Posts Tagged ‘film’

BREAKING NEWS – Two Blondes Live Tweet the Oscars

February 23, 2011

BREAKING NEWS (and not like how the cable news channels over use the phrase, but, like, we really just decided):

Two Blondes will be live tweeting the Oscars and the red carpet coverage! Follow us on Twitter @twoblondesblog to hear our thoughts on the pretty/ridiculous dresses, handsome men, funny/touching acceptance speeches, who was robbed, and what kinds of hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco turn out to be.  You can also follow our individual Twitter accounts:

Jessica – @jessacope

Alison – @2degreesofalie

See you Sunday at 3:00 pm PT (6:00 pm ET)!

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Two Blondes Reflect on 2008: Year in Review

January 29, 2009

Two blondes review 2008 and ramble about themselves a lot:

JESSICA SAYS:

Best of TV

“Friday Night Lights” – Where do I start?  I already went on a little tirade about the lack of attention this show gets in our Emmy recap.  I grew up in a town where everyone went to the high school football games on Fridays.  If the team made the championships that year, it would most certainly be front page news for several days.  This show so completely and realistically captures at least the essence of small town life.  There is no other way to say it, it’s just really, really good entertainment.  Do not be discouraged if you don’t like or understand football.  I can attest that Alison has zero knowledge or interest in the game and I got her completely hooked on this show.  It is more the story of life in the high school of a small town in Texas than the stories about the technicalities of football games.  The key here is that this show is firmly rooted in reality.  These teenagers do not have a constant stream of witty retorts at the ready and are not clothed in $14,000 outfits.  The adults get equal time on screen and the relationship between the coach and his wife (the Taylors) is one of the most loving and real I’ve ever seen on TV.  There is not a single person I know who wouldn’t enjoy this show.  Seriously.  I’m not above begging you to watch it because I don’t want NBC to cancel this show–please, please give it a shot.  I promise you won’t regret it.  NOTE – this is my opinion on season two.  I haven’t yet seen season three.  For those of you out of the loop, FNL was picked up in a joint effort by NBC and DirectTV for season three.  DirectTV got to air it first.  Season three is on NBC now.

“30 Rock” – Please see the many previous posts we’ve made regarding our love for the best comedy on TV.

“Lost” – One of my all-time favorites got it’s groove back this year.  We true, diehard fans were rewarded for sticking it out through the Kate-and-Sawyer-in-Cages dark period with the Freighter folk, time travel, flash forwards, and Ben using some sort of weird donkey-at-a-mill thing in the season finale.  Awesome.  Signing a contract with an exact end date was so smart–good stories require good, planned out, endings.  I think the cast of this show doesn’t get enough credit becuase the writing gets all the attention.  If the scene where Sun (Sunjin Kim) watches the freighter explode with her husband, Jin (Daniel Dae Kim), on it doesn’t make you cry, then you must have no heart.  I’ll say it again, awesome.

“Battlestar Galactica” – This one is perhaps more of a DVD review from me because I just started watching this on DVD.  To be honest, I’m not someone who would immediately sign up for a show with such a name.  However, once I started watching it, I became a little odsessed.  When you run into another BG fan it’s hard to have you conversation blend in to those around you because you’re saying things like, “Well, I’m at the point where Starbuck is back on Caprica and Commander Adama is testing people to see who are Cyolns…”  That kind of talk will stand out to other folks in the office, I’ve found.  It’s really a military drama that just happens to be set in space.  That’s not so dorky, is it?  Oh well, it’s good.  That’s all I’m sayin’.

Best New TV Show

It’s a tie:

“Fringe” – I must confess that I love JJ Abrams.  Like if I met him I would probably resemble a teenager who ran in to Joe Jonas at Pinkberry–all giggles, screams, and repetitions of OhMyGod.  However, I did not love this show at first, but because it was JJ, I gave it some time and it really grew on me.  Mr. Abrams truely has a talent for working with strong leading ladies:  Keri Russell, Jennifer Garner, and now Anna Torv.

