Love is in the Air

So it just happened to work out that the next two movies I watched were both romances. Unfortunately that’s where the similarities ended as they couldn’t have been executed more differently. One turned out mindblowingly well and the other left me wondering why I even bothered to watch it.

Room in Rome (2010)

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Room in Rome is about two women who spend the night together in a room… in Rome. I heard about it from a list of movies to watch on Netflix (that have sex in them). This was one of the few that caught my attention so I decided to give it a go. The whole premise of this movie is that these two women fall in love during that one night. There were parts of the romance that felt genuine but then the next scene would undercut it with either bad dialogue or just bizarre character actions. Case in point, nothing in the movie was surreal or hallucinatory up until the very end when Alba gets shot in the heart with an arrow. I understand they were trying to go for a cupid type thing, but it’s too late in the movie to change things up that drastically. The movie was artsy up to that point, but everything was very much real. I lost any emotion I was feeling for the characters and just kind of laughed to myself. The absolute worst, most laughable part of the movie was when Alba tells Max that Natacha is a tennis player and tells Alba that he should check her arms to see if one is stronger than the other. That has to be the laziest way to find out more about a character. Alba just guessed tennis player out of every profession in the world? Clearly the only way to check for tennis players is to compare their arms because no other profession in the world would cause that. Do football players and pitchers have one arm bigger than the other too? Maybe she’s a professional softball pitcher. Give me a break, I’m not going to suspend my disbelief enough for that one.

I was in the perfect frame of mind to invest in this story. I’ve been in situations where I’m with someone and have to leave knowing I won’t see them again. I know how heart wrenching it can be, but they never built the romance up enough for it to work. I couldn’t see how the two of them would ever make it work and I felt like the only reason they didn’t want to leave the room was so they didn’t have to go back to their lives. I don’t believe for a minute that Natacha would leave her fiance for a woman since she was so against it for the first half of the movie. Obviously a few short orgasms is enough to change someone’s mind. Straight my whole life, but sure I’ll switch teams and destroy my life for a person I barely know. The only reason anyone seems to promote this movie is because of the sex and nudity. Without that, it’s a completely uncompelling story and I don’t know why I even bothered to finish it. Blue Is the Warmest Color did everything much better: longer sex scenes, straight and lesbian scenes, more authenticate romance, sadder break up,  and more interesting characters.

Verdict: 5/10 – Watch porn instead


Once (2007)

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Once is about a man who meets a woman while he’s playing guitar on the streets. They start spending time together and she ends up helping him professionally record his music. The entire movie is scored with the most beautiful soundtrack I’ve heard in years. I hadn’t even heard of this movie until a few days ago. I had finished watching Moulin Rouge! and saw this on a list of best music movies. After scrolling through, this one stood out to me and seemed to have decent comments. I was skeptical for the first few minutes and wasn’t really paying attention. That is until the man starts to play Say it to Me Now. Half way through it picks up and once I heard it, my jaw dropped. I couldn’t take my eyes or ears off the movie from that point on. The music just blew my mind, so much so that I’m listening to the soundtrack as I’m writing this. The man and woman in the movie have great musical chemistry and their songs are so beautifully sad and romantic.

Aside from the musical aspect of the movie, the romance is subtle but so present. It’s always there beneath the surface but never spoken about. It seems the two of them enter the friend zone when it’s so easy to see they both want to be with each other. Something is just holding them back from making a move. When she tells him she loves him in Czech it just broke my heart. She didn’t even have it in her to see him off before he left for Dublin. Compared to Room in Rome, I absolutely believe this romance and understand why their parting was so difficult. This movie didn’t have the allure of sex to draw in viewers, it relied on the music and story to spread the word. It’s 9 years later, and it definitely worked on me.

The premise reminds me of Before Sunrise where the two characters are together for a short time and don’t end up together. A sequel worked great for that movie, and I think it’d be perfect here as well. I’d love to see how the man’s music career turns out and see what becomes of the woman and her life. Sequel or not, this one tops my romance list and this soundtrack just made it into my music library.

