Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Year That Was...2011

Another year has come and gone, and, once again, it has flown by. It seems like yesterday we were counting down for 2011. Seriously, has life always been such a blur of time? Time goes by so incredibly it makes me reflect on just what I have been up to all these twelve months. Can you sense where I'm going with this? That's right, here's my year in a nutshell:

1. No boyfriends. I don't know whether I should be proud of myself or regret it. Either way, I have gone through this year completely single. Of course, I have had the occasional guy to fool around with. Don't mistake me for a whore because I'm not. Anyway, in all honesty, I've tried to get involved with a few guys. But it was not a success. Is it ever? A success, I mean. Only if you have stable confidence I suppose. And you're interesting and attractive. Just kidding. I'm not that insecure. Oh yeah, that reminds me.
New Year's resolution: Be more outgoing and willing to socialize with others.

2. Georgetown. Otherwise known as the place I'll be living after college. Or during. Over the year, I've roamed the streets of this cultural city, falling in love with the sights, smells, and sounds of it all. On spring break, my dad and I came here to explore the rich history of the United States. While that was interesting and all (the Capitol was incredible), the real fun was in the city: shopping at H&M, eating at rare delicacies, walking through the quiet streets. Indescribably ideal. I want to live here. And I shall. Why even now, for New Year's, I'm here with my dad, having the time of our lives!
New Year's resolution: Keep my mind set on Georgetown. Goes without saying.

3. Survived a religious apocalypse. Remember that radio priest who predicted the world would end on May 21? It had something to do with God taking all believers to Heaven, right? And then on October 21, the world would completely end with all nonbelievers being sucked into the Earth...or something like that? Well, he was wrong. Both times. It's not as if his prophecy had a chance of happening, but everyone was still having end-of-the-world parties and worrying. Including me, only I was in Six Flags with my mom. That's much more fun, obviously. Anyway, two phony apocalypses down, one more to go.
New Year's resolution: Survive 2012.

4. Nearly a tramp. Accentuate nearly, if you please. Viewer discretion advised. There was a period in the year where I felt the worst a person could feel about themselves. Over the past year, I got involved with someone who was in a serious relationship. They're not anymore. Not because of me...I think. Anyway, he and I went rather far, physically, but we did not have sex. This might be too personal for me to share, but it's not as if I'm giving out names or anything. Besides, the Internet has been the public diary of much more naughtier deeds. After all that (believe me, there were more events I'm just as ashamed of), I was lucky to have my amazing friends and wonderful parents to help me get past it. Considering I left the aforementioned event a secret, now they can help me forget it.
New Year's resolution: Play hard to get.

5. Signing off Facebook. Should I thank The Social Network? Remember that movie, the one nominated for all those awards? I almost forgot it. Anyway, this was probably my defining moment of the year. Following a typical OMG-type sleepover this summer, I decided to disconnect myself from the cyber-world that is Facebook. That social networking labyrinth is the epitome of what our world is turning into: one that relies on this website to communicate and make friends. If that's the way we're practically forced to socialize, then I want no part of it. I sincerely hope my decision will inspire others to do the same and deactivate their accounts for good. Believe me, it is a relief.
New Year's resolution: Stay off Facebook. One that goes without saying really.

6. Hello, I'm drunk. This might be personal and inappropriate, but I consider this a rite a passage. A milestone in the gift of life, if you will. It all happened because of a frustrating 4th of July gathering of strangers. My mom let them in, of course, as they are relatives of her husband. Just the more reason to have a few glasses of wine. A few turned into many, until I am texting while under the influence of alcohol. It was only 9% alcohol though, and most certainly wasn't "all in my head".
New Year's resolution: Drink less?

7. Disney World. Do I even need to explain this one? What may have been one of the greatest trips to date, Walt Disney's fantasyland refused to disappoint, and, boy, did it astound me. For the thousandth time. Instead of writing fresh words describing my elation, allow me to provide an excerpt from my what-I-did-over-the-summer paper: "Standing in front of the enchanting Cinderella Castle, I can hardly believe I am in the center of a magical land. Adorned with delightful characters, amusing rides, and delectable cuisine, Walt Disney World is a magical place of wonder and joy. Everyone around is just as cheerful as I am, as if all the stresses of ordinary life had melted away, replaced by the dazzling aura of Disney. The serene park ambience allowed me to ease into the feel of being here, for its harmonious tune was enough to whisk me off to Fantasyland. The tropical scent of Floridian air was especially refreshing, as was the aroma of scrumptious foods I passed by. Even the sweltering heat could not wipe away my smile, for once you set foot in this whimsical paradise, there are more things to be focused on than sticky sweat." I got an 88 on that paper, in case you were wondering. I hold grudges.
New Year's resolution: Return to Disney World!

8. Elizabeth Taylor... I can't bring myself to say that she has passed. (And writing "R.I.P." is so foreboding and ominous.) The great Elizabeth Taylor, who has given us roles such as Cleopatra and...well, so far, that's the only film I saw her in. Even so, I consider her one of cinema's most iconic and glorious actresses. I feel slightly embarrassed that I have nothing more to say of her, other than the given: that she is one of Hollywood's last glamourous stars and she will be missed. She was quite glamourous, wasn't she?
Another tragic and ground-breaking loss was of Apple mogul Steve Jobs. Because of him, I am swiftly typing on my MacBook Pro. Because of him, I am able to escape the chaos of everyday life through the sounds of my iPod Touch. Without him, I am sure we wouldn't be as advanced as we are, and probably would still be using vintage flip-phones. The ones whose only feature is making phone calls. Again, I refuse to say R.I.P. because it's just enough to make you cry, isn't it? Here's to you, Steve Jobs. You will also be missed.
New Year's resolution: Don't forget them.

9. There once was a man named Brian. There won't be any limerick, so if that's what you came for, you can just get the hell out of here. No, this has to do with my personal realization (an epiphany, perhaps) of my true feelings. Throughout the previous "work" year, I have grown to be very good friends with Brian, a fellow "co-worker". (I mention him in my bio tab above.) Anyway, over the summer, I've developed...feelings...for him. Romantic-type feelings. Indeed. Now, this is a significant event for me because, well, he's sort of my soulmate. I know that sounds rather excessive, even desperate, but it's technically true. Should I hope Brian is reading this? I suppose I'll decide if he starts ignoring me.
New Year's resolution: Rather obvious, isn't it?

The plan was to note ten major events, but I couldn't think of another one. So, there are my nine most important occurrences of the year 2011. While some are joyful and others are humiliating, they were all part of my experience of this little thing called life. Ever heard of it? (Cheesy comedy banter, right there. Let's move on.) And, without further ado, let us all look forward to a fantastic new year! Enjoy yourselves tonight because life's too short to be wasting by watching movies all the time. Unless you're me. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Christmas...Miracle?

I couldn't think of a suitable noun to go after "Christmas". I'm referring to the title. Anyway, in case you were wondering, my ΓΌber-holiday cheer has not returned to its former ecstatic state. Again, I don't know why. Well, I do have an idea, but I'd rather not disclose that information with you. What I can share with you is how my Christmas is going so far. Point by point. Here it goes.

Mine looked similar to these...only not as good.
At seven in the morning, I awoke to see a snowless landscape outside, and suddenly wished I lived farther north in, say, Canada. Ay? (Sigh.) What I had meticulously planned, weeks ago, was that I would make a huge stack of Russian crepes by myself and expect a delicious result. I had some experience with my dad, who is a master at crepe-making. (Not over flattery, it's true.) Whilst I am making crepes, my mom would be making Belgian waffles with her new waffle maker, as well as some lattes with out new Dolce Gusto machine. (Droolismo!) Then, we would all gather around the scrumptious treats and savor in its glorious taste. What happened instead? I'll tell you. My first batch of crepes stuck to the pans, and therefore could not be made edible. My second batch was flippable, yet not dark and crispy enough. In order to make successfully tasty crepes, they have to have dark circles on them and be surrounded by a crispy crust. Mine turned out too light in color and rather flimsy. They were more restaurant-quality than bakery, which is not a good thing. Fortunately, they were decent when smothered in blueberry compote. According to my mom, they were "delicious"; then again, she did soak them in butter, sugar, and cherry compote. Yum. Her waffles were unlike true Belgian waffles, being too soft and even undercooked looking. It wasn't her fault, of course, the thin waffle maker purchased in Ross was to blame. And Dolce Gusto? There were technical difficulties, evidently, and my cappuccino was a bit too hot and strong. Sure, I could have waited for it to cool and add some sugar, but it's a hassle. Just kidding, I finished my food by that time and was too full for that hyper-inducing beverage. That was my breakfast. Bon Appetite.