“Gossip Girl” – Deliciously trashy.  Do people and places like this really exist?  I doubt it, but it doesn’t matter.  You don’t watch this kind of show for reality.

Worst of TV

This is hard to judge because if it’s bad, I just don’t watch it.  I caught a few minutes of “Momma’s Boys,” the Ryan Seacrest-produced dating show.  There is just something so sad and uncomfortable about watching a 30 year-old man have his mother pick his clothes out for him.

Best of Music – Songs
“Single Ladies” – Beyonce.  This song is super catchy.  Plus you can waste hours on the Internet watching all the knock-off videos.

“I’m Yours” – Jason Mraz.  Sometimes his style of singrapping annoys the pants off of me, but not this time.  This is just a catchy, sweet love song

“Viva La Vida” – Coldplay.

Best of Music – Artists
Vampire Weekend – Yes, I know that all the cool kids have already fallen in love with this band and then broken up with them.  Heck, they maybe are even back in love with them by now, but I don’t care.  Their album makes me smile every time I listen and the geeky parts of my personality really get a kick out of lyrics like, “Who gives a f$%# about an Oxford comma.”

ADELE – I can enjoy Duffy, but if we’re going for young, English soul singers this year, I’ll go with ADELE.  She does a nice cover of Garth Brooks’ “To Make You Feel My Love.”

Worst of Music

Now, it pains me to say this, but Kelly Clarkson’s My December album was not good.  I’ve been a fan of hers since American Idol, so I preordered this album on iTunes.  Mistake.  The songs seem to have no structure (usually a bad thing in pop music), they’re depressing, and worst of all–boring.  I have high hopes for her new album, out March 17, though.

Best of Film

American Teen – I only saw one new documentary this year, but I really liked it.  Following Hannah, Colin, Megan, Mitch, et al. brought memories of the flood of emotions you go through as a senior in high school.  I’m still not sure how I feel about the animation sequences in this film, but I enjoyed the rest of it so much, that it doesn’t matter.

Bolt – I don’t want to bring about the end of my and Alison’s relationship by saying this, but my favorite animated film of 2008 was Bolt, not WALL-E.  I’m kind of obsessed with the hamster, with his bubbling super-fan excitement.  I was charmed by the pigeons’ New York accents too.

TIE: Slumdog Millionaire and Frost/Nixon – both are excellent and they have completely polar opposite tones, which makes it impossible to choose one over the other.  For my full Frost/Nixon review, see https://twoblondeswalkintoablog.wordpress.com/2008/12/28/two-blondes-go-to-a-movie-frostnixon/.  My Slumdog Millionaire review will follow shortly.

Worst of Film

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – Apparently my opinion of this film is not the majority, as it just received 13 Oscar nominations.  I was just bored for most of it.  For the full review, see https://twoblondeswalkintoablog.wordpress.com/2009/01/09/two-blondes-go-to-a-movie-the-curious-case-of-benjamin-button/

ALISON SAYS:

What the fraggle happened in 2008?

Alison’s review:

Best of film:
WALL-E
It is the best film ever.  Period.

The Wrestler
See my past review.

Honorable mention goes to:
The Dark Knight – see my past review.

Worst of film:
Sex and the City
I know as someone with girly parts, I’m supposed to love this film.  I did watch the show on HBO and it was a big part of my life.  I remember meeting up with gal pals in NY and having drinks and watching “Sex and the City.”  The tradition continued once I moved to LA.  The movie, on the other hand, made me sympathize with disgruntled husbands and boyfriends all over the world who were dragged to see this film.  I was annoyed as I watched the women of Sex and the City scream and fawn over one another.  I wanted to yell at the screen: “Get over your issues and shoe obsession and stop wearing that tiny, weird hat!”

Indiana Jones
I didn’t see this, but I just know.

Best of television:“Lost” – Just watch it.

“30 Rock” – Read my many other posts on 30 Rock.

“Breaking Bad” – An amazing show.  You have never seen anything like this show on TV.

“Friday Night Lights” – No, really you can hate football and love this show.

Honorable mention goes to:
“Mad Men” – Just trust me and plug AMC into your TiVo.

