scared about being an amateur one. One person’s opinion shouldnt determine the fate of a movie.

The Men Who Stare At Goats – \m/ \m/ \m/

The Box

“The first week after “”fall back”” is always so trippy. I went to the early movie (12:30!) and outside looks like I just got back from the 4:00ish show. WTF?

Kinda apprehensive about going to see The Box, the latest offering from Richard Kelly. Wasn’t sure where it’d fit on the Donnie Darko to Southland Tales spectrum (his two previous films). Although really excited about actually being able to see one his films on the big screen. Speaking of, before I go further, I hear there’s a midnight Donnie Darko at Coolige Corner. Extremely tempted, but wont go that far that late by myself. If anyone is actually reading this and wants to go, drop me a line. End tangent.

Verdict? It was no Donnie Darko (and I never really expect anything else to ever be) but I really enjoyed it. I think Kelly learned a lot from …Tales about what does and doesnt work, and how to try to recapture that Darko feel without trying too hard. The story was a lot more streamlined for the most part. I could follow it, but was still surprised by every turn (even ones I saw coming). There was a good chunk of it, though, that didnt really make much sense. At that point, I stopped trying to figure it out, then stopped trying to follow, and just tried to absorb as much as I could to process later once we saw where everything ended up. That proved to be an effective strategy. It wrapped up pretty well, and from reading up on it later, I think I was as close as I was ever gonna get to figure out that weirdness.

I got to wondering what Kelly’s feeling towards this whole thing is. Is there a deep meaning behind every little detail, or does he just think its kinda cool? After reading this article on IMDB, it seems like he just thinks its cool, trying to add a sci-fi element to the story. I can totally respect and understand that. I’ve had hour long conversations about Donnie Darko on multiple occasions, and could possibly do that for The Box as well. I kinda like knowing that at the end of those discussions, there really isnt a right or wrong answer. Hell, even if I sat down with Richard Kelly for an hour (which would be OMG amazing), Im not sure I’d get anywhere further than I am now.

To go a bit deeper down the philosophical rabbit hole, another thing that I really liked is that while a lot of it is kinda effed up, there’s a logical sense to it, like its not as messed up as it seems. Or at least there’s reason behind why things went down the way they did. Yeah Im prolly not making any \m/ sense. I’ll move on.

Really liked the cast–Camerian Diaz, James Marsden, Frank Langella. They all fit quite well. Diaz and Marsden were so believable that I kinda came close to almost crying at the end. Also thought the setting gave such a great feel to the movie.

I think it was a Sat afternoon well spent. Def worth a watch if you like Donnie Darko, just dont expect it to be as good.

The Box – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n (I’ll likely round it up to 4 when I lable the DVD I’ll inevitably get)”

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assisstant

“This has to be one of the coolest things that’s ever happened to me. You know how there’s a multitude of online sweepstakes out there, where you fill out a webform and then promptly forget about it cause no one ever wins? Well I actually won the grand prize in one of those. I remember entering, but I cant remember how I even came across it. Most likely linked off IMDB news or something. Anyways, I got a private screening of Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant for “”200 of my closest friends”” with an appearance by Chris Massoglia, who plays Darren (the vampire’s asst).

The past week has been such a blur. I got the call last Wed at work. At first I thought it was the landlord calling to yell at me like they had the day before. Needless to say, I was pretty shocked once I found out what the call was actually about. At first I was told this would be happening at the end of the month/early next month. Okay, I can work on getting 200 people in a couple weeks. Then I find out late Thur that is happening in 6 days. Enter panic mode.

Ultimately I managed 20 guests, which actually worked out quite well. Some of my usual gang was there as well as some peeps I hadn’t seen in a while. And since we were a small group, we scored VIP concessions–meaning we could have as much free food as we wanted. Once we were there I was kinda in person wrangling/running around mode, so I couldnt quite take full advantage of that. But I know some of the others had fun trying to see how much candy and popcorn they could carry. One of many reasons why this was one of my most surreal days _ever_.

And having the auditorium to ourselves was prolly the most fun part. Its something I’d always wanted to do. I seriously have been wanting to own a theater someday so I can do things like that. It was great knowing we could relax and have fun (for some reason everyone found the term Vampinese hiliarous each time it was said), like it was a movie night home at the Hellmouth, but with a bigger screen and better accomodations over all.

