Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol

January 17, 2012

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves.

Jessica says:

Whenever I see a movie with my mom, she always seems to say the same thing as we’re exiting the movie, “Well, it wasn’t what I expected.”  Always.  She says this after every movie.  I am always baffled by it.  I mean first of all, that is not an answer to, “Did you like the movie?”  Secondly, what does that mean?  And where are you getting these expectations?  And maybe that is your problem…but I digress.

Mission:  Impossible – Ghost Protocol should be exactly what you’d expect it to be – fun.  (Do you hear that, Mom?  Expect a fun, popcorn flick.)  It was a really fun movie to watch.  My only complaint was that it was about 20 minutes too long.  However, if you’ve been keeping up with our posts on this site, you will know that is a common complaint of mine.

Now let’s get to the scene everyone will be talking about:  Tom Cruise (and/or some stunt guys) hanging off the outside of the world’s tallest building in Dubai.  Holy cow.  The film, as a whole, looks really cool, for lack of a better word (Warning:  it may not be so cool, if you suffer from vertigo).  However, this scene, in particular, is incredible.  If you haven’t seen the behind-the-scenes footage on YouTube yet, watch it here:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8hNKp7D3e8.

I’m not really going to go into the detail of the plot because, well, I don’t really think that’s really the point of this kind of popcorn flick – they’re spies trying to catch someone before he sets off a nuclear bomb, a.k.a. the plot of 99.9% of spy movies.  The point of this movie is…coolness (Did I just make up a word?  Oh well.).  Tom Cruise’s Ethan Hunt and his team (Simon Pegg, Jeremy Renner, and Paula Patton) are just really cool – they have cool gadgets, they go to cool locations, and they’re pretty darn attractive (Hello!  Paula Patton in that green dress).  This movie also reminded me of something I had kind of forgotten after all of Tom Cruise’s couch jumping, etc. antics – he is a really good movie star.  He is handsome (still…29 years after The Outsiders and Risky Business), charismatic, and likable.

I recommend seeing Mission:  Impossible – Ghost Protocol in theaters, but maybe as a matinee.

Alison says:

I did not see Mission:  Impossible 3 and I can’t remember if I saw Mission:  Impossible 2. I’m totally a fan of action movies, but usually sequels can get a bit repetitive, and while I respect Tom Cruise as the epitome of a movie star, he’s not necessarily what draws me to a movie the past few years. But my interest was piqued first by the video online of Tom Cruise hanging by a rope on the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa (Jessica pasted the link into this blog). Scientology and Oprah couch jumping aside, that is just f#cking badass and there are very few people in this world with Tom Cruise’s smile, charm, and balls. There are many reasons he’s a movie star and many reasons he’s still a movie star after a 30-year acting career. The guy is almost 50 and he looks amazing. I could not get over how tiny his butt is. I don’t mean to sound creepy, but it was something that I could not avoid noticing throughout the movie. So if you’re into tiny butts and badass, doing-their-own-stunts action stars, well I think you might just enjoy this movie.

The main reason I decided to shell out money to see this movie was Brad Bird, the director.  I loved The Incredibles, which he also directed.  He comes with the Pixar seal of approval and has directed some of my favorite animated films.    Plus, he worked on The Critic, a show I watched a bunch in my youth.  Most importantly though, he wrote the script for one of my favorite movies from my childhood, *batteries not included.  I loved that movie when I was little. There are so many things from his résumé that I love, but they don’t really add up to make him the obvious choice to direct the next Mission:  Impossible movie.  He was an interesting choice and my interest was officially piqued.

And I was happy I went. As I’ve already mentioned, Tom Cruise is a perfect movie star. He was great in this movie, exactly what you would want from a super spy. I’m also a big fan of Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg, so seeing those two made me happy. And after seeing this movie, I am now also a big fan of Paula Patton. A picture of her should be placed in the dictionary next to the word gorgeous. All in all, it was a fun popcorn flick to watch. It was a bit on the long side though, but still an entertaining way to spend 2 hours plus.

LA Viewers: Worth seeing in the theaters, but maybe go for a matinee.

Translation for non-LA viewers: Same goes for you.

P.S. Tom Cruise, if you are reading this, I hope you took the tiny butt comment as a compliment. And I hope you do another role sometime like in Magnolia. Loved you in that movie, but also was blown away by you in MI4. By the way, why are you reading this? You’ve really got much better things to do.

P.S.S Sorry for the f-bomb in my review (especially to my mother if she’s reading this), but hanging around on a rope thousands of feet in the air while waving and smiling at tourists is fucking badass. That is the definition in the dictionary of such an activity.

One Blonde and Two Guest “Blondes” Go To a Movie: Hugo

December 21, 2011

One blonde and two guest “blondes” review a movie and sometimes ramble about themselves:

ALISON SAYS:
The movie revolves around Hugo, an orphan who lives in the walls of a train station. I saw Hugo with Nate and Pete (our guest “blondes” for today) and all three of us came out at the end of the movie in awe. I loved Hugo, absolutely loved it. It’s probably one of my favorite movies of the past ten years. It’s hard to put into words the wonder this movie inspires. I’ve never seen anyone do with 3D what this movie did. Sure, there’s been some pretty 3D movies, but sometimes while watching a 3D movie, it can just feel like a gimmick rather than an important element of storytelling. But in Hugo, the 3D isn’t just a gimmick, it helps tell the story and it’s absolutely beautiful. It feels like you’re in a storybook. You get to soar over the streets of Paris. It ignites your childhood wonder and makes the audience feel completely immersed in this world. I can’t think of a better example of movie magic. It really did feel magical watching this movie.

Besides being a tale of wonder and of finding one’s path in life, this also felt like Martin Scorses’s love letter to filmmaking. There was such a passion and love of film evident in every frame of the movie. I think this is Scorsese’s best work. It’s a beautiful film, both in story and in visuals. Did I mention yet that I really, really love this movie?

LA Viewers: Go see this film! Immediately. And pay the 3 bucks for 3D. Even if you’re not a sap like me, you’ll still find yourself believing in magic.

Non-LA Viewers: You want to be transported to a world of magic and filmmaking wonder, don’t you? Get your butt to the theater now! I said now!

Our two guest “blondes” today are Nate Winslow and Pete D’Alessandro:

NATE SAYS:

I associate Martin Scorsese with a lot of things: De Niro when he still cared about things, Daniel Day-Lewis’s mustache in Gangs of New York, gangsters, really long Steadicam shots, death-by-stabbing, a
liberal use of the word “fuck,” and being, in general, disgustingly talented.

Something I don’t associate him with: fairy tales about innocence and discovery.

And then I saw Hugo. And now I don’t really want him to make another movie where Joe Pesci stabs someone—I want him to make PG movies about the power of storytelling and the discovery of cinema by a mismatched pair of child adventurers in a magical, secluded train station.

Walking in to Hugo, I didn’t really know what to expect. I’d heard the rumblings that it was Scorsese’s ode to cinema and to the power of storytelling and that it was the best use of 3D since the invention of that Grand Gimmick, but then I also couldn’t get past the fact that something about the trailer reminded me of The Terminal.

It’s something hard to pin down, though—I can happily report it’s nothing like The Terminal—and it’s honestly something I never expected from Scorsese. I wouldn’t say it’s whimsical, exactly, but it really is his shot at a fairy tale. The train station where the majority of the film takes place isn’t your standard Grand Central: it’s an entire world, heightened, not-quite-connected-to-reality. Its inhabitants are enlarged and exaggerated, the look and feel of it almost surreal. The tone, the pacing, it’s grounded somewhere outside of our real world.

An Oz. A Neverland (not the ranch). And much like both of those realms, the world that Scorsese paints is infused at every turn with magic: the magic of adventure, the magic of innocence and most of all, the magic of cinema. When you think about it, coming from a man who stands for so much in the preservation and praise of filmmaking, two of those things suddenly seem like no-brainers. It was the powerful feeling of genuine childlike innocence that took me by complete surprise, though. That’s something I associate with Spielberg in E.T. mode, not The Departed-era Scorsese. Consider me blown away: I have seen very few movies more powerful and simply affecting in theaters this year than Hugo.

Hugo, at its core, is a story about discovering the magic of movies. Two children discovering the literal power of cinema and visual storytelling for the first time—and it’s beautiful. Every frame is luscious,
every frame is bursting at the seams with the very thing Hugo is about. If this is Scorsese turning over a new leaf in the latter stages of his career (something without Leo?? Perish the thought!), I support this
leaf with every ounce of my being. Bring on Scorsese’s Pixar movie.

PETE SAYS:

Marshall McLuhan said, “The medium is the message.” If that’s true, Hugo was filmed on a new format called “You-Forgot-What-Special-Effects-Were-For.”

It’s about a young boy who lives at a train station. He has a mission to rebuild a machine, even though he has no idea what it does. If that’s not a terrible pitch for Hugo, I don’t know what is.

It’s really about a young boy trying to do what he’s meant to do. Purpose, destiny. Thematically, all well and good, but the real reason to talk about Hugo is what it says about filmmaking.

Hugo is a movie of few explosions. (Sorry to those Michael Bay fans.) But the “effects,” for lack of a better word, do something no 3D film has done to date.

3D can be used to add a new set of storytelling tools to a movie, just the way that cinematography and editing added elements the theater could never provide. Hugo is the first movie to take advantage of
those tools.

I can use a lens to achieve a separation between two characters at the ends of a long hallway. I can edit between that distance and the characters reactions to highlight how they feel. I can zoom out to drive it home further. And, as of Hugo, I can separate these characters using distance in a third dimension.

If you’re going to bring something new like 3D to a movie, make it say something. Another quote this movie drives home: “Writing about art is like dancing about architecture.” Hugo demonstrates that film
can deliver a message in a way no other language could.

Admittedly, I’m a sucker for those pieces that examine themselves. But when it’s done right, I feel a little smarter for having gone along for the ride.

Now that I have done no justice to previously unimagined cinematic techniques by writing about them, go see Hugo in the theatres, and pay extra for the 3D experience.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Like Crazy

December 6, 2011

One blonde reviews a movie and mostly rambles about herself.

Jessica says:

“Wise men say, only fools rush in…”

Before I talk about the movie, Like Crazy, I need to talk about the trailer for it.  It’s possible that I became a little obsessed with Ingrid Michaelson’s cover of “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” that is heavily featured in the promo.  I recommend you buy it, but here is a live version on YouTube so you can become obsessed too:
Ingrid Michaelson “Can’t Help Falling in Love”
Kudos to the marketing person who matched this movie up with that song.
Now for the movie.  Much like that song, Like Crazy is sweet, romantic, heartbreaking, and wistful.  It is the story of a Brisith girl, Jones, who, while studying in California, falls in love with an American boy, Yelchin.  She then decides to overstay her visa, gets caught, and subsequently banned from reentering the US.  Our lovers then struggle with whether to move on together or apart, and boy are they in love.  They spend a lot of time gazing into each other’s eyes and writing poetry.  Somehow though, the story seems to delicately balance on the line between romantic and sappy.  I guess what I’m saying is I have personally spoken to heterosexual male friends who saw and enjoyed it, so don’t be scared off by the romance.
 
Like Crazy is full of so-called up-and-coming stars (whew, that was a lot of hyphens):  Felicity Jones, Anton Yelchin, and Jennifer Lawrence.  All are pretty great in this movie, especially since, according to this article inEntertainment Weekly, all the dialogue in Like Crazy was improvised.  Completely improvised.  That kind of blows my mind, but it does explain why there are so many shots of long, lovey-dovey, wistful looks between lovers – they just didn’t know what to say.
Like Crazy is worth seeing in the theatre, but would still be good if you waited to watch it at home.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1

December 1, 2011

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves.

JESSICA SAYS:

Listen, nobody goes to a Twilight movie expecting to see Citizen Kane.  Because you shouldn’t.  However, if you go expecting to delight your inner 12-year girl, then I don’t think you will be disappointed.  This particular installment of Twilight, The Twilight Saga:  Breaking Dawn – Part 1 (which we can agree is a title that requires way too much punctuation, right?), has everything that 12-year girl likes – romance, a love triangle, cute boys, a wedding, a pretty wedding dress, dancing, and a horrifying pregnancy where the heroine of the story gives birth to a human/monster hybrid that kills her from the inside by starving and crushing her.

 
What’s that you say?  That last bit wasn’t part of your adolescent dreams?  Me neither and that is where the whole Twilight story begins its turn into what-the-heck-land (I’m keeping it super-clean, in honor of our virginal subject matter).  I’ve read the books, so I can tell you that where this baby is concerned, things begin and remain weird and disturbing, but we’ll talk about that when The Final Chapter of the Twilight Saga:  Breaking Dawn – Part 2, Article 3; Section 4 comes out.
I have two final parting thoughts:  1) The baby in this movie has the world’s worst name, Reneesme.  That’s right, Reneesme.  2) When I saw this movie, there was a woman in the theatre who brought her 4-year old with her.  Don’t do that, both for the benefit of your fellow movie patrons and the child.
There is no harm in waiting to see this movie at home, so you can wait for it to be available on DVD or OnDemand.
ALISON SAYS:

Yup, I went to see The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 in the theaters.  And yup, I laughed my ass off. And also yup, chocolate martinis help the viewing experience.

Maybe it was the delicious chocolate martinis (thanks, Arclight bar), but I found this movie hilarious. I know I’m not the target audience. If I was a teenager, maybe all the drama and swooning would feel more real and interesting instead of just silly, but I’m not and my slightly buzzed self could not stop laughing throughout the flick. And I was not the only one. I heard much laughter through the Arclight Dome 2pm screening. If you want to feel what genuine gut-busting laughter is like, watch the scene with the arguing wolves. That was one of my favorites.

I was surprised by how graphic the honeymoon and birth scenes were, when it is a film that will obviously be watched by a lot of teens. I don’t consider myself a very conservative person, but if I had a teen daughter, I’m not sure I’d want her watching this film. There were parts that felt too adult and it felt like there were some weird messages. Edward leaves bruises on Bella during their lovemaking (eww I just said lovemaking) and we’re meant to understand that it’s not his fault. He’s just so darn super strong because of the whole vampire thing. But it still feels weird to sort of send the message to young girls that it’s okay for a guy to leave you with bruises.

Despite my concerns over some of the messages the film sends to its younger viewers, it’s a fun movie to watch after a few chocolate martinis. I wouldn’t call it a good movie, but it was entertaining.

LA Viewers: I’d check out a matinee if you’re curious about vampire babies and hilarious arguing wolves.

Non-LA Viewers: the same goes for you.

Sidenote: This picture is not actually from the movie, but came up during a google images search for “Twilight wolves” and it amused me, so I am sharing it here with all of you. Enjoy!

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Super 8

June 16, 2011

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves.

Jessica says:

I think I have made my affection for J.J. Abrams clear on this blog before, but just in case not – me *heart* J.J. Abrams.  I am particularly a sucker for his television programs (Felicity, Alias, Lost, Fringe).  His blend of science fiction and character dramas is right up my geek alley.  I also adore Kyle Chandler.  I’m not in high school and (obviously) never played football, but I wish Coach Taylor was my coach.  That being said, before I dive in to my criticisms of the film, I want to be clear that I liked Super 8 and I think you should see it in the theatre.  Soon.

Now for the criticisms.  What is up with the lens flares, J.J.?  Too many.  In case you’re not sure what I’m talking about, here is an example:

And another…

And another…

They are those bluish streaks across the screen that were nearly constant in Super 8.  Mr. Abrams used them so often that if you google, “lens flares in film,” the first three articles are about J.J.  For the record, having a lens flare in a shot is traditionally considered bad or a mistake.  However, I kind of like them as a stylistic choice…BUT IN MODERATION.  In my brief googling I mentioned above, I came across this article about his use of lens flares in Star Trek.  He admits to overusing lens flares, but says that it was because, “I love the idea that the future was so bright it couldn’t be contained in the frame.”  OK, then why use so many in Super 8 when it is set in 1979?

My personal preference in monster suspense movies is that I don’t want to see the monster.  Whatever I’m imagining in my head is way scarier than whatever CGI thing you can draw, especially if it just looks like a giant bug.

Now it’s time for my weird, petty issue:  Elle Fanning is a terrific young actress, but I wish they would have dyed her eyebrows to match her hair.  It distracted me for about 20% of the movie and sparked a debate between Alison and I over just how much someone’s natural hair and eyebrow color can differ.

J.J. Abrams made a great 1980s Steven Spielberg movie (and that is in no way an insult).  Unlike a lot of science fiction, you actually like and care what happens to these characters.   Go see it soon.

Alison says:

Watching Super 8 made me feel like a kid and reminded me of some of my favorite childhood movies, but with a twist of modern edge and awesome digital effects. The train wreck was incredible (I don’t think I’m giving any spoilers away by saying there’s a train wreck since it’s in the trailer). And the monster (I won’t say what kind of monster in an effort not to give away the story) was very well executed. I loved that you didn’t get to see it completely till the end. You were left mostly with glimpses, thus being forced to use your imagination as to what this thing is

I watched Super 8 at the Arclight Dome and it’s a really great movie to watch with a large audience. It’s one of those films where you felt everyone was excited to see it and enjoyed the movie going experience. It’s hard to go wrong when a film has both JJ Abrams and Spielberg attached to it.  Not to mention, the very handsome Kyle Chandler (cue Jessica and I both sighing) and also a cast of kids that I thought were perfect casting choices.

I’m not gonna argue that some cynics might say parts of the ending felt a bit heavy-handed, but if you can put away your cynical side, and watch this movie with some childlike wonder, you’re in for a great ride

LA viewers: Very worth paying full price at Arclight (especially the Dome).

Translation for non-LA viewers: Did you read the part about an awesome train wreck scene or Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and Kyle Chandler being attached to this movie? Go see it!

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Water For Elephants

June 15, 2011

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves:


ALISON SAYS:

I really, really, really loved this book, so I went in not expecting much, since movies often  don’t live up to the books they’re based on. But I was happily surprised. I thought it was a really beautiful adaptation of the book. Not perfect, but a good adaptation. They left out some of the most touching parts of the book (I highly, highly recommend reading this book), but I understand the choice to leave them out, and thought it did help the movie to flow smoothly. The three main actors (Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson and Christoph Waltz) did a great job of giving these characters life.

