Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Review: Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D

This was my favorite movie when I was nine years old. My uncle Ryan took me and my cousins to go see this at Lake 7 theater in Rice Lake, WI. I remember thinking that it was the coolest thing that I had ever seen, and soon became totally obsessed with it. I had a Star Wars backpack, a Star Wars lunchbox, a Star Wars calender (that was really cool because it had flip book animations of scenes from the movie), and I was Darth Maul for Halloween that year. It was kinda shitty because lots of other kids were too and my mom was way late in buying my costume so while the other kids had the cool normal sized double sided lightsaber, I had one half the size and it was filled with candy. So, now it is almost 13 years later and I was psyched when I saw that this movie was being released in 3D. The Phantom Menace is the least bad of all of the Star Wars prequels and is filled with great scenes like the podracing scene and an extremely epic lightsaber battle between Qui-Gon Jinn, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Maul. Here are the main reasons why I went to see ths movie:
  • I thought that the lightsaber battle and pod race scenes would look epic in 3D
  • Nostalgia
  • To see if the underwater scene would scare me as much as it did when I was nine (seriously I had my hands over my eyes the whole scene)
  • Ewan McGregor is crazy beautiful
  • Um..its Star Wars....
Since this movie wasn't made to be in 3D, there aren't any really cool 3D moments. It was basically like watching it the first time, except now Yoda is CGI. They probably did it to make it consistent with the second two prequels, but I like puppet Yoda better. I still think that seeing this was worth the $9 and 15 minute bus ride, though. One of the greatest things about seeing Star Wars movies in theaters is hearing Ben Burtt's great sound design. The sound during the pod race is just amazing. Everytime the pods rounded a corner, I was just like "wow!"
Its also cool to watch this now that I know that Keira Knightley is Natalie Portman's decoy. I remember being shocked when I found out that Padme was Queen Amidala. That to me was my Crying Game scene. Except instead of Dil having a penis, it was Portman being the queen. I really couldn't tell the difference between Natalie as queen and Knightley as decoy queen.

Now that it is 13 years later and I have a shitload of movies featuring these two actresses, I can easily tell the two of them apart. It was interesting seeing how many times Knightley is in the background in just her handmaiden robe. Speaking of Queen Amidala, how amazing is her wardrobe? I used to have this book that came out with the book and there was a few pages dedicated to her wardrobe and I ended up ruining the book by cutting them all out. I wish I hadn't done that now because that book was really cool. It has lists of all the droids and spaceships and everything. Anyways, Queen Amidala has the most amazing clothes. Here are my favorite outfits.


Also, that lightsaber battle is just amazing!



Poor Ewan McGregor always has to have someone die in his arms. I'm surprised Qui-Gonn didn't say "tell a story Christian...or Obi-Wan." Speaking of Ewan McGregor...how gorgeous is this guy?!!?!?

Seeing this again made me realize how little he is in this movie. At least he is in the best scene in the movie. (I am referring again to the lightsaber battle).
So in conclusion, although the 3D aspect was somewhat disappointing, and I prefer puppet Yoda, this was really fun to see in theaters again.


Movie I Want to See: Prometheus

Okay, this movie needs to come out right now! I really don't want to wait until June! This is probably my most anticipated film for 2012. I want to see this more than I want to see The Hunger Games, The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, and The Amazing Spider-Man combined! This movie just looks 'effin amazing! Not only is it related to Ridley Scott's Alien universe, but it also has the most amazing cast. It is filled with actors that I love including Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Noomi Rapace, and Guy Pearce. I am even more excited after watching Guy Pearce's little video as his character Peter Weyland.


Well he is correct when he says that cyborgs will look just like humans, because one of them is a blonde Michael Fassbender. I am eagerly anticipating the scene when he is revealed as a robot by having white liquid squirt out of him. Now that I wrote that, that sounds really perverted...but I was refering to the liquid that cyborgs have instead of blood...haha. Anyways...every time that the trailer plays when I am at the movies I get really excited!



This movie is just going to be epic! Not only that but I guess it is supposed to be pretty scary as well, which is fantastic! What I want now is a trailer that has more story to it! Every new trailer that this movie has looks exactly like the previous ones, and I want one with some dialogue in it! The international trailer didn't even have the movie's title! (But it is a really cool trailer.)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Oscars 2012

Tonight is the 2012 Academy Awards. I always look forward to awards season, and the Oscars is definitely my favorite of all of the award shows. Here are the movies/ people that I would like to see win tonight in the big six categories.