Worst of television:

I wouldn’t know, because my TiVo is caring and knows what not to save.  But a safe bet would be any reality show produced by Ryan Seacrest.  Also from the five minutes I was able to stomach of “Knight Rider,” it looked pretty terrible.

Best in everything:

Tina Fey
How many Emmy’s did this woman win this year?  And how well did she portray Sarah Palin?  I can’t think of any other show that makes me as happy as “30 Rock” does.  Once again, I have to say it: “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah.”

Best online videos:“Where the hell is Matt?”
There’s always many funny, moving, interesting videos to be found on the worldwide web, but something that made my heart warm this year was watching Matt dance all over the world in the video, “Where the hell is Matt?” available here:
http://www.wherethehellismatt.com/videos.shtml?fbid=vpj970bQKUL

“I’m f-ing Matt Damon”
If you haven’t seen this, please look it up, unless you’re my mom, because she might get offended by the curse words.  Otherwise, you will find this hilarious.

Honorable mention goes to:

“Planet Unicorn” – I am too busy still laughing to explain it to you. http://www.planetunicorn.tv/

Cutest and most enthusiastic mom in 2008 (besides our own):

Michael Phelps’ mom.

Winner of Most Screaming Teenage Female Fans in 2008:
Robert Pattinson
I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing for you, Robert.  Either way, good luck with that.

Best on-air slip-up:

Spaghetti Cat – If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look it up.  Reading is fundamental, even if it’s about a cat who’s eating spaghetti.

Best Abs of 2008 goes to:Helen Mirren
Did you see that picture of Helen Mirren in a red bikini?  Damn, girl!  I mean… damn, Ms. Award Winning Lady!

Honorable mention goes to:
Our new president, Barack Obama, for those pictures from his vacation in Hawaii.

Best in technology:
Wii Fit – It’s sooooooo much fun and can actually give you a good workout, even tennis elbow.  There are a bunch of ladies at my grandmother’s “independent living home” who are in a Wii bowling league.  Is there any better use for a video game than a group of fun-loving senior citizens getting some exercise while having a laugh with their friends?

Worst in technology:
New Facebook – I’m still grumpy about it.

Best Review of 2008:

“Pop Waffle Does 2008” located here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18MMPhuHZIE

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Two Blondes Go to a Movie: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

January 9, 2009

Two Blondes review a movie and ramble about themselves.


ALISON SAYS:

I love David Fincher.  I think Se7en and Fight Club are two of the best movies ever.  Ever! Also, on a personal note, I met Fincher at a premiere a while back.  He was super nice, despite me being a rambling fan who probably reeked of Appletini’s at the time.  And he’s pretty cute.  That said, I really liked The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to.  Is it a marvel and an accomplishment of film making?  Yes.  Am I impressed with what they were trying to do?  Yes.  Is Brad Pitt talented?  Yes.  Was the movie too long and felt a tad too much like Oscar bait rather than just passionate film making?  Yes.

Brad Pitt did really impress me with his performance.  Especially during the times when he was a child/old man at the beginning.  There was a vulnerability to his performance that I haven’t seen from him before and was really happy to see.  Of course as he grows younger, he stunned with those golden boy looks.  But this movie also proved Brad Pitt is still pretty damn hot, even with wrinkles and lanky gray hair.  Congrats Angelina!  Cate Blanchett is stunningly beautiful and talented, as always.  I’m not sure if there’s anything she can’t do.

I was intrigued by the idea of a person growing younger throughout their life and how that wouldn’t be a fantasy scenario.  I will now be much more grateful to grow old with the person I love, rather than growing younger.  I also loved the idea of the clock that runs backwards. There were a lot of parts about the movie that I loved, it’s just the whole that threw me.  I didn’t find myself caring at all about the story in the present with the daughter and her dying mother.  I’m still not sure how I feel about the random shots of the old guy who was continually hit by lightning.  On one hand it was funny and visually interesting, on the other hand, it was distracting from the main story and seemed unnecessary, especially when the movie was already an hour too long.

