Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Character of the Week: Mystique

This week's character of the week is my favorite X-Men character, Mystique. She is a mutant who has the power to transform herself into anybody else, with both her looks and her voice. She is one of those silent badass chicks, sort of like Miho from Sin City. Even though she doesn't say much, she can kick some serious ass. What is really badass is that she can kill people with her feet. In the first three X-Men movies she is portrayed by Rebecca Romijn.



In the upcoming X-Men: First Class she is portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence. I am really excited for this movie and curious as to how her relationship with Magneto will form in this movie because it appears that they both start out as good guys in this film.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Just Finished Reading: The Island of Dr. Moreau

If you are a lover of science fiction, like I am, then you will love this book! I actually saw the 1930s version of this movie a long time ago, and I loved it, so I really wanted to read this book. It is a lot different than the movie, but is still really good. It is about a man who arrives on this island which is run by a scientist named Dr. Moreau. The island is inhabited by Moreau's creations, which are Beast Men. They are animals who Dr. Moreau added human charictaristics to. They can walk and talk, and while they aren't very bright, they still follow the Laws, which state that they can't walk on all fours or eat animal flesh. It is an amazing example of biological fiction, which is my favorite subgenre of science fiction. H.G. Wells was such a genius and is an example of an author whose works of science fiction became science fact.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo Teaser Trailer!!!!



OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG!!! This movie is going to be so amazing!!!! I was checking my Twitter on my phone a second ago and the very first thing I saw was something about a Girl With The Dragon Tattoo teaser trailer, so I went running back to my computer!!!! It looks so awesome! I can not wait until December!

2011: The Year of Natalie Portman?

This has been a good year for the beautiful and talented Natalie Portman. Not only did she win her first Oscar, but she also appeared in not one, but six new films that I saw this year, and it is only May. I have always enjoyed seeing movies with Portman, so it was really cool to see her in such a variety of roles in such a short timespan. Here I will rank her six films that I saw this year in order of how much I liked them.

1. Black Swan

Portman's portrayal of a mentally unbalanced ballerina is what won her the Oscar a few months ago. I really loved this film. I thought that it was brilliant and that she was brilliant in it. You can find my reviews of this film HERE and HERE.

2. Hesher

In this film they give Portman a bad perm and some old man glasses so that she can play a normal cashier with money problems. The first time you see her in this film she tries to tackle a boy who is picking on the main boy in the film. It is so funny because she is so tiny and has those rediculous glasses on. This movie was both funny and sad, and you can see my full review HERE.

3. Thor

In Thor, Natalie plays a scientist who falls in love with the title character. She first meets him when he gets hit by her van while her and her associates are out doing some science-related thing. I thought that this movie was really cool, and made me really excited for The Avengers. Full review HERE.

4. No Strings Attached

It was really interesting to see Portman in Black Swan, and then a romantic comedy a few weeks later. Here Natalie plays a busy doctor who decides to become friends with benefits with Ashton Kutcher so that she can get laid without attachments. So, of course they fall in love and things get complicated. This movie was surprisingly funny, and also pretty sweet. Full review HERE.

5. The Other Woman

This is the only film of the six that I didn't see in theatres. I actually just watched this last night because my sister got it from the Redbox. In this film, Natalie plays a woman who falls in love with a married man, and ends up stealing him from his wife and marrying him. She butts heads with both his son and his ex-wife and, sadly, also loses a baby. I liked this movie more than I thought I would, and it was really sad. Lisa Kudrow's character, who is the ex-wife, is such a BITCH in this movie!!! Portman gives another great performance, and the part near the end with Kudrow and Portman actually made me cry a little...

6. Your Highness

This was actually the only film Portman was in this year that I didn't really care for. It had its funny parts, but mostly I thought that it was kinda stupid. Portman plays a warrior woman set on getting revenge against the man who murdered her entire family. Full review HERE.

According to IMDB, she doesn't have any upcoming projects just yet. That makes sense though, since her eggo is prego at the moment, but we should see plenty more great performances from Ms. Portman in the future.

My Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

I really didn't care for the last POTC movie, so I didn't really see the point in making a fourth movie. Having said that, this movie wasn't half bad. Although I like Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom, they were right to get rid of Elizabeth Swann and Will Turner, because their loves story got really stale and there really wasn't more they could have done with their story. Whats even better is that they added Ian MacShane and Penelope Cruz as Blackbeard and his daughter/ love interest for Jack. Keith Richards is back as Jack Sparrow's dad, and there was a very random cameo by Judi Dench who plays a woman riding a carriage while Jack is escaping. Anyways, in this film, every one is searching for the fountain of youth. And by everyone, I mean Blackbeards crew, the British Navy of which Barbossa is a part of, and the Spanish. There are parts of this movie that drag a little big, but it is saved by the chemistry between Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz (who are reunited after appearing in Blow together.) The coolest part of this movie is definitely the part with the mermaids. One of the things they need when they get to the fountain of youth is a tear from a mermaid, so they go to try to capture one. The first one you see is played by the lovely Gemma Ward, who sings a song that brings all of the other mermaids. Then, they start attacking the boat!!! It was really unexpected, and just looked amazing!! All of these mermaids jumping over the boat and grabbing men and taking them in the water, it was just really cool. That scene alone was worth the price of admission. Overall, while not perfect, this movie was entertaining. My rating: 7/10

Friday, May 27, 2011

Spotlight On: Martin Scorsese

I never realized that I was a big Martin Scorsese fan until one day I realized that I have loved every single movie of his that I have seen. Crime/ gangster films have never been my favorite, but for some reason I just love Scorsese films. They are always really cool and have really great dialogue. Plus, a good majority of them feature Robert De Niro, who is one of my all-time favorite actors. Here are the films of his that I have seen.

Mean Streets

I actually just saw this movie for the first time around a week ago. I believe that this was the film that first started to get Scorsese some notice, and was also his first collaboration with Robert De Niro.



Taxi Driver
Taxi Driver is one of my favorite Scorsese films. It has an interesting story, a great performance by De Niro, and is just a classic. It also features one of the most famous scenes in cinema history...



Raging Bull
I've always hated sports films, but for some reason I just love ones about boxing. In my opinion, the greatest boxing movie of all time is Raging Bull. Both De Niro and Joe Pesci are brilliant in this film, and it also features some of the greatest boxing scenes ever. Like the one HERE. There are just tons of great scenes in this film, like the one HERE. One of the other main things about this movie is La Motta's jealousy which is shown in the clip below...



The King of Comedy
This movie is quite a bit different than most Scorsese films. It features De Niro as an aspiring stand up comedian that ends up stalking and kidnapping the star of a talk show. Rupert Pupkin is one of the saddest characters in film history, and is also another great De Niro performance.



Goodfellas
Although I've never been a big Ray Liotta fan, I do like Goodfellas. De Niro and Pesci give more great performances, along with a great performance by Lorraine Bracco. This is, without a doubt, one of the greatest gangster films of all time.

Cape Fear
I have never seen the original Cape Fear, but I guarantee that the villain in that film is nowhere near as creepy as De Niro is in this film. The accent he has in this film just makes him ten times as creepy. This film also features a young Juliette Lewis in an Oscar nominated role.



Gangs of New York

This is Scorsese's first collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio. To be honest, I don't know if I have ever seen this entire movie. What I remember most is Daniel Day-Lewis' performance as Bill the Butcher, which is one of his many brilliant performances.



The Aviator
This biopic features DiCaprio as film director Howard Hughes. Being a huge fan of Katherine Hepburn, I think that Cate Blanchett did an amazing job playing the famous movie star in this film. Blanchett gives an Oscar winning performance of an Oscar winner...



The Departed
After decades of brilliant filmmaking, this is the film that  (finally!) won an Oscar for Director for Scorsese. If features great performances by DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Alec Baldwin, Martin Sheen, and Vera Farminga. My favorite performance in this film, however, is Mark Wahlberg as Staff Sergeant Dignam.



Shutter Island
Probably my least favorite of all of the Scorsese movies I have seen, but it does have its good moments. Plus...you gotta love that BAAW-ston accent.



Upcoming:
I'm really excited for Hugo Cabret, which comes out in November. If features Johnny Depp, Christopher Lee, Jude Law, and Chloe Moretz. Silence with Daniel Day-Lewis and Benicio Del Toro is set for 2013, and he is also going to direct a biopic of Frank Sinatra. I think that that is really cool, but who in the hell are they going to get to play the Chairman of the Board?

