Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps

“This is one of those, I-really-wanna-just-crawl-into-bed-so-this-is-gonna-be-short write ups. Sorry, but two hours running time after waaaay too many trailers, most of which I’d seen, only one of which interested me (The Fighter), means that Im sitting down to write this far later than I’d expected.

Points in its favor: compelling characters, capital cast. Points against: slow paced, heavy on the plot details early on.

At times, it felt like there really wasnt much story, and I was tempted to leave and find out the DWTS results (not that I actually would have left), but the characters pulled me back. It just took so freakin’ long to get anywhere. It built to a pretty satisfying climax, but then the resolution dragged on and on. Almost felt like the last LOTR. You think its done, then there’s another ending and another, and next thing you know you’ve had your jacket on for 30 min just waiting to leave the theater.

I also want to take a moment to say that Shia LaBeouf is a better actor that most give him credit for. Yes, he has films like Transformers in his past, but he is capable of more than that. This was a good chance for him to stretch a bit more. And we all know I love Carey Mulligan and Michael Douglass is the man. Dont think I need to say more ’bout them.

And Im sleepy now

Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps – \m/ \m/ \n

The Social Network

“First off, let me just say that I refused to refer to The Social Network as “”The Facebook Movie””. I dont know why that phrase really irks me.

Secondly, kinda surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Yeah, it was getting a lotta positive buzz, but I still held on to some skepticism going in. But the opening scene won me over like whoa with its quick, smart, witty dialogue. Ya’ll know by now, dialogue is key to winning me over with a film, and this movie totally rocked in that area. I know, not the most articulate profession of love for the spoken word, but hey I mean every syllable.

Cast was good as well. First fell in love with Jesse Eisenberg in Zombieland (Adventureland didnt quite do it for me) because he was such an adorable geek. This time, he was a geek with some edge or at least more backbone than before. Either way, it looks good on him. I’d only two days ago when the latest EW came in realized Andrew Garfield was in this, so that also made me happy. I’ve only seen him in a few flicks so far, but he’s quickly working his way up my list of faves. Points also for Justin Timberlake. I know your first instinct is prolly not to take him seriously, but he’s actually a fairly decent actor. Totally stole the first few scenes he was in, or actually most of ’em.

The plot was very interesting. I’ve got a lot of distractions going on right now that would made it incredibly easy for me to space out during the film, but that hardly happened at all (hey, its gonna happen at least a lil bit no matter what). Kinda makes you wonder how much was really real vs dramatized vs complete bullshit, although Im sure the real story really wasnt gonna be as exciting. It did take a little bit to figure out how all the lawyer meetings fit together, but once you got past that, it worked quite well. Yeah Im not describing that well, but if you’ve seen it you know what Im talking about.

I feel like there should be more for me to write, but my tummy’s rumbling and there’s some guacamole waiting for me in the fridge…

The Social Network – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Let Me In

“I keep having to stop myself from referring to it as Let The Right One In. That was the original, which I have seen. I did enjoy it, but I dont quite think it was the be all end all of vampire movies like many people seemed to think. How does Let Me In measure up? I felt it was very true to the original. I know a lot of people think its sacriligous (sp?) to remake such a well regarded film, but I feel it was done in the right spirit for the right reasons. The idea was to make it more accessible to a wider audience, and as someone who doesnt particularly care for foreign films but loves American cinema ever so much, I am in favor of that notion when executed well. In most cases, the execution is poor, but this would be one of those rare exceptions where it really did work. Unfortunately, based on the small number of people in the theater it doesnt seem like it quite reached that wide audience they were hoping for. THen again that might just be bad timing trying to compete with “”The Facebook Movie”” (which Im shooting for a Sun viewing).

I was about to start this paragraph with “”the biggest win of the movie was…”” then I realized there were two big ones. Torn as to which was bigger. One was the cinematography and direction (yeah I still kinda mash those two up in my mind, I need to start learning to differentiate). There were some beautiful shots, and some very intriguing ones. For example, I loved how much was shot at Owen’s level, and as a result you never saw his mother’s face. There was also a really awesomely done car crash. There was more, I just can’t think of it right now.

The second big win was Chloe Grace Moretz. I find that girl more and more awesome with every movie she does (500 Days of Summer, Kick Ass, now Let Me In). Okay, if the argument for why Ellen Page cant play me in a movie is because by the time they make a movie about me, we’ll need someone younger, then please pick Ms Moretz. She was so \m/ compelling in this movie. Minimal dialogue, maximum presence. I seriously dont think you could have better cast the role.

Onto the negative side of the coin, because unless we’re talking about Aladdin, there’s always one. My big complaint was the bad CGI. It wasnt necessary. The off camera violence was much better than the on camera. What’s so brilliant about this story is that it isnt a vampire tale, its about a unique and special friendship. One of the friends just happens to be a member of club undead. They were this close to going too overboard with demonizing Abby. Also, the pacing walked a very fine line between pefectly suspenseful and painfully slow. I think, had I not been familiar with the story from the original, I might have gotten restless at times not knowing where the story was going.

