Friday, May 31, 2013

You're So Fucking Special

I realize that this is about three years too late, but I just found this a couple of days ago. 

Does everyone remember the trailer for The Social Network?  You know, the movie that should have won Best Picture a few years back (not going to get into it), and it had a kick ass trailer?  It featured a kick ass choral cover of Radiohead's "Creep," and I just rediscovered it. 

I am sort of obsessed with this song at the moment.  Have you ever just listened to a song over and over and gotten lost in it?  Here is the original version:

And here is Scala and Kalacny's gorgeous cover that I can't get out of me head. 

'Struck By Lightning': No, Seriously. Someone Kill Me.

There is a difference between unsympathetic characters and unlikable characters.  It seems that Chris Colfer doesn't know the difference.  His character in Struck by Lightning, Carson Phillips, is one of the most arrogant, petulant characters I've ever seen in a movie.

Carson is desperate to get into Northwestern University after he graduates, so he can become the youngest editor of The New Yorker.  He basically wants to be the youngest person to conquer the editorial world probably because he wants to shove that fact in everyone's faces.  Carson's parents (Allison Janney and Dermot Mulroney) separated when Carson was younger, and he he sought solace in writing.  Can Janney please get offered something other than a humorous mother?  She's great at it, and I love that she constantly gets work, but give her a lead in something!  Come on!!!

Gotta find a better movie...

Carson's guidance counselor tells him that Northwestern won't accept him with just extracurricular activites on his application, so he sets his sights on producing a literary magazine.  The writing club that Carson heads only has one other devout member and that is Malerie Baggs (a painfully underused Rebel Wilson), a quiet girl who totes a video camera around and films everything.  Like Ricky Fitts from American Beauty without the cred or caterpillar eyebrows. 

Instead of nicely asking people if they would like submit something to the literary magazine, Carson blackmails all the popular kids because he knows all their dirty little secrets.  The flamboyant drama stud is banging a popular rich kid.  The high school gym teacher/football coach is scoring with the head cheerleader (Modern Family's Sarah Hyland).  He demands a literary submission from everyone in exchange for his silence.  He then makes a deal with his mother so she funds his little project.  Carson's mother tells him that she thinks he should be on medication (after admitting that she drugged him ADHD meds while he was younger), and he willingly goes back on the drugs if she gives him the money to publish his magazine. 

The problem with the movie is that Carson is a little twat.  Not a delightfully cynical teen, but a full-blown dickhead.  He talks down to people, and he screams like a whining baby when he doesn't get his way.  I think Colfer is adorable, and he's a good little actor, but the only one who comes out of this movie unscathed is Allison Janney.  She's an unlikable character, but she's interesting and I believe her character's motivations.  I don't like them, but she does a good job.  The movie tries to teach you to seize the day, but all it made me want to do was punch Kurt Hummel in the junk.

At the beginning of the movie, Carson gets struck by lightning and dies (not a spoiler, it's the first scene--get over yourself!).  He narrates the rest of the flick for us, but, I'm sorry, I didn't need him to tell me his story. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Epic? Not quite, But Not Bad Either

I didn't want to see Epic, because I thought it looked stupid.  Everyone was making comparisons to Fergully, but I honestly don't remember anything about that movie, so I couldn't judge it on that level.  Also, the commercials and advertisements are EVERYWHERE, and the presence of the movie started to annoy the living hell out of me.  So it was with a reluctant spirit when I joined a friend to see the film last night, and, I admit that I thought it was a cute (albeit very familiar) story with some really pretty animation.

Mary Katherine (or MK as she insists on being called--oh, those moody teenagers!!!) visits her estranged father, Professor Bomba (voiced by Jason Sudeikis), who is convinced a race of small people are living in the woods that surround his house.  MK is obviously not moved by her father's theories and, like everyone else, thinks he's a kook.  At the same time, we learn that Bomba was right, and a war is brewing in the foliage right outside.  Tiny, hunky soliders called Leafmen (exactly what they sound like) protect the forest from the Boggans, an orc-y like army of baddies who want nothing more than for the forest to rot.  The Boggans are led by a particularly ugly guy named Mandrake (Christoph Waltz), while the Leafmen follow under the command of Ronin (Colin Farrell).