That's not my house.
Next on the agenda was opening presents. Considering I am over the age of seven, there was no excitement in this process. I picked all my gifts out beforehand, so there were no surprises, and the shutterbug known as my mom's husband was buzzing around asking us all to smile. The only pleasure in this procedure was seeing the look on my mom's face when she opened her present from me. And ripping the wrapping paper off was a childish delight, as well. I'm still a kid inside. While all this was going on, I thought to myself what a joy it is to believe in Santa. Only those who truly believe enjoy this part of Christmas most because the idea of a man granting their wishes, by bringing presents, is just so amazing to them. The bright, astounded look on their faces, their genuine smiles, it's enough to make you warm inside. (Imagine your heart glowing red at the sight of these joyful littluns.) Their joy makes me wish that I still, truly, believed in Santa Claus. Because with him around, Christmas is just more to look forward to, and a motivation to keep your holiday spirits up. Say, did I just return to my initial issue of losing festive cheer? Why, yes, I believe I did. Neat-o.

After that, I entertained my little brother for a few hours (my mom best not deny this) and then took a steamy shower. Okay, that's a bit too graphic. Among the hours spent playing my new game on PlayStation Portable, I wrote this very post, to remind you all the true meaning of Christmas. Whoops, wrong line. Actually, I wrote this because I felt like venting my dullness to you people. (What do you mean "you people"?) Never fear because at midnight tonight I'm hitting Duncan's Toy Chest, five floors of cash...wait, wrong line again! Seriously, though, at midnight my dad's picking me up and I'm spending the rest of winter break with him. What fun! For New Year's, we're heading on over to Georgetown in Washington D.C. Again, what fun! Between now and then? Thirty-dollar gift card for Cold Stone Creamery. Thanks, Santa. Merry Christmas to all! And to all...bye.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Bumpy Festive Start

Merry Christmas Eve everyone! Now, I don't know about you, but I felt a sudden decrease in holiday cheer today. I haven't a clue why this happened, but nevertheless, it did. Yesterday, on the jolly day of Festivus, I was in an ultimate yuletide spirit as I exchanged gifts with most of my friends and what not. Today, it all started with a delicious breakfast with my dad, and the unveiling of my huge present: a MacBook Pro. I can feel your shock and envy through the sleek screen as I write this post, on the very Apple laptop in question. Typing on it is such a pleasure, it's almost arousing. Anyway, back to my sudden holiday-spirit decline. I really don't know why I feel so dull after having had such a pleasant beginning yesterday and all. And the worst part (or best part) is that I don't want to feel so glum this time of year! I've been anticipating this moment for months, and now I shrug with indifference? Oh, no, sir, I shall not let an unknown ghost dampen my joy. To lift my spirits, I decided to watch The Santa Clause 3, yet again, with my mom and some of Santa's cookies and milk. Rather naughty of me, isn't it?

The third installment of The Santa Clause trilogy is probably my preferred one of them all. Perhaps because it is the most cheesiest, and therefore the most amusing to mock? Perhaps. Or maybe it is because this one was nominated for several Razzies, and you know I have a knick to pick with them. (It is "knick", right?)

This one begins with a very pregnant Mrs. Claus who is feeling homesick. Apparently, hundreds of little elves and a stocky, jolly husband aren't enough to satisfy this gal. So, in order to please his wife and get on with his demanding job, he ships her parents over to the North Pole. Of course, because of the Secret of Santa (SOS), everyone disguises the North Pole as Canada. Ay? (Canadians say that evidently.) Santa's in-laws are played by Ann-Margaret and Alan Arkin, who, in my opinion, should have been the ones nominated for Razzies, if the movie absolutely had to have been nominated. Especially Alan Arkin, as he assumes the role of "tough father-in-law who is a pain in the ass to everyone", and he certainly applies himself to the role. Maybe a little too much, that it becomes annoying? Maybe. Ann-Margaret is just as bad, as she acts as if she's drunk throughout the whole movie. (Then again, she acts like that in most of her performances.) Even Mrs. Claus, played by Elizabeth Mitchell, could have garnered a Razzie nod, rather than the two actors who did get a nod. Those two were Tim Allen (Santa Claus) and Martin Short (Jack Frost).

While I will consent to Tim Allen's nomination (reluctantly, mind you), Martin Short most definitely did not deserve that nomination. At all. In fact, he was the best part of this lousy Christmas fiasco. (It's not much of a fiasco. I just thought the word would fit well with that sentence.) What may have seemed like an inadequate performance was actually a more-than-decent one surrounded by a terrible script and terrible costars. While Jack Frost sizzled, acting-wise, providing a top-notch performance on Martin Short's part, his fellow actors were exceedingly corny, so much that they made Frost blend in with them. Thus giving off the appearance that Martin Short was just as bad an actor. Which brings me to complain that only the two leading men were nominated, while Alan Arkin and Judge Reinhold were not. Playing Santa's ex-wife's new husband, Judge Reinhold (aka the close-talker in Seinfeld) goes overboard with the whole goofy-guy-who-wears-ridiculous-sweaters-and-exploits-the-art-of-yoga bit. Plus he just looks strange with his oversized ears. You would think he'd be some sort of Papa Elf. Oh, I kid.

Sigh. Just look at them.
As for the plot of the movie, Santa becomes overwhelmed with the pressure of being Santa and his in-laws being a pain in his ass. Plus, Jack Frost maliciously (deliciously) schemes (beams) against him (as a test for him). Then, with all that stress building up and the ruin of his Christmas tree topper, Santa declares that he wished he had never been Santa Claus at all...which Jack uses to switch lives with him. I hope you all are intelligent enough to make sense out of that because I just do not have the strength to explain it all. If I seem tired and distressed, I'm simply tired and anxious to start Christmas in hopes of my holiday spirit being rejuvenated. Moving on.

The Santa Clause 3 is your typical, cheesy Christmas movie, and you know you have at least one bad movie you watch every year around this time. Whether it be Deck the Halls or Fred Claus, you watch it, and, let's face it, you enjoy it. As I enjoy this predictable batter of a Christmas movie. (Batter?) One last note, and this is for the Razzies: fuck you. That's not all. Nominating Christmas movies, and even kid movies in general, for Worst whatever is just pathetic. You can't find another movie, in the entire year, to nominate that wasn't released for the joy of young children who don't understand the idea of cliche and corny? Really? That being said, for a New Year's resolution, you should all grow up and start nominating truly awful movies that kids would never watch. Here, I'll even give you an idea: Zookeeper. Happy Holidays, once again! Have a very Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Dramatic Confession

I'm not going to waste time/space by trying to act dramatic. The title is simply a hint of what I am confessing to. What am I confessing to? Well, you may have noticed that there are no new film scores to peruse over. (Peruse?) There is a perfectly sane reason of why I haven't watched any movies this week. Seriously, no movies whatsoever. Why, you may be wondering? Remember that massive Desperate Housewives post I wrote a few months back? I'm sure you do. And don't worry, I won't be writing any more monstrocities for quite a while. However, at the moment, my dad and I are rewatching another complete series, omitting one horrible season three. That show, my friends, is The O.C., a teen-oriented soap that is full with (at times, pathetic) drama.

As I said, I will not be writing a massive blog post on everything about this show. What I will do is give you a bit of a summary over the show and its complex characters. Just kidding, they're not not complicated. It is a teen show after all. Right now, I have finished seasons four and one (yes, in that order) and am now going through season two. Again, like seasons six through eight of Desperate Housewives, I will not be rewatching season three of The O.C., as it is completely uninteresting. Another follow-up on the eighth season of Desperate Housewives will be at the end of this post. Now, onto Orange County.

I will not be revealing any specific plots of the show. Spoiler-free.

