Archive for the ‘Guest Blondes’ Category

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.

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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: 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 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.