Worth a watch if you’re into vamps that dont sparkle. I would also venture to say that you could get away with seeing this and not the original, although if you want to be really hardcore and earn some real street cred, then Netflix the Swedish one.

Let Me In – \m/ \m/ \m/

Catfish

“This one is gonna be tricky to write. Reason being that the main marketing ploy for the film was “”Don’t let anyone tell you what it is””. And while I do tend to be respectful of spoilerage, I feel I should be doubly so with this one, since really all the hype was based on intrigue.

Was it worth it? Eh, not really. I’ll admit, if I knew how it was gonna play out, I dont think I’d have been interested in seeing it. I really did just wanna know what the big mystery was. And all the “”dont be spoiled for this!”” comments made me think of all the Shyamalan movies I was spoilt for, and I really wanted to try and capture some of that magic I’d missed out on.

Today was a good day for me to go, though. I was in the mood for suspense, which ended up heightening it. Otherwise, I probably would have been kinda bored. I will say that it didnt turn out quite the way I expected, and I loss interest once it was all figured out.

\m/ this is tough. I feel Im talking myself in circles. Hmm, well I can say that I did absolutely love Nev Schulman. He was just so charasmatic and sweet, perfect for leading this film. Reminded me of Paranormal Activity’s Micah Sloat, but then again that may have been more due to the filming style than anything else.

Okay, Im gonna stop now. Not too much else I can say at this point. There is potential for much philosophical debate, but we can save that for later, or never…oh and uh Kevin Spacey is Keyser Soze.

Catfish – \m/ \m/ \n

Never Let Me Go

“Its been a while since I last saw something at Coolige Corner. That’s typically my go to place for the indie movies, but given that I barely got to all the major releases I wanted to this summer, indie flicks were sorta outta the question. Speaking of this summer, while Im thinking of it, I need to just list what I did see but didnt write up. Mostly so I can find it at the end of the year when I recap. Maybe I’ll do a quick summer recap later. More likely I’ll be lazy. The list: Inception, The Other Guys, Machete, Scott Pilgrim, The Expendables, Dinner For Schmucks, Salt, Despicable Me, Eclipse, Knight and Day, Jonah Hex.

So it was a little bit of an impulse trip to go to this one. Under normal circumstances, the pick woulda been Wall Street, but instead I put together a schedule of movie watching for the next two weeks (we’ll see if I stick to it) that involves using my freebie ticket on it next week. Anyways, I knew almost zero about this film, but the cast was the biggest selling point: Carey Mulligan, Kiera Knightly, Andrew Garfield. Also, the premise kinda intrigued me. EW gave a spoiler warning before revealing this next bit. I dont think its spoilery (its a necessary plot point), but I’ll do you the same courtesy. Stop reading if you dont wanna know anymore…The three play friends who grew up in a special closed off boarding school. The reason? They’re meant to be organ donors.

The one word I’d use to summarize the film is heavy. Yeah, its kinda messed up, hence why I was curious about it. And its not something to go see if you want something light and fun. But if you want good drama with fantastic acting, its the film to see. I was about to refer to it as intense, but it wasn’t quite there.

As expected, thankfully since that was the main reason I went, the cast delivered. Carey Mulligan and Kiera Knightly are two of the biggest powerhouse actresses of their generation. Mulligan has such an inviting quality that just draws you in. Knightly went a little out of the norm for her, instead of the gorgeous girl everyone loves, her charcater was cynical as a way of masking her brokenness. It came thru really well. And Andrew Garfield was just hopelessly adorable, but also incredible. He brought me close to tears a few times.

Rushing to wrap this up cause Im expecting company soon, but this one is definitely worth a watch if it intrigues you as it did me. Just be sure you’re in the right mood for it.

Never Let Me Go – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

Easy A

“Look, Ma, Im being good and doing my write up right away. Okay, my mom doesnt actually read this. She doesnt even know it exists, not that she’d know how to find it if she did. That’s a whole ‘nother completely unrelated and boring story. Also, there may have been a short break for froyo before gettin’ to work here. Not my fault that there’s a Ufood right next door to the theater that offers really cheap low calorie delicousness. Can you tell I never quite know how to start these things?

I find it kinda weird that there weren’t many late summer movies I was psyched for, but early fall has lots of potential. Easy A was def on my list of movies I was eagerly anticipating. The buzz was that it was a new Mean Girls. I’d actually put it a bit closer to Juno than Mean Girls, but that’s a very nitpicky distinction that’s gonna matter to no one except me. I guess the main reason for that, at least in this twisted mind of mine, is that from the trailer I was expecting some Diablo Cody-esque dialogue. We all know (or at least you will know in five seconds) that dialogue is what makes or breaks a movie for me. And comedies with witty quoteable dialogue are pretty much the best thing ever. This was just about there. Definitely clever, but not too much that I’d expect to be quoting for all of eternity. Although I think that might have been a matter of overly heightened expectations on my part.