The O.C. starts out with Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie), a rebel-without-a-cause-type of guy raised on the wrong side of the tracks, getting arrested for grand theft auto. In jail, he's provided with a lawyer with a charitable heart named Sandy Cohen. Long story short, Sandy adopts Ryan considering he shows potential of being, say, a successful architect. Sandy's wife, Kirsten Cohen, at first, is very frigid towards this strange kid picked up in jail, but then warms up to him in the most heart-warming of ways. Sandy and Kirsten prove to be incredibly caring parents (that's right, parents) for Ryan, as they consider him as part of the family. No, it's not corny. You'd think, knowing me, that I would criticize this bond, but the entire show works so well, it turns out to be genuinely sweet. The Cohens have another son named Seth, who is so lovably neurotic and self-absorbed that you just adore his geekish aura about him. (He's my favorite character in the show, without a doubt.) Next door lives the so-called girl-next-door who is so-called beautiful and so-called amazing: Marissa Cooper. Quite frankly, she is terrible. No need to put on the sugar coat, she is simply terrible. Her lanky body and lurking manner give her this utterly awkward trait, both physically and emotionally. She always wants to either "talk" or "hang out"; she is known to get drunk at nearly every social event, which is every episode; she despises her mother, really for no rational reason; she claims to love her father, but I don't really see it, as he is never involved when something bad happens to his daughter; she focuses everyone on her, in any situation, even when it has nothing to do with her; her definition of love seems flimsy, as she finds rebounds immediately and declares her love for them. I feel I'm going in circles with this obnoxious troll. Basically, she is messed up.

Other characters include Summer Roberts, the love of Seth's life who is your average popular-girl with a twist of endearing quirkiness and even a geek-gene; Julie Cooper, Marissa's so-called "evil" and superficial mother who has a tendency to marry rich men when they're just about to lose it all; Jimmy Cooper, Marissa's dad who is a fool in the show, just a silly old fool who no one seems to care for; Caleb Nichols, Kirsten's father and Julie's new husband with a shady past (secret) and he represents "big business" and the crimes along with it; and many other interchangable characters. Some stay, some leave, and some just die. (Secrets.)

Well, you're basically caught up with the show, omitting the juicy secrets of course. If you got the impression that this show is a depressing, shocking teen-soap, then you're partially correct. It is a teen-soap. Most of the time, this show emits a warm, joyful feeling that makes you smile all the way through. (Not smile in a freak way, as some freak who smiles all the time would. You're probably picturing some horror-movie freak smiling. Moving on.) Sure, this show has its drama, and, golly, is it dramatic. Where does it come from, you may wonder? Marissa. That aggravating fool brings the show to a grungy, side-effect-of-drugs low. Whether it be (censored) or when she's (censored), she brings out the melancholy feeling you may experience. (Melancholy. I bet you liked that word.) Never fear, though, because she won't be here for long. Yes, she's one of the leads who leaves the show. Oh, darn, did I give away a vital spoiler? Well, Mischa Barton did on some Tonight show before the episode even aired, so I figure I'm all right. But when that does happen, boy, does the show improve by an entire degree and a half! You'll see. That is, if you decide to watch this surprisingly delightful show.

Yeah, she's still here too.
Now, onto that Desperate Housewives update I promised. Well, as of this moment, the show is going through that period where they aren't airing episodes every Sunday. Before, in the show's high-quality groove, I used to be at the edge of my metaphorical seat waiting for the next episode weeks later. In its eighth season? I barely notice it hasn't aired in so long. However, as the show is entering that desirable stage of Sex and the City-horrible, I experience myself in a state of impatience. That's right, I am waiting for the next episode once more. Even though the show is still utterly awful, it finally caught my attention again. Just not in the way they intended. As for Desperate Housewives, the show:

They're observing Susan's painting: just as bad as the show.
All the Housewives are still suffering through the guilt of having been involved in murdering Gabby's stepfather. The minute that topic comes up in the show, I roll my eyes and tilt my head back until they're done. Really? So, Carlos killed Gabby's stepfather, as he was about to rape her again (when she was fourteen). Gabby's friends helped keep it a secret, so they wouldn't get in trouble. So, what the fuck is wrong here? I can't even go into this again. As for the specific plots among our ladies? Lynette is becoming an annoying factor in Tom's relationship with another woman. The two are seperated, by the way. Even when they are supposedly going to get a divorce, it doesn't feel like they're broken up because they act towards one another as they did when they were together. Whatever. Susan is being recognized for her brilliant paintings. When I say brilliant I am describing the drawings that look as if they were made by her Giraffe-son. And now she's moving to New York to become a famous artist? That's just too easy to mock. Bree is going back to drinking her problems away, as all her friend abandon her because she kept too many secrets from them. (Whatever.) She's also being harassed by her ex-boyfriend Chuck who happens to be kind of an asshole. And an atrocious actor. Bird-face. Gabby is, by far, the worst character of the show now. She has become an exceedingly spoiled, rich brat, as if she weren't enough of that already. She is way to condescending towards the other woman of the neighborhood at her PTA meetings, acting like she is so much more pampered because she gets ten-dollar pedicures at the pharmacy. But those woman at the meetings are no better, as they act like typical housewives who have no time to clean themselves up. Seriously, you can't put on a clean shirt before the meetings? I'm sure they won't start without you, Anne. (There is no Anne, I'm just making an example of Gabby's fellow PTA members.) Anyway, this show isn't getting much better. In fact, it's getting worse, which is not necessarily a bad thing. In this case, the more awful it is, the more I enjoy it. That makes sense, you know it does.

Three more days until Christmas! And tomorrow is Festivus! Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Artist - Trailer

Probably my most anticipated film of this year's Oscar race, I give you The Artist. Enjoy.

I recommend you full-screen this definite-masterpiece. Even though I haven't seen it yet, I know it will be a magnificent piece of cinema. The music near the end is very powerful, and may make you cry if music has that effect on you, so be aware: You may indeed tear up near the end. I did.

Golden Globe Nominations Announced!

The day I've been waiting weeks for has finally arrived...and I forgot about it. Even yesterday I was thinking to myself, "Wow, tomorrow I will find out this year's official Oscar contenders." And then this morning, as I log onto my computer at "work", simply to pass the time, I see an enthusiastic announcement: Golden Globe Nominations! Gracious, I am thrilled that awards season is approaching so quickly. Right before my eyes, you could say. But why would you say that? Anyway, allow me to introduce you to this year's best movies, or in other words, the Golden Globe nominees.

Best Movie - Drama
The Descendants
The Help
The Ides of March
War Horse

Best Movie - Comedy/Musical
The Artist
Midnight in Paris
My Week with Marilyn

I'll continue after this brief interruption. Now, I admit, I was a bit disappointed not to see Horrible Bosses under the Comedy/Musical category. I was almost certain that the hilarious film would make the cut. The Artist, as you may know from my last post, is a delight to see first on the list. (It's a definite win, people.) I expected to see Bridesmaids here, based on how popular it was, though quite honestly, I didn't care for it too much. I know, I'm sad to say it myself, as I love Kristen Wiig! And if that movie made the list, Horrible Bosses definitely had potential to be there, too. Instead of My Week with Marilyn, I'd say. Doesn't that count as a drama? I highly doubt Marilyn's life can be depicted as merry and/or musical. Neither here nor there (or there). Last but not least, Midnight in Paris: Woody Allen's best yet. Maybe it will have a chance against The Artist.... My indecision between which movie I want to see take home the Globe makes me that more excited to watch this year's race! I have no complaints for the dramas. As an admirer of Martin Scorsese, I'm rooting for Hugo at this point. I have not seen any of the nominees on this list, so stay tuned. (To avoid my dragging opinions, I'll simply bold my preferred nominees. So I won't make another lengthy interruption.)

Best Actor - Drama
George Clooney - The Descendants
Leonardo DiCaprio - J. Edgar
Ryan Gosling - The Ides of March
Michael Fassbender - Shame
Brad Pitt - Moneyball

Best Actress - Drama
Glenn Close - Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis - The Help
Rooney Mara - The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Meryl Streep - The Iron Lady
Tilda Swinton - We Need to Talk About Kevin

Best Actor - Comedy/Musical
Jean Dujardin - The Artist
Brenden Gleeson - The Guard
Joesph Gordon-Levitt - 50/50
Ryan Gosling - Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Owen Wilson - Midnight in Paris

Best Actress - Comedy/Musical
Kristen Wiig - Bridesmaids
Kate Winslet - Carnage
Jodie Foster - Carnage
Charlize Theron - Young Adult
Michelle Williams - My Week with Marilyn

Best Supporting Actor
Kenneth Branagh - My Week with Marilyn
Albert Brooks - Drive
Jonah Hill - Moneyball
Viggo Mortensen - A Dangerous Method
Christopher Plummer - Beginners

Best Supporting Actress
Berenice Bejo - The Artist
Jessica Chastain - The Help
Janet McTeer - Albert Nobbs
Octavia Spencer - The Help
Shailene Woodley - The Descendants

Best Director
Woody Allen - Midnight in Paris
Martin Scorsese - Hugo
Michel Hazanavicius - The Artist
George Clooney - The Ides of March
Alexander Payne - The Descendants

