Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Song of the Week - Karma Police/Radiohead

It never fails. Every summer I become obsessed with an old song and I can't stop listening to it. If you recall, in 2009, I was stuck on a Night Ranger song!
Well this summer is no different. I can't get this Radiohead song at of my head. I keep going about my day mumbling, "This is what you get when you mess with us." Do you have anything stuck in your head right now?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Sleepwalk with Me - Trailer and Boycott?

This seems like a nice film. Why is Wheldon so against it? If it was about a sleepwalking superhero, then would he be on board?

What do you think? Would you see this film? I think it's great what fans can do these days.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ruby Sparks - Movie Review

Funny enough, the next film I saw after The Odd Life of Timothy Green, is also about a person who materializes from someone’s imagination. Ruby Sparks is the story of a writer who creates the perfect woman on the page and in morning finds her in his kitchen.

Calvin (Paul Dano) is a young writer who has one novel under his belt. It’s a great novel. It catapulted him to genius status and everyone can’t wait to see what his next book will be. Problem is, he has writer’s block. He’s in therapy and trying to get over a failed relationship.

He begins to dream about a sweet, pretty girl and starts to write about her. He quickly becomes obsessed. All he wants to do is write more about her so that they can spend time together. Then one day, he comes downstairs and she’s in his kitchen!

I can easily accept crazy premises in films when they are done well and at first, this was going okay for me. The script is written by Zoe Kazan (Ruby Sparks) and co-stars Dano who is her boyfriend in real life. It starts out being cute and slowly tries to say a lot about relationships and what can often be unrealistic expectations we put on our partners. All of this was fine. My problem was that the story began to write it self into a box that it could not get out of.

It was nice that everyone could see Ruby because I hate when characters talk to invisible people. Ruby has a whole backstory that Calvin created for her, but when she wants to spend some time at her apartment and take an art class, there’s no explanation as to how she has a real apartment and where she would get money? I know it’s a fantasy, but if you’re writing a fun story with a modern, intellectual slant, you need to cover your bases. I would’ve enjoyed seeing clever ways for Calvin to solve these challenges so that Ruby can continue to believe her own existence.

By the end, there were too many unexplained issues gnawing at my brain. I saw some bright spots and I’m sure Ms. Kazan will grow as a screenwriter. She's a good actress and her and Dano were great onscreen.

I was really looking forward to this film, but in the end it didn’t measure up. There was a really cute dog in the film and he did look a lot like Antonio Banderas, especially when he wore his glasses!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Odd Life of Timothy Green - Movie Review

I was fortunate enough to go to an advanced screening of the new Disney film The Odd Life of Timothy Green. While there’s no greater joy for me than to see a film before its official release, this screening was a bit chaotic.

The first clue that I was going to have my work cut out for me, was a late afternoon email informing me that the revenue had changed. The new theater was only blocks away from the original so no biggie there. I had to take BART (our subway system) from the burbs into San Francisco right after work. The screening wasn’t until 7:30pm though so I wasn’t worried. I arrived downtown by 6pm, grabbed a quick bite and walked around a little to enjoy the nice SF breeze. I had just left 105 degrees, so the cool off was much needed. I also used the restroom at Bloomies before heading upstairs to the theater at 6:30pm.

Well it was a madhouse. The line wrapped all the way around in to an un-air-conditioned corridor and there was another large group of people in their own line who were on a special invite list. After standing for awhile, I began talking to the people around me. Some people had hand stamps, I did not. Then I realized some people’s passes said the theater we were at. So now I’m thinking they scheduled two screenings and one was cancelled. That’s why there were so many people. I seriously considered leaving, but I didn’t have anything else to do now, so I thought I’d chance it. I was one of the very last people admitted! I guess a sign of the times, I had to open my backpack and I was swiped with a metal detector. I found a seat in the third row, which I knew me and my neck would pay for later, but I accomplished my goal.

The movie was very sweet and definitely buoyed by the actors. Not everyone could pull this unbelievable tale off. It all came together though, solid story and a great performance by CJ Adams in the title role. This kid could have easily been annoying or sickly sweet, but he wasn’t. He balanced the performance well and you felt like you too would like this kid.

The always adorable Jennifer Garner is a new Mom you’re happy to root for. You quickly feel her pain when the film opens and we see Cindy (Garner) and Jim (Joel Edgarton) being told by their physician that becoming pregnant is never going to happen for them. You can tell it’s been a long road for these two and they’re willing to accept their fate, but they spend one last night “dreaming” about what their child would have been like. When the child actually materializes, they are of course dumbstruck, yet quickly aware that their dream is coming true right before their eyes.

Young Timothy is sweet, easy-going kid who takes life in stride. He touches the people he meets mostly because of his sheer joy of life, love and the world around him.

