Posts Tagged ‘blond’

Two Blondes Go To A Movie: Changeling

October 25, 2008

Two Blondes review a movie and ramble about themselves:

JESSICA SAYS:

WARNING:  This film is TWO HOURS AND TWENTY ONE MINUTES LONG.  That is a really long time to sit without fidgeting too much.  I’m always afraid I annoy the people who sit next to me in movie theaters because I fidget.  It’s just not comfortable to sit that long.

In case you hadn’t yet noticed, Angelina Jolie is beautiful.  I mean truly, truly beautiful.  She owes the DP and editor a cut of her salary.  Throughout the entire film she was lit to highlight just how stunning her face is.  Sometimes the focus was the color of her eyes, sometimes those amazing lips.  We get it, she’s beau-ti-ful.  You could have cut out at least 30 minutes of the film if you just spent less time admiring how pretty she is.

For a quick synopsis, Changeling is the true story of a single mother, Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie), who loses her child in 1928 Los Angeles.  In her efforts to find her son, she is forced to deal with the corrupt and incompetent LAPD.  The police tell her they have found her son.  When the two are reunited, Mrs. Collins realizes the boy they found is not her son.

Mrs. Collins’ struggle against the LAPD pits her against Captain JJ Jones (Jeffrey Donovan).  I never really thought about the fact that Irish-Americans in the 1920s would have still sounded pretty Irish.  Captain Jones had quite a brogue in the scenes where he was agitated (which were most of his scenes).

At one point, the police have Mrs. Collins committed to a state mental facility.  The phenomenal Amy Ryan plays another mental patient Mrs. Collins befriends in the institution.  I have yet to see Amy Ryan’s nominated performance in Gone Baby Gone, but I have completely fallen in love with her as the new HR manager on The Office.

I felt like the movie had ended, looked at my watch, and realized there was still going to be another forty minutes of admiring how beautiful Angelina Jolie is.  Actually, those last forty minutes felt more like an episode of Law & Order:  SVU, 1928.  The movie took an odd plot turn and began to reveal what actually happened to Mrs. Collins’ son.  Adding to the SVU vibe was character actor, Denis O’Hare, as Dr. Jonathan Steele.  O’Hare is one of those actors that you’ve seen in a million things, but never remember.  For instance, he has been in Charlie Wilson’s War, Law & Order (original, SVU, and CI) Brothers & Sisters, CSI, Michael Clayton, Garden State, A Mighty Heart, 21 Grams, and Half Nelson.

My overall opinion of this movie was…it was OK.  Too long, sometimes too melodramatic, too many subplots, etc., but good performances with a good director.  I recommend seeing this on a Sunday afternoon, but make sure you’ve blocked out the rest of the day on your schedule.

Overall, I still think Clint Eastwood is a master director.  However, this is not his best work.  Mystic River is better.

P.S.  I can recommend a much more entertaining story about a missing child set in the past.  This American Life, the NPR radio program, aired the story of Bobby Dunbar in episode 352:  “The Ghost of Bobby Dunbar” on March 14, 2008.  Along the same lines of Changeling, the police bring a boy back to the Dunbars claiming it’s Bobby, but the parents don’t believe them.  Check it out at http://www.thisamericanlife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=352.

ALISON SAYS:

I’ve never wanted to be a hat person more than after I finished watching Angelina Jolie’s new movie Changeling.  I don’t usually sound like such a girl, but Angelina’s hats and clothes were absolutely gorgeous.  It made me think I was born during the wrong era, but then again I’m the kind of person who spills everything everywhere, so such beautiful, detailed clothing might have become an issue.

