All About Eve (AFI #28)

“This is gonna be a kinda hurried entry. Aiming to catch Twilight at 7:30. Its 6:56 now. On a related note, I love living two blocks from my favorite theater.

Was a bit apprehensive going into All About Eve. I’d only picked it cause it was in the same box set as Sunrise, and I figured getting that big box set outta the movie queue would make it feel a lot smaller. As it turns out, it only took one line of dialogue (well, kinda long line, but still) to hook me: “”The Sarah Siddons Award for Distinguished Achievement is perhaps unknown to you. It has been spared the sensational and commercial publicity that attends such questionable “”honors”” as the Pulitzer Prize and those awards presented annually by the film society… The distinguished looking gentleman is an extremely old actor. Being an actor – he will go on speaking for some time. It is not important what you hear what he says.””

Irony about the mention of “”those awards presented annually by the film society””, is that Eve is one of two movies to ever reach 14 nods. Yes it won best picture.

Yeah, so loved the dialogue. Loved the actresses. Felt a bit lengthy though. I’d consciously decided to only watch part of it last night and finish it tonight, and that break definitely affected the momentum for me.

Also took a personal interest in it because of the whole theater thing. I’d actually just that day been thinking that at this point, I have two options as far as theater which used to be a big part of my life. I can either buck up and find a new group, or accept the fact that Im now just a movie person instead of a theater and movie person. Not sure if the movie was supposta be a sign for me to go one way or the other, but still found it interesting that it was the movie for that day.

Obligatory pop culture reference. Whenever I hear the title “”All About Eve””, I think about Inside Schwartz. It was a really short lived (6 episodes maybe) sitcom staring Breckin Meyer (love him…Travis from Clueless, also pairs with Seth Green often). It was about a sportscaster who’d just lost his girl, and imaginary sportscasters would often pop up in scenes. I know, Im not explaining well. Anyways, his ex was named Eve, and there was this whole episode about how he had an, um, adult tape of them and he couldnt find it. He’d labeled it “”All About Eve”” and hidden it in his movie collection, assuming no one would ever touch it. And of course some one else ended up borrowing it, and shennannigans ensued.

I know, not much content as far as the movie itself, but I gotta run…”

Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (AFI #82)

“Totally spaced on writing this up last night. When it was over, I called the ‘rents and then got caught up cleaning up the Hellmouth. Didnt realize it until I was getting ready for bed.

I think this brings the grand total of silent movies I’ve ever seen to 3, the other two being City Lights and Nosferatu, and I saw all three within the past two weeks (although I had seen City Lights before). As someone who is very dialogue driven (Im often content to just listen to a movie while Im multitasking, and I’ve been known to skip non-dialogue bits when reading), silent movies are really tough for me to get used to.

I did have some issues with the story. I could follow it well enough, despite my aforementioned dialogue driven-ness, but I just didnt buy parts of it. The first third of the story was very much my style–guy plots to kill his wife so he can run off with other girl, well the murder thing is my style. But when he changed his mind and ended up having the most wonderful “”date day”” in the city with her, it lost me. I could not understand how she could forgive him so quickly. He almost threw her off a boat for \m/ sake. And that’s that I absolutely loved him. I was sympathetic toward him while he was pleading with her, but it was when she did take him back that I realized how much I disagreed with that.

I really wasnt into the next section. It felt like we’d gone from this dark, intense drama and stumbled back into the slapstick part of City Lights, but with much less beautiful imagery. Once we got to the end (I’ll try not to be too spoilery), it made sense why that whole happy chunk existed, but I still didnt believe it.

I understand why this movie made the list. It won some of the first Academy Awards ever given out, and there were some breakthroughs in their filming technique. They had these really well done overlapping shots, that apparently were done by exposing the film and then filming the next scene over it, or something. IMDB trivia sorta explained it. But ultimately, its just not my type of movie.”

The Fantastic Mr Fox

“While I didnt set a very high priority on this movie at first from the trailers, the increasingly good buzz it was receiving upped it on the list. Im not really a fan of Wes Anderson. I generally dont get his work. Fantastic Mr Fox, however, was in such a completely different direction, and I absolutely loved it. Seriously, can he direct more childrens’ stories, please?

