Posts Tagged ‘blondes’

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.

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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: Hannah Montana: The Movie

April 28, 2009

Today we have guest “Blonde” Erika Brooks Adickman weighing in on Hannah Montana: The Movie:

miley-cyrus-hannah-montana-movie-poster1ERIKA SAYS:

If the previews before your movie you are about to see are all animated, star talking animals, or involve Eddie Murphy playing a dad, it’s probably a good indication that movie you paid 10 bucks plus parking to see is not meant for your demographic.  If that is not clear enough for you here is a “creeper scale” to help you figure out how much of a creeper you will look like if you see this movie:

twoblondes1pdf-1-page

See 12 year old girl: normal.  Mom or Dad just above that.  26 year old woman you’re already at the age where kids start to look at you and think “Stranger Danger” even if you think you’re hip enough to see a Disney kids movie.  Next to that is a gay dude.  Cause at first you think “What are those two guys doing seeing Hannah Montana: The Movie” and then you go “Ohhhh, it’s a date.  Oh yeah I can see how there’s some serious kitch factor to Miley Cyrus”.  Above that is a straight dude.  If you are a straight male seeing this movie alone (even if it’s cause you lost a bet) you are going to look like a major creeper.  And if you are seeing this movie alone you probably are.  And wayyyy above that is Billy Ray Cyrus in this movie (but more on that in a minute).

Here’s the gist of Hannah Montana: The Movie:
Miley Stewart played by by Miley Cyrus is just your average teenage girl trying to live out every tween’s dream: the life and career of one of the world’s biggest pop stars and the life of an average high schooler.  But how can Miley have the “best of both worlds”?  Leave it to daddy Robby Ray (played by real life dad Billy Ray) to figure that out.  Slap on a blonde wig and some chintzy big earrings and faster than you can say “clarkkentissuperman” you’ve got yourself a secret identity.  Somewhere along the way Miley has gotten way to attached to the fame and perks of being Hannah.  So her dad decides to wrangle her back to her hometown of Crowley, Tennessee to visit her Grandma and get back to her roots.  Along the way Miley will fall in love, try to avoid a British tabloid reporter out to get the scoop on Hannah’s big secret, save a town with her music, and have many, many, many prat falls.

Let me just say that the movie opens with Miley and her BFF Lilly (Emily Osment sister of Hayley Joel) trying to get in to an arena where “Hannah” will be performing.  Miley is running late to her own concert but the guy at the front wont let them in.  She and Lilly will have to sneak in.  And I thought to myself, (and by thought i mean, shouted to the movie screen)  “As if!”  As if, Miley wouldn’t have a cell phone (probably an iPhone) to call her dad and be like “Dad I’m late let me in!”.  And, as if the security backstage wouldn’t have been alerted that if they see a girl who looks a lot like Hannah Montana but with brown hair is walking around she is not a security threat.  Saying things like this and laughing at the movie actually isn’t as fun as you would think or as fun as I expect.  It actually of makes you feel like a lone Miranda in a sea of Charlottes.  You think, “When did i get to be such a cynical old biotch?  But I also wonder if i would have ever been into Miley at 13.  Would I have idolized her?  At 13 i loved movies like Adventures in Babysitting and Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead and The Babysitters Club (wow I must have had a thing for movies with Babysitter in the title).  But at least those movies involved swearing, kissing Josh Charles, and hiding your type 1 diabetes from a cute foreign exchange student.

I will say this, if you if you’ve got a big sweet tooth for Taylor Swift, Rascal Flatts, country hoedowns, and saccharin teen pop music it might be worth it for you to see this movie inspite of all the obvious flaws.  In spite of myself, the song “The Climb” gave me goosebumps and I went home and downloaded the hoedown throwdown) because i love songs where the dance is built right in.  And in case you’re wondering, yes I taught myself the dance after many many watches on YouTube.  So maybe I’m not such a miserable crone after all.

hannah_montana1But I can’t in good consciousness recommend this movie.  Unless you’re babysitting your niece or are a huge Miley fan just wait and Netflix it if you’re curious at all what it’s like.  There are so many other things you could put your 10 dollars (plus parking) towards.  Instead, take 2 of those 10 dollars and download “The Climb” and “Hoedown Throwdown” and watch an old episode of Hannah Montana on the Disney Channel.  You’ll be happy driving around in your car for a good week and after watching 22 minutes of Miley on TV, glad you dodged a bullet.