Verdict: 9/10 – You’ll be falling slowly in love with this movie

Catching Up

It’s been quite a while since I wrote anything here. I haven’t felt the desire to really put my thoughts about what I’m watching into words. Not to say I haven’t watched things lately that weren’t worth writing about. I’ve slowed down a lot on movies, but I’ve watched some great TV Shows. I’ll do another quick fire of things I’ve watched recently to get my juices flowing. Then the next movie I plan to watch, At Once, will hopefully have something worth writing a full post about.

The Newsroom (2012)

This is a TV Show that aired on HBO for 2.5 seasons. I watched the first episode and was hooked. I actually couldn’t make myself stop watching it. I watched the first season and a half in just 2 days. I thought the premise to try and run a news broadcast that focuses on the news and not ratings was interesting because I hate watching the news for that exact reason. I immediately fell in love with the ideas, the characters and the dialogue. I’m a fan of the fast talking sarcastic quips they do fairly often. I laughed a lot and ended up caring about almost every character on the show. Season 2 was brilliantly laid out and made it so I had no choice but to keep watching. They start off somewhere in the middle of the season’s plot and then fill in the pieces with each episode until you’re caught up. I watched the first episode and just had to know what could’ve possibly happened that was so bad. Season 3 took a little bit of a dive with the first 2 episodes feeling dull, and the series finale wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t that great. If they were able to do a full last season and finish it off stronger I would have given it a perfect score. It’s definitely worth a watch, just make sure you have a couple hours set aside cause you won’t be able to watch just one episode.

Verdict: 9(.5)/10 


carolCarol (2016)

I absolutely loved this movie, it’s now one of my favorites and is on my regular re-watch list. I’ve seen it twice and am probably going to go for a 3rd watch soon. Maybe tonight because writing about it makes me want to see it again. It was so beautiful and restrained, nothing felt forced or unrealistic. It was slow but it sucked me in completely. Carol is kind, sophisticated and knows what she wants. There is something about her that just draws you in and it’s easy to see how Therese felt drawn to her. The movie had ups and downs that kept me emotionally invested and I felt so much throughout the entire movie. That feeling of thinking you found something special and then having it ripped away from you is devastating. I don’t want to say too much on the plot cause I think not knowing how it turns out really amplifies every decision the characters make and leaves you in suspense. It’s one of my top favorite romance movies and 100% recommend it.

Verdict: 9/10


hushHush (2016)

This is a horror movie where the main protagonist is both deaf and mute. I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life. As far as thriller/horror movies go, this is one of the most suspenseful and thrilling ones I’ve seen. I really wanted the main character, Maddie, to succeed and get out of there alive. Every scene is straight out of all the other horror movies out there, but it’s elevated to a new level when we know she can’t hear anything. He could be coming up behind her and she would never know it. When she’s trying to be quiet walking on the roof, she doesn’t know if she’s making lots of noise or not. That unknown makes it all the more suspenseful. Not to mention the fact that they inject some realism into the story with her not being able to load the crossbow.  Great, she got a weapon, but she’s still just a regular person and didn’t immediately become some badass who can shoot a man with a crossbow from across the room. Not that I don’t love that, but when I don’t have to suspense my disbelief as much, I enjoy movies a lot more. This one is on Netflix and is definitely worth the time.

Verdict: 9/10


10_cloverfiled_lane.jpg10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)

