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"?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

(500) Days of Slightly Annoying Quirkiness

We have been slacking off on MNMN because, well, life got in the way. And there's not much you can do about that. But Tuesday, we pulled it together and trudged on over to Tower for (500) Days of Summer. Thanks to Cody for letting us in for free.

Also, Dear Tower: it was fucking hot in there. I'd appreciate it if you would turn on the air during really crowded movies. What was more clautrophobic? An airless theatre or a doomed indie romance?

Anyway, the movie stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel, both of whom I love. I've had a long-standing crush on JGL for quite some time (love Brick, love Mysterious Skin, can pass on 3rd Rock from the Sun). And who doesn't like Zooey Deschanel? One time I sold her a movie ticket and she was quite pleasant. I'm also a She & Him fan.

The movie itself was... cute. Maybe a little tooooo cute. It's like that time the guy at the Crest wanted his money back because the movie was "too real". Anyway, the outfits, the little montages, the Ikea scenes, the make-up-in-the-rain segment was a little too much. And he's so tortured! I know that the story is about heartbreak and there were definitely parts that I identified with, but at some point you just want to tell him to buck up. Also, was I supposed to hate her? I'm not sure. She was really flightly and kind of a jerk, in my opinion. And totally selfish.

Additionally, the soundtrack was like listening to my "folksysmolksy" pandora station.

All-in-all, I enjoyed the movie, even though it was a little much. Is this movie supposed to be like the new Garden State?

Note: we did go see the Proposal, but it was so awful it was not blog-worthy and we discredited it from being a movie.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ghosts! Ghosts! Ghosts!

Last night, amp & I braved the downtown plaza to see Ghosts of Girlfriend's Past. The most horrifying part of it all? We really enjoyed ourselves. Seriously, this movie was so quirky and weird it was good. Matthew McConaughey was kind of "eh" and he kept his shirt on the whole time! Jennifer Garner was good. I like her. Just sometimes she makes really poor decisions.

The whole thing centered around a wedding in winter time and how McConaughey was a screwup and how he heart Garner and etc etc. He gets three ghosts and all that. The flashbacks were clearly entertaining. There were a lot of good one-liners. My favorite was "hey sometimes when the music stops you gotta just put on your pants and go home". Michael Douglas played the swinger uncle which was totally weird!

Bottom-line: for mindless entertainment in a RoCo, this is totally perfect! I even laughed outloud at points -- watch this and just let yourself enjoy it.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pre-Chavez party night

Was anyone else out Monday night? It was bananas. Not only were there block-long lines outside of the J Street clubs, the Crest also had entire rows full of people. Sí, se puede, indeed.
We've been total slackers on the movie front, but "Sunshine Cleaners" was inspiring. Not only does it feature two strong female leads, but it also is the complete package type of movie: It makes you laugh, it makes you cry, it makes you think about how sad Albuquerque looks as the backdrop of a movie. My only complaint was that Amy Adams and Emily Blunt are far too beautiful to actually have any of the problems their characters have. But their performances were flawless, so I can't really say much. Also, Alan Arkin and Steve Zahn kill me. Also, Jason Spevak, the kid who plays Oscar, is hearwrenchingly cute.
Go see this one.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Confessions of a Shopaholic

I don't have a whole lot to say about this movie, which is probably a good thing. For a film based on chick lit, leaving the theatre just kind of "yeah, cool" is the best case scenario. The movie isn't really about shopping, though, but it did play a nice underlay. And the slap-stick ridiculousness wasn't too outrageous. It's doubtful that the movie would've been entertaining at all if it weren't for the cast. Isla Fischer = good. Love interest = exceptionally cute. And for crying out loud, can you go wrong when the parents are Joan Cusack and John Goodman?

So, a feel-good time, if you're willing to risk your life at the Downtown Plaza. (Did anyone else hear about the two girls who were robbed IN an auditorium?) I don't think I'd read the book though.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Benny Button

We spent Monday afternoon (holiday weekend!) at the Domes watching Benjamin Button. First, I'd like to say that the Domes are an f'n amusement park. Geeze. It took me like three years to figure out how to buy popcorn. And we were totally late and had to sit in the front row. The theatre was packed -why don't they add a couple more show times? Are that many people really going to see Friday the 13th or the Jonas Brothers concert. Don't answer that.

Anyway, I had pretty low expectations for the first half of the movie, mostly because everyone says it was a total snooze fest. I actually didn't feel too bored and enjoyed it all the way through. I think I really liked the look and the clothes and the movin' through the ages bit.

I'll admit though, I wasn't invested in the story or the characters at all. You want to see how they'll resolve the whole aging dilemma, but I kind of thought that Benjamin Button was a really boring person. And Cate Blanchett was annoying.

And when it came down to it, the most interesting part of the film was the old man-baby.

Monday, February 9, 2009

How Long Has It Been?

I haven't been to the movies in 3 weeks. THREE WEEKS. Unacceptable.

Also, should we see He's Just Not Into You or not? Is it anti-feminist to see this movie?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Slumdog Millionaire

Thoughts on Slumdog:
See Post Below....

[New Delhi, January 21. Image via Jezebel via AP.]

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A case for the happy ending.

I've kind of been on a tirade about this for the past few days since seeing Slumdog Millionaire, so forgive me if you've heard this before.
I'm just going to put it out there and say I really liked the film a lot. It's one of the best movies I've seen in a long, long time. I mean, I didn't weep with pleasure when it ended, but maybe I just got all my crying taken care of last week.
But Slumdog's a solid piece of movie magic. It's entertaining, kind of has you on the edge of your seat -- without being too stressful -- and it all works out in the end.
Now, I'm the first to admit that I am a huge sucker for a happy ending. Sports movies are a huge weakness for me. Or any movie that ends in thunderous, applause really. But it's not very often that a movie like that comes to an "indie" theater (Yes, I realize Tower isn't all that indie, but still).
But back to Slumdog. There are those who say it doesn't deserve to be in the Best Picture category, nevertheless win. But I don't buy it.
I think naysayers might be mostly film snobs who have become so cynical and desensitized by the number of so-called "intelligent" movies that end in a flurry of confusion or circumstances so depressing that you want to leave the theater, crawl into bed and stay there for three days. Maybe this sort of thing has tainted the kind of movie that typically wins or is nominated for Best Picture awards. They're either totally depressing or have casts and/or budgets bloated by excess so much so that the movies aren't even remotely good, but have excellent PR (cough, Crash, cough).
Sure, Slumdog is by no means realistic -- I think it's more Dickens than documentary. But why can't we have it all? Compelling tale, stellar acting, appealing cinematography, two-hours-or-less running time and, of course, an ending that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. At least Slumdog comes pretty close.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Crying in the dark

Marley and Me made me bawl like a baby. Multiple times. I can't say that happens all that often, but waiting around outside the bathrooms afterward and seeing all the bloodshot, puffy eyes trickling out of the theater made me feel a little better about it.
I'd recommend it to anyone needing a little bit of an emotional purge, or if you enjoy comtemplating your mortality while chuckling at witty quips delivered by Owen Wilson. Who doesn't, really?