Friday, April 2, 2010

"An Education"....literally.

First off, I must apologize for the long delay in posting any new reviews. Ya see, the thing is, I'm kind of sensitive. So on my last blog when I saw that no one commented, I automatically thought that meant no one ever reads this or even cares. So I said forget them. Two things have convinced me maybe it's ok to keep writing. First off, I've heard from various people saying, "How come you stopped?" So I guess that means people were reading it, but just not commenting. Also, when I'm reviewing movies like "The Crazies" I should probably realize the reach of the appeal to this movie may not be that encompassing, so we will try and review movies that will be applicable to those who may read this.

Ok, so this week Ash and I rented "An Education." I had seen previews for this and heard of it, and to be honest, I wasn't too excited to see it. But after a long day of work I stopped at Red Box and it was the best thing there. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised and have found myself thinking about the movie days after I watched it. That is a good indicator that a movie is capable of leaving an impact and not quickly forgotten. You may also be wondering, "Wouldn't a movie like this be better for Ashley to write about?" Well, she managed to stay awake for a total of 12 seconds before she fell asleep. Ash won't make it through a movie without a Rockstar or Johnny Depp.

So the movie is the story of a 17 year old girl (we will call her Anna...I forgot her name) at a private school in England. She is very smart. One of the things I loved about her character is that she played the roll of a very smart person. It wasn't just simply said or implied that she was smart, her ACTING was smart. She had quick, insightful, and intelligent lines that made you really buy into her character. Anyway, she is being raised by her mom and dad (or as they say in the mother land, Mum and Pop). The mom plays a housewife that has been subdued and humbled by a dominating the husband. Although the husband/father is a bit rough and the typical "alpha male", it is clear that he has various redeeming qualities and loves his wife and daughter very much. Ever since the daughter was a young girl, her dad has stressed the NEED for her to get a scholarship and attend Oxford. It was almost like she didn't have a choice. Anna has a great love for art, jazz music, singing, and living life. The dad sees all of these as distractions from school, so she is constantly hiding her jazz records and practing her music in private.

One day while walking home in the rain, she meets a man (we'll call him Charles) that charms his way into her life. He is probably about 35, drives a nice car, has lots of money, and seems to be living life to its fullest. This guy definitely has a silver tounge...having the ability to talk is way into or out of anything he wants. He is so great at talking, that he is able to make her conservative parents fall head over heals in love with him to the point that she can go wherever she wants with him.

He shows her the world she has always dreamed of. He takes her to art auctions, jazz shows, shopping, Paris, and on beautiful drives. She falls in love, not only with the charming man, but the charming lifestyle.

I'll leave the rest for you two find out. You are probably thinking that this movie doesn't seem like there is much to it and it sounds a bit dull. It had a few boring spots, but the following list is what gave it depth and character.

1. The characters, especially played by Anna, her father, and her lover were played extremely well.
2. It was refreshing to see a movie where the girl wasn't a floozy and disregarded her morals at the first sight of love. She is smart, witty, and moral, and retains all those qualities throughout the movie.
3. The stance the movie takes. The first half of the movie, the director does an INCREDIBLE job of making the viewer believe that the secret to life is to do whatever you want and just have fun. For the whole first half, I really thought that's what the point of the movie was. But the second half does a great job of flipping the whole scenario and teaching the principles or hard work, education, and lasting fulfillment in life, in lieu of temporary happiness. The flip/change of stance in the movie drives the point even stronger.
4. Anna has a teacher in the movie that has a pretty small roll in the movie all together. But there is a scene towards the end that puts good teachers on the pedestal where they belong. If you are going to be or want to be a teacher, watch the movie and pay attention to the scene. It will remind you why you're going into this field.
5. Every character in the movie seemed to be quite guarded. Towards the end, there are scenes where they let down their walls and show the emotions they constantly bottle up. Because they play the rolls so well of being guarded, independent people, it makes these scenes where they take down their walls even stronger.

Ok, that's all. Watch the movie, and tell me what you think.

My final grade for the movie is a 90%.

Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material involving sexual content, and for smoking.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Watching "The Crazies" with crazies

So yeah, I'm pretty sure when I saw the preview for this movie for the first time I knew I would be there opening night. To be honest, it looked like a cheap, bad acted, blood-fest horror movie. I was pleasantly surprised to find the movie actually had substance and enough story to get me through it.