Some thoughts on the movie from an ADD’d mind that can’t consolidate these into lovely paragraphs:

  • Tyra Banks is in this movie. Now, I know Tyra is trying to model her career after Oprah. Well here’s something Oprah would NEVER do: a cameo in a Hannah Montana movie. She did The Color Purple, a movie directed by Steven Spielberg. She didn’t have a fake fight with Miley Cyrus on screen over shoes.
  • This movie is SKAWEEEKY clean. I don’t know if they ran they film negative through Purell or rubbing alcohol before they sent it to be edited or what. But there is not one swear word, zero violence, and zero kissing. That’s right. There’s a barely legal hunky cowboy and you don’t even get to see them kiss. Sorry to disappoint all you twelve-ies.
  • But because of the Disney sanitation of this film all of the jokes have to come from over the top, slap stick bits. And these bits go on FOR-EV-EVER. You just sit there and go this wasn’t that funny and it just keeps wandering off into further unfunnydom.
  • In fact, the only thing questionable about this film is the way Hannah Montana dresses. She looks like she shops in the skank section of Forever 21 who probably smells like a combination of 2 different Victoria Secret Body Sprays. I’m relieved that cowboy Travis prefers Miley to Hannah. It sends a message you young girls out there that you don’t have to dress like a tart to impress a boy.
  • Why is it that movies with a secret identity eventually unravel over a double booked dinner date (a la Mrs. Doubtfire)?
  • With out giving too much away this movie had one of the most intense emotional scenes to involve a revolving door that I have ever witnessed in a movie. I don’t want to say too much but it had me in tears I was laughing so hard.
  • Billy Ray Cyrus. It is impossible to watch this movie and not think of that Annie Liebovitz Vanity Fair spread of the two of them nuzzling. I simply can’t trust a dad with a soul patch with a teenage daughter. Especially a dad who has found a way to use his daughter’s success to his own career advantage. I’m not sure who is a creepier Dad-ager him or Joe Simpson.

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: Watchmen

March 10, 2009

Two Blondes (plus a guest “Blonde”) review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves:

We have something special for you folks today.  Today we have guest “Blonde,” Jim Campolongo, weighing in on Watchmen along with Alison and Jessica:

 

ALISON SAYS:

Jessica and I went to see Watchmen at the dome at Arclight Hollywood.  Before the movie started, Jessica turned to me and said: “I love movies.”  I agreed and we sat back contentedly (not sure if that’s a word) into our theater seats ready to watch a movie, even one that was 2 hours and 45 minutes long.

I had not read the comic book series before seeing this film. I didn’t have the same expectations that some of the diehard Watchmen fans might have.  All I really knew was what I had seen in the trailer and I heard there was going to be a lot of blue dong in the film.  I had warned Jessica that I might giggle when the naked blue man appeared on screen, but some semblance of maturity must have taken over, cause I watched the movie like a grown-up rather than the twelve-year-old girl who lives inside my heart.

I thought the film rocked.  My favorite part was the amazing opening sequence.  I thoroughly enjoyed myself for all 2 hours and 45 minutes of it.  I was blown away by the cinematography, the effects, the and by the sheer spectacle of it all.   There’s a part of me that wonders if I would have enjoyed watching this film as much as I did if I hadn’t seen it in a theater like the Arclight.  I’m not sure if it would have struck the same chord.  Despite my enjoyment, I don’t think every plot point would stand up under close scrutiny.  I wasn’t that into the ending, but was so happy to be watching a movie like this in a big, beautiful theater, that I didn’t care.  Also some of the music was a little heavy-handed, but once again I was still happy and thrilled to be along for the ride.