On the other end of the writing side (writing clearly not being my strong suit, seriously am I even intelligible today?) I really did like the premise. It was unique yet relatable. And the characters were fantastic. I daresay the adults really stole the show. In particular, love love loved the relationship Emma Stone’s character had with her parents. First its just awesome having Stanley Tucci playing your dad, but he was totally my favorite character. I know its starting to become a fantastical cliche to have the totally relatable cool parents in movies, but I dont think its all that far fetched. I think my Daddy and I had a somewhat more toned down version of what they have. Wow, and I am about to go off on yet another unnecessary tangent, so Ima just gonna stop right there.

Since the last thing I was talking about was the cast, I need to put a word in for Emma Stone. I think I love her more with each movie I see her in: Superbad –> Zombieland –> Easy A. I’ve said that one day when they make a movie about my life I want Ellen Page to play me. Well, if she’s unavailable and there’s absoloutely no way to make it happen, then I suppose Emma Stone can step in.

There were a few other small gems here and there throughout the film that amused me. First, MAJOR bonus points for featuring The Dollyrots on the soundtrack! They are a fave band of mine that I’ve been obsessing over for the past few months. Saw them twice and have talked with all three members. They are seriously some of the sweetest most awesomest peeps you could ever encounter. But yes, very appropriate use of their “”Bad Reputation”” cover. Also loved all the references to 80’s movies. That’s another thing that’s starting to get a bit overdone, but the references were quite cleverly integrated. Lastly, I really liked what they did with the names in the opening credits. Creativity with the credits is another way to quickly and easily earn major bonus points with me!

Sooooo yeah, definitely enjoyable. Again, something fell a little flat, but I feel if I take a half a rock hand off of my rating, I’ll end up feeling like a total tool later as I remember the film more and more fondly. I know, not making sense on paper (err type? screen?) but it makes sense in my head.

Easy A – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

The Town

“Wow its been 3 months, almost to the day, since I last posted. Guess my summer ended up being crazier than I expected. But Jesus Christ Superstar was struck last night, bringing my extra curricular commitments back down to zero. I was able to get all of my big summer must movies in, but didnt really get any indies or maybes. At least I was watching shit because I really wanted to (since I had to make the time for it) and not because I felt obligated.

Moving on. The Town. First thing to note: Boston movie! yay! And extremely well done on the Boston-ness. Yes most of it was based in Charlestown, but there was much quality footage of Boston itself. It wasn’t one of those “”oh yeah we’re in Boston”” but really they’re in some obscure area of the city, or “”I swear this is Boston”” but they’re really filming in Canada *cough**cough*Fringe*cough** Especially loved that a good 30 min of the film was in the Fenway area, just blocks away from my apartment and blocks away from the theater I was watching the film in. Those are streets I walk down almost every day. And the image of Jon Hamm surrounded by Red Sox banners was beautiful. Okay, so that picture doesnt do it much justice, but this adopted Bostonian was quite happy.

The one thing that did make me kinda sad about the whole Fenway thing is I remembered how pissed I was on a random Monday morning that fall when they were filming. Why? The first thing I read on Boston.com that tragic day was how they’d spent the whole \m/ weekend shooting down the street from me, and I \m/ missed the whole thing?! Although that’s not as bad as how one of my co-workers missed out on the film. I’d read one day (also on Boston.com) that they were looking for locals, preferably with Boston accents, to be extras. So I told this buddy of mine, and he showed up to the cattle call. He was all excited that you could see him for half a second on this news clip about it. A few weeks go by and he doesnt hear anything. Then one day I get to work and the guy is in a mood. Apparently they called him on his work number (sad child doesnt own a cell phone) at 4:45 the day before that they needed him that day…he had left at 4:30 and got the message too late. I still tease him about this.

Enough Boston nostalgia, what did I think of the actual movie? To be honest, Im still in a bit of a sleep deprived state (hell, I went to sleep at 5 AM after striking JCS last night) so Im not exactly gonna be the best judge of such things this time. I did enjoy it though. Very interesting character piece with some good acting. Ben Affleck has definitely turned his reputation around since he moved behind the scenes a bit more. Again, maybe just biased on the whole Boston thing, but I do think directing suits him as did his role in the film. It definitely felt very personal, like he put a lot of himself into it. Loved Jeremy Renner, although part of me still always thinks of him as Penn on Angel for that one random episode. And its great to see Jon Hamm as not Don Draper. Very psyched to see him in more films in the future. As far as the gals, Rebecca Hall just rocks and I didnt even recognize Blake Lively until I remembered she was in it. Her accent was a bit hard to understand, though.

Okay so no real meat to this write up. Sorry, hafta get back in teh swing of things. But the plan is to go back to my hard ass rule of writing up everything I see in the theater. Debating whether or not to start up another side project. Definitely got somethign in mind, but gotta work my way through my movie queue first. All the TV DVD’s that get released just before the fall season starts are piled up pretty high on my little table. We’ll discuss this again once I knock that down a bit

The Town – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

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