Jessica and I went to see this movie at the Arclight.  Before it started, one of the adorable little ushers announced that the movie was two and a half hours long.  The entire audience groaned.  Don’t get me wrong, the movie is amazing, as long as you’re okay with thinking it’s ending on four separate occasions and still having to continue watching for another forty minutes past that.  It’s long.  The directing and acting is superb.  On all levels, it’s a gorgeous, moving, well-made film.  You will be stunned by how beautiful the lighting and Angelina are.  You’ll realize how important a good director is when you see the performances of everyone in the cast.  Yet, there’s still something…

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who is well traveled, intelligent, interesting and completely aware of themselves as a well traveled, intelligent, interesting person?  And while you enjoyed listening to their stories, you felt like maybe they enjoyed hearing themselves talk a little bit too much?  There’s a similar feeling in watching this movie.  The film is a little too in love with itself and its star.  But then again, you can’t really blame it.  First off, you have Clint Eastwood directing.  He is the one of the most talented men on the earth, not to mention he’s aging really well.  Then there’s the lovely, hauntingly beautiful Angelina Jolie. It’s definitely one of Angelina’s best performances and I am a huge fan of hers.  During crying scenes, she’s able to create a quiver in her chin to show she’s on the verge of tears.  It almost seems like CGI, because how is someone able to make her chin quiver on cue?  It’s an awesome skill and a perfectly understated way to show the character’s tremendous undercurrent of emotion.  So it’s easy to see why this movie would be a little too in love with itself and then decide that it’s deserved the right to go on for two and a half hours, but for me, it just left me with restless butt syndrome by the end.  And some of the ending(s) got a bit heavy-handed for me.  But I would still watch it again, just to live in that world again and to have the pleasure of watching what awesome talent can create even when there may be too much talent going around.

LA Viewers: Worth paying matinee price at the Grove or Arclight, but just keep in mind you’ll be sitting for a while.

Translation for non-LA viewers: Go see a matinee.

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Two Blondes Eat Some Food: Kiss My Bundt

October 25, 2008

Two Blondes eat some food and tell you what they think:

Jessica says:

Alison and I tried a new bakery in Midcity last weekend, Kiss My Bundt. If you couldn’t figure it out from the name (and if you can’t, I’d imagine you are the type of person who has a hard time telling what direction West Hollywood is, in relation to Hollywood), they specialize in bundt cakes.

Kiss My Bundt is like most of the cupcake specialty bakeries that have popped up around LA in the last couple of years. Their cakes come in sizes ranging from the Mini Bundts, Baby Bundts, to the Big Ol’ Bundts. There are a couple of benefits the bundts have over cupcakes. First, the Mini Bundts are smaller than your average cupcake, so you don’t have to feel as guilty when you just want a little something sweet. Second, the icing to cake ratio is closer in bundts than the bakery cupcakes that usually seem to be 1/3 cake to 2/3 icing. Most importantly, ‘bundt’ is a really fun word to say.

Alison says:

Kiss My Bundt is a new bakery on 3rd street near The Grove. From it’s brown and pink color scheme to its pink couch to the kissing lips stickers on the bags, every detail is sweet and cute. Quote from their website:

“Kiss My Bundt is a specialty, made-from-scratch cake company created
out of a love of baking and bundt cakes.”

The girl who served us was helpful and nice. I tried the red velvet cakes and was very happy I did. I think Kiss My Bundt has the best red velvet cake in all of Los Angeles. It’s rich but somehow not heavy at the same time.

My review: Adorable and delicious!

Two Blondes Go To A Movie: The Secret Life of Bees

October 20, 2008

Two Blondes review a movie and ramble about themselves:

ALISON SAYS:

This might be one of the first movies I’ve reviewed that both my mom and I would enjoy together. Most movies I like she would refer to as “different,” which means she didn’t get it or enjoy it. But I think she would love this film.

I had read the book The Secret Life of Bees a few years back and really enjoyed it, thus I had my misgivings about seeing the movie, as I’ve found movie adaptations usually don’t live up to the book (see all Harry Potter movies for examples). But I am here to say Gina Prince-Bythewood did a masterful and moving job with this film. She should be applauded for the performances she brought forth from her cast.

Dakota Fanning was amazing. Most of us already knew she has acting chops from her many performances as a kid. And this film proves she’s still got it and then some. Not to mention she’s absolutely stunning. Maybe I missed a few of her films and thus some of her awkward phases, but to me it seems like she went straight from cute to beautiful.

The rest of the cast was equally as compelling. What a powerhouse of talent. Actually, to be completely honest, Queen Latifah seemed to be phoning in the wise, warm-hearted maternal figure a little bit, but I feel bad saying that because I think she’s great. I was very impressed with Alicia Keys. I hadn’t seen her act before, but after seeing some singers turned actresses (see any Jessica Simpson movie) I wasn’t sure if I would be able to believe in her role. But I did. I completely forgot I was watching Alicia Keys and only saw June Boatwright.

