Archive for the ‘Films’ Category

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.

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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.

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.