There’s something about The Curious Case of Benjamin Button that made me feel like Fincher decided he needed to make his Forrest Gump.  Despite that, he still accomplished a mood with the movie, a timeless love story, and a connection to the past that is worth going to the theaters for.  Just be prepared to get restless butt syndrome while you’re watching it.

LA Viewers: I’d say to hit up a matinee at the Grove or Arclight, or wait till it hits one of those little cheap theaters on Beverly Blvd.

Translation for non-LA natives: Go to a matinee.

JESSICA SAYS:

I saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button over Christmas and have been putting off writing my review because I didn’t really know what I wanted to say about it.  The film is long.  2h 47min.  I mean, I feel like I complain about movie lengths a lot on here, but if you expect me to sit still for three hours in a dark room, the story better be pretty riveting.  I can’t say that I thought this movie was.  I feel like I gave them three hours of my time and I didn’t come away thinking anything more than what I went into the movie thinking—it’s a story where Brad Pitt ages backwards.  Aging backwards is an interesting thought, but I didn’t get anything profound out of the story about life, death, aging, etc.  It was just…OK.

I recommend renting this movie, but I bet this will end up being one of those titles you add to you Netflix/Blockbuster queue and when it shows up at your house you keep it for about two months before you get around to watching it.

Two Blondes Go To A Movie: Frost/Nixon

December 28, 2008

Two Blondes review a movie and ramble about themselves.


JESSICA SAYS:

I am not old enough to have any first-hard knowledge of Watergate or Nixon.  I only know the handful of TV clips that get replayed:  sweating during the debates, “I am not a crook,” the wave as he boarded Marine One for the last time, etc.  Also, I grew up hearing my grandmother refer to Nixon, almost exclusively as Tricky Dick.  I remember asking my Mom once, why was he ’tricky.’  “He lied,” she told me.  “Don’t all politicians lie?”  “Well, he lied about trying to spy on people who disagreed with him.”  I didn’t get any more information than that about Watergate in school because our textbooks always seemed to stop right after World War II, as if nothing noteworthy happened after that.  Perhaps that is because I went to public schools with text books that were at least a decade old, which means Watergate was still recent history when they were written.  It’s OK though, you don’t have to be a historian to enjoy this movie.

The synergy of Frost/Nixon being released during a scandal involving a powerful politician brought down by taped conversations where he talks about, amongst many appalling things, going after the press for criticizing him is remarkable.  Even more remarkable to me is that out of the two of them, Richard Nixon is more sympathetic than Rod Blagojevich.

Frank Langella is absolutely fan-freaking-tistic as Richard Nixon.  If he doesn’t at least get an Academy Award nomination, then I don’t want to know ya, Academy.  Michael Sheen and Langella are as well matched as opponents as Frost and Nixon were.  You find yourself rooting for the good guys to pin the bastard to the wall, while at the same time sympathizing with the villain (his dad was mean to him and he just wants to be liked…).

Was Diane Sawyer really part of the team trying to put a shine on Richard Nixon’s image after he resigned?  I don’t want that to be true because I like Diane Sawyer.

I recommend this movie to…everyone.  Seriously.  Go see this movie.

ALISON SAYS:

I’ll be honest, I’m not the biggest history buff.  My knowledge is spotty at best when it comes to basic things having to do with the history of our country and the world.  I wish I was like my father and retained that kind of stuff (he would kill on Jeopardy orTrivial Pursuit), but I don’t and I sometimes find it boring. So I was kinda concerned that I would find Frost/Nixon boring and wish I had just stayed in and watched more DVD’s of Friday Night Lights.  I was also concerned I wouldn’t know what was going on, because when I think of Nixon, the first thing that comes to mind are the Nixon masks Patrick Swayze’s gang donned in Point Break.  But all my fears were unfounded.  I loved the movie.  I’m not saying it’s a perfect film by any means, but it is interesting and really sucks you in.