I watched Gina Prince-Bythewood speak after an AFI special screening of the film. I found her and her film really inspiring. I also think it’s awesome that she wrote on A Different World way back when.

Dear Gina,
Can we be friends?
Alison

LA Viewers: Worth paying full price at the Grove or Arclight.

Translation for non-LA movie viewers: Go see it!

JESSICA SAYS:

Having grown up a white girl on a honeybee farm run by three black woman in 1964, I really identified with this movie. OK, that’s not true.

I have not read this book, which I realize is surprising, considering I’m someone who TiVos Oprah. It probably isn’t a movie I would have necessarily been lining up to see, but Alison lobbied for it. I think I was a bit apprehensive that it was going to be heavy-handed with the lessons it wanted to teach us and too schmaltzy.

The most pleasant surprise was Dakota Fanning. Holy crap was she good! She acted everyone else in this movie under the table. There is a scene where her character has a breakdown about why don’t her parents love her that made me cry copious tears. I probably cried as much as I do during the, “Give my daughter the drugs!!” scene in Terms of Endearment.   She was fantastic.

The movie was a bit schmaltzy, not that I’m totally opposed to that. I did enjoy the movie, but it won’t be on my favorite of the year list. The rest of the cast was good. Dakota was great.

I recommend seeing this as a Sunday matinee.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

October 18, 2008

Two Blondes review a movie and ramble about themselves:

Note: Our review may have some similar sentiments, but we swear we wrote them separately. Great minds think alike sometimes…

ALISON SAYS:

I haven’t loved a cast this much in a long time. First off, I love Michael Cera. Not in a creepy way. I’ve never gone looking for where he might live in Los Angeles and stood outside wondering if he’d walk out, see me and find me as charmingly awkward as I find him. Really, I haven’t. But I have watched DVD’s of Arrested Development and been amused for hours. Clark and Michael has distracted me from doing work many a time. I may have even considered writing a non-creepy and comedic love ballad to express my thanks for there being a boy-man like Michael Cera both on the big and small screen.

Second, there’s Kat Dennings. Can we just talk about talented and beautiful this actress is? Angelina, we have a real contender for “best lips in Hollywood” now that Kat Dennings is on the scene. And Kat is beautiful in a way that’s real and not just good make-up. She was the perfect slightly insecure, but knows who she is teenage girl. Here’s two quotes I read on IMDB from Kat: “There’s nothing else I would rather do, unless there was a profession that involved cuddling bunny rabbits and kittens all day for money.” “I’ve basically made a career out of my imagination.” How cute is she?!

Then we also have Ari Graynor with her portrayal of the drunk best friend, Caroline. I wanted to stand up and applaud her hilarious, spot-on portrayal of what drunk teenage girls act like. She was able to be charming at the same time as being obnoxious. Then I also loved the boys who played Nick’s gay friends. They were funny and sweet, and never felt like a stereotypical portrayal of the gay best friend.

Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist felt very real to me. Possibly the realest (is that a word?) movie about teenagers I’ve ever seen. Some past teenage movies (like Juno) left me feeling manipulated and like someone was just trying to sound “cool.” Nick and Norah just felt real and left me happy, amused and charmed. It reminded me of being young, insecure and trying to figure out love. And made me somewhat nostalgic for the days of kissing boys in the streets of New York just when the sun is coming up, or being seventeen and asking a boy if “he’s interested” and being so scared of rejection. It’s a movie that leaves you with that attitude of life being full of infinite possibilities, not to mention lots of great music.

LA Viewers: Worth paying full price at the Grove or Arclight. Yes, I realize what’s going on with the economy, that’s why being entertained is so important right now.

Translation for non-LA viewers: Unless you’re dead inside or hate young love, go see this movie right away.

P.S. The director’s first film Raising Victor Vargas is worth getting on Netflix. A grittier, lower budget look at young love.


