Cop Out

“On my list of fave directors, Kevin Smith prolly comes in at the 4th spot. So even though the trailers for Cop Out didnt look too promising, I had to go. Incidentally, this is the first time Smith directs a film that he didnt write himself. While the movie definitely had its moments (one in particular got a \m/ huge laugh outta me), for the most part I think Smith should stick to his own shit.

The first thing that I will say is actually brilliant is the title. If you’re unaware of the backstory, yeah it seems kinda stupid. The original title was “”A Couple of Dicks”” but we all know about the hateful relationship the MPAA has with Kevin Smith (even worse than Smith with Southwest Airlines if you’re up on that recent drama), so that didnt fly (hadnt thought of the SA thing when I picked that phrase). With that bit of history, yes I daresay, brilliant title.

The cast was good. Bruce Willis apparently had been really wanting to work with Smith, especially after appearing together in Die Hard 4.0 and he really fit into his world quite well (even if it wasn’t the beloved View Askew-niverse). Tracy Morgan was great, but I really wish he could enunciate and didnt sound like he’s got a constant stuffy nose. Maybe then, I’d be able to understand more than half of his lines. There wasn’t as much Seann William Scott as the trailer had led me to believe, which did make me a bit sad. Even if he’s constantly playing a variation of Stifler, I do love him so. Some surprising faces in the supporting cast that I was happy to see: Jason Lee (of course a hardcore Smith collaborator had to be there), Kevin Pollack, Adam Brody, Guillermo Diaz (he’s Guillermo on Weeds), Michelle Trachtenberg, and Rashida Jones.

Again, the comedy was kinda hit or miss. Nowhere near as classic as Clerks or even Dogma, but hey at least it wasn’t Jersey Girl (sorry, cheap shot. To be fair, I actually didnt hate Jersey Girl like most other peeps did). But I think low expectations is really the key to maximum enjoyability here

Cop Out – \m/ \m/ \n

Bonnie & Clyde (AFI #41)

“Penultimate Amazon rental. 1 more to rent, 2 free online, and 3 on order from I should have access to all the pending movies on the list pretty soon. Should also note that this one was an HD rental. Really didnt notice much difference, but it was only a buck more.

Aw crap, I feel this is gonna be another one of my infamously incoherent write ups, like …Virgina Woolfe yesterday. I had a similar issue where I’d get really into it, then my mind would wander and it’d lose me for a bit. When I’d come back, I’d feel like I’d missed something important.

The first thing that really caught me off guard about Bonnie and Clyde is that they had a gang. You always just hear of them as a deadly duo. So I was a bit confused when they first picked up their accomplice, and by how much they were riding around with Clyde’s fam. Just something that struck me as odd.

According to IMDB trivia, this movie was pretty groundbreaking as far as some of the violence in the film. Among its acheivements, it was the first time you’d see a gun fired and hit someone in the same shot. So I guess all those violent films that I crave nowadays owe a lot to this one.

Now I’d like to take this opportunity to say that Warren Beatty was quite pretty back in the day, and I absolutely loved him as Clyde. But really, I loved Faye Dunaway as Bonnie even more. I’d like to think of myself as a fairly badass chick, and I like movies that showcase tough girls who can kick some butt. Bonnie Parker definitely fits that description. Dunaway is one of many actors/resses that I was introduced to thru the AFI project. Each performance of hers just kicks her up another notch in my book.

Spent a good chunk of the movie thinking bout Public Enemies (mostly cause of the whole “”we’re here for the bank’s money”” bit), to the point where I just put it on in the background while Im writing this. It has been sitting in my movie queue for a while. Only about 10 inutes in, but can def say that the decision to get that one on Blue-Ray was a good one. I’d been on the fence, but this is one of the few where the quality really is just awesome. Just leaving it on for a few minutes while I eat lunch, then head over to Cop Out”

The Sixth Sense (AFI #89)

“While pondering my afternoon, I remembered that the best solution to the “”I should watch an AFI but I dont know if Im in the right mindset”” conundrum is to watch one of the ones I’m fairly familiar with already. That way even if I space completely, I’ve seen it before and can prolly work out something to say here.

As mentioned on Twitter this movie has actually come up in conversation several times during the week, so it seemed the logical choice once I’d decided on a semi-repeat movie.