It’s a gorgeous film and I loved seeing Reese’s hair and dresses from that time period. And it made me wish I had a personal hair stylist to curl my hair that way on a daily basis. I also really wish I had a pet elephant.

LA Viewers: Read the book first, and then go see a matinee, especially if you love animals.

Translation for non-LA viewers: same goes for you.

JESSICA SAYS:

This review is going to be short.  I saw Water for Elephants weeks ago, when it came out.  I didn’t think we were going to review it for this here blog, but then my cohort decided to see it this past weekend.  Now I am desperately trying to remember what I thought of it.  What I’ve come up with so far was…I thought it was OK.  You know, not bad, not awesome.  OK.  Romancy (it’s a word.  Yes it is.  Look it up.).

I remember thinking the movie was very pretty and I was envious of Reese Witherspoon’s depression-era hairstyle.  I spent a significant amount of time in the movie wondering if I could pull off that look (silky pin curls) in 2011.  What do you think?

Also, RPatz is still hot.  Remember Cedric Diggory, you guys.   I’ve been on that bandwagon since 2005.

Elephants are awesome.  They figured out how to use tools on their own and probably have their own language (not counting the Polish that the elephant in the movie understands).

Wait for it On Demand/DVD.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Win Win

April 24, 2011

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves.


Alison says:

While first thinking about writing this review, I was tempted to write “watching the movie Win Win is a win-win for a moviegoing audience,” but I knew such a terrible pun  (is that a pun?  I’m fuzzy on the details of what makes it a pun) would make Jessica shake her head at me and knew I couldn’t do such a thing.  I will say this movie is more proof that Fox Searchlight makes great movies.  I’m a big Paul Giamatti fan and loved watching this movie.  He’s spectacular in it.  It’s one of those movies where you’re grateful they found such a talented ensemble cast and are happy to be along for the ride.  You’ll laugh a lot and you might even cry a little too (depending on how much stone your heart is made out of – mine is 63% so no actual tears, but felt some human empathy).  Giamatti plays a struggling lawyer/wrestling coach who stumbles upon a star wrestler in the form of one of his client’s grandson who has run away from home and from his drug addict mother.

Amy Ryan (yes from The Wire, one of my favorite shows ever.  If you haven’t seen it, go watch it immediately, but be sure to start from the first episode and go in order), plays Paul Giamatti’s endearing but tough wife. Bobby Cannavale and Jeffrey Tambor are guaranteed to make you laugh, especially in their scenes together.  Alex Shaffer plays Kyle, the troubled teen, whom the movie revolves around.  This was his first movie role, and according to IMDB he was a successful high school wrestler.  He gives a shining performance, especially considering his young age and lack of experience.  The hair stylist should be given a special shout-out for giving him the terrible bleached blonde hairdo required for the character.

Thomas McCarthy was the writer/director of Win Win. He also wrote and directed such films as The Station Agent and The Visitor and according to IMDB has a story credit on Up. For me, anyone associated with Pixar gets a gold star.  This is what I would call a smaller movie (not an action film, no Brad Pitt), but it’s a great film and I promise you’ll have a good time watching it.

LA Viewers: Worth going to the theater for. Support great filmmaking!

Translation for non-LA viewers: The same goes for you.

Jessica says:

Do you ever feel like the universe is trying to send you a message?  Oprah tells us that when the universe is trying to give you a message, first it whispers and then gradually gets louder, until the universe smacks you upside the head with whatever the message is.

Well, I’m not entirely sure what plan of action the universe was trying to get me to take, but I certainly felt like I was getting a message from the universe when I saw Win Win.  It seems like it might be something about foster children or adopting kids, but I can’t imagine that the universe is telling me to take in a foster child right now.  I mean, I am single, I share an apartment with two roommates, I possess a staggering amount of student loans, and I was only able to keep my most recent houseplant alive for a year.

The day before I saw Win Win I had spent the day as an ersatz babysitter for a group of about 30 kids, about half of which were foster kids.  When these kids were turned over to my temporary care for the day, I had been warned that some of them were, “bad,” kids.  Of course, it turned out that these so-called, “bad” kids couldn’t have been more fun or well behaved.  There was a heartbreaking moment however, when I realized that one of the foster kids had been sent to me with no food for lunch (the kids’ parents/chaperones were supposed to have packed lunches for them).  I got a brief glimpse into the multiple of ways life has just crapped on this poor kid – he didn’t have someone in his life taking care of his basic needs, like making sure he has food to eat.

Anyway, my point is, that experience with that kid who didn’t have a lunch weighed on me (and continues to), so I was already primed to be a little weepy about anything involving a child’s welfare, so of course my friends and I decide to go see Win Win, a movie about a troubled kid taken in by a foster family.  I cried.  I cried a minimum of four times in that movie, but surprisingly I enjoyed it.  Even more surprisingly, I wouldn’t consider Win Win to be a downer.  It is, pardon the Hollywood cliché, a heartwarming film.  The characters are pleasantly three-dimensional and flawed.  Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan were both excellent, as always.   It’s worth a full-price ticket.

Live Tweeting Now!

February 27, 2011

Follow us on Twitter to see out live Oscars tweets @twoblondesblog

http://twitter.com/#!/TwoBlondesBlog

Two Blondes Countdown to the Oscars: Best Picture

February 26, 2011

The Nominees:

Black Swan

The Fighter

Inception

The Kids Are All Right

The King’s Speech

127 Hours

The Social Network

Toy Story 3

True Grit

Winter’s Bone

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN

Jessica:  The Social Network

Alison: The Social Network

 

WHO WE WANT TO WIN

Jessica:  The Social Network.  Not only was The Social Network my favorite movie of last year, it was my favorite movie of the last ten years.  It’s probably in my top 10 or 15 movies of all time.  I loved it.  I liked it so much that it becomes hard to say specifically why.  The writing is fantastic, great acting, great directing, GREAT music, etc.  For the record, I have seen all ten films nominated in this category – a personal victory (aided by the fact that I have friends in BAFTA and the DGA).

Alison: It’s really hard to choose with ten films. Really, really hard. And it’s exciting to see how many great films are out there. While I really loved The Social Network, The Fighter, and Black Swan, I think overall The King’s Speech was the most consistent with its levels of excellence. It was a great film and I felt everyone in it was at the top of their game, from the actors to the director.

Two Blondes Countdown to the Oscars: Best Director

February 26, 2011

The Nominees:

Darren Aronofsky Black Swan

David O. Russell The Fighter

Tom Hooper The King’s Speech

David Fincher The Social Network

Joel Coen and Ethan Coen True Grit


WHO WE THINK WILL WIN

Jessica:  Tom Hooper

Alison: Tom Hooper

WHO WE WANT TO WIN

Jessica:  I want Darren Aronofsky to win for Black Swan.  The movie takes so many turns and you’re never quite sure what is and isn’t reality in a delightful way.  Even after the movie ended I spent a while in my head trying to sort out what was real and I like movies that leave you still dissecting what went down hours after they have ended.  In Black Swan, those plot pirouettes (Get it?  Because it’s a ballet movie!) are due to Aronofsky.

Alison: I’d be happy with either Tom Hooper or Darren Aronofsky. I’ve always been an Aronofsky fan, and Black Swan is like no movie I’ve seen before. And The King’s Speech is pure filmmaking excellence.

Two Blondes Countdown to the Oscars: Best Actress

February 24, 2011

The Nominees:

Annette Bening The Kids Are All Right

Nicole Kidman Rabbit Hole

Jennifer Lawrence Winter’s Bone

Natalie Portman Black Swan

Michelle Williams Blue Valentine

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN

Jessica:  Natalie Portman

Alison:  Natalie Portman

WHO WE WANT TO WIN

Jessica:  You should know, and I think I have mentioned this before on this blog, but I will watch anything with dance in it.  We’re talking Xanadu, Honey, Paula Abdul’s Live to Dance.  ANYTHING.  Imagine my delight when a dance movie or TV show actually turns out to be enjoyable on its own merits, not just because of the dance numbers.  Natalie Portman is as good as you’ve heard in The Black Swan.  There is a reason she had been winning all the awards so far this season – she deserves them.  She is who I would vote for.  Note:  I have not seen Rabbit Hole or Blue Valentine.

Alison:  Natalie Portman, Natalie Portman, Natalie Portman. This has got to be one of the best performances I’ve ever seen and one of the most intense films you will ever watch. To reiterate, word for word, what Jessica wrote: There is a reason she had been winning all the awards so far this season – she deserves them. Not to mention, she deserves an award for being a very cute pregnant woman.

BREAKING NEWS – Two Blondes Live Tweet the Oscars

February 23, 2011

BREAKING NEWS (and not like how the cable news channels over use the phrase, but, like, we really just decided):

Two Blondes will be live tweeting the Oscars and the red carpet coverage! Follow us on Twitter @twoblondesblog to hear our thoughts on the pretty/ridiculous dresses, handsome men, funny/touching acceptance speeches, who was robbed, and what kinds of hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco turn out to be.  You can also follow our individual Twitter accounts:

Jessica - @jessacope

Alison - @2degreesofalie

See you Sunday at 3:00 pm PT (6:00 pm ET)!

Two Blondes Countdown to the Oscars: Best Actor

February 23, 2011

The Nominees:

Javier Bardem Biutiful

Jeff Bridges True Grit

Jesse Eisenberg The Social Network

Colin Firth The King’s Speech

James Franco 127 Hours


WHO WE THINK WILL WIN

Jessica:  Colin Firth

Alison:  Colin Firth

WHO WE WANT TO WIN

Jessica:  I don’t know what Alison’s pick will be as I’m writing this, but I would bet on Colin Firth.  We saw The King’s Speech together and Alison seemed to like it a lot more than I did.  Now, before I say this, I need to note that I love Colin Firth.  In my heart, he will always be Mr. Darcy, emerging from swimming in his pond, dripping wet…OK, maybe that’s less, “in my heart,” and more in the dirtier parts of my imagination.  I thought he overacted just a teeny, tiny bit in The King’s Speech.  There, I said it.  I haven’t seen Biutiful.  I’ll say I think James Franco should win.  What he had to pull off in 127 Hours was big, and he succeeded admirably.

Alison:  I haven’t seen 127 Hours or Biutiful yet, which probably makes me unqualified to vote on this subject, but since it’s my blog, I still will.  I would love for Colin Firth to win. I think he was pure excellence in this role.  And if I was to give out a pure awesomeness award along with the Oscar, that would go to Jeff Bridges.  That guy is amazing.  I love, love, love Lebowski and think he’s an amazing actor.

Two Blondes Countdown to the Oscars: Best Supporting Actress

February 22, 2011

The Nominees:

Amy Adams The Fighter

Helena Bonham Carter The King’s Speech

Melissa Leo The Fighter

Hailee Steinfeld True Grit

Jacki Weaver Animal Kingdom


WHO WE THINK WILL WIN

Jessica:  Melissa Leo

Alison:  Amy Adams or Melissa Leo

WHO WE WANT TO WIN

Jessica:  I should stipulate that I have not seen Animal Kingdom, so I have no idea what Jacki Weaver’s performance was like.  Literally, the only thing I know about her is she is nominated in this category for a movie called Animal Kingdom.  I had never heard of her or the movie before the nominations came out and I’m someone who considers myself fairly up on pup culture things.  I look forward to adding Animal Kingdom to my blockbuster queue…and then probably not see the movie for another five years.  There are a lot of movies on my list already.  I just checked – there are 377 titles currently on my wait list.  Anyway, back to the matter at hand – who I want to win.  I’ll go with Amy Adams in The Fighter.  She was tough, but vulnerable.  I also like Melissa Leo’s performance, but I wasn’t crazy about the ads she took out in the trades on her own behalf.  That just seems…off.

Alison:  I’d be happy if Amy Adams, Melissa Leo or Helena Bonham Carter won.  I love all three actresses and think they all make interesting choices career wise.  Melissa Leo disappears into this role, as she also did in the film Frozen River and I love her lack of ego with portraying tough, sometimes broken women.  Helena Bonham Carter is a force to be reckoned with and usually takes over the screen in movies like Fight Club and the Harry Potter series, but in The King’s Speech, is able to play a quiet strength and let Colin Firth shine in his role.  She is perfect in this movie.  Amy Adams shows a different side of herself in The Fighter.  I loved this tough-girl side of her.  I just love her in general.  She’s cute and sweet.

Two Blondes Countdown to the Oscars: Best Supporting Actor

February 21, 2011

The Nominees:

Christian Bale The Fighter

John Hawkes Winter’s Bone

Jeremy Renner The Town

Mark Ruffalo The Kids Are All Right

Geoffrey Rush The King’s Speech

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN

Jessica:  Geoffrey Rush The King’s Speech

Alison:  Geoffrey Rush The King’s Speech

WHO WE WANT TO WIN

Jessica:  I have seen all of these movies and think each of these men gave great performances, truly.  If I had to pick a favorite, I guess it would be Jeremy Renner in The Town (I had to sit and think about that for about 10 minutes before making a decision).  My first instinct was to pick Christian Bale.  He was great in The Fighter, but in the end, I opted for Mr. Renner.  He was so believable as the thuggish best friend and bank robbing boss that I think I just kind of assumed that was close to what Jeremy Renner, himself, must be like.  Then I remembered that I’ve seen him in interviews where he seems perfectly charming and not at all like he might have kidnapped someone.  If you haven’t seen The Town, rent it.  It’s the most underrated film of the year.

Alison:  My first reaction was “Oh definitely Christian Bale in The Fighter.” He disappeared into that role, like he does with pretty much every role. He’s got to be one of the most intense and dedicated actors in Hollywood. But then my memory started working (my brain is slow sometimes) and I remembered watching Geoffrey Rush’s excellent performance in The King’s Speech. And then I couldn’t decide, so I’m calling a tie, because I really loved both performances equally.

Two Blondes Countdown to the Oscars: Best Original Screenplay

February 20, 2011

The Nominees:

Another Year

The Fighter

Inception

The Kids Are All Right

The King’s Speech

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN

Jessica:  The Kids Are All Right

Alison: The Kids Are All Right

WHO WE WANT TO WIN

Jessica:  The Kids Are All Right.  First, I should probably note that I have not seen Another Year.  I have seen the rest.  I think The King’s Speech will make a good run at Best Picture, but I don’t think it will (or should) take this category.  Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg did a fantastic job of portraying a modern, believable family.  I heard an interview with Cholodenko on NPR’s Fresh Air where she said that in real life she has children by a sperm donor and Stuart Blumberg was a sperm donor in his younger days.  The characters are funny, sensitive, and flawed (yet still likeable).

Alison: First, I haven’t even heard of Another Year, let alone seen it.  I think The King’s Speech and The Fighter were two of the best movies of the year, but not sure they deserve to win for Best Screenplay. And while I liked the movie and agreed with what Jessica had to say about The Kids Are All Right, I still sort of want Inception to win. No, I wasn’t super attached to the characters, and yes the story was flawed (this has been the complaint I’ve heard most often), but it still took you on an amazing adventure. And I can’t imagine keeping track of different levels of dreams while writing this script. I applaud Christopher Nolan’s imagination and think the academy should too.

Two Blondes Countdown to the Oscars: Best Adapted Screenplay

February 19, 2011

We’re counting down to the Oscars on Feb. 27 by giving our thoughts and opinions on each of the major categories, one per day, until the big day.  First up, Best Adapted Screenplay!

The Nominees:

127 Hours

The Social Network

Toy Story 3

True Grit

Winter’s Bone

WHO WE THINK WILL WIN

Jessica:  The Social Network

Alison: The Social Network.

WHO WE WANT TO WIN:

Jessica:  The Social Network.  I know film is a visual medium, but man, do I love talky movies and The Social Network is talky.  I love Aaron Sorkin’s style – that rat-tat-tat-tat dialogue.  On top of that, this movie was ‘adapted’ from a book that was being written simultaneously based on deposition transcripts and interviews with the real-life people.  That’s a fascinating process.

Alison:  This one’s tough for me. Was I utterly absorbed by the movie The Social Network? Yes.  Did I love some of the dialogue heavy scenes between Jesse Eisenberg and the lawyers pursuing a case against him? Yes!! (Double exclamation was on purpose.)  Was I emotionally attached to the characters in the film?  No.  Was I emotionally attached to the characters in Toy Story 3 and may have even teared up a little while watching that film….yes.  So there is a part of me that wants Toy Story 3 to win because it moved me more.  I still think The Social Network is a great film and would be happy to see Aaron Sorkin win.  But for me, the thing I remember most from that film is the music.  I LOVED the music.  But that’s another topic for another blog post.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1

December 1, 2010

Alison says:

This may hurt my street cred (Jessica is shaking her head at me for thinking I have street cred), but I love the Harry Potter books. Love them. I think JK Rowling is amazing. Just had to say that. But I will admit something. Despite being a HUGE fan of the Harry Potter books, I hadn’t really kept up with the movies. I’d seen the first one in the theaters and hadn’t been too impressed and was upset at how disappointing the movie felt in comparison to the experience of reading the book. Then I think I saw the 2nd and 3rd movies, but didn’t feel the need to keep up with the movie series after that. I just loved the books too much. Then a couple months back, I saw the trailer for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” and was like “Wow, that looks really good.” Then a few weeks ago, Jessica asked me if I wanted to get tickets ahead of time to go see the new Harry Potter movie. I mentioned not being caught up on the movies, and thus she lent me her DVD collection. And yes, the movies did get better with each one. And then I got really excited to see Deathly Hallows (and Jessica’s excitement was also somewhat contagious as well).

Jessica and I got tickets for Friday night of opening weekend at the dome at Arclight. As we sat down in our seats with our boxes of Sour Patch Kids, we were pretty ecstatic to see one of our favorite stories brought to life and so was everyone else in the theater. It was palpable in the air. People could not wait to see this movie. And it was a great film. I was thoroughly happy and thrilled the entire time. I’d also like to say for anyone who thinks wizards or spells are nerdy, then go see this movie and see how dangerous magic can be.  Okay, I just re-read that sentence and realized it sounds extremely nerdy, but I’m serious. There’s some scenes with fights between wizards where the effects and the speed of the spells and zaps literally took my breath away. It’s a stunning, exciting movie. And I absolutely love these characters. The minute the movie was over, I was sad I have to wait so many months for Part 2.