For me, the best part was the dialogue. So silly and unexpected, it even had me laughing way loud several times. I especially loved the way they used the word “”cuss”” in the same way I use \m/ on this blog (clustercuss had to be my favorite one of those). And it had that perfect balance of kiddie humor and grown-up jokes that make a good (mostly) kiddie movie. There were times when I could hear the little kids having giggling fits, and other times when it was the “”big kids”” laughing hysterically. At the end credits, I def heard a little kid behind me clapping so enthusiastically for the movie, which made me smile.

Fantastic cast as well. It amazes me that even as a stop-motion animated Fox, George Clooney is still incredibly \m/ dashing and debonair. Such a perfect casting choice. I also have nothing but the utmost respect for Meryl Streep, who is prolly my fave actress based solely on talent. I just love the fact that she balances Oscar bait films with fun ones like this. However, the show stealer for me this time around was Jason Schwartzman. He made Ash the character I was always watching for, and his dead-plan line delivery was perfect for the awkward little fox.

I was also particularly impressed with the animation. I’ve gotten so tired of computer animation (number one reason why Im psyched for Princess and the Frog), that it was (to use a dull cliche) “”a breath of fresh air”” to go to a kiddie movie that was a different style (not to mention one that also wasnt entirely mindless). And its also one of the few children’s stories I’ve been to lately that weren’t 3-D and who’s main selling point wasn’t 3-D animation. I \m/ 3-D movies, but they’re starting to get a little overdone.

Gonna wrap this up, cause Im getting quite hungry, but I loved and would recommend it.

The Fantastic Mr Fox – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

Goodfellas (AFI #92)

“Why the \m/ hadn’t I ever seen this one before? It was so \m/ good! Last night, I was torn about which movie to watch. After a depressing double feature of The Messenger and The Road, I kinda wanted something fun, so I almost went with Some Like It Hot. But I’d also been jonesing to watch something on Blu-Ray, and since this was the first AFI movie I’d gotten on Blu-Ray (yay Black Friday) it was my only option there. I figured Saturday night is a good time for long movies, even though there was a high probability of me falling asleep (yes that happened). But OMG it was such a good choice.

The movie was a lot lighter than I imagined. Well, I guess light isnt really the right word cause it wasnt actually light, but it had a lot of humor balanced with the gangster stuff. Within the first few minutes, I knew I’d made the right choice for the night.

The story was great, the cast was great (even if I couldnt keep track of some of the characters). I’d never before gotten why Ray Liotta was so special, but now I fully understand. Absolutely adored him in this movie. Was also great to see Joe Pesci in his Academy Award winning role, so he’s now more than just Harry from Home Alone to me. Not that there’s anything wrong with him in Home Alone. Bobby De Niro rocked as per usual.

Its also further proof of Martin Scorsese being a movie god. Wonderful job with the film, and I love how much he allowed the actors to improv. If you read the IMDB trivia for the film, you’ll find that a lot of classic scenes were minimally scripted.

Overall, this movie is a big win, and I think its been my favorite AFI movie I’d never previously seen.”

The Road

“I forgot how much I hate the Loews Boston Common sometimes. That was the theater I first started going to in Boston. But then once I discovered the Regal Fenway, I never looked back. I try to avoid the Common as much as I can, but lately I’d been a bit more open to it. After today though, I intend to avoid it like the plague unless there really isnt anywhere else to see something on my must list.