And now for some fun random trivia regarding the people who created Watchmen.  The director, Zack Snyder, turned down a chance to direct S.W.A.T., because it wouldn’t be rated R.  I gotta give the guy props for knowing what he wants to work in. The film 300 would not have been the same if he had been forced to make a PG-13 film out of it.  And one of the screenwriters, David Hayer, played a role on the show Major Dad.

LA Viewers: If you’re into violence and comic book movies, go see it at Arclight.

Translation for non-LA natives: It’s a really cool movie to see in the theaters, but it’s long, so don’t buy a large soda.

JESSICA SAYS:

I would like to start this review out with a warning to my mother:  Mom, this is not a movie for you.  You know how you don’t like any violence or sex in movies, much less gratuitous sex and violence?  Yeah, don’t see this.  It’s not your average PG-13 comic flick.  The costumes alone would make you blush.  I’m not even going to mention the full-frontal naked blue man because I’m sure Alison has.  She couldn’t stop talking about it before the film started.

I don’t know a whole lot about comics (or graphic novels).  Maybe that’s because I’m a girl, but I think I would probably enjoy them.  I was just never exposed.  I don’t know where you would have found comic books for sale in the tiny town I grew up in.  I sort of feel like there is a whole pop culture world out there of which I’m not a part, by not knowing comics.  So I guess what I’m saying is, don’t expect any, “It doesn’t match the glory of the comic,” kind of reviews from me.

I see most of the comic-based movies when they come out, and I must say, this is one of the better ones I’ve seen recently.  All of these heroes are dark, twisty, and above all flawed.  They are almost flawed to the point that it’s hard to root for any of them.  Almost.  I was pretty won over by Patrick Wilson’s Night Owl.    It didn’t hurt that he’s pretty, besides playing the lone nice guy.

Most of all, what won me over about this film was the visual look.  It somehow manages to be slick and gritty.  It was, in a nutshell, exciting.  It probably helped a little that Alison and I saw it in the Cinerama dome at the ArcLight in Hollywood.  For those of you who don’t live in LA, the Cinerama dome is awesome.  The experience there is how movies are made to be seen.  It feels like an event.  There are ushers who come out before the show to give a little talk that is half audience warm-up and half ‘please shut off your phone’ reminders.  The screen wraps completely around your field of vision.  The sound system is overpowering (almost a little too overpowering).

I recommend you go see this move, but only if you’re old enough that all the violence and sex in this movie can’t corrupt you any more than you have already been corrupted by rock-n-roll and cable TV.  You should try to see it in IMAX or the Cinerama.

JIM, OUR GUEST “BLONDE,” SAYS:

Before we get into this review I have to admit something: I am not now, nor have I ever been, a blonde. There was one misguided attempt in seventh grade to streak my hair, but even then, the hydrogen peroxide shaded my locks a less than lovely pumpkin-vomit orange, leaving no trace of blonde anywhere except maybe within the act itself.

I will say this, though — I, like any red-blooded American male, love blondes. In spades. And I thank Alison and Jessica for the honorary club membership. I’ve been waiting for this ever since I bought those Green Day and Offspring CDs in middle school.

So without further ado, let’s get to the reviewin’…

Like a good chunk of our moviegoing public, I too saw Watchmen this weekend. And I’m baffled by my reaction. Why? Because I’m a nerd.  Before we get all accusatory here on the interweb, trust me, I’ve got the nerd cred to prove it: I still hit the comic shop every Wednesday, own multiple Batman shirts, and did not see a girl naked in real life for several years longer than I care to admit. I’ve owned the graphic novel of Watchmen for over a decade now and revere it.

So imagine my surprise when I walked out the theater thinking the movie kinda sucked.