LA Viewers: Worth paying full price at Arclight. Go see this movie. Also worth paying full price to go see a second time. It’s one of those movies that is just a great movie-going experience.

Translation for non-LA viewers: Go see it. Now.

Cute Jessica quote from before the movie started: “Accio Sour Patch Kids.”

 

Accio Sour Patch Kids!

Jessica says:

Warning:  I discuss the plot of this story, so SPOILER ALERT, but I mean really?  The book was a phenomenon that has been out for over three years.

I did not write the review immediately after seeing the movie, which I have vowed to myself to do several times now.  I’m just a procrastinator at heart.  Usually the problem that occurs when I don’t write my review immediately is that I end up forgetting whatever I had to say about the film.  That is not the case with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1.  I remember it easily.  In fact, I’m still in the process of re-reading the book.  The problem is my opinion has been swayed by hearing what others had to say about it.  If you would have asked me right after I walked out of the screening Alison and I went to I would have seem like a giddy schoolgirl, “It was awesome!  I can’t wait for the next one!”  Now, with time, my reaction is a bit more tempered.  It was good, not great and not my favorite of the Harry Potter set.

I’m sure you know this by know, but the book on which the film was based was split into two films.  This is part one.  I’m not sure there is much to be done about any of the possible negatives from this Deathly Hallows, Part 1.  The final book in J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is a mammoth in physical size and is chockablock full of a combo of action and very important information.  The film, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallow, Pt. 1, drags a bit in places, but I’m not sure that could be helped.  Most of the very important information you’re given in the book happens in the first two thirds, which just so happens to be the plot for this film.  Harry, Ron, and Hermione are on a mission set to them by their former headmaster, Dumbledore, to find Horcruxes.  I’m not going to bother to go into describing what those are here, just suffice it to say they are very important to the overall plot of the 7-part story.  The section of their journey that is covered in this film is kind of boring at times because they can’t find what they’re looking for (cue U2).

 

There are some really great parts in Deathly Hallows, Pt. 1 too.  I will admit that I teared up when Ron destroys the Horcrux after it reveals all his insecurities.  I also got a little emotional in the final scene – the opening of Dumbledore’s tomb.  Ugh.

If you haven’t read the books, but enjoy the films just stick with this and remind yourself to think of it as only part one to a story.  If you’ve read the books and love them to the point of being kind of obsessive (like me), then you have nothing to worry about – you’ll just be so excited that it’s finally here that you’ll enjoy it.

One Blonde Goes to a Movie: 127 Hours

November 30, 2010

Jessica says:

The description you might have heard about 127 Hours is probably something along the lines of, “It’s based on a true story about a guy who has to cut his own arm off.”  Let’s just clear something up right off the bat – to say he ‘cut’ off his arm is a bit misleading.  What actually happens is way more horrifyingly awful.

It is based on the true story of Aron Ralston, a 20-something outdoorsman who had an accident while hiking a desert canyon alone.  He fell as a boulder came loose.  That boulder ended up pinning his arm against the canyon wall.  He remained stuck there for the 127 hours of the film’s title.  127 hours.  Just think about that for a second.  Think of how uncomfortable you would be if you just had to stay on your couch for 127 hours, much less be pinned against a canyon wall with no food or water.

Aron does end up cutting off his own arm, but as I said before – ‘cut’ isn’t really the right word there.  He actually hacks his own arm off with a blade the size of a nail file.  I am not typically squeamish in real life, or in movies, but I had to avert my eyes at points.  Bones breaking, cutting nerves, drinking urine – It’s all a bit much after an hour or so.  I actually just looked up the runtime of 127 Hours and was shocked to find that it’s only 94 minutes.  I would have sworn it was closer to two hours.  I was worn out by the end of the movie.  Side note on the drinking of the urine:  I learned from reading Why Do Men Have Nipples? by Mark Leyner and Billy Goldberg that drinking your own urine doesn’t really help you any if you’re dying of thirst.  It doesn’t hurt you because urine is sterile, but it doesn’t help.  I digress…

127 Hours is an emotional workout.  I would be remiss if I didn’t say something about James Franco’s performance.  I expect to see him nominated for a Best Actor Oscar and he deserves the nomination.  If you’ve seen director Danny Boyle’s previous work like Trainspotting or Slumdog Millionaire, then you know his style is a bit frenetic.  I’ll be honest, sometimes I like that franticness exciting and sometimes I find it tedious.  I liked it in Slumdog Millionaire and was irritated by it in Trainspotting.  I ended up on the fence about it in 127 Hours.  The movie did make me question how strong my own desire to live is – would I be willing to break my own bones and slice my own nerves?  Would I have the mental strength to keep myself sane while starving to death?  I hope I never have to find out.

I would recommend seeing this movie, but not if you are prone to fainting, squeamish, etc.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you though.  It’s tough.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Morning Glory

November 28, 2010

Jessica says:

I’ve become obsessed with trying to figure this out – is Harrison Ford really as cranky as he appears?  His character in Morning Glory is cartoonishly over-the-top in his curmudgeonly ways.  He literally growls at people.  Then in all the press I’ve seen him do for this…or ever, now that I think about it, he seems grumpy in the interviews too.  Is that actually him or is that the “Harrison Ford” character he plays in the public?  I guess I need to go to someone who knows him to verify, so hang on a sec. while I ring up Calista…

Even though the entire plot of this movie was foreseeable to me and anyone who has ever seen a romantic comedy, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.  It kind of felt like some marketing executive downloaded all my information from Facebook and made a movie tailored to me – young aspiring television producer works her way up the career ladder, falls in love with cute boy at work, falters in both personal and professional matters, but comes out on top in the end.  This movie played me like a fiddle, but it’s OK because it was fun (like what I imagine it’s like to play “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”).

Rachel McAdams is adorable, but that really shouldn’t come as any surprise.  Diane Keaton is likeable even when she is playing a character that is kind of crazy.  I really wish John Pankow would have had more screen time as the 2nd in command to Rachel McAdams character.  You might not recognize his name, but you would recognize his face from his many, many appearances on TV in character roles (Mad About You, Ally McBeal, Law & Order, etc.).  He was funny and sympathetic – I wanted more.

All in all, I’d say this movie is exactly what you’d expect, but that makes it nonetheless entertaining.  It would make a nice Sunday matinee with a girlfriend, your sister, or mom.

Alison says:

I really, really like Rachel McAdams, Diane Keaton and Harrison Ford, so I went to see this film with Jessica despite being the kind of girl who often prefers movies with explosions or elves. And despite the lack of explosions and/or elves, I really enjoyed the film. It’s charming and cute and funny. I’m really happy to see Rachel McAdams playing this type of character and she does a good job of carrying the film. I thought she was really great playing against Harrison Ford as the crotchety old guy. And there’s just nothing not to love about Diane Keaton. Also, can we talk about how amazing Diane Keaton’s figure is. I’m not trying to be creepy, but her body is rocking.

I found myself laughing throughout the film and did enjoy myself and loved the cast, but towards the later part of the movie, it did start to feel pretty predictable, somewhat “paint by the numbers” (not sure if that works as a description for a script, but I’m going with it). The music got kinda heavy handed and you felt like you were being spoon fed the plot. That said, it’s still a film I’d recommend going to with your girlfriends or your mom. You’ll laugh and be charmed.

LA Viewers: I’d recommend a matinee or Netflix.

Translation for non-LA Viewers: It’s a cute flick.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Easy A

September 23, 2010

Jessica says:

Easy A is the story of…well, it’s the story of Hestor Prynne in The Scarlet Letter.  OK, not exactly.  Thanks to Mr. Oldvader and AP American Literature my junior year of high school I’ve actually read The Scarlet Letter (not just the Cliff’s Notes).  Emma Stone’s character, Olive, does not have an adulterous affair with a minister (Spoiler alert?  The book was published in 1850, so you can’t be upset if you didn’t already know that).  In fact, she doesn’t have an affair with anyone, but claims she does.  The entire plot of the movie is then predicated on that lie.  Olive pretends to sleep with a friend who is bullied for being gay.  Her claims of sexual promiscuity multiply and snowball from there.

There are some issues with the plot

- the story mechanics can be clunky at times, but Emma Stone sure is charming.  As charming as she is, Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, and Lisa Kudrow steal the movie in supporting roles.  I did often find myself distracted with thoughts about how no public school I’ve ever head of would allow a female student to wear a bustier as a shirt (which Olive does for most of the film).

Easy A is 100% predictable, but still enjoyable.  Save this one for a rental though.

Alison says:

Here’s what I have to say after watching Easy A – I really like Emma Stone.  She’s funny, beautiful and talented, but I’m sure you didn’t need me to point that out for you. I was happy to see her getting her own movie and think she held her own in it. Also, I must point out Stanley Tucci is much buffer than I realized. he’s a hot dad in this movie. And there’s a scene where he’s wearing a form fitting gray shirt, and I was pretty astounded to realize he’s got major biceps.

Back to the movie… I really liked parts of this movie. There were some cool shots where the director showed how quickly gossip travels around a modern day high school campus, lots of zipping around in a big circle.  I laughed a fair amount throughout the film and found the main characters endearing and amusing.  It was entertaining along with being sweet.

But there were parts to it that felt heavy handed and super predictable. Maybe if I was 16, I’d feel differently, but I’m not. There was one scene where a story “twist” occurred that Jessica and I could see coming from 3,000 miles away, but there were others in the movie theater who gasped. So maybe Jessica and I are just too smart. That’s probably it.

LA Viewers: Worth paying for a matinee at the Grove. It’s cute and funny. And we like supporting gals like Emma Stone and biceps like Stanley Tucci’s.

Translation for non-LA viewers: Matinee it up!

One Blonde Goes to a Movie: The Town

September 17, 2010

Jessica Says:

I just read an article in Entertainment Weekly where Ben Affleck said; “It’s kind of hard to disavow a movie when you’re the actor, writer, and director.  You’re definitely all in.”  The good news is he won’t have to worry about trying to disavow The Town because it’s great.

The Town is a movie full of actors I enjoy watching:  Ben Affleck and Jon Hamm (both dreamy…I mean, handsome), Jeremy Renner, Rebecca Hall, Titus Welliver (the Man in Black from Lost and honestly, is there a cooler name?), and Chris Cooper.  Ben Affleck plays the leader of a gang of bank robbers from Charlestown in Boston.  Charlestown was apparently the bank robbing capital of the US back in the 1990s.  Rebecca Hall plays the manager of the bank the gang robs at the beginning of the film.  They are concerned she might be able to identify them after the robbery, so Ben Affleck’s character tails her.  In the process of following her, they end up romantically involved and that relationship (along with other factors) leads his character to question his life choices.  Jon Hamm and Titus Welliver are the FBI and police agents tasked with catching the robbery gang.  Through the rest of the film you watch him struggle to escape the pull of his community.

One of my favorite little twists (not a plot twist, so not a spoiler) is that the hero’s best friend (Jeremy Renner) is also one of the villains of the story.  Jeremy Renner, along with the entire cast, delivers top-notch performances, which must partially be a testament to Affleck’s directing ability.

Without giving away the ending, I will just say that I approved of it.  I was nervous as the story progressed that I wouldn’t like what the ending might be because the truth is quite a few horrible crimes are committed by the hero of The Town and even though you know he’s struggling to change his life, I also felt like he and his gang should have to pay for their crimes.

Go see The Town this weekend.  It’s deserves to have a decent opening weekend.  It’s totally worth the full ticket price.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Going the Distance

September 8, 2010

ALISON SAYS:

I was slightly anxious about going to see this movie.  A friend wrote the screenplay and the main female character is based on my old roommate’s best friend.  So I was worried about going to see this movie, not liking it (I was not in love with the trailer) and then having to write an honest review.  Luckily, I didn’t have anything to worry about and really enjoyed this flick.

I’m also not a romantic comedy kind of girl, but Going the Distance is not a typical romantic comedy kind of film.  First off, it’s a lot funnier than those types of films and it’s not forced humor like you usually see in chick flicks. And it’s not just for the ladies. Guys will like this film too, I swear.  The jokes are dirty, mostly smart and darn funny. It’s one of the more honest portrayals of what it’s like to date in this day and age. And also what’s it’s like to try and keep a relationship alive despite having 3000 miles keeping you apart. I also loved the relationship between Justin Long’s character, Garrett, and his guy friends. Charlie Day and Jason Sudeikis were hysterical as Garrett’s disgusting, intrusive, loveable pals.

Drew Barrymore and Justin Long are really great in this film.  They make a cute couple, are funny together and brought a levity to some of the “sadder” scenes that I did not expect to find seeing this movie.  But for me, some of the best parts were what the supporting cast brought to the screen. I was so excited to see people like Kristen Schaal (in a minor part), Jim Gaffigan and Rob Riggle. This was also probably one of my favorite roles for Christina Applegate since The Sweetest Thing.  Kudos to the casting director.

Overall, I laughed a lot.

LA Viewers: I paid full price at Arclight and think it was worth it.

Translation for non-LA viewers: Wanna laugh?  Go see this movie.  Ladies, need a date movie your dude won’t hate? Go see this movie.

JESSICA SAYS:

I can tell before I even get started writing this that this review is going to be pretty short.  Between seeing Going the Distance last week and writing this review I came down with a bad case of some kind of stomach flu.  I’ll spare everyone the details, but I’m just now coming into the clear.  My post-flu haze is making it hard to remember the details of what I really thought of the movie.  What I do remember is it was one of those movies where you walk out and go, ‘That was enjoyable.  Not really challenging on any level, just an enjoyable story to watch.’  As Alison said in her review, I, too, know Alison’s old roommate—the girl who was the basis for one of the supporting characters in this movie.  I was a bit nervous of how to handle this review, if I ended up not liking the movie.  Luckily, I liked it.

My main thought coming out of Going the Distance was – it seems like it would be fun to hang out with Drew Barrymore and Justin Long.  They seem fun.  Plus, Jim Gaffigan and Christina Applegate are pret-ty funny.  There is a scene on a dining room table that made me laugh out loud, but I don’t want to ruin it for you (it’s in the trailers though).

Going the Distance is worth the full ticket price.  It would make the perfect date movie.

Two Blondes Make Their Emmy Predictions

August 28, 2010

Emmy time is upon us!  Here is our breakdown of who we think will win and who we want to win for each category for the 2010 Primetime Emmys:

Outstanding Comedy Series

Jessica’s Vote:  30 Rock – If it my choice here comes as a surprise to you, this is obviously your first time visiting our blog because I mention my love for this show and Tina Fey about once every other post.  Love, love, love, love.

Alison’s vote: I’m going to have to agree with Jessica on this one.  I love 30 Rock, but I am a little torn, because Modern Family has made me very happy this year.

Jessica’s Prediction:  Modern Family – There has been so much buzz about this show this year, it would come as a surprise if anything else won.  Glee is obviously a much buzzed about show as well, but I’m giving the edge to Modern FamilyGlee is an hour-long show, which is unusual for the comedy category and there was some industry grumbling about whether or not it belongs in this category. I think Emmy voters will be drawn to the fact that Modern Family is a traditional-style sitcom.

Alison’s Prediction:  I also second Jessica’s prediction for Modern Family.

Outstanding Comedy Actor

Jessica’s Vote & Prediction:  Steve Carell (The Office) – I know Tony Shalhoub has taken this category in the past, but I think this is finally Steve Carell’s year.  He’s announced he’s leaving The Office at the end of this upcoming season and has yet to win for this role – one that it’s hard to imagine The Office without.  Hmm, it might also go to Jim Parsons for The Big Bang Theory.  He has buzz still going from last year.

Alison’s Vote & Prediction:  I have a real soft spot for Monk, but also am constantly amused by Alec Baldwin and Steve Carell.  I’m gonna have to vote for and predict Steve Carell.

Outstanding Comedy Actress

Jessica’s Vote:  Amy Poehler (Parks and Recreation) – While Tina Fey is awesome, when it comes to specifically being a comedic actress, I can’t think of anyone working in TV who is better that Amy Poehler.  She manages to make Leslie Knope, a character who in lesser hands would be irritating, endearing.

Alison’s vote: Tina Fey.  I heart 30 Rock.

Jessica’s Prediction:  Edie Falco (Nurse Jackie) – I have never seen this show*, so I have no idea what her performance is like, but I hear good things about her and the show constantly.

Alison’s Prediction: Not sure who to predict, as I’m a little behind on what’s going on in television these days and haven’t seen all of these shows.  Wait, Alison, you haven’t seen these shows and you’re still voting on such important issues? Yes, yes I am, it’s my blog and I can blindly vote if I want to.

Outstanding Drama Series

Jessica’s Vote:  Lost…or Mad Men…how can I be expected to choose one?  I mean, I love Lost.  Loooove, and I’m still mourning my loss from the show ending.  It deserves the Emmy win for best drama for the overall show, not just this season.  However, I also love Mad Men and…OK, if I have to pick one, it’s Lost.

Alison’s Vote:  I really don’t know how to choose between Lost and Breaking Bad.  They’re two of the best television shows you will ever see.  Best writing, directing, acting, everything!  I love both of them to the point of watching multiple episodes in a row and not getting enough sleep on many occasions.  Jessica is telling me I have to choose…. KA-PLOW!!!!!!

We interrupt this blog to let you know Alison’s head exploded because she could not decide which is better, Lost or Breaking Bad.

Jessica’s Prediction:  Mad Men

Outstanding Drama Actor

Jessica’s Vote:  KYLE CHANDLER!  Sorry, I’m just so excited that he’s finally nominated I couldn’t contain myself.

Alison’s Vote: I don’t know how to choose between Matthew Fox and Bryan Cranston and am terrified to even try because of the previous incident.  They both amazed me this year with their work.  Also, like Jessica, I am a huge fan of Kyle Chandler’s.  He should win the award for portraying the kind of husband every girl wants with eyes that reach into your soul.