As I was writing my other reviews, I realized a common actor among them–John Gallagher Jr.. He was in the Newsroom, Hush and in this review’s movie, 10 Cloverfield Lane. This is a “sequel but not really” to Cloverfield which I liked a lot when it came out. I didn’t know much about the movie before I started watching it and felt myself getting frustrated wondering when the Cloverfield things were going to start happening. So much so, that I almost couldn’t finish the movie because I thought it was crap and a waste of time. So I paused it, went over to IMDb and realized that it’s a standalone movie that merely exists in the same universe as the other. Once I understood that, it became a lot better of a movie. It was suspenseful and mysterious. I kept going back and forth in my mind wondering if John Goodman was telling the truth or if he was lying to keep her imprisoned. If it were me in that situation, I wouldn’t want to believe him because all I could think is that I’d end up as some idiot who was tricked into living in a bunker for 10 years. Momma didn’t raise no fool, so I really felt her predicament. On the flip side,  I’m really crushing on John Gallagher Jr. now. He was so sweet in this movie as Emmett and in the Newsroom. Ok sure, he was like a serial killer in Hush… but he was also in Short Term 12 which was an equally amazing movie. It all balances out in the end and I loved his character in this movie. When Emmett, let’s just say, was no longer part of the movie my jaw hit the floor. I love when movies have balls and just shock me with a plot decision. Overall, this was a really cool standalone movie that I will definitely re-watch.

Verdict: 8/10


And lastly, one sentence verdicts on some of the other movies I feel deserve a shout out.

10.000 km (2014) – Another great romance movie, except the characters start out in love and the movie progresses from there. Verdict: 8/10

Victoria (2015) – A 2h 18m movie all done in 1 continuous shot with strong characters and plot. Verdict: 7/10

Moulin Rouge! (2001) – A loud, obnoxious, annoying movie with weak characters and plot. Verdict: 5/10

Ant-Man (2015) – Pretty boring super hero movie that was lacking something that I just can’t put my finger on. Verdict: 5/10

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) – Great movie but needs a re-cut without the Mr. Yunioshi scenes… Verdict: 8/10

 

Back and Bigger and Badder than Ever!

Ok well maybe a slight exaggeration there… I’m back and the same as ever. It’s been awhile since my last post and I’ve watched many movies (27 to be exact) since then, but haven’t been able to find the words to review them. Fear not, my ability to put thoughts into words has returned! I will be rapid firing off some short, quick reviews of the movies I’ve watched that I can still remember well enough.

Casablanca (1942)

casablanca I think this is the one that broke my blog writing spirit. Such a classic, but honestly not very enjoyable for me. It suffered too much from a case of unbelievable romance. For a movie in the romance genre, if I’m not buying it… I’m not enjoying it.

Verdict: 7/10 Meh


 Ex Machina (2015)

ex_machinaOn the other hand, this is the one that almost re-invigorated my blog writing spirit. I was looking forward to this one since I saw the trailer, and it did not disappoint. I loved every minute of it. That house was beautiful and the story was very intriguing. I’m a huge sucker for these sci-fi movies and with AI in general, so it really hit home for me. The implications of the ending completely blew my mind and made me look twice at every one I pass on the street. Who really knows? I sure don’t! For all I know, you’re a robot scanning the internet for information to one day enslave the human race. And for all you know, I’m a robot who literally lost their ability to put words into thoughts and was out getting repairs this entire time.

Verdict: 9/10 I’m keeping an eye on you…


The Imitation Game (2014)

imitation_gameAnother of the movies I was looking forward to. Sadly, in this case, it did disappoint. It disappointed hardcore. If they gave an award for most anti-climactic movie, this one would definitely be in the running. It just ended… that’s it. The pacing was way off and it was hard for me to stay interested in it. It was another of those movies with scenes that are tossed in because they need to quickly advance the plot. For example, Turing’s girlfriend, Joan, gets in a fight with him and tells him he is wasting his time. He will never solve the problem. This shows us that there is some turmoil in the relationship. That is a great little scene to toss in, but then immediately after this he asks her to marry him. If they were going to show us problems in their relationship only to have them instantly be mended, what was the point? Either split that scene up and sprinkle that seed of relationship doubt throughout other scenes, or ignore it completely and just have them be “happy”.

Verdict: 7/10 Needs to come with a free extra large coffee


Pitch Black (2000)

I knew exactly what I was getting into when I watched this movie and it actually wasn’t too bad. As an action type movie, it was interesting enough. Yeah the special effects were pretty awful, but I’ve seen a lot worse. I would recommend watching this with someone else just so you can laugh at the cheese factor together.