If I subtract my bias for the material, I’m left with a film that doesn’t engage me, plain and simple.  Despite a well done set piece or two, the story lacked a sense of pace. There was no rhythm. No forward momentum. For example, just as we get an interesting helping of plot progression, the movie would pause for ten minutes to tell us how the character of Dr. Manhattan came to be. Or how anti-hero Rorschach lost his moral compass when confronted with a panty sniffing pedophile. This kind of non-linear presentation may be structurally sound in the novel, but it sure as shit doesn’t work in this film. While non-linear storytelling can be well executed in cinema, Watchmen’s dense source material plays as though its been compressed in all the wrong parts. As an average viewer, the character moments feel tangential, while the story’s mystery crawls at a snail’s pace, leaving me indifferent to both. I’m watching this thing from the POV of a dude wanting to be stimulated, but I’m feeling every second of the near-three hour runtime instead. And not in a good way.

watchmen-scream-awardsPetty stuff like plot and character work aside, I also had massive problems with the music. Every song cue, from the opening Dylan track to the closing “Desolation Row” cover, felt so damn bush league. I’m still not over the crazy laughable sex scene set to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” (Note to the baked film school undergrad who compiled the soundtrack: I’ve seen more subtlety on Cinemax after dark.)

All right, all right…  So I’m ragging on the flick pretty hard. But I do think it’s warranted. Remember, I’m a nerd. When I add in my bias for the source material, I remember Watchmen is supposed to be a commentary on the comic book medium itself, demystifying the idea of the superhero and showing him as a possibly psychotic, flawed, and maybe less than average being.

So why does the movie treat us to delicately choreographed fight scenes in which our heroes emerge unscathed? Where they can perform daring feats of martial arts wire trickery set to amped techno music? In presenting these guys as bad-ass crime fighters, the film becomes the antithesis of the novel’s primary themes. Leaving the geek inside of me pissed enough to order more porn on my mom’s credit card, even though I know she’s gonna see the bill and ground me again.

I guess I can only blame one person for this inevitable exile: director Zack Snyder. To be fair, I’ve never been a huge fan of the guy.  His Dawn of the Dead remake lost a lot of steam after the first ten minutes, and his follow-up 300 played like a vapid Lexus commercial for guys who won’t admit they subscribe to the Here! network. Snyder’s perception of cinematic cool has never been cerebral.  It’s always been sex, violence, and rock and roll. Which may explain why the only thing he brings to this film is excess; excess in gore, violence, and even misogyny. The attempted rape of Silk Specter, for example, is far more brutal in the movie than the novel (check out the panels if you don’t believe me). It’s unnerving to me that this is where the filmmaker decides to step in and expand upon the source material.

Truth be told, the only thing I can’t accuse Zack Snyder of is being insincere. I truly believe the guy set out to make the most faithful adaptation of Watchmen possible. I just don’t think he understood a damn word of it.

And there you have it, a nerdy non-blonde’s review of moving picture. If you liked it, hurrah. If you hated it, blame Alison and Jessica.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: He’s Just Not That into You

March 4, 2009

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves:

JESSICA SAYS:

I was apprehensive about seeing this movie. You see, I like (well OK, more like love) romantic comedies. The problem is 80% of them aren’t even tolerable. I have paid good money to be bored to tears numerous times watching Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaghey’s chemistry fizzle in stories whose plots stretch the limits of logic. For every Bridget Jones’s Diary, there are 12 Bridget Jones: the Edge of Reasons. It’s just that when things go right, you get repaid with a classic like When Harry Met Sally (on my all-time top five movie list). When I saw the previews for He’s Just Not That into You, I had hopes for it to rival Love Actually, but fears it might end up like…well any Jennifer Lopez rom-com. It ends up landing somewhere in between.

Before I go any further on this specific movie, I want to take a moment to defend the romantic comedy. Are they predictable? Yes. Formulaic? Certainly. Completely unrealistic? Absolutely. However, they are no more predictable, formulaic, and unrealistic than action, horror, sci-fi, or any other genre films. My fear is that romantic comedies get such a bad wrap because they are ‘women’s’ movies and therefore deemed somehow less relevant in the grand pop culture scheme than say, the latest comic book adaptation. Is it asking too much, as an audience member, to wish that Hollywood would be willing to invest in more charming, smart, funny love stories and that those stories could actually be relevant and meaningful? Yes? Damn, because I and a lot of my friends would go see such a movie. To quote Pretty Woman, “I have all this money *sob* and nobody *sob* will help me.” OK, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Surprising things about He’s Just Not That into You:

1.) Ben Affleck was charming and I even forgot I was watching Ben Affleck at times.

