The Grapes of Wrath (AFI #23)

“Back from a quick vacation to Texas for my cousin Ritchie’s (or Rick as he usually goes by now) wedding. Had some tentative plans for movie watching that didnt work out. Thought maaaaybe there’d be an hour and a half when I could watch The General online. Nope. Then I really wanted to take my baby cousin, Carys, to see …Dragon but timing didnt work out. Although that turned out for the best cause Im gonna get to see it at the IMAX this weekend. Anyhoo, as much as I wanted to just put on something mindless and pass out tonight, I figured that I really gotta get these AFI movies done. I keep missing one arbitrary deadline after another another, and I’m so \m/ close.

Before I get into tonight’s movie, I forgot to post this article. It amused me (mostly because it prominently features the word expletive, including the phrase expletive deleted) even if I dont agree with the writer’s stance on the subject.

Right. AFI movie. Tonight’s pick was The Grapes of Wrath. I dont know if its cause I didnt do a good job balancing out the movies so Im left with a decent selection, or if Im getting exhausted on the last legs of the project, or if its life in general, but Im finding it more and more difficult to get into these films. Although this time around, I swear I really was trying. And it had me sometimes. But the problem was that its really depressing (and slow) and with everything I’ve had to deal with lately (still not going into detail), depressing isnt exactly what Im in the mood for.

I did like the characters. Ma Joad in particular stood out to me, as did the preacher, err former preacher. Also particularly liked that diner scene early on where they’re trying to buy food for the trip. Found the way it played out and ultimately concluded very touching. I can see how the film is considered significant in the movie world, but just not quite something I woulda wanted to watch right now if I didnt have a mission to accomplish.”

High Noon (AFI #27)

“Really short write up, cause I got laundry waiting. And also, this was a western. We all have learned by now that those send my attention span to zero. this was among my distractions.

The bits that did manage to catch me were intriguing. I’ve just accepted that this whole western thing is a personal character flaw, and there’s not much I can do about it.

Wow this write up has no content.”

Star Wars (AFI #13)

“I still remember the first time I saw Star Wars. I must’ve been in about 8th or 9th grade. I’d gotten hooked on Sliders and was getting into sci-fi as a result. I was gonna spend the night at my grandma’s, so my daddy and I were at Blockbuster picking up a rental–a tradition for slumber parties over there. When he realized my newfound love of sci fi, he said he knew exactly which movie I needed to rent. He walked off for a minute and came back with Star Wars. And I loved it. I watched the trilogy a bunch of times throughout high school, and thought I was fan. Then I came to MIT, and realized I was nowhere close to the epic levels of fandom that many of the new friends I made had reached.

Then there was the whole Star Wars Trilogy: Musical Edition thing. Yeah that was interesting. I assume most of you reading this know exactly what Im talking about, but if you dont, yes I was in a musical theater production of Star Wars. I played a range of characters including (and I know Im butchering spelling) Dengar, Admiral Ozzel, dancing Jawa, dancing Bespin guard, MIT Quiddich player (yes you read that right), but mostly just random imperial officer in the background. I’ll say it was an experience, and I’ll leave it at that.

As far as the movie, to be honest I dont care so much for A New Hope anymore. Once I discovered it, I’d watch it every time it was on tv, and its a lot more readily available than the sequels so I think I saw it a few too many times. Dont get me wrong, Im not in any way trying to belittle it. It just has lost a bit of the magic for me. And, I’ll also admit that in general I’d prefer watching the prequels. I know, that blasphemous statement could result in my death, but bear in mind that I like recent movies best. And its more the visual and a cast Im more familiar with than anything else. I wont argue with you if you try to convince me the originals are better, but I can only handle so much old school special effects. Although I am vehemently against total CGI muppet-less Yoda.

Amusing antecdote that just happened. I was too lazy to turn off the tv, so I left the credits rolling while doing the write up. The roomie walks in, looks at the screen and hears the music. “”Superman?”” she asks innocently. Her BF yells out “”Star Wars!”” from the other room. It doesnt sound as funny written out, but it did have us all laughing.