JESSICA SAYS:

I like to consider myself to be somewhat of a master when it comes to the mix CD–incidentally, I still feel the urge to call it a mix-tape. ‘Mix CD’ doesn’t have the same ring to it. As of today, my iTunes library has 5,238 songs in it, which is 343 days worth of music, so there is a lot to pull from. There is an art to a good mix. One song needs to lead to the next and you certainly never put back-to-back songs by the same artist. That’s the antithesis of the mix.

So, I was already into this movie, simply from the title. A title that is also, admittedly, a bit clunky. Although this irritates me about other people, I am also someone who is annoyed when my new, favorite, quirky, little band that no one has heard of becomes big, e.g. Vampire Weekend. I have been known to grumble when a song I like is featured on Gossip Girl, or the like. This movie is full of bands to whom this has already happened, or they are dangerously close to it happening. To my point, Vampire Weekend is on the soundtrack.

Two minutes into the movie, watching Michael Cera leave a squirm-inducing voicemail to his ex-girlfriend, and I knew I was going to like it. As we were leaving the movie, I realized what was so familiar and likable about it–it felt just like a John Hughes movie. Instead of Chicago suburbanites, they were New York. Instead of finding the meaning of life at the end of a rollicking day that included singing on a Von Stuben Day float in a parade, they passed through a gay Christmas musical review. And of course, instead of cassette tapes, there were mix CDs.

For full disclosure here, I wrote my Master’s thesis on John Hughes movies. I chose them because I figured if I was going to spend that amount of time reading about and watching something, I had better like them. Plus, I had already seen them each at least five times. As much as I loved Jake Ryan by the end of Sixteen Candles (OK, who are we kidding, I still do love him.), I think I love Michael Cera more. He’s just so funny and sweet and adorable.

So yeah, I really liked this movie. My one criticism would be there were parts that dragged a little bit, but on the whole I really liked it. If there were a competition for best bee-stung lips, Kat Dennings could give Angelina a run for her money. As someone who has had friends that were carbon copies of Caroline, the attention needy intoxicated friend, I can attest that Ari Graynor was perfect in the part.

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist is worth the full Friday night price. I especially recommend this if you ever had a crush on Jake Ryan, Ferris Bueller, etc.

Two Blondes Watch Their TiVo: The Emmys, Part 2

September 30, 2008

Two blondes watch their TiVo and pass judgment on the world of television and the Emmy winners.

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES
Winner: “Mad Men”

JESSICA CHOOSES:
“Mad Men” – I was very torn with this one. “Lost” is one of my all-time favorite TV shows and pretty much any other year, it would be my choice. However, “Mad Men” is truly outstanding and “Lost” has already won this award. Therefore, I’m going with “Mad Men.”

P.S. “Friday Night Lights” should have gotten a nomination in this category. Seriously, some of the best programming on TV. “Boston Legal” can’t even carry the shoes (or should I say cleats…get it? Because they’re a football team…cleats) of “Friday Night Lights.”

ALISON CHOOSES:
“Mad Men” – I was very happy “Mad Men” won. But I wish that there could have been a tie between “Lost,” “Mad Men” and “Dexter.” Those are the three shows that both my TiVo and I worship. I also think “Breaking Bad” should have been nominated.

P.S. I am aware Jessica’s cleats joke is a pun, thus the lowest form of comedy, but it makes her giggle at her own cleverness every time she reads it. Sorry readers.

OUTSTANDING COMEDY SERIES
Winner: “30 Rock”

JESSICA CHOOSES:
“30 Rock” – If I haven’t yet made my love of all things Tina Fey-related known, then let me proclaim it now. Tina, I would give up my Sandwich Day-sandwich for you. This show is simply sublime. Episode 210 and Sandwich Day are some of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on TV. If you’re not watching this show, I’m not sure we can be friends.

ALISON CHOOSES:
I agree with Jessica and that is why we can be friends. And if you’re someone who has no idea what “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah” is, then I feel sorry for you and think you should take a serious look at your life and your taste in television.

Speaking of taste or lack of, is “Entourage” actually worthy of even being in this category? I’ll admit I enjoyed this show the first two seasons, but it’s not funny anymore. It’s starting to feel douchey at this point.

To the fans of “Two and a Half Men” who helped get it nominated,
Really?
Alison

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Winner: Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”)

JESSICA CHOOSES:
Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”). Yes, I realize the academy did not even nominate him, but that is not stopping me from giving him the award.