2.) I identified most with a male character (I’ll let you guess which one). This caused a teensy bit of what’s-wrong-with-me self-examination, but then I ate some ice cream from the container, sang ABBA into a hairbrush with my girlfriends while trying on different outfits, and forgot all about it.

3.) Other audience members are dumber than I think they are. There is a moment when it is officially revealed that Bradley Cooper’s and Jennifer Connelly’s characters are married to each other. This fact was obvious to me within the first few minutes of the film. The woman next to me audibly gasped when it was officially confirmed at least an hour later.

In short, if you like romantic comedies, rent this one or go to a matinee. It’s entertaining enough for a Sunday afternoon. Also, Lisa Schwarzbaum wrote an interesting piece on chick flicks for Entertainment Weekly, check it out.

ALISON SAYS:

I’m the kind of girl who chooses to go see a movie like Taken on Valentine’s Day, the kind of girl who owns and repeatedly watches the Die Hard movies.  I’m not a romantic comedy gal.  But I agreed to go see He’s Just Not That Into You.   I had seen previews and was super annoyed by the scene where Drew Barrymore says, “He MySpaced me.”  My reaction: “Did I just teleport back to 2005 when MySpace was relevant?”  It seems crazy to me that studio executives couldn’t update that line for the release (Ever heard of Facebook?).  Despite that,  I’ll admit I was actually pretty charmed by the movie and laughed out loud numerous times.  It was a more realistic, modern take on love than I expected.

My favorite part was Ginnifer Goodwin.  I already had immense respect for her, because of her work on Big Love, but now I absolutely adore her.  She was charming, vulnerable and incredibly funny.  I also thought Jennifer Aniston was great.  Despite it being a rather fluffy film, Aniston’s performance showed some depth and emotional range that I hadn’t seen from her since The Good Girl.  I’m a huge fan of Jennifer Connelly.  I thought she was incredible in Requiem for a Dream, but her dramatic skills felt constrained in a movie like this.  For lack of a better metaphor, it felt like a bull in a china shop.

Justin Long was charming and funny, but he’s just still not my type as a leading man.  Watching him kiss Ginnifer Goodwin was one of the most awkward, chemistry-lacking kisses I’ve seen, even worse than some I witnessed at a 5th grade roller skating party.  In regards to Kevin Connolly…. eh.  He’s not a terrible actor, but he’s just not who I care about winning the girl.  Ben Affleck was actually pretty darn good, in an understated way.  SPOILER ALERT: But I was really disappointed when his character proposed at the end to Jennifer Aniston.  I had been really moved by what he had to say about love and not needing the label of marriage and Aniston’s character realizing he was already more of a husband than her sisters’ ever would be.  But I think I’m in the minority with being miffed over that plot point, since all the women in the audience “ooh’d” and “ahhh’d” when Aniston found the ring.

Speaking of audience reactions… Scarlett Johansson plays a young, beautiful, carefree girl.  And she is damn hot (though someone should talk to her about bad hair extensions).  In one scene, where Connelly’s husband (played by Bradley Cooper) grabs Miss Johanson’s magnificent bosom, a guy sitting next to me in the movie theater actually yelled out, “Oh!”  I guess he was excited.  My point is, there’s something in this movie for both the girls and the guys.

My mom also saw this film.  She did not really enjoy it.  Here’s what she had to say: “I wouldn’t waste the money going, but I already did.”

LA Viewers: A matinee at the Grove or Landmark with girlfriends is recommended.  But maybe leave your mom at home.

Translation for non-LA natives: If you’re suffering from the recession, wait for the DVD.  But if you’re suffering from not enough girl time or want to be charmed by Ginnifer Goodwin, go catch a matinee.

Two Blondes Go To a Movie: The Reader

February 24, 2009

Two Blondes review a movie and ramble a lot about themselves:

thereader_poster061

ALISON SAYS:

I really related to the The Reader, because Jessica and I often read our blogs out loud to one another, while playing with each other’s hair and one of us carries a terrible secret that will cause the other great pain and intimacy issues.

