Once Upon a Time...A girl graduated from college and thought that her life would start. Instead, she ended up living with her family, sleeping in the same room she had when she was 12, and applying to hundreds of companies hoping for her dream to finally come true. But enough about my life...
Post Grad is a story most likely familiar to many young people. Ryden Malby (Alexis Bledel) is a recent graduate. Despite having a ridiculous name, she wants to be taken seriously and get a job in the publishing industry (take a number, toots). Her best friend for her whole life is Adam (Zach Gilford), who has been not-so-secretly in love with her forever. She seems to still not get that he is (acting surprised when he mentions it), despite the fact that he massages her feet, follows her around like a lost puppy and talks all the time about how she won't let him kiss her. Sigh. Adams father wants him to go to into Law. His real passion, though, is music. Or so we're told, although he only performs once in the movie, and he's not very good. But hey, its his passion, so why not pursue it? This is what the movie was trying to tell us: follow your passions and it will eventually pay off. However, it manages to totally work against itself in the second act, proving that the script was so hopeless misguided that even the writers weren't sure exactly what to do with this boring, pointless story and hodge-podge of oddball characters. And it's a shame, because the film has some big talent behind it. When you make a film starring Carol Burnett, J.K. Simmons, Jane Lynch and Michael Keaton and it still sucks, then you have what I like to call an EPIC FAIL. Okay, so why am I so pissed? Get ready beacuse I'm about the blow this plot right out of the water... After following her dreams the whole movie, Ryden finally gets her dream job at her dream company. She even admits to loving it even though she has to occasionally pick gum off of her boss' shoes. Adam, after failing to get with Ryden, throws a hissy fit and instead of following music does what he's been saying he won't the whole movie and moves to New York to go to law school.
Apparently he was as angry as I was about the ridiculous love affair Ryden has with a neighbor in the middle of the movie. It's so absurb its barely worth mentioning. But I did. What's done is done. Ryden then misses Adam, realizes she loves him, throws away her dream job and follows him to New York. Here, I presume, she sits in his apartment all day and waits with bated breath until he returns. There is no more talk of her silly dreams or career. She's got her man, what else does she need? Gag me. I left the theatre pissed. The idea of a strong, beautiful, confident, intelligent woman throwing away her dream job after fighting for it the whole movie so she can shack up with some gormless lawyer is sickening. My only consolation is that I might have saved someone $12. Excuse me, I've got some bra burning to do.
More than just space invaders
Pardon the choice of words, but there is a tendency for science fiction films to alienate their audiences (ZING!) I can understand this for the most part, seeing as how some science fiction can be difficult for the average movie goer to follow, understand, or relate to. However, District 9 manages to avoid all of these common problems and create a science fiction film unlike any other I have ever seen. How does it do that? Well, it combines the aliens, explosions, spaceships and wild super crazy plot with one of the most accessible and relatable film genres of all time- the documentary. It's genius when you think about it. Documentaries are meant to make the viewer feel immersed in the lives of the characters, feel as if this could happen to them: in short, humanity is the key feature in any good documentary. But how does one create humanity when the subjects aren't even human? Somehow, Neill Blomkamp does it, and with style.
The story follows a government worker, Wikus Van Der Merwe (newcomer Sharlto Copley) is a government officer working in Alien Affairs. After aliens or "prawns" landed in Johannesburg, South Africa, they were placed in District 9 temporarily. However, after years they still live there, and in slum like conditions. Extreme government regulations and intense gang presence makes the aliens virtually trapped in a cycle of poverty and intolerance. When the government decides to move them to District 10, far away from Johannesburg in a veritable tent city, authorities clash with aliens. One of these authorities? Wikus. After a mishap with alien technology, Wikus finds himself an outlaw, forced to hide amongst the aliens he once discriminated. I becomes very obvious within the first 15 minutes of the film that it is, in part, meant to be an allegory for apartheid in South Africa. In a way, I felt more sorry for the aliens than Wikus. He manages to redeem himself as a character in the end, and thank God for that. The number one thing that can kill a film is having a dip-shit for a lead (Vin Diesel... I am naming names). But this film isn't meant to be about acting. It's about special effects. But, unlike hyperbolic action nut Michael Bay, Blomkamp makes a film which uses realism and special effects together. This is another reason why the film is revolutionary. Instead of attempting to dazzle us with special effects, in attempts to make us believe that these things really are happening; these things exist in the real world. They are not flashy, they're dingy and worn. Weta Digital and Weta Workshop, spawned from Richard Taylor's partnership with legendary Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson, are partly to thank. With alien Christopher and his small son as huge players in the plot, these special effects had to hold up to extreme scrutiny from the tight camera angles and documentary style. I fell for it, hook line and sinker, and I loved every minute of it. There is little doubt in my mind that rumours, however much producer Peter Jackson wants to deny them, are true. District 10 will no doubt be in theatres in coming years. With such a quality storyline, incredible filmmaking and special effects, coupled with the open ending that even I wasn't expecting, there's no doubt it will be just as big a hit as District 9 is turning out to be.
