Posts Tagged ‘movie review’

Two Blondes Go to a Movie: Water For Elephants

June 15, 2011

Two Blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves:


ALISON SAYS:

I really, really, really loved this book, so I went in not expecting much, since movies often  don’t live up to the books they’re based on. But I was happily surprised. I thought it was a really beautiful adaptation of the book. Not perfect, but a good adaptation. They left out some of the most touching parts of the book (I highly, highly recommend reading this book), but I understand the choice to leave them out, and thought it did help the movie to flow smoothly. The three main actors (Reese Witherspoon, Robert Pattinson and Christoph Waltz) did a great job of giving these characters life.

It’s a gorgeous film and I loved seeing Reese’s hair and dresses from that time period. And it made me wish I had a personal hair stylist to curl my hair that way on a daily basis. I also really wish I had a pet elephant.

LA Viewers: Read the book first, and then go see a matinee, especially if you love animals.

Translation for non-LA viewers: same goes for you.

JESSICA SAYS:

This review is going to be short.  I saw Water for Elephants weeks ago, when it came out.  I didn’t think we were going to review it for this here blog, but then my cohort decided to see it this past weekend.  Now I am desperately trying to remember what I thought of it.  What I’ve come up with so far was…I thought it was OK.  You know, not bad, not awesome.  OK.  Romancy (it’s a word.  Yes it is.  Look it up.).

I remember thinking the movie was very pretty and I was envious of Reese Witherspoon’s depression-era hairstyle.  I spent a significant amount of time in the movie wondering if I could pull off that look (silky pin curls) in 2011.  What do you think?

Also, RPatz is still hot.  Remember Cedric Diggory, you guys.   I’ve been on that bandwagon since 2005.

Elephants are awesome.  They figured out how to use tools on their own and probably have their own language (not counting the Polish that the elephant in the movie understands).

Wait for it On Demand/DVD.

Two Blondes Go To A Movie: The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

August 4, 2010

ALISON SAYS:

So yeah, I’m not 13 and I did go see Eclipse. Sure, I was a little embarrassed walking into the Burbank theater, worrying someone I know (besides Jessica) would see me and ask, “Hey, are you going to see the Twilight movie? Does that mean you’ve read the books too?” And I would answer haltingly, “No. Of course not.”  But yes, I read the books. I didn’t think they were great, but they passed the time and are entertaining.  Same with the movies.

I think the quality of the series has increased with each film.  I didn’t laugh quite as much when Edward sparkled or when the vampires did their crazy fast running.  The opening scene was pretty cool for a teen film.  Also, Robert Pattinson is very handsome. Very, very handsome.  And Taylor Lautner has incredible abs. Jessica and I were sitting next to two women (grown women, not teenage girls) who were gasping when those two were onscreen,  They were VERY moved by the “romantic” scenes.  So that added a whole new level to our filmgoing experience.  Mostly, I found myself either giggling or slightly bored.

LA Viewers – I’d say wait for the DVD, unless you’re a 13-year-old girl. But going by the box office reports, I’m pretty sure you’re not going to listen to me.

Translation for non LA viewers – Same goes for you.

JESSICA SAYS:

First off, I will admit that I have now seen The Twilight Saga: Eclipse twice in the
movie theatre. Twice. I saw it the first time back when it was a relatively new
release. Alison and I decided to review it, but by the time we decided to do a
review I had pretty much forgotten anything I initially had to say about it. So, I
agreed to re-screen it with Alison. The only problem is that now, after seeing it
twice, I still don’t really have a lot to say about it. Here’s what I can say:
• It’s the best of the three Twilight films so far.
• I’ve had a crush on Robert Pattinson since I solely knew him as the-guy-
who-played-Cedric-Diggory, but after his recent growth spurt (because
he’s actually young enough to still be growing), I’m warming to Taylor
Lautner. As I’ve said before, on the outside I’m Team Edward, but my
inner pedophile is totally Team Jacob.


•The special effects, while still cheesy, are leaps and bounds better than

the first Twilight.
• Can we all agree that it’s a little ridiculous to call it, “The Twilight Saga?”
Saga? Really? All right, teenage girls, stop shouting and throwing things
at me.
That’s pretty much it, except one last tidbit. I called my mom when I was on
the way to pick up Alison. I told Mom we were going to see Eclipse. Mom’s
response was, “Well. That’s one I won’t be seeing.” Now, you might be
thinking, “Oh, Jessica’s mom has decent taste in movies. That’s why she doesn’t
want to see Twilight.” If that’s what you’re thinking, you’re wrong. My mom
was so adamant that she wouldn’t see it because she is a ‘Pollyanna.’ That’s
her description of herself. What she means by ‘Pollyanna’ is basically that she
refuses to watch or enjoy anything she deems dirty or violent; which means she
turns up her nose at anything from The Simpsons (that Bart sure is disrespectful
of authorities) to Pulp Fiction (swearing, violence, sex, drug use, etc., etc., etc.).
Because she knows Twilight is about vampires, she won’t see it—no matter
how much I tell her that she would actually probably like it because really, it’s a
romance and a morality tale about the importance of keeping one’s virginity until
marriage. Nope, Phyllis is having none of it. Vampires? She’s out.
I would tell you this movie is OK to see as a matinee, but let’s be honest – if you
had any desire to see it, you probably already have.