Anyhoo, have a happy what’s left of Easter. Hoping to get in one AFI this week (aiming for Tues) before heading home again for a few days, but we’ll see what happens.”

Clash of the Titans

“Ah yes, the dreaded April action movie. The attempted blockbuster that doesnt quite have what it takes to be released a month later, when its officially summer season movie wise. I knew to expect nothing going into this one. Was somewhat tempted to skip it, but we all know that was never gonna happen.

What also didnt help was that the guy behind me while waiting for the ticket taker mentioned to his movie buddy that the 3D in the movie was gonna suck because it was originally intended and shot as a 2d movie. \m/. I’d forgotten that fact, and I was hypercritical of the third dimension the whole time. But the truth is, no it was not worth it. You know how if you take off the glasses, the screen looks blurry, and however blurry it is is proportional to the effects. In other words, a really detailed 3D scene will be really blurry. The picture looked pretty clear a lot of times I took off the glasses. Not good. It was not noticable at all. On the upside, at least it wasnt headache inducing as last minute 3D often is. Or maybe its just that the movie was putting me to sleep.

Yeah, it was all just dull. I dont know what it was. I did like the characters, which was an easy win for them because of course Im gonna love mythological peeps. I guess the story just wasnt anything too special. And there’s the added fact that I dont know my mythology as well as I’d like. Yup, thats another one of those I-should-study-up-on-this-subject comments that Im never gonna actually do. My usual one is I should study up on WWII. Moving on.

The action scenes left a lot to be desired. Im very much an action junkie, so if those scenes were the ones putting me most to sleep, we got a major \m/ problem. There was one good fight towards the end-ish but it didnt come close to making up for the rest of ’em.

The comment I have about the cast is that I didnt recognize most of the actors I should have. Yes I caught Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Alexa Davalos, and Nicholas Hoult (although I didnt remember his name and referred to him in my head as the cute guy from A Single Man) but I totally didnt catch Ralph Fiennes, Gemma Arterton, or Jason Flemyng. I mean, yes, I did see they were there, but I didnt realize who they were. Bad movie afficionado. *slap on the wrist*. Also, it hurt my soul a little bit to see Liam Neeson (and Ralph Fiennes when I realized it) doing a movie so beneath him.

I know this is a movie that you pretty much know what you’re getting into if you do decide to see it, which an unfortunate number of ya’ll prolly will. My only advice is that I’d recommend spending the extra 3 bucks supersizing your snacks for a 2D showing. At least you’ll get some extra M&M’s out of it.

Clash of the Titans – \m/ \n

Nashville (AFI #59)

“Hey, its one of my signature I-didnt-pay-much-attention-to-the-movie-so-this-is-gonna-be-a-short-AFI-write-up entries. Best.

So the deal I made with myself this afternoon when I got back from filing my taxes (I’ll spare ya’ll the rant, but the short version is the private screening of Vampire’s Assistant screwed me over a bit) was that I’d watch a movie out of my queue and then if I didnt have anything else to do tonight, THEN I’d watch an AFI. Watched National Treasure 2 and still didnt have anything else better to do once it was over. And thus, here we are.

This ones got me puzzling as to why it was included on the list, and it missed the top half by that much. I was bored. It was more musical performances than anything else, and while I can appreciate country music, I dont quite dig old school country. Some of the characters were interesting, but there wasn’t enough going on at a time to really hold me.

Clearly, Im missing something”

Repo Men

“Hello there, gentle readers. I hope there’s still some of you out there. Apologies for the unexpected hiatus. Shit happened that I had to deal with. Been on the fence about how full disclosure I wanna be about it. Not that it something I need to hide, but at this time I dont feel my movie blog is the appropriate venue to discuss. Nothing to worry about. Life goes on.

I actually got to go see this Repo Men on Thur, but am just now getting around to doing the write up. Not sure if Ive mentioned this before (I feel I must’ve) but Im now on a later schedule at work. Im in from 11-7, and how that affects my movie-ing is that I typically can’t make it back in time for showings in the 7:00 hour, but I can go to a 10:00 hour one and make it back before bedtime. Downside is its either bedtime on time or immediate write up. Since then, I’ve realized after the fact that I had time to do it. Sort of a “”hey that 30 minutes that just went by, woulda been great”” So, sittin’ down and hittin’ it now.

