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23 Feb

Check out this post from Time Magazine today; these short and sweet soundbites will definitely make you sound like you’ve seen every movie nominated this year!


For many casual moviegoers, watching the Oscars is akin to being a baseball nut who shows up to a Super Bowl party. There are often so many unfamiliar faces, names and films that Hollywood’s biggest night essentially becomes an exercise in patience: When will we finally get to the one category where I have a good sense of who deserves to win?

It’s likely why the halftime show and the advertisements have taken on a major role in the Super Bowl broadcast. No matter what you know about the two teams — or the basic rules of the game — everyone feels comfortable chirping in on what was the funniest ad, or the most embarrassing moment of the over the top halftime production. When it comes to the Oscars, though, there’s nothing of the sort: Apart from a monologue, it’s a long, hard, three-hour slog through technical categories and art…

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In Theater: The Lion King 3D

30 Sep

The number one movie in the country this past weekend is–perhaps somewhat surprisingly–one that was released just about 17 years ago. Yep, I’m talking about The Lion King, one of the best Disney movies of all time. Do I love this movie a lot? Yes. Does it seem somewhat inappropriate for children to watch? That’s also an affirmative. Regardless, it’s a great story and definitely a movie I’d categorize as a Disney classic. To get you all kinds of riled up for The Lion King, take a look at the first wonderful moments (which gets me amped every.single.time) Yes. It’s the circle of life.

Is that or is that not the best movie opening ever?

For those of you who may not be familiar with the story of the lion king; get away from my blog. ASAP. But seriously, if you haven’t seen the Lion King, then you’re in luck: it’s playing in theaters RIGHT NOW! You can catch it in 3D or 2D.

Now, I saw it in 3D. Did I see it because it was in 3D? No. I saw it because it was a wonderful, nostalgic trip down memory lane. I am a self-admitted Lion King fanatic. I’ve seen the Broadway musical 3 times since it opened in ’97, have different versions of the soundtrack and got SO EXCITED when Modern Family busted out this scene in season 1:

Though this movie came out almost two decades ago, when I saw it last week, there was a completely full house! It was great to see all the kids seeing The Lion King for the first time; so what if some of them were cowering in fear from some of the scary parts (of which there are a few)? Kids are resilient!

The 3D in the movie was good; not overpowering or distracting which was well done, but I didn’t find that it added too much to the movie. If you’re looking for a dose of childhood, or if you want to introduce kids in your life to The Lion King, I’d head to the theaters NOW.

Oh, and if anyone has any movies with a more awesome beginning, I would love to hear about them!

In Theater: Crazy, Stupid, Love.

30 Aug

Yes, I know this movie came out roughly a month ago, but you know what? It’s still playing, and I’m still going to blog about it. So there.

Still reading? Awesome!You will be handsomely rewarded. So Crazy,Stupid, Love. ? Is great. Do I think it’s a best picture contender? Sadly, that’s a negative. However, it is a FUN movie. The characters seem real and are funny, despite dealing with some depressing subjects. The main story revolves around Cal (Steve Carell) and his wife Emily (Julianne Moose), who, following an affair with a co-worker ( a delightful supporting role played by Kevin Bacon), has decided she wants out of their marriage. Enter Jacob (the <– always super foxy Ryan Gosling), who decides to help Cal get his mojo back by giving him a wardrobe makeover and tutoring him on the fine arts of getting women in bars to go home with you.

Emma Stone is also present as Hannah the law student who meets Jacob at the one bar all the characters in the movie apparently live right near, and isn’t immediately woo’d, thought I can’t for the life of me think how she wasn’t. She’s mostly seen with her douchey boyfriend, who may or may not have a name in the movie, but who is definitely played by Josh Grobin and is actually pretty funny.

There is a completely unnecessary side plot involving Cal and Emily’s son, who at thirteen is “in love” with the 17 year old babysitter who has a slightly creepy crush on Cal. I could’ve done without this whole inappro love triangle shenanigan, thankyouverymuch.

The movie was very venn diagram-ish to me, with Cal as the main character and most of the movie revolving around his relationships with Emily, Jacob and the little-in-love son. Later, (spoiler alert, but not really if you’ve seen any of the previews), we get to see Jacob and Hannah in action. Sadly, there’s not enough of them for my liking.

Love them both!

Besides my wish for there to be more Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in this movie, I thought the plot hummed along nicely and at a very satisfying pace. One plot point that potentially went over my head was the “oh look at this hot pickup artist who is miserable and too emotionally detached to foster a meaningful connection” was too subtle and frankly, a little unbelievable to me. It seemed like Jacob was really having a good time, until it turns out that…he wasn’t.

Crazy, Stupid Love. is still in theaters, but you probably want to get a move on seeing it if you haven’t already. It’s a good date movie (guys love Steve Carell, and there’s a nice bromance here) or girlfriend movie (hi, did you see the picture I so thoughtfully included. You’re welcome), and I found it to be a smart, funny summer flick. Whoever you see it with, get thee to a movie theater!

If you have seen it: what’d ya think? Worth the 10 clams?

In Theater: Battle: Los Angeles

21 Mar

So you know how when you criticize something, it’s nice to give some good feedback too? I’m going to try to do that for Battle: Los Angeles, the new alien invasion movie starring Aaron Eckhart. Here goes: 1) it kicks off with a rousing verse of California Love . 2) It’s an end-of-the-world movie, and I LOVE end-of-the-world movies. 3) Michelle Rodriguez reprised her role from Avatar and basically played the same character here (is that a good thing?). 4) Umm…yeah. Ne-yo and Tom Brady’s first baby mama (Bridget Moynahan, for those of you keeping score at home) were in it? I got nothing. The first 2 were a stretch as is.