Meeting Chris was really cool. Although, this is one of those situations where I really wish I was a better conversationalist. He signed two posters for me (there were two different styles) and posters for the majority of my friends there. Also managed to grab a picture with him. He’s such a sweet kid, I just kinda wish that portion of the evening hadnt been so rushed.

As far as the movie itself, it was such campy goodness. The intro gave me a total Lemony Snicket vibe (between the music and the opening sequence). And overall it felt like A Series of Unfortunate Events crossed with the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie, without Joss Whedon’s killer dialogue. It had a bizarre mix of cheese and darkness that worked surprisingly well.

Such a fun cast (John C Riley, Willem Dafoe, Salma Hayek, Patrick Fugit, Michael Cerveris etc), even if some of the bigger names only appeared briefly. John C Riley is one of my favorite actors because of his range. He’s done award winning films like Magnolia and Chicago, but also mixes in some Will Ferrell flicks. From the trailer I was a bit worried about him in this one, but it turns out it was just that the dialogue was cut strangely in the preview. While he wouldnt have been my first choice actor to play a vamp, he pulled it off rather nicely–dark but just approachable enough to make him a likeable character.

I also found the choice of freaks to be quite interesting, but Im not entirely sure what I make of that. They were definitely creative and different, but few of them could not have existed without some computer graphic help, which just sorta pushed the boundaries of belivability a touch too far.

Also worth mentioning, as someone who is an avid vampire fan, Im always curious about the mythology and rules surrounding vamps in a different ficticious universe. This one definitely gets points in that area. Some creative new stuff while still remaining true to a lot of the core vamp lore. Im just not so sure about the superspit thing.

Very fun movie, though I think the whole experience was definitely a postive factor. I would’ve definitely enjoyed it either way, but I might not have been gushing quite so much otherwise. But I really hope the next set of books gets movie-fied as well. And since I just finished Chuck Palahniuk’s Pygmy, I guess tomorrow’s a good day to head over to Borders to pick up the first book or two in the series.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n (its really a solid 3, but it gets bonus points because the whole experience was awesome)”

Law Abiding Citizen

“I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I wont argue that it was a quality movie, but it was very much a Dawn movie. It was dark and suspenseful and intruging, though I woulda upped the action just a bit.

One thing that made it fun is I love rooting for the bad guy. No I dont root for him as a rule (ie I still pick John McClain over Hans Gruber, as awesome as he may be), but I like when your leading charcter is an antihero. It was murkier than a Dr Horrible situation (where the main guy is clearly the “”bad guy”” but in the context of the story, he’s the hero you support) but I love that. The whole time I was behind Gerard Butler’s character, wanting him to get his revenge and get his statement made. Although, Jamie Foxx wasnt as evil as the trailer made him out to be. And there was a point where I was a bit torn about who I wanted to win and how.

Side note cause I get distracted by shiny things. This “”light rain”” that I see falling outside my window is starting to look like heavy slushy snow. Sorta like God dumped out a pina colada Slurpee over Boston. Guess I made it home just in time. Lately I’ve taken to going to the theater in flip flops, so I can take ’em off and put my feet up on the bar or empty seat in front of me. Walking, er wildly running, back home I realized the flip flops weren’t such the best idea today. Sorry, back to the movie.

Loved Gerard Butler, even if his American accent was a bit dodgy. And given how his previous and recently release morally gray action film, Gamer, turned out I did kinda have zero hopes for Citizen, which prolly helped me like it so much. I’d been kinda scared for Jamie Foxx career wise cause from the outside this movie looks waaay beneath an Oscar winner. But he totally owned the role and I think his reputation should still be in tact. Huh. Just noticed Oscar nominee Viola Davis was in this too (and the lightbulb goes on in my head). Also really liked Leslie Bibb. She’s also had some questionable career choices, but I loved her strong, smart character.

Definitely recommend it if this type of movie is your thing. It aint gonna win any awards or nothing, but it at least earns high marks from me.