The film is adapted from a story idea by Ahmet Zappa and written and directed by Peter Hedges (Dan in Real Life). It’s more a film about learning how to be a parent and how no one feels they are ever getting it right.

I laughed a lot during this film. I’m a hard sell on these cute types of stories, so I would not be at all surprised if this one gets eaten up in the review. However, I bought in to Timothy’s charming story. Once in awhile it’s nice to see a film that is tender and kind and teaches good lessons and is as opposite from Ted as you can get. But, remember, I really liked that too!

Lastly, if you’ve seen the previews or the poster you know Timothy wears long socks all the time. Disney partnered with Hanes and asked people on their tickets to bring a pair of socks to donate when attending the film. Since I was doing back-to-school shopping anyway, I picked up a whole pack. I never saw where to put my socks! I carried them around all night and had to take them home. I didn’t see anyone else with socks. It was printed right on the ticket! I bought a smaller size than my kids wear so I’ll have to see if maybe my local theater is collecting them. All in all, a poorly organized screening. I don’t blame the theater though, it really seemed like some last minute things happened and the staff did well handling the chaos. I did witness quite a few people in the lobby complaining. Somehow, there still managed to be empty seats even though people were turned away and the film started 15 minutes late. I always wanted to be a regular at pre-screenings, but I’m beginning to second guess that idea.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Song of the Week - Settle Down/Kimbra

You might only know Kimbra as the female vocal who Goyte "screwed over" in Somebody That I Used to Know, but she's a great solo artist in her own right.

I'm really enjoying her new CD, Vows. I know this video is pretty creepy, but I appreciate the artistic quality and song is great. But the dolls...oh the dolls!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Degrassi Showdown

Full disclosure, this is not my first post about Degrassi. I know I’m 44, but Degrassi transcends age. It’s actually one of the few shows I watch with my 19 year old daughter and my 15 year old son. They can’t agree on anything, but Degrassi has a way of bringing everyone together.

The creative forces at Degrassi and TeenNick have found a way to really pump up summer television. A new half hour episode Monday through Thursday with a grand finale before school starts.

Degrassi gets it right, by having their cast graduate after four years and touching on every single topic under the sun. Last summer we had hoarding, someone was stabbed and the un-topable…someone peed themself!

We always like to try to guess the upcoming plot points from the rapid-fire promos. My son won this summer when he guessed there would be a fight over recycle. Yes, you read that right. There is really no subject matter off limits. If they really want to make their website user friendly, they should create a huge data base that can be searched by condition. Gambling addiction, alcoholism, abuse of erectile dysfunction meds, it would really be a huge resource of information.

This season is no exception. It looks like the new Christian girl who is against the Romeo and Jules play with two male leads, is going to develop a crush on Adam. Since she’s new, she has no idea that Adam is a transgender teen. Also, that damm hockey team! They have created so much havoc and they’re close to pushing their sweet young star player over the edge. Plus, why did it take Degrassi so long to get a hockey team?

Anyway, I’m in for the long haul. Degrassi has been able to successfully do what so many others fail at. They change their cast before everyone sleeps with each other (well close I guess), and they graduate before they rack up too many dramas to become completely unbelievable. This is the main reason I don’t watch The Secret the Life of the American Teenager anymore!

Long live Degrassi!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ted - Movie Review

So the deal I made with my teenage son was that if he didn’t complain too much during vacation, I would take him to see Ted when we returned.

Every summer we spend a week in Carmel, California. Although I bring my laptop and we watch movies, it’s more of a laid back atmosphere. We eat out and take long walks, we talk and spend time together, things that do not really excite a teenage boy.

Too my son’s credit, I really pushed it this year. We spent one whole afternoon at the Cannery Row Antique Mall in Monterey. This was sheer torture for my poor son. We returned from our trip on a Thursday and as promised, Friday afternoon we were in our seats waiting for Ted to start.

I had my reservations about this film. I don’t really watch Family Guy, although Stewie falling down the stairs, is about my most favorite clip ever! Still, this really seemed like it could be a huge bomb. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if you told me you hated it. I’m also not a fan of stupid humor, but once in awhile, something like Dumb and Dumber or Tropic Thunder, totally clicks with me. I must admit, Ted did the same.

When appreciating low-brow humor, I look under the surface for a little something more. What Ted gave me was a storyline that didn’t go for the usual plot of Ted being real to only the main character. Everyone can engage in conversations with Ted and interact with him just as much as the main character.

John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg) makes a childhood wish for his teddy bear to talk. When the wish comes true, John and Ted make a promise to be lifelong friends. Even as Ted becomes famous, he always keeps his promise to John. Now that bear and are in their 30’s, the friendship is stunting John’s final leap into adulthood.

Lori (Mila Kunis), is John’s very accepting girlfriend. She is actually okay with Ted in theory. She’s fine with having a live teddy bear in her life, just not one that sits on the couch all day smoking pot and bringing skanks to the apartment at night.

