Posts Tagged ‘alison flierl’

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: 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: 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: 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 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.