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/

City Lights (AFI #11)

“I was half expecting this post to be pretty much the same as Duck Soup–not my style of humor, watched it for my Comedy class soph year, understand its significance. But what I hadnt realized that time before when I saw this is how absolutely \m/ beautiful it is. Seriously, gorgeous movie.

AFI ranks it as #11, which means that it’s the highest ranking one I’ll be getting to any time soon. The plan is to go in consecutive order for the top 10 once I’ve seen the other 90. On one of their more specific lists, they rank it as the #1 romantic comedy of all time. If Sandra Bullock, Kate Hudson, or Katherine Heigl could make a rom-com like this, I might actually not despise the genre.

The images were so georgeous and heartfelt. Yes there was some slapstick, and no I wasnt really laughing at it, but Chaplin is so sincere in his work. How could you not fall in love with the Little Tramp? He moves with such fluidity (okay except maybe for that waddle) that its almost like choreography. This was the first of his movies to be done during the sound era. He had to fight to get to do a silent movie. The result is that the score fit the movie absolutely perfect, and the sound effects they could added in were a great touch.

Those of you who folow me on Twitter know that I watched the original Nosferatu this weekend, which is also a silent movie. That one was made about ten years before, but City Lights was just such a superior picture. I had two sound options for Nosferatu–a recently composed score by a full orchestra (which kinda sucked, and thats that I dont know much about these things) or the original score just on the organ (which had the right feel, but got old really fast). If its music was done half as well as City Lights, that would have been one fantastic picture.

Anyways Im rambling now. In other news, if you notice on the tracking sheet for the AFI project, I am now a quarter of the way through the list. Thats taken me just over a month, which is slower than I would have liked. But I’ve accepted the fact that I prolly wont reach my arbitrary end of the year goal and Im okay with that. I just hope I can keep at this steady pace. In the meantime, my non-AFI movie queue is starting to pile up quite high. I dont think Im likely to run out of stuff to watch for the next couple months.”

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