The forest's queen, Queen Tara (Beyonce, hey girl!), is supposed to choose a new heir for the forest, and, right after she selects the smallest pod, the ceremony is ambushed by the Boggans and Tara is killed.  Oh, please, that's not a spoiler.  Beyonce is barely in the trailer, and you know girl is working on a new album!  While being all angsty and walking around the woods, MK spies Tara's dying body, and she is magically shrunk down.  Tara tells her to take the pod to Nim Galuu, a Glowworm voiced by Steven Tyler.  Yes, shit is getting trippy.  They must take the pod to Moonhaven so it can bloom in the moonlight.  Naturally.  If it blooms in darkness, Mandrake will have a new a new dark prince to call his own. 

Nim Galuu kind of looks like Heimlich from Pixar's A Bug's Life, withought the verve or flair.  MK joins Ronin as well as Nod, a hunky and reckless young soldier.  Why are the hot ones always reckless?  I digress.  Nod is voiced by Peeta Mallarck Josh Hutcherson and looks a hell of a lot like Flynn Rider from Tangled

Everything in Epic kiiiiiind of looks like things you've already seen before.  Nod and Nim Galuu look like characters from other animated movies, and Bomba is basically Rick Moranis from Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.  I had a hard time not thinking that Bomba was going to put himself in that device so he could comb his backyard.  Also, is Christoph Waltz only being offered roles as villains?  He was virtuous in Django Unchained, I know, but that guy has played a bad guy in almost everything.  He does it very well.  It's not a criticism.  Just an observation. 

Yeeeahhh, now you're thinking it!

Epic might not be the most original kids movie out there, but I can guarantee I am going to like it more than Planes.  It might make your kid appreciate nature, or inspire them to explore the outdoors looking for little people.  The movie is very colorful and quite gorgeous at times.  My expectations were at a complete low, so it had to do something right in order for me to recommend it. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Happy Birthday Annette Bening!!!

Oh, Annette Bening.  I have loved her since I saw her slapping the hell out of herself because she couldn't sell a house in American Beauty.  She turns 55 today, and what a stunner she still is!

Annette has yet to win an Oscar.  I say "has yet" because I am keeping the positive energy flowing, and I want her to win one.  She has been nominated 4 times.  Two of those four times she was stopped by Hilary Swank.  Damn, you Hilary!!!  DAMN YOU!!!  If she would have won for Beauty, it would have became only the fourth film to sweep the Oscars (the other three being It Happened One Night, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and The Silence of the Lambs). 

My favorite performance of hers might be as Julia Lambert in Being Julia.  The movie itself isn't that great (even though my dad named it his favorite film in 2004, thank you very much), but she is just so grand and over-the-top as an actress in 1930's London who begins having an affair with a young admirer.  The film costarts Jeremy Irons, the crappy Dumbledore Michael Gambon, and Lucy Punch.  Her turn as a betrayed lesbian in The Kids Are All Right was her most recent Oscar nominated role. 

My favorite thing about Bening is how she utilizes her voice in certain roles.  She can be quite seductive and light or she can lower her register to really command your attention.  I just love it!

Bening played Merteuil in Valmont, the other adaptation of Les liaisons Dangereuses.  I know, I know, Glenn Close should have won the Oscar for playing the same role in Dangerous Liaisons, but Valmont is underappreciated.  

I remember when it was announced they were adapting Augusten Burroughs's Running with Scissors.  Julianne Moore was cast as the mother who gives her son away, and I thought this was Julianne's chance to finally win an Oscar.  Then tragedy struck.  Julianne had to drop out.  I was distraught.  I didn't eat for days. THEN Annette Bening signed on and I gathered my composure again.  The movie is kind of ehhh, but Bening is a standout.  