Really quick, just wanna take a moment to say how happy it makes me that this film made it to the AFI list, and that it got some good Oscar recognition back in its day. Sadly, it didnt actually win anything (American Beauty? WTF? You dont see that on any lists other than the worst of the Oscars lists), but the fact that it was up there is enough.

I still remember the first time I saw it. For a few weeks back in high school the library would show a movie on Thursday (and finish it on Friday) during lunch. The’d charge a buck for admission. The first one they showed was The Sixth Sense. Im also fairly sure that was the first DVD I ever saw. Sadly I was long spoilt for the film before seeing it, but at the time I didnt think it took away from the experience. Thinking about it now, I really do wish I coulda seen it without knowing what happens (I wont say just in case you’re the one person on the planet that doenst know). Its not something I woulda been able to fully appreciate then, but really could now.

I also have a greater appreciation for directors now, so this time around I was just eating up every last one of Shyamalan’s details. Even though his work has somewhat deteriorated over the years, he is still a cinematical genius. I’ve made it a point to see his movies as soon after their release as possible, hoping to make it without knowing the end. The only time I was successful was for The Village, and thats cause I went to an early show the day it opened, immediately running to the theater after class.

Was really struck by Haley Joel Osment’s performance this time as well. You’d never expect such a young’un to be so intense. Found this bit on IMDB trivia about him, that was kinda interesting. Gonna just copy/paste the whole thing:
“”Reputedly, Haley Joel Osment got the role of Cole Sear for one of three reasons: First, he was best for it. Second, he was the only boy at auditions who wore a tie. Third, M. Night Shyamalan was surprised when he asked Haley Joel Osment if he read his part. Osment replied, “”I read it three times last night.”” Shyamalan was impressed saying, “”Wow, you read your part three times?”” To which Osment replied, “”No, I read *the script* three times.””””

While we’re on the subject of trivia for the film, I remember seeing an interview with Osment way back when. Musta been on Leno or one of his counterparts. He was saying how it was always incredibly cold when they were filming, but the crew always had plenty of hot chocolate for him. He first thought they were just being really nice, but it turns out it was specifically to get that breath effect on screen.

Also just wanna go on record saying I love Donnie Wahlberg in this as well. I know he doesn’t do much, but what he does he does well. Enjoyed seeing Toni Collete as well, especially now that I know her as Tara (as in United States Of) and from Little Miss Sunshine. That final scene between her and Osment is just pure magic. And of course, this is also one of Bruce Willis’ all time best performances.

So um, yeah, I’d say this movie is a win”

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe? (AFI #67)

“This one’s been intriguing me for a while, but just now getting around to seeing it. Although I kinda wish I was in a more attentive mood.

I got really into it at the beginning, then got lost somewhere after the “”bourgin”” scene in the yard, and had a hard time getting back into it. Im definitely gonna need to give this one a second viewing at some point and/or tear into the actual play.

Ugh, this is an awkwardly written blog entry. Sorry folks, not sure what’s up with me today.

Anyways, I loved how \m/ up this one was (big surprise there). I really had not expected that. The first half made me feel uncomfortable silently observing the awkwardness. Then there were just so many WTF moments throughout.

I dont feel I got really good understanding of the whole thing, though. I found a spark notes type site online and kinda skimmed it for info. Mostly because the wedding bouquet line caught me as familiar and I was trying to Google where I’d heard it before.

Fantastic cast. I dont think I’d ever seen Liz Taylor in action before, so watching her in the role she considers her best was really cool. Was also thinking that I’d love to play Honey someday. Lately when I see plays (or movies from plays) I’d been thinking about them from a directorial perspective. It’d been a while since I came away from one thinking about it as an actor, but yeah I think I gotta add that to the list of dream roles. Not that Im likely to have a shot at it, and I really dont know how well I’d do, but it’d def be a fun challenge.

Right, well Im really not making much sense today. Gonna stop for now, hit the grocery store, and re-evaluate if I really should hit another AFI before Flogging Molly tonight or not.”

Shutter Island

“I usually dont blog my repeats, other than maybe a one sentance mention. Granted, the number of repeats I go to has come down recently. A few years ago there were prolly like 10 in a year, mostly cause a certain movie buddy of mine would wait to see something and then coerce me to go. But I think last year’s repeat number was at like 2 or 3. And 9 times out of 10, if I do go to a repeat its for circumstantial reasons: someone needs a movie buddy, there’s nothign else to do, its what playing at Graumann’s Chinese Theater (that was HP 6 this year).