Jessica’s Prediction:  Bryan Cranston.

Outstanding Drama Actress

Jessica’s Vote:  CONNIE BRITTON.  Sorry, same problem again.  Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler are my favorite couple on television.  However, I fear not enough people watch Friday Night Lights for it to win, so…

Alison’s Vote: I really, really want Connie Britton to won. The way she portrayed a mother’s struggles with her teenage daughter really made me want to call my mom and apologize for a lot of incidents in high school.

Jessica’s Prediction:  Julianna Margulies.  She’s already won every other award for which she qualifies with The Good Wife and it is a good show.

Outstanding Reality – competition Series

Jessica’s Vote:  Well, my vote would be for So You Think You Can Dance, but it’s not nominated.

Alison’s Vote: I don’t watch reality TV, so I leave this one to Jessica.

Jessica’s Prediction:  Amazing Race because, well, they always win.

Outstanding Variety, Music, or Comedy

Jessica’s Vote & Prediction:  Gee, I don’t know…maybe THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH CONAN O’BRIEN!!  Do I enjoy and watch all the shows nominated in this category?  Yes.  Did I work on one of them, namely The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien?  Yes.  It’s just like my mom told me when I wanted to be in student council in junior high and one of my friends told me she would vote for me, if I would vote for her.  Mom said if you’re not willing to vote for yourself, then why would anybody else vote for you?  And I’d really like us to win this.

Alison’s Vote & Prediction:  Jessica’s words on this subject were perfect.  I loved working on this show with this group of people and we all worked really hard to make something special. Just getting a nomination already is of course wonderful enough recognition on its own, but it would also be nice to watch our friends holding up a shiny, dangerously pointy award on stage.**

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series

Jessica’s Vote:  30 Rock “Anna Howard Shaw Day”  In case you don’t remember, this is the episode where Liz Lemon schedules a root canal on Valentine’s Day.  Look it up on Hulu, if you haven’t seen it.

Alison’s Vote: I can’t choose between 30 Rock and Modern Family.  Both shows make me incredibly happy and both shows are what I take the time to watch on a regular basis.

Jessica’s Prediction:  The Office “Niagra”  It’s the Jim and Pam get married episode.  Very good, but my heart belongs to 30 Rock.

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Jessica’s Vote:  Well, this is really impossible for me to choose.  I’m having the same Mad Men versus Lost conflict in my head, but this time it’s complicated even further by the fact that one of my friends, the lovely and talented Ms. Erin Levy, is nominated for co-writing the “Shut the door.  Have a seat,” episode of Mad Men.  Plus Friday Night Lights is also nominated.  This is impossible to choose.  I know the finale of Lost was controversial, but I liked it.  In the end, I’ve got to go with my friend – “Shut the door.  Have a seat.” from Mad Men (yay Erin!).

Alison’s Vote: LostLostLost.  Never before has a show captured my attention so completely from start to finish.  I have almost ended friendships because of ignorant friends who didn’t know they were not allowed to talk while Lost was on.  I love Lost.  It transformed television and I can’t thank the creators enough for making something so amazing.

Jessica’s Prediction:  “Shut the Door.  Have a Seat.” Mad Men.

*Nominated Shows I (Jessica) Don’t Watch (and therefore can’t really have an opinion on.  And don’t yell at me, I know I should be watching a lot of them, but I do have other things to do in life.)

Nurse Jackie, Monk, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Breaking Bad, Dexter, House, Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Closer, Damages

**Alison was lucky enough to attend the Creative Arts Emmys this year.  Here is her report:

The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien's table at the Creative Arts Emmys 2010

Alison at the Creative Arts Emmys 2010

I was lucky enough to attend the Creative Emmys last week and thought I should dole out another award in accordance with my time spent there.

OUTSTANDING PEOPLE TO SPOT AT CREATIVE EMMYS

The award is a tie between Jon Hamm and Damon Lindelof. Jon Hamm will someday be in the dictionary next to handsome.  I realize he’s also a talented dramatic actor and was also very funny on 30 Rock, but it’s hard to even think about that while standing in the same lobby.  He’s just so gosh darn handsome, it’s like looking into the sun.

Damon Lindelof is adorable and a genius.  He is part of the team behind Lost and I obviously am a big fan.

Two Blondes Go To A Movie: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

August 4, 2010

ALISON SAYS:

So yeah, I’m not 13 and I did go see Eclipse. Sure, I was a little embarrassed walking into the Burbank theater, worrying someone I know (besides Jessica) would see me and ask, “Hey, are you going to see the Twilight movie? Does that mean you’ve read the books too?” And I would answer haltingly, “No. Of course not.”  But yes, I read the books. I didn’t think they were great, but they passed the time and are entertaining.  Same with the movies.

I think the quality of the series has increased with each film.  I didn’t laugh quite as much when Edward sparkled or when the vampires did their crazy fast running.  The opening scene was pretty cool for a teen film.  Also, Robert Pattinson is very handsome. Very, very handsome.  And Taylor Lautner has incredible abs. Jessica and I were sitting next to two women (grown women, not teenage girls) who were gasping when those two were onscreen,  They were VERY moved by the “romantic” scenes.  So that added a whole new level to our filmgoing experience.  Mostly, I found myself either giggling or slightly bored.

LA Viewers – I’d say wait for the DVD, unless you’re a 13-year-old girl. But going by the box office reports, I’m pretty sure you’re not going to listen to me.

Translation for non LA viewers – Same goes for you.

JESSICA SAYS:

First off, I will admit that I have now seen The Twilight Saga: Eclipse twice in the
movie theatre. Twice. I saw it the first time back when it was a relatively new
release. Alison and I decided to review it, but by the time we decided to do a
review I had pretty much forgotten anything I initially had to say about it. So, I
agreed to re-screen it with Alison. The only problem is that now, after seeing it
twice, I still don’t really have a lot to say about it. Here’s what I can say:
• It’s the best of the three Twilight films so far.
• I’ve had a crush on Robert Pattinson since I solely knew him as the-guy-
who-played-Cedric-Diggory, but after his recent growth spurt (because
he’s actually young enough to still be growing), I’m warming to Taylor
Lautner. As I’ve said before, on the outside I’m Team Edward, but my
inner pedophile is totally Team Jacob.


•The special effects, while still cheesy, are leaps and bounds better than

the first Twilight.
• Can we all agree that it’s a little ridiculous to call it, “The Twilight Saga?”
Saga? Really? All right, teenage girls, stop shouting and throwing things
at me.
That’s pretty much it, except one last tidbit. I called my mom when I was on
the way to pick up Alison. I told Mom we were going to see Eclipse. Mom’s
response was, “Well. That’s one I won’t be seeing.” Now, you might be
thinking, “Oh, Jessica’s mom has decent taste in movies. That’s why she doesn’t
want to see Twilight.” If that’s what you’re thinking, you’re wrong. My mom
was so adamant that she wouldn’t see it because she is a ‘Pollyanna.’ That’s
her description of herself. What she means by ‘Pollyanna’ is basically that she
refuses to watch or enjoy anything she deems dirty or violent; which means she
turns up her nose at anything from The Simpsons (that Bart sure is disrespectful
of authorities) to Pulp Fiction (swearing, violence, sex, drug use, etc., etc., etc.).
Because she knows Twilight is about vampires, she won’t see it—no matter
how much I tell her that she would actually probably like it because really, it’s a
romance and a morality tale about the importance of keeping one’s virginity until
marriage. Nope, Phyllis is having none of it. Vampires? She’s out.
I would tell you this movie is OK to see as a matinee, but let’s be honest – if you
had any desire to see it, you probably already have.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Salt

July 27, 2010

Jessica says:

Angelina Jolie is very pretty, just in case you haven’t noticed.  She’s even pretty when she’s wearing bad wigs and dowdy suits, as she does in Salt.  She also kind of kicks ass.  She is pretty much the only redeeming part of Salt.

OK, so normally, in a review, I start out by describing the basic plot.  The thing is…the plot for Salt doesn’t make any sense, but I’ll make my best attempt to explain (while not giving anything that could be construed as a spoiler).  Angelina Jolie is a CIA agent named Salt.  The question you are supposed to spend the movie asking is, is she also a double agent for the Russians.  Yes, you heard me right – it’s a USA versus Russia spy movie. It seems that, even though reality has moved on and Russia is no longer our number one enemy, Hollywood just can’t quit its addiction to making Russia their go-to villain.  The whole movie turns on the question of is she or isn’t she working for the Russians.

Without going into details, I will say that Salt switches allegiances during the movie.  The problem is the reason we’re given as to why she switches sides MAKES NO SENSE.  I saw Salt with a couple of friends.  As we stood saying our goodbyes in the parking garage, my friend, Rex, just kept saying, “But I don’t understand.  Why did she switch sides?”  Brian would futilely try to explain what he thought the reasons were, but the conversation just kept going in circles because there is no explanation for anything that went down in the movie.

Salt commits a crime against logic that happens in many an action movie, but it was particularly egregious in Salt – why would you bother to fist fight or kung fu kick someone when you have a gun?  In Salt they bother to put in a shot showing us that not only is Agent Salt packing a gun, she has multiple guns (machine, pistol, etc.) and even explosives.  Then about a minute later, we’re supposed to believe that she would waste time and energy running up walls to kick someone in the head.  Just shoot him!

Strangely, the fact that it didn’t make any sense didn’t stop me from enjoying the movie.  Salt is totally a popcorn flick.  If you don’t enjoy violence, don’t bother seeing this movie (I’m talking to you, Mom).  If you’re nostalgic for the 1980’s, slip on some neon-colored jams and jellies and go to a matinee of Salt to watch us stick it to the Russians.

Alison says:

I tend to enjoy movies with Angelina Jolie. What’s not to love? She’s gorgeous, talented and owns the screen. I’ve been a big fan since Gia. Like a huge fan, where it might border on creepy. I’m not gonna walk around town looking for her, but will I buy a magazine just cause she’s on the cover… yes, yes I will. But who wouldn’t? She is seriously beautiful and alluring and… (Jessica is making some kind of hand motion over her throat. I think she wants me to get to the point of my review). Okay, on to my opinion on Salt. I really enjoyed watching it, that is until it got farther into the movie and the plot seemed to unravel into craziness. But before that and for the first half or so, I was sitting there happy to see Angie (yes, she prefers me to call her Angie) on screen kicking ass. Also this movie had originally been intended for Tom Cruise, so I LOVE the fact that they made it with a female star. It’s a huge step forward for women in Hollywood, even if the plot might be a little silly. There were some awesome stunts and fight scenes and those always make me happy. I’m the girl who loves action movies, so for a while Salt made me happy.


And then it didn’t. I didn’t come out hating the movie. Would I watch it again on cable? Yes. Would I pay to see it again? No. My problem was stuff that happened towards the end of the movie. I don’t want to give away the plot, or lack thereof, but it kinda went into crazy town. I went from being fully on board to thinking “Oh, well that just seems a tad far fetched” to “Yeah, that’s just dumb.” The ending reminded me of a mix of an M. Night Shymalayan movie and a Mary Higgins Clark novel. There were just SO MANY twists and turns and “No, this is the bag guy. No, wait, this is definitely the bad guy.”

LA Viewers: If you love Angelina the way I do, go see a cheap matinee.

Translation for non-LA viewers: I leave it up to you with what you do with your money. If you really like movies about ridiculous Russian bad guys and hot ass kicking babes, go see the movie. If you’re “Eh” about all that, wait for the DVD.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Toy Story 3

July 13, 2010

Jessica says:

First off, let me just say that I made the mistake of not immediately writing my review for this movie after seeing it.  I remember liking it…and crying…  Note to self:  In the future, write reviews immediately after viewing.  You see, I was called for jury duty about two weeks ago and am STILL serving.  Now instead of my brain being filled with thoughts about cute cartoon characters (per usual), it’s full of legal thoughts and testimony notes.

I really can’t think of a movie that had higher expectations going in to it than Toy Story 3.  Not only is it the third chapter in a highly lauded trilogy, but it is also the latest release from Pixar.  Pixar has (what I’m going to call) the only undefeated streak in movie production ever.  They have yet to release a box office bomb or a critically slammed movie.  There is a reason for this success – they are just really dang good storytellers.

The story is about (from my slightly hazy recollection) the toys we have all come to know and love as Andy’s being retired, or at least the make-believe toy version of retired.  Through a series of events, they end up being donated to the Sunnyside Daycare Center.  The daycare is full of toys that have been donated by the parents of their original owners. We are introduced to all sorts of new characters as the daycare – Lotso, the dictator of Sunnyside, Ken, and Big Baby, the scariest doll since Chucky.  My favorite newbie, however, is introduced as part of the backstory of Lotso – Mr. Pricklepants.   Mr. Pricklepants is a community theatre-loving hedgehog in lederhosen.  He is pretentious and adorable.  Back at Sunnyside, things are not the Shangri-la that they initially appeared to be, however.  Our hero toys have to stage what is basically a prison break to escape.

Joining and subsequently leaving Sunnyside is really only the surface level of what Toy Story 3 is about.  Underneath that plot, like in all the Pixar movies, lies comments and themes with a much deeper emotional resonance.  They delve into the disposable nature of our society (seen before in Wall-E) and the feeling of uselessness that comes as part of the ageing process (seen before in Up).  Expect to let go of some tears in this film.  I did and I know of several grown men who did as well.  Toy Story 3 is totally worth seeing at any price.

Alison says:

Toy Story 3 melted my heart. I’m not saying my heart was actually made of ice, but if it had been (like the bad guy in one of the Care Bear movies) it would have melted, leaving me with an embarrassing puddle on my shirt and pants. Me: “I swear it’s not pee. My heart just melted while watching this film.” And then Jessica would have just shook her head at me. I’m getting a bit off point… my point is I loved Toy Story 3. I watched it in a state of absolute glee.  Well, glee and some misty eyes at certain points in the story. I watched it with three other friends who were equally moved and entertained.

I know this blog may have sounded like a tribute to Pixar in the past, but how can one not kneel at the feet of the people who brought us WALL-E and now Toy Story 3?  Thank you Pixar!!!

LA Viewers: Totally worth paying full price at the Grove or Arclight. I don’t know if you need to pay the money for the 3-D. It looked great, but for me the story was much more important than the 3-D effects. So if you’re pinching pennies (as we all are), go for the non-3D matinee.

Translation for non-LA viewers: Go see it immediately! You will laugh, cry and start to wonder about your own toys in the attic.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Robin Hood

June 25, 2010

Today we are featuring a guest ‘blonde,’ Pete D’Alessandro, and his review of Robin Hood.

Making a good movie is hard work, even when you’re part of a crew that’s gotten it right several times over. Robin Hood marks the first time in my life I have been bored by an epic climactic battle. While the execution of the film isn’t half bad, this is easily the worst script Hollywood has spent big money on.

For two and a half hours (which felt like five), the movie was devoid of likeable or even three dimensional characters who had no real values or motivations. The story threw new tangents out like stray arrows fired by a lesser archer. The audience was pulled in every direction, to no purpose, and to what seemed like a never ending series of rewrites that actually took place while the film was screening.

I wasn’t really bored by the whole movie; just the action sequences. Overall my feeling was shame and embarrassment to be sitting in the theatre watching this movie. I felt I should have left 20 minutes in, but then realized, “This is a Ridley Scott. Give him a chance.” Then, for the next two hours, Ridley Scott proceeded to punish my faith with ultra-slo-mo, silly villains, and a protagonist with the sense of direction of a blind lemming on nitrous oxide.

Pete D'Alessandro

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Get Him to the Greek

June 25, 2010

Jessica says:

Rockers are not my type.  The eyeliner, the skinny pants, the heroin, etc.  Not my thing.  However…there is an undeniable charisma to Russell Brand.  I mean, I can see what Katy Perry and the 1.2 million previous ladies he has (allegedly) bedded are drawn to.

The plot of Get Him to the Greek is fairly simple – Jonah Hill plays a record company employee tasked with getting rocker and drug addict, Aldous Snow (Russell Brand), from London to a gig at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles in three days.  You might recognize the character, Aldous Snow, from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, where he was the title character’s boyfriend.  When I saw the previews for this movie, I feared that it might only have the four jokes in the ad (a con that has been played on me before by the movie industry).  Not so.  It’s actually pretty darn funny.  I can’t say for certain if Russell Brand is just playing himself on screen or not, but it does seem that way.  In fact, it seems that way for Jonah Hill and Sean “Puff Daddy” “Puffy” “P. Diddy”  “Diddy” Combs too.  Jonah Hill is a loveable everyman and SPDPPDDC is a demanding and slightly crazy record company executive.

I really enjoyed this movie.  There is a Vegas hotel room showdown that spirals into one of the funniest fight scenes I’ve ever seen.  The music is all a bit ridiculous (as intended).  I saw Get Him to the Greek at Universal’s CityWalk and the best review I can give it was that it was entertaining enough to make the room full of teenagers that are inescapable at CityWalk shut up.  That’s no small feat.  It’s totally worth seeing at the full movie ticket price.

P.S.  SPDPPDDC mentions owning 11 Koo Koo Roos in the movie.  I just thought I might explain, for those of you who don’t live in Los Angeles, that Koo Koo Roo is a rotisserie chicken chain.  See here.

Alison says:

All of us have that drunk friend (or have been that drunk friend) you have to get home one night. All they want to do is go have another drink and/or lie down in the middle of the street so they can watch the stars. So we can all relate on some level to the plight of Jonah Hill’s character in Get Him To The Greek. But most of us haven’t had the experience of trying to get a rock star home safe (or to a concert).

I did not think I would love this movie so much. I hadn’t seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall, so I didn’t know anything about the character of Aldous Snow.  All I knew about Russell Brand was he’s British, engaged to Katy Perry, a comic, very loud, and I once saw him make out with Ben Lyons’ grandmother during a red carpet interview.  I was pretty sure I was going to find him annoying after 2 hours.  I was very wrong.  I found him hilarious and charming and kinda sexy, even though (like Jessica) I’ve never been the kind of girl to fall for a guy who wears eyeliner and tight pants.

