The French Connection (AFI #93)

“Happy mothers day, to any mommies who might be reading this. I actually just got back from taking mine (who’s visting me in Beantown for two weeks) to NYC for the weekend. Her Mom’s day present was that I took her to Phantom of the Opera, which she thoroughly enjoyed. I got no complaints about it, but woulda preferred to be at American Idiot (which was just across the street). Thats not a statement about Phantom, thats a statement about Idiot.

BTW, as we were leaving NYC, I saw a guy outside a sandwich shop on 44th that I thought was Michael Esper (Idiot’s Will). Just as I convince myself that it couldnt be him, John Gallagher Jr (Idiot’s Jesus of Suburbia) walks right by me. He was jabbering away on his cell so I doubt my existence even registered on his radar, but it totally made my day.

Right, movie, that’s why we’re here on this blog. I’d realized in the past few days that even though much of my time has been spent entertaining mom, we usually do manage to sit down at the end of the day for a movie. So I thought I’d be able to manage an AFI. Well…

I did manage to sit down for it, but mom was puttering around unpacking and distracting me. Then we ordered some Chinese food that distracted me even more. By the time I finally sat down to watch, I had no clue what was going on.

That said, that whole subway chase thing was really cool. Didnt need to know any of the players or details to appreciate that bit.

Might give the AFI thing another go later this week, just need to think it thru a wee bit more”

ET (AFI #24)

“This movie deserves such a better and more thoughtful write up than Im ’bout to give it. For that matter, it deserved a much more attentive watch than I gave it yesterday. I thought if I went with something familiar while puttering around I wouldnt miss too much. That was a fail.

But I really do love this movie. I remember watching it over and over when I was little, although I couldnt really handle the end-ish when ET and Elliot get sick. I also remember one Christmas when they had an ET photo set up thing at Montgomery Wards. You’d sit on a bike with a little ET in the basket, and there was a starry background. And since my parents never believed in me taking any sorta “”good”” pictures in anything but my nicest clothes, I wore my green velveteen Christmas dress from that year. Also, one of the few memories I have from Disneyworld in first grade was the ET ride. I was in the middle seat, so I had the ET basket.

They rereleased it in theaters when I was in high school. That was during hte point in time when me and my so called friends would loiter at IHOP, making Rorschach tests out of syrup and napkins, and artwork sculptures out of silverware. Some “”ET phone home”” reference led to us deciding to check out the movie the next day. I wasn’t too impressed with the revamp, but the movie itself still inspired warm fuzzies.

I love how I still laugh with every scene Drew Barrymore steals, and how adorably and perfectly puppeted ET was, and how sweet and innocent Elliot is. I was paying enough attention to pause what I was doing just in time to catch some of my fave parts–alligators in the sewers, Elliot faking sick, ET playing dress up. So good.

Momentarily entertained the thought of getting in one of the uber short AFI’s in tonight after DWTS. But I had to take care of paying mom’s bills for this month and helping her get some of that shit settled, which is another thing that postponed this write up”

Bridge on the River Kwai (AFI #36)

“This is gonna be short. Im on a roll in my room cleanup, and I dont wanna interrupt it for too long.

Back when I started this list, I wouldnt have dared put on a movie unless I was sitting in front of it, giving it my undivided. Now Im so desperate to finish up that I’ve got it in on the background while doing housework. Oh wells.

What I did find interesting was that while this was a dramatic film, it felt very light without venturing into comic. Kinda interesting for a WWII flick. Or maybe I was just paying most attention at all the wrong places.”

Dr Strangelove: Or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (AFI #39)

“First off, I saw American Idiot yesterday and OMG it was awesome. I’ll prolly post an “”Expletive Dleted Special Edition”” write up on it later on today or tomorrow.

But for now, my goal today is to get thru 3 AFI movies and somehow fit in laundry, groceries, and cleaning up my room. My mom’s gonna be here for two weeks starting Wed so Im thinking that’s gonna put a hold on most of my movie watching. I swear, I’ll get thru it all one day.