First off, they dont do matinee prices on Saturdays. Thats just not cool. And Im always on edge when I get my tickets at the kiosk, cause if the machine doesnt read your rewards card right, it just keeps going without it. But since I dont like talking to people, and the box office people have been known to be rude, I still go with that. Then I noticed that the price of their chicken tenders combo has gone up to 14.75, which is redonkulous, but I was hungry. When I finally got it, it was smaller than the previous time when I got one big container full of fries and another for the chicken. This time it was smushed into one. I complained at the guy, telling him I got more last time, and he had a total screw you attitude. I sorta barked at him saying it wasnt worth $14, and he didnt give a \m/ Then I get to the auditorium, and its one of the small ones (weird for a highly anticpated if not mass marketed movie that just opened and is playing at only one other theater in the city) so of course its nearly at capacity when I walk in 10 min early. I ended up sitting the front, where the floor was sticky. I’d just situated myself with all my stuff, and then I hafta move it all for someone who wants the seat next to me. He just sorta walked to it, and stood directly in front of me in the tiny aisle while I had to readjust. Couldnt he have said something before walking into the aisle? Needless to say, I was in quite the pissy mood when the movie began. I seriously shoulda just stayed at the Kendall, but there aren’t very good food options for doubling over there.

The other thing that was kinda off is that Tenacious D has a completely unrelated song called “”The Road”” that kept getting stuck in my head at the most inappropriate times of the film.

As far as the movie itself, similar feelings to my earlier feature, in that it was compelling and depressing. There wasn’t a lot going on, but it was still captivating. I think one of the main reasons for that was the boy, played by Kodi Smit-McPhee. That bright eyed, innocent young thing was the heart and soul of an otherwise bleak film. I just absolutely adored him.

Love Viggo Mortensen, and I totally believed everything about his character. I felt that he was a good man, but I also recognized that he really would stop at nothing to help his boy.

There was a lot that felt sorta unanswered for me. I was curious to know what caused the whole apocalypse thing. I know it wasnt the point, which is why it was never revealed, but that was bothering me. Dont wanna give away spoilers, but the ending was a bit unfulfilling for me. But I will say that I was practically crying at the end. There’s one type of story that will get me fighting back tears, and they hit it.

Kinda tough to find more to say about it, because it was such a stripped down movie. Definitely good, just not necessarily something I’d wanna watch over and over.

The Road – \m/ \m/ \m/

The Messenger

“I was successful in my “”double feature”” today which consisted of The Messenger at the Kendall and The Road at the common. I realized later that it was prolly poor planning to choose such uplifting (said with sarcasm) movies to watch back to back. But hey what ya gonna do? I’d been dying to see The Messenger, and it seemed like a good chance to also catch The Road which likewise was not playing at my beloved Fenway theater.

Dying to see The Messenger, you (er, I) say? Yes. Um why? I love Ben Foster. I watched him way back in the day when he got his start on the Disney Channel’s Flash Foward, opposite Firefly’s Jewel Staite (although at the time, I knew her as Space Cases’ Jewle Staite). But in the past few years, he’s really been making a name for himself as a serious actor (with the occassional fun stuff, like playing Archangel in X-Men 3). He generated some major buzz for a long shot supporting Oscar nod for 3:10 to Yuma (and I would have _so_ totally been in favor of that). And now he’s generating some long shot lead actor buzz for this movie.

Do I think he’s got what it takes? I def support the long shot buzz. And I would be happy to see him on the list, but its unlikely. For those of you not in the know, The Messenger is about a solider who just got back from Iraq and is supposed to finish off his last few months in the army by informing next of kin when someone dies in battle. Pretty intense stuff. He played the part of conflicted solider beautifully, especially in the penultimate scene of the movie. While I dont think we’re likely to see him as an Oscar nominee this year, if he keeps up this type of work, it wont be long until we do. And Im really excited for that day, to see sweet little Tucker James all growed up.

Playing opposite Foster was Woody Harrelson, another favorite of mine. While he’s best known and loved for his kooky roles (most recently, Zombieland or 2012), the man is one damn fine actor. Personally, I think his best work was when he combined both of those sides of him for the title role in The People Vs. Larry Flynt. Hey, it worked out so well for him he scores his only Oscar nod to date. Here, he was great as Foster’s mentor who seems to have it all together, but is really just as messed up as everyone else below the surface.