First off, let me set the scene for you all so you can have the same experience both me and Ash-face had. First of all, we sat by a crazy guy. We love scary movies and love to be scared, but the fact that we were able to sit by a guy that looked like he might kill someone at any second, is service money can't buy. I've wondered if the theater put him and other crazies in the movie just to add to the effect. The guy was probably 40. He had a two backpacks with him full of stuff (I accidentally stepped on one and heard something plastic was probably a plastic shiv he was going to kill someone with). During the movie, I saw him eat at least one sandwich and a bowl of soup. Yeah, weird, I know. He would sit on the front end of his seat, with his fingers interlaced and resting on his legs, and his head slightly tilted down. He looked like he was looking at the persons head down in front of him. But no, he was watching the movie with his eyes looking all the way up with a possessed look in them. He was truly creepy. The best part was that after his soup, he must have had some indigestion problems because weird noises kept slipping out of his orifices. And must I forget, I think he did about kill a few teenagers sitting behind us. They kept making stupid comments and were pretty loud. I looked over at the crazy and he was peering up at them with total disgust in his countenance. Ashley said she heard him ask them once to stop. Only teenagers are capable of disgusting even a crazy.

With that lovely addition, we watched the movie. You're probably all wondering (all four of you that read this) "Hasn't the zombie movie theme been overdone?" Yeah, it has, and to be honest, this one wasn't too much different than the rest. There was only one element to this that made me like it more than the other zombie movies: The zombies weren't the undead with enlarged brains....they were people that had literally just lost their minds. Having been born and raised in Price, UT, as well as serving a mission in Bakersfield, CA, I have had my fair share of crazies in my life. The idea that they all go crazy at once and start killing people "touched close to home" and was a bit more believable than contracting zombieism from a bite.

The story takes place in Ogden, Texas in a small farming community. One element to the movie I really enjoyed was their depiction of small town. Hollywood generally has no idea what the real country-life is like, and tends to blow it overgeneralizing "country-folk" and exaggerating stereotypes. "The Crazies" on the other hand did a great job of showing what a real small down is like. They even had the guy that "knows everything about everything and will make something up just to sound like he knows everything." I can't tell you how many of those kinds of people in Price.

Anyway, a plane crashes in Ogden, TX, which contains a dangerous chemical. The chemical makes it into the drinking water and drives people crazy. Timothy Olyphant is the Sheriff of the town and has an expecting wife. The two of them are a good team, and provided the movie with decent acting. I must say, I'm used to seeing Timothy Olyphant as the villain, so the type-cast reversal added a fun twist to the movie. The town basically becomes overrun by the gov't whose job it is to kill anyone and everyone in town so it doesn't spread to the rest of the world. This means that there are "evils" in the movie, the crazies and the government (pretty true to real life, actually).

One element that made this movie better than all the other zombie movies was the addition of a hilarious deputy. He is really good friends with Olyphant, and has some hilarious lines. Movies like this are always better when there is comic relief and not just scare-tactics the whole time.

The movie didn't seem "over-the-top" bloody, other than a certain scene with a crazy, a bunch of tied down normals, and a pitch fork. It also dropped the bomb pretty often, but not too bad, and when it did, it was somehow funny.

The downside to this movie was that it was a bit too predictable. As soon as a character was introduced, I could tell right away if they would live or die. It also added too many elements that are in every other zombie movies that we get sick of. For example, they develop a character that you really grow to like, and of course, they get contracted with the disease and somehow die heroically instead of turning into a zombie. Watch a zombie movie, and that same old story will be in it.

Technically, I can't recommend this movie to anyone because rated R movies are bad and lead to damnation. But ignoring damnation and hell, go see it and enjoy yourself. If you're worried it's too scary, I assure you that it really isn't that scary and there is enough comedy in it that you leave with a smile instead of wet trowsers.

In case you do see it, my only recommendation is to look for a crazy person in the theater and sit by him/her. I assure you, it will make the movie better.

Also, if this movie wets your appetite for good zombie movies, I've added my top 3 list of movies, #1 being the best.

3. Shaun of the Dead
2. I Am Legend
1. Zombieland

Enjoy yourselves, and tell me what you thought of the movie after you see it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shutter Island...Leonardo DiCaprio at his finest.

Those of you who know me and Dennis, can only assume that we saw Shutter Island on the opening night. Well we didn't. We waited until the Saturday matinee. And we weren't disappointed.

But, we weren't movie-induced euphoric either. Shutter Island is definitely worth paying money to see on the big screen, but don't expect to see this film win an Oscar. Don't get me wrong it kept my interest for the majority of the two and half hours but when 140 minutes rolled around I was checking my phone for the time. Not a good sign.

Two of my favorite actors, Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo star in this thrilling, intense and keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat drama. The movie is set in 1954 on an island where the mentally and criminally insane reside. US Marshall Teddy Daniels (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Chuck Aule (Mark Ruffalo), are assigned to investigate and find an escaped patient at the federal maximum security hospital on Shutter Island. Things are not what they seem once they enter the island gates and a gripping mystery soon unfolds the longer they stay on the island.