Verdict: 7/10 Entertaining enough


Enemy (2013)

doubleIf you’ve heard of this movie, you’ve probably also heard, “Wtf was that spider at the end?!” so I’m not going to go there. Yeah, the ending is a little weird, and the whole movie might also be a little weird, but it has a Fight Club type appeal for me. I didn’t realize what was actually happening the entire time with the whole double thing, only after I was reading posts about the movie did it finally click. I think you’re better off not really understanding the movie, then understanding it and then watching it again through a different pair of eyes. This is exactly what I plan to do at some point… until then the verdict will be pretty average, but this is an interesting little movie for sure. Jake Gyllenhaal is awesome!

Verdict: 7/10 Weird, but interesting


Honorable Mentions

Tokyo Godfathers (2003) Verdict: 8/10 Make it through the first 10-15 minutes and you’ll get into it

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz (2014) Verdict: 8/10 Infuriating and sad

Citizenfour (2014) Verdict: 8/10 Very interesting and informative

Still Alice (2014) Verdict: 8/10 Sad… really abrupt ending though

OXV: The Manual (2013) Verdict: 8/10 Really weird, just stick with it and it gets better and better

Rebecca (1940) Verdict: 8/10 Entertaining and likeable characters


Dishonorable Mentions

Serpico (1973) Verdict: 6/10 Bad music, slowly paced, semi-anti-climatic ending

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) Verdict: 6/10 Willie is one of the most annoying character I’ve watched, the rest of the movie is pretty solid though

Birdman: Or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014) Verdict: 6/10 Wasn’t as good as I was expecting, might re-watch at some point

Fitzcarraldo (1982) Verdict: 5/10 Just really boring, a pain to sit through

Legends of the Fall (1994)

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By request I am going to review Legends of the Fall, a 1994 drama romance set in the early 1900s.I will be upfront, this is one of my least favourite genre-plot combinations and it didn’t fail to deliver. It took me 3 separate attempts to start this movie because my brain tried to protect itself by shutting down. I made it through though and I have several problems. The plot was way too jumpy and it felt like one of those spy movies where someone is a double agent and they keep revealing they’re working for the other side. Susannah was just like that in the way she jumped from man to man. “I love Samuel, I love Tristan, I love Alfred, I really love Tristan.” If you want to argue with me that she always loved Tristan go ahead, she flip flopped so many times it’s a wonder anybody would want to be with her. Let me not forget to mention the fact that she was in relationships with 3 brothers. Never have I cared less for the female in a romance since Jenny from Forest Gump. While on the topic of characters, I don’t understand how they were trying to portray Alfred. At first he was a jerk for telling his dead brother’s girlfriend that he was in love with her and it seemed like you were supposed to not like him. Then he stands up to his dad in front of her and you think he’s not such a bad guy. Then there are scenes where he seems controlling or possessive of Susannah which is out of character for him and is perhaps another way to make us dislike him.

Enough about the characters. The acting was decent I guess, but I didn’t really buy into the whole movie being set in the early 1900s. I had a feeling like they were all just playing dress up and it took me out of the movie completely. What also took me out of the movie was every single scene where they tried to laugh. I have never in my life seen a worse attempt at realistic laughter in a movie, and I mean this for all the actors, even Anthony Hopkins. Someone would make a “joke” then they’d do a cut to a close up of the actor’s face and have them laugh. It didn’t even feel connected to the joke, it was just a random laugh shot. Well, maybe just one more thing about the characters… Susannah tells Tristan that she wanted his wife to die within days of her actually dying. That is terrible, she is a terrible human being. She could’ve at least given it some more time, after all she was the mother of his children. Ok, now that’s enough about the characters.