This time around, the reason for the repeat was quite simple: I wanted to catch a movie on my bday. My viable options were From Paris With Love (the trailers for which didnt impress this action junkie) or Shutter Island again. Turns out, SI was a good one for a repeat.

It had been pouring down rain all day, and as I walked the two blocks to the theater at 10 oclock that night the wind had really picked up too. I was grabbing onto my hood, desperately trying to keep it on my head and images of Leo Dicaprio and Mark Ruffalo running through the graveyard in the wind were flashing in my mind. That was definitely one of the best mood-setting theater treks I’ve had. The downside there was that my pajama pants were completely soaked by the time I got there, so I spent the movie wet and cold.

As I’d said in the original write up, watching the movie the first time around was all about trying to figure out the mystery. This time, it was about picking up on and processing all the clues that had gone over my head before. I wont give anything away, but there were definitely a lot of those, so I highly recommend a second viewing at some point for those who managed to see it unspoilt.

I was also kinda impressed with the crowd size. Normally when I go to an evening show during the week, there’s only a handful of people there. If its in the big auditorium, every group has a row or two to themselves. I suspected that a late show would be even more sparsely populated. Not the case. No, it wasnt in danger of selling out, but it was fairly full–the way I’d typically expect the early matinee shows to be. I loved sitting there and anticipating all the “”Oh shit!”” moments that had made me jump the time before. I was just waiting for someone somewhere in the room to say that each time. I gathered early on that the group behind me, though annoying most of the time, would be the ones to oblige me with that. And yes, they were. Makes me wonder if that’s what Scorsese or Dicaprio would feel like watching the movie in a room full of strangers watching it for the first time. Do they anticipate all those moments and wait for the reaction? I know I do whenever I’ve been on the dir staff side of a theater production.

Anyways, 30 Seconds to Mars tix go on sale pretty soon so I gotsta be ready for that. Apparently they have these fan package things where you can meet the band and get all this cool stuff. Too bad I can’t justify spending 200 bucks on one of those. The goal for this weekend is 4 AFI’s plus Cop Out (tomorrow) and Im seeing Flogging Molly tonight. I can’t believe how far behind I’ve fallen on the AFI thing. Hopefully now that my late schedule at work is permanent, I’ll actually be leaving on time and less stressed so I’ll be able to get in movies during the week again.”

Shutter Island

“I had so many messages on Rotten Tomatoes this weekend that said something along the lines of “”Read this review of Shutter Island””. I swear, it feels like the whole world saw it this weekend. I actually had some difficulty in managing that task. For some reason, all week I was really in the mood for an opening night movie. I usually avoid these like the plague, and much prefer Sat and Sun matinees or weeknight movie trips. But I rushed home and got there about half an hour early and it was sold out. The roomie had wanted to come with, but had other plans so I told her we’d go to one of the late shows. Showed up early for the first after 10 screening and both of ’em were gone. Decided to postpone til Sun, and on Sat afternoon she shows up with tix for the 6:45 on Sun. But I had tix for New Found Glory so she had to go switch ’em for an earlier time. And then, well lets just say I partied kinda hard on Sat, so I was really \m/ out of it. I half expected to either fall asleep or completely not catch onto anything at all. Thankfully, that was not the case.

I actually went into this one with pretty high hopes, which isnt typically a good thing. I was so pissed when it got pushed back from its October release date. I’d been so psyched for it, and then last minute ended up having to wait longer. And what was worse is that I was already starting to get sick of the trailer that had been playing all summer, and then just like with The Soloist the year before, I got an extra 3 months of watching the trailer at every other \m/ movie I went to.

But was it worth the wait? Oh hells yeah. I absolutely loved it. This sorta psychological thriller is right up my alley (and ya’ll had better not be surprised by that statement). I just thought it was brilliant. Really creepy and suspensful, but very clever and well thought out. And a fantastic cast on top of that.

With this sort of movie, I like trying to solve the mystery. There’s two things that will make me really enjoy the process: I need to not figure it all out too quickly, and if it is something unexpected I need to believe its possible. It cant just be “”oh yeah by the way Ben Kingsley is an alien””. For Shutter Island, the wheels in my head were turning the whole damn time. I did figure out most of it, but there wasn’t really a point where I knew I’d solved it. This is kinda tough to get into without giving stuff away, but I’ll try to be cleverly cryptic. I’ve seen a fair amount of these types of movies, so from the beginning I had about maybe 3 or 4 ideas for how it’d play out. By the halfway point, I had it narrowed down to 2. I knew it was one of those, but I was never convinced one way or the other until everything was revealed. And when it was, it all just made perfect sense to me. Or perfect enough.

