Friday, December 30, 2011
Tom Cruise's dirty undershirt in the opening scene that exposed his very large man nipples. They were HUGE, and distracting and awesome at the same time. Oh, and I love it when he RUNS on screen.
See? I don't hate Tom Cruise. (That much) He can still bring me joy.
When introducing your leading man, don't compare him to famous actors.
He shuffled in with a swagger reminiscent of Jimmy Stewart. He was tall, dark and handsome, sort of like Marlon Brando before he got fat.
Make the character your own.
NATHAN SINCLAIR slinks up to the bar, and orders a beer. He is an ordinary man with an ordinary face, which lets him blend into his surroundings without notice. Being invisible in this town is a talent he's mastered and if he wants to be noticed all he has to do is smile.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Laughed my ass off. Loved every minute of it. Strong female characters who are flawed and funny and smart and sexy and stupid too!
They're baaaaack! Great film with lots of funny moments and a sweet nostalgic feel.
HARRY POTTER & THE DEATHLY HALLOWS PART 2
It's the end. A fitting send off to a great franchise. Strong characters and stories that were well told and acted. I'm going to miss this world.
A sweet gem of a film. Well written. An honest and sometimes funny look at cancer. It's realistic and pulls you in. I laughed and I cried.
Not what I was expecting at all! This was a rush. It took me on a ride that was intense. It had deeply disturbing moments to it.
THE KING'S SPEECH
Colin Firth won the oscar. Nuff said.
A very realistic portrayal of addiction and selfish behaviour.
LITTLE WHITE LIES (Les Petits Mouchoirs)
A good French film about a group of friends who are in denial about oh, so many things.
A visually lovely film. The plot is simple, but it works because of its look.
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
See it for Michelle Williams's performance. She was fantastic.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
The Adjustment Bureau
I expected a lot from this film, but it didn't quite live up to its potential.
WORST USE OF SPECIAL EFFECTS
The Botox in Scream 4 was distracting and unkillable.
WORST ACTRESS IN A BAD FILM
January Jones in UNKNOWN. She was stiff and dry and talentless in a film that was a convoluted mess. Is Liam Neeson doing every film that comes his way now?
OVERALL WORST FILM of 2011
A cliche ridden mess that was dark and dreary.
WORST MOVIES THAT I HAVEN'T SEEN BECAUSE I KNOW THEY WILL SUCK
Twilight: Breaking Dawn
Jack and Jill
In Time and Friends with Benefits (anything with Timberlake)
WORST MOVIES ON DVD
The Resident. A direct to DVD crap fest with Hilary Swank. How did this get made?
Conan the Barbarian. Bad. And not good bad. Just bad bad. Boring too.
Carrot Cupcake at Life is Sweet- a Cupcake House on Queen East
Chicken Congee at Goldstone in Chinatown
My nephew being born
Muppets kicking ass on the big screen
Ben and Leslie Knopp kissing on Parks & Rec
Sarah Slean live in concert
London Fog from Second Cup
Jelly Babies from The Nutty Chocolatier
Thursday, December 22, 2011
This one doesn't seem to be waning, which makes my skin crawl.
Reality Stars or Lazy Actors thinking they are authors.
The Kardashian sisters wrote a novel. haha. My fingertips are burning from just writing that.
Snooki wrote a chick lit book and I think people actually bought it. So those people suck more than she does.
Hilary Duff doesn't act anymore so she's taken pen to paper, with captivating sentences like this “In dreams, and in love, there are no impossibilities.”
And now I am tired of writing about this trend as the list goes on and on with the lifestyle book section.
I have a few that I loved this year and some I liked. I don't have anything that I hated as I don't read books that I hate. If i don't like a book within the first chapter I stop reading and forget about it.
So here's my list! I hope you'll get to enjoy some of these titles.
OVERALL BEST OF 2011
The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
BEST YA or KIDS BOOK
Divergent by Veronica Roth
followed closely by...
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
BEST NONFICTION or MEMOIR
BOSSYPANTS by Tina Fey
Honorable mentions by
Your voice in my head by Emma Forrest
Cinderella Ate my Daughter by Peggy Orenstein
I'll start off by saying that I didn't grow up with Tintin, so I have no preconceived notions about him and his adventures. All I remember is that it was a cartoon about a boy with red hair. I actually thought he was a boy, but apparently he's older than a boy and a reporter. Who knew?!