I’d been really disappointed that life got in the way of seeing Repo Men right away. I’d been really psyched for it. Sadly, extended excitement equalled extra disappointment (dammit, couldnt think of a synonym started with “”e””). The pacing and structure sorta killed it a bit for me. Given that’s been my typically complaint lately, it makes me wonder if Im just getting too picky about movies or there really have been that many with that issue.

So, why was I stoked for the movie to begin with? I love shoot ’em ups. No secret there. ‘Specially love ’em when they’ve got an interesting premise. Bonus points if its a messed up on. Add a very promising cast on top of that (Jude Law, Forrest Whitaker, Liev Schriber) and you got a very good formula for a possible Dawn movie, and it was to some extent.

The first bit of it was very quick and streamlined, which is typically a good thing. You dont have too much excess and dont spend needless time on scenes people couldnt give a \m/ about. But, care needs to be taken that the movie doesnt feel like it has a false ending. I thought we were reaching the end, then I looked at my watch and realized we had another hour to go. If you dont quite get what Im describing, a classic example is Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. THe last 45 minutes had like 10 places where you thought the movie was ending. You get mentally prepared for it to be over, tie up the lose ends in your head (or justify why they’re there), and start thinking of what snack is waiting for you at home. But instead you realize its not over yet, and it takes a lot of effort to reengage. Or maybe Im the only one. Either way, there were several times it felt like it was building to an end, and each was harder to come back from than the last.

The action scenes didnt disappoint, except maybe for their quantity. I really coulda used a few more. Word of caution: this film is definitely not for the squeamish. I’m pretty tough when it comes to that sorta thing, so if I was getting borderline grossed out that tells you something right there. Bear that in mind if you’re sensitive to that stuff.

No complaints about the cast either, but not really much special to say about ’em.

Anyhoo I guess thats all the majors for Repo Men. I think I might like it better on a second watch, once I know what Im in for. Unclear how Im gonna proceed movie wise this weekend. I should try to get in a couple AFI’s but Im lacking motivation. Im taking off for my cousin’s wedding next weekend so that’s also gonna put a major halt on the movies. Hopefully after that I really will get back on track and finish that damn project already. Im so close.

Repo Men – \m/ \m/ \n

The Godfather Part II (AFI #32)

“As a rule, I usually approach sequels with a bit of apprehension. Not so with this one. I’d seen it a couple times before, and was more than happy to watch it again. Although with its crazy long running time, I wasn’t suure when I’d manage to. There is some debate as to whether this is one of the even rarer sequels that surpasses the original. Im on the Part I is better camp, but I wouldnt argue too hard against someone who’s pro Part II

The plot does get a bit confusing in this one. Thankfully, IMDB FAQ is wonderful for clearing up some of that mess. That aside, it is one fantastic movie. Great cast, great story, great characters.

This is another one of those that we all know how awesome it is, there really isnt much I hafta say about it, is there?

Well, accomplished both goals for this weekend. Im now at 75 and I knocked out the longest ones, which I’d color coded as brick red on my “”what’s left”” spreadsheet. Got lots of stuff coming up this week, including Dropkick Murphy’s on St Paddy’s Day, that are gonna greatly hinder the movie watching. But Im okay with that.”

Green Zone

“Days like today are when its a bad thing living so close to the theater. I figure, its only two blocks, so I dont think too much of running out in the freezing and pouring rain with just one extra layer. Its when Im past the point of no return, waiting in the middle of the road for traffic to pass, that I realize that maybe it wasn’t the best idea to leave the Hellmouth. Whoops.

To be honest, if it weren’t for Matt Damon, I really dont think I woulda bothered with Green Zone. The trailer reminded me too much of The Kingdom from a couple years ago. But Matt Damon can put just about anything on my high priority movie list. So I ran out in the previously mentioned freezing rain.