I also did not think I’d find Sean Diddy (or is it Puff Daddy?  I really have no idea) funny, but once again I was wrong.  He cracked me up.  I was genuinely laughing throughout the entire movie.  Jonah Hill was funny as usual.  I was also impressed with both his and Russell Brand’s ability to display vulnerability in their characters.  There was more depth to this film than I expected.  I was actually touched at times despite my ice-covered heart.  But most importantly I did laugh my ass off and had a great time watching this film with Jessica.

LA Viewers: Totally worth paying full price at the Grove or Arclight. Also would be fun to see at 21+ screening at Arclight.
Translation for non-LA viewers: Go see it!

The Two Blondes Are Back from Our Extended Hiatus!

June 24, 2010

WE’RE BACK
Did you miss us?  We missed you!  No, we were not kidnapped by pirates, although Alison is trying to get that rumor started.  So anyway, hello again. We’ve been gone a while and would like to apologize. Here’s the gist:
We both got jobs at The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien (We know!  Awesome, right?)  Anyway, we both got really busy – putting on 5 shows a week is fun, but exhausting. Also, since we were then employees of General Electric/NBC Universal, we weren’t sure if reviewing movies was a conflict of interest with our jobs.  Well, as you might have heard, we lost those jobs a few months back.  The bad news is we are now, like many people out there, unemployed; the good news is we no longer have that pesky conflict of interest.  Of course, we also feel an obligation to our many fans of Two Blondes Walk Into a Blog (Shout out to Ira of Rye, NY and Jessica’s Mom), so we’re back.  We both have other projects we’re working on:  Alison is working on a soon-to-be released web series called “TV Guide Letter Theater,” and we are both working on some writing projects.  We hope you’ll still tune in because we love talking about entertainment, but more than that, we love yammering on about ourselves, while occasionally mentioning what we thought of a particular movie/TV show/etc.

Two Blondes at Conan's Desk

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: (500) Days of Summer

September 11, 2009

JESSICA SAYS:

I moved into my current apartment in Los Angeles just over two years ago.  It’s a v. cute, old building – Art Deco, built in the 1920s, etc.  However, it is in a neighborhood that has its sketchier bits.  It seems that the combination of Art Deco and a slightly dodgy neighborhood attracts hipsters like moths to a flame.

Anyway, I quickly learned that people like to film in my building…a lot.  The first thing that was filmed there after I moved in was (500) Days of Summer.  I looked it up on IMDb when I saw the notice of filming signs and was not all that surprised to find that it seemed to actually be a film about LA hipsters.  It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel (the reigning queen of hipsterdom) as two young Angelinos, who meet, fall in love, yadda, yadda.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not entirely anti-hipster (as I’m realizing I might sound).  It’s just that I tire easily of the whole aren’t-I-cool-the-way-ironically-like-things-from-two-decades-ago.  So, I was intrigued by the movie, not only because I knew it would feature my home, but also because I find Zooey Deschanel to be quite charming.  Did you see her sing in Elf?  Adorable!  Here’s a shot from the film of Deschanel and Gordon-Levitt on my roof:

(500) Days of Summer won me over fairly easily.  It’s a pretty charming little story.  The opening narration warns you that, “this is not a love story,” and that is true, kind of.  It is a love story, just not a story of everlasting love.  I’ll give kudos to Marc Webb (director), Scott Neustadter (writer), and Michael H. Webber (writer) for managing to tell the story of a man getting his heart broken without being overly sentimental or depressing.  The title, (500) Days of Summer, refers to the 500 days the relationship between the main characters, Summer and Tom, lasts.

The film has a great soundtrack, even if it does heavily feature songs by The Smiths, a band of which I am not a huge fan.  I have been known to rock out to the blue-eyed soul styling of Hall & Oates on many an occasion, so imagine my joy when there was an entire dance sequence in the film choreographed to their hit, “You Make My Dreams Come True.”  Awesome!

I recommend seeing (500) Days of Summer, but you should try to go quickly because it’s been in theatres for a while now.  It would make a good date movie.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Public Enemies

July 13, 2009

Today we are featuring a guest ‘blonde,’ Amy Rosenbloom, and her review of Public Enemies.

AMY SAYS:

While cat-sitting for my cousin, my boyfriend and I had the itch to see a movie at the nearby, very cheap Highland Theaters. Our choices were Transformers 2: Revenge of the Nausea-Inducing Dialogue, The Proposal (of a Predictable Rom-Com Plotline), and Public Enemies. A 1930’s shoot-‘em-up with Johnny Depp, Christian Bale, and Marion Cotillard based on the true story of a larger-than-life gangster? What’s not to like?

You’d be surprised.

I tried to like this movie. I really did. It’s fun to watch Johnny Depp breeze through bank robberies and prison breaks with more confidence than you could shake a stick (or shoot a Tommy gun) at. It’s fun to see Christian Bale lose himself in the persona of a freshly minted FBI agent who just wants to do what’s right. And it’s fun to watch Marion Cotillard fall in love with John Dillinger, the anti-hero of the Great Depression, and the promise of both sweeping romance and extravagant riches.

But, eh.

About an hour in, I was bored. Some scenes are too long and/or unnecessary. I didn’t even know who some people were supposed to be. Baby Face Nelson shows up, and no one acknowledges who he is until two or three scenes later. Giovanni Ribisi appears as…some guy with glasses? I guess?

And as picky film/TV nerds, my boyfriend and I giggled at the harsh lighting during the night scenes (the many, many night scenes):

Me: I didn’t know they had 1Ks in the woods back then.

Boyfriend: Eh, maybe 5Ks with filters to cut them down.

End nerdy snark.

There is also an epic shootout in the woods outside John Dillinger’s Wisconsin log cabin hideout, but I couldn’t tell who was shot. (By the way, I found out the shootout was in Wisconsin from Wikipedia because the movie doesn’t provide nearly enough historical context.) For a moment, a guy with Dillinger’s haircut falls down from a gunshot wound, and the only reason I knew it wasn’t Dillinger was that the movie had about an hour to go. The writers wouldn’t kill him off that early; there’s no way.

Another big aspect of the movie I didn’t like was that I didn’t know if I was supposed to root for the FBI or against them. They are just kind of…there. At times, they appear to be virtuous men who desire to deliver justice, and at others, they are simply bumbling oafs who make the bad guys look downright intelligent. Should I cheer for the dashing bad guy, even though the good guys win in the end? (Sorry for the slight spoiler, but you could find that out just by Googling Dillinger*.) If I don’t know who the hero is, how am I supposed to invest my emotions in this movie?

That being said, every negative review of this movie has put in a good word about Michael Mann, since he is capable of producing/directing/writing better than this. I’m adding my review to that list.

LA Viewers: You can definitely wait until this shows up on HBO or basic cable, but if you need to go to a movie theater right now and can’t find a proper alternative to Transformers 2: Revenge of Shia The Beef, then find a super cheap theater like Highland Theaters in Highland Park, The Vista in Silver Lake, or The Los Feliz 3 in…Los Feliz.

Translation for non-LA viewers: Same deal, only I’m sure you won’t have as much difficulty finding a cheap movie theater.

*Googling Dillinger is my new quirky indie flick about a girl who, after constantly surfing the web in search of stories about her hero, John Dillinger, is surprised to find him in her bedroom after a freak electrical storm brings him out of the 1930s and into the 21st century. Coming to a theater near you in 2012.

**Here is the lovely, Ms. Rosenbloom.  Note, she is not an actual blonde, but she does like movies.

Amy Rosenbloom

Amy Rosenbloom

Two Blondes Goe to a Movie: The Hangover

July 1, 2009

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly rambles about themselves.

JESSICA SAYS:

I will acknowledge that we are late in writing this review.  Alison and I saw The Hangover weeks ago, but between moving and changing jobs, life got in the way of our writing schedule.  We’re back and settled in at our new homes and jobs now though.  The only problem is, much like what takes place in The Hangover, I’m struggling to remember exactly what I experienced watching it.  I know it was awesome, but I’m trying to remember exactly what made it so…

Ah yes, it’s starting to come back to me – the delicious Mr. Bradley Cooper!  So…I may have had a *slight* crush on Bradley Cooper for the past six or seven years – ever since I came to know him as ‘Will’ on Alias.  By *slight* crush I mean that a few years ago I met a girl through my flatmate who had dated/was dating one of Bradley’s costars of Kitchen Confidential.  I think I squeaked out, “Kitchen Confidential, with Bradley Cooper?!”
She replied, “Oh yeah, Bradley’s lovely…”
Me:  “You know him?”
Her:  “Yeah, he’s a bit mental…” (and I’m using the ellipses there because that’s where I stopped listening and started imagining the long and happy life Bradley and I would lead together after this girl set the two of us up.  She could have been saying he enjoys harming puppies and I would not have heard a word of it.)

Besides Bradley, what’s not to love in the other two stars, Ed Helms and Zach Galifianakis?  They are adorably funny men.  Just as proof on how funny they are, here is a clip from Zach Galifianakis’s Funny or Die interview series, “Between Two Ferns.” Oh yeah, there’s a v. cute baby wearing sunglasses in the film too!  All in all, The Hangover is a fun, funny movie.  A tiger loose in a bathroom, Mike Tyson singing Phil Collins, roofies – you can’t go wrong.

I recommend seeing The Hangover in the theater (although most of you probably already have by now).  I even recommend it to my mom, who will probably pretend she is offended by some of the bluer jokes, but she will still laugh at them.

ALISON SAYS:

You know a hangover is bad when it takes you over a month to review a movie that was probably one of your favorites of the past 5 years.  Okay, I may be exaggerating just for the sake of having a dramatic first sentence to this review, but the truth is I was hungover when I went to see The Hangover.  I believe it was from tequila.  There isn’t anything much worse than a tequila hangover.  Especially if you’re someone like me who doesn’t drink very often and thus has a super low tolerance (I’m a cheap date).  I didn’t wake up with a tiger in the bathroom, but I did wake up wondering about some of my tequila-induced choices from the night before.  Like ironically dancing on a bar.  Even if you were doing it ironically (to make fun of the girls who were doing it for real), it may still be a choice that could prevent one’s future bid for Congress.  Luckily I work in comedy and have no political aspirations.  Anyway, back to the movie review…

I loved this movie.  There are soooooooo many movies that call themselves comedies, where you’re lucky to even laugh once.  I was laughing (big guffaws) throughout the entire film and the revealing title sequence.  I find the term side splitting to be cheesy, but it’s an accurate one for this film.  It’s fucking funny (I realize I just used the f-word, but it’s accurate – this movie is fucking funny).  And what an awesome cast.  Bradley Cooper is as funny as he is easy on the eyes, am I right ladies?  (This is where IF Jessica and I wrote sitting side by side, we’d high five, but we don’t, so no high five for now.)  I’ve always liked Ed Helms from his work on The Office, but now I’d say he’s inching his way into the love list with little hearts next to his name.  He really holds his own in a huge summer movie.  And then there’s Zach Galifianakis…if I could do a cartwheel in his name, I would.  He’s awesome.  I was already a huge fan from his work on “Between Two Ferns” (see above link).  He can make anything funny.  And I would say he is the hilarious center of this movie’s success. 

LA Viewers: You’ve probably already seen it by the time I’ve written this review, but if you haven’t, go now and then watch Between Two Ferns on Funny or Die.  Worth paying full price at the Grove or Arclight.
Translation for non-LA viewers: Unless you’re my mom, go see it right now (Mom, if you’re reading this, you will not like this movie).  Go with friends and laugh your ass off.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Star Trek

May 13, 2009

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves.


JESSICA SAYS:

 

I’m pretty much on board for anything involving J.J. Abrams. I have also been a closeted Star Trek fan (I will avoid use of the word I hear some Trek fans find offensive) for close to 12 years now. So you can imagine my delight when I heard J.J. Abrams was tackling a new Star Trek movie. There are a couple of caveats I should note to my love for Mr. Abrams and Star Trek before we go any further: 1.) I did not love Armageddon, nor did I love Cloverfield. I didn’t hate them either. Fringe took a bit to grow on me, but I’m hooked now, so it’s not a blind love I have for Mr. Abrams; 2.) I’m really only a closeted fan of Star Trek: Voyager. Yes, I know Voyager gets malinged by many, but I like Capt. Kathryn Janeway, Seven of Nine, etc. Judge me if you will. I have only ever seen a handful of the other various TV incarnations and none of the films.

 

So, I was very excited at the mere idea of a J.J. Abrams-helmed Star Trek retooling, but I tried to keep my expectations in check (I learned my lesson from Cloverfield). Then I saw the first preview and was filled with joy, much like a child who desperately wants a new bike and sees a bike-shaped present under the tree on Christmas Eve.  Even still I resisted allowing my expectations to inflate to unrealistic heights, but, as any fan knows, ‘Resistance is futile.’

 

I had big expectations and guess what? I was not disappointed. I loved every minute of this movie. I can’t remember the last big tent-pole, summer movie I have seen that I enjoyed this much (that includes The Dark Knight). My mom was in town visiting from Missouri, so Alison and I took her to see Star Trek at the Arclight’s Cinerama dome in Hollywood. When I told mom that was the plan, she seemed less than enthused. Unlike me, my mother is not the kind of person who has the patience nor desire to devote countless hours of her life to watch shows about time travel (Lost…and Alias and Star Trek, but more on that in a sec.) or super spys (Alias). Felicity is more Mom’s speed. Guess what? Mom loved it too! I believe her quote at lunch afterwards was, “It was one of those movies that is so entertaining that when you have to go to the bathroom, you just hold it because you don’t want to miss anything.” I laughed, I cried (well not technically crying, but a little glassy-eyed), I was on the edge of my seat, I cheered.

 

Kudos to Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci for a great script. I loved the casting with two excetptions: Winona Ryder and Tyler Perry. It’s not that either of them were bad or wrong for their parts, it’s just that they both played relatively small roles. Their roles were so small that it was distracting to have such famous people playing them. All of the sudden you go, “Hey, is that Tyler Perry?,” and you get pulled out of the story for a second. The main cast was great (Chris Pine, welcome to stardom). I can’t wait to see the next two films in which they are all contractually obliged to appear. One more tiny criticism. There is a fight scene that is so reminiscent to the scene in Empire Strikes Back where Luke loses his hand that even my mom noticed and commented on it. Was that an intentional homage? Why?

 

In conclusion (which, by the way, is how I started the conclusion paragraph of every essay in high school AP classes), I recommend you go see this movie right now. Don’t even bother to shut down. I will probably be going a second time.

 

p.s. Any other J.J. Abrams fans out there notice that he is apparently really into all-powerful, red swirling balls (Alias and Star Trek)? Time travel too (AliasStar Trek, and Lost).

 

ALISON SAYS:

Star Trek made me happy.  Like insanely happy.  Where I was clapping with glee and at times looking at the screen with my hand under my chin, intent and thoroughly entertained.  It kinda reminded me of meeting a really cute guy you click with.  And then later whenever you think about him you smile and/or giggle.  And yes, I realize the irony of comparing something as nerdy as Star Trek to dating. 

Jessica and I watched Star Trek at the Arclight Dome in Hollywood with her lovely mother, Phyllis.  Right before the movie, I ran into about 500 friends in the lobby and realized I know a lot of film nerds, myself included.  I ran into some of my friends after the movie as well and everyone seemed to have the same level of excitement and happiness as I did.  It was one of those rare moviegoing experiences, where you feel the entire theater’s enjoyment.  Everyone had a good time and was moved (Sidenote: there may have been a part in the movie where I may have teared up a little…).

   

I was not a Star Trek fan in the past.  I’d seen the TV show a few times as a kid, but was never a dedicated viewer.  So I may have been more open to a new interpretation of it than some Trekkies.  Also, I’m a huge J.J. Abrams fan.  If I didn’t think fan mail was creepy, I would write him a letter every week saying how much I love Lost.  I think J.J. Abrams is a master storyteller and Star Trek is just one more example of what will continue to be an amazing career.

 

I think Jessica’s mom’s quote sums it up best:

“It was so completely entertaining, that when I had to go to the bathroom, I wasn’t going to get up to leave.” 

LA Viewers:  Go see it now at the Arclight Dome.  Hurry!

Translation for non-LA Viewers: Why haven’t you seen it yet?

 

Two Blondes Go To A Movie: Hannah Montana: The Movie

April 28, 2009

Today we have guest “Blonde” Erika Brooks Adickman weighing in on Hannah Montana: The Movie:

miley-cyrus-hannah-montana-movie-poster1ERIKA SAYS:

If the previews before your movie you are about to see are all animated, star talking animals, or involve Eddie Murphy playing a dad, it’s probably a good indication that movie you paid 10 bucks plus parking to see is not meant for your demographic.  If that is not clear enough for you here is a “creeper scale” to help you figure out how much of a creeper you will look like if you see this movie:

twoblondes1pdf-1-page

See 12 year old girl: normal.  Mom or Dad just above that.  26 year old woman you’re already at the age where kids start to look at you and think “Stranger Danger” even if you think you’re hip enough to see a Disney kids movie.  Next to that is a gay dude.  Cause at first you think “What are those two guys doing seeing Hannah Montana: The Movie” and then you go “Ohhhh, it’s a date.  Oh yeah I can see how there’s some serious kitch factor to Miley Cyrus”.  Above that is a straight dude.  If you are a straight male seeing this movie alone (even if it’s cause you lost a bet) you are going to look like a major creeper.  And if you are seeing this movie alone you probably are.  And wayyyy above that is Billy Ray Cyrus in this movie (but more on that in a minute).

Here’s the gist of Hannah Montana: The Movie:
Miley Stewart played by by Miley Cyrus is just your average teenage girl trying to live out every tween’s dream: the life and career of one of the world’s biggest pop stars and the life of an average high schooler.  But how can Miley have the “best of both worlds”?  Leave it to daddy Robby Ray (played by real life dad Billy Ray) to figure that out.  Slap on a blonde wig and some chintzy big earrings and faster than you can say “clarkkentissuperman” you’ve got yourself a secret identity.  Somewhere along the way Miley has gotten way to attached to the fame and perks of being Hannah.  So her dad decides to wrangle her back to her hometown of Crowley, Tennessee to visit her Grandma and get back to her roots.  Along the way Miley will fall in love, try to avoid a British tabloid reporter out to get the scoop on Hannah’s big secret, save a town with her music, and have many, many, many prat falls.