I saw The Adventures of Tintin in 2D (I hate 3D) and I enjoyed it. It's full of adventure and swashbuckling sword fights with lots of violence and drunkenness! Definitely not for young kids.
Tintin stumbles upon an adventure when he is kidnapped by a man, Sakharine, (Daniel Craig) in search of a clue to a treasure buried deep in the ocean. He escapes, along with Captain Haddock, and ends up in Morocco in pursuit of more clues.
It really is a nonstop animated action adventure. The energy levels are very high and you're along for the ride no matter what. The look of the film is clean and crisp, and looks realistic. The landscapes and sets are lush and full of colour, and pop off the screen. This type of animation still has work to do on the human faces, but it's getting there.
This film feels like it was made by an enthusiastic bunch of filmmakers. I think the cast and crew and director, Stephen Spielberg, try very hard to keep it full of life. They take great care with the details to make sure that the fans of the original are pleased.
It has some laugh out loud moments, mainly due to said drunkenness, and the voice acting is great. I particularly liked Captain Haddock, voiced by Andy Serkis, and his drunken brogue. I also loved the chase scene in Morocco. It was nonstop fun and full of suspense, and it looked fantastic on the big screen.
Also try to get to the cinema on time as the opening title sequence is great and the music that goes along with it sets the tone for the whole film.
Monday, December 19, 2011
Hannah Payne has had an abortion, and in the USA abortions are illegal. It's considered a form of murder. And as punishment her skin is turned red. All criminals convicted of a crime are put through the process of chroming. Depending on your crime, you get a certain colour. Hannah refuses to name the father of her baby, which adds 3 more years to her sentence. A sentence of 16 years. And the death rates for chromes living in the community is high. Most don't make it to the end of their sentence as they are routinely attacked by vigilantes.
This new world order is wrought with religious fervor. It's as though the religious police have taken over in an Orwellian not-too-distant future.
Hannah's family is religious and she really has no place to go. Eventually she finds herself in a religious half-way house that is full of religious doctrine and shame and guilt therapy. She doesn't last long in there as she slowly begins to question religion and also the existence of God. Before long Hannah is on the run and aided by a secret revolutionary group. I won't give too much away as it's part of the journey, you as the reader, have to discover.
The book is well written, and it has moments of tension and conflict. I hated her brother-in-law with a passion who is a religious zealot who treats women like second class citizens. I found it a bit slow to start, but once Hannah is out in the real world things start to pick up. I found parts of the book to be unrealistic in the sense that Hannah, although she is changing and growing and questioning her entire world, acts out of character. I also wasn't a fan of the new age spiritual angle of the book, but that's just my own bias. But it does make you think about the danger extreme religious thinking can lead to, and how some parts of the world (which is closer to home than you think) are not far off from this kind of new world order.
7 out of 10
I've been a boomerang kid. I live somewhat in a state of arrested development. I have a tendency to lean towards a prolonged adolescence. But I am nowhere near as messed up as Mavis Gary (Charlize Theron), as she's not really 37 going on 17, but mentally ill instead.
Mavis is a ghost writer who lives in the big city. With her life in disarray, she gets an idea in her head that her high school sweetheart is the love of her life and that they belong together. It doesn't matter to her that he's married with a brand new baby girl. Mavis is delusional, a narcissist, and an alcoholic with deep seeded mental problems. I would say she pretty much has some kind of patholoyg (psycho or socio). That being said, I still kind of liked her for her complete and utter bitchiness because at times, despite her craziness, she can touch upon the truth. Not always, but sometimes.
The film is dark comedy and doesn't end things with a neat little bow, which is refreshing because sometimes people don't change. Sometimes people are bitches, sometimes people are drunks, and sometimes people don't learn from their mistakes. Mavis, may or may not, learn a thing or two from her brief visit to her hometown, but I venture to guess that she won't, but the tiniest glimmer of hope might say otherwise.
Theron is great as Mavis. She lays it out there for the audience. We can either feel empathy for Mavis, or not. It can go both ways. We catch glimpses of vulnerability, but we aren't quite sure if they're legit because one never knows if a narcissist can be legit, or would even know how to. The one scene with her parents reveals a lot about why she is so neurotic. Her parents are harmless, but when Mavis tells them that she might be an alcoholic, they dismiss it in seconds and the subject is never mentioned again. It's a moment that shows Mavis might want help and tries to be truthful about herself, but her parents don't want to see it. They, too, may be delusional. Their daughter has been trying to be perfect probably her whole life, but she is nowhere near it.