Best Picture
Last year when the nominations were announced, I had seen 8 of the 10 movies nominated and had seen the last two before the award ceremony. This year I had not seen any of them. My goal was to see as many of them as I could before tonight and I saw 7 of the 9 films nominated. I still have not seen Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close or War Horse, but I really have no interest in seeing them anyway. Of the ones I have seen, there were some that I really liked, and some that I didn't really care for. My favorite films of the ones nominated for Best Picture were The Artist, Hugo, and Midnight in Paris.
I really loved all three of these films, and would be pleased if any of them won. Chances are, though, that it is going to be The Artist.

Best Director
Tough choice for me between Martin Scorsese and Michel Hazanavicius, but I'm going to have to go with Scorsese.

Best Actor
I'm still really pissed about Michael Fassbender not being nominated in this category. He was definitely better than Brad Pitt and Damien Bichir. Although they both gave solid performances, I really didn't think that they were anything special. I just think that the Academy voters liked the movies they were in and nominated them because of that. As for who I think should win of the people nominated, I'm going to have to go with Jean Dujardin. I love Gary Oldman, and think that it is a travesty that this is the only film he has been nominated for, but Dujardin's performance as a silent film actor really stuck with me.


Best Actress
Such a tough choice!!! Glenn Close, Michelle Williams, Viola Davis, and Rooney Mara all gave excellent performances this year. I have not seen The Iron Lady, but I think that it is safe to assume that Streep was great as well.  I am kind of bummed that Charlize Theron wasn't nominated. I thought she was great in Young Adult. Okay, so now I'm going to make a choice. I'm going to exclude Streep because I haven't seen that movie and I'm also going to exclude Glenn Close because although she was great, her performance didn't stand out as much to me as the other three. So that leaves Michelle Williams, Viola Davis, and Rooney Mara. If I absolutely had to choose, I would have to say that my favorite performance of all three was Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe.

Best Supporting Actor
I loved Christopher Plummer and I thought that he was great in Beginnings, but I would love it if Kenneth Branagh won for playing Sir Laurence Olivier. I love Laurence Oliver and have seen tons of his movies and read his autobiography. I think that Kenneth Branagh was perfect as one of my favorite classic movie stars.

Best Supporting Actress
I don't even have to think about this one. I literally just watched Albert Nobbs and thought that Janet McTeer was amazing as Mr. Pierce, a woman living as a man. I will be very surprised if she doesn't win.

Best Picture Nominee #7: Moneyball

I really don't care about baseball at all, so I'm already biased against this movie. I thought that it was well made, but I kept getting bored because I really just didn't care at all about what was happening. I didn't dislike the movie, but I could have easily lived my whole life without seeing it.

Best Picture Nominee #6: The Help

I have kind of mixed feelings about this movie. I mean, it was a pretty good movie. It had great performances by the whole cast and had quite a few moments that made me cry, but it is just another movie in the long line of white people helping black people movies. I know that the Oscars loves these movies, because that is the only reason that I can see for why Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for The Blind Side. Also, Skeeter didn't really end up helping Viola Davis's character. Even though her book got published and people could see how horrible these maids were being treated, everyones lives were the same, except for Davis's character who ended the movie without her job. Like I said before though, this film had great performances by Davis, Octavia Spencer, Emma Stone, and Jessica Chastain. I also have to give major kudos to Bryce Dallas Howard in this movie. It can't be easy to play a character as despicable as her. Everytime she opened her mouth you just want to slap her in the face.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oldboy Remake

I love the movie Oldboy. I actually wrote a paper on the tongue cutting scene for one of my film classes and it is one of my all-time favorite foreign film. So, I should be completely annoyed by an American remake right? Well, interestingly enough...wrong! I am actually really looking forward to this movie. For starters, I love the casting of Josh Brolin as the lead.

I think that he will be great as a man seeking revenge on the man who kept him captive for fifteen years. The casting decision that I am really excited for, however, is Mia Wasikowska!
I was looking at the IMDb page for this movie earlier and when I saw Mia Wasikowska (rumored) I got so excited! With both Brolin and Wasikowska you just know that this movie will be good. She is only rumored for a role so far, but who would be better as a young girl who becomes somewhat of a love interest for him...that is until he finds out that she is (SPOILER ALERT) his daughter and that they have been tricked into being together by the man who held him captive.

This movie will be great as long as they don't change the story. I know that Hollywood likes to change brilliant stories to make them more "acceptable" for mainstream audiences. The worst that I have seen is the American remake of The Vanishing. In the original, the film ends with the main character waking up in a coffin after he has been buried alive. In the remake, he gets out of the coffin and kills the bad guy. I couldn't believe it! I love the original The Vanishing, so I literally felt betrayed when I was watching the remake on TV one day. That is something that I really hope doesn't happen with Oldboy. Since the film is being directed by Spike Lee, who is an independent filmmaker, I don't think that the story will change too much. Or at least I hope not.