Now, as I excited as I usually am for awards season, tonight, I'm just not feeling too well. Not to get personal, but I think I had a bit too much of a certain element that makes one dizzy and sleepy. In fact, I can barely keep my head alive for my work (that I received from "work"). I apologize for my inappropriate state of being, and I promise not to let it effect my awards-buzz in the future. I crossed that out because it is totally inappropriate and way too personal. Why didn't I just delete it then? Well, once my thoughts fall onto here, there's no turning back. Actually, yes there is. But I won't. On a jolly note, ten nine more days until Christmas! Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 12, 2011

An Ordinary Monday: Good News, Bad News

Good morning everyone! Are you having a bad case of the Mondays? I for one am not, surprisingly. Why, you didn't ask? Well, for starters, a certain "boss" whom I really do not care for is absent today, to my utter relief and joy. (I say "boss" instead of teacher because I'm sure that would relate to you more, as I am sure the majority of people reading this is well over ---teen.) Also, I've found out this year's prime Oscar contenders. Oh, how exciting! I simply love this time of year, don't you? Not only is Christmas less than two weeks away, but awards season has officially begun! All those Critic Awards (New York Critics, etc.) have been announced, and I'm pleased to see The Artist is doing exceptionally well. What is The Artist, you may ask? Basically, it's the movie I am most looking forward to seeing. (But that doesn't really reveal much about the film, other than it looks incredible.) The Artist is a sort of homage to those films of the golden-era of the 1920s--it's in black-and-white and completely silent! No word is uttered throughout, I'm told, and the musical score is absolutely marvelous. You'd have to watch the trailer yourself to get as giddy as I am. Anyway, so far, like last year, I have no complaints about the contenders this year. In other words, there are no Slumdogs or Hurt Lockers for me to get aggravated about. So far. You never know.

All right, onto why I really wrote this post. As you might have noticed, I have been posting a movie review every Tuesday steadily. (Not sure if "steadily" was needed.) Anyway, I am writing you now to inform you that I will not be making this week's highly-anticipated review. (I am confident in saying it is highly-anticipated, correct me if I'm wrong in my assumption.) On top of that unfortunate news, I may not be making next week either, unless I uncover something insatiably noteworthy. The reason for this delay is that, at the moment, I have several things going on at "work" (such as the horrible "boss" mentioned above) and I really can't squeeze my weekly posts in. It pains me to say this, truly it does! Never fear, though, because when I have something really interesting to write, it just pours out of me in an energized torrent.

On a film-related note, last night, I watched Deck the Halls with my mother. Can you guess how that went? She basically repeated everything the actors just said, if it was funny, just as she did with Surviving Christmas. Ascribe this irking habit to her for future reference, as she most of the time does this. (I love my mom.) As for the movie itself, it was predictably corny and even ridiculous. Danny DeVito got a Razzie nomination for his role of Buddy Hall, a guy whose fixation on making his house visible from space is annyoing his neighbor, played by Matthew Broderick, to a point where he wants to sabatoge him. You could say his neighbor wants to "deck" him. Get it? Deck the Halls? It's the name of a yuletide tune, and it's a literal plan of action. To "deck" the Halls...Buddy Hall. I found it amusing. Anyway, Danny DeVito really did not earn that nomination, as this is meant to be super cheesy because it's a holiday movie! Those goddamn Razzie pricks have no holiday spirit. Those bitches. In fact, the Razzies are known for nominating holiday movies, such as Surviving Christmas and The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause. I might even write a post expressing my agitation over their narrow-minded, quasi-cynical lack-of spirit. I very well just might have to do that. For now, Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 9, 2011

An Unbearable Thirst

Happy Friday everyone. I don't know about you, but I am absolutely exhausted. This week has gone by achingly slow, and to top it off, I've had a pounding headache all day. And to make matters worse, people have been singing that Rebecca Black song all fucking day. But what else is new? They sing it every goddamn Friday. "Oh, that song sucks! She's so ugly!" Then stop fucking singing it. I apologize for my shocking outbursts of frustration. I usually keep it all bottled up, and release it, of course, on this blog for you fine people to endure. Also, I am excruciatingly thirsty. These past few days, I've simply been begging for liquid satisfaction. (Stop right there. Don't go thinking something dirty, because you know I am not that kind of girl. Allow me to be more specific: I am begging for some satisfying beverage to quench my thirst.) At the moment, I am chugging down a delicious Skinny Hazelnut Latte from Starbucks. Why capitalize the drink's name? Well, as I've heard from Tom Hanks in You've Got Mail, people gain so much pleasure from having a complicating name for their plain coffee. I'm one of those people. And, oh how delicious this latte is. Alas, it is nearly empty...and I'm still so awfully thirsty. Should I ask my mother to go and fetch me another one? Perhaps....

Anyway, besides my irritating desire for a beverage, I am browsing the greatest Internet movie database, IMDb. (That's actually what it stands for, minus "the greatest".) I felt a burning need to provide some interesting facts about several high-profile stars, as well as my own opinion on things. I'd like to start off by wishing Kirk Douglas a Happy Birthday! The iconic actor, famous for his gladiator roles, turned an impressive 95-years-old today. I say impressive because, one, that's pretty old; and two because he's still alive and kicking. What I mean by that statement is that he's not in a wheelchair or on a deathbed, but he's still active in the community, such as his recent appearance presenting the Best Supporting Actress award at last year's Oscars. He was probably the best part of the show. (It's easy to make that statement because he was genuinely funny and wonderful to see at his old age...and the show last year was rather terrible, wouldn't you say?) One last note: I was astonished to find that Kirk Douglas has never attained an Academy Award. Pardon me? Yes, it's true. Jeff Bridges got one for that indie, country piece of garbage... (just for a test, I won't name the movie...just so I can prove how forgettable it is) and Kirk Douglas has never gotten one. What a shame.

Another Happy Birthday to John Malkovich! I simply love this man, honestly. He is such a talented actor, both in comic and chilling performances. I'll give an example of each one. Comic: Burn After Reading. The scene where Brad Pitt (one of his best roles, in my opinion) blackmails Malkovich over the phone is so hilarious! You'd have to see it for yourself. In fact, watch the entire film, it's rather good. (The Coen Brothers' best, and don't even contradict me by saying The Big Lebowski is because it most certainly is not. It's actually the worst movie I've ever seen from beginning to end. Fucking awful. Had to swear there, just had to.) Chilling: Con-Air. From what I've seen thus far of Malkovich, Cyrus "The Virus" is a defining role for the actor. He was just so menacing and insane. You cannot deny his amazing talents when you watch this cheesy 90s romp. (Although Nicholas Cage plays his trademark good-guy self here, corny and all, Malkovich is definitely worth it.) Once again, another fantastic actor is Oscar-less. Sure, he's been nominated twice, for supporting roles mind you, but that is just not enough. No, it is not enough. Another shame on this industry.

I'd just like to note that I just finished watching Surviving Christmas with my mother, and I'll tell you, I was certainly "surviving" that. Get it? Because it was difficult to watch the movie since she kept repeating what the characters just said and pointing out obvious events. It's called Surviving Christmas. It's a pun.... I love my mom.

Moving on, earlier today I settled on the Turner Classic Movies channel, where a film called The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone was playing. The film stars the beautiful Vivien Leigh and the dashing Warren Beatty. I didn't actually sit through the entire film, just a few minutes, and I was crest-fallen to see Vivien as an aged beauty. Though, anyone can admit that she was still gorgeous, even in her late forties. (Where am I going with this?) Well, I had an urge to review each of the fine actors' "trivia" on IMDb.

I'll start with the timelessly breath-taking Vivien Leigh. Originally named Vivian Mary Hartley and born in what was British India, the perpetual beauty had an unfortunately short-lived and tragic life. I know it's a downer to introduce her in such a tone, but it's painfully true. She got her "big break" as the iconic Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With The Wind, as I'm sure everyone knows. In perhaps the greatest movie of all-time... (who would dare argue?) Vivien Leigh displays incredible talent as the extraordinary Scarlett O'Hara, garnering her first Best Actress Academy Award. (Did you know she was the first British actress to win an Oscar?) In addition to that impressive feat, her performance achieved the title as the third Greatest Movie Character of All Time (Premiere Magazine). Later on, the actress married Sir Laurence Olivier, with whom she nearly gave birth to two children. Both were miscarried. Thus began Vivien Leigh's downward spiral. She was a manic-depressive and diagnosed with chronic tuberculosis, which would be the death of her. Before cinema lost yet another marvelous star, she won another Academy Award for her role in A Streetcar Named Desire as Blanche DuBois, opposite Marlon Brando. (Ever heard of a line that goes, "Hey Stella!"?) Vivien Leigh, simply put, was one of those actresses that were "gone too soon". Surprisingly, she starred in a mere nineteen films in her whole career, yet managed to be named the sixteenth Greatest Screen Legend (American Film Institute). Mesmerizing beauty. Magnificent talent. Tragic conclusion. Rest in grace, Vivien Leigh.