The same year that Bening was nominated for The Kids Are All Right, she starred in the ensemble drama Mother and Child.  It has some good acting (Kerry Washington Kerry Washington Kerry Washington) led by Bening as a woman haunted by the memory of giving her own child up for adoption.  Seriously, find it and watch it.  


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

My Hermit Weekend: 'Behind' The 'Development' And It Was A 'Smash'

Most people were barbecuing their hearts out or enjoying their family's company this past holiday weekend, but since I don't like cooking on a grill or my family, I stayed in.  I had three things to watch this weekend: Arrested Development (in preparation for the new season), the series finale of NBC's trouble musical drama Smash, and Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh's love story between Liberace and Scott Thorson. 

It started innocently enough. 

I started an Arrested Development marathon last weekend, thinking that was enough time to plow through the three short seasons I had on DVD.  Well, I got behind pretty damn quickly.  By the middle of last week, I was only finishing the first season, and I was determined to be completely caught up and watch the new episodes on Sunday.  I couldn't be confused by everyone's obvious, hilarious AD Facebook statuses!  I needed to be in the loop! 

I almost made my goal.  By Sunday afternoon, I was finished with the third season of Arrested Development, and I began watching the new episodes online.  I am the ONLY person in the world who doesn't actually have NetFlix.  I demanded my fiance's username and password, and he was confused by my passion and obvious sleep deprivation. 

I think my marathon initially hurt my views of the new season of Arrested Development.  I am so used to the earlier episodes that their freshness threw me off guard ("I know these characters, but why can't I quote every single line?!?!").  It might be because I am watching them on my computer, and I hate watching things on my computer.  See, I am the oldest 29 year old out there.  Someone needs to walk me through the process of hooking up my househole Wii to my living room television. 

I love the new season.  It is like they never stopped making them episodes, and I am just discovering them.  I am not sure how I feel about how each episode focuses on a different member of the family, but that might change with inevitable repeat viewings.  Am I the only one who feels this way?

Sunday is when things got a bit manic. 

I went over to my friend Megan's house (you know, from Fifty Shades of Suck) to watch HBO's Behind the Candelabra, Steven Soderbergh's ode to the faaaaaaabulous Liberace.  Megan and I were super excited to see some cross-generational butt pirating, and Mr. Soderbergh delivered!

Candelabra, based on the Thorson's memoir, isn't necessarily a biopic, because it primarily focuses on the relationship between Liberace (Michael Douglas) and Thorson (Matt Damon).  We don't learn about Librace's rise to fame or if he had a tumultuous childhood.  We meet the famous pianist when Scott meets him. 

Please and thank you.

To put it mildly, their relationship is weird.  I mean, weird.  Thorson became Librace's young plaything (or Adonis as he repeatedly called), and Liberace showered Scott with a ridiculous lifestyle.  Furs, jewels, gaudy gold, new cars, you name it.  Then Liberace asks Scott to get plastic surgery in order to look like a young Liberace.  Hmmm.  My fiance had a hard time getting me to switch to almond milk, but to each his own, I guess.  I assume Scott felt he had to obey Liberace for lavishing him with such riches. 

Within the first few minutes of the movie, I commented to Megan that I don't remember Michael Douglas NOT phoning it in.  I can't think of the last time I was impressed with him, but he and Damon are great together.  Their chemistry is great.  I expected them to have sex, but I wasn't ready for the...abruptness of the more intimate moments.  First Liberace is showing Scott around the house, and next thing you know, Jason Bourne is banging Gordon Gekko from behind with such gusto and vigor that I heard all of San Francisco collectively spill their pinot grigio. 

I think it's a shame that this wasn't released theatrically.  Not only could have Douglas and Damon generated Oscar buzz, but Debbie Reynolds (as Liberace's mother) could have sneaked in there.  Emmys for everyone!!!  I wasn't ready for how sad the movie was going to be.  Oh, well.  Let's look at Matt Damon some more!

The heir to Farrah Fawcett's feathered hair crown.

You're welcome.

Plus, the movie featured Broadway hunk Cheyenne Jackson.  What more could a man want?!

Xanadu me!