Really, this is a simple tale about growing up and becoming a man. What makes this film different is that we watch the maturity of a man and a teddy bear. Also, it’s frickin’ hysterical! For some reason this movie totally got me. I thought it would be mildly amusing and the “joke” would wear off after a few minutes but I laughed hard and loud through this whole thing.

I enjoyed many plot points. I liked that Mila Kunis’ character didn’t need John to be some six figure earning guy. She makes the money and she appreciates him being kind and sweet. All she wants is for him to take his life seriously.

I also liked the twisted friendship of John and Ted. Ted is certainly a bad influence, but he really loves John and he would do anything for him.

It probably sounds like I’m making this film out to be more than it is, but in my world of inane comedy, I do need a little more and this film delivered.

I can’t begin to explain how hard I laughed during the fight scene. I was almost embarrassed with how much I was laughing.

My son was happy, I was happy, a good time was had by all. Seth MacFarlane was able to bring it big time and I’m glad he did.

Try not to be offended by this clip. I know LOTS of girls with these names!

Lastly, I'm going to put this picture here of Mila Kunis because she is just smoking hot. If anyone knows how I can replicate the smoky eyes she does, please give me a link! I think I'm a bit old (and not blessed with the same gene pool) to get that level of hotness, but I'd like to give it a shot!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Song of the Week - Next to Me/Emeli Sande

I'm a sucker for anything that sounds like classic R&B. This new song hits the nail on the head. Happy Tuesday everyone!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Magic Mike - Movie Review

Honestly, this was not high on my list of must-see summer films, but I kept hearing that this was actually a fully realized film and not simply a showcase for Channing Tatum to shake his tight butt (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I was also curious that the film was loosely based on Tatum’s own experience as a young stripper. The challenge was, who could I go with to see this film? Because I see so many movies, I often go alone and sometimes my husband accompanies me. The husband would be out for this one, I would not even bother to ask, but going alone? I would look sort of creepy. My daughter, who has been a Channing fan since Step Up, was definitely interested, but she’s 19 so she was going with girlfriends.

As luck would have it, her plans fell threw and we decided on a mother/daughter outing, weird as it may be. I forgot that our nearby theater is also the place for the Thursday Night Farmer’s Market, so we got stuck in a traffic jam and missed the first minute of the film. For me, this is unacceptable. I HATE missing any part of a movie. For my daughter, it was the devastation of missing the opening shot of Channing Tatum’s naked butt. Normally, I would skip the film altogether if I missed any portion of it, but who knew when I’d have another evening with my daughter.

Mike (Channing Tatum) is a construction worker by day and a stripper by night. Of course Mike doesn’t want to be a stripper, he dreams of owning his own furniture company and gyrating his hot bod is a great way to build his nest egg. Mike is also a good guy, so when he meets down on his luck Adam (Alex Pettyfer) he decides to take the kid under his wing.

The audience gets to see two sides of the stripping lifestyle. Mike is not quite tainted, however we see the compromises he's made with himself in order to justify his chosen profession. He seems shocked when Adam’s older sister doesn’t want to hang out with him. She thinks their lifestyles are too different and Mike is surprised to find out that society will judge him as a person because of his chosen profession. He also doesn't seem to realize that he's really leading Adam down a dangerous path and just because he can separate his work and personal life doesn't mean someone as inmature as Adam can.

Adam on the other hand is like a kid in a candy store. He feels he’s fallen into easy money, women and drugs and he wants it all…now! Adam’s sister Brooke, (Cody Horn) spends the entire film trying to “save” her brother, but he does not have the character and foresight of Mike, so we know it’s going to be tough.

I like that this film did not show this as a rosy career choice and even took the time to illustrate how difficult it is to break free even if you think it’s something you can do for just a little while.

So that’s the serious part and the storyline, but you came here to hear about the stripping right? Well, this film will not disappoint. Channing Tatum is such an amazing dancer that he doesn’t need to take his clothes off, but I’m not going to protest. Unlike female stripping, all the acts seem to come with a good dose of humor and fun. If you’re embarrassed to watch this, trust me, you’ll be giggling away because it’s all done in a party type of atmosphere. I heard that Matthew McConaughey was not being asked to strip for his role, but felt very comfortable by the end and was willing to go for it. Now, I know many ladies disagree with me, but I have never found McConaughey attractive. It’s funny that he plays such a swarmy character here, because he always seems that way for me. What I will say though, he’s a real team player and gave it his all with a pretty impressive striptease. If your fan, you’ll find yourself very happy.

This was a pretty good film. I did feel there were a few too many close-ups Brooke’s party-pooper face used as the viewer's moral compass, but other than that, a far better film than I thought it would be.

I’m pretty sure I’ll be renting this on DVD so my daughter can glimpse that missed Channing butt shot!