Surprise appearance by Steve Buscemi who was so good in his small role. Im always happy to see him, but this was one of his best acting wise. Wasn’t too sold on the girls in the movie, although I think it was mostly because I didnt really like their storylines. The movie actually loses a little bit on the rating scale because of how much I didnt care for the storyline involving Samantha Morton. Nothing wrong with her, but the idea of a solider going after (yes, that kinda going after) a woman he just informed is now a widow seemed so wrong to me, to the point where I was almost even repulsed by it. I kinda shut down during the point when that storyline was the most prevalent, and it took a while to get me back in. Wasn’t too interested in Jenna Malone’s storyline either, but Ive always had mixed feelings about her. While she gets mad points for being in both Donnie Darko and Saved, there’s always something a bit off. And most of the stuff with her was just awkward.

Ultimately, this was such a gripping movie. With the previously mentioned exceptions, I was absolutely drawn in and captivated. When the movie ended, it sounded like everyone had been holding their breath thru the whole thing. I heard a “”wow.”” behind me and other similar remarks. Although, I hafta say the last scene was kind anticlimactic. The penultimate scene, on the other hand, was just such a brilliant finish on an already brilliant movie.

The Messenger – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

To Kill a Mockingbird (AFI #25)

“Happy Slapsgiving, er I mean Tofurkey Day, um Thanksgiving! Managed to get a movie in before turkey-ing. The tentative Xmas Carol IMAX trip didnt end up happening, but there was a rather enjoyable watching of Fanboys. But thats not the important one (for purposes of this blog at least)

Most of us prolly read To Kill a Mockingbird in some point in junior high and high school. Along with The Outsiders and Animal Farm, its one of the few required readings I remember enjoying, or at least ones that come to mind easily. We saw the movie in class and I loved it then too. Im actually thinking I should pick up a copy at Border’s tomorrow, give it another read. And this time I wont have any essays to write on it.

The characters are just so compelling. Its no surprise that Atticus Finch has the number one spot on another AFI list–top screen heroes. He’s just so smart and compassionate and fair and loving that you cant help but admire him. And Gregory Peck portrays him perfectly. No wonder he wont that Oscar. Also adore the tough little tomboy Scout–another one of the best characters ever written.

AFI also ranks this as the number one courtroom drama, for good reason. The courtroom scene is fantastic, and such a great and fascinating story that really gets you thinking. I usually do a lot of fidgeting and pausing when Im watching a flick at home, but I hardly left my seat (or more acurately, lying down spot).

There isnt really much else to say. Again, most of ya’ll are prolly familiar enough with the story to know what Im talking about.

And on that note, Im off to plan my shopping tomorrow *evil grin*”

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.”

2001: A Space Odyssey (AFI #15)

“This entry is likely to be on the short side for two reasons:
1-My wrist has been acting up, and its hard to type with a brace on
B-I have a purring kitty resting on top of me, and the alternative if I disturb him is that he’ll be walking across the keyboard. And yes, death glares are comin’ from the other kitty as expected.

I was excited to see this movie. I really wanted to love it. But I just didnt get it. I understand that this is one of those that you hafta watch a bunch of times. However, to be honest, I dont know how gung-ho I am about that idea. I’ve said this multiple times before on this blog, I like narratives. I want to be told a story. There wasnt much of that going on here.

Yes, the visual was \m/ stunning. I like being able to watch a movie and try to guess how effects were done, and not having the answer to that question default to “”CGI””. And I’ve only had the uber tv for a week, but I’ve already noticed that poorly done effects look kinda silly on it. There was no silly-ness here. And the visual gags were my fave part of the whole thing. Especially in the first space sequence, I just loved all the imaginitive gadgets. The pretty effects with the pretty classical music was another good touch as well.

Something else that didnt quite work for me personally was the lack of dialogue. I completely understand the point behind that (no sound in space), but thats another surefire way to lose my attention. I guess I might’ve been a bit more into it if I had gotten it all in one sitting. I sorta fell asleep part way thru on Sat and didnt have time until today to finish it. C’est la vie.

Anyways, as mentioned on Twitter the next thing on tonight’s agenda is to Hulu Joseph Gordon-Levitt hosting SNL. Yup, slept right thru that too. Haven’t actually watched an ep of SNL in a while, but I’ve absolutely loved that boy since he was on 3rd Rock From the Sun…Aaaand break.”

2012

“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/