Archive for the ‘Movie Reviews’ Category

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!

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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: (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: 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.