300thereaderkrosswinsletlc1211081All joking aside, I thought this film was fantastic. Sure, I had trouble sympathizing with Hannah Schmitz, a woman who chose duty over human life. But she was one of the most complex characters I’ve encountered on film. And she was brought to life by the amazing Kate Winslet, who deserves every accolade and naked, golden man to come her way. I also was equally impressed with David Kross, who was barely eighteen when they shot the film. He held his own while sharing the screen with one of the world’s most famous actresses. And made me believe his story as he evolved from naive innocence to a man burdened by betrayal.

Here’s what we’ve also learned from this film and the Oscar winners: Stephen Daldry + talented actress + special effects makeup = Oscar (Please see either The Reader or The Hours as examples.)

I read that Daldry will be directing The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. This was one of my favorite books of the last ten years, so I’m both excited and nervous to see what he does with it. If you haven’t read it, please run out and get it right away.

LA Viewers: Hurry to Sunset 5 and go see this film.

Translation for non LA-viewers: Go see it. And be prepared for a lot of nudity and top-notch acting.

JESSICA SAYS:

This may sound dense, but I didn’t really think The Reader was going to be about reading. I know, it’s right there in the title, but I just didn’t give it much thought. I just assumed it was about a Nazi SS officer and probably sex, since Kate Winslet was supposed to be naked for a large part of the film. I must admit, I was quite pleased when I realized it really was about the joy/power/sexiness of reading. I love being read to, which I’m sure is true for a lot of people. However, I also love reading to someone. I like to put on voices for the characters and give my own interpretation, but don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no designs on ever acting. I just like to give the occasional dramatic interpretation for an audience of one or two. Unfortunately, after somewhere around the age of 12 (junior high), people think it’s weird if you want to read to them. Well, most people. My sister and I have logged hours on beaches or in bed at Mom’s or Dad’s house with me reading to her (until she falls asleep). I was particularly proud of my Bridget Jones’s Diary reading I gave at Myrtle Beach some years ago. You should try it. It’s fun.

Kate Winslet is splendid, as always. I’ve never seen a performance of hers that I did not enjoy…and that includes The Holiday (not a great film, but she’s lovely). She is so completely raw and daring; totally deserving of her Oscar and Golden Globe win. However, she won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress and this is clearly a lead actress role. I understand that by putting her in the supporting category, she wasn’t competing against herself for Revolutionary Road, but it just seems weird to call this role ‘supporting.’

I am very thankful I can read, especially after seeing The Reader. That’s the main thought I came away with at the end of the movie. You see, Hanna Schmitz (Winslet) is illiterate and the big question of the film is does this excuse not only being complicit, but directly involved in one of the most tragic and horrifying events in history. I felt like the implied answer by the end of the film was yes and that bothers me. Well, OK, perhaps the statement made was closer to saying the fact that she teaches herself to read in prison somehow makes up for allowing innocent people to be murdered.  I think instinctually, even if you had never seen a book in your life, a (sane, adult) human knows it’s wrong to kill another person. The fact that there was some sort of redemption for a Nazi in this story was hard for me to swallow.

After you see this movie, I want you to think about Ricky Gervais’ quip at the Golden Globes about Holocaust films garnering automatic acclaim and see if there isn’t the ring of truth there. Kate Winslet is splendid. The Reader is…OK. I recommend waiting until it comes out on video.

Two Blondes Use A Camera: Oscar Prep

February 19, 2009

Wondering what’s going on in Hollywood with Oscar prep?

Sure, getting dressed up for the Oscars is a lot of work for all the celebrities.  I wonder how many hours Ryan Seacrest must spend getting his blond tips just right!  But what’s even more work is the prep that goes in to getting the Kodak Theater and Hollywood Blvd ready for the big day.  Hollywood Blvd has been blocked off all week, and you should see all the worker bees constructing bleachers and rolling out the red carpet.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Doubt

February 10, 2009

Two Blondes review a movie and ramble about themselves.