Law Abiding Citizen – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Where the Wild Things Are

“I’ll start off with the obligatory disclaimer that I dont recall ever reading the book (if I did read it, I dont remember). So I dont know how the movie follows or measures up to it. With that out of the way, I found the movie really boring. It had a really promising start. The low close up camera angles and Max’s imaginary antics brought you right into a kid’s world. But then, soon after he got to the island of the Wild Things, there wasn’t much happening. I’d dropped by phone about half way thru and spent the rest of the movie obsessing over picking it up. Thats how much the movie held my interest.

There were some redeeming qualities. My favorite wild thing was Alexander, voiced by Paul Dano. I definitely perked up a bit everytime he was around. And the wild things themselves were really well done. The costumes were built by The Jim Henson Company and were a combination of animatrionics and computer animation. I also loved the kid, Max Records. He was equal parts adorable and tough and gave a really heartwarming performance. Loved Catherine Keener as always, but she didnt particularly feature much.

Other than that, there’s really not much else to say. It was a lot of Max and the Things running around playing. Minimal conflict. Plot didnt seem to be headed in any particular direction. It was just flat.

Well this gives me a chance to introduce my movie rating system. I’ll just be using it on theater movies (so none of the AFI ones). The scale is up to 4 rock hands (\m/). A lot of times I’ll rate stuff on places like Flixter that have a 5 scale. That fifth point is reserved for _really_ awesome stuff like Aladdin. And as a rule, I need to have seen something at least twice in order to award it a fifth point. Also remember, this is entirely my opinion. I dont claim to be any real expert, just someone who enjoys movies. That said…

Where the Wild Things Are – \m/ \n

Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day

“First things first, check out my Halloween costume this year. Makes sense I pick something from out of an AFI film 😀

I must have been waiting for today for about six years. It was definitely freshman fall when I first saw the awesome that is Boondock Saints. Someone was watching it in the lounge of 1E. This was before I really knew movies, and I figured that if I hadnt heard of something, it prolly wasnt worth knowing. But I sat and watched anyway as I would for countless movies over the next four years. I \m/ loved it. And I wasnt even familiar enough with Boston at that point in time to fully appreciate it. I acquired the DVD soon after and have watched it so many times since, including every year on or around St Paddy’s Day. I even have one of those jackets with an outline of the bros holding guns on the front and the prayer on the back. I wore it every day for two years until the zipper broke.

Way back then, there was an IMDB page for Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. I’d check it every couple of weeks, and the release date got pushed back and back. Then one day, the page was gone. I nearly cried. Then I didnt really think about it after a while. Fast foward to a few months ago, I hear whispers of All Saints Day. Without expecting much, I searched for the IMDB page and holy \m/ it was fully fleshed out, with a cast and synposis and release date and everything else that proves a movie is legit. I did a happy dance.

So now we finally get to the day where I get to see this \m/ movie. I was filled with equal parts anticipation and apprehension. Would it be one of those sequels that surpasses the original like Dark Knight (which I knew was extremely unlikely) or would it pull a Matrix and be bad enough to taint the original (very much within the realm of possibility). Verdict: closer to the Matrix end of the spectrum, but not that bad.

I think Troy Duffy was just trying way to \m/ hard. There were too many awkwardly placed one-liners. The need to reference every iconic moment and relive every joke felt very forced. The pacing was very slow. It kinda felt like he was also trying to build the boys’ bad-ass-itude as much as possible, but really, they dont need any help. Simplicity would have been a much more effective route.

It wasn’t all bad. The action scenes were fantastic, prolly the best part of the whole thing. It was the same scheme as last time, lotsa cool slo-mo shots, and walk thru’s with the detective narrating. And while most fell flat, there were a couple of well placed lines that were hi-\m/-larious.

The MacManus boys themselves were great, as expected. (Im still very much in love with Murphy MacManus) And I adore Billy Connelly as Il Duce, aka Daddy MacManus, and while it was interesting to get his backstory, I really care more about the boys. Clifton Collins Jr. appears in yet another movie this year. He was kinda annoying, and not as endearing as Rocco ended up (his character was kinda the replacement Rocco). The big disappointment was Julie Benz. She’s usually one of my favorites. I mean c’mon she was Darla in the Buffyverse and she’s on Dexter. But she attempted a southern accent. Big. Mistake. She had a chance for a really bad ass, tough as nails, femme fatale character and I really couldnt stand her. Kinda sad.

Overall, worth a watch if you’re a fan of the Saints, but dont go in expecting too much.

Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day – \m/ \m/ \n