ALISON CHOOSES:
Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) I actually furiously clapped when Bryan Cranston won, despite sitting in an apartment with four other people (who were not clapping). I love this show and am constantly surprised and impressed with his performance in it. But if the world were a more magical place full of rainbows and unicorns (like it is in my head), I would also give an award to Michael C. Hall for “Dexter” and Jon Hamm for “Mad Men.” I would also give Jon Hamm some kind of award for being kind enough to go with Regis Philbin to surprise his wife, Joy.

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Winner: Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”)

JESSICA CHOOSES:
Steve Carell (“The Office”) – He manages to show the heart of a character that in anyone else’s hands, might just seem like a dolt.

ALISON CHOOSES:
Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”) and co-winners Jermaine Clement and Bret McKenzie (“The Flight of the Conchords”) – Alec Baldwin deserves to have Emmys coming out of his ass for what he does on “30 Rock.” There’s no question about that. But I’d also be super happy if Jermaine and Bret got a little notice for their wonderfully hilarious and original show.

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Winner: Glenn Close (“Damages”)

JESSICA CHOOSES:
Connie Britton (“Friday Night Lights”) – Again, I know she wasn’t nominated and I know the women who were nominated have either won the award before or are big movie actresses, but I feel very comfortable saying Connie Britton is better in FNL than any of them.

ALISON CHOOSES:
Kyra Sedgwick (“The Closer”) – I have to admit I haven’t watched “Friday Night Lights,” so maybe I would agree with Jessica if I knew otherwise. But I’m a fan of “The Closer” and think Kyra deserves recognition for her work.

OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES
Winner: Tina Fey (“30 Rock”)

JESSICA CHOOSES:
Tina Fey (“30 Rock”) – Did I not make myself clear on this yet? If Tina Fey is eligible for a category, I’m picking her.

ALISON CHOOSES:
Tina Fey (“30 Rock”) – Insert constant laughter and joy here.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Winner: Zeljko Ivanek (“Damages”)

JESSICA CHOOSES:
Michael Emerson (“Lost”) – What I marvel at here is that Michael Emerson is so skillful (with the aid of some pretty amazing writing) that he has not changed the way he plays the character of Ben, yet he has managed to make the audience go from seeing him as a villain to a hero.

ALISON CHOOSES:
Michael Emerson (“Lost”) – There has never been a better, more complicated villain than Ben. The writers are due some credit for that, but Michael Emerson always delivers on the material.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A COMEDY SERIES
Winner: Jeremy Piven (“Entourage”)

JESSICA CHOOSES:
Neil Patrick Harris (“How I Met Your Mother”) – I would marry him and make lots of adorable, witty babies…if only he weren’t gay.

ALISON CHOOSES:
Jack McBrayer (“30 Rock”) – If NBC put Kenneth’s smiling visage on a pillowcase, I would buy it. There is no other character on TV who gives me the same warm, happy feeling in my tummy as Kenneth does. I feel like he and I would be best friends and warm the world with our positive outlook on life.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Winner: Dianne Wiest (“In Treatment”)

JESSICA CHOOSES:
Evangeline Lilly (“Lost”) – Admittedly, I’m not sure if she would really be up for this or the lead actress award, but I didn’t want to pit her against Connie Britton in my head.

ALISON CHOOSES:
Evangeline Lilly (“Lost”) – I’m gonna agree with Jessica.

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A COMEDY SERIES

JESSICA CHOOSES:
Jenna Fischer (“The Office”)

ALISON CHOOSES:
Kristen Schaal (“The Flight of the Conchords”) – She’s pure comedy genius in a cute, awkward bottle.

OUTSTANDING REALITY-COMPETITION PROGRAM
Winner: “The Amazing Race”

JESSICA CHOOSES:
“So You Think You Can Dance” – This and “Project Runway” are the only programs in this category where all of the contestants actually have talent and seem to have studied some sort of craft. You can’t just walk in off the street, having never done it before, and be a good dancer. “So You Think You Can Dance” is a show tailor-made for me–the dancing, the costumes, my same-sex-non-sexual love for Cat Deeley…

ALISON CHOOSES:
“Project Runway” – It’s the only reality programming I can stand to watch.