JESSICA SAYS:

I had my doubts about whether or not this film would live up to the hype.  Get it?  ’Doubts?’  It’s a pun!  But I digress.  My mom saw this movie before I did and every time we’ve talked since she tells me how good she thought this movie was.  Now, Mom doesn’t have bad taste in movies, per se, but her taste is not necessarily the same as mine.  For instance, she enjoys watching made-for-TV-movies on Lifetime Television for Women.  I do not.  I enjoy Pulp Fiction.  There is not a single scene in that movie Mom would enjoy (violence + swearing + sex + drug use = a film Mom would never sit through).

It turns out Mom and I pretty much agree on this one.  I’m not ready to say it’s the best movie I’ve seen in years, as Mom did, but it is definitely worth seeing.  The hesitation I had going in to this film was that the previews made it seem so dour and bleak.  You have to be in the right mood to want to sit down and watch a story about sexual abuse allegations.  I now realize that this film isn’t really about sexual abuse.  It does deal with that, but the story has more to do with gossip, standing up to authority figures, and trusting your instincts, than abuse.

The acting performances in the movie all around are as good as you have been hearing.  What can I say about how great Meryl Streep is that hasn’t already been said?  She really is a force to be reckoned with and Amy Adams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Viola Davis all more than met the challenge.  I want to give John Patrick Shanley a huge amount of credit because this story and the way he tells it are fascinating.  The characters are constantly making twists and turns and as the audience, you never are quite sure who to believe until the end.  That is not an easy feat to pull off.

I was raised Catholic, but I didn’t go to Catholic school, so I can’t really speak as to what that experience is like.  The nuns in my parish didn’t seem as draconian as Streep’s Sister Aloysius, but they were certainly not to be messed with.  I remember Sister Ruth Ann specifically who told us in CCD (the Catholic version of Sunday school) that it was healthy to have a glass of wine each night and in fact sometimes she just drank straight from the bottle, since it was only her and Sister Rose. I said I was raised Catholic, not I am Catholic because I’m still working out whether or not I really want to be Catholic.  All the issues raised in the film about the Church are issues I struggle with internally, being Catholic.  To say the Church is patriarchal is a bit of an understatement.  It is the oldest of old boys clubs.  Why does the mere fact that she is a woman determine that Sister Aloysius is a subordinate to Father Flynn?  That’s only the tip of the iceberg of questions you’re left with at the end of Doubt (sexism, sexual abuse, the effects of progressive reform, racism, etc.).  Let’s just say, like Sister Aloysius, I too have my doubts.

I recommend seeing this movie and it is worth a full-price ticket.  Maybe you should plan a dinner or drinks afterwards with whoever you see it because you will want to discuss.

ALISON SAYS:

I’ll be honest, I thought I’d find Doubt boring.  I knew I loved Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams, but when I saw the trailers, it just looked like an overblown Oscar-baity drama with lots of boring outfits.  I was wrong, very wrong.  It’s great, truly great.  My grandmother, who NEVER goes to movies anymore, actually made her way to the theater to see this film and said it was really good.  My mom, who attended Catholic school with nuns as teachers, also saw the film and loved it.  It was interesting to me that two of the main women in my life both made the effort to go see a film where one of the main themes is that of womens’ powerlessness in the old days.

As always, Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman blow you away with their skills as actors and remind you again why they’ve had enduring careers.  Amy Adams is also fantastic and charming, continuing her streak of being the best thing to ever come out of dinner theater.  And then there’s Viola Davis as the mother of Donald, Mrs. Miller.  Her screen time is minuscule compared to Streep, Hoffman and Adams, but her performance was one of the most memorable of the film and haunts you long after watching it.

I just looked up the director, John Patrick Shanley, on IMDb and noticed the last thing he directed was Joe Versus The Volcano and he wrote Moonstruck.  What a varied career.  It also goes to show the Midas touch Scott Rudin has as a film producer, whatever that guy touches turns to Oscar gold.  I talked to Rudin on the phone a few times at an old job, and just his voice alone can put the fear of God in you.   Maybe that level of fear is it what it takes to continually create amazing, Oscar worthy films.

LA Viewers: If you’ve ever wanted to see the epitome of superb acting, go see this film in the theaters.

Translation for non-LA natives: Same goes for you.

