Ellen Update

29 04 2010

I have been blogging for several weeks now about the movies that I have watched recently, and how they measure up to the hype I heard beforehand.  My two cinema classes have had me watch a variety of films that I normally would have never looked into.  Among these films I have found great cinematic moments and horrible, half-written plots.  I hope as I continue to blog about the movies I can pick movies without the bias that I had previous to this semester.  And of course, I will blog about the movies from a real prospective, not an Academy standpoint.


Pan’s Labyrinth

28 04 2010

   This movie is on several 100 greatest movie lists so I thought going in that it was going to blow my face off with its awesomeness.  I didn’t read up on it, didn’t know anything about the plot line or premise.

  It starts out following a young girl, Ofelia, and her pregnant mother who are going to stay out in the woods with the mother’s new husband, a captain from the end of WW2.  The Captain’s cabin in the woods is an old mill that he’s using as a military outpost against the guerillas hiding in the woods.  Ofelia’s mother is very sick with the baby and Ofelia is left to occupy her own time.  She likes to read lots of books and there’s a labyrinth at the wood line just past the mill.  One night Ofelia follows what she believes is a fairy into the labyrinth and discovers that she is a princess from another world.  If she completes three tasks, she can re-enter the world and live immortally as the princess.

  Ofelia completes the tasks slowly, encountering strange monsters while trying to take care of her mother as time for the baby draws near.  She befriends a housekeeper, Mercedes, who is helping the guerillas get supplies by night.  The captain remains distant, and Ofelia even overhears him telling the doctor that if it comes down to saving his wife or the baby, save the baby.

  The strangeness of Pan’s Labyrinth kept me hooked, I was mildly curious to see what happened next.  I watched to the end, just to get answers.  And when I got to the conclusion, I felt like I wasted 2 hours.  I mean, really Guillermo del Toro?  All that creative genius and that’s what you use to end this?  I don’t think this really belongs on any “Greatest Movie” list.  I don’t even think this is worth a rainy Saturday afternoon.  Do yourself a favor and go watch Inglorious Basterds instead.


Music Monday Vol 3

27 04 2010

This is a little late, but I never pass up a chance to suggest bands to others.

This guy is from Australia, his name is James Butterworth.  I found him on YouTube, covering someone else’s song.  But he writes his own and their quite awesome.  I was listening to this kid way back in 2008 before he had a cd.  I’ll admit that some of his songs are weird.  But then he writes a song that feels like the words fell out of my head.  These two are my favorites:

Summer of Like by James Butterworth

Book of Leaving by James Butterworth

This Australian is one of my favorite singer/songwriters I’ve found on the internet.


Love Actually

25 04 2010

  In the month before Christmas in London, we follow eight couples loosely intertwined through their love lives.  We discover the many meanings of love and the ups and downs that come with love in the real world.

  We begin with a wedding and a funeral to portray the two greater extents of love.  There’s new Prime Minister David who crushes on his new assistant Natalie and has to compete with the President to get her.  There’s John and Judy who meet at work- on set of a pornographic film.  We see Peter and Juliet get married, only for juliet to discover that Peter’s friend Mark has been unfriendly toward her because he secretly loves her.  Harry the boss of an ad company, a married father of two, is baited by his new assistant Mia for some attention while his wife Karen is home raising their children.  We see Sarah try to face her five-year crush on coworker Karl but continually distracted by her mentally ill brother Michael.  We join Daniel at the funeral of his wife and while he tries to cope, his stepson Sam reveals he loves a girl at school named Joanna, the same as his recently deceased mother.  Jamie, who rushes home early from Peter and Juliet’s wedding to his sick girlfriend, walks in on her cheating with his brother.  He quietly retreats to a cottage in France where he falls in love with his Portuguese housekeeper Aurelia.  Colin, convinced he’s on the wrong continent to find a girlfriend, goes to Wisconsin to meet American girls who will like his accent. And we see rock star Billy Mack realize that all the years of fame and rock and roll haven’t really gotten him anything but a friend, his manager Joe.

  Their stories unfold before us as we laugh and hurt with each victory and each backslide.  Eventually you feel like you know each of the characters by mere commiseration.  