Let me just say that the movie opens with Miley and her BFF Lilly (Emily Osment sister of Hayley Joel) trying to get in to an arena where “Hannah” will be performing.  Miley is running late to her own concert but the guy at the front wont let them in.  She and Lilly will have to sneak in.  And I thought to myself, (and by thought i mean, shouted to the movie screen)  “As if!”  As if, Miley wouldn’t have a cell phone (probably an iPhone) to call her dad and be like “Dad I’m late let me in!”.  And, as if the security backstage wouldn’t have been alerted that if they see a girl who looks a lot like Hannah Montana but with brown hair is walking around she is not a security threat.  Saying things like this and laughing at the movie actually isn’t as fun as you would think or as fun as I expect.  It actually of makes you feel like a lone Miranda in a sea of Charlottes.  You think, “When did i get to be such a cynical old biotch?  But I also wonder if i would have ever been into Miley at 13.  Would I have idolized her?  At 13 i loved movies like Adventures in Babysitting and Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead and The Babysitters Club (wow I must have had a thing for movies with Babysitter in the title).  But at least those movies involved swearing, kissing Josh Charles, and hiding your type 1 diabetes from a cute foreign exchange student.

I will say this, if you if you’ve got a big sweet tooth for Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, country hoedowns, and saccharin teen pop music it might be worth it for you to see this movie inspite of all the obvious flaws.  In spite of myself, the song “The Climb” gave me goosebumps and I went home and downloaded the hoedown throwdown) because i love songs where the dance is built right in.  And in case you’re wondering, yes I taught myself the dance after many many watches on YouTube.  So maybe I’m not such a miserable crone after all.

hannah_montana1But I can’t in good consciousness recommend this movie.  Unless you’re babysitting your niece or are a huge Miley fan just wait and Netflix it if you’re curious at all what it’s like.  There are so many other things you could put your 10 dollars (plus parking) towards.  Instead, take 2 of those 10 dollars and download “The Climb” and “Hoedown Throwdown” and watch an old episode of Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel.  You’ll be happy driving around in your car for a good week and after watching 22 minutes of Miley on TV, glad you dodged a bullet.

Some thoughts on the movie from an ADD’d mind that can’t consolidate these into lovely paragraphs:

  • Tyra Banks is in this movie. Now, I know Tyra is trying to model her career after Oprah. Well here’s something Oprah would NEVER do: a cameo in a Hannah Montana movie. She did The Color Purple, a movie directed by Steven Spielberg. She didn’t have a fake fight with Miley Cyrus on screen over shoes.
  • This movie is SKAWEEEKY clean. I don’t know if they ran they film negative through Purell or rubbing alcohol before they sent it to be edited or what. But there is not one swear word, zero violence, and zero kissing. That’s right. There’s a barely legal hunky cowboy and you don’t even get to see them kiss. Sorry to disappoint all you twelve-ies.
  • But because of the Disney sanitation of this film all of the jokes have to come from over the top, slap stick bits. And these bits go on FOR-EV-EVER. You just sit there and go this wasn’t that funny and it just keeps wandering off into further unfunnydom.
  • In fact, the only thing questionable about this film is the way Hannah Montana dresses. She looks like she shops in the skank section of Forever 21 who probably smells like a combination of 2 different Victoria Secret Body Sprays. I’m relieved that cowboy Travis prefers Miley to Hannah. It sends a message you young girls out there that you don’t have to dress like a tart to impress a boy.
  • Why is it that movies with a secret identity eventually unravel over a double booked dinner date (a la Mrs. Doubtfire)?
  • With out giving too much away this movie had one of the most intense emotional scenes to involve a revolving door that I have ever witnessed in a movie. I don’t want to say too much but it had me in tears I was laughing so hard.
  • Billy Ray Cyrus. It is impossible to watch this movie and not think of that Annie Liebovitz Vanity Fair spread of the two of them nuzzling. I simply can’t trust a dad with a soul patch with a teenage daughter. Especially a dad who has found a way to use his daughter’s success to his own career advantage. I’m not sure who is a creepier Dad-ager him or Joe Simpson.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Monsters vs Aliens

April 17, 2009

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves:


ALISON SAYS:

There are a lot of beautiful people in LA.  Like, a lot.  And many of them haven’t developed much of a personality because of their ridiculous good looks.  Sometimes holding a conversation with these types of people can be painful.  On one hand, you’re dazzled by their amazing looks and it feels like being in the warm glow of the sun.  But then they open their mouths and you want to yell, “Shhhhhh, no talking!”  This sort of sums up how I felt about watching Monsters vs Aliens.

The animation is amazing and fun.  DreamWorks has reached new levels of being awesome when it comes to the production of an animated movie.  I saw this film in IMAX and 3-D, which was super cool.  My favorite of the visuals was B.O.B. the blob (voiced by Seth Rogen).  But in terms of the script and “jokes,” (yes, those quotes are meant to be snarky), I just wasn’t impressed.  I was so excited to see this film.  The premise seemed really funny and I can’t imagine a more talented cast (Reese Witherspoon, Hugh Laurie, Wil Arnett, Rainn Wilson), but their comedic talents just didn’t translate.  I can count the number of times I laughed on one hand (or on the hand of a chainsaw artist I know who’s missing several fingers).  A lot of the jokes fell flat and I may even have heard Jessica groan and/or sigh several times.  

That said, I’m still really excited they had a main character who’s a girl and who kicks ass (not just because she’s a giant).  

LA Viewers: The animation is worth paying a matinee price.  Especially if you’re as high as the guy who sat near Jessica and I (he reeked of a certain substance that Woody Harrelson is a huge fan of).

Translation for non LA-viewers: If you don’t have a theater near you that offers 3-D viewings, wait for the DVD.

JESSICA SAYS:
There is a very essential thing about myself that I was reminded of by going to this movie:  I don’t like having to deal with the public.  You see, Alison and I saw Monsters vs Aliens 3-D at the IMAX theater at Universal City Walk which, on a Friday night, is almost as bad as being in the airport security line on the day before Thanksgiving.  I know that shouldn’t affect my review of the movie, but I was sufficiently annoyed and ready for some charming animation to cheer me up after fighting through crowds of tourists, waiting in line behind teenage boys acting like idiots to impress teenage girls, and couples so engrossed in their PDA that the world could collapse around them and they wouldn’t notice.  (Although for the latter Alison did provide an entertaining inner monologue for the couples, “I’ve never felt this way before *giggle*giggle*.”)

 
Monsters vs Aliens didn’t really charm or cheer me up.  The ads looked cute.  I had high hopes.  I like Stephen Colbert, Seth Rogen and Reese Witherspoon, who provide voices.  It just fell flat.  Monsters vs Aliens had great animation, especially the bit in space at the beginning, but the story felt so disjointed.  It starts out as a story about how a woman, Susan (Witherspoon), gains self-confidence after she is struck by a meteor on her wedding day and grows exponentially taller.  Then it jumps to a X-Men-meets-Mars Attacks story where a rag-tag group of mutants/monsters are the only beings able to defend Earth against evil aliens.  In between those two stories there is a random Dr. Strangelove homage in ‘the war room,’ but it’s like one of the writers thought, “What if it’s like Dr. Strangelove, but George W. Bush is the president?!”  I think we all know kids these days can’t get enough dark political satire references in their cartoons.

 
Sadly, I don’t recommend seeing Monsters vs Aliens.  I know if you have small kids and want to see a movie, you don’t really have other options right now.  To be entirely honest, if I didn’t have to write a review on it, I might have left halfway through.  Keep in mind though, I was already crabby going into it.  Have you seen it?  If so, am I wrong and just a crabby-appleton?  IMAX = always awesome.  The 3-D animation of outer space at the beginning = awesome.  The story, jokes, direction, etc. = uhhh…

Two Blondes Go To A Movie: I Love You, Man

March 25, 2009

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves:

JESSICA SAYS:

I am calling it now – I will officially be sick of hearing people say, “Slappin’ da bass,” as of 2:00pm today.  It’s a line from I Love You, Man, the new comedy starring Jason Segel and Paul Rudd.  It’s a funny joke even, but it will soon be as annoying to me as, “Whasssssuuuuup!”  You see (and I’m mostly directing this as the same demographic of people who are really big Dave Matthews Band fans), yes, the, “Slappin’ da bass,” moment in I Love You, Man was funny.  I laughed heartily out loud, but only in the context of the movie.  However, when you say random jokes you heard in a movie/commercial/TV show at awkward moments in conversation?  Not funny, just irritating and people are only laughing with you because it would be too painfully awkward otherwise.  Thank you. (I’m considering submitting this to NBC for their ‘The More You Know’ PSA campaign.)

I know a lot of girls crush on Paul Rudd and he is utterly charming, but what I want to know is will Jason Segel be my boyfriend?  I do mean Jason Segel and not Sydney Fife, his character.  Sydney is a bit too man-childish for my taste, but actual Jason Segel seems adorable.  My crush began after seeing him in Freaks and Geeks and has only grown stronger since.

I Love You, Man is the story of Peter Klaven (Rudd).  Peter is the kind of guy who has always had a girlfriend, and as such, has neglected any male friendships he may have once had.  When he and his fiancee (Rashida Jones) start planning their wedding, she realizes Peter doesn’t really have a best friend to be his best man.  So Peter goes on a bit of a quest to find a best friend and in the process meets Syndney Fife (Segel) who is basically his opposite in the romance department.  The two begin what can only be called a bromance built on a love of one particular Canadian prog-rock band who had a hit song named for a Mark Twain novel.

When you add Paul Rudd and Jason Segel together, plus throw in a little splash of Rashida Jones, I had faith that even if it turned out to be a not-so-hot script, the movie would be mildly entertaining.  I was pleased to find I Love You, Man downright funny.  So go see it.  It’s worth the theatre price and would make a pretty good date movie.

Oh yeah, and especially go see this if you like the band, Rush.

ALISON SAYS:

Don’t go see I Love You, Man if you hate laughter.  It’s a damn funny movie.  I really hope my mom isn’t reading this, because she considers “damn” a swear word, despite the fact that she uses the “s-word” when the family pets get underfoot.

Anyway, I was very, very amused by I Love You, Man, as was the entire theater I saw the movie with.  There was a consistent level of laughter that you don’t always see with movies that are considered “comedies.”  I even heard some guffawing from the very heavy man sitting next to me.  Maybe the guffaws were a result of his weight, but I think it was the high level of funny in the film.  There’s just so many things to love.  First, let’s talk about Rashida Jones.  I already liked her, because of her work on The Office, but now I must say I love her a little with her adorable nose freckles and cute -T-shirts and cardigan outfits.  The girl is funny and pretty and makes you understand why someone like Paul Rudd would propose to her.

This past month, I have slightly fallen for Paul Rudd, in a non-sexual, “Wow-that-guy-is-super-talented-and-really- charming-and-maybe-I’ll-just-brush-my-hair-today” kind of way.  I’d always thought he was funny and liked other movies he’d been in.  Two weeks ago I watched Role Models on Netflix, which Rudd co-starred in and co-wrote the screenplay for and it was freaking awesome and he was awesome in it.  Then I go and see this movie.  While watching it, I felt myself getting a middle school crush on him.  He’s so charming and sweet and vulnerable, which is not usually my thing (my thing is Viggo Mortenson in Lord of the Rings), but after the movie, I found myself wondering if there are a line of Paul Rudd pillow cases out there.  Not that I would actually put one on my bed, I’m a grown woman, but it would be fun to own.  I would also consider purchasing a J.K. Simmons pillow case, cause he is one of my favorite actors and is superbly funny in the film as well.

It’s a great cast.  Jason Segel is perfect as that guy who doesn’t want to grow up, and might make lots of mistakes, but you find him endearing anyway.  Jon Favreau and Jamie Presley were hilarious as a couple.  I really loved Sarah Burns as Hailey, the hopelessly single best friend.  I read on IMDB that she started her career dressing up as Barney.  I’m glad she got a chance to show how funny she is.  Also I was excited to see Liz Cackowski (of “The Jeannie Tate Show“) on screen, even if for a brief amount of time.

LA Viewers: Go see it.  You’ll laugh and think about purchasing Paul Rudd pillow cases.

Translation for non-LA viewers:  Same goes for you.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Coraline

March 20, 2009

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves:


ALISON SAYS:

My head’s a very interesting place to be.  There’s unicorns, rainbows, ghosts, funny anecdotes, Angelina Jolie, rainbow sprinkle cookieland, wonderment, etc.  But Coraline’s world might be a tad cooler.  

I was lucky enough to live in a city where I could go see Coraline in 3-D and that was pretty amazing.  It is an experience.  It’s like taking a bath in imagination.  And then suddenly someone adds a big dash of crazy nightmares that might be a result of eating too much candy before bed.  

The movie is creepy, beautiful and spectacular, which shouldn’t come as a shock, since it was directed by Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas).  I loved being in that world and being along for the ride.  

LA Viewers: Go see it in 3-D.  

Translation for non-LA viewers: Same goes for you.  I don’t care if you live in a barn in the middle of nowhere.  

JESSICA SAYS:

Reason #482 for me to be annoyed by (the) Jonas Brothers:  I showed up at the theater all excited to see Coraline in 3-D.  The usher took our tickets and pointed us toward the right theater.  I asked where we get our 3-D glasses.  That’s when I was informed that, despite what was posted online, the movie theater decided to show Jonas Brothers:  the 3-D Concert Experience on the only 3-D screen at the theater.

After seeing the film, I now know that I really was cheated by not seeing Coraline in 3-D.  The animation in this film (for the most part, but I’ll get to that in a second) is spectacular. This style of stop-motion animation uses real materials, just on a very small scale.  Even without seeing it in 3-D, you can see the actual fibers that make up everything on screen.

Coraline is the story of a girl who moves to a new apartment in a strange house filled with odd neighbors.  The neighbors are so odd that, if you asked me, they all probably could benefit from some time in a comfortable mental facility.  She is ignored by her parents and thus, escapes into a fantasy world (or is it?).  Now I will be honest; I procrastinated writing this review for a long time and I still and not 100% certain what I think or want to say about Coraline.  I think it comes down to the fact that the visuals are so great that they sort of cover the fact that I didn’t find the story that engrossing.  The story is definitely supposed to be a parable, but about what, I’m not entirely sure.  Is the lesson parents who ignore you are better than seemingly perfect parents who want to take your eyeballs?  Is the lesson, even though reality can suck, it’s better than fantasy?  I guess my point is – what was the point?

My only negative comment on the animation side of the film happens toward the end.  As Coraline’s alternate reality starts to unravel…literally…things get bizarre.  I understand the effect they were going for, but the look of the animation as her fantasy world unravelled seemed so out of whack with the rest of the film.  Now a warning, I’m about to get a bit snarky, but…

Teri Hatcher voices Coraline’s mother.  You know how you can always see a little bit of the voice actor in the drawing of the character?  For instance, you can see Tom Hanks and Tim Allen in the way Woody and Buzz Lightyear look and move.  Well, I didn’t see any of Teri Hatcher in the original incarnation of Coraline’s mother.  That is, until things started to go pear-shaped in Coraline’s fantasy world and her mother morphed into a scary skeletal-looking woman and eventually became a spider.  The scarier the character was drawn the more she looked like the real Teri Hatcher.  I don’t entirely understand why that is.  I mean, yes, she is a bit on the scarily thin side of things, but I think Teri Hatcher is a lovely woman.  

Coraline as a whole is good, but not great.  The animation is fantastic, but they could take a few notes from Pixar on how to structure a cohesive story.  I’m going to say if you can see it in 3-D, do.  Otherwise wait for the DVD.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Sunshine Cleaning

March 19, 2009

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves:

JESSICA SAYS:

Are you starting to get a little depressed after suffering through an economic ‘downturn’ or ‘recession’ or ‘complete and total implosion’ or whatever you want to call it?  Sick of the malaise of winter (I know, I live in LA, but I remember what it’s like elsewhere) and ready for a little pick me up?  Well, have ‘the producers of Little Miss Sunshine’ got just the thing for you!  Sunshine Cleaning!  You know how Amazon will give you those, “If you like Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, then you’ll also like…The Hobbit?”  Well, the correlation between Sunshine Cleaning and Little Miss Sunshine is too great to ignore, so if you loved Little Miss Sunshine and you want to see the exact same movie again, then might I suggestSunshine Cleaning!

I’m not saying the fact that they are twins is necessarily bad.  I liked Little Miss Sunshine.  I was throughly entertained watching Sunshine Cleaning.  Alan Arkin plays exactly the same role in both films, but hey – it won him an Oscar the first time around, so why not give it another go?  I’m not sure there are two more charming actresses working these days than Amy Adams and Emily Blunt.  Plus, I adore Mary Lynn Rajskub.  She’s quirky, smart, and perfectly cast in her role here.  In someone else’s hands Rajskub’s character could have ended up a bit pathetic.  On a side note, I never really realized what a rockin’ little body Amy Adams has on her, but you see her in various stages of undress several times in this film and she manages to be even more adorable in a bra and panties than fully clothed.

In case you aren’t familiar with the plot, two down on their luck sisters decide to start a crime scene clean-up business.  However, they are a little short of the knowledge and required training certificates for such a job.  Chaos, hilarity, and emotional growth ensue.  I was impressed with what I felt was a pretty accurate portrayal of the remarkable relationship between sisters (and I have two of my own).  You love each other, you are annoyed by each other, but no one will ever understand you the same way that your sibling does.  It made me miss my sisters a little bit.

I recommend seeing Sunshine Cleaning in theaters.  I mean, we all need a little pick me up and if we all go out to the movies, it pumps cash back into the economy.  It’s a win-win!

ALISON SAYS:

I remember reading an article about people who ran a business cleaning up crime scenes and thinking that would make a good movie.  And it did.  Of course when you add Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin, it’s hard not to make something that’s going to be entertaining.

