Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Song of the Week - Wouldn't It Be Good/Nik Kershaw

For some reason, my local radio station decided to play this song out of nowhere. This of course illicted a loud, "OHMYGOD! I LOVE this song!" from me. Oh so 80's, oh so good. I forgot what a totally awesome 80's video this song had too. If you weren't around in the 80's, doesn't this song make you wish you were?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Descendants - Movie Review

The Descendants - Drama "Lite"

A couple of weekends ago, I went on a movie frenzy. I had been falling behind on my movie going and I had to take drastic measures. Within five days I saw seven movies. The last film I saw, just hours before The Golden Globes, was The Descendants.

This was an odd little movie that delivered some great performances by George Clooney and Shailene Woodley, yet failed to connect on an emotional level.

Basically, I cry at the drop of a hat. I cry at almost everything, yet through this entire film I was dry as bone. It all felt very antiseptic to me. The story always stayed right on the surface and never really sunk its teeth into the subject matter.

Clooney plays Matt King, a barely present father who is thrust into the forefront of parenthood and the present state of his marriage, when his wife slips into a coma after a boating accident.

Through this tragedy, Clooney is also dealing with the stress of generations of family land owed in Hawaii. His family currently lives a very nice life in Hawaii but if he decides, along with a vote of relatives, to sell the pristine acreage, everyone will have a nice chunk of change. How this part of the story unfolds gives us our measuring tool for Matt’s personal growth. Who should they sell the land too, what will become of it, did he ever really appreciate it? What has this land meant to who he is as a person, and of course, hence the title, those who came before him?

Maybe there would have been a stronger emotional impact if I knew the mother/wife character even just a little bit. It was hard to feel the difficulty of their situation, yet this technique worked fine in The Big Chill so maybe that would not have helped.

Clooney gave a great performance and so did Shailene Woodley. I watched two full seasons of The Secret Life of the American Teenager and it was quite a surprise to find that she didn’t annoy me at all. I guess she is a good actress!

The best comparison I can make for this film is that it reminds me of As Good As It Gets. This, like The Descendants, was a good film with a talented cast. Both films however, got treated as much more than they really were. I walked away from both films being entertained, but the awards and accolades were a bit much. So, not a bad movie, but certainly not a great one. Strong acting, decent plot but, not award worthy.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Song of the Week - Simple Song /The Shins

I had a wonderful Friday treat on my radio...a new song from The Shins! I can't believe I have to wait till March for the new album. Thankfully, February is a short month.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Beaty and the Beast 3D - Movie Review

Beauty and the Beast has always had a special space in my heart. A golden time for Disney, when they decided to take their animation seriously again, Beauty and the Beast is sheer perfection. Now, Disney is finding a way to re-promote their films by re-issuing in 3D.

I enjoy 3D. Since my lasik eye surgery, I don’t have to put the 3D glasses on top of my specs, so that makes a big difference. Still, it’s not always necessary. The 3D was not working when I went to see Toy Story 3 last summer. I saw it in regular format and I don’t feel like it took anything away from my experience.

So my true motivation for seeing the recent release was simply to see my favorite Disney film in theaters again. Movie tickets are pricey these days though, so I understand that you have to offer the audience something different for their hard earned dough.

I’ve heard some arguments that 3D is as horrible a colorization because you are tampering with the original format of the film. I’m very much against colorization, but I haven’t to say I don’t feel the same about 3D.

Beauty and the Beast is a film I know well. For awhile, it was my daughter’s favorite video when she was young. It played in my home daily and I know it well. Watching it in 3D, I was able to appreciate some the more delicate intricacies’ of the outdoor scenes and even the rose covered borders in the opening sequence.

And don’t forget how wonderful this story is and how impressive the songs are. This is what holds some of the more current endeavors back. Tangled had a great story and good characters, yet failed to deliver a memorable song. This is what sets Beauty and the Beast apart from the rest. The first animated film to ever receive an Academy Award nomination, this film has romance, action, humor, songs you’ll be singing under your breath days after viewing and visual stunning scenes that you’ll never forget.

I’ve always loved this film a little more than the other Disney princess films because Belle had brown hair and brown eyes and her favorite pastime was reading. It’s been years since I’ve watched this film, but I still found myself instantly liking the spunky Belle once again. She certainly was not looking for any Prince Charming. Again, I was swept away by the story and Belle’s love for her father. Once at the castle, I was impressed by how much I could still enjoy, “Be Our Guest.” This scene gets so riotlessly out of control, you almost have to catch your breath as plates, cups and silverware go dizzyingly past the screen.

I also have to admit that I still teared up during the ballroom scene. For me, it’s not because the scene is touching, which it is. No, I am forever floored at how visually breathtaking it all is. It’s a scene that truly shows artists loving what they do. It’s a crown jewel in animation excellence.

So if you’re wondering, I’m saying yes this is worth you movie money to see again in the theater and in 3D. If you liked it the first time, this will remind you why. Hopefully, the 3D will make you see something you missed in 2D. As for me, it made me want to run home and whip out my sketch pad.