Yesterday, I finally caught up with the season  series finale of NBC's troubled musical drama, Smash, arguably the gayest program I watched this weekend.  Let me get this out of the way now (I always meant to write a separate post about the show's ultimate demise, but I continously got distracted).  I love Smash.  It was one of the shows I had to watch every week.  Sometimes, if I got behind, I reveled in parking my keister on the couch for a mini-marathon. 

The saddest thing about Smash getting canceled is that there won't be a show like this on television again.  At least, not for a while.  You can just see Katharine McPhee-loving fatcat executives sitting back exclaiming, "We can't order this musical drama!  Look at what happened to Smash!  Pass!"  I always thought the show itself got an unjustified amount of press.  Smash is basically Bombshell from Smash.  People loved to trash it, and you know maybe 20% of those people actually watched it.  The bad press became the center of attention. I am sure if you don't watch the show, you won't have any idea what I am talking about, because I am not recapping. 


Basically, by the end of the show, every cast member has a Tony Award.  Except...wait for it...Katharine McPhee!!!  Do you know how happy I was watching the finale and realizing that I will never have to see Karen Cartwright win a Tony Award?!  Karen thinks she can get on a bus from Iowa, land in a Broadway show within the first five minutes of arriving in the Big Apple, and then snatch the trophy from my beloved Megan Hilty?  Get real, sister!  Go back to Iowa.  Ivy was no angel, but she paid her dues. 

What is Hit List even about?  I have been a devout watcher this entire season, and I couldn't begin to give you a detailed description of what that Rent knockoff is.  Lots of bad pop songs and weird 80's-esque blouses for Karen to wear?  Ugh.  I hate you Hit List


Goodbye, Ivy.  I will think of you fondly as I listen to you belt out "Let's Be Bad."

Friday, May 24, 2013

'The Hangover: Part III' Made Me Want To Drink. Heavily.

Thank God this is the end.  I will be brief.

I like the Hangover movies, because they are like the Fast and the Furious of summer comedies.  They are big, loud, obnoxious, and they just want to entertain you for two hours.  The original made a buttload of money, so natually they were going to crank some sequels.  Part II was a bit unsatisfying, but that was basically because it was a rehash of the original.  A Home Alone 2: Lost in New York if you will.  Same premise, different location.  The producers of these movies wisely understood that they didn't have far to go with this formula and formatted the sequels as a trilogy. 

Well, The Wolfpack (Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Justin Bartha)  is back for a final hangover.  Wait.  There is no hangover in this movie, and that's one of the problems.  The first two movies let these men run around madly trying to piece together the previous evening, but this final chapter just throws them together to try to find Chow (Ken Jeung) before the bad guy (John Goodman) kill Doug (Justin Bartha).  Justin Bartha must have a really great time filming these movies.  He comes in, shoots for a day or two and leaves.  The rest of The Wolfpack have to do all the work. 

Actually, the problem with The Hangover: Part III is that it isn't particularly funny.  The movie is strangely dramatic with an intense tone surrounding it the entire time.  Sure, Zach Galifianakis rattles off a few lines, but they are embarrassing compared to what he could do.  Cooper feels phoned in, as if having an Oscar nomination under his belt makes these comedies beneath him.  He fades into the background.  I will say that his ass looks great though.  It should have received higher billing. 

All the advertising makes it sound like this is an end of an era movie, but it never feels like that.  You would think they would like to have their character sent off better than this.  The mid-credits scene is funny, though I don't want to say anything because I don't want to ruin it.  I wish that would have been the first scene of a different movie, because I would loved to pay to see that one.  

Bonus Fifty Shades of Suck: There Will Be Blood

It feels like the very first time...

Surprise!  Megan from Mego and I met to record another podcast in our Fifty Shades of Suck series.  We were meeting to see movie, and we decided why not record another episode?!  I was going to say that it was a special Memorial Day double podcast, but this book is offensive enough.  I don't need to offend MORE people. 

