Thursday, November 12, 2009

This Is It

We have some BIG MNMN news. We're now officially Regal Crown Club members. Hello $1 popcorn. Why did we wait so long to do this? We already have so many points!

We saw This Is It last night. I thought it was great, but I'm also 100% a Michael Jackson fan. The movie basically covered the rehearsals of his This Is It tour -- it was straightforward with some basic editing.

Reasons to watch:
-you get a glimpse at what MJ really was -- kind, a hard worker, an entertainer ("I want to play it the way the fans expect to hear it - the way they want it"), someone who says "God Bless" quite often
-you see MJ dance, sing and be amazing - he seemed perfectly healthy
-his clothes are crazy! and they're not costumes!
-you see the makings of a gigantic pop tour
-you hear all the old classic songs
-there are crazy videos and extras added to this tour and you see all of them

There was a little kid watching this movie next to us, and though it was slightly annoying that he talked the whole time, he was also a huge fan and danced for every song, which was kind of awesome.

Michael Jackson was an amazing performer - the movie is worth just seeing him do what he's best at.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sad & Wild

Before seeing Where the Wild Things Are someone told us "I loved it, but it was so sad". I'll admit, I was hesitant (like everyone, right?) about this movie. I may not have been as attached to the book as some, but it is always a little bit scary when people take your childhood and expose it without the rose-colored lens of memory. This is the same reason an old roommate would never let me watch the old Alvin & the Chipmunks movie. It could be ruined as an adult. Where the Wild Things Are seemed even more tricky - with it's extended story, indie soundtrack and Urban Outfitters tie-in. Sitting in the theatre and taking a look around, I definitely thought "is this the ultimate hipster movie?"

And, I'll admit, I think I was the target audience member. I liked how it looked, how it was filmed, the music, how it made me feel. There were times when it was a bit slow or long. There were moments where the monster's problems and hang-ups were just a little too much. There was a point when I thought "ok, I get it". But then there were the moments of slight awe or loneliness, that when paired with the right music, you just understood. And you liked it.

Max Records (great name) did a fantastic job as Max. He really did seem like how a kid should be and they did an excellent job portraying the problems of a kid and how he does or doesn't understand them. That sometimes you feel too wild and you don't know what to do. I think every kid understands that at some point. The Monsters were good - maybe some better then others. The times when they howled is when they seemed the most monstery.

There was no Arcade Fire in the actual movie... but the trailer made me listen to them all last week.

No, it's not Juno 2.

So someone around here totally blanked on reviewing Whip It. To summarize, it's really enjoyable. Go see it and relish being a badass chick. Even though Drew Barrymore is quite possibly, in the words of J.La "too old to act like that." That Ellen Page is just downright adorable, I can't help it.

In other news, despite having the squeakiest seats ever, I'm pretty convinced that the UA Arden Fair 6 might be the best non-indie theater within a 10-minute drive. The crowd is always sparse and mellow (i.e. No thugs with three kids coming in halfway through the flick to run around the theater like Natomas, and the threat of being stabbed seems minimal unlike downtown). And Madewell thinks the surly old guy with the Amish beard selling tickets is her new BFF even though he's always grumpy. It's our new fave.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Please don't call it a remake.

Honestly, I knew there was no way in hell anyone could successfully remake Fame. The original is one of my all-time-favorite movies that I've probably seen 100 times. I watched the original on VHS so many times the box is completely worn and faded and I've kept it despite retiring the old VCR ages ago.
Fame09, while admittedly was not as tortuous as I expected, did a really good job at losing the original's soul. There was so much missing - character backstory, smoking, emphasis on the tough teachers, love letter to a gritty and real NYC, Freddy Prinze references, abortion, tragedy, boobs - that I'm not quite sure how they were able to fill all 107 minutes. I suppose there was that CarnEVIL Halloween dance sequence, but I guess I prefer seeing Rocky Horror Picture Show stoned to a sad Baz Luhrmann rip-off.
As slick and sexy as it was, I just couldn't help but think "is this what our culture has come to"? I know it makes me sound terribly old-fashioned, but it disappointed me to see supposedly teenaged girls in thigh-high stockings and not much else gyrating face down on the floor, rather than doing grand jeté drills in pink tights and toe shoes. Granted I have been listening to Black and Gold all day.
Fortunately, I hadn't done much research on Fame09 before seeing it. I wouldn't have been able to pony up full price admission if I knew 22-year-old Kevin Tancharoen's, the director!, resume consists of pretty much only Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll. You got me again, Century Theaters!
Instead of making my mistake, watch the original this weekend in your slippers. Then tell me your favorite line. Here's mine: "Elton John's mama's got six mink coats!"
In the meantime, a little taste:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Taking Woodstock or Demetri Martin is cute

First, I'd like to share an experience about getting a call-in to Natomas. Now, I understand that call-ins are a privilege and I shouldn't complain. I do appreciate them. A lot. Especially since I work at the Crest like once every two months. Last night I called the Crest and got a call-in (plus 2 even!) for Taking Woodstock in Natomas. When I showed up at the theatre, they didn't have a record of it and they made me call my manager and have him call it in again. Now, I usually love Natomas because they have so many seats that they don't care if you're getting in for free. But this guy seemed to be on some sort of power trip. I mean, if I was willing to call right then and there, wouldn't that be a sign that I'm not lying? Or why couldn't he call them instead of having us all play phone tag? Or why was he just not friendly at all? Anyway, we were let in after we played phone tree and then we found out we were the ONLY people in the auditorium. Sweet. No whispering.

