The rants and raves of a teenage cinephile who is just a little bit obsessed with Catherine O'Hara and Hayao Miyazaki.

Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year Banner Contest!

Well, it's that time again...for a eye-dentification Banner contest! I've had this current banner for far too long and it's almost time to switch it out, so you know what that means....you guys get to try to identify whose eyes are present!

AND, this time around, the prize is extra-special! Or anyway, it's kind of cool. If you win, I'll WRITE YOU A SONG! And record it, and give it to you in mp3 format! Yeah! I'll write it about whatever you want. If you want me to write a song based on your favorite movie, sure, or maybe a love song to you, or even if you want me to write you a song about like, flying ponies taking over Mars then that's cool too. It's allllll up to you.

Or, if you don't want a special song, then you can take the prize that I normally give out - a guest post on this blog! Or something else. The prize is negotiable. Heh heh.

Anyway. Let's review the rules.

1. Look at the banner at the top of my blog. You know, the one with all the eyes on it. Haha!

2. Send me an email at marioman60@gmail.com and write down the actor/actress and the film that the eyes are from. For animated films, just the name of the movie is fine.

3. Points are given for each correct part of the answer. So you get 1 point for the right actor, 1 point for the right movie.

4. Whoever gets the most points WINS!!!




All right so that's all there is to it. You've got two weeks to do it (the deadline for entries will be the 19th of January. GO!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

THE MOVIE I'M MOST ANTICIPATING IN 2011

Haha. Just kidding. Though, I'm not going to say that I'm NOT going to go see this movie. It could be worth a few laughs. Just the 3D preview itself was pretty hilarious.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Can we all just take a moment...

...to recognize the awesomeness that is Emma Stone?


Needless to say, I just finished watching "Easy A" and though this may just be that post-movie high, but allow me to just say how truly wonderful Emma was in the movie. Every little sarcastic eyebrow raise, every little snarky rhetorical remark, and every single faux-slutty strut that she took was so, so perfect and she injected so much into her character. As she began to go in too deep, we could see the subtlety of Olive's lies and how she was trying to be strong above it all.

Gosh, without Emma Stone "Easy A" would be nowhere near as good as it was. Though, that's not necessarily true because the supporting cast was quite good (the Tucci-Clarkson-Stone chemistry was irresistible) but let's be honest - Emma was just wonderful.

I know I'm always the last to the party but I just had to throw some confetti Emma's way nonetheless. ;)

Right now the movie is feeling about an 8, and a large part of that score is Stone. Loooooove

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Other Guys (2010)

I thought that I had heard some good things about this movie, so imagine my surprise when it turned out to be utter garbaaaaaage. Really, it was just a huge mess. Not only was the script slightly homophobic and treated its female characters like crap, but it was also horrendously paced and chock-full of unbearably clunky dialogue, and the jokes rarely took off. Even the editing was noticeably poor. On the other hand, considering the atrocity of the script, Wahlberg and Ferrell are able to muster up some laughs and chemistry that kept the movie from being entirely unwatchable. There were also a couple of visually interesting scenes (the paper-flying-around-shoot-out and the shot-by-shot bar scene) that were like small little tiny faux-diamonds in a trash can. Ugh. What a waste of an hour and forty minutes of my evening. Skip this one.

4/10

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I'm too nice.

I was just looking over at my sidebar of movies I've seen this year, and I was kind of (not really) surprised to see that for the most part, I've given pretty high scores. In fact, most are 8 or above, with a lot of sevens, and just a couple lower. Nothing lower than a five.

So that means I've not seen anything particularly stinky this year, but I was thinking - this year hasn't particularly EXCITED me filmwise. I'm surprised such a lukewarm year has merited such high scores from me. Like, even "Scott Pilgrim VS The World" and "Black Swan", a couple of my favorites this year so far, can't match the excitement I had for "Inglourious Basterds" and "500 Days of Summer" last year.

So the point is this. Am I too nice when I rate my movies? I'm thinking I need to revamp my system...or at least develop some criteria. Perhaps I should switch to the ever popular letter grade system?

My question to you fellow bloggers is this - do you use some sort of criteria while rating movies? Do you prefer numbers or letters? Am I overly generous? I just need some advice on this topic from bloggers more experienced than myself so if you would, please respond below! :)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I am obligated to comment on this

Just a little sumpin' sumpin' I just came across today, to take our minds off awards season......


Well honestly, I have no idea what Ke$ha was going for here. I mean, with product placement more shameless than that in the "Telephone" video, religious imagery more unsuccessful than that of "Alejandro", and hairstyles worse than this, it seems like kind of a mess.

On the other hand, the song is fun, I have a guilty love for Ke$ha, and honestly I guess it fits the song pretty well. I can't say I'm disappointed! Plus, that part where she falls off the building...ooooonly Ke$ha. Only Ke$ha.

Ke$ha - love her, hate her, love to hate her, hate to love her, refuse to write her name with a dollar sign? Comment below!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Super Last Minute Globe Predictions!

Because I want to get in on the action! Muahahaha.

Motion Picture - Drama
127 Hours
Black Swan
The King's Speech
The Social Network
The Fighter

Oh no, no room for Inception? That's probably going to come back to haunt me.

Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical
Another Year
Burlesque
Easy A
The Kids Are All Right
Toy Story 3

I'm picking Burlesque because I feel like, no matter what, the Globes nominate musicals. ALWAYS. Is Date Night a threat at all here?

