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#5: Hairspray

January 13, 2011

This is the musical, not the horrendously boring original John Waters film.

So what’s it about?: It’s 60’s in Baltimore and a girl dreams of being on a TV variety show and hooking up with it’s hot male lead (because what else is there to do in the 60’s?).  Only problem is she’s chubby, he’s taken, and she’s all for integration so naturally some shimmy and shaking chaos ensues!

The Good: Oh, the music!  So much fun and part of what made this show a hit on The Great White Way.  Even the new songs fit right on in with the old and make you want to get up and dance!  And Christopher Walken and Jonathan Travolta managed to turn my least favorite song into a hilarious song.

The Bad: Another sad case of a musical cast with people who can’t actually sing.  I mean, really?  Trying to hear poor Amanda Bynes and Brittney Snow try to match the great Kerry Butler and Laura Belle Bundy?  It’s kind of sad.  Especially when there’s so much good talent out there!  And honestly, this could have gone bigger and campier.  It just seemed so tame!  Sometimes attempting to go mainstream just isn’t the correct route for a movie.

The Verdict: A perfectly acceptable movie-to-musical-to-movie-musical, but definitely nothing to run and tell your friends about!

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#4: I’m Still Here

January 13, 2011

A documentary that I sadly missed in theaters, but thanks to the amazingness that is Netflix instant streaming, I was able to watch it on my phone!

So what’s it about?: Joaquin Phoenix decides to retire from acting and become a rap star and Casey Affleck has the brains to pick up a camera and film all the ensuing chaos.

The Good: This is definitely one of the most fascinating documentaries I’ve watched, though Joan Rivers already proved earlier in 2010 that having someone follow around a famous person is actually really interesting.  I’m Still Here was a great inside look at the pressure and alienation a celebrity faces.  And while you may disagree with how he pretty much threw away an entire career in order to “express himself” or whatever, it’s hard not to think about how oneself would be affected by fame if ever thrust under the same limelight.

The Bad: I can see where after a while one could easily get annoyed with Phoenix’s constant “why doesn’t the world understand me?  Why don’t they give me a chance?”  But at the same time, it’s easy to relate to insecurities.   Because who doesn’t have those!  However, this is not a documentary that inspires, which can be somewhat off-putting to some.

The Verdict: If you want to watch an intriguing movie about a man attempting to pursue a dream and dealing with human judgement, than watch this movie!  But not before you watch Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work and Exit Through the Gift Shop, both far superior

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#3: Repo! The Genetic Opera

January 13, 2011

So what’s it about?: In a future world where organ replacement is the next big fad, chaos ensues around the company who produces the organs, the man hired to reposess the organs, and one whiny, useless girl who was thrown into the mix.

The Good: Um… making it gothic was kind of cool.  And casting Paris Hilton as an heiress addicted to surgery was, um, inspired?  And there was a really cool prologue done entirely with comic book frames.

The Bad: This is the biggest mess of a musical I’ve ever seen in my life.  The plot was all over the place.  The music sounded like it was composed by kindergartners trying to play heavy metal songs on pots and pans (scratch that, that probably would have been an improvement).  And note to casting directors, if you are going to cast a musical, it helps if the cast can sing, but at the very least they need to be able to act!  Unfortunately this cast could do neither.

The Verdict: Okay, sure, if you really like gothic, cult films and music with no melody whatsoever, watch this film.  Otherwise, go listen to an elementary school orchestra, because even that would be less painful on the ears than this god awful film.

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#2: Full Metal Jacket

January 2, 2011

Realized recently that I’ve seen a total of maybe 2 war films in my entire life, so been trying to catch up recently (finally saw the superb Saving Private Ryan blu-ray this past Christmas, which sadly will not appear on this blog.  I know, you’re crushed).

So what’s it about?: Broken up in to two parts, Full Metal Jacket shows the mental and physical chaos that ensues as men are molded into full-fledged killing machines.

The Good: This film is intense and thankfully breaking it up in to two parts helps the brain to have a mental refresh between each section.  And, yes, this is one of the most realistic war movies I’ve ever seen.  There are no heroes in this film, no over-the-top acts of courage, and even though it has the typical quality of being almost surreal as all Kubrick films tend to be, you still feel as though this really happened.

The Bad: So, not going to lie, upon first viewing this film, after the almost heartbreaking and yet terrifying first half climactic ending, the second part seemed like a huge let down.  Let’s face it, with the exception of Joker, none of the characters are actually likeable, and the ending shootout is just kind of ridiculous.

The Verdict: Frankly, this film is a must see, just be prepared because it will keep you thinking (if you just don’t get it, watch the special features on the DVD, they’re amazing).  And, yes, if you are looking for a war film with an obvious plot and an epic, emotional victory at the end, then go watch Saving Private Ryan instead.

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#1: Mulan

January 1, 2011

First movie of the year, so why not make it a guaranteed winner?

So what’s it about?: A not so typical Disney princess, who has dishonored her family, grows a pair and goes off to war in place of her father.  With a little help from her animal sidekicks, chaos ensues.

The Good: What’s not to love about Mulan?  You have catchy song numbers, the most badass Disney princess of them all, and the perfectly magical Disney blend of humor, action, romance and universal lessons.

The Bad: Animation wise, it’s definitely not the fairest of them all.  It just doesn’t have the beauty of, well, Beauty, but really, what does?

The Verdict: Hands down a great Disney film.  It’s sad to see that this is not considered part of the elite “Disney Plantinum Series”, but on the bright side, that means it won’t be locked up in the vault!  Yay!

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A Resolution and A Welcome Back

January 1, 2011

Well… yeah, 2010 kind of came and went and I didn’t update at all… because sadly my computer met a terrible end 😦  BUT, a new beginning has come at the beginning of this brand new year of 2011 and with that a resolution to continue with the blog and truly become closer to the film buff I wish to be!  Of course, originally the goal of this blog was to get to 500 movies within a year, and luckily, I’m going to wipe 2010 and all the movies I saw before that clean off my plate and start anew.  All the way back to film #1.  500 here I come!

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#79: The Edge of Darkness

March 8, 2010

Sadly, this will forever be remembered as the movie my purse was stolen from…

So what’s it about?: A cop’s daughter comes to visit him only to be shot on his doorstep, ensuing a flood of secrets and chaos.

The Good: This was actually a pretty interesting movie, with moments of complete and utter thrills at the beginning and near the end.  And Mel Gibson was actually okay in this.

The Bad: The beginning and end may have had thrills, but you could have taken an hour long nap in the middle.  And sadly, they tried to make it too political near the end and it just fell flat in a way.

The Verdict: A few jumps, but in the end kind of forgettable.