Since the book is starting to get a bit...ahem...graphic, we keep changing locations.  We started reading in a cafe at Barnes & Noble, but the mellow walls of this particular Waterfront bookstore didn't seem to appreciate my more colorful interpretations of the text.  We then moved to an outdoor table at a Starbucks, but it was pouring yesterday, so we scuttled into the AMC Lounge.  We had always wanted to drink while reading, so we guzzled some white wine while we read. 

Let me assure you, dear reader, that Fifty Shades of Grey is getting pretty naughty.  Listen to chapter seven!!!  And then have a listen to chapter eight!!!  Yes, we recorded two again.  After reading chapter seven, we HAD to keep going.  You will hear why.  

If you are just discovering Fifty Shades of Suck, my galpal Megan and I are reading EL James's inexplicable hit Fifty Shades of Grey out loud and providing our own snarky commentary.  If you need to catch up, have a listen to each of the podcasts below!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

'Don Jon': I Am Drooling Already

This is what my own personal heaven looks like.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is adorable.  Fact. 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a good actor.  Fact. 

Joey loves when actors try new things, like direct their first feature.  Fact.

The trailer for Don Jon dropped yesterday, and there is so much that I love about it.  It landed at number 13 of my most anticipated summer movies.  Joseph Gordon Levitt as a beefed up guido...Scarlett Johansson talking about how much she loves movies...the majesty of Julianne Moore (even though we only get a glimpse of her).  Oh, yeah.  JGL has a porn addiction in this as well.  JGL plays a Jersey Shore-like lethario who questions his life when Johansson and Moore enter the picture. 

This is the opening shot of the trailer.  Well played, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, well played.  If I was somehow skeptical about this, you immediately changed my mind. 

I suddenly need to go work out...

I like Scarlett Johansson with the accent and the hair and the big hoop earrings.  She doesn't do enough comedic stuff.  Make me like you again ScarJo


If this wasn't juicy enough for you, Glenne Headly and Tony Danza play JGL's parents.  LOVE.

It's Tess Truehart!!!

Hold me closer...

Bonus!  My husband Channing Tatum has a cameo.  How could this get any better?!

Joseph Gordon-Levitt singing Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch's "Good Vibrations."  Boom.  That's how.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Nymphomaniac: Future Visual Effects Nominee?

Oh, Lars von Trier.  You crazy cat!  

The controversial Danish filmmaker's next project, Nymphomaniac, is already creating headlines, and we are still learning about it.  The film stars von Trier regular Charlotte Gainsbourg as Joe, a self-diagnosed nymphomaniac who recounts her entire life story to Seligman played by Stellan Skarsgard.  The film also stars Uma Thurman, Shia LaBeouf, and Willem Dafoe.  

Obviously, with a title like that, the film is going to have a fair amount of sex.  When the film was first announced, von Trier stated that the film was going to feature both mainstream film actors and adult film stars.  Yesterday, film producer Louise Vesth stated the they film the main actors pretending to have sex and then filmed the adult actors actually having sex.  They plan to somehow splice the sequences together to make it look like the main characters are doin' it and doin' it and doin' it well.  

So does this mean that Nymphomaniac would be eligible for a Best Visual Effects Oscar?!  Wouldn't that be awesome!  The nominees are...Transformer 932, The Hobbit, and Nymphomaniac!!!  Lately, the Academy goes for visual effects if it helps tell the story.  They almost nominated Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and those VFX were very stylized.  If they can give it to The Golden Compass, they can at least nominated it for making us believe that Shia LaBeouf is plowing Uma Thurman. 

Excuse me...I am looking for the lake...

Lars von Trier definitely does not shy away from controversial subject matter, especially sex.  Antichrist, the pictured above and the first von Trier I ever saw, featured a penetration shot in the first five minutes.  I also lost my female castration viewing virginity in that one.  I find his movies very strange.  If you decide to explore his filmography, don't dive into Antichrist first.  You might have a heart attack.  

What do you think?  Would you like to see Meryl Streep award Lars von Trier a golden statue for the incredible visual effect work on Nymphomaniac?  Maybe it could happen...