For someone who loves this genre of movies (some of my favs are 28 Days Later, The Day After Tomorrow and my all time fav, Independence Day), I was prepared to like Battle: LA. I really was. I’m ambivilant about Aaron Eckhart; he’s kind of foxy and he was good in The Dark Knight, so that seemed like it could work. But work it did not. The movie follows Staff Sargent Mike Nantz and his…staff? Squadron? Whatever, his marine people as they try to evacuate civilians from an LA police station before the air force annihilates what’s left of L.A. following an alien invasion. Sounds easy, right? But with crazy aliens in robot suits on the loose, not so much. Here, the plot gets a little convoluted; I’ll spare you the details, but there’s a lot of back and forth as to the point of the movie. Paired with the fact that the story takes place over a less than 24 hour frame (more, if you include a flashback to set the scene), you’re in for a bumpy ride with this movie.

I can think of several reasons why I kinda hate this movie. I’m fresh off a serious Oscar nominee watching streak (previous movies seen in theater: True Grit, The King’s Speech, The Fighter), which perhaps has (at least temporarily) raised my standards. Maybe I was disappointed at the lack of back story here; not enough of the “why are aliens invading our planet?” (thought you do get s teeny bit of this), and too much “let’s blow some alien ish up.”  Or…it just sucked. I’m inclined to call it all three, but man. I really thought this movie was terrible. Once again, I was fooled by a half-way decent trailer. It seems so much better when condensed to 2 minutes!

There is a caveat here: this seems like it might have done well if marketed as a summer blockbuster and released Memorial Day weekend or even leading up to the Fourth of July weekend. It has the action and explosions and all that to have worked with that kind of billing. I think a mid-March release, which is usually a slow time of year anyway, might have been a mistake. But, I can see the producers and studio people thinking this might work in Battle: LA’s favor, since there’s little competition.

Either way, it fell flat for me. If you’re inclined to see Battle: Los Angeles, wait for DVD. Or better yet, watch Independence Day and relish in the fact that you have $10 in your pocket, and I don’t.

Link Lovin’ the Oscars

4 Feb

Confession time: I love links. On Twitter, Facebook, newsletters, blogs, suggested articles below something I’m reading-doesn’t matter, I will click on that link. And you know what? This has led to hours of wonder and delight, as I’ve seen some excellent things that maybe I wouldn’t have seen otherwise. Case in point: my favorite article of the week, Police Bust Giraffe-Fighting Ring. Would I want to go on living a life that hadn’t been exposed to this? No, thank you very much, I would not.

In honor of my link love, I wanted to share some of this week’s best tweets (with links!) from my favorite sources of Oscar info. Happy Friday and enjoy!!/GoldDerby/status/33218003621384192

In Theater: Black Swan

12 Dec

This is one movie I had been really looking forward to seeing for a while. Billed as a psychological thriller starring Natalie Portman, Black Swan has come out of the gate a serious Oscar contender in several categories, especially best actress for Ms. Portman.

The movie revolves around an area that is both strange and familiar to most people: the world of professional ballet.  Strange, in the sense that the great majority (I’m confident in this assumption) of the movie going population are not professional ballerinas or dancers, but have likely been exposed to dance, either through movies and TV or taking lessons when they were younger.

The main character, Nina (Portman), is what I suppose is a typical dancer—very driven and ambitious in an uber-competetive universe. She’s also bulimic and batshit crazy, unfortunately. She has a psycho mother, played by the wonderful Barbara Hershey, of Beaches fame (for me, at least) who gave up her own ballet career to raise Nina and is sweet enough to project her own now-dead dreams onto her daughter; this is one reason Nina is batshit crazy. Also, Nina spends the WHOLE ENTIRE MOVIE looking like she’s on the verge of tears. Constantly. Even when she’s actively crying, she still looks like she’s going to graduate to more tears. It’s both annoying and telling of what a weakling she is…mostly annoying though, because seriously, who looks that pretty when they cry? Natalie Portman, that’s who.

Mila Kunis plays a rival ballerina, Lily…her role in this movie is less important to me than the fact that she’s been able to really thrive and find post That 70’s Show fame.  She’s great in this, and she was also one of the best parts about Saving Sarah Marshall.

Back to Black Swan.  I thought this movie was really good, and think the Oscar buzz is deserved.  I’ll be curious to see how this does in wide release; so far, it has been very well received by audiences and critics alike. It’s definitely different and certainly dark and twisted. I wouldn’t call it scary in a traditional sense, but it lives up to its billing as a psychological thriller.  I did find somewhat of a disconnect between the movie the trailer and commercials show and the actual movie I saw.  I don’t want to spill the beans, but I’ll let you decide for yourself after you see it!

Black Swan is currently in limited release in select theaters around the country; see its website for when it will be playing near you.

Is Black Swan on your must-see list?  If you’ve already seen it, what do you think about its chances at the Academy Awards? Personally, I think the best actress race will come down to either Natalie Portman or Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right; what other actresses do you think are in the mix?

**Update** Today, Black Swan received 12 Critic’s Choice Award nominations, the most of any movie in the award’s 16 year history…is this a sign of things to come?

The Big Day!

19 Nov
It’s here!  The day Harry Potter fans have been waiting for…the premier of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.  I’ll be seeing it tonight, and will post a full recap sometime this weekend! When are you planning on seeing it?

From the HP Facebook Page

Also, today marks 100 days until the 83rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony! Woohoo!

Clearly, it’s a BIG DAY all around! Happy Friday =)