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Review: Thor

Thor is the superhero that I probably know the least about, so I wasn't really sure what to expect with this film. I just knew that it had a decent cast, and I was curious as to how Kenneth Branagh would do directing a superhero film. This movie turned out to be really cool! Like I said, the cast was cool with Chris Hemsworth as Thor, who I had only seen in Star Trek before this. I must say that he is fiiiiiiine!!!! There's also Anthony Hopkins as Odin (perfect!), Natalie Portman as Jane, and other actors including Stellan Skarsgard and Idris Elba. When watching the movie I wasn't quite sure if it was Elba or not, but when they had the end credits I was proved right! I thought that he was great as the gatekeeper, guardian guy. Anyways, this movie had great special effects, and was surprisingly funny at parts. I loved how there were little references to the upcoming Avengers film. For starters, there was a cameo by Jeremy Renner, who will be playing Hawkeye and there was, of course, a mention of Mr. Stark by the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. Frankly, I'm surprised that you didn't see Nick Fury anywhere. Avengers is going to be so cool!!!! The one thing that bothered me a little is how fast Thor and Jane fell in love. It was pretty much like "you're hot" "you're pretty" "I love you!" Speaking of Jane, I swear Natalie Portman is in everything!!! This was the fifth movie with her that I have seen this year alone!!! This follows Black Swan, No Strings Attached, Your Highness, and Hesher. So far I have liked all of them except for Your Highness. I am really curious about how Thor will match up with the rest of the supers in the Avengers movie, but I'm sure that it will be cool. My rating: 8/10

Character of the Week: Seymour from Ghost World

This week's character of the week is Seymour from the movie Ghost World. Interestingly, Seymour wasn't a very big character in the comic. In fact, he didn't even have a name and was only referred to as "bearded windbreaker." I thought it was very interesting how much Daniel Clowes and Terry Zwigoff expanded his character. I'm really glad that they did because, in my opinion, this is Steve Buscemi's greatest performance. He is an awkward record collector who tries to find a woman through the personal ads. Instead, two girl trick him into thinking that she calls. Eventually, he ends up falling for one of the girls and his whole life falls apart. He is just such an interesting character because he is so awkward and unlikable, but is one of the most interesting characters I've ever seen in film. I just think that this is such a great role for Buscemi, because he usually plays talkative criminal types, like in Fargo or Reservoir Dogs, and this is just completely different.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Just Finished Reading: Emma

I can't believe that I went 21 years of my life without having read a Jane Austen book. I've seen the film version of Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley, I've seen Jane Austen's book club, and I've seen Clueless, which is based on Emma, but this was the very first Austen book that I have sat down and read. It was hard to choose between starting with this and Pride and Prejudice, but I chose Emma because I was not as familiar with the story as I was with the other one. I actually got the BBC version of Emma with Romola Garai on Saturday from Netflix, but I haven't watched it yet because I wanted to finish reading this first. I really enjoyed this book. There were times when I was really getting annoyed with Harriet, but overall I really liked it. I was surprised at how much of the plot was in Clueless. Even things like Harriet (Tai in Clueless) burning things that reminded her of Mr. Elton, and Mr. Knightley (Josh) asking Harriet to dance. It is awesome because I was just watching Clueless on TV the other night. I think that Emma was a great choice for my first Austen, and I intend on reading them all in the future. I already have Pride and Prejudice, so that'll be the next Austen that I read.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Spotlight On: Angelina Jolie

This weeks spotlight is on one of my favorite actresses, Angelina Jolie. She has done a variety of roles from playing supermodels, mental patients, tomb raiders, and determined mothers. She is also pretty much the only female action star, along with Milla Jovovich. I just love Angelina Jolie, and here are my favorite roles of hers.

Foxfire
In Foxfire, Angelina plays a girl named Legs, who helps a group of high schools go up against the bad men in their town. I've never actually seen this movie unedited because I've only seen it on Lifetime, but this was one of my favorite movies in junior high.



Gia
Angelina Jolie won a Golden Globe for playing Gia Carangi, the supermodel who died of AIDS. This was the film where she really started to prove her acting talents, and is one of her best performances.



The Bone Collector

In The Bone Collector, Angelina plays a cop who is working with a paraplegic cop played by Denzel Washington to try to catch a serial killer. I haven't seen this movie in forever, but this used to be one of my favorites in elementary school. I'm gonna have to rent this one so I can see it again...