I’m so glad someone like Amy Adams made it to the top of the heap of the many, many actors in the world.  She’s always a delight and eternally charming and really good as Rose Lorkowski.  Of course she had another wonderful actress, Emily Blunt, to play off of.  These are two women who gained big careers out of small roles in previous films, and I can’t think of anyone who deserves it more.

Can we also talk about Clifton Collins Jr?  I’ve never been the type of girl to crush on a guy who makes model helicopters and has a long greasy ponytail, but Collins is amazing as Winston.  There’s a sweetness and quiet strength that just draws you in, despite the character’s ponytail.

I was super excited when I realized this film was written by a woman and directed by another woman.  Can I get a “what what” for girl power?  Okay, I realize I may lose both Jessica and a large percentage of my audience for that last sentence, but sometimes it’s okay to show enthusiasm in a nerdy, outdated manner, especially when it’s enthusiasm for female filmmakers.  As a whole, I enjoyed the film immensely.  I laughed a lot (along with the packed house at Arclight).  I even felt a tad choked up during one sad scene that I knew was coming (it was in the trailer), and was annoyed at myself for being so manipulated.

There were definitely some predictable plot points and character background that you could see coming from a mile away, but I was still glad I went to see it.

LA Viewers: Go check out a matinee at Arclight.

Translation for non-LA viewers: Yay for matinees and yay for movie theater popcorn!

Two Blondes Go To A Movie: Watchmen

March 10, 2009

Two Blondes (plus a guest “Blonde”) review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves:

We have something special for you folks today.  Today we have guest “Blonde,” Jim Campolongo, weighing in on Watchmen along with Alison and Jessica:

 

ALISON SAYS:

Jessica and I went to see Watchmen at the dome at Arclight Hollywood.  Before the movie started, Jessica turned to me and said: “I love movies.”  I agreed and we sat back contentedly (not sure if that’s a word) into our theater seats ready to watch a movie, even one that was 2 hours and 45 minutes long.

I had not read the comic book series before seeing this film. I didn’t have the same expectations that some of the diehard Watchmen fans might have.  All I really knew was what I had seen in the trailer and I heard there was going to be a lot of blue dong in the film.  I had warned Jessica that I might giggle when the naked blue man appeared on screen, but some semblance of maturity must have taken over, cause I watched the movie like a grown-up rather than the twelve-year-old girl who lives inside my heart.

I thought the film rocked.  My favorite part was the amazing opening sequence.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself for all 2 hours and 45 minutes of it.  I was blown away by the cinematography, the effects, the and by the sheer spectacle of it all.   There’s a part of me that wonders if I would have enjoyed watching this film as much as I did if I hadn’t seen it in a theater like the Arclight.  I’m not sure if it would have struck the same chord.  Despite my enjoyment, I don’t think every plot point would stand up under close scrutiny.  I wasn’t that into the ending, but was so happy to be watching a movie like this in a big, beautiful theater, that I didn’t care.  Also some of the music was a little heavy-handed, but once again I was still happy and thrilled to be along for the ride.

And now for some fun random trivia regarding the people who created Watchmen.  The director, Zack Snyder, turned down a chance to direct S.W.A.T., because it wouldn’t be rated R.  I gotta give the guy props for knowing what he wants to work in. The film 300 would not have been the same if he had been forced to make a PG-13 film out of it.  And one of the screenwriters, David Hayer, played a role on the show Major Dad.

LA Viewers: If you’re into violence and comic book movies, go see it at Arclight.

Translation for non-LA natives: It’s a really cool movie to see in the theaters, but it’s long, so don’t buy a large soda.

JESSICA SAYS:

I would like to start this review out with a warning to my mother:  Mom, this is not a movie for you.  You know how you don’t like any violence or sex in movies, much less gratuitous sex and violence?  Yeah, don’t see this.  It’s not your average PG-13 comic flick.  The costumes alone would make you blush.  I’m not even going to mention the full-frontal naked blue man because I’m sure Alison has.  She couldn’t stop talking about it before the film started.

I don’t know a whole lot about comics (or graphic novels).  Maybe that’s because I’m a girl, but I think I would probably enjoy them.  I was just never exposed.  I don’t know where you would have found comic books for sale in the tiny town I grew up in.  I sort of feel like there is a whole pop culture world out there of which I’m not a part, by not knowing comics.  So I guess what I’m saying is, don’t expect any, “It doesn’t match the glory of the comic,” kind of reviews from me.

I see most of the comic-based movies when they come out, and I must say, this is one of the better ones I’ve seen recently.  All of these heroes are dark, twisty, and above all flawed.  They are almost flawed to the point that it’s hard to root for any of them.  Almost.  I was pretty won over by Patrick Wilson’s Night Owl.    It didn’t hurt that he’s pretty, besides playing the lone nice guy.

Most of all, what won me over about this film was the visual look.  It somehow manages to be slick and gritty.  It was, in a nutshell, exciting.  It probably helped a little that Alison and I saw it in the Cinerama dome at the ArcLight in Hollywood.  For those of you who don’t live in LA, the Cinerama dome is awesome.  The experience there is how movies are made to be seen.  It feels like an event.  There are ushers who come out before the show to give a little talk that is half audience warm-up and half ‘please shut off your phone’ reminders.  The screen wraps completely around your field of vision.  The sound system is overpowering (almost a little too overpowering).

I recommend you go see this move, but only if you’re old enough that all the violence and sex in this movie can’t corrupt you any more than you have already been corrupted by rock-n-roll and cable TV.  You should try to see it in IMAX or the Cinerama.

JIM, OUR GUEST “BLONDE,” SAYS:

Before we get into this review I have to admit something: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a blonde. There was one misguided attempt in seventh grade to streak my hair, but even then, the hydrogen peroxide shaded my locks a less than lovely pumpkin-vomit orange, leaving no trace of blonde anywhere except maybe within the act itself.

I will say this, though — I, like any red-blooded American male, love blondes. In spades. And I thank Alison and Jessica for the honorary club membership. I’ve been waiting for this ever since I bought those Green Day and Offspring CDs in middle school.

So without further ado, let’s get to the reviewin’…

Like a good chunk of our moviegoing public, I too saw Watchmen this weekend. And I’m baffled by my reaction. Why? Because I’m a nerd.  Before we get all accusatory here on the interweb, trust me, I’ve got the nerd cred to prove it: I still hit the comic shop every Wednesday, own multiple Batman shirts, and did not see a girl naked in real life for several years longer than I care to admit. I’ve owned the graphic novel of Watchmen for over a decade now and revere it.

So imagine my surprise when I walked out the theater thinking the movie kinda sucked.

If I subtract my bias for the material, I’m left with a film that doesn’t engage me, plain and simple.  Despite a well done set piece or two, the story lacked a sense of pace. There was no rhythm. No forward momentum. For example, just as we get an interesting helping of plot progression, the movie would pause for ten minutes to tell us how the character of Dr. Manhattan came to be. Or how anti-hero Rorschach lost his moral compass when confronted with a panty sniffing pedophile. This kind of non-linear presentation may be structurally sound in the novel, but it sure as shit doesn’t work in this film. While non-linear storytelling can be well executed in cinema, Watchmen’s dense source material plays as though its been compressed in all the wrong parts. As an average viewer, the character moments feel tangential, while the story’s mystery crawls at a snail’s pace, leaving me indifferent to both. I’m watching this thing from the POV of a dude wanting to be stimulated, but I’m feeling every second of the near-three hour runtime instead. And not in a good way.

watchmen-scream-awardsPetty stuff like plot and character work aside, I also had massive problems with the music. Every song cue, from the opening Dylan track to the closing “Desolation Row” cover, felt so damn bush league. I’m still not over the crazy laughable sex scene set to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” (Note to the baked film school undergrad who compiled the soundtrack: I’ve seen more subtlety on Cinemax after dark.)

All right, all right…  So I’m ragging on the flick pretty hard. But I do think it’s warranted. Remember, I’m a nerd. When I add in my bias for the source material, I remember Watchmen is supposed to be a commentary on the comic book medium itself, demystifying the idea of the superhero and showing him as a possibly psychotic, flawed, and maybe less than average being.

So why does the movie treat us to delicately choreographed fight scenes in which our heroes emerge unscathed? Where they can perform daring feats of martial arts wire trickery set to amped techno music? In presenting these guys as bad-ass crime fighters, the film becomes the antithesis of the novel’s primary themes. Leaving the geek inside of me pissed enough to order more porn on my mom’s credit card, even though I know she’s gonna see the bill and ground me again.

I guess I can only blame one person for this inevitable exile: director Zack Snyder. To be fair, I’ve never been a huge fan of the guy.  His Dawn of the Dead remake lost a lot of steam after the first ten minutes, and his follow-up 300 played like a vapid Lexus commercial for guys who won’t admit they subscribe to the Here! network. Snyder’s perception of cinematic cool has never been cerebral.  It’s always been sex, violence, and rock and roll. Which may explain why the only thing he brings to this film is excess; excess in gore, violence, and even misogyny. The attempted rape of Silk Specter, for example, is far more brutal in the movie than the novel (check out the panels if you don’t believe me). It’s unnerving to me that this is where the filmmaker decides to step in and expand upon the source material.

Truth be told, the only thing I can’t accuse Zack Snyder of is being insincere. I truly believe the guy set out to make the most faithful adaptation of Watchmen possible. I just don’t think he understood a damn word of it.

And there you have it, a nerdy non-blonde’s review of moving picture. If you liked it, hurrah. If you hated it, blame Alison and Jessica.

Two Blondes Ask: Why Didn’t You See Jonas Brothers in 3-D?

March 8, 2009

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: He’s Just Not That into You

March 4, 2009

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves:

JESSICA SAYS:

I was apprehensive about seeing this movie. You see, I like (well OK, more like love) romantic comedies. The problem is 80% of them aren’t even tolerable. I have paid good money to be bored to tears numerous times watching Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaghey’s chemistry fizzle in stories whose plots stretch the limits of logic. For every Bridget Jones’s Diary, there are 12 Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reasons. It’s just that when things go right, you get repaid with a classic like When Harry Met Sally (on my all-time top five movie list). When I saw the previews for He’s Just Not That into You, I had hopes for it to rival Love Actually, but fears it might end up like…well any Jennifer Lopez rom-com. It ends up landing somewhere in between.

Before I go any further on this specific movie, I want to take a moment to defend the romantic comedy. Are they predictable? Yes. Formulaic? Certainly. Completely unrealistic? Absolutely. However, they are no more predictable, formulaic, and unrealistic than action, horror, sci-fi, or any other genre films. My fear is that romantic comedies get such a bad wrap because they are ‘women’s’ movies and therefore deemed somehow less relevant in the grand pop culture scheme than say, the latest comic book adaptation. Is it asking too much, as an audience member, to wish that Hollywood would be willing to invest in more charming, smart, funny love stories and that those stories could actually be relevant and meaningful? Yes? Damn, because I and a lot of my friends would go see such a movie. To quote Pretty Woman, “I have all this money *sob* and nobody *sob* will help me.” OK, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Surprising things about He’s Just Not That into You:

1.) Ben Affleck was charming and I even forgot I was watching Ben Affleck at times.

2.) I identified most with a male character (I’ll let you guess which one). This caused a teensy bit of what’s-wrong-with-me self-examination, but then I ate some ice cream from the container, sang ABBA into a hairbrush with my girlfriends while trying on different outfits, and forgot all about it.

3.) Other audience members are dumber than I think they are. There is a moment when it is officially revealed that Bradley Cooper’s and Jennifer Connelly’s characters are married to each other. This fact was obvious to me within the first few minutes of the film. The woman next to me audibly gasped when it was officially confirmed at least an hour later.

In short, if you like romantic comedies, rent this one or go to a matinee. It’s entertaining enough for a Sunday afternoon. Also, Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote an interesting piece on chick flicks for Entertainment Weekly, check it out.

ALISON SAYS:

I’m the kind of girl who chooses to go see a movie like Taken on Valentine’s Day, the kind of girl who owns and repeatedly watches the Die Hard movies.  I’m not a romantic comedy gal.  But I agreed to go see He’s Just Not That Into You.   I had seen previews and was super annoyed by the scene where Drew Barrymore says, “He MySpaced me.”  My reaction: “Did I just teleport back to 2005 when MySpace was relevant?”  It seems crazy to me that studio executives couldn’t update that line for the release (Ever heard of Facebook?).  Despite that,  I’ll admit I was actually pretty charmed by the movie and laughed out loud numerous times.  It was a more realistic, modern take on love than I expected.

My favorite part was Ginnifer Goodwin.  I already had immense respect for her, because of her work on Big Love, but now I absolutely adore her.  She was charming, vulnerable and incredibly funny.  I also thought Jennifer Aniston was great.  Despite it being a rather fluffy film, Aniston’s performance showed some depth and emotional range that I hadn’t seen from her since The Good Girl.  I’m a huge fan of Jennifer Connelly.  I thought she was incredible in Requiem for a Dream, but her dramatic skills felt constrained in a movie like this.  For lack of a better metaphor, it felt like a bull in a china shop.

Justin Long was charming and funny, but he’s just still not my type as a leading man.  Watching him kiss Ginnifer Goodwin was one of the most awkward, chemistry-lacking kisses I’ve seen, even worse than some I witnessed at a 5th grade roller skating party.  In regards to Kevin Connolly…. eh.  He’s not a terrible actor, but he’s just not who I care about winning the girl.  Ben Affleck was actually pretty darn good, in an understated way.  SPOILER ALERT: But I was really disappointed when his character proposed at the end to Jennifer Aniston.  I had been really moved by what he had to say about love and not needing the label of marriage and Aniston’s character realizing he was already more of a husband than her sisters’ ever would be.  But I think I’m in the minority with being miffed over that plot point, since all the women in the audience “ooh’d” and “ahhh’d” when Aniston found the ring.

Speaking of audience reactions… Scarlett Johansson plays a young, beautiful, carefree girl.  And she is damn hot (though someone should talk to her about bad hair extensions).  In one scene, where Connelly’s husband (played by Bradley Cooper) grabs Miss Johanson’s magnificent bosom, a guy sitting next to me in the movie theater actually yelled out, “Oh!”  I guess he was excited.  My point is, there’s something in this movie for both the girls and the guys.

My mom also saw this film.  She did not really enjoy it.  Here’s what she had to say: “I wouldn’t waste the money going, but I already did.”

LA Viewers: A matinee at the Grove or Landmark with girlfriends is recommended.  But maybe leave your mom at home.

Translation for non-LA natives: If you’re suffering from the recession, wait for the DVD.  But if you’re suffering from not enough girl time or want to be charmed by Ginnifer Goodwin, go catch a matinee.

Two Blondes Ask: Who Had the Best Oscar Dress?

February 26, 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Two Blondes Go To a Movie: The Reader

February 24, 2009

Two Blondes review a movie and ramble a lot about themselves:

thereader_poster061

ALISON SAYS:

I really related to the The Reader, because Jessica and I often read our blogs out loud to one another, while playing with each other’s hair and one of us carries a terrible secret that will cause the other great pain and intimacy issues.

300thereaderkrosswinsletlc1211081All joking aside, I thought this film was fantastic. Sure, I had trouble sympathizing with Hannah Schmitz, a woman who chose duty over human life. But she was one of the most complex characters I’ve encountered on film. And she was brought to life by the amazing Kate Winslet, who deserves every accolade and naked, golden man to come her way. I also was equally impressed with David Kross, who was barely eighteen when they shot the film. He held his own while sharing the screen with one of the world’s most famous actresses. And made me believe his story as he evolved from naive innocence to a man burdened by betrayal.

Here’s what we’ve also learned from this film and the Oscar winners: Stephen Daldry + talented actress + special effects makeup = Oscar (Please see either The Reader or The Hours as examples.)

I read that Daldry will be directing The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. This was one of my favorite books of the last ten years, so I’m both excited and nervous to see what he does with it. If you haven’t read it, please run out and get it right away.

LA Viewers: Hurry to Sunset 5 and go see this film.

Translation for non LA-viewers: Go see it. And be prepared for a lot of nudity and top-notch acting.

JESSICA SAYS:

This may sound dense, but I didn’t really think The Reader was going to be about reading. I know, it’s right there in the title, but I just didn’t give it much thought. I just assumed it was about a Nazi SS officer and probably sex, since Kate Winslet was supposed to be naked for a large part of the film. I must admit, I was quite pleased when I realized it really was about the joy/power/sexiness of reading. I love being read to, which I’m sure is true for a lot of people. However, I also love reading to someone. I like to put on voices for the characters and give my own interpretation, but don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no designs on ever acting. I just like to give the occasional dramatic interpretation for an audience of one or two. Unfortunately, after somewhere around the age of 12 (junior high), people think it’s weird if you want to read to them. Well, most people. My sister and I have logged hours on beaches or in bed at Mom’s or Dad’s house with me reading to her (until she falls asleep). I was particularly proud of my Bridget Jones’s Diary reading I gave at Myrtle Beach some years ago. You should try it. It’s fun.

Kate Winslet is splendid, as always. I’ve never seen a performance of hers that I did not enjoy…and that includes The Holiday (not a great film, but she’s lovely). She is so completely raw and daring; totally deserving of her Oscar and Golden Globe win. However, she won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress and this is clearly a lead actress role. I understand that by putting her in the supporting category, she wasn’t competing against herself for Revolutionary Road, but it just seems weird to call this role ‘supporting.’

I am very thankful I can read, especially after seeing The Reader. That’s the main thought I came away with at the end of the movie. You see, Hanna Schmitz (Winslet) is illiterate and the big question of the film is does this excuse not only being complicit, but directly involved in one of the most tragic and horrifying events in history. I felt like the implied answer by the end of the film was yes and that bothers me. Well, OK, perhaps the statement made was closer to saying the fact that she teaches herself to read in prison somehow makes up for allowing innocent people to be murdered.  I think instinctually, even if you had never seen a book in your life, a (sane, adult) human knows it’s wrong to kill another person. The fact that there was some sort of redemption for a Nazi in this story was hard for me to swallow.

After you see this movie, I want you to think about Ricky Gervais’ quip at the Golden Globes about Holocaust films garnering automatic acclaim and see if there isn’t the ring of truth there. Kate Winslet is splendid. The Reader is…OK. I recommend waiting until it comes out on video.