I won't lie: Meryl Streep can do no wrong in my eyes. The woman is a genius, both beautiful and immensely talented, and when I was a teenager I used to want to be her. Okay, I still sometimes want to be her. She's set an Oscar record, nominated for 15 Oscars and winning 2, and is best known for her ability to transform into any character thrust at her. This has been true since Sophie's Choice in 1982 and is still true in her latest film Julie & Julie. Plus, she's helped along by writer/director Nora Ephron, who wrote one of my personal favourite comedies When Harry Met Sally. If you haven't seen that movie, then we're officially in a fight. In a equally genius casting move, they placed Streep as a counterpart to the delightful Amy Adams, who has also had her fair share of Oscar accolades in her short career. Adams, sporting much shorter hair than her usual flowing red locks, plays Julie Powell, a 30 -year-old unpublished writer trapped in a cubicle maze answering phones all day. Hmm... that sounds familiar. No wonder I liked it so much. Streep, of course, plays legendary chef, writer and cooking instructor Julia Child. Child was an awkwardly tall, bubbly, curly haired woman with major cojones... again this sounds familiar. I hope that no one thinks me biased by this point. The film follows both the story of Julie, living in New York City in the new millennium, hating her job and cooking to escape, and Julia living a jet setting life in Europe. Julie, hoping to turn her life around and finally get noticed as a writer, starts a blog about (what else?) food. Specifically, the food of Julia Child. She vows to cook all of the 500+ recipes in Child's cookbook in 1 year. Meanwhile, we follow Julia Childs introduction to the cooking world in while living in France in the 50s.
Husbands Eric Powell (Chris Messina) and Paul Child (Stanley Tucci) are both happy to taste tests their wives creations. But when Julia cannot get her cookbook published, and Julie's blog begins to send her over the edge, both of their marriages are put to the test. The film manages to mix light, fun humour with two moving and interesting stories. I hate to call anything light or fun, because people tend to equate that with unsexy and campy. Please don't be an idiot... yes I'm calling you an idiot. It really IS light and fun, but without making your brain trickle out your ear like the mindless romantic comedies that come out every fortnight (The Ugly Truth, I'm talking to you!) Women will relate, but men won't mind tagging along either. Especially if they love to eat. Go see it! The MovieGod(dess) has spoken! - Kate B
Amazing Pic of the Week
I found this image here, and thought that it was not only hilariously adorable, but also showcases the Canadian Wilderness. This squirrel must be teenaged, because I think the only thing missing from this picture is the bunny ears behind someone's back.
- Kate B
Funny it Aint
Adam Sandler, I am getting very disappointed. When train wreck You Don't Mess With the Zohan came out, I was livid. I even reamed you out in my column. I think, if I recall correctly, I put you on notice. We had a deal. No more crappy movies. No more "rare misses". Bedtime Stories I can forgive; a mildly entertaining attempt to make a film your children can actually watch and enjoy. But upon seeing Funny People, I am forced to come to the realization that you may have lost your touch. How could you? I suppose that I should have known in a film where "funny" is in the title was already doomed to disappoint. Any film that knows how funny it is completely dooms itself to failure. Sandler plays George Simmons, a famous comedian with millions of dollars and everything he could ever wish for: except for love... awwwww.