This may seem like a total change of mood, but onto Warren Beatty. This guy is legendary. Plain and simple, no need for a sugar coat. I'm sure many of you know him as Clyde Barrow, or Bugsy Siegel, or Dick Tracy, or that iconic bachelor pre-1990s. (Actually, even though he's been married for nearly twenty years, he's still recognized as The Hollywood Bachelor. I wouldn't trademark that title though.) I've been told he's slept with, roughly, two-thousand women. Maybe more, I remember it was an outrageous total. Among those women were Madonna, Natalie Wood, Diane Keaton, Julie Christie, and even the lovely Vivien Leigh was on the rumored list! But, yes, he certainly knows how to charm a lady. (Not to come off as odd, but even in his current age, I believe I would succumb to his devilish charm. Why is the word "devilish" always attributed to "charm"? Have you noticed that?) Anyway, Warren Beatty finally settled down in 1992, on the set of Bugsy I assume, with Annette Bening. (I must note that she is an excellent actress herself, and that she is past due for an Oscar.  And might I also note that for her greatest performances, in American Beauty and in Being Julia, she lost to Hilary Swank. Yet another reason to despise that woman. Swank has horse-teeth.) 
Anyway, Warren Beatty and Annette Bening are one of the most adorable couples in Hollywood, and they met on the set of my preferred film of Mr. Beatty: Bugsy. I don't know why, but I just love that movie. Perhaps one of my favorite mafia movies, aside from Scorsese's work. Warren Beatty lashes out an astounding performance as the infamously violent/crazy mobster, definitely worthy of a Best Actor Oscar. But he lost to Anthony Hopkins for his so-called genius portrayal as Hannibal Lecter. (If you ask me, I'd say that's over-rated. And being the number one villain, according to the American Film Institute, is a bit too far, as well.) Never fear, Bugsy did champion at the Golden Globes of that year. They never let you down. Warren Beatty did attain one Oscar, for Best Director for Reds. As I just said, he should have two or three of them, for Bugsy as either a producer or an actor. Just mentioning it once more. For emphasis. Also, an interesting fact, he was offered the role of Michael Corleone in The Godfather. Strange, as he shows no traces of Italian blood. Picture him instead of Al Pacino. I certainly can't. But that's not all! As if his reputable status in the film industry weren't enough, he was a bit of a political figure, as well. He was close friends with both John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy; after their deaths, he became more involved in politics as an advocate or activist. Something political. (That made me sound so uneducated. I am young, after all.) Were you aware that he was even considering running for President at some point? Imagine that image. And don't shake your heads in doubt. Remember President Ronald Reagan? Wasn't he a well-known American actor? I believe he was. To sum this up, as it is getting a bit long, Warren Beatty is truly a fascinating figure, based on this impressive history, wouldn't you agree? Shirley MacLaine is his older sister. Did you know that? I did.

Well, I guess that sums up my productive evening of stalking actors' histories and enduring a Christmas movie with my cheerful mother. I'd like to mention that I did have a second cup of coffee, only it was made from Nescafe instant coffee. But I used the same Starbucks cup, and it had some Hazelnut foam in it. So, it was sort of a homemade Starbucks creation. Not really. But it quenched my thirst! Hooray! I hope you enjoyed my desperate search for a satisfied throat. Happy Holidays!

P.S. I actually finished this post seven minutes after midnight. I cheated by saying I posted it two minutes before Saturday officially began, as you can see by the time stamp thing. Happy Holidays, once again.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Ratatouille, A Pixar Film

Years ago, I watched this very movie in theaters. And I must be honest with you, I did not care for it. In fact, I sort of hated it. Four years later, not yet rewatching it mind you, I think to myself, "How could I not like yet another one of Pixar's creations?" Plus, it won Best Animated Feature in 2007. That doesn't hurt.
Now, as I rewatch the film, I am in a difficult position. What position, you ask? (Or didn't ask, whatever.) Well, I am forcing myself to try and enjoy it. I'm cringing while thinking, "Oh, come on, you're probably not enjoying it because you're a stubborn girl who didn't enjoy it the first time." Apparently, my initial assumption was not influenced by anything back then, as I still can't seem to take pleasure in watching the film again. (I know it sounded like I said I can't take sexual pleasure from the film, as pleasure always alludes to something sexual, but that is certainly not the case. I just felt I overused "enjoy".)

I have reasonable reason to believe that the choice of voice actors are crucial (in that they play a key role) in every animated feature. How do you expect to enjoy such a movie where the main character speaks with an irritating whine or accent? Or if you particularly dislike the actor voicing a character, and picture their face when their cartoon talks? Well, I for one could not stand that. Not for one bit. And guess what? That very issue lies in this movie. I very much dislike Patton Oswalt (even his name) and hearing him voice a disgusting rat who we are made to believe can cook?

Alright, I apologize. This is an animation after all. Making an argument of a rat's ability to cook is the same as denying a house's flight by balloons, or that fish can talk, or that toys live the same lives we humans do. It is not a documentary. This is sort of a note to myself, and all you other pricks out there, that this is a fantastical movie, and there's no room for cynicism.

The single highlight of this movie is the setting and the atmosphere of it. Paris, France, surrounded by animated culinary masterpieces. Oh, the French are truly the masters of cuisine. Of course, if you like French fare. At least I think so. Tres delicieux. (I took one year of French, in case you were wondering where my fluency came from.) It is rather amazing how Pixar can make food in an animation look absolutely scrumptious. Then again, Pixar is an amazing piece of this industry we call Hollywood. Or cinema. Or show business.

I'll be honest with you, I didn't actually finish Ratatouille the second time around. I simply could not watch it from start to finish! There's no need to jazz that sentence up with an elongated description of how lackluster the film was. The relationship between Linguine and Remy the rat, one of the key themes in the movie, was uninteresting and unfunny when it was clear that it was supposed to be just that. Remy's strong aspiration to become a five-star chef is rather disturbing to watch because I am what some call a "neat freak", and picture myself in such a French restaurant being served fine cuisine prepared by a rat. Oh, perish the thought of it! I am aware many people who love this movie criticize my opposition to the movie's so-called brilliance in animation. Yes, I know, they're thinking, "It's a god damn work of art! Pixar's best yet!" All that yada yada yada. (Note: I don't capitalize god, not out of disrespect, but because I don't want to attract attention to it. God is not the main part of the sentence. Ah phooey on you then.) All in all, I am firm on my opinion of Ratatouille, much like Anton Ego is firm on his stern reviews. Expect in the end, when the rat makes him reflect on his childhood and become a warm-hearted person.

Note: I just realized that, a few days ago, I said I would only review Christmas-themed movies. Well, this is not a Christmas movie. Consider it an exception.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy Birthday Walt Disney!

Imagine my excitement seeing that today is (or would have been) Walt Disney's 110th birthday. Seeing his bright smile on IMDb's Born Today section was the beginning of what is now a wonderful day. And can you blame me for being so cheerful? This is the man who created an animated icon, the father of Mickey Mouse! He is the creatively ingenious mind behind Walt Disney World, my absolute favorite place on earth! (It's the happiest place on earth for a reason. Or is that for Disneyland? Most magical place on earth then?) Well, he was the brains behind both marvelous lands. He brought about millions of smiles around the world with his whimsical creations of animation, such as Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and even the inspiration of Pixar, if you think about it. (Don't think about it too hard, I don't want you to hurt yourself.) Although many of these (actually all of the ones I named) were released after his passing in 1966, would they be created without him? Seriously, it is his name on the logo of Walt Disney Pictures. (Seeing that logo appear before each Disney film brings tears to my eyes.) Not only is he the unofficial master of animation, and who could even compete with him in that category, but his studio conjured fantastic franchises, specifically the Pirates of the Caribbean saga, among other great non-cartoon films. He has produced a whopping 656 titles, directed 114, starred in 124 (mainly as the voice of his golden boy, Mickey Mouse), animated 13 shorts, and has a record-shattering 22 Oscar wins, out of his total of 59 nominations, another record. Of his abundant Oscar collection, he's received Honorary Awards for the creation of Mickey Mouse, his "significant screen innovation" that is Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and his contribution to advancement in sound for Fantasia. As for the others, they were for delightful animated shorts and some documentaries--so many I can't even name them all! He is, by description, one of the most prolific, influential people in history. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Walt Disney.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Ahh... Christmas Time

