Monday, January 31, 2011

Can You Believe That I Haven't Seen...The Shawshank Redemption

This year I’ve decided to try a new feature. If you’re a movie lover like me, you often find yourself bombarded with more movies than you could ever watch. Try as I might, some films slip through the cracks. It can be embarrassing to admit not seeing some iconic or blockbuster film. I thought it might be a good idea if I attempted to rectify this matter. Once a month, I will watch and review one film that I feel I should have seen by now. I hope I encourage you to finally watch some of the films you always wanted to get around to.

For January, I watched the 1994 film, The Shawshank Redemption. Why have I never watched this film? Well, I often keep myself from watching films that are adapted from novels. Shawshank was adapted from a short story by Stephen King, one of my favorite authors. I don’t have a lot of free time and I know if I see the movie, it’s unlikely I’ll ever read the book. Plus, if you’re a fan of Mr. King, you’ll know one of his short stories is the length of most regular novels.

If you’re one of the few, like me, that still have not seen this film, I’ll give a brief rundown. A prison drama that begins in the 1940’s, Tim Robbins plays Andy Dufrense, an unassuming banker convicted of killing his wife and her lover. Andy claims he did not commit the murder, but it’s a pretty airtight case. He arrives at Shawshank Prison to serve two consecutive life sentences. Although he mostly keeps to himself, he slowly befriends Red, played by Morgan Freeman. Red is up for parole every decade and is always rejected. He doesn’t mind too much because he can no longer imagine life on the outside. Red is “the man who can get things” and this makes him an important inmate at Shawshank and also a good friend to have.

Although this is adapted from a Stephen King story, there’s no horror or unbelievable things occurring in this film. On the contrary, it’s quite grounded in reality and doesn’t paint an unrealistic portrait of how difficult prison life is.

I enjoyed the first half of the film and found the characters endearing. However, I was feeling like I didn’t know what all the fuss was about. Then Tommy came to the prison. Once he came on, I was drawn in so deeply there was no going back. It took me a while to place the actor Gil Bellows, but I finally remembered he was in Ally McBeal. Suddenly, this slow meandering film picked up steam. Things started to happen, questions were answered, plans were put into place and I began to cry.

I had the waterworks going pretty good for the last half of this film. The slow paced first half paid off in that I found myself caring very deeply for the main and secondary characters. They had been locked up for a long time and I too spent a lot of time with them.

This has to be one of the most satisfying films I’ve seen. If you put in the time, you’ll be rewarded with big payoffs. I can’t imagine anyone not being satisfied with ever plot point laid out in this film. So basically, I’m very happy with my first choice. I definitely feel like, “Man what took me so long to see this movie?”

Next up for February…The Godfather. Yeah, I’ve never seen The Godfather!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Song of the Week - Walk and Talk Like Angels

Ah, the 90’s. I loved this 1991 album House of Hope. Toni Childs has an awesome voice. This one will put you in the right groove to chill out or create, or feel good about yourself, whatever you need. I little internet search showed me that she has a new album out. I’ll need to do some iTunes hunting and then wait till I have some dough. I sure could use some new tunes from her right about now. Hey, you know what I just remembered? I had House of Hope on cassette. Ah, the 90’s…

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

American Idol
I told everyone that was out. I swore that I was not going to watch American Idol anymore. Too many changes, too much crap…just end it already! Oh but those sneaky folks at FOX made sure there was absolutely nothing else on tonight. Sure, I could of watched old episodes of That 70’s Show on Teen Nick, but I’ll admit it, I was curious.

Okay, it wasn’t that bad. I actually liked the banter between Lopez and Tyler. They were much kinder but not in a wussy way. I can see myself popping in from time to time. I will not get caught up in it.

It’s been too long. I remember waiting for the premiere of Season One. I’ve been a devoted fan from the beginning. I’ve bought the CD’s, downloaded the songs from iTunes and voted and then voted again. Even the times they irritated the hell out of me, I was still watched.

Now, I want my life back. American Idol sucks up so much of my time and money. No, I didn’t purchase any of the CD’s from last season. It was a sweet ride and I think they should just pack it in.

Maybe I’m wrong. They may be able to reinvent themselves. However, I need to move on. You know what? Parks and Recreation finally comes back tomorrow night. Screw you American Idol!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Song of the Week - Loco de Amour

First of all, I experienced some Twitter problems on Sunday and that's why I was not able to tweet during the Golden Globes. I don't have time to resolve right now. I guess that's a weekend project.

Now, on to Song of the Week. So why is there a movie poster here? Well, this questionable flick from the 80's sports one of my favorite movie soundtracks of all time. This one is hard to get your hands on, but if you find it in a bargain bin somewhere...snatch it up!

Nothing tops the delicious duet Loco de Amour between the unusual pairing of David Bryne of The Talking Heads and the Queen of Salsa, Celia Cruz. Seriously, I can't tell you how often I still play this song! I had the honor of meeting Ms. Cruz back in the day. I went to a small performance and she blew me away. AZUCAR!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Golden Globes Tonight!