OUTSTANDING VARIETY, MUSIC OR COMEDY SERIES
Winner: “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart”

JESSICA CHOOSES:
“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” – Come on, like there is any contest here.

ALISON CHOOSES:
“The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” – Agreed.

OUTSTANDING MINISERIES
Winner: “John Adams”

JESSICA CHOOSES:
“Roots” – Um…they still make miniseries? I guess I choose “Roots.” That’s the last miniseries I saw.

ALISON CHOOSES NOT TO CHOOSE:
They all sounded boring to me.

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A DRAMA SERIES:
Winner: “Mad Men”

JESSICA CHOOSES:
“Lost” – I think there is a huge problem with the way this award is set up. Excellent TV writing has to involve both great stand-alone episodes, AND great story arcs that are spread out over a season or more. That fact that they vote on individual episodes only, I feel, can be the only reason that “Lost” hasn’t won this award every year since it’s been on TV.

ALISON CHOOSES:
“Lost” – Most. Amazing. Show. Ever!

OUTSTANDING WRITING FOR A COMEDY SERIES
Winner: “30 Rock”

JESSICA CHOOSES:
“30 Rock” – You can’t be surprised by this at this point.

ALISON CHOOSES:
“30 Rock” – I have six words for you: “Boys becoming men, men becoming wolves.”

Apparent Obsession with Josh Groban

September 25, 2008

Jessica says:

If you would have told me, when we started this blog, that Josh Groban would be our most referenced person or thing, there is no way I would have believed you.  However, it’s now true.  I saw this link this morning and thought I owed it to Mr. Groban to post his response.  At least he was trying to be funny with his performance at the Emmys.  Plus, it sounds like he agrees the show, as a whole, was pretty lame.

http://defamer.com/5054476/defiant-josh-groban-to-emmy-critics-really-really

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Burn After Reading

September 22, 2008

Two Blondes review a movie and ramble about themselves.

Alison says:

I am a Coen Brothers fan for one reason… “The Big Lebowski.” It is my favorite movie ever. I have been to Lebowski Fest three times. I even won “Best Maude.” And yes, I am very proud of that. And yes, I would call myself a Coen Brothers fan and not just because of my love for the Dude. But I didn’t love “Burn After Reading.” I liked it, but no, I will not be attending any festivals dedicated to this film, though I would attend a fan club for Richard Jenkins or J.K. Simmons after their performances in the film.

I was also really impressed with Brad Pitt’s performance There’s no question about Brad’s movie star quotient. It’s big, the biggest. But my favorite BP performances don’t involve him being a super star. It’s his “smaller” side performances that are truly awesome. Let’s rewind to 1993. Brad plays a small role as an LA stoner named Floyd in “True Romance.” He’s hilarious and perfect in this role. Another favorite “small” performance is his role of a crazy guy in “Twelve Monkeys.” He commits to that role fully. Then, there’s his portrayal of Mickey in “Snatch.” And of course we can’t forget “Thelma and Louise,” where the world first learned about Brad’s charm and abs. Maybe I’m just nostalgic for movies from the early 90’s, but I love seeing Brad playing more than just a hot guy. And he does that in “Burn After Reading,” In a scene with John Malkovich, he’s trying to act tough and mysterious. He does these little eye movements that cracked me up. There’s an earnestness and blind optimism that shines through in this character and shows Brad’s got comic chops. I also want to give a shout out to whomever did hair on “Burn After Reading.” Brad’s horribly tacky blond tips were stupendous.

With a lot of movies and TV shows, I usually find myself predicting what’s gonna happen. But I was happily surprised with some of the narrative and the violence in this movie. It felt really good to not know what was coming. But overall the film felt a bit disjointed to me. The whole didn’t always seem to match its parts and I also just didn’t care enough the characters to get super into the movie. I found myself wondering more about who Tilda Swinton’s dermatologist is, rather than being invested in what was happening to the characters.

LA Viewers: This movie is worth paying matinee price at the Grove.
Translation for non-LA viewers: If you can catch a matinee and go half price, go see this movie.