Two Blondes Go To A Movie: 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: The Wrestler

January 28, 2009

Two Blondes review movies and ramble a lot about themselves:

JESSICA SAYS:

Normally, if you said to me, “Jessica, do you want to go see that new Mickey Rourke movie about professional wrestlers,” I would politely decline and then reevaluate why we are friends. That was until I saw the preview for The Wrestler before The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. I was intrigued. It actually looked good. Really good. Guess what? It totally is good.
Nine 1/2 Weeks was the only Mickey Rourke movie I had seen before now and I had never seen a Darren Aronofsky film. I know, I should totally see Pi and Requiem for a Dream and I want to, I just haven’t made it around to them yet (especially Requiem for a Dream; it stars my pretend boyfriend, Jordan Catalano…ahem, I mean Jared Leto. He’s so pretty.). What I did know about Mickey Rourke was, and I don’t know how to say this politely, but…OK, forget polite, the freak show that was his face after too much or just really bad plastic surgery.  But hey, I still enjoy Kathy Griffin even with somewhat distracting plastic surgery. I loved that Aronofsky made the decision to follow Rourke from behind for the first few minutes of the film. It had the combined effect of letting you get into the story without the distraction of Rourke’s face, while at the same time building tension for it’s arrival. mickey-rourke-ba1

The fact that I really enjoyed this movie is all the more remarkable when you consider that I abhor professional wrestling. My grandpa and my cousin, David, used to watch it when I was a kid and it scared the bejeezus out of me. Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage, Jake the Snake, and of course, Hulk Hogan. I would try to watch with them, but I just couldn’t stand it. Even though I knew it was ‘fake,’ I found nothing enjoyable about watching a man hit another man with a folding chair. You don’t have to have any opinion on the WWF to appreciate this film.

Marisa Tomei is great. I never saw My Cousin Vinny, but I know there have always been rumblings that she didn’t deserve her Oscar for it. She deserves any accolades she gets for this part. Not to mention that every inch of her body is on full display in The Wrestler and she looks damn good. It’s fair to say that her performance is naked in every sense of the word, which is a pretty remarkable thing to watch.

I was really moved by this movie. If broke my heart a little, so if you’re looking for a pick-me-up, this is not the film. I won’t give away the specifics of the ending, but I will say I was pleased with it. Not everything is tied up with a little bow for you. For a change, an American film gives the audience’s intelligence the benefit of the doubt. Thank you.

I recommend seeing this film as soon as possible. Mom, if you’re reading, be warned that there are squirm-inducing injuries in this film–think staple gun. *Shiver*

ALISON SAYS:

It took me a while to finally sit down and write my review for The Wrestler. 45% of that may be contributed to procrastination and a new fascination with Hulu.com (yes, I know I’m behind the times, but I had an old computer up until recently that didn’t work well with Hulu). Anyway, my point is besides the 45% procrastination, there was also the 55% (is that math right?) that had to do with wanting to do this film justice and being able to put into words how I felt watching this film. The word “wrecked” comes to mind.
I never thought I’d be so moved by a film about a guy who spends his time in tanning booths and lycra, especially one starring Mickey Rourke. But that is why Darren Aronofsky is a genius (not that I’m not a genius, but on the genius scale, I would put Aronofsky just a tad higher). And that is also why I am saddened that Aronofsky wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for Best Directing. I haven’t seen The Reader or Milk yet, and of the other films in that category that I have seen, they were excellent movies and directors who proved why they’re at the top of their game. But nothing comes close to the surprising (some might say shocking) performance that Aronofsky got out of Mickey Rourke. I can’t imagine any other film feeling as real and heartbreaking as this one does. Aronofsky is a master at this, as can be seen in Requiem For A Dream, an amazing film.

leapThe Wrestler is gritty. It seems like a cliché word to use, but it fits. The graininess of the footage and the close-ups of Rourke’s surgery-ravaged face. Every bleak detail of Randy ‘The Ram’ Robinson’s life broke my heart. There’s something about a over the hill, tanned, strangely chiseled man with bleached hair putting in a hearing aid or wearing bifocals that wrenched at my heart like nothing I’ve ever felt in a film before. Mickey Rourke deserves every accolade coming his way. I only hope he learns from the tragedy of the character he plays in The Wrestler, and uses some of that wisdom to deal with his rebirth as a movie star. Praise must also be heaped on Marisa Tomei. It took guts and fearlessness to play that role. I’m not just talking about being almost nude in the film. Tomei shows she is an Oscar worthy actress, along with still having an amazing body.