I also liked Matt Freehauf, played by Patton Oswalt. He went to school with Mavis, and Mavis doesn't remember him, despite having her locker next to his for years. He drinks a lot and is also stuck in his life. He still lives at home and uses the fact that he was attacked in high school and left for dead, as a crutch to keep him in a state of arrested development. He is the film's moral compass.
The film is written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman, who teamed up before for Juno. This is a lesser film, but still good. I really enjoyed the opening scene and the title sequence is now one of my favourites ever.
7.5 out of 10
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Moth is 12. She is bright and beautiful. She is also dirt poor with no prospects. Her mother sells her off to be a maid to a rich wicked woman, and then from there she is scooped up into a brothel that specializes in selling virgins to the highest gentleman bidder.
That premise might sound depressing, but it isn't. Moth is a wonderful character, and one can't help but root for her, and wish the best for her. She goes through her ups and downs, witnessing horrifying things along the way. But she continues to believe in herself, and not in a delusional way that will only lead to more heartache. Moth is well aware of her surroundings and who she is. She has experience beyond her years, and her wits are about her. I fell in love with this girl. She is one of the best literary characters out there today.
McKay has captured the voice of a 12-year-old in 1870's New York City perfectly. I believed that this girl was real and her experiences were genuine. There is not a false note to be had in the book. I was transported to NYC. I could smell Chrystie Street from where Moth came from. I could taste the apples that Moth would sometimes have the pleasure of eating. I saw the rough and callused hands of Dr. Sadie clear as day.
The writing is clear and crisp, and the story is a page turner. And not because it has bells and whistles, and twists and turns. It's a page turner because of Moth. I wanted to know where the path she was on was going to take her, whether it was a happy or sad ending, which I won't give away, didn't matter to me because I knew that wherever she ended up was going to be true. And that's all one can really take away from a book. It's the truth. Moth was true to herself. New York City in 1871 was true to itself. McKay was true to her story.
A Must Read.
Saturday, December 10, 2011
One thing I love about the internet is when friends post music that you might not have found on your own and you love it. Discovering a whole new musician or band or style of music can be a magical experience. When music is universal and touches on themes that we all relate to it's a connecting force.
I hope you enjoy this one.
SOMEBODY THAT I USED TO KNOW by Gotye featuring Kimbra.
I hope you enjoy this one.
SOMEBODY THAT I USED TO KNOW by Gotye featuring Kimbra.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
The Artist is a silent film with English title cards made in France with an American and French cast where music helps tell the story.
George Valentin (Jean Dujardin) is a silent film star unaware that just around the corner talkies will take over and his career will be over. He meets an up and coming starlet, Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo) who transitions into talkies with tremendous success. As her star rises, his fades, but the two of them remain connected with unspoken love and kickass silent chemistry.
The Artist is a black and white silent film. An actual silent film. The soundtrack brings characters to life, and the title cards that pop up from time to time help to clarify some plot points. It's a wonderfully shot film and beautifully creates a bygone era.
The subject matter, silent film star facing talkies, isn't anything new nor does it delve too deep with it. The film is more a tribute to an era that is long gone, and is really fun to watch.
Now there is sound in the film, but very little and used for effect in deliberate ways. Act One is completely silent and ends with a few sound effects as Valentin realizes that talkies are coming, sending him into panic mode. At the end, well I won't ruin it for you, but it's a great ending to a wonderful and unique modern film going experience.
P.S. Be warned that there is a cute dog in the film that will make you laugh.
P.S.S. Due to the silent nature of this film you will be able to hear popcorn chewing more so than usual
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Ben is a boy in the 1970's grieving over the loss of his mother and searching for a father he never knew, and Rose is a girl in the 1920's longing for her mother, a world famous silent film actress. Ben's story is told with words and Rose's is told with pictures and eventually the two stories intersect somehow.
Brian Selznick (The Invention of Hugo Cabaret) has once again written and illustrated a wonderful children's book (for adults too!). His books are fat and hearty and full of luscious drawings. He's also not a slouch in the prose department. He's created a world that is unique and also a bit mysterious. Both Ben and Rose have hearing impairments, which adds a rich layer of characterization, and opens up the reader to different people and situations.
I really enjoyed this book. It kept my interest as I wanted to know how and why these two stories connected. Brian writes about longing and wanting to belong to something or someone, whether it's friendship, family or our place in this world. It's something that we all relate to. We all want to be accepted and to have a sense of home. This book feels like coming home.