The first half of the movie is great. The suspense is unrelenting and while the plot thickens your suspicions of what truly is going on continue to change direction. The acting is superb and Leonardo looks as handsome as ever (Dennis knows I have a huge crush).

Near the end of the movie, things start to get much more strange. This is the point where I looked at my phone. I was hoping things would get better and they did. The end of the movie ties things together nicely but still leaves you asking several questions after leaving the theater. You're left to come up with some of your own conclusions and speculations as you try to grasp what just went on the past two and half hours.

This movie is not scary. However, It is very suspenseful. I've heard a lot of people say they won't see it because it looks too scary or more like a horror film. It's far from a horror film. It's more like 24 on steroids. I highly recommend seeing this film if you're into suspenseful and twisted films. Or if you have a big fat crush on Leo like I do.

Overall I would give this film a B+. Great for a Friday night!

Warning: This movie has a lot of F words so if you're offended easily by swear words I wouldn't recommend it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Lovely "this is more painful than broken" Bones.

First of all, let me say thank you for reading this blog. Ash and I don't really do a whole lot or have many hobbies. When someone asks us, "So what do you guys like to do?" about the only response we can find is "Watch movies." Having a lot of conversations like that is probably the reason why we don't have too many friends.

But seriously though, we love movies. I love going into a dark theater, leaving reality for a while, and watching a flick with Ash-face. I even enjoy the bad ones. For some reason I love hating bad movies. It's kind of like watching the Lakers. I really hate the Lakers, but for some reason I love to watch them lose.

So I've decided to start things off with the movie "The Lovely Bones." Before I start, I want to warn everyone that I will say a lot of things that sound like I'm trying to be funny or exaggerating. I PROMISE to all you readers (I think that's only Lacey and Darren thus far) that the things I'm about to say are true. The movie really was THAT bad. It was a joke. It was comical. I found myself looking at Ash time and time again as if to say "Is this for real? Are we on hidden camera right now?"

So the movie actually started off great. Whoever was in charge of making the movie like it was in the 80's deserves a raise. It seems like a lot of movies try to imitate what the 80's were really like, but there is something about the way they do it that constantly reminds you that it's still 2010 imitating 1985. The clothes were legit and so were the homes and decor.

It started off with great character development. In my opinion (not Ash's), Mark Walberg and the lady actress did a great job of being good parents that you want to like. They were just good people being parents.

They have a daughter name Susie. The story is about her and how she's murdered, and how her father does all in his power to find the murderer with the help of Susie in Limbo. The scene where she is killed had me sitting up at the very edge of my seat, and even standing up at times. The murderer is played by the gay guy in Devil Wears Prada. He is also the wife of Meryls Streep in Julie and Julia. I like him. He was beyond "icky" as my wife would say. The murder scene happened on a cold winter day in a cornfield. The guy had built a secret room underground in the cornfield where it all happened. I don't want to give it away, but this was definitely the best point of the movie.

After this, the movie tanked. This is where I was sure I was in a hidden camera show and someone was going to jump out and say, "Ha, you're on 'Watch this guy sit through two hour of ridiculousness and not leave.'" Well I should have left, but remember, I enjoy hating movies.

So Susie dies, and is now in between the limbo of life and death. I don't know who screwed this up or who gets the blame. I think the writers had an idea but some how the special effects people, understood something different, and the director just let it slide. But limbo was something like an old Beatles music video and "Baby Einstein." I kid you not, there was a scene where Susie was riding on a dog sled with a friend, being pulled by nothing but a Pug. First of all, I hate pugs. They are ugly and snarl. But this pug was pulling her through fields of flowers, and then off a cliff and into clouds. It may have been ok, but his acid trip seriously lasted for about ten minutes. The weirdest, craziest things were going on in this little dream world.

So, as for the rest of the movie, it was just bad. The character development from the beginning was all lost, because way too much time is spent in limbo and not in reality. I don't want to give away the ending, but it was bad. I felt like the diretor was tired one night, and needed to finish that night to make the deadline, and had no ideas left. There are various ends that aren't tied up. The older sister finds evidence of the man that murdered her, but she isn't sure if she should give it to her parents. She decides to do it, but nothing happens! They don't turn it in or anything, and the man runs free. Are you serious?

Anyway, this movie is worth watching just for the 10 minute acid trip. Also, in limbo, Suzie makes a friend that has some of the most ridiculous lines I've ever heard. I would probably watch the movie again just to hear those.

There you have it. I saw the movie like a month ago, so it's not too fresh. As for grading...I will use two grading systems. As for just an all around good movie, I give it a D+. But if you are one of those that like to laugh at movies that aren't trying to be funny, I would give it a B+. Definitely funny.