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Revolutionary Road

February 9, 2009

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves:

revolutionary-road-poster-full1

ALISON SAYS:

If you’ve ever been someone who’s a little scared of the concept of marriage and life becoming stagnant and losing all meaning, don’t go see Revolutionary Road. It will only reinforce this fear. But the film will also reinforce your love and respect for Kate Winslet, Sam Mendes and for the costume designer on the film (her character had such great dresses). Kate Winslet rocks. There’s not much more to it. She’s beautiful, an incredible actress and has always chosen interesting roles (and even has comic chops, as exhibited on “Extras”). I can’t imagine though what it was like to make this film with your husband (for those who don’t already know this, the director, Sam Mendes, is her husband).

It was fun to see Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio reunited after all these years, and DiCaprio impressed me, at least in the second half of the film. During the first half, I never really forgot that I was watching Leo. He’s still too pretty to completely believe him as a grown-up, angry man. (Leo, go get a little rougher around the edges and those Oscars will roll in, I swear.) But during the later part of the film, I thought he had some great scenes that did show his depth as an actor and reminded me of some of my favorites of his past performances (Arnie in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape and Jim in The Basketball Diaries). There were scenes where he broke out of being Leo and we saw a desperate, broken man who doesn’t know how to save his wife or make her love him again.

While I was impressed by some of the performances and aspects of the film, and still think Sam Mendes deserves loads of acclaim, I can’t say I loved the film as a whole. It was interesting to be in this world, but I couldn’t help thinking “Mad Men” did it and does it better. On a sidenote: my mom also saw this film and was recollecting how during her childhood, some women on her street would dress up for their husbands when they were getting home from work.

LA Viewers: Go see a matinee.

Translation for non-LA natives: If you live in the suburbs and ever doubt some of your life choices, maybe pick something more upbeat.

JESSICA SAYS:

For once, a movie makes you glad you’re a singleton and not a smug married. The portrait of a marriage provided by Revolutionary Road is anything but appealing. Take this scene:

April Wheeler: So now I’m crazy because I don’t love you, right? Is that the point?

Frank Wheeler: No! Wrong! You’re not crazy, and you do love me. That’s the point, April.

April Wheeler: But I don’t. I hate you. You were just some boy who made me laugh at a party once, and now I loathe the sight of you. In fact, if you come any closer, if you touch me or anything, I think I’ll scream.

Doesn’t that warm, kind exchange make you want to run right out and get married? No? Let me tell you, that fight only gets worse from there.

It is uncomfortable to watch two people completely emotionally eviscerate each other the way Kate Winslet (April Wheeler) and Leonardo DiCaprio (Frank Wheeler) do in this picture, but it’s completely riveting too. Kudos to Richard Yates and Justin Haythe (or ‘granola to you,’ as one of my friends might say) for a fantastic script. Yates’ 1967 novel this film is based on has been added to my must-read list. This is one of those films where you can just see that every member of the small village of people it takes to make a major motion picture brought their A-game. (I can’t believe I just used the phrase ‘A-game.’) Production design, props, costume, it is all spot on authentic.

REVOLUTIONARY ROADBoth Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet deliver Oscar-worthy performances here and the fact that neither of them was even nominated is ridiculous. It’s just further proof that politics and money have more to do with who wins Academy Awards than the performances too often. Michael Shannon is only in a few scenes, but he is so good I wished he got his own film about a mental patient in the 1950s. His performance is one of only three nominations for Revolutionary Road, with costume and art direction. If I ruled the world, it would get nominations for Best Picture, Best Lead Actress, Best Lead Actor, and Best Director. Alas, I do not; otherwise we would all take flying cars to work.

This movie left me thinking about a lot of things which, I think, is one of the best things you can say about any piece of art. For instance, as a woman, I am very thankful I was born at a time when the possibilities for my life were not determined by the fact that I’m female. Also, I marvel at how well Sam Mendes seems to understand the American suburbs for someone who grew up in Reading, England. In this film, he shows the same stiflingly powerful push to conform the suburbs seem to have as he depicted in American Beauty, only this time we get to watch a woman futilely struggle against it.

My advice? Go see this movie soon.