Sidenote: I found it interesting the script was written by Robert D. Spiegel, former Editor in Chief of The Onion, of which I am a big fan. I was also surprised he wasn’t nominated for an Oscar for Best Screenplay.

Personal note: I used to watch wrestling on TV with my dad as a kid. Maybe that’s why I was so moved at seeing what some of my childhood entertainers may have turned into.

LA Viewers: Go see it now! It’s worth paying full price at the Grove or Arclight for.

Translation for non-LA natives: This a film worth seeing in the theaters.

d_aronoksfy_-_the_wrestler_low_3

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: 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: 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: 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.

Two Blondes Go To A Movie: Pineapple Express

September 6, 2008

Two blondes review a movie and mostly ramble about themselves.

JESSICA SAYS:

My view on marijuana has changed over the years. As a teenager, I totally drank the Nancy Reagan Just Say No Kool-Aid (but only when it came to drugs—I was more than happy to overindulge in alcohol as a minor…and still am). I made it entirely through high school and college without ever lighting up, or toking, or whatever the kids are calling it. It wasn’t that hard to resist because unlike what they told us in the Just Say No club, if you say, “No thanks,” people don’t really pressure you. I was an officer in the Just Say No Club; media relations officer, which meant I went to the local radio station and recorded Just Say No ads (I also played the keyboard in the Just Say No jazz band). Vanity was my main reason for never smoking it, as it turns out. I’m horrible at inhaling. It’s embarrassing. I choke, cough, turn red, my eyes water, etc. Not what you want to happen when you’re trying to get the boy next to you to kiss you.

By the time I reached my mid-twenties, I started to realize that maybe it wasn’t such a big deal. In grad school, I decided to try it, just to say I had and to see what all the fuss was about. Again, unlike what Ms. Reagan told us, I was not automatically addicted. Like I had feared, my inability to inhale kept me to a one joint minimum and it had barely any effect on me. I became only slightly more giggly than normal.

My major concern going into this movie was that I didn’t have enough weed experience to get all the jokes. That wasn’t a problem. In the end, my main critique was that it was too long. I know this is not a novel critique for a Judd Apatow et al movie, but it was 1:52 and would have been much funnier at 1:30. The pot jokes were legitimately funny. It’s the action sequences that were way too long, and at risk of sounding like my mother, too violent. When I signed up for a stoner action adventure, I wasn’t expecting to see so many people meet their bloody demise.

So, I recommend renting this movie to watch as the second film on a staying-in night with friends. Pick something shorter as the main attraction.

ALISON SAYS:

Dear Seth Rogen,
Do you remember driving by me on Crescent Heights and 3rd six months ago? I furiously waved at you from my Blue Scion and may have even honked a couple times. No, it’s totally cool if you don’t remember.
Alison

Here’s my background, or lack thereof, when it comes to pot. In elementary school I was a star pupil when it came to Project Charlie (a drug education program). The teacher loved me, because I was and still am a nerd. She would repeat the mantra “You are special” over and over to make sure we knew we didn’t need drugs to be special. Being an only child, I was already aware of how special I was, but it was nice to see it confirmed in colored chalk up on the board.

At age thirteen, when I found out two of my friends were rowing out to the middle of our lake to get stoned, I was convinced every after school special I’d seen was about to come true. Certain that they were going to drown, I tried to save them by yelling from shore, “You’ll die out there!” My heroic efforts were mocked as they rowed farther away from me. Of course in the end, they didn’t drown. Nothing much happened at all, besides them probably enjoying the clouds more than usual.

In high school my sophomore year boyfriend, a former honors student and captain of his lacrosse team, started smoking weed after we broke up. He ended up getting kicked off the team and failing out of school. It only confirmed my every fear of the fall one takes when one experiments with drugs. Even at age 16, an age where you might not want to broadcast just how drug free and straight edge you are, I was running stop smoking programs in the student center at my school. I would shake pictures of darkened, damaged lungs at fellow classmates.

So, yeah, I was THAT girl. But despite my lack of experience with marijuana, I found Pineapple Express to be mostly hilarious. I laughed loud and often. Seth Rogen and James Franco were awesome together, and I have a newfound respect for James Franco after his performance as the ultimate pothead. My only criticism would be some of the violence at the end. Violence doesn’t bother me (two of my favorite movies are Die Hard and True Romance), but it seemed like overkill. It kind of felt like someone just wanted to throw in a shitload of blood and crazy stunts, but then again blood and stunts are super fun. But the ending felt long and overly bloody and not as funny as the rest of the film, in my sober and nerdy opinion.

LA Viewers: This movie is worth paying matinee price at the Grove, but may not be worth full price at Arclight.
Translation for non-LA Natives: I’m happy I saw it in the theaters, but I wouldn’t call it a travesty if you waited for one of your stoner buddies to rent it from Netflix.