Character of the Week: Lisbeth Salander

Lisbeth Salander is a computer hacker with a troubled past and a photographic memory. I loved the Millenium Trilogy and am really upset that Steig Larsson is dead and can't write anymore novels featuring Miss Salander. My favorite book in the series is the first one, where Lisbeth becomes a research assistant to a journalist who is trying to solve a really old murder case. I know that everyone is crazy about Noomi Rapace and the Swedish films and was really annoyed by the American remake, but I actually liked David Fincher's version better. I loved Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth and think that she was great, but I really didn't think that the Swedish films were that great. The first one was good, but the film version of The Girl Who Played With Fire was actually kind of boring to me. I knew that the American version would be great with Fincher directing and with Daniel Craig and Christopher Plummer. What I was really curious to see was Rooney Mara as Lisbeth, and she was GREAT! My favorite moment in the whole film:

She really looked the part, and really just became Lisbeth Salander. I am really looking forward to the next two films (which will hopefully also be directed by David Fincher).

And just because I love this so much:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Spotlight On: Ewan McGregor

This is a spotlight that is way overdue! I can't believe I haven't done a spotlight on Ewan McGregor already! I have had a major crush on him ever since I saw Moulin Rouge when I was around eleven years old. He is an amazing actor who can do a whole variety of roles. He has done comedy, drama, musicals, romance, war movies, and has even played a jedi. He also happens to be one of the most gorgeous human beings on the face of the Earth. He just has a smile that makes you happy and a beautiful pair of blue eyes. Here are some of my favorites of the movies he has been in.

Trainspotting
Here McGregor plays a heroin addict named Renton who spends the movie trying to get clean only to get back on the junk again. There are a lot of really disturbing scenes in this movie that really show how degrading and horrible being an addict is. We see Renton digging through a disgusting toilet filled with shit looking for his drugs, and one of the most disturbing scenes in the movie is a nightmare sequence when he is detoxing at his parents' house.


Emma
Emma is my absolute favorite Jane Austen novel, so it is really cool that McGregor has played one of her characters. He plays Frank Churchill, who ends up being kind of a douche. He is someone that Emma crushes on for a while, but we eventually find out that the whole time he was engaged to Jane Fairfax. He ends up making Mr. Knightley very jealous because he thinks that Emma is falling for him.


A Life Less Ordinary

I just watched this movie for the first time today, and I thought it was kind of odd. It is a romantic comedy, but there were parts that were pretty disturbing. It is about a guy who kidnaps his former bosses daughter because he lost his job. The girl doesn't really care that she has been kidnapped and even helps him out. Also, there are two angels who are trying to get the two of them to fall in love. What I mean by disturbing is that there is a part where one of the angels makes Ewan dig his own grave and tells him he is going to shoot him. It was horrifying! This was an odd movie, but it does have some cute scenes.


Velvet Goldmine
Curt Wild! I love this movie so much! Ewan plays Curt Wild, a rock star who is based on Iggy Pop and Lou Reed. Ewan is just sexy as hell in this movie! This has a lot of great actors in it like Christian Bale, Toni Collette, and Jonathon Rhys Meyers, but my absolute favorite character is Ewan McGregor as Curt Wild.



Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace

Say what you will about the Star Wars prequels, but Ewan McGregor was a great young Obi Wan. They give him some pretty cheesy dialogue in the second two films, but I love him in this one. He is probably the best looking jedi ever and was a part of one of the best lightsaber battles in any of the Star Wars films!



Moulin Rouge
I do not think that it is possible to watch this movie and not fall madly in love with Ewan McGregor as Christian. Here he plays a young writer who falls in love with a courtesan. It starts out wonderful, but he has to deal with the fact that she has to sleep with The Duke. Basically this whole movie makes me cry, but one of the most heartbreaking scenes is when Satine is forced to tell Christian that she doesn't love him to save his life. This whole movie is just heartbreaking! It probably wouldn't be so bad if Ewan wasn't so damn perfect in this movie! He is just beautiful and his singing voice is amazing...I just love this movie and him in it so much! Just listening to him sing Come What May makes me want to cry...



Big Fish
One of the rare Tim Burton movies that doesn't feature Johnny Depp. Here McGregor plays Edward Bloom a man who may or may not have had a bunch of extraordinary things happen in his life. McGregor plays him from his teen years to around middle age. There are so many great scenes in this movie, and one of my favorites is the scene at the circus when he first sees his future wife...