This film also included a short film follow up to Tangled. It was very cute and fun and I only hope they keep it at that. Tangled was an unexpected surprise for me and I certainly would not like it to be ruined with Tangled 2!

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Lots of things happened before I finally got to see David Fincher’s version of the widely famous Stieg Larsson, Girl with the Dragon Tattooo book. First, I had the bright idea that I would read all three books and see all three Swedish film adaptations before our American one hit the screen. Then reality set in. I was lucky to have the first extremely long book in time for the American release. I actually read it over the summer and instantly connected with the character of Lisbeth Salander. I was eager to see the Swedish film and even rented it a couple of times, but things always got in the way and I never ended up watching it. I thought it would be a great idea to watch both films and do a triple review for my book/movie combo segment.

Then I thought, why don’t I not watch the original film first? People are so often disappointed in a second version of anything. Why don’t I wait, see the new film then judge of the original is as superior as they say. So, for awhile this was the plan. Then I read a lengthy article in Entertainment Weekly and they mentioned the fact that the character of Lisbeth Salander is so fascinating that it’s tempting to add more than what the reader discovers in the first installment. EW went on the say that in the Swedish adaptation, something is revealed about Lisbeth the is not in the first book. What? These books are hella long and I don’t want any plot points ruined for me.

The decision was made. I would not view any of director’s Niels Arden Oplev installments until I read The Girl Who Played with Fire.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Song of the Week - Video Games

I kept hearing about this song so I finally checked it out on YouTube and I have to say, I'm digging it! Then, I find out she's performing on SNL. The videos was filled with many cool images and held my interest. Her actual performance did not. I walked away before the song was done and I didn't listen to her second performance. I saw tons of backlash on the web the following morning. I hope this doesn't hurt her debut album later this month. We all have off days, right? Let's give her a break.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Another Year on The Couch

New Year 2012

Well here we are in 2012. As you can see I was on a bit of a blogging break. At first, life seriously got in the way of blogging. Now, I must admit to losing a bit of my blogging mojo. I’m trying to get back on the horse. I need to do some serious catching up. Also, the last time I went to the movies was before Christmas. That’s a long break for me. I’m hoping to end that lock out by seeing a sick amount of movies over the 3-day weekend.

The odd thing is I’ve seen some of the best movies of 2011 and didn’t write anything about them. I’m working on loving reviews of The Muppets and The Artist. I want to compile my year’s best list, but it’s difficult when I still haven’t seen other buzz flicks like, Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Warhorse, or The Descendants. I’ll get myself and you caught up on my opinions. I’m feeling a little bit under pressure because The Golden Globes are tomorrow. I actually might tape it for the first time so that I can watch three movies tomorrow.

So what’s new for 2012? I recently subscribed to Hulu Plus on my Xbox. There’s so many good TV shows lately, I can’t hold them all in my DVR cheque. I want to start watching Once Upon A Time, I’ve enjoyed the first three episodes of Grimm and Up All Night is a riot. Of course, if I keep going to the cinema, I’ll never catch up on all that TV watching. What shows have been on your must list these days? I can’t wait for Walking Dead’s return in February and the finale of American Horror Story totally creeped me out.

I’ll continue to do my book/movie combo reviews. I only got in a couple of those last year. I’m currently reading The Hunger Games and after that I’m moving on to The Girl Who Played with Fire. I’m actually hoping to make some good headway today with reading in between showtimes.

A new feature I’ll be adding is full week blocks of one director or one actor. I realized there are lots of films out there that slip by me and what better way to catch up then to see seven in a row? Just yesterday I saw a great list of Kevin Spacey performances over at Anomalous Material. I realize that I haven’t seen a bunch of the ones on the list, so I guess Mr. Spacey will be added to my list. First up though will be Woody Allen. The success of Midnight in Paris made me want to go back and watch more of his recent films that I didn’t pay attention too. I’ve already seen my picks so look for it soon. After loving the sick and delicious, The Skin I Live In, I’m currently viewing a crop of Pedro Almodóvar films. This is going a bit slow though because it’s hard to watch a lot of those at once. I hope you’ll chime in on the week long segments with ideas and suggestions.

One of my new features last year was, Can You Believe I Haven’t Seen…, this fell a bit by the wayside, but I’ll be picking it up again. There’s still tons of films out there that I really should have seen by my age.

On the music front I’ll keep you abreast of my all-over-the-map taste. Two of my favorite bands, The Shins and The Killers will have new music in 2012 and I can’t wait.

My reading is still slow but I finally joined the ranks of the ereaders! My wonderful children got me a Nook for Christmas! And they used their own money so there’s no guilt on my part. I’ve wanted one for a long time, but with my enormous collection of “next on my list,” actual books lying around everywhere, I simply could not justify such a purchase.

Whew! I think that’s a good dose for now. I hope you’ll join me this year and I can’t wait to catch up with all of you. Your blogs always teach and inspire me.

Well, I’m off to see three flicks today. Hugo and My Week with Marilyn and then depending on showtimes, the third pick will either be Warhorse or Tin Tin. Here’s to a sore butt! Later…