Holidays are upon us all!
Or is it Christmastime? Yes, one and all, that time is upon us. Sleigh bells jingling...uh...ring ling tingling too? You know that tune, as well as what Christmas is all about. (What is Christmas really about? Not now!) And you guessed it: Christmas time yields Christmas movies! Just another reason why this is my favorite time of year. I realize there are many anti-Christmas people (or as I call them, cheerless pricks) who criticize that Christmas is no longer what it once was. I suppose the time they are referring to is families gathering together, in matching sweaters, laughing with their loved ones. Sure, that's what Christmas is about, in a fucking Hallmark greeting card. (Pardon my obscenities, this is no time for such language.) Those holiday-pessimists accuse Christmas of becoming a commercial holiday, something not to get so excited about. Personally, I don't see Christmas as that because the mood of it all is so joyful and merry! I have no time to complain about the modernization (I suppose that's what those pricks call it) of Christmas. Sure, presents are quite important, but it's more than just that. Take me, for instance, I'm not looking forward to Santa's long-awaited visit or the presents he'll bring me. What I'm anticipating is the wonderful holiday bliss surrounding the occasion. And a visit to the nation's capital with my dad, for New Year's Eve. Oh, so excited I am!
Moving on, considering Thanksgiving (which I call pre-Christmas) has passed and December has begun, I believe my future posts shall be all about Christmas! Oh yes, I said it, and I damn well mean it. The films of this special genre have such a magical yuletide mood. It's almost like Disney World! (Almost that good.) I'm already starting to watch those warm-hearted Christmas movies, and you can be sure there will be a review or two of them. I am absolutely ecstatic. You could say I'm feeling jolly now that Christmas is on its way. Get it? Jolly? Jolly 'Ol Saint Nick? Come on, you guys, keep up. Happy Pre-lated Holidays!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Pink Panther: Two in One

It is truly sad to admit that critics generally hate this movie. Well, I'm not really admitting it because that would suggest that someone was hammering me for that information. Moving on? Yes, the 2006 remake of Blake Edwards's supposedly "brilliant" Pink Panther was bashed by critics. Honestly, the 1963 was a dreadful bore. In respect to the late Blake Edwards, whose directing I enjoyed in The Great Race among others, the old Pink Panther was just not great. At least not as great as everyone is setting it to be. Peter Sellers portrays the bumbling Inspector Jacques Clouseau, in an iconic role. My interpretation: the textbook-hilarious Peter Sellers provides a performance that simply does not satisfy my sense of humor. A nice way of putting what I really think, but I'm not as callous as you believe. (Just to note, for future possible reference: The only place I enjoy Peter Sellers is when Geoffrey Rush portrays him in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. Moving on.)

Now, the new Pink Panther, directed by Shawn Levy, is a pure work of comedy. Sure, it's full of (what some may call) cheap gags and lots of physical humor,'s a comedy. I know I'm not one for that kind of humor, when actors like Kevin James are on the screen, but, here with Steve Martin, it is a delight. That's right, I believe Steve Martin's role as Inspector Jacques Clouseau is one of the best in his career. And definitely beats Peter Sellers by a whole lot. Now, I know Steve Martin fans (and Peter Sellers fans) are violently shaking their heads in disagreement. But it's my opinion, and I am standing by it, god damn it. Or God damn it? Damn It? Anyway.

Watching this film is like sucking the sweet vanilla extract that made a treat so delicious. Meaning that this film is the core of most great comedies. Of course, not this movie in particular, but older ones like this. (And no, not the original Pink Panther. Like I said, it's boring.) The humor may be somewhat simple, and at times plain silly, but, in this whole scenario of a movie, it somehow works. The idiocy of Steve Martin's Jacques Clouseau is rather typical... (but that is the epitome of Clouseau, no? yet it is just hilarious. Now, what I do not understand is why critics harshly bashed his performance, as it was much funnier than Peter Sellers's confusing, apparently-subtle humor. Then again, I am most likely the spawn of a new generation... (most likely?) one that doesn't "appreciate 'true' comedy". (Yet I do adore Jack Lemmon and Billy Wilder. Interesting.) Whether Peter Sellers was great as the Inspector is not relevant here! Why I keep returning to it is a puzzle.

Better than Daniel Craig? I think not.
Emily Mortimer plays the clumsy-cute Nicole, who would be the object of equally-clueless Clouseau's affection; Jean Reno plays Clouseau's seriously serious confidante, Ponton; and Kevin Kline plays the Chief Inspector of Paris, who despises Clouseau and wishes for him to blunder as he expects him to. One key point that I adored in this movie was a cameo in a certain scene: Clive Owen, as special agent 006. Might I highlight the obvious hint? This movie was released just before the new James Bond was announced! As you already know, Daniel Craig (ugh) got the coveted role. (Is it coveted? I imagine it would be.) Here, in The Pink Panther, it seemed perfectly clear, and clearly perfect, that Clive Owen would take over as the new 007! And it irks me that much more to know this was the closest he will ever be to being a secret agent. Unless he makes a hilarious chain of spy-spoof films. Or, if life is truly cruel, those spoofs will be totally unfunny and be just another failed Epic Movie. Moving on.

One factor I did not particularly care for in the movie was Beyonce. Her role as the sexy singer Xania was a bit aggravating to deal with. Plus, she and Steve Martin are an awkward couple, wouldn't you say? Seriously, she's a bit out of his league. (Steve Martin's hot.) I'll sum it up by saying she is not a good actress. Correction: She's not an in she cannot act.

It's a shame, an absolute shame, that such a wonderful movie produced an utterly horrifying sequel. Of course, this is Hollywood, the Land of Terrible Sequels Except the Times They're Actually Pretty Good or Better. (No, that's not what Hollywood is known as at all. I made that up. Disregard my attempt at humor.) But yes, The Pink Panther 2, directed by Harald Zwart (different director, there's your first problem), was atrocious. Jean Reno's character, who was stone-faced funny in the first one, is now reduced to a corny family man-type sidekick. One outrageous change was of Chief Inspector Dreyfus, played by the always-delightful Kevin Kline with an impressive French accent, underwent an unusual transformation. I'll just get to it: In the sequel, he's British, played even more British by uber-British John Cleese.

The most foolish concept of this movie is the sheer idiocy of the Dream Team. This childishly-named team of the world's greatest sleuths (oh, forgot to put air-quotes, as they are probably the worst detectives in the world) assembled in order to capture one thief known as the Tornado. This thief has been stealing priceless artifacts, such as the Magna Carta and, of course, the Pink Panther diamond. This so-called master thief is rather stupid, if you watch this movie with the mind of an intelligent adult, as he/she always leaves behind case-cracking evidence at the crime scene. Dumbass.

There will be no spoilers here, as I move on to the movie's overall quality.

The members of this wondrous Dream Team are Andy Garcia, as an overly-Italian "casanova" Vicenzo Brancaleone; Alfred Molina, as a chip-chip-cherrio British sleuth Randall Pepperidge (guess Sherlock Holmes wasn't available); a Japanese tech-geek, whose participation in the Team is not that impressive (then again, is anyone's?); and Aishwarya Rai as the sultry-sexy Sonia Solandres. They are all depicted as buffoons, plain and simple. Whether that was intended by the director or not, it just did not work out. At all. Jeremy Irons, also, makes an appearance, which sort of baffled me. It was a fine how-do-you-do, that's all.

Overall, I would just like to say that the new Pink Panther is really funny. Don't argue with your screen because, as always, that's what I think of the movie. Both movies were rated rather low on IMDb after all. The first one, in 2006, was flat-out hilarious, even after a seventh viewing of it. True, as I have said before, its humor may appear to be for the simple-minded, while the Blake Edwards classic is inclined to more "intellectual" folk. I guess you can call me part of the unrefined population. (Although you shouldn't, considering I'm far more sophisticated than most adults I know. But I don't care what you think. Yes, on paper, I'm haughtier than I claim to be in reality.) Anyway, The Pink Panther is, indeed, entertaining. The Pink Panther 2, I'm sad to say, was a tremendous disappointment, bearing in mind how anxious I was to see it. All those stars (well, one Oscar-nominated Andy Garcia) turned out to do nothing for the movie. In fact, the Oscar-nominated actor himself was the worst part of the movie! That horrible Italian accent! One would think that if he was in The Godfather Part III would be a bit more capable with an Italian accent. Did you know that Andy Garcia was Cuban? I didn't.