Frank Langella’s Nixon broke my heart.  I was shocked to find myself sympathizing with Nixon, but Langella’s amazing performance won me over.  I just wanted to give Nixon a hug.  I was also really impressed with Kevin Bacon, because there were definitely times where I forgot it was Kevin Bacon and just saw a loyal, tough colleague to the ex-president.  I can’t really think of one weak link among the entire cast.  And of course there is their fearless and adorably red-headed leader; Ron Howard is a pro. The guy knows how to direct and how to make a great film.  He will always hold a special place in my heart, because he made Splash and he brought the world Arrested Development.  I also love that he and his producing partner, Brian Grazer, have been together from the beginning.  It’s a bromance made in Hollywood heaven.  I kinda stumbled into Brian Grazer the other day in Beverly Hills (yes I am very, very clumsy), and he was super nice, not at all blustery or asshole-ish like some big film producers would be.

LA Viewers: It’s worth paying full price at the Grove or Arclight.

Translation for non-LA natives: Get to the theaters

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Twilight

December 17, 2008

Two Blondes review a movie and ramble about themselves:

JESSICA SAYS:

I called dibs on Robert Pattinson years ago, but when I say ‘Robert Pattinson,’ I really mean Cedric Diggory.  I first noticed him in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and the role of Cedric required him to be charming and heroic without saying much and to keep his hair at a reasonable level of unkemptness.  Now yes, I know that at the time he was only 17 and I was…older than that.  However, I knew if I just had a little patience, one day the world wouldn’t judge us as harshly.

These days, his hair has reached ridiculous levels.  Have you seen this: http://www.tmz.com/2008/12/04/robert-pattinsons-internal-hair-war/? I mean honestly.  We can’t go out now because I feel certain that he does not meet one of my dating requirements—that he take less time to get ready than I do.  I can only imagine the effort that goes into getting one’s hair to do that. Even with the nonsensical hair, he is still v., v. pretty.

When I heard Robert Pattinson was cast as the beautifully heroic, beautifully sullen, beautifully tortured, beautiful vampire, Edward Cullen, I have to say I was v. pleased.  (That’s just a small taste of how often Stephenie Meyer points out how beautiful he is in the book, but we are not here to review the book.)  I should point out that I was about halfway into book three from the Twilight series when I saw this movie.

I read the first book in two nights and I am not a fast reader.  It’s not really that the book was that good, but more so that I wanted to hurry up and get to ‘the good stuff,’ if you know what I’m saying.  My inner teenage girl was constantly screaming, “Ooh!  Kiss her!!”  Then I realized when I got to the end of the book that there wasn’t going to be any ‘good stuff.’  I had heard Stephenie Meyer is Mormon, but I never really thought about what, if any, effect that might have on her writing, in the same way that I never considered what John Grisham’s religious beliefs might be when I read The Firm.  I was just enjoying a fun, light read.  It turns out I was probably underestimating what it means to be Mormon, since *SPOILER ALERT* the whole saga turns out to be a morality play about the value of virginity.

When I see a movie after having read the source material, I really try not to make nitpicky comparisons over stuff like whether Bella’s truck looked like it was described in the book or not.  No one wants to be anywhere near the person in the theatre whispering loudly, “That’s not how it is in the book.”  Since the movie was already cast and publicized by the time I finally got around to reading the books, Bella and Edward in my head looked like Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson.

There were some plot changes, but they didn’t bother me.  I was really too distracted by other issues.  It was only moments into the movie when I discovered that unless guided by experienced hands (with a large budget), all those pieces of the vampires-are-real plot that were totally logical and not hokey in your head while reading the book, will look completely and utterly absurd on the big screen.  I didn’t flinch at all when I read that Edward, being a vampire, sparkles magnificently in the sunlight.  However, when I saw that in the movie, I convulsed into what I like to call the ‘church giggles’ (you know, when something funny happens in a situation where you are not supposed to be laughing, which only makes it harder not to laugh).