Girl, Interrupted
Her performance as Lisa Rowe in Girl, Interrupted is, in my opinion, Angelina Jolie's greatest performance. She plays a sociopath who is a patient at a mental institute. She is a charismatic villain who you both like and hate at the same time. This is also the film that earned Jolie her Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.



Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

In this film, Jolie plays one of the most badass film and video game heroines of all time, Ms. Lara Croft. While I have mixed feelings towards the second film, I've always liked the first one. Apparently they are going to reboot this franchise with a different Lara Croft, but I don't know why since no one is going to be better than Angelina...



Alexander
I did not care much for this movie. The only good parts were when Angelina Jolie was on screen playing Alexander's mother Olympias. She pretty much saved this movie from being a complete piece of shit...



Mr. and Mrs. Smith
In this movie, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt play a married couple who find out that they are both assassins. So...they have to try to kill each other. Has there ever been a better looking couple on screen?



Changeling
This is a movie that made me bawl my eyes out. I saw this in theaters and I had never cried so hard during a movie in my life. It is about a woman whose son gets kidnapped, and just when she thinks that they found him, they end up bring her the wrong kid. Since the policemen are a bunch of a-holes, they don't believe her and keep trying to convince her that it is her son that they brought back. This is the most recent film of the three that Jolie got Oscar nominations for, and it was well deserved. Personally I thought that she should have won.



Wanted

While I find the premise of this movie absolutely rediculous (threads...really?), I did think that it was a pretty entertaining action film. Jolie plays another assassin, this time one named Fox.



Salt
I wasn't really sure what to expect with this movie, but I ended up really liking it. Apparently the role was originally going to be a man, but they changed it when Jolie signed on.




I haven't seen The Tourist yet, but I just got it from Netflix, so I'll probably watch it tonight. It's got Jolie and Johnny Depp, so I'm sure that I will like it.

Upcoming: Angelina is going to be playing Cleopatra in the film Cleopatra (duh...), which should be coming out in 2013. She is also voicing Tigress again in Kung Fu Panda 2, which comes out pretty soon. She is also apparently playing Malefiscent in a film about the Sleeping Beauty villainess. THAT should be really cool.

Photo of Tom Hardy as Bane!!!

Finally something cool from The Dark Knight Rises!!! Although I am not too jazzed about the casting of Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, I was psyched about seeing Tom Hardy as Bane! Here is the first look of Hardy in character. I must say that I am pleased that his mask does not cover his whole face...This movie is going to be awesome!!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Just Finished Reading: My Troubles With Women

I saw Terry Zwigoff's documentary about Robert Crumb a few years ago, and since then I've been really curious to read some of Crumb's comics. I chose this one because I thought that it looked the most interesting. It really was. This collection of comics is funny and creepy and kind of sad, and I loved reading it. I just love how he is so aware of how much of a creep he is. From the documentary, Crumb seemed like such an interesting guy, and its neat reading something of his, especially more autobiographical comics, which is what these are. There are even a few comics in this that are done by both him and his wife. My one complaint is that they have such different drawing styles, so it looks kind of strange. My favorite one in here is probably the one where he talks about how girls would let him play footsy with them when he was 13.  

Character of the Week: Sarah Connor

This week's character of the week is Sarah Connor. She is from one of my favorite film franchises, the Terminator series. She is the mother of John Connor, the prophesised leader of the resistance against the machines. In the first Terminator film, the T-800 is sent back in time to kill her, so she never gives birth to John. So, a soldier named Kyle Reese is also sent back to protect her, but unbeknownst to both of them, he is also John's father, so he was sent back to impregnate her as well. In the second film, she works with a different T-800 to help keep John safe from the T-1000 model Terminator. She goes from scared victim in the first one, to badass survivor in the second film. I've only seen a couple episodes of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but I'm assuming that its pretty good. I love Sarah Connor because of how much of a transformation she goes through. Even by the end of the first film she toughens up a bit when she kills the T-800. "You're terminated, fucker!"

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spotlight On: Stan Winston

This week's spotlight is on Stan Winston. He was a make-up artist and a special effects person who had 10 Oscar nominations, and 3 wins. He has worked on some really cool movies and has really done a lot of important work in the fields of make-up and special effects. Here are some films that he has worked on.
The Thing
While the majority of the work was done by the great Rob Bottin, Winston did step in to work on the dog transformation scene, one of the many amazing scenes in this film.