I'd also like to add that Steve Martin's Razzie nomination for the second one was totally unnecessary. His accent might have gotten thicker and less-understandable, and he might have endured much more physical gags, but he was definitely not the worst thing about this film. Actually, he might have been the best part of the film, as his comical portrayal as Inspector Jacques Clouseau was just that: comical. Even with the repetitious and exhausting "damburger" joke.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Thanksgiving Crave

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! Since there aren't many good Thanksgiving movies, I won't be watching any themed films today. I will, however, be seeing The Muppets at around 5 o'clock... (I'm telling you the time because I'm hoping you will meet me there. Just kidding, please don't follow me.) and I am pretty hyped about it. Before that, I'll be having Thanksgiving lunch at my grandmother's house, with the whole gang: my mother, my two brothers, my mother's husband, my grandmother, her boyfriend, and their many animals. I just know you are super antsy to join me. Considering how fun it all sounds. We are not having Thanksgiving dinner because we flip tables and say, "To hell with tradition!" Actually, I really don't know why we have lunch. I guess it's a Russian thing. Did I mention I'm Russian? Well, I'm Russian.

Anyway, it is highly likely that I will be indulging in lots of foods, including white-meat turkey, sauteed vegetables, and some succulent red wine. It's the holidays after all, so it shall be a guilt-free trip. Even though I'll probably end up regretting it the next morning. Insecurity and it's consuming power. Okay, what the hell am I telling you all this for? Well, I'm going there in about thirty minutes, and am biting my lip in worry of what it's going to be like. I know for a fact that the screams of football with echo throughout the house, to my dismay. And my grandmother will be scolding me for drinking, in Russian. Whoops, I mean she'll be scolding my mother, as she does every year. My baby brother, an adorable two-year-old with the manners of a gentleman, will be engaged in conversations with anyone who feigns interest. Most likely, me. (But I do love the little guy...though he's rather big for a two-year-old. Sorry, mom.)

Let's see, what else? My nine-year-old brother will be irking with questions of why I'm not with my "stupid dad" today, or with remarks on how I hate his dad. More like constant announcements on how I can't stand him, so everyone can hear and shake their head at what a rotten girl I am. At least, that's what I believe they're thinking. Don't get me wrong, I love my brother, but lately he's been turning into a callous, gruff boy. Maybe because he's making up for the fact that he's overweight, he's trying to impress everyone and let them know he's a tough guy? You know how boys can be, you can figure it out for yourself. All in all, I love both my brothers. (I don't refer to them as my half-brothers, even if they really are. I don't.)

Reluctantly, I will not make any sardonic remarks on my mother's husband, even though I'm really eager to. I won't because, as always, my mother could be reading this. Plus, I do not want to suck you all into my life, drama and all. This is a blog for movies, not my own personal life. Then why am I writing all this? Didn't I answer that already?

Anyway, onto the significance of the post title. I have been browsing several "foodie" blogs, gazing at the tasty-looking pictures of food, mainly desserts. I am a major sweet tooth. It's a sickness, really. Speaking of which, my mom baked some dessert called Death by Chocolate: apparently, it's this elaborate tower-like treat with chocolate (the yummy brownie kind) and toffee. If you don't know what toffee is, well neither do I. But I have tried it before, in Disney World, and it is delicious. Speaking of Disney World, that's my haven of over-indulgence of various foods, specifically in the Epcot World Showcase. My mouth is watering from just mentioning it. While I wander over to my grandmother's enjoy some delectable images of scrumptious food. Your mouth may indeed flood with saliva. (Eww.)
Banana Toffee Tower - Brown Derby

Cheesecake Napolean - Coral Reef

Gelato with fruit and chocolate - Tutto Italia 

Duck with green beans - Chefs de France

I took all those pictures with my Blackberry, at Disney World. Just thought I should tell you that. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

You've Got Mail

Don't you love the now-vintage AOL greeting? Well, I sure do. It is also the title of the romantic comedy directed by Nora Ephron, one of two queens of the genre (accompanied by Nancy Meyers). This is such a joy to watch for many reasons. One being my absolute love for corny romances, and how I so enjoy rewatching them over and over. Another is my equal love for Meg Ryan films, whether she's adorable or plastered with plastic. Yet another is my confusing love for the immensely corny, and at times irritating, Tom Hanks. Say, if you find him so annoying, why do you love him? Well, it's much like the Sex and the City-effect: so awful, I can't help but enjoy. Moving on to the title of the post, Meg Ryan plays a quirky bookshop owner named Kathleen Kelly, while Tom hanks plays a cheesy-friendly man named Joe Fox, partner to a superbookstore chain called Fox Books. Gee, that's clever.

Written by Nora Ephron, same as When Harry Met Sally..., You've Got Mail is a much cornier romantic comedy, relying on childish humor and an easy fall-in-love scenario. This scenario involves two complete strangers (Kathleen and Joe) falling in love via email, and hating one another when they meet. They do not know, however, that the other is the one they've been emailing. Kathleen Kelly is much like Sally Albright, though it's hard to distinguish as she doesn't have a pessimistic Harry to debate with. (I sure wish she did.) Plus, Ms. Ryan's lips are starting to show signs of collagen-consumption. Damn shame, that is. The man, Joe Fox is very...Tom Hanks. That's my characteristic of him. Yes, he's an actual adjective. It entails someone who thinks a lot of themselves: they think they're super witty, super clever, and super wonderful in practically every department. And that's just what Joe Fox is here. When Kathleen discovers the true identity of the friendly stranger in her bookshop to be Joe Fox, the mind behind the Fox Books Superstore, he decides this is a time to make a so-called funny joke involving yet another Godfather quote. (He would be making tons of them.) From that point on, the two would bump into each other practically everywhere. Grocery stores, restaurants, neo-Nazi rallies, you name it. (That last one was a joke. Sort of funny.) I find it amusing that they were so close to crossing paths before, when they were emailing one another, and they finally start to see one another every place they go when they start despising each other. (Quite a few 'others' there. Moving on.) They continue their correspondence via email throughout the film. Just saying.
Joe is the first of them to figure out who his fellow email-buddy is, when they decide to meet in person. That's the consequence of being the first one there. So, clever rascal he is, Joe casually enters the cafe and invades on Kathleen's anticipation. Here, he decides to act friendlier towards her, as if the fact that she was his cyber-crush changes the fact that she is trying to ruin his business. (Although that would never happen because Joe Fox is the best.) Kathleen, evidently naive and very forgiving, reciprocates his kindness. (Reciprocates?) Consequently, they become dear friends! Aww!

Alright, do not panic, but I just realized something: I was starting to tell you exactly what happens in the movie, point-by-point. No need in erasing what I had already written, it's out there for you to see. I apologize. Allow me to continue, spoiler-free.

Besides the obvious difference in plot, When Harry Met Sally... differs from You've Got Mail in one main point: the male lead. If Tom Hanks assumed the role of the cynical Harry Burns (a type Mr. Hanks isn't necessarily great at), the entire film would no longer have an individualistic wonder about it. It definitely would not be my favorite all-time movie either, partly because I dislike Tom Hanks as a romantic character. (And I love Billy Crystal.) Same as if Billy Crystal played the role of Joe Fox in You've Got Mail, who is somewhat of a cynic because he's in big business. The role of Joe Fox is made for Tom Hanks because that is a corny role: a guy who makes corny jokes when caught in an awkward confrontation, or otherwise. Billy Crystal is totally wrong for that part; he would have made it an entirely different movie, from what it's supposed to be: incredibly cheesy. Don't get the wrong idea from my what-may-seem-to-be mocking tone, as not all corny movies are unwatchably horrible. In fact, they are really enjoyable! You've Got Mail included. Corny movies give the audience a break from the to-be-taken-seriously theme of other films. Maybe one would rather watch an intentionally hilarious comedy, such as The Hangover, to satisfy their taste for some laughs. That would be the obvious path to take. Usually I take that path, but sometimes, I'm in the mood for something older. Yes, I do get into that groove often, which is why I force my dad to sit through yet another You've Got Mail-esque film time after time.

Overall, this film is a classic whether you like it or not, and it's truly an enjoyable one. Next time you're in the mood for some cheesy romance, just check you're AOL inbox (if you still have one or live in the 90s) and your answer lies there.
  • "Orange you going to give us a break?" -- example of the hilarious work of Tom Hanks...had to mention this one, it was so funny. Not.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

An Incredulous Chuckle

Before you ask, no I did not use a thesaurus to create the title of the post. At first, I was going to title it "A Baffled Shock", but that wouldn't include my amusement of the whole occurrence. (Wait, what occurrence?) Well I'll tell you what occurrence! (I won't say occurrence again.)