Jessica says:

How do the Coen brothers manage to get such attractive people to agree to look like such…dorks, for lack of a better word, in their films?  It’s impressive.  Brad Pitt actually seems to revel in his character’s dorkiness.  Well, let me back up.  I should probably explain that I am not a huge Coen Brothers fan.  I don’t dislike their work; I’m just not a fan.  I’ve seen Fargo and The Big Lebowski (but only once—I’ve been told I need to see it about three more times to really ‘get it’)*.

So, back to Burn After Reading, for the most part, I thought it was pretty funny.  John Malkovich was as creepy as always, but the performances I enjoyed the most were J.K. Simmons and Richard Jenkins.  I love J.K. Simmons in everything I’ve ever seen him in really.  They are both character actors, so let me help you out with where you might have seen them before:  J.K. Simmons was the dad in Juno and Dr. Skoda on Law & Order and Richard Jenkins was Nathaniel Fisher on Six Feet Under.

Now, I knew I was watching a Coen brothers’ movie and I knew that meant dark comedy and the possibility of some surprising violence.  Yet, somehow I got lulled into a relaxed state by the comedy/spy plot and then BAM you see someone get shot in the head with brain splatter.  That was mildly startling compared to seeing a character get axed in the face in the middle of the street.  I literally jumped and covered my face with my hands when the axe came down.  I’m afraid I really am my mother’s daughter.  She’s been complaining about violence in movies and TV for as long as I can remember and now apparently, so am I.  Oh, yeah, SPOILER ALERT.  Was I supposed to say that at the beginning?

Something about the whole film was just not quite right.  I had issues with the score.  It was written as if the movie was an actual spy thriller.  Imagine the score to The Fugitive and cut to Brad Pitt with frosted highlights sucking from a water bottle.  I’m sure that was supposed to be ironic, but it made me a little uneasy.  I was trying to decide if I was supposed to be horrified that I just saw someone get axed in the face or amused.  The feeling I ended up with was uncomfortable.

I recommend seeing it as a matinee.

*Alison vows to remain my friend, despite this fact.

Two Blondes Go To A Movie: The Dark Knight

September 6, 2008

Two blondes review movies and ramble a lot about themselves.

JESSICA SAYS:

Warning:  This review is going to sound like Andy Rooney, but…

Has anyone else noticed that movies have gotten really, really loud in the last couple of years?  Alison and I went to a double feature yesterday, Pineapple Express and The Dark Knight.  I was fine in Pineapple Express, but man, The Dark Knight was literally painful.  I had to plug my ears during any action sequence (which is approx. 96% of the movie).  Even after plugging my ears, I left the theatre slightly shouting everything I said.  I had the same problem a couple of years ago at one of the Bourne movies.  Is it just me?

You know it’s bad when you walk into Forever 21 and think, “Yes, this music seems to be playing at a reasonable volume,” as I did after the movies.  On a related note, on the way into the movie I told Alison I had made my first purchase at Forever 21 just a couple days prior.  She asked why that was my first.  Me:  “Because that store gives me an aneurysm.  The music is too loud, it’s messy, and there are teenagers everywhere.”  Her:  “OK, grandma.”  So maybe it is just me.

I recommend seeing this movie in the theatre, but bring industrial-strength earplugs and don’t sit on the aisle under a speaker.

ALISON SAYS:

As someone who wanted to be a super hero, but was deterred by bad arches and a fear of heights, it was fun to live the life of one for 150 minutes. I saw The Dark Knight twice in the theater and both times thought it was awesome. During my second viewing, I felt bad for Jessica as she held her right ear and winced at the impressive surround sound provided by Pacific 15 at the Grove. But despite her discomfort, I loved the music, explosions, action and awesomeness.

However, in the land of two blondes, there is no perfect review. I was really distracted by Two Face. Rather than looking like a guy who’d been burned, he looks like half a zombie. Also, in any moments where I lost my suspension of disbelief, I was a little thrown by the way Batman talked. It was so guttural, almost to the point of being silly. I think this YouTube video sums it up perfectly: 

LA Viewers: This movie is worth paying full price at Arclight.
Translation for non-LA Natives: Go to the theater to see this movie, but if you’re concerned with hearing loss, don’t sit near the speakers.