The Terminator
Stan Winston also did the special effects for all four Terminator films. He recieved two Oscars for his work on Terminator 2: Judgement Day.





Aliens
For Aliens, Stan Winston was credited as Alien effects creator, and this is the film that won Winston his first Oscar, for best visual effects.




Predator
For this film, Winston received another nomination for Best Visual Effects. Even though this movie is corny as hell, I'm a sucker for a good Ahh-nold movie. That, and the Predator is one of the coolest looking film monsters ever!


Edward Scissorhands
For this film, Winston did the make-up for Edward as well making his hands. For this, he also received an Oscar nomination for Best Make-up. I was actually just watching this movie a few hours ago. I just love how under all of that make-up, Johnny Depp's handsomeness still shows through...



Batman Returns
For Batman Returns, Winston received yet another Oscar Nomination for transforming Danny DeVito into the Penguin.




Jurassic Park
Now onto what I think is the greatest work that Stan Winston has ever done, and that was creating the dinosaurs for Jurassic Park. Whenever you saw an entire dinosaur body, that was CGI. However, when you saw only parts of the dinos, you saw Winston's creations. This film, of course, won Winston his fourth Oscar.



While he has worked on several more films than this, including Avatar and Iron Man, these are the films, in my opinion, where he has done his best work.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Character of the Week: Patrick Bateman

This week's character of the week is Patrick Bateman. I remember reading American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis when I was 15 or 16 and being really disturbed by it. To this day, I still have never read the book all the way through. That is one of the great things about books though, is that you can say whatever you want in them. Mary Harron's film adaptation of American Psycho, however, is one of my favorite films. In my opinion, it is Christian Bale's greatest performance. The film is both disturbing and also darkly funny. Of all the serial killers in film, Patrick Bateman is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, this was the only good video that I could find to embed, but everyone should just go out and see this movie because it is amazing!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Spotlight On: Audrey Hepburn

This week's spotlight is on one of Hollywood's most radiant, talented, graceful, and beautiful actresses to ever appear on film. I have been a big fan of Audrey's ever since I saw Breakfast at Tiffany's when I was in junior high. I have only seen a handful of her films, but she was amazing in everything that I saw her in. Here are the films of hers that I have seen.

Roman Holiday (1953)
In Roman Holiday, Audrey plays a princess who is bored with her completely scheduled life. So, one day, after taking her sleeping pills, she decides to run away. A journalist, played by Gregory Peck, thinks that she is drunk and decides to help her. Eventually, he finds out who she is and decides to write a story about her while he shows her around Rome. Then they fall in love...of course. This is the movie that won Audrey her Oscar and it really showcases both her charm as well as her comedic talents.




Sabrina (1954)
I actually saw the remake of this with Harrison Ford before I was this one. I have to say that this one is much much better. Audrey plays Sabrina Fairchild, the daughter of the chauffer for the rich Lareby family. She is in love with the younger son, who doesn't notice her at first. After she comes back from Paris, however, he starts to notice, which causes problems for his family. So Linus, played by Humphrey Bogart, decides to woo Sabrina to get her to stop loving his brother.



Funny Face (1957)
This a film where Audrey is paired yet again with a man who is a lot older than her. This time it is Fred Astaire, who I really loved in Swing Time. While Audrey doesn't have the greatest singing voice in the world, she has been great in the few musicals that she has done.



Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961)
This is the film that Audrey is most known for. She plays a call girl named Holly Golightly. Apparently, Truman Capote wanted Marilyn Monroe to play her and thought that Audrey was all wrong for the part. Looking at her previous films you can kind of see where he is coming from because this is completely casting her against type. Nevertheless, now we can't see anyone else playing Holly Golightly.



My Fair Lady (1964)
What's odd about this film is that Audrey's singing voice is dubbed by another woman whose voice is nothing like hers. Regardless of this, Audrey is great as Eliza Doolittle, the cockney flower girl who is being transformed into a girl fit for high society.



Wait Until Dark (1967)
Audrey Hepburn is the last person I'd ever  think would be in a horror film. Here she plays a blind woman who is being terrorized by people who believe that she has a doll full of drugs in her house.