Jumped right into the movies this morning with Dr Strangelove. When first looking at the somewhat intimidating list of 100 movies I was gonna be watching during the next few months, there were the ones I was excited about and the ones I was concerned about. The most disconcerting ones, however, were the few that I had seen before and didnt enjoy. Dr Strangelove is one of those. Blasphemy, I know. Bite me.

I’d always heard what an amazing and hysterical film this was, so a couple years ago, I put it on my X-mas list. I think it took me about 4 or 5 tries to get thru it, cause I kept falling asleep (bear in mind, its only a 90 min movie). I gave it a second chance about a year or so ago, and still couldnt get into it. I just never found it funny.

Watching it today, I could kinda see where the humor was coming from, and I think a big problem was my expectations. Its not the sort of thing Im used to, mostly cause it aint the sorta thing I go for. But at least this time around, I was at least able to understand that a bit.

One of the biggest points of the movie is that its a great showcase of Peter Sellers’ acting talents, in the many roles he plays. And I will definitely give him that win. Granted, the two previous times I watched I wasn’t paying much attention (and I’ll admit to the same for this morning’s viewing) but today I still had some “”hey that’s him again!”” moments.

Anyways, at least I got one of my big hurdles crossed off.”

West Side Story (AFI #51)

“Movie’s still goin’ but its sleepy time as soon as its over, and its not like I dont know how it ends. Most of you know Im very much into musical theater, so it should come as no surprise to the few of you who didnt already know that yes I have been involved in a production of West Side Story. Just an ensemble bit. Mostly stood around in the background. But suffice it to say I know the show pretty damn well. As far as the movie, I have very conflicted feelings.

On the one hand, its got the same fantastic music, and the dancing even more so. Back when I took a musical theater workshop class junior year, we learned the same Jerome Robbins choreo for “”Cool””, which is some of the most fun dancing I’ve ever done. And we’ve established Im a dancer, so I know what Im talkin’ bout there. Then on the other hand, the film has some serious miscasts and a little too much cheese in some places. Although would I feel the same way about the cast if I wasnt so attached to my cast of Jets, some of whom are still some of my best friends in the world? I dont know. But I do know that Natalie Wood’s godawful accent will forever be \m/ nails on chalkboard to me.

Yeah, so more than anything else, this movie is just all about theater nostalgia for me. I could go into that further, and start saying things like “”…the audience for actually caring about the love story”” or “”Is the mirror gonna stay black?”” or go really old school (and before my time) with “”We all shot Chino…shit…Tony”” but there’s only a handful of you who’d appreciate that. And its not entirely movie relevant.”

Intolerance (AFI #49)

So it turns out, when they call this one a silent movie, they literally mean that. Not even a musical score. I tried so hard, but Im not built to handle three hours of that. -3 movie lover badass points.

The African Queen (AFI #65)

“Given that I tweeted last night that I was gonna watch this movie, combined with my usual track record, but my write up is just now being posted, I’ll leave it as an exercise for the reader to figure out what happened.

Interesting scenario, but seemed kinda slow. Although I was very much amused by how overly formal the character’s interactions were. Then again, that’s something that’s stood out to me with all the older AFI films. I just cant get my head around calling a peer “”Mr”” or “”Miss””, even if we did just meet.

Non-sequeter comment. I think this is the first time I’ve seen Bogie in color. I find him more charming in B & W.

Im anxious to run out on a movie aquisition expedition. Best Buy Fenway was sold out of Minority Report on Blu-Ray so Im walking over to the Back Bay location, and will likely swing by Newbury while Im there. So cutting this write up short. I know, my AFI ones have gotten worse and worse as far as content. To be honest, I really just wanna be done with the damn project. Its gone on way too long. I’ve enjoyed it, but its feeling more and more like a chore with each movie I watch. Thats not supposta happen.”

The Losers

“Funny how staying out until nearly 3 AM, pushes back the start of your day until noon. Any other Saturday, and I woulda managed an AFI in the morning. Whoops.

Still managed to drag my lazy ass over to The Losers, for the last matinee show of the day. Its not so much the three bucks I save that motivates me, its knowing I’m have a personal bubble of empty seats next to me and in front of me (Im a feet putter upper).