I become a bigger and bigger fan of Martin Scorsese with every movie of his I see. Im jealous of Leonardo Dicaprio having been mentored by this genius of a director. The man knows his shit: the dead silence suddenly being shattered, dim & spooky lighting, flawlessly framed shots. You really just can’t get much better.

Speaking of Leo, I still love him so much. One of those rare actors who is as talented as he is gorgeous. I hear that he was really close to insanity a few times as he’d just get lost in the role, and it really paid off. This is gonna sound cheesey and cliche but he really is one of the absolute \m/ best actors of his generation.

Im contemplating seeing this one again this week. I got no plans for my bday on Thur, so the default plan is catch a movie. Right now the options are From Paris With Love, which is likely to suck but I haven’t seen it before or Shutter Island again, but its a bit on the lengthy side (just north of two hours) and likely to get out a touch later than I’d like. Really leaning for the repeat though.

Shutter Island – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

The Silence of the Lambs (AFI #74)

“Tonight is one of my favorite nights of the year. Its my bday movie night. I’ve been obsessively cleaning the apartment all day (something that only happens two or three times a year and always for a party). The line up is Aladdin, Zomebieland, (500) Days of Summer, each followed by an act of Dr Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. Got going well enough on the cleaning thing that I had time to sneak in a movie. Since I was likely to be distracted, I wanted something familiar, which narrowed it down a bit. From there, I wanted something on DVD cause I didnt feel like changing around all the settings on the system. The next restriction was a 2 hour time limit. Between all that, Lambs was the only one left.

This is another movie that I forget how good it is, mainly because the first time I saw it way back when (it was one of the first DVD’s I ever rented) I didnt care much for it. I cant remember if I saw this or Red Dragon first, but I’d always prefered Red Dragon. Mostly cause Edward Norton is my fave actor. Now I think I’d prolly see them equally, even though its prolly been a couple years since I last saw Dragon.

Notably, I’ve now seen all 3 grand slam academy awards movies. You know, ones that won Picture, Director, Actor, Actress, & Screenplay. The other two were It Happened One Night and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I just love the fact that a movie like this, which is right up my macabre alley, could won best picture. The rest is just icing.

Love the story. Love the characters. Love the cast. Similar to Psycho, I still get creeped out listening to Hannibal Lector speak. Im just so entranced by his relationship with Clarice. This time around, I really noticed what a bad ass she is too. I dont know how to describe what it brings out of me, but Im just in awe watching the two of ’em.

Also worth mentioning that since there had been a while since I’d seen this, I didnt even get the HUGE reference in Clerks II until it was pointed out to me. Then of course I rewatched Lambs and it all made sense. Heart Kevin Smith.

Anyways starting to get antsy for tonight and I got a few last minute things to do within the next 75 min.”

Ben-Hur (AFI #100)

“Here was another pleasant surprise of a movie. Also didnt know what to expect other than the length–a whopping 212 minutes. I’d actually woken up earlier than I intended to today, and likely coulda squished the whole thing in before heading to the theater. But then I fell asleep for like 30 min which killed that possibility. Had some trouble getting into it at first, but eventually got hooked. Momentarily considered saving all of the second half (so nice of them to include an intermission) until after Percy Jackson, I woulda had the perfect amount of time to watch an episode of Chuck, but decided I was too into the story at that point. I actually came this close to giving up on PJATO:TLT when I wasnt sure if the chariot scene would end in time.

Yeah, that chariot race was \m/ badass. Im just amazed by how well done it was. Even though you could kinda figure what was gonna happen, I was on edge the whole time. I was even yelling along as stuff happened. Apparently, acc to IMDB trivia, the part where he flips over the chariot while jumping the broken one, was an accident that the kept in cause it looked good. That was the point when I yelled “”\m/!””

Really impressed with the way the story flowed too. Its tough to keep my attention through a movie that long, without it either dragging or getting too choppy. Enjoyed the Biblical tie-ins as well. Its kinda tough to pull that off without being either too heavy handed or too hokey.

I dont exactly think Im likely to sit down for the whole thing again any time soon, but really glad that I managed to this time.”