The Island
This is a really cool science fiction movie where McGregor and Scarlett Johansson play people who believe they are in an underground shelter for survivors of a horrible apocalypse, but they eventually find out that they are really clones who were made so that their organs could be used to help the people they are clones of. Both this movie and the movie Never Let Me Go are examples of moral issues with cloning. Even though clones are made not born naturally, they are still people.



I Love You Phillip Morris
When I first saw the trailer for this movie I thought that it looked stupid, but I'm really glad that I ended up watching it. Ewan is just so sweet and adorable as Phillip Morris, a man who falls in love while in prison. Every time his character talks in this movie you just want to give him a big hug.



Beginners
This was a super cute movie. Ewan plays a man whose 75 year old father comes out to him as gay. This films is also about a relationship he starts with a pretty actress he meets after his dad dies. This movie was just charming! It is a movie that can put you in a good mood even while making you a little sad.



Haywire

Some good looking men in this movie! It not only has Ewan, but also Channing Tatum AND Michael Fassbender! That alone was worth the movie ticket prices!


Upcoming: He has two movies coming out in the near future that I really want to see. The first is Salmon Fishing in the Yemen with Emily Blunt. If it were anyone else I probably wouldn't want to see it because I really don't care about fishing, but since it has Ewan it'll probably be good. I also want to see Perfect Sense, which he is in with Eva Green. I think that that movie looks really interesting.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My Review: This Means War

I only went to see this movie because it had Tom Hardy. I thought it would be a mildly entertaining movie and I was curious to see Tom Hardy in a comedic role. I ended up really liking this movie! It was really funny and I was laughing all the way through. Not just giggling, but my ugly loud laughing! The story is that these two CIA agents played by Hardy and Chris Pine (who are both just crazy good looking) end up dating the same girl. They make a gentleman's agreement to not let her know that they know eachother and to just let her make her decision of who to be with. They also agree not to get in eachother's way, but they start sabotaging eachothers dates using their CIA resources. While the love story plot is cute, the best scenes are the scenes with Pine and Hardy together and the scenes with Reese Witherspoon and Chelsea Handler. The friendship scenes were far better than the romantic scenes, and the romantic scenes were pretty darn cute. This would definitely make a great date movie because in the theater I was at both men and women were laughing their asses off during the movie. A scene that I found particularily funny was the scene when the two men are listening to a conversation the Witherspoon and Handler are having about the two of them and discussing the flaws that the men have. My rating: 9/10

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Just Finished Reading: Naked Lunch

Ok...wow! This was a strange book to read. This book doesn't really have a plot or a storyline, but is a combination of a bunch of different little stories. I didn't realize that at first so I was getting confused. Once I realized that though, this book was a lot easier to read. My favorite part was probably the part with the mugwump. That or that great section about the man who taught his asshole to talk. While reading it it seemed really familiar to me, and then I realized that it was in David Cronenberg's film version of Naked Lunch. That movie isn't really an adaptation of this book, however. Instead it just has a few elements from this book and other books of his as well as some aspects of William S. Burroughs's real life. Anyways, reading this makes me really interested in his other books, so I'm going to have to check them out.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Character of the Week: Christian from Moulin Rouge

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, and every Valentine's Day I have a tradition where I watch Moulin Rouge. Moulin Rouge has been one of my favorite movies ever since it came out when I was about 11 years old. I love everything about this movie, but one of my favorite things about it is Ewan McGregor as Christian. I remember being 11 years old and falling madly in love with this fictional character. Christian is a young man who moves to Paris to be a writer and live among the bohemian society. Eventually he fall in love with Satine, a courtesean who is dying of consumption (but he doesn't know that...) He also has a great singing voice and is incredibly gorgeous.

Spotlight On: John Hurt

This spotlight is on one of my favorite British actors, John Hurt. He is a great actor who has appeared in a bunch of my favorite science fiction films. What I like most about him, however, has to be his speaking voice. He just has this great voice that makes everything sound epic and important. I just want him to narrate anything and everything. He has had a long and great career, and here are my favorite films of his.

Alien

John Hurt is in what is definitely the most memorable scene in Alien. He plays Kane, a man who has a facehugger attach itself to his face. After it comes off, everyone thinks that he is fine, but we soon find out that the facehugger was using his body as a human host for a xenomorph to grow in. If they would have just listened to Ripley and kept him off of the ship then nobody (else) would have died.


He also had a cameo a few years later in Spaceballs playing the same character. It is without a doubt the funniest scene in the movie.