As I go on my computer and venture over to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), as I always do every morning, I see three new trailers that have been released. One is a latest trailer for The Hunger Games, which I have absolutely no interest in, whatsoever. Another is for Mirror Mirror, an adaptation on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, starring a not-so-fair-looking actress as Snow White. Again, my interest isn't so significant. The third trailer is for a movie called Titanic. Say, didn't that movie come out, almost fifteen years ago? And didn't it win eleven Oscars? What gives? I'll tell you what gives: James Cameron's (only) masterpiece, Titanic, is being 3D. You read that right. 3-bloody-D.

There were rumors of this ridiculous event in recent years, when the surge of 3-D movies exploded into cinema. In all reality, 3-D movies have been irritating many viewers, including this one. (That would be me.) It seems that everything is in 3-D now, but that rant is so 2010. Here's a joke: Instead of saying a movie will be in 3-D, in their trailer, they should just specify if the movie won't be in 3-D. Because so many movies are in 3-D, there's no need to even say it will be in 3-D. Did you laugh?

Anyway, moving on to Titanic. I watched this movie, literally this past Saturday, for the third time, and am still amazed by the film. It is truly a cinematic work of art, with the final touch of marvelous acting by Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater and Leonardo DiCaprio as Jack Dawson. You read my review of the film on Leo's birthday-post. (If not, you should. It's kind of a big deal.) To release this movie in 3-D is an absolute crime. Why commercialize an already massive success? Oh yeah, to attain more success. Can you imagine the reception for Titanic IN 3-D? It would be massive! It might even break Avatar's box-office record! (Here's hoping.)

Now it may sound like I'm criticizing the whole thing, and it might seem like I'm justifying it as well, therefore somewhat of a paradox. However, I am doing neither. I'm merely astounded that 20th Century Fox (or whomever is selling this) actually made the decision of 3-D-izing a timeless classic. Who knows? Maybe Star Wars is next.... To be continued! (Not really.)

Titanic IN 3D will be released April 6, 2012.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

When Harry Met Sally...

I'll have what she's having. Not until a year ago, I thought this memorable quote was shouted by someone who was serving some cheesy punchline. (I'll have what SHE'S having!) Not until a year ago, I learned this quote was said to prolong the timeless joke of faking orgasms. And lastly, not until a year ago did I first watch what would be my all-time favorite film. Ever.

That's quite a statement coming from me, a vast admirer of movies. It's your basic romantic-comedy, upon hearing the plot without actually watching it: boy meets girl, they develop a relationship that would blossom to romance, major conflict in their relationship, conflict resolved, and they live happily ever after. It may sound simple, but it is, remarkably, far from it. What makes me say remarkable is that...well, it is. In some wondrous way, maybe magic, the collaborative minds of Rob Reiner (director) and Nora Ephron (writer) created a meaningful, funny, romantic, insightful classic.
Sure, the insight relates to the art of relationships rather than academia, but its relevance to the lives of real people is what makes it entertaining. People want to see movies where they learn something they already know, such as the fake orgasm. Women know they do it, men don't think their woman is faking with them. Now, it's considered cliche... (who would even dare try to put that joke in their movie and get away with it?) but for the 1989 classic, it is just that (classic).

Let's get into the substance of the great film. Its main characters are Harry Burns (played marvelously by Billy Crystal) and Sally Albright (played wonderfully by Meg Ryan, looking as adorable as ever). Harry is a cynic, who always has some narrow-minded opinion on the smallest of things; Sally is a bright, cheerful woman, who always objects to Harry's pessimistic provinciality and tries to prove him wrong and therefore assure herself that he's wrong. The two meet when they drive to New York together, and on the ride there, Harry prudently states that they can never be friends because men and women cannot be friends. The reason for that (you should know this) is, no matter what, there is always a chance of sex getting in the way. I love this scene because, like every scene in the movie, Harry and Sally are going back and forth with their quick responses; they have a simple yet interesting conversation in the movie, like any two people in the real-world would. It projects such a warm, comfortable aura about the entire film. You can watch it any time of day, whether you're on the brink of falling asleep (as I am at this very moment) or busy with some other task. It just absorbs you in a way that doesn't distract or consume you. If that makes sense.

When the pair stops by at a diner, Harry accuses Sally of never having had great sex, which Sally vehemently denies because she doesn't want to live in a world where some contemptuous jerk is right. (Further defines their relationship, as this is how they respond to one another throughout the film.) Still at the diner, Harry orders a simple meal known as "a number 4". Sally on the other hand, orders her dessert in a much more complex manner: "I'd like the pie heated and I don't want the ice cream on top, I want it on the side, and I'd like strawberry instead of vanilla if you have it, if not then no ice cream just whipped cream but only if it's real; if it's out of the can then nothing". I just had to include that one bit from the movie, it was just so amusing. Then, Harry brilliantly states how men and women can never be friends. And it's absolutely true! I know from experience, myself; eventually, either I start to develop feelings, or he's just inevitable, in such a supernatural way. Well, actually natural way. Men and women are attracted to one another, even if one of them is generally unattractive (Harry: You pretty much want to nail 'em too.)

Five years later, Harry and Sally meet again, in an airport, where Sally is kissing her boyfriend, Joe, goodbye. (Another factor I love is how Harry and Sally actually have time to fall in love, unlike typical romantic comedies out now. In those movies, the audience is to believe that two characters fall in love in the course of about a month. That's not the way it should be. Here's your example, romantic comedies of 2012.) Here, the so-true moment of forgetting the name of your best friend in college or what someone you met five years ago is doing now, job-wise, is displayed. (Note: there are many so-true moments in this film. Yes, I will mention each and every one of them. If I fail to do that, I'm only human.) Once Harry recognizes Sally on the plane, after she made her usual complication of a simple order of a drink, the two catch up on things: Harry is married to Helen, while we already know Sally is in a serious relationship with Joe. How, pray tell, do we know it's serious? Well, as Harry explains it, he took her to the airport, and that is definitely a six month-plus task to carry out. What guy who you just slept with would take you to the airport the next day? Anyway, I have to say, the character of Harry (who I strongly hope is truly out there for me to snatch) may be cynical and sees-the-cup-half-empty, but at least he has a fathomable hold of reality. (Fathomable?) There's nothing wrong with a little cynicism people, not everything has to be a Christmas elf. Nor do they have to be plain assholes. Where was I going with this...? Either way, Harry is a wonderfully pessimistic character, which will be more clearly shown throughout the movie. You'll see.

Having read over what I already wrote, I've come to a decision. No votes will be made on the issue either. (Like you even would. I'm so insecure. Moving on.) I've decided not to reveal every little thing about the movie. While it is a wonderful film, probably the best I've seen, I don't want to spoil it for you. Even if you watched it, I doubt you would want to read the script of the movie here. You know what happens, you've seen and enjoyed it. And for those who haven't seen it, I want you to be delightfully surprised by just how great it is. I will not erase what I have written above because, well, it's already typed up. With that being said, allow me to continue, without telling you exactly what happens.

When Harry Met Sally... is a genuine cinematic gem. Definitely the greatest romantic comedy ever made, and quite possibly the best movie. (Then again, one might enjoy Gigli or Bounty Hunter...I'm not judging, but bad taste. Oh, I judged anyway. Terrible taste.) This movie is truly a marvelous marvelous creation, focusing on the small yet crucially important components of relationships, and life. From the honest and intimate conversations between Harry and Sally to...well, to their incredibly touching climax when know...and live happily ever after. Yet, that cheesy ending isn't exactly set in stone, as it typically is in these types of films. They simply kiss and undergo their own, adorable interview. Their interview follows many other sweet interviews of elderly couples, who have ended up together in unconventional ways. (By unconventional, I mean not your everyday boy-meets-girl-and-falls-for-her-instantly gimmick. Once again, this movie is pure perfection.)

Similar to Woody Allen films and other lovable Rob Reiner films, When Harry Met Sally... is all about the dialogue, and the warm sensation it gives off. The whole film centers around the relationship of Harry and Sally, two seemingly ordinary people (yet two of the finest character in the history of cinema), over the believable course of more than ten years. From watching Casablanca together late at night, over the phone, to casually discussing the topic of one another's sex lives in public places. Harry Burns and Sally Albright stand as the ideal cinematic couple... (move over Rose and Jack!) in an ideal romantic film. When Harry Met Sally... is truly, utterly, and completely the unsurpassed romantic comedy, nay movie, of our time. Get used to it.