Sunday, March 20, 2011

"To me you are perfect"- Love Actually

Alright, so I know I'm a little late on this one, but seeing as schoolwork left me too busy to see any new releases yet again, I chose a movie that I only saw for the first time very recently. I've been hearing about this movie for years, and for some reason have never had the opportunity to actually sit down and watch it. After mistakenly admitting I had never seen it, and being chastised by my friend Greg , I decided to finally give in and watch it. For the few who have yet to see it, the movie is a series of separate but intertwined stories of various people and their blooming, or fledgling, love lives.

It seems only fair to warn that I am a bit of a romantic. Movies that are obviously terrible, with poor writing and character development, have repeatedly reduced me to tears as long as there is some element of romance involved. However, I don't think many would argue with me that "Love Actually" is not an example of this. The majority of the stories are touching, well written and humorous. Whether it is the Prime Minister of England, played by Hugh Grant, struggling with his feelings for one of his staff, or Emma Thompsons' character struggling with her husband's potential affair, each story evokes some kind of emotional response. And who could ever forget the infamous cue card scene which is undoubtedly one of the best and most romantic scenes from any movie? (in case you have I will remind you).

Perhaps the best thing about about this movie is that it is realistic in the way that it approaches and presents the subject of love to its audience. Not every story ends in happily-ever-after, and nor should it. In 2003, when the movie was released, Statistics Canada showed that almost 16% of people going through a divorce had already had a least one divorce under their belt. Obviously, not everyone stays together and this theme is reiterated in the film making it realistic and relate-able.

Perhaps the only gripe I had with the movie is that there were a few unnecessary story-lines. Colin Firth's love affair with his Portuguese housekeeper doesn't seem to fit the rest of the movie. I just don't buy that he falls in love with her in three weeks without ever having a proper conversation with her (she doesn't speak English).  The scene's featuring the nude stand-ins also seem out of place, and honestly, just made me feel uncomfortable.

Overall, I would definitely recommend this movie. Women will love the heart wrenching story-lines, and even men will be entertained by the scenes featuring a young Brit attempting to find love in America, if not by the rest of the film.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Upcoming Releases

I won't lie to you, I haven't been to the movies in quite some time. With school and life getting busier by the second, it is getting harder and harder to find the time to get out and watch new releases to review for my blog. So rather than try to trick all you clever people into thinking I saw something recently, I am dedicating this week's blog to talking about upcoming releases that I am looking forward to. The spring and summer season is typically "blockbuster season", and with it comes a plethora of movies both good and bad. So lets get on with it.

Scream 4:
I can't really explain to you why I'm so excited for the fourth installment of the "Scream" series.  The first movie was great, the second was o.k and the third was downright awful. However, I have great faith that the fourth movie has the ability to be really good. With some of the original cast returning, such as Courteney Cox, David Arquette and of course Neve Campbell reprising her role as Sydney, this movie will be at the very least a fun watch. Release date: April 15

Red Riding Hood:
This haunting adaptation of the children's fairytale looks equally thrilling and creepy. The movie stars the supremely talented Amanda Seyfried as the title character, as she attempts to solve the mystery of who the big bad wolf really is. If I'm being entirely honest, I can't wrap my head around what this movie is really about after watching the trailer. However, I'm a huge fan of Amanda Seyfried and it can't be any worse than "Letters to Juliet".Release date: March 11

Your Highness
This movie looks like pure, unadulterated fun. I find it even more amusing that Natalie Portman, recent Academy Award winner and James Franco, recent Academy Award nominee, are two of the film's stars. This movie looks like a good bet if you are looking for some laughs. My only concern is that it will fall into the classic comedy pitfall where all the best jokes are in the trailer. Regardless, I can't wait to see it when it comes out. Release Date: April 8. Content warning: The trailer below has nudity and graphic language. Viewers, be warned.

There you have it. I promise, by next week I will have gotten myself to a theater for another review.

Friday, March 4, 2011

"You get to go find a new dream"- Tangled

I realize that I am a little late in the game on this one, but I could not pass up the opportunity to talk about Disney's latest animated feature "Tangled". Anyone who knows me knows how huge of a Disney fan I am, and is probably sick to death of hearing me rave about this movie. A little more isn't going to kill you. Now, I should probably add the disclaimer that when it comes to Disney, I am a little biased. I am hardwired to love everything that comes out of their studios. I can't help it, I think its genetic. Nevertheless, this film was such a great example of the magic Disney has left in them, aside of course from their Pixar films.

For me, the film was a return to the way Disney should be. I absolutely love Disney/Pixar films, really I do, but for me Disney will always be about the classics. There is something about classic animation, story-lines and music that contemporary Pixar films cannot seem to match.While "Tangled" wasn't exactly "classic animation", it did make a valiant attempt to go back to the way things were. It is another "Disney princess movie", but one that doesn't exclude or alienate boys. The main character Rapunzel has sass, athleticism and so much sugary sweetness you can't help but root for her. Her male counterpart, Flynn, is charming and laugh-at-loud funny which helps balance out their roles nicely.

What really made this movie for me was the music. Alan Menken, responsible for the music in "The Little Mermaid", "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin", is back in this film and it shows. The music is witty, fun and often emotional, perfectly complimenting each scene it is featured in. Disney seemed to be backing away from movie-musicals, and I for one am so happy that they are making a return. Was the music as memorable as it was in the golden years? Probably not. But it sure is a start.

I am not a huge fan of 3D. I realize it is the way of the future, but I am having a hard time accepting that. "Tangled" just about made me a believer. One particular scene involving floating lanterns is so beautiful and captures a warmth that 3D is often missing. Critics have even gone so far as to say it is the most stunning example of 3D they have ever seen, and I would have to agree.

I would obviously recommend this for Disney and animation lovers alike. The movie is smart, funny, and engaging and gives a glimmer into the Disney of the past. Fun fact: Tangled is Disney's 50th animated feature. How cool is that?!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

2011 Academy Awards

For this post, I am going to stray a little bit from reviewing films to reviewing this year's Academy Awards. I have a lot of issues about this year's Oscars, so bear with me. It may be a bumpy ride.

First of all, I love Anne Hathaway and James Franco. Really I do. Both are extremely talented actors with extensive acting ranges. Hosting talents? Not so much. I love historic events, and this year marked the first time in the Academy's history that a male/female duo hosted the show together. Pretty cool right? However, if you watched this year's Academy Awards and thought that the young actors did a good job, I apologize. Mostly for your questionable taste. I would go as far as to say that Anne did an o.k job. She tried really hard, and really looked like she wanted to be there. At times it came across as a bit desperate and awkward, but she gave it her all. Franco? Half of the time he looked like he barely wanted to be there as he stumbled awkwardly through his lines. When Billy Crystal came onstage, the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Most likely out of desperation for him to stay there.

I am pleased that this year, the Academy brought back the live performances of the Best Original Song category. However, they cut them so short that the segment seems a little abrupt and out of place. Also, where was Corey Haim in the tribute to those we lost this year? Granted he wasn't exactly an Academy Award winning actor, but to include publicists and not him seemed a little odd and insensitive.

All the winners were entirely predictable. This was not the year of the upset by any means. I love the Academy Awards. To me, it is my Superbowl. This year, however, did not meet my expectations. The ratings seemed to reflect my feelings. According to Nielsen, this year's telecast was down 10 percent. Next year, bring back Billy.