Something I noticed was a very familiar set of notes playing throughout the movie. It reminded me a lot of Titanic, so I went to look up who wrote the music and you wouldn’t believe this… it was the same guy who wrote the music for Titanic! It’s a shame that they got that in my head because I enjoyed Titanic as a romance so much more. At least they tried to make it believable with the characters interacting with each other for a long period of time, while Legends of the Fall just shows you one scene where they almost kiss, then sex, then riding horses together and BAM they’re together. Not buying it. What else I don’t buy is when Samuel dies, the guys machine gun him to death. Did they really need to waste all their ammo killing him? Not only does he get shot like 20 times and not die immediately, but he has the presence of mind to call out Tristan’s name that loud. I think Tristan could have killed those guys sooner if he wanted to, he could have at least tried instead of running in slow motion.

The only thing I liked about this movie was Alfred’s eyes that were so blue they should be illegal. Eyes that are the colour of clear tropical waters. With that, I will end this post.

Verdict: 5/10 Needs more being good

Toy Story 2 (1999) vs. The Lego Movie (2014)

I have a back log of movies to review after yesterday and after watching such similar yet completely different movies I felt this would be the best way to explain my impressions. Toy Story 2 has already established characters with personalities and are all different and interesting. The Lego Movie has… more characters than I can count… some of them have personality, most of them don’t. In Toy Story 2, the jokes are wittier and not so in your face. You know that the movie is made for kids but it still attracts an adult audience. I might add that I also laughed during this movie and I liked the part when they where trying to cross the street under the cones. Good stuff.  The Lego Movie has the absolute worst “jokes” I have ever heard in my life. When Emmet sees Wyldstyle for the first time and he makes that terrible noise for like 15 seconds I wanted to punch him in the face… I almost turned off the movie at that point. Yelling spaceship over and over is NOT a joke. It is not funny, there is absolutely no reason to laugh at that. The jokes were so bad I felt insulted that anybody expected me to laugh. In TS2, the voice acting is top notch for pretty much everyone involved. Plus they had Newman be the bad guy… you can’t go wrong with Newman.  In the Lego Movie there were tons of good actors, and because it’s lego they had to legofy their voices to sound like kids sounding like adults. It was really annoying and honestly, with the whole premise of the movie, I don’t think it was even necessary. If we’re meant to be watching a kid playing with Legos, how was Lord Business already sounding like Will Ferrell? The real life dad wasn’t even in the movie at that point. The decision to do the voices like this was just wrong for a feature length movie. It would have worked in a short 5m clip on Youtube, but not here. In TS2 the script knows what it needs to say and what it needs to SHOW the audience. The dialogue is realistic and believable so it lets you get into the world where Toys are alive. In LM, the script narrates every thing the characters do and what everything looks like. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t have my instructions!” We get it, you like instructions… we got that from the first 10 minutes and it’s fully ingrained into our heads. How about just saying “I don’t know what to do” and not spoon feeding us everything. I feel like the director stopped the movie, turned to the audience and explained the whole scene to us in every damn line. Let the movie speak for itself!

Both these movies are originally made for kids, but the LM feels like it was written by a kid too. You can go ahead and argue that the LM is done this way because it was about a kid playing with Legos but there is no excuse for sloppy, repetitive writing. The writers did a TERRIBLE job of adapting this idea to film. I felt like I was watching somebody playing legos. The fun of lego is not watching OTHER people play, it’s playing yourself. Maybe I should have said this earlier, but I was a kid once and I did play with legos. I’d watch a VHS in the basement and play with the family box of legos. I would have my favourite little lego people, and build them houses and all that crap. I remember what it was like and was receptive to the idea. I even had this lego pizza delivery game which was pretty cool at the time. This movie did not make me feel nostalgic about my childhood at all. They missed a great opportunity here, especially with the success of the lego games. I guess I haven’t talked too much about Toy Story in this post, but that’s because it was a good movie. It had great animation, as expected, great music, story, characters, pacing. I don’t have too much to complain about it. I always remember TS2 specifically for the fact that I never got to watch it as a kid. I had Toy Story 1 on VHS but never the 2nd one and I always wanted to see it. The LM I will reluctantly give credit to its animation, but in 2014 I don’t know if I even should. Animation these days is spectacular and that should be the standard so it’s nothing to write home about anymore.

Toy Story 2 Verdict: 8/10

The Lego Movie Verdict: 5/10