The Elephant Man
This is a movie that just breaks my heart into a million pieces. Hurt plays John Merrick, a man born with severe deformities. He starts out the movie being part of a circus freak show, then gets brought to a hospital where he meets people who actually start to care about him.



1984
Here he plays the protagonist in the film adaptation of one of the greatest sci fi novels of all time. What is really cool is that this movie was actually made in 1984.


Hellboy
This movie and the sequel are both proof that John Hurt should narrate every single movie ever. His voice makes this movie that much more epic. If it wasn't for that voice of his I never would have even recognized him in this movie.


V For Vendetta
Here is is in another dystopian future, except instead of being the victim, he is the villain. He plays a dictator named Adam Sutler who takes over control of England after a series of horrible events that leave people in fear. John Hurt is great as Chancellor Sutler. Even though the majority of the time we see him is just people watching him on a screen, he is so intimidating. You almost understand why people would just let him take over.


Immortals
I actually enjoyed this movie. One of the better things about it was John Hurt as the older version of Zeus. Even though the majority of the movie we see Zeus as younger, when he is on Earth he disguises himself as older so he can train Henry Cavill's character. Plus...John Hurt narration makes every movie better.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

I was kind of bummed that he wasn't in this movie more, but he was one of the many great British actors in this movie.

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Review: The Vow

 I went to see this movie for two reasons. 1. I was super bored and really wanted to get out of my apartment. 2. Channing Tatum is really hot. Keeping that in mind, this film served its purpose for me. I got out of my room for a few hours and I got to see Tatum shirtless. This is a movie I could have waited to see on DVD. Watching this movie was really just kind of a bummer. I mean, it was basically just two hours of me just going "oh that sucks" and feeling bad for Channing Tatum's character. To be honest, by the end I really didn't care if she got her memory back. I know that sounds terrible because this is apparently based on a true story, but I really didn't care for Rachel McAdam's character at all. There was one part that really just broke my heart in this movie, though. There was a part in the film when Channing Tatum's co-worker asks him what turns Rachel McAdams on, and he said tickling, so she suggested that he try it. A little later in the movie, he tries to tickle her and she just flinches. My heart fell on the floor, it was so sad. My rating: 5/10

Friday, February 10, 2012

Character of the Week: Katniss Everdeen

This week's character of the week is Katniss Everdeen, "the girl who was on fire." She is a citizen of District 12, which is a part of Panem. She lives in a dystopian future where every year a boy and girl from each district are chosen to be a part of the Hunger Games, where they have to fight to the death. After her younger sister's name is called, Katniss volunteers to take her place in the games. After winning the games along with Peeta Malark, she becomes a sort of poster girl for the rebellion against the Capitol, sort of a female John Connor. In the upcoming film version of The Hunger Games, she is played by Jennifer Lawrence, which I think is really cool because she is one of my favorite young actresses working today. I am super excited to see this movie and I think she will be great.

Just Finished Reading: Catching Fire

This book really threw me for a loop. I figured that some sort of rebellion against the Capitol would start, but I just could not believe that Katniss and Peeta would be thrown back into the Hunger Games arena. I thought for sure that something would happen to stop the games from happening, but nothing did, and it was just like the first book all over again with Katniss trying to save Peeta. This book was definitely a page turner because I finished it in no time. Now I am REALLY curious about what happens in the third book now that District 12 is gone. I'm really hoping that we see more of Gale. In this book and The Hunger Games he seems more like a minor character and the focus is always more on Katniss and Peeta. I want more Katniss and Gale! I guess I'm just going to have to buy the third  book and see....

Monday, February 6, 2012

My Review: The Woman in Black

The horror movies that have freaked me out the most have always been ghost stories. Whenever the screen gets really dark my eyes are always scanning the screen because I just know that something is going to move. Also, it is always the anticipation of something happening that gives me the heebie jeebies. The Woman in Black was a really eerie ghost story. It is about a widower with a young son who has to travel to this spooky old house to go through a bunch of legal papers. Once he gets in town, he doesn't get much of a warm welcome from the locals who all tell him to leave. Once at the house he starts seeing glimpses of a woman in black. Then, children start to die. Because her child was taken away from her, the woman in black forces children around town to kill themselves. So, Daniel Radcliffe's character tries to solve this problem before his son comes to meet him. There were several times where I was getting a little spooked watching this movie. It is filled with dark lighting, porcelean dolls, ghost children, and creepy monkey toys. (I swear those are the same hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil monkeys from The Artist). I ended up really liking this movie. While this movie wasn't scary, it was definitely spooky and was an interesting story. My review: 8/10