I'm still trying to catch up on all my reviews. Yesterday, I should have spent the day with the laptop, but instead I went to see The Fighter. So, now I have another review to get too! Well, today isn't looking much better. I'm attempting to sneak away to San Francisco for a few hours. I received a gift card to the art supply store for Christmas and it's buring a hole in my pocket! I will be home in time for The Golden Globes though. An evening with Ricky Gervais is always high on my list. Hey, I'll be tweeting during the show. If you haven't followed me yet on Twitter, why don't you start now? You'll find me at Colleenie41. See you tonight!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Who is this guy?

I've never heard of this guy. He had me rolling. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Song of the Week - Dog Days Are Over

I'm still having a tough time getting back into the swing of blogging. I know Song of the Week is late, but maybe Florence and the Machine can kick me back in shape. Hey folks, I have a three day weekend coming up and I feeling like having a catch-up blogging frenzy!

Dog Days Are Over – Florence and the MachineYeah, I know this is a new song and everyone has heard it. You know what though? I’ve had a crappy last several years. I’m happy to not start just a new year, but a whole new decade! Bring it on. My dog days are over. So are yours. Let’s turn this decade out!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

True Grit - Movie Review

My father was a BIG John Wayne fan. Due to that fact, I had to watch a lot of John Wayne films growing up. I enjoyed his later work the most and my three favorites are, in order; The Shootist, The Cowboys and numero uno…True Grit. I’m not a big fan of westerns, but I have watched the 1969 original many times. However, I did feel Jeff Bridges would be a worthy opponent and I was okay with a remake.

Here’s what I found interesting though, there wasn’t much difference! I’ve included the original trailer because I can’t believe how many scenes were almost identical. Jeff Bridges did a fine job, he really did. Yet, nothing gets me jumping out of my seat like The Duke putting those reins in his mouth and saying, “Fill your hands you son of a bitch!”

I was enjoying this remake. The scenes were beautifully shot and the performances were outstanding. Jeff Bridges truly was grittier, making the character of Rooster Cogburn his own, and newcomer Hailee Steinfeld was a kick ass Mattie Ross. Matt Damon held his own in what could have been a throwaway role as overly proud Texas Ranger, LaBoeuf.

The pace of the film was perfect and I never found my mind wandering. I was right there with the characters watching the tension build. This film, although similar, truly was a formidable remake until the last five minutes.

Now I certainly don’t want to blow anything here, but I will say that I felt cut off. I did not have a satisfying ending like the original provided. Look, sometimes there’s a good reason why you veer from a book. A movie is a different beast and I have to agree with the original changes the filmmakers made in 1969. The Coen Brothers basically had the same movie right up till the end and if they wanted to be truer to the book, I’m fine with that, I just don’t feel they did a good job of it. For the reputations they have, the ending felt thrown together for me. I would like to have these two movies stand alone, but really they didn’t change the story very much at all and if you’ve seen them both I’d be happy to tell you an alternative ending that I think could have worked better.

This film was worth seeing. I think Colin Firth will snag the Best Actor Oscar this time around, but Bridges will get and deserves a nod. I’d love to see Ms. Steinfeld receive a nomination, even though it’s going to Natalie Portman for Black Swan. So maybe I shouldn’t compare at all, but when you take on The Duke, it’s kind of hard not too.

One other tiny thing about this film bothered me. If you’re really looking for gritty authenticity, everyone, with the exception of maybe Mattie, would have had some messed up teeth. I’m just saying.

Monday, January 3, 2011

What's Coming to The Couch?

As you can see, it’s nice on the couch!

Well it’s been an interesting year for Colleenie’s Couch. I visually revamped the site and definitely posted more than ever. I realize now that it would be wise to schedule blog posts ahead of time for the holidays. Oh, well. Since I can’t go back, I guess I’ll just move forward. I have tons of reviews backlogged and new things to look forward to.

I’ll be continuing my weekly Tuesday feature, Song of the Week. If you’re new to the couch, each week I like to highlight an old or lesser known song that you may want to give a spin. In 2011, I do hope to do more album reviews. It’s not something I have much experience with writing, but I’d like to give it a shot.

I’ll be rolling out some brand new features too, like: Can You Believe That I haven’t Seen… This new monthly feature will focus on films I’ve never seen. As a big film buff, I try to see so many films and sometimes, for various reasons, some seem to slip away. I will watch, review and hopefully supply a good excuse for what took me so long. First up for January - The Shawshank Redemption. I know, I know, you can’t believe it!

Also in the movie category, look for Maybe You Missed. This new feature will spotlight big stars in smaller, great movies, that may have slipped under your radar.

The Saturday Wrap Up will focus on you. I’ll highlight some of my favorite and relevant blog picks for the week, so look for your great posts there.

Sitcom Breakdown will highlight some of my all-time cherished shows in a dying genre.

Lastly, of course, my regular reviews of movies, books, TV, music and all of my strange musings. I hope to build a stronger community with my readers in 2011. I look forward to your input and opinions and I hope you’ll be having a seat on my couch on a regular basis!