Did very much enjoy the movie, although there wasnt anything particularly special about it. No complaints, but no major commendations either. Pretty standard plot. Good characters, that I very much loved. Decent action scenes. But nothing that’s gonna result in me telling everyone I meet that they need to see this one.

The one semi-complaint is that while it tried to partly pass as an action comedy, the comedy wasn’t very comedic. That made so sense cause I was trying to sound clever. Fail. There were definitely some one liners and gags here and there that were supposta get a laugh. Few did. But, at the same time, they were successful in establishing a lighter vibe than if this were going for a hardcore action film (which it would have failed at miserably). There was actually something kinda charming about that element.

I do think the movie was pretty well cast. Im not sure how I feel about Zoe Saldana appearing in EVERYTHING lately, but I was def happy with the boys. In particular, LOVE Chris Evans. And the nerdy edge he got from the goatee and glasses was _really_ working for me. Really liked Óscar Jaenada, as well, who I dont think I’ve previously encountered. His shy yet suave combination was actually distracting me from Evans–no small feat. Jeffrey Dean Morgan seemed very much in his element, and I also came to love Columbus Short.

Yeah so kinda drawing a blank on what else to say. Again, nothing in particular really stood out too far on either end of the spectrum. Enjoyable if this sorta movie is your thing, but not something you’d need to prioritize.

The Losers – \m/ \m/ \m/

Date Night

“Since we last spoke…

Really wanted to get an AFI in after Dragon. But I was falling asleep while I was doing my dance thing (as in I was moving, yet my eyes were closing) and I figured it wouldnt even be worth attempting. So what happens? I end up staying awake thru both Shorts and An Education. Go figure.

Monday was DWTS, and they had a movie night thing. Fave dances featured Pulp Fiction, Risky Business, and Pretty Woman

Tuesday, I saw 30 Seconds to Mars which was oh my God one of my all time best concert experiences ever. Those of you who have me on FB got some of the details from my giddy status update afterwards. Besides them being a rocking band with a damn good live show, Jared Leto (*swoon* like whoa) was great with the audience interaction thing. While the rest of the band distracted during an instrumental bit, he snuck his way to the back of the crowd for a song or two. Then went thru the crowd to get back to the front, hanging out for more than half of “”The Kill””. I pawed at him as much as I could. Then the band actually hung around to sign shit afterwards. No headlining band at that size venue ever does that. Granted, it was kinda rushed thru. One item, no pictures, minimal interaction, but still awesome of them. I managed a two sentance interaction with Jared as he signed my shirt “”I love you movies too”” “”thank you”” and I’ve been on a high ever since. Once I sort thru my low quality pix and video I may post some here.

Yesterday had to take care of some apartment stuff. Watched The Invention of Lying and The Informant! in the background.

Tonight was Date Night, as in the movie, not an actual date night for me. Even though I rarely go to AMC theaters anymore, I’d managed to rack up 100 points on my card last January and got a “”free night at the movies”” freebie which is a movie ticket, popcorn, and soda. Even though I dont care much for the Common (will spare that rant, although add “”the bathrooms reek of piss”” to my long list of complaints cause ew they were gross tonight) the location is much more conveniant than the Harvard theater. So that’s where I went. And of course, no one could figure out how to ring up my ticket, and I had to argue with 3 people that I was supposta get snacks too. The third person finally understood, but was almost too lazy to go get the coupon for me. She finally did and its a little certificate thingy with a tear off for each of those items. And she gave that to me after I’d gotten my ticket. And it doesnt expire until January. That means I essentially got a second free movie (which I feel no remorse about cause I’ve defintely let AMC free tickets expire before), I have months to use it, and I figured I didnt need the snacks tonight so I got that saved for later to. Go me.

And of course, I’ve wasted all this time typing out backstory before I even get into the movie and my wrists are starting to bother me. Crap. Might need to keep this short. Sorry peeps.

Date Night was very much a win in my book. Comedy, action, all around top notch. Love Tina Fey. Can I be her when I grow up? And pairing her with Steve Carel. was genius. The two of them make a believable and utterly hilarious couple. Fantastic performances from the two of them, as should be expected.