  This is one of my favorite movies to watch, always giving you a good laugh.  A good date movie, hint hint.


Criminal Minds

24 04 2010

  There are few police dramas on television that can keep my interest.  I’ve watched CSI, NCIS, Law and Order, and all the various spin-offs but for some reason, this show is my favorite.

  The show is about BAU [Behavioral Analysis Unit of the FBI] agents who follow serial killers, profiling them to find their next move and stop them before they kill again.  In addition, in certain episodes you get a deeper look into the different agents’ lives outside of the BAU.

  Okay, I’ll admit the reason I love this show.  Reed.  Dr. Spencer Reed played by Matthew Gray Gubler is one of my favorite characters ever.  Reed is a genius, graduated high school in Las Vegas when he was 12.  He went to CalTech and has PhDs in Mathematics, Chemistry, and Engineering with BAs in Psychology and Sociology.  At 27, Reed is the youngest member of the BAU and usually gets a lot of jokes about being the kid.  In one episode we learn that Reed’s mother, played by Jane Lynch, is schizophrenic and he had to commit her to a mental institution when he was 18.

 And that’s just one agent in the BAU.   There’s a great cast with other agents played by Thomas Gibson, Shermar Moore, Joe Mantegna, Mandy Patinkin, Padget Brewster, AJ Cook, and Kirsten Vangsness.  I like the interaction between Morgan [Moore] and Garcia [Vangsness] the tech girl.  Everyone seems to have a good relationship and that helps them solve the cases more efficiently.

 I could talk about Reed all day [he’s my favorite and I love him with all of my dorky heart] but I’ll just let you watch.  Just remember, I called dibs on Spencer Reed:


Julie & Julia

23 04 2010

    Not going to lie, I really liked the concept of this movie.  I’ve always wanted to be a chef or even cook my way through a cookbook.  Meryl Streep and Amy Adams are also from some of my favorite movies, they couldn’t hurt this project.  Yet somewhere along the line, something fell short and let this film fall flat on its face.

  This film intertwines two stories, one of famed chef Julia Child who moves to Paris with her husband and searches for a hobby to keep her days occupied.  Eventually she’s led to French cooking school where her career begins.  The other is Julie Powell who’s normal life with a normal job leaves her bogged down.  Julie takes on the challenge of cooking her way through Julia’s cookbook in a year and blogging about it.

  The plot handles the beginning and middle well, showing how both women struggle with their new tasks and how it affects their lives.   And then, the ending just falls together.  Everything that you’ve been built up for just disappears as they mush together the last 15 minutes.  I understand trying to surprise your audience, catching them off-guard and throwing a curve ball, but really?  This was not a good surprise to the plot.

  This is one of the movies I’m going to tell you is not worth your time.  If you really want to see Julia Child, google her old cooking show.  If you want to see someone making meals from recipes, go watch the Food Network.  Don’t put up money to see Julie & Julia.


22 04 2010

  This movie is rough, not going to lie.  It starts with Sibel, a Turkish woman in Germany, and Cahit, a Turkish man, meeting each other in the hospital after they try to kill themselves.  Sibel asks Cahit to marry her so that she can move away from her parent’s house and be promiscuous.  After some wheedling, Cahit finally agrees to the marriage.

  Cahit goes to Sibel’s family to ask her hand in marriage and at first they are leery.  Cahit is 23 years older than Sibel and they don’t really know anything at all about him.  But Cahit and Sibel have made up their minds about the marriage, so Sibel’s father hesitantly agrees.

  The deal works out at first, with Sibel cleaning up Cahit’s apartment, making him dinner, and they both go out to the club at night looking for a one night stand.  Then slowly but surely, Cahit begins to realize that he’s in love with Sibel, despite her ways.

  When circumstances leave the two apart, Sibel begins to understand that she’s in love with Cahit as well.  Then their arrangement is outed and Sibel’s family shuns her for being a whore.

  This is one of those movies that hurts to watch.  You’re rooting for Cahit and Sibel but cringing at every turn, every mis-step in their road to realizing they love each other.  I recommend that you Net-Flix this one for a girl’s/guy’s night in.  Definitely not appropriate for children [it was made in Germany, the Europeans are a little bit more lax about showing skin and sex.].