Percy Jackson and the Olympians

“I had so much I wanted to say when I was walking back from the theater, but what I didnt think about was where to start…

The way things were lining up before the movie started didnt bode well. The showing I was going to was sold out (WTF) but luckily they were able to do an overflow room so I got into that. And I hadn’t quite grasped how much of a kiddie movie this was, at least as far as the audience in attendance. Wasn’t quite mentally prepared for that. So this room was packed with losta 8 year old boys, and there was a family sitting right behind me that got split and put one of their people right next to me. While, yes, I was annoyed that I didnt have my one seat buffer on both sides, that wasn’t what made it suck. What sucked was that the lady behind me kept on whispering things to her kid, then would lean over and whisper the same thing to the person next to me. And it was stuff like “”That’s Poseidon!”” or “”thats a Minotaur!”” everytime something or someone new was on screen. Immediately after she delivered her message to both people, someone on screen would identify the new entity. Was that seriously \m/ necessary? What I think the worst part about that was, besides the fact that whispering in front of you is 10x more annoying and rude to the person in front of you that whispering to your side, is that she was basically teaching her kid How to Be Rude at the Movies 101. Usually its the brats that are talking, not the grown up. So yeah, not the best way to kick things off.

Fortunately however, once I was mostly successful in tuning out the excess noise, I was really into the film. As I’ve likely mentioned before, a good indicator for me of how much Im enjoying a movie is looking at my watch. How far into the film do I first check the time, and how often after that. This time, it was an hour in for a total of three times. Those are some pretty good numbers.

Yeah I dont know what it was, but I was just sucked right into it. And that’s really saying something considering how \m/ distractable I’ve been with every other movie this weekend. Part of it is prolly that I’ve kinda always been interested in Greek mythology, although I dont know nearly as much about it as I’d like. They def took a lotta liberties with the stories, but it worked. Really liked the whole modernization thing, so I’ll need to pick up this series soon. Good thing I just finished Cirque du Freak, yeah?

The whole thing was filled with campy goodness. Yes, some of it was a bit excessive. And they did stretch the limits of believability. But it was fun, which is all that really matters.

Great cast. Very impressed with Logan Lerman. He kinda has this whole Christian Slater thing going on. If I were 10 years younger, you can bet I’d be putting up posters of him on my wall, most likely next to Zac Efron. But, if I were 10 years younger I’d be back in high school, and God knows that’s the last \m/ thing I’d ever want. Points for the grown ups in the movie as well, Catherine Keener, Pierce Brosnan, Joe Pantoliano (whose name I’ll never remember, but will still continue to refer to him as Cypher) Uma Thurman as Medusa (side note: my fear of snakes kept me from looking at her when she was on screen. I wonder if the people behind me thought I was some crazy person who was actually afraid of turning into stone), Sean Bean as Zeus, and Rosario Dawson as Persephone (who was prolly my fave of the lot. Loved the dress too). Wasnt too sold on Steve Coogan as Hades, though.

So this was a win. Very much recommend it if its your thing. If its not, you’ll prolly be killed by the kinda kiddy camp.

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Theif – \m/ \m/ \m/ \n

The Last Picture Show (AFI #95)

“I had some trouble getting into it at first. Granted, I had a few outside distractions. The ‘rents called just after starting, and I’d also had the soup mishap I mentioned on Twitter. Then I ended up bookending this around The Wolfman. Usually splitting up a movie like that doesnt exactly help, but I think it did this time. I was def more into the second half.

At first, I just tried focusing extra hard on Jeff Bridges to keep my mind from wandering. I knew he was in this, but only knowing him as The Dude and Bad Blake, I woulda never been able to pick him outta the lineup. But that voice of his is unmistakable. And yeah, really did like him in this, to the point where I throw just a bit more support behind him for his likely Oscar win next month.

On the subject of the cast, I didnt even recognize some of the other now famous faces in this: Cybil Shepherd, Cloris Leachman, Ellen Burstyn, & Randy Quaid. Was particularly impressed with Shepherd. I think it was when her character picked up that I really got into it, even if I ended up hating her (in a good way, hating the character, which is dependant on a good performance) by the end.

Win overall. Still debating whether or not I wanna get in another AFI tonight. Need to grab my laundry and go to Shaw’s. By then, I’ll have just enough time to get thru a movie and rush the write up (which I’d likely save til tomorrow instead). To be decided…”