I have to say, I’m going to lay a lot of blame at the feet of Catherine Hardwicke, the director, here.  I expected the movie to be cheesy, being that it is a romance about vampires marketed to teenage girls and a lot of the time I like cheesy, but this went beyond.  I don’t know what direction, if any, the actors were given, but whenever someone was supposed to be brooding (which happens a lot in the film) they looked either like they were trying to telepathically communicate the lyrics to “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Robert Pattinson) or they were suffering from a bad case of irritable bowel syndrome (Jasper played by Jackson Rathbone).  Oh, and the music!  Ugh.  I felt like there was a constant, overpowering score that was trying to make up for the drama or tension that wasn’t happening on the screen.

Let’s just suffice it to say:  Robert Pattinson—still pretty, but please stop it with the hair.  I’m not ready to write him off as a bad actor yet because he has some upcoming roles that sound intriguing, but if I had to judge only off his performance in Twilight he wouldn’t be getting very high marks.  I was not going to waste money seeing the sequel until I heard the studio changed directors, so wise move on your part, Summit Entertainment, et al.

I don’t recommend seeing this movie, unless you could make some sort of Rocky Horror/Showgirls-like drinking game out of it.

ALISON SAYS:

I just want you all to know that I am breathing very heavily and looking at the computer with brooding eyes as I type this blog. Okay that joke may be a couple weeks late, but some of us aren’t thirteen and have jobs and may have been too busy to go see Twilight opening weekend.  Speaking of opening weekend, I heard a funny story from someone who did actually attend a Twilight screening that weekend. As we all know, lines were long and full of teenage girls.  And apparently before letting lines in, movie ushers would instruct the crowds not to scream, run, or squeal as they entered the theater.  I love that this had to be stressed.  Those poor theater employees must have their ears pounding by the end of opening weekend with all the screaming fans.

Overall, I found this movie hilarious.  I laughed a lot, I know I wasn’t supposed to, but I did.  All the jumping and sparkling and lingering looks and angst.  I also learned that apparently when vampires go into direct sunlight their button down shirts suddenly open up, revealing perfectly carved abs and pecs and they become sparkly.   I am a huge fan of sparkles (huge), but I don’t understand why the undead would be sparkly.  I realize the target audience for this movie are big fans of glitter, so what could possibly be better than a dreamy, glittering hunk of a man/boy, but still it seems to go against every conception of what it is to be undead.

A lot of the movie felt like an overly dramatized music video.  Lots of heavy guitar twangs underlining what’s happening in the story and the oh so deep emotions of Bella and Edward.  But it’s definitely still an entertaining flick to watch, even if you’re not a thirteen-year-old girl or a die-hard fan of the book series.  Let’s just put it out there, Robert Pattinson is hot.   Any red-blooded woman probably felt at least some kind of twinge in her lady parts from his appearance on screen, even with all the white powder.

Dear Robert Pattinson’s cheekbones,
We get it.
Alie

I’ve had some of my less good looking male friends complain about how they can never tell what a girl wants.  And they’re right.  You could have a guy show up with a dozen roses, and if you don’t like him, you’d find it weird or creepy, but if you like him, it’s a grand, sweeping gesture.  Someone like Robert Pattinson can tell a girl he likes to watch her sleep and it doesn’t register on the creepyometer, because you’re too entranced by his perfectly messy coif or his dark, searching eyes or the way the light catches his beautiful skin. So to my less handsome male friends, don’t tell a girl you watch her sleep or stare at her from across a room while breathing heavily.  Unless you look like Pattinson, it’s probably not gonna go the way you had planned.

LA Viewers: It’s worth catching a matinee at the Grove or Arclight, but I wouldn’t pay full price unless you are 13.

Translation for non-LA natives: A matinee is the way to go.

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 Go To A Movie: Choke

October 3, 2008

Two Blondes review a movie and ramble about themselves.

JESSICA SAYS:
Here is what I knew about this movie going into it: It’s based on a novel by Chuck Palahniuk. That’s it. Sometimes that’s a really nice way to go into a movie (or book for that matter) because it prevents the sentiment that my mother utters after every single movie when you ask her what she thought–“Well, it wasn’t what I expected.” I have read Fight Club, which is also by Palahniuk, but haven’t read Choke. So, I expected it to be dark and twisty, with a little social commentary added in for good measure. To borrow from Mom, “It wasn’t (totally) what I expected.” It was dark and twisty, but I missed the social commentary. Side note: anytime I quote my mother, be sure to read it with a pretty strong Midwestern accent (specifically Saint Louis).