When Simmons finds out that he's dying of cancer, he decides to take young (unfunny) comedian Ira Wright (Seth Rogan) under his wing and teach him some tricks of the trade. Oh, and he also hires him as his personal assistant. As if this wacky scenario wasn't enough, Simmons' long lost love Laura (Leslie Mann) comes back into his life. Unfortunately, she's married to Eric Bana and has two cute little kids (who actually are her kids in real life with husband Judd Apatow, the director of the film). But then he's cured! Hooray! So, the first thing he tries to do is break up Laura's marriage so that he can stop being alone. Nice guy.
The short of it is, this plot becomes overcomplicated and rambling, leading nowhere and teaching us very little. The jokes are totally unfunny, and I could hear crickets in the theatre. It was as if Judd Apatow and all his comedian buddies got together to make one giant inside joke, like when you and your friends would make stupid cellphone videos and post them on your Facebook, laughing your asses off. Don't lie, you did it. They always seemed hilarious right? They're not. I think the reason why I was so upset about this film is that it has a list of star actors and cameos that is so long, I won't even try to address them all. Even Andy Dick sobered up long enough to show up on camera. On paper, it should have been brilliant. Heaven knows that Apatow is capable of producing some high quality material. The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, the list goes on. I was just so profoundly disappointed, and all I wanted to do was rent Knocked Up so I could see Rogan be funny again. Strike Two, Sandler. Whaddaya gonna do now?
It's a good thing you're pretty, Channing Tatum!
Because if you keep making crap like this, you're going to be remembered as the guy who's always blowing stuff up, not the sensitive character actor I'm sure part of you still longs to be. Still, the brief moment of you shirtless in G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra was almost enough to make me forget about the fact that this movie steals all of its key elements from far superior, far better acted, more famous movies.
SPOILER WARNING: I will, in fact, ruin several surprise plot points here. For those 3 fanboys who are holding out to see Rise of Cobra, and who will skewer me for ruining its incredibly complex and original storyline, stop reading (but come back later, k?)
This movie is extremely entertaining, don't get me wrong. This is, however, not due to its groundbreaking storyline but more to the fact that it pauses for breath very rarely during its non-stop, 2 hour action fest. It will occasionally drop a few explanations, but the audience can get the gist without Channing Tatum launching into a description. Although he does helpfully spew the "simplified" version for those who are so dim that even this plot was lost to them... stay in school kids.
The basic storyline is this. MARS weapons has developed some futuristic warhead made up of tiny little robo-bugs that can destroy any material in a matter of seconds, until you tell them to stop. Think of a termite infestation on crack, and you've got the idea. The Baroness (Sienna Miller) walks around in a black spandex suit (which goes super nicely with her sidekicks white samurai suit, might I add) and tries to steal these warheads from Chan Man (playing Duke) and Marlon Wayans (Ripcord). Little do the G. I. Joes know that this hottie with the raven hair actually used to be blonde (gasp!) and, get this, used to be engaged to the Chan Man. Vat a tweest!
The shockers continue. In an ending that we've definitely never seen before, the crazy second in command baddie with a breathing apparatus and super-deep voice turns out to be (wait for it) THE BARONESS' FATHER BROTHER!!!
NO! THAT'S IMPOSSIBLE!!!!
Oh, and Chan Man is captured, realizes this, and frees the now somehow innocent Baroness from her JediMARS mind control thinger and saves the day by blowing everything in sight up... while underwater.
Seriously though, it is a huge amount of action. I actually started to feel like I needed to take a hit off a bong or something to chill. Note to parents: limit sugar intake before G.I. Joe. Don't say I didn't warn you.
Overall, your usual summer action flick, but is made bearable by the limited amount of talking from its sub-par cast and the Chan Man's rock hard abs and rugged good looks. I have conveniently left it out of my mind that he recently married his Step Up co-star Jenna Dewan.
And, if you really like yourself some Chan, but can't stand his crap movies, try checking out some of his better endeavours, more artsy character dramas. I recommend A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, co-starring fellow action hottie Shia Labeouf.
- Kate B
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