While on the subject of the cast, lots of great appearances from other faves. Hadnt known Mark Wahlberg was in this, and there was quite a lot of him (with not a lot of clothing! *grin*). Absolutely no complaints from me there. James Franco and Mila Kunis, two others who are high on my approval list, also making small yet fantastically fun appearances. Ray Liotta playing Ray Liotta, err I mean, playing a gangster. Prison Break’s William Fichtner was there too, as was Taraji P Henson, Mark Ruffalo, and Kristin Wiig (seriously, is she in _every_ comedy released this year?)

The story was simple, but effective. I cared enough about the characters that I was feeling the suspense right with him. The structure was very streamlined, yet satisfying–a difficult feat for a comedy or an action film, even though this qualifies waaay more for the former than the latter. There were only two bits I felt might’ve gone on a bit long (the car crash and the dancing) but thats just me being picky cause the rest of the crowd was in stitches.

Im actually very surprised, and frankly quite happy, that the more recent April flicks have been very good. If April is when you release the movies that dont quite make the cut for summer, that does give me some high hopes for my favorite movie season of the year. There’s definitely some shit Im really looking forward to, so here’s hoping the summer doesnt disappoint.

Date Night – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/

How to Train Your Dragon

“I know, Im waaay behind (by my standards at least) in seeing this movie. Here’s my chronological list of excuses. First, I planned to see it opening weekend. I got back in town from Texas trip 2010 #1 the day it opened, and I woulda had plenty of time for a matinee before the Spurs/Celts game that Sunday. But, the roomie wanted me to see it with her, and for a few different reasons that was gonna hafta get postponed a bit. The day before I leave for Texas trip 2010 #2, she comes home and announces that she just saw it with her bf. So I resolved to take my baby cousin to see it while I was at home. But then the timing didnt work out. The only chance we woulda had to go was on Monday night, and thats DWTS night for me. No, I didnt totally abandon family, so I had said baby cousin come over to watch the show with me. She couldnt have been less interested. Decided I’d just go during the week this past week, but the roomie wanted to see it again so we agreed to postpone it til the weekend. All of that worked out rather well in the end cause I had to go buy some furniture. So that meant I was gonna head over to Jordan’s Furniture this afternoon, which just so happens to have an IMAX theater in it that is currently playing Dragon. Yes, so bit delayed, but oh so very much worth the wait.

I thought that overall it was a \m/ good movie. And this isnt just an inverse expectations thing. I had actually high expectations from all the buzz I’d been hearing, and for once it actually measured up. Im not even sure where to start gushing.

Great characters, on so many levels. For one, Im pretty big on Vikings, given that’s half of my heritage (Hispanic being the other). And its also the half I wasnt immersed in growing up, so I do have a genuine interest in it. From the comment early on about how stubborn Vikings are (which is dead on if my daddy and I are any indication) I knew I was in for somethin’ good. Absolutely adored Hiccup. Very relatable, funny, sweet, and perfectly cast by Jay Baruchel. Also pleased to see, er I mean hear, Christopher Mintz-Plasse (making his second appearance this weekend for me), Jonah Hill, Gerard Butler, and Craig Ferguson.

The dragon characters were fantastic as well. A friend of mine told me that for her, as a cat owner, the movie took on a whole new level. I hafta concur with that. Toothless very much reminded me of my younger cat, Nosferatu.

Was also rather impressed with the story. Yes, its kinda basic, but they did have me in suspense at key moments. There were also some twists I didnt see coming, which given how many movies I see, its hard to surprise me. Great dialogue too. Its so easy to just have throwaway lines in a kiddie movie, but it was quotably good.

The visual was phenomenal. Yes, the extra depth from the third dimension was worth it, and there was some fun with things like ashes and such appearing to fall over the audience. I loved how expressive the characters were animated, and some of the dragons (especially in closeup) were absolutely gorgeous.

Guess it goes without saying at this point, but def recommend this one, especially to those of you with kids and/or a Peter Pan complex.

How to Train Your Dragon – \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/