A quick plot summary–Sam Rockwell plays a recovering sex addict, Victor Mancini, who works at a colonial reenactment site. His mother, played by Angelica Houston, is a patient in a mental hospital who no longer recognizes her son. Victor begins to fall for his mother’s doctor, played by Kelly MacDonald, as he sets out to find out who his father is.

Kudos to the casting director of this film. I don’t think there is another actor out there that plays sleazy, but likeable as well as Sam Rockwell. I’m kind of in love with Anjelica Huston now. As I left the movie, it dawned on me that I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of her movies before. I am in the process of adding her films to my Blockbuster queue right now. This film was filled with scenes that turned on long, silent close-ups of her face as she processed emotion and information. I was in awe. Plus, I got kind of mesmerized by her looks–she’s attractive, but not in a traditional sense and I could never quite put my finger on what made her striking. It’s like the individual parts are kind of odd, but the sum of the parts works. Last but not least, I was so pleased to see Joel Grey, star of Broadway and father of Baby Houseman (a.k.a. Jennifer Grey–“Dirty Dancing”). He’s such an odd little man and he worked that beautifully as one of the recovering sex addicts in therapy with Victor.

Have you ever seen a movie and thought, I bet this is a really good book? That’s how I felt with “Choke.” That’s not to say I didn’t think the movie was good; I did. I just felt like the book probably said things the movie didn’t even attempt to (the missing social commentary I referenced at the beginning of this). I laughed out loud several times, which is how I judge how funny something is. Even better, it was pretty moving, too.

Just a warning: I was unprepared for how much sex there was in this movie. After reading this, you will already be aware it’s about a sex addict. I was not. All the sex scenes felt appropriate and were relevant to the plot, just…you know…this isn’t one for the kids.

This is worth seeing for the full Friday night price. Just don’t see it with anyone whom you might be uncomfortable watching people do the ‘around the world.’

ALISON SAYS:

Who knew broken, depressed sex addicts could be so funny? I sure didn’t until I saw this movie. I have never read any of Chuck Palahniuk’s books, though after reading some of his info on Wikipedia, I’ve just added some of his work to my library account (yes, I have a library card and actually use it). Here’s a few choice pieces:

When Palahniuk “attempted to publish his next novel, Invisible Monsters, publishers rejected it for being too disturbing. This led him to work on his most famous novel, Fight Club, which he wrote as an attempt to disturb the publisher even more for rejecting him.”

“Palahniuk would also become a member of the rebellious Cacophony Society* in his adulthood. He is a regular participant in their events, including the annual Santa Rampage (a public Christmas party involving pranks and drunkenness) in Portland. His participation in the Society inspired some of the events in his writings, both fictional and non-fictional. Most notably, he used the Cacophony Society as the basis for Project Mayhem in Fight Club.”

“Choke” is the latest film adaptation of Palahniuk’s work, and it’s definitely worth seeing. It has a stellar cast, all talented and all funny. There’s a depressing realism to the misery that is their lives, but you still love being along for the ride and keep hoping they’ll find some semblance of happiness. Sam Rockwell dazzles as a guy you sort of want to hate, but can’t help being charmed by. I can’t believe I just wrote “dazzles.” Brad William Henke masterfully portrays the sweetest, most cuddly chronic masturbator you’ll ever meet. Clark Gregg should be proud of himself for his directorial debut with this film, not to mention his hilarious performance as Lord High Charlie and the fact that he wrote the screenplay.

LA Viewers: Worth paying full price at The Grove or Sunset 5.

Translation for non-LA natives: It is worth paying money to see this movie in the theaters. It will make you laugh and you get to see boobs (if you’re into that).

Sidenote: This is not the movie to bring your small children or your mom to. Or to bring anyone who might be weirded out by somewhat explicit sex scenes.
*Jessica has no idea what the Cacophony Society actually does, but you had her at “pranks and drunkenness.”

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.