Things I took away from Taking Woodstock:
I still think Demetri Martin is cute, even if he's playing a gay man in bad clothing.
I still think Emile Hirsche is cute, even if he's playing a crazy ex-soldier
Lots of naked hippies.

I read the New Yorker review of this movie awhile back and I have to agree with their notion that it's a good idea to not portray the musical performances. You often hear music in the background, but you never see someone pretending to be Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin. However, for a movie that's about a significant music festival, they don't mention the music all that often. I doubt it has much of a soundtrack.

I often felt like the film was a bit disjointed and even slow at times. It felt very much like "staring at hippies". There was a bit of breaking the screen into parts a la the era (I'm not a filmmaker and I don't know the term) which was interesting and also distracting. I think the feeling of the 60s was there, but the story wasn't completely compelling. I didn't feel like the main character had much of a transformation or an experience really. And he was at Woodstock!

I think the movie could be compared to Almost Famous - nerdy boy with outrageous people learns about life. But this one seemed to be a little lacking.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

No need for J&J snobbery

OK, so SWPL's recent post about "Where the Wild Things Are" hit pretty close to home. Though I really can't stand Dave Eggers, I can't wait to see this flick. And that has pretty much everything to do with loving "WTWTA," the book, for as long as I can remember.
I borrowed "Julie & Julia," the book, from a friend a couple of months ago, and promptly packed it in a box and forgot all about it until Madewell threatened to steal it from me so she could study up for the impending movie. So, I did what any really good friend would do: Didn't respond to her request and read it myself over the weekend the movie came out, finally ponying it up in the parking lot after the credits had rolled. I know that brought me some very bad karma, but whatevs.
Anyway, I now spend a lot of time reading food blogs for my job, and there has been a lot of percolating hatred for one Julie Powell, author of "Julie & Julia," the book. (Funny enough, most of these people have no beef with Nora Ephron, who really made all of the questionable decisions in turning the book into a movie.) I heard lots of bitchy reviews about how they should have cut all the terrible Powell parts and just made a Julia Child biopic, for better or worse.
I have to say, I have read many, many worse books. And some really, really terrible memoirs (cough*"Eat.Pray.Love."*cough) that should never even be considered for the big screen. (Julia Roberts, how could you?!) But I thought "J&J," the book, was decent.
The movie was solid. Good even. Someone in our viewing party cried a little at the end, if that tells you anything. But she is pretty sentimental for Julia Child and turning 30.
Yes, the Julia Child parts are way better. However, I think Ephron and Amy Adams tag-teamed to do Powell a little bit of a disservice. They turned her from a sarcastic, funny underachiever with awesome friends and a pretty rad husband into a weepy, feeble doormat with a slightly better job and terrible friends. They did keep the cute, lovely hubbie, though. Not sure how these changes added to the movie's plot or anything -- and if you haven't read the book you probably couldn't care less.
Long review short: Go see it. And pick up some Parisian-style macarons at Ginger Elizabeth on the way to the theater like we did. It makes it that much sweeter.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Why Matthew Walked Out on (500) Days of Summer

I chatted with Matthew (thank you facebook, you bring families together) today about 500 days of Summer. To save time and energy (you'll waste enough of that trying to understand Matthew's psyche) I'll just recreate our chat here. I've deleted the parts where we talk about Mom's upcoming 63rd birthday.

why did you walk out on 500 days of summer?
and what part did you walk out on?

the first 30 min
it was really bad

what did it in?

they were more focused on being hip than having a movie
they referenced a band or a song like every 5 min

I didn't think it was THAT bad

it was kind of gross

I might watch it tonight
give it a second chance

I think you should watch it all the way through

I know
It just bothered me

the Smith's
Bruce Springsteen
Sid and Nancy
there's more too I'm just forgetting

a little too Gilmore Girls for you?
(ed. note: I don't think he got this reference)

well that's 4 in 30 min
a little too much like, trying super hard to just appeal to a certain audience than write a movie
too much cashing in

I understand that you want to connect to your audience and relate to them

(ed. note: I deleted a part here where I didn't listen to him and repeated a question, because it makes me sound stupid)

it was trying too hard to connect with an audience through pop culture than through a story
a love story
an easily relatable love story
and zooey deschawhatever was fucking stupid
and so was 3rd rock

well, to be fair, you only watched 30 minutes so they could've only set up the problem to the story in that time
why did you think they were stupid?

they were annoying
yeah, that's fair - I only watched 30 minutes

let me know what you think when you watch the whole thing


So, there you have it, folks. But I think he does bring up a interesting point - is using pop culture reference to identify with your audience "cashing in"?