The jury’s still out on whether or not it was worth it. Thankfully, it was much better than The Kingdom. But it was nowhere near the awesome of The Hurt Locker, not that I had any expectations of it approaching that level. I was thinking on it at one point while I was spacing out, and one of the things that made Locker so great was that it completely left out the politics. It was all about the soldiers. Green Zone had a somewhat complicated (or at least it seemed that way to me) government corruption plot, that I couldnt quite get into. Scenes that were more focused on the characters are what I better connected with.

Speaking of characters, did like Matt Damon’s conscience driven soldier. And Damon’s performance was effortless, but the movie felt somewhat beneath him. My fave character, however, was Freddy–the Iraqi national helping out the Americans. Something about him just had me captivated, and those were the scenes I was really invested in. Happy to see Greg Kinnear, particularly in a more serious role than Im used to for him.

I dunno, I dont really think I gained too much by risking catching a cold from catching this movie today. Guess its kinda easy to figure out why the release of this movie was so delayed, yeah?

Green Zone – \m/ \m/

Shane (AFI #45)

“I guess by some definition I watched this movie. I really just couldnt get into it, and kept finding more and more distractions. Its that damn western curse I apparently have, where I just cant \m/ get into ’em. Im prolly not even gonna X-post this on Rotten Tomatoes, cause I know all I’ll get is a bunch of “”You suck, how could you not like this movie”” comments. I think there’s only one or two westerns left. Hopefully those’ll go better.

Anyways, gonna watch some of O Brother Where Art Thou before heading over to the Regal Fenway for The Green Zone at 3:35″

Alice in Wonderland

“Back in January, I took the roomie to the Harry Potter exhibit at the Museum of Science as a Christmas/bday present. She was determined to take me on a similar outting for my bday. I pondered for about a month and couldnt think of anything suitable that I was really excited about. Then I got an email from Jordans Furniture about Alice in Wonderland, and thus we had our plan.

I hadnt been to the IMAX since The Dark Knight, which I saw twice there (in addition to once at the theater). I’d wanted to go see Star Trek there last year, but I never quite got my act together. This was the first 3D movie at the IMAX for me.

As far as the experience, worth it in the sense that I’d been jonesing to go again. Was there much gained from this movie being on the ginormous screen? Not really. And the extra dimension? Eh. Both certainly didnt hurt the film, but I think my feelings toward it woulda been about the same had I just gone down the street to the Regal Fenway.

It started off pretty strong. I loved Alice’s character early on: quirky, independant, strongwilled. The setting was gorgeous, and even more so once she got into wonderland. And the sense of adventure was quite invigorating. Then it just sorta fell flat somewhere. The pacing dropped and a lot of the sense of wonder drifted.

I’d gotten really excited a couple weeks ago when I realized that this was more of a trip back to wonderland sort of thing. Reminded me of the video game Alice that was about her returning to a \m/ up wonderland. The concept for the game was amazing, but it ended up being too easy. Got thru it in three days. Now, I didnt expect this movie to be as hardcore as that (that Alice weilds a knife and other deadly weapons, dabbles in black magic, and is often covered in blood) but I was still uber stoked. Wasn’t sure how I felt about including the jabberwocky, but when Johnny Depp started reciting the poem I marked it in the win column.

Loved the cast. There are never words to describe Johnny Depp, but I dont think I need to. Not as iconic as some of his other roles, but brilliant nontheless. Really impressed with Mia Wasikowska. Didnt expect Crispin Glover, but was ridiculously happen when I saw him. Even though I found her a bit annoying, I did like Helena Bonham Carter’s interperation of the red queen. Id read somewhere that she based the character on her 2 year old, and it was a great fit. Sadly, I was a bit disappointed with Anne Hathaway. C’mon, the girl got lessons in being a princess/queen from Julie Andrews, but I couldnt get past some of the weird physicality she had.

Guess that about does it. Worth a watch, but maybe not worth the effort for anything fancy. The traditional 2D screen should be just as good as a fancy one.

Alice in Wonderland – \m/ \m/ \m/