Two Blondes Watch Their TiVo: The 81st Annual Academy Awards

February 23, 2009

Two Blondes watch their TiVo and mostly ramble about themselves:

ALISON SAYS:

THE PRE-SHOW

I watched a lot of the Oscar pre-show on E! and I mean A LOT.  I am pretty sure I’ve lowered my IQ by many points, but at least now I know that Anne Hathaway loves sushi and that puppies look really cute in little workout outfits.

I did find it amusing when Ben Lyons had a fake sword fight with several actors from Role Models and Ken Jeong wouldn’t quit hitting Ben and Ben yelled out “I don’t have health insurance.”  Later Ben assured his mother (on the air) that he was kidding and does have health insurance and not to worry.

Why is Debbie Matenopoulus orange?  I’m worried she’s not taking the right vitamins.

Was anyone else super creeped out by E!’s digital switching of actresses’ heads during the pre-show?

56827706I don’t want to make fun of Philip Seymour Hoffman.  He’s amazingly talented and why should he give a darn as to how he looks?  The thing is, he wore a knit cap to the Oscars.  A knit cap.  The kind I’d wear to Ralph’s along with sweatpants and a soup-stained flannel.

THE OSCARS

I’m a fan of Hugh Jackman’s.  The man is sexy, talented and kicks ass playing Wolverine.  But I didn’t think a guy that good looking could be funny as well.  I was wrong.  He was great and his opening number made me laugh.  I have also gained a newfound respect and appreciation for Anne Hathaway after her “musical interpretation” of Nixon.

Tina Fey & Steve Martin as presenters = hilarious to the point of almost snorting Coke through one’s nose (Coke as in Coca Cola, not the kind typically associated with Hollywood).  Tina Fey looked stunning, proving once again that life is not fair if one woman can be that talented, successful, funny, and still look that hot.
Even though I may have wanted WALL-E to win for Best Original Screenplay, it did make my heart warm to watch the talented Dustin Lance Black make his acceptance speech.  Usually it takes a happy, curious robot to make me tear up, but Dustin’s heartfelt words really moved me.  Jessica was also looking for a tissue to dab at her eyes.

I read an interesting quote from Simon Beaufoy who won for Best Adapted Screenplay for Slumdog Millionaire.  The screenwriter said of his goal for the script: “I wanted to get (across) the sense of this huge amount of fun, laughter, chat, and sense of community that is in these slums. What you pick up on is this mass of energy.”  I think he accomplished that goal with his script.

large_wall-eWALL-E won for Animated Feature Film!!!  Yay!!!  If you noticed a blonde woman hooting and hollering a couple blocks away from the actual Oscar ceremony, that was me.  I love, love, love this film and love, love, love Andrew Stanton and Pixar for making it.

Ben Stiller’s Joaquin Phoenix impression cracked me up.  I’m not sure if all of America was in on the joke or not, but Jessica and I were amused.  After it, my mom called during a commercial break to ask if I agreed with her that this was a bad Oscars show.  She felt liked everyone didn’t know what they were doing. I disagreed, but also explained a live show will always have glitches and that the crazy behavior in the last segment had been part of the act.

3303212977_dc2d582494-1I have not laughed out loud so much as I did during James Franco and Seth Rogen’s video segment.  Those two dudes are funny.  Though who really stole the show was cinematographer Janusz Kaminski with the line, “They made me do it, Mr. Spielberg.”

Okay, it wasn’t actually part of the Oscars, but it ran during them… the Tim Gunn Tide commercial.  Only Tim Gunn could make a laundry detergent ad classy.  Tim Gunn, you rock.

Danny Boyle’s Tigger jump during the acceptance of his Oscar was adorable.  He seems like a genuinely nice guy.  I’m happy he won, but I still wish Darren Aronofsky had at least been recognized for his work on The Wrestler.

Heath Ledger won the Oscar he deserved.  Jessica pulls out more tissues to dab at teary eyes as his family accepts the award on his behalf.

Kate Winslet wins.  I am very happy about this one.  I really respect this woman’s choices as an actress.  As for some of her male fans, they’ve gotta be worried that now that she’s won an Oscar, will she stop being nude in her movies?

hatersDuring his acceptance speech, Sean Penn mentioned some hate groups who had been protesting outside the Oscars.  Jessica and I actually ran into these people on Sunset Blvd.  As you might have guessed, they were weird and full of hate.  One woman was wearing an American flag as a sarong.  These haters had so many different signs with so many different messages, I found it confusing as to who they were wanting us to hate.  One person was holding a sign with a picture of Obama with horns, like he was half dragon.  I’m not sure if that’s meant to be insulting, but all I can say is it would be freaking awesome if we had a half man/half dragon for president.  No other country would ever want to f*ck with us, if they knew we could send a fire-breathing politican their way.

ph2009022300172It’s really amazing to watch a movie like Slumdog Millionaire take the world and the Oscars by storm.  And you could see this level of excitement and passion in the eyes of everyone who worked on the film.

JESSICA SAYS:

I’m mostly confused by E!’s coverage.  For instance, a cooking segment in evening gowns?  I don’t know who the woman leading this segment is, but she is wearing gold lamé, for God’s sake.

Marnie Norton, who is apparently a handbag designer, has turned the pre-show on E! into QVC.  She even did some Vanna White-inspired hand gestures.  Is this really the best coverage they could come up with for Oscar day?

Sal Maseka has recently retired from some sort of factory job; that’s just my assumption after seeing the giant gold watch he’s sporting.

Debbie Matenopoulos just said she is ‘scared’ of using blue or green eye makeup because she has brown eyes.  Scared?  What is she talking about?

Miley Cyrus is lobbying to be nominated for an Oscar next year.  Yes, I just said Miley Cyrus.  I know.  It seems ridiculous to me too.  I have no idea what this movie she’s talking about, but I will eat my hat if Miley Cyrus is nominated next year.

Now for a brief bit of comments on fashion:

Tim Gunn, I adore you.  You are the classy, sophisticated gay uncle I never had.  I also completely agree with something I heard you say on Good Morning America this week – your review of a dress depends on who is wearing it.  You gave the example of Tilda Swinton last year in the black velvet number.  You are totally right.  She is bohemian, so it is totally fitting that she wore an unusual dress.  She did it again this year, and I liked how she looked.  I don’t think everyone has to wear a jewel-toned dress with diamond drop earrings to look beautiful.

I loved Anne Hathaway’s dress.  Mr. Jay (America’s Next Top Model guru) instructed us on what we’re supposed to call those discs sewn on her dress and I’ve already forgotten.

I feel like a lot of people are going to hate-on Marisa Tomei’s dress for looking like napkins, but I really liked it.

Oh Miley.  She said the dress she’s wearing was the first dress she saw.  Miley, dear, you should have kept looking.  It reminds me a foil Christmas tree my grandma has.

Kate Winslet looks beautiful, as I had hoped.  Her hair is a bit pageant-y, but I still like it.

OSCAR CEREMONY

Opening number:  OK, I kind of find Hugh Jackman a little more adorable now (who knew that was possible).  And Anne Hathaway.  She and I should totally be friends.

I like the idea of having previous winners come out to give special little shout-outs to the five nominees, but this is going to be a really, really long show if they do this for every category and I’m not sure I really care to see five previous sound mixing winners (no offense guys).

Best Supporting Actress:  Penelope Cruz wins, not entirely surprising.  She was cute in her acceptance speech.  I still haven’t seen Vicky Cristina Barcelona, so I can’t really comment any more than that.

I LOVE TINA FEY.  I truly do.  She looks so pretty tonight.  Pretty, funny, smart; Tina, call me!  Let’s hang out, eat sandwiches, and play Rock Band.

Best original screenplay:  Milk.  That was a nice acceptance speech, but it will totally piss off those angry hate people Alison and I saw on the corner of Sunset and Highland.  Good for you!  I’m not even sure what they were protesting.  Something about fetuses, Barack Obama having horns like a ram, and saying the people who lost their homes in the recent fires deserved it.  God bless freedom of speech.

Best adapted screenplay:  Slumdog Millionaire.  I was a bit surprised here.  I expect it will take home the big prize, but the writing wasn’t necessarily one of the reasons I enjoyed Slumdog.

Best animated feature:  WALL-E.  I’m glad this won because it would have not been an enjoyable night with Alison, if it didn’t.  There would have been tears.  Copious tears.  She’s kind of obsessed.

Best animated short:  OK, Sir-I-don’t-know, just speak Japanese if you can’t speak English. Oh wait; you redeemed yourself by saying, “Domo arigato Mr. Roboto.” Styx totally rules!

sarah-jessica-parker-2009-oscarsSarah Jessica Parker can’t walk in her dress.  That seems silly to me.  I know fashion isn’t always practical, but she is struggling to walk the few steps from backstage to the podium.

Art direction and costumes are cool and integral to making a film excellent, but SNORE.  Those acceptances speeches are boring!

Another win for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  This is almost as boring as watching The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Ben Stiller as Joaquin Phoenix was pretty funny, but I imagine there are going to be a lot of people watching this show that will have no idea what that was about.  It you were confused, check out this clip from Late Night with David Letterman:


Cinematography had to go to Slumdog Millionaire.  If you saw that movie, you would know that there is no way any other movie could have won.  Cinematography made that film.

One of the funnier moments of the night so far came from watching James Franco watch himself kiss Sean Penn.

OK, I love musicals.  I really love them, but I didn’t love the ode to musicals.  I was also kind of annoyed at how obvious it was that Beyonce was singing to a pre-recorded dub.

Heath Ledger won.  I knew that would make me cry…and it did.

I like the sparkle curtain.  I don’t like the ceiling lights with tassels.  It feels a bit too much like a cocktail lounge.

The cast of Slumdog Millionaire and Danny Boyle are pretty adorable every time someone wins from their movie.

I’m very pleased Kate Winslet won, as I had hoped and predicted.  I still haven’t had a chance to see Milk, but I was amused the Sean Penn acknowledged how difficult it is to support him at times.  It is, Sean.  For instance, when you couldn’t take Chris Rock’s joke about Jude Law.  I’m glad you showed tonight that you can actually laugh.

Slumdog Millionaire takes home the big prize to little surprise.  I enjoyed the parts of the show with Hugh Jackman, but the middle of the show really dragged and this is coming from someone who is a bit of a film nerd.

And now we leave you with a picture of traffic during the Oscars.

oscar-traffic

Happy Oscar Day!

February 22, 2009

OSCARS PREP

Two Blondes Make Predictions: The Oscars

February 21, 2009

Two Blondes shake their glittery Magic 8 Ball and make some predictions about the Oscars:

ALISON SAYS:

pixar_walle1BEST PICTURE:
Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: WALL-E
I can’t describe how much I love WALL-E.  It’s one of the only films in my life to make me cry (my heart is normally protected by a hard stone cover).  I’ve never seen a character as loving, fragile and as wonderful as that goshdarn little robot.  I’m sure admitting this publicly will take away what little “street cred” I have (if any), but I can’t refrain from gushing over WALL-E.  Even my cell phone has a ring that involves that little robot yelling out “EVE-A.”

DIRECTING:
Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: The Wrestler, but Darren Aronofsky isn’t even nominated.
Dear Academy,
WTF?
Alison

frozen_river_melissa_leoACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE:
Who I think will win: Kate Winslet
Who I want to win: If you’d asked me five days ago, (before I received Frozen River on Netflix), I would have called it a tie between Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet.  But now after having watched Frozen River, I’ve gotta put the tie between Melissa Leo and Kate Winslet.  I’d also go so far as to call Melissa Leo’s performance almost as raw and gritty as Mickey Rourke’s (of course the films couldn’t be more different, but there’s something to both performances that struck a nerve with me and exhibited a lack of vanity).

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Who I think will win: Marisa Tomei.  And I hope she says “See?!  It wasn’t a fluke.”
Who I want to win: Marisa Tomei, followed closely by Viola Davis.  Both women blew me away.

wrestler-aronofsky-promo-01ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE:
Who I think will win: Toss up between Frank Langella and Mickey Rourke.
Who I want to win: Mickey Rourke.  He’s fucking amazing in The Wrestler.
Mom, I’m sorry to swear, but it’s the truth.
I also wish there was a “Shout Out Best Actor” Oscar category that could be given to Ben Burtt for creating the voice and sounds for WALL-E.

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
Who I think will win: Heath Ledger
Who I want to win: Tie between Heath Ledger and Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
Both were stunning performances.  An honorable mention for funny must be given to Robert Downey Jr. for Tropic Thunder.  I can’t imagine any other actor pulling off what he did in that film.  I don’t think that means he should get an Oscar over the other nominees, but I’m sure glad he’s being recognized.

WRITING (ADAPTED SCREENPLAY):
Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: Doubt
I loved Slumdog Millionaire, but I think I loved it because it moves you while you’re watching it.  Afterwards, after the music and lights have faded, you wonder about some holes in the script and story, but it was still a film that made you sad and happy and in between throughout, so you forgive those flaws.  But in regards to Doubt, it performs on every level.  I can’t think of any weakness in it.  The script is pitch perfect.

walle_lgWRITING (ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY):
Who I think will win: Milk
Who I want to win: WALL-E.
Have I mentioned I love WALL-E?  Cause I do.  As I type this, I can look to my left and see a little WALL-E figurine sitting on my desk.  And every time I look at it, my heart swells.

ANIMATED FEATURE FILM:
Who I think will win: I’m really not sure, but Kung Fu Panda did sweep the Annie Awards.
Who I want to win: WALL-E.
You may have noticed a theme of me loving WALL-E.  On a sidenote, I do think Kung Fu Panda is wonderful and one of the best films DreamWorks has made.  I also find it really exciting how many animated films there are that are entertaining for audiences of all ages.

ART DIRECTION:
Who I think will win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button or Changeling
Who I want to win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button or Changeling

slum-dog-millionaireCINEMATOGRAPHY:
Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: Slumdog Millionaire
Every nominee should get a gold star in my humble but accurate opinion.  They’re all beautiful films.

COSTUME DESIGN:
Who I think will win: No idea.
Who I want to win: I’m not sure who I want to win, but I really want all of the dresses Kate Winslet wears in Revolutionary Road and all the hats Angelina Jolie wears in Changeling.  Can someone please arrange that for me?  I’d be your best friend forever!

FILM EDITING:
Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: The Dark Knight

MUSIC:
Who I think will win: Slumdog Millionaire
Who I want to win: WALL-E
While I loved the music in Slumdog Millionaire and have downloaded the album on iTunes, it’s the music in WALL-E that moved me and continues to move with every viewing in a way I’ve never experienced on any other film.  As I’ve said, I love that little robot.

SOUND EDITING:
Who I think will win: WALL-E
Who I want to win: WALL-E

SOUND MIXING:
Who I think will win: WALL-E
Who I want to win: WALL-E

benjamin_button_poster_lgVISUAL EFFECTS:
Who I think will win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Who I want to win: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and WALL-E
No matter whether you’re a Benjamin Button lover or hater, you can’t deny what the visual effects department accomplished in the film.  Visually, the film is a masterpiece, as is WALL-E.

*You may have noticed that there were quite a few ties in my choices.  I obviously suffer from indecision and an intense love of good filmmaking.  Also, it’s really hard to decide when you’re aware of how much work, blood, sweat and tears went into every film.

Congratulations and best wishes to all the nominees!
XXOO Alison

JESSICA SAYS:

BEST ACTOR:
My pick, were I an Academy member, would be Mickey Rourke and I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t win.  I haven’t seen The Visitor or Milk yet, so I can’t speak to Sean Penn’s and Richard Jenkins’ performances.  Running a close second here is Frank Langella.  If anyone can step in front of Rourke, it’s Frank Langella as Richard Nixon.  He is fantastic and already has a Tony for this role.  However, I’m giving the upper hand to Rourke because, besides the fact that he gave an outstanding performance, there is nothing folks like more than an underdog.

heath_ledger_joker_9BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:
OK, I recently changed my mind on this one.  I think Heath Ledger will win – it’s almost absolute at this point.  He was a great actor and it truly is a shame we won’t get to see any future work from him.  He was great in The Dark Knight.  However, I’ve decided my vote (if I got one) in this category would go to Philip Seymour Hoffman.  The more I have reflected on it, the more I really am astounded by his performance in Doubt. ( I haven’t seen Milk or Tropic Thunder.)

kate-winslet-the-reader-3BEST ACTRESS
Kate Winslet.  My reason is the same as everyone else’s (I presume).  She is great in The Reader, but I’m also picking her for all those times she hasn’t won yet.  Plus, she’s totally awesome and will give a killer acceptance speech.  I totally respect the fact that she makes no bones about wanting to win.  You should want to win. ( I haven’t seen Frozen River.)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
This is the category that is notoriously hard to pick, e.g. the last time Marisa Tomei won.  Personally, I would vote for Amy Adams in Doubt, although I loved Viola Davis and Marisa Tomei too.
BEST DIRECTOR:
Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire.  It is rare that Best Picture and Best Director don’t go hand and hand, so…

slumdog_millionaireBEST PICTURE:
Slumdog Millionaire.  It will win, but Frost/Nixon is deserving as well.

OTHER CATEGORY PREDICTIONS:
Best Editing – Frost/Nixon
Best Foreign Language Film – Waltz with Bashir
Best Sound Editing – WALL-E (watch the DVD extras-they’re great)
Best Sound Mixing – The Dark Knight
Best Adapted Screenplay – Doubt
Best Original Screenplay – WALL-E

oscar_sallykirkland1

OTHER PREDICTIONS:
I predict Sally Kirkland and Faye Dunaway will inexplicably be in attendance.  They have both been at the previous two ceremonies and have served to only make me fear the ageing process that much more. I can only hope they reappear so I can read what Go Fug Yourself has to say about an ensemble like this:

I predict Renee Zellweger, if she attends, will usurp Jessica Simpson and Lindsay Lohan as the new most talked about weight issue.

Two Blondes Ask: At the Oscars, host Hugh Jackman will _________.

February 19, 2009


Two Blondes Ask: Who do you think will win Best Picture?

February 18, 2009

Two Blondes Ask: Who do you want to win Best Picture?

February 18, 2009


 


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