Posts Tagged ‘JJ Abrams’

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Super 8

June 16, 2011

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves.

Jessica says:

I think I have made my affection for J.J. Abrams clear on this blog before, but just in case not – me *heart* J.J. Abrams.  I am particularly a sucker for his television programs (Felicity, Alias, Lost, Fringe).  His blend of science fiction and character dramas is right up my geek alley.  I also adore Kyle Chandler.  I’m not in high school and (obviously) never played football, but I wish Coach Taylor was my coach.  That being said, before I dive in to my criticisms of the film, I want to be clear that I liked Super 8 and I think you should see it in the theatre.  Soon.

Now for the criticisms.  What is up with the lens flares, J.J.?  Too many.  In case you’re not sure what I’m talking about, here is an example:

And another…

And another…

They are those bluish streaks across the screen that were nearly constant in Super 8.  Mr. Abrams used them so often that if you google, “lens flares in film,” the first three articles are about J.J.  For the record, having a lens flare in a shot is traditionally considered bad or a mistake.  However, I kind of like them as a stylistic choice…BUT IN MODERATION.  In my brief googling I mentioned above, I came across this article about his use of lens flares in Star Trek.  He admits to overusing lens flares, but says that it was because, “I love the idea that the future was so bright it couldn’t be contained in the frame.”  OK, then why use so many in Super 8 when it is set in 1979?

My personal preference in monster suspense movies is that I don’t want to see the monster.  Whatever I’m imagining in my head is way scarier than whatever CGI thing you can draw, especially if it just looks like a giant bug.

Now it’s time for my weird, petty issue:  Elle Fanning is a terrific young actress, but I wish they would have dyed her eyebrows to match her hair.  It distracted me for about 20% of the movie and sparked a debate between Alison and I over just how much someone’s natural hair and eyebrow color can differ.

J.J. Abrams made a great 1980s Steven Spielberg movie (and that is in no way an insult).  Unlike a lot of science fiction, you actually like and care what happens to these characters.   Go see it soon.

Alison says:

Watching Super 8 made me feel like a kid and reminded me of some of my favorite childhood movies, but with a twist of modern edge and awesome digital effects. The train wreck was incredible (I don’t think I’m giving any spoilers away by saying there’s a train wreck since it’s in the trailer). And the monster (I won’t say what kind of monster in an effort not to give away the story) was very well executed. I loved that you didn’t get to see it completely till the end. You were left mostly with glimpses, thus being forced to use your imagination as to what this thing is

I watched Super 8 at the Arclight Dome and it’s a really great movie to watch with a large audience. It’s one of those films where you felt everyone was excited to see it and enjoyed the movie going experience. It’s hard to go wrong when a film has both JJ Abrams and Spielberg attached to it.  Not to mention, the very handsome Kyle Chandler (cue Jessica and I both sighing) and also a cast of kids that I thought were perfect casting choices.

I’m not gonna argue that some cynics might say parts of the ending felt a bit heavy-handed, but if you can put away your cynical side, and watch this movie with some childlike wonder, you’re in for a great ride

LA viewers: Very worth paying full price at Arclight (especially the Dome).

Translation for non-LA viewers: Did you read the part about an awesome train wreck scene or Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and Kyle Chandler being attached to this movie? Go see it!

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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 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 Watch Their TiVo: Lost Season Five Premiere

January 22, 2009

Two Blondes watch their TiVo and ramble about themselves:

JESSICA SAYS:

NOTE:  This is less a ‘review’ of the episode and more my stream of consciousness while watching it…
“You know that sound you’re hearing, you know, that boom? That’s my mind blowing.”
(That’s a quote from another JJ Abrams-related project.  Bonus points if you know which one.)

Seriously folks.  With the words, “Previously, on Lost,” my excitement is at a level not reached since…last night watching the President and First Lady take their first dance.

Is that an aged Sun in the bed with mystery man?  No, I don’t think so, but they look similar.  OK, I think they are telling us we are in the past, what with the lack of a microwave and the presence of a record player.  Dr. Candle is the mystery man!  Orientation film tells us the Dharma Initiative was trying to spy on the natives.  Interesting.

Faraday is in the past!  Oh, I get the feeling this season is going to keep me on my toes, what with the time traveling plots.  Apparently the guy who died drilling the holes into the wall suffered to something similar to what was going on with Desmond in “The Constant” because it looked like he died of a nosebleed.

I don’t like future-Jack.  He’s a total downer.  At least he just shaved of the depressing beard.

OK, I don’t want to jump the gun here in our ‘review,’ but I LOVE THIS SHOW.   Faraday tells us he was ‘inside the radius,’ so apparently the freighter and the helicopter were not.  The weird donkey has apparently taken them back in time (cue Huey Lewis).

As a major fan of My So-Called Life, I am delighted to see Tom Irwin has joined the cast…for at least two episodes, according to IMDb.  If you want to see a great story about the relationship between girls and their dads, you must check out the “Father Figures” episode of MSYCL (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0654950/).  Note ‘father figures’ is a recurring theme on Lost too.  See how I tied it all back together there?  I can review and watch at the same time!

I liked the little nod to Hitchcock and North by Northwest with the smuggling plane flyover Locke.  This is a question I would like to pose:  Who has creepier eyes, Ben or Ethan?

Ahhhhhhh!  Light bulb moment!! Could the ‘skipping through time’ be related to the whisper voices on the Island?  As in, some sort of people stuck in another dimension kind of thing?  Think about it.

Things I have learned from Lost:  If you suspect evil people might be after you, load your dishwasher with the knives sharp end up so you can whip open the door in the middle of the fight with said perpetrators and push them on the knives.

OK, right I’m supposed to be reviewing.  Reviewing…
How long will Sawyer be shirtless?  Is it too much to hope the answer to that is three more seasons?

Now Charlotte is suffering from the nosebleed disease too.  Uh oh.

Why does Hurley see dead people?  Are they really just figments of his imagination?  I like Ana Lucia’s fringe.

*Tick, tick, tick…what’s that noise?  I’m counting down how long Neil/Frogurt (http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Neil_%22Frogurt%22) stays with us considering he’s basically a sock (‘sock’ is what the producers call the background players http://lostpedia.wikia.com/wiki/Background_cast).

Ha ha!  I was right!!  Frogurt just took a flaming arrow to the chest.

I knew Ms. Hawking was going to be important to the show.  Fionnula Flanagan is too great an actress to be wasted in a tiny role.  Although I didn’t dig the fact that the scene between Ms. Hawking and Ben felt like it was out of The DaVinci Code.

OK, it just ended and all I can think about is how I feel like I need to watch the show three more times.

ALISON SAYS:

The second the 2 hour premiere of Lost ended, I literally sat up and yelled out “No” at the TV, because I am so eager to see what happens next. If you are not watching Lost, then I am very, very sad for you and think you should reevaluate your priorities in life.  Lost is the of the culmination of great television.  I can’t imagine any show reaching the pinnacles of storytelling that this show has reached.  And the season 5 premiere did not disappoint.  Also, Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof were adorably charming during the 1 hour recap before the new episode, especially when they described Jack going downhill in Season 4 and growing a bad beard.

I don’t want this review spoil any plot points, so I won’t go into too many details.  The opening sequence and reveal of who we’re watching was just an incredible beginning to what is sure to be an incredible season.  Sawyer being without his shirt for much of the beginning of the episode didn’t hurt either.

 

During the premiere, we spend some of our time in the “real world,” and it must be noted that Ben is just as scary a bad guy off the island as on the island.  Seriously, when does Michael Emerson get his Emmy and/or Golden Globe?