Archive for the ‘movies and television’ Category

Academy Award-worthy

January 16, 2009


I’m on a quest to see at least two or three of the Academy Award-contending films of the year. As is usually the case, the films with the most current notoriety have rather dark, bleak stories. While I feel quite sure that there is inherent value in some of these films, and they’re probably all showcases of excellent acting, I would like to feel encouraged, and happy after at least one film’s conclusion, not depressed! Well, I made an excellent choice for my first viewing. Yesterday, my mother-in-law and I went to an afternoon showing of Slumdog Millionaire, the highly praised, critically lauded film about a young Indian boy who happens to be one question away from winning 20 million rupees on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. It’s so much more than that insignificant description, though, a truly beautiful, uplifting film. I would call it a representation of the triumph of the human spirit, against dizzying odds. Go see it-you’ll be so glad you did.

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Academy Award-worthy

January 16, 2009


I’m on a quest to see at least two or three of the Academy Award-contending films of the year. As is usually the case, the films with the most current notoriety have rather dark, bleak stories. While I feel quite sure that there is inherent value in some of these films, and they’re probably all showcases of excellent acting, I would like to feel encouraged, and happy after at least one film’s conclusion, not depressed! Well, I made an excellent choice for my first viewing. Yesterday, my mother-in-law and I went to an afternoon showing of Slumdog Millionaire, the highly praised, critically lauded film about a young Indian boy who happens to be one question away from winning 20 million rupees on the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. It’s so much more than that insignificant description, though, a truly beautiful, uplifting film. I would call it a representation of the triumph of the human spirit, against dizzying odds. Go see it-you’ll be so glad you did.

And the Academy award goes to…

December 15, 2008

One of the benefits of my Macbook, especially for an entertainment junkie like myself, is being able to watch high quality trailers for upcoming films on Apple’s movie site. I just caught the trailer for Che, and I was extremely impressed. I have only the most basic history textbook knowledge of the revolutionary, mainly an awareness of his involvement in the Cuban revolution and his expertise on guerilla warfare, and I found myself captivated by the trailer for the upcoming biopic. Benicio del Toro, one of the finest actors of this generation, portrays Guevera. I have never failed to be impressed by his work, and I consider Traffic to be one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, despite its somber, depressing subject matter. Incidentally, Che, which will be released to two parts (it’s over four hours long!) was directed by Steven Soderburgh, who directed Traffic. Clearly actor and director have a positive, solid working relationship, which is always a good sign for a film that must have been very ambitious. I did a little more research on it, and it turns out that del Toro and Soderburgh have been working on the film for years. It’s refreshing to see actors tackling a historical figure, especially one as polarizing, and taking the role very seriously, wanting to portray a life as accurately as possible. I’m very much looking forward to seeing it. I’ve heard that it will be released in LA and New York in its entirety this week, in order for it to be considered for the Academy Awards. I don’t know how one could neglect Benicio del Toro in awards season-he is truly amazing.

"They don’t give out black belts for things that are stupid."

December 12, 2008

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…..I was howling with laughter watching this last night. Thought it would be nice of me to spread the Christmas joy.

And he’s BACK!

November 15, 2008

Dwight Schrute, in his infinite wisdom:
“Once I’m officially regional manager, my first order of business will be to demote Jim Halpert. So I will need a new number two. My ideal choice? Jack Bauer. But he is unavailable. Fictional. And overqualified.”

November 23! Two hour prequel!

Halloween

October 25, 2008

Yes, that time of year has finally arrived. My absolute FAVORITE holiday season, Halloween. Why, might you ask, is Halloween my favorite holiday season? It’s not exactly reputed to be a holiday of positive tidings, nor is it religious. It’s not a holiday that allows businesses or schools to close. Am I one of those particularly creative people that prides herself on the costumes she has devised throughout the years? Most definitely not-I become a huge ball of anxiety at the mere mention of the word “costume.” Spontaneity and creativity aren’t my strong suits, and when I last was forced to actually dress up for Halloween I shelled out an exorbitant sum to buy a completely mundane princess costume, and even that was only to please my kindergartners (not a difficult task). I don’t even like candy corn-in fact, I loathe it.

Why, then, do I love the Halloween season? To sum it up: AMC’s Fear Fest. Well, actually, the name changes from year to year. Last year, it was AMC’s Monster Fest. The year before, it might have been Scream Fest, or something stereotypically similar. Needless to say, each year at this time, for the entire week before Halloween, the AMC channel plays nonstop scary movies, all day and night. (A sidenote: Now that they’ve hit the big time with “Mad Men”, I’m sure Sunday night will be devoid of horror films) I’ve always been a sucker for scary movies, though I do NOT like the turn they’ve taken in the past few years with movies like “Saw” and “Hostel”-I avoid that type of extreme, gratuitous film. I prefer the old school classics, comfortably predictable films with one maniacal killer and a single frightened heroine/hero. The Halloween series are my favorites, and AMC seems to feel the same-those movies are played over and over, more than any others.

I know I’m not alone in enjoying scary, suspenseful films-it’s always nice to snuggle up next so someone and feel the exhilarating rush of fear brought upon by a Michael Myers or Jason Voorhees. I think the reason I like the annual Fear Fest is because I’m rather nostalgic-I like being reminded that certain times of year are here yet again, and that they always stay the same. I enjoy knowing that I can expect the entire 8 or so Halloween movies to run during this week, and that I might be able to catch a showing of a new addition to the schedule, like “Gothika” or “Identity”-both modern frightening films without the excessive nature of the Saw franchise.

I will defend my strange attachment to scary movies by giving an example of a movie that definitely gave me nightmares:

Yes, I found this Julia Roberts film terrifying. There is definitely a scarier edge to movies that have real-life scenarios, and this tale of an abused wife stalked by a psychopathic ex-husband is chilling. I still think of it whenever I hear the strains of Berlioz’ Symphonie Fantastique, though its presence in “The Shining” is certainly more notable. (Another sidenote: “Sleeping with the Enemy” has some great Julia Roberts moments-I love the scenes of her in the college theater department trying on costumes and dancing with the sweet boyfriend, and though I’m slightly ashamed to admit it, this movie is what introduced me to Van Morrison’s “Brown-eyed Girl”)

By the way, though I saw the recent “Halloween” Rob Zombie remake, I didn’t particularly enjoy it. The phrase “too far” comes to mind. Interestingly enough, though I found the movie to be extra gory and depraved, I thought it was interesting that there was a clear and obvious connection between the killer that Michael Myers turns out to be and his upbringing, a sad truth that I completely believe in. Not to go off on a tangent, it’s enough writing for now-the sixth Halloween movie is just about to begin!