Director
Darren Aronofsky - Black Swan
David Fincher - The Social Network
Tom Hooper - The King's Speech
Christopher Nolan - Inception
Coen Bros. - True Grit

Actor - Drama
Jeff Bridges - True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg - The Social Network
Colin Firth - The King's Speech
James Franco - 127 Hours
Mark Wahlberg - The Fighter

Actress - Drama
Nicole Kidman - Rabbit Hole
Jennifer Lawrence - Winter's Bone
Natalie Portman - Black Swan
Hailee Steinfeld - True Grit
Naomi Watts - Fair Game

Strangely I struggled with that one. Watts seems Globesy and I want her momentum to continue. Steinfeld is a lead now! And I've only heard good things about her, so, it could happen. However, a surprise Noomi Rapace or Gwyneth Paltrow nod would be nice...

Actor - Comedy
Jim Carrey - I Love You Phillip Morris
Michael Cera - Scott Pilgrim VS The World
Johnny Depp - Alice in Wonderland
John C. Reilly - Cyrus
Ben Stiller - Greenberg

Uh, the Michael Cera thing will never happen, but a guy can dream, can't he? Plus it's not SO far fetched. :P I hope Ben Stiller makes it!

Actress - Comedy
Christina Aguilera - Burlesque
Annette Bening - The Kids Are All Right
Lesley Manville - Another Year
Julianne Moore - The Kids Are All Right
Emma Stone - Easy A

It was tough to leave off Rachel McAdams for Morning Glory but alas. Also, what about Anne Hathaway? Sigh. This is so tricky. If I got it completely right though, it'd be a very strange lineup. Yet, weirder things have happened before. I mean, Julia Roberts surprised us all last year, something like that could happen again! (I personally hope it does.)

Supporting Actor
Christian Bale - The Fighter
Jonah Hill - Cyrus
Mark Ruffalo - The Kids Are All Right
Geoffrey Rush - The King's Speech
Justin Timberlake - The Social Network

Timberlake and Hill are risky calls but the Globes sometimes like the superfamous people and the small comedic turns. We shall see...

Supporting Actress
Amy Adams - The Fighter
Helena Bonham-Carter - The King's Speech
Cher - Burlesque
Melissa Leo - The Fighter
Dianne Wiest - Rabbit Hole

Aw, no Jacki Weaver, but I can see her getting snubbed here but NOT by Oscar. Same with Barbara Hershey who I'm rooting for but probably won't make it. Tears! Anyway. Cher seems likely. The Globes like to have fun and just imagine the possibilities!



Well, there you have it...I wonder how well I'll do tomorrow! Haha. I can't believe it's already Golden Globes time. Sheesh! Where has the year gone!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Catherine O'Hara Filmography: A Mighty Wind (2003)


Ah, finally, we've come again to a Christopher Guest movie. Unlike most, Guest actually realizes how talented Catherine O'Hara is and utilizes her so well in every one of her movies. "A Mighty Wind" is a hilarious mockumentary about three different folk groups who are coming together to play a memorial concert in honor of the man that gave them all their start. The film follows each of the three groups as they reunite, rehearse and get ready for the big night.

Catherine O'Hara plays Mickey Crabbe, formerly of the sweetheart folk duo "Mitch and Mickey", along with her past lover Mitch Cohen (Eugene Levy). During their prime, the duo was famous for their song "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow", which always ended with a kiss that left audiences swooning. However, Mickey is now married, after a horrible dispute that left their duo broken and Mitch an emotional trainwreck.

Overall, "A Mighty Wind" is a wonderful and endearing, not to mention hysterical little movie. I used to consider it one of Guest's lesser works, but after recently rewatching it with a friend (and my mom, who is awesome) I realized how truly funny and wonderful it actually is. As to be expected from Christopher Guest, there are some fantastic performances that make this film shine - for example, Jane Lynch and John Michael Higgins, who play the color-worshipping frontliners for the sugar coated folk group "The New Main Street Singers", are simply hilarious. I consider this to be easily Jane Lynch's greatest role.

BUT! We're here for Catherine O'Hara and, truthfully, this is probably one of her greatest roles as well. Unlike the other characters, Mickey is much more real, human, and disillusioned. O'Hara knows that Mickey is truly the emotional core of the film and she doesn't turn her into a caricature whatsoever (unlike Eugene Levy, who is funny but completely devoid of emotion). Instead, O'Hara truly becomes Mickey, and in her soft spoken words and the way she looks at the camera, we feel a truly pining individual who longs for the glory days but knows they can never be.

And then, there is the one running plot point that solidifies the brilliance of her performance - "The Kiss at the End of the Rainbow". During the final performance, the way that O'Hara shows the longing for that one kiss during the song is just a gorgeous display of true emotion. Not to mention, the fact that O'Hara sings the song beautifully. Her chemistry with Eugene Levy is quite convincing - even though Eugene is making it hard to believe that they'd ever love each other, O'Hara works past it and makes Mitch and Mickey one of the cutest screen couples of the decade.

I must mention one other admirable thing about this performance - for the majority of the film, O'Hara is by herself, talking in interview format. She rarely interacts with other characters besides Levy, and even when she does it's short in comparison to her interviews. I feel like this sort of solo work is so much harder to pull off, since she can't work off of anyone, and let's not forget that it's a lot of improv. Her ability to be so real and convey everything that she does all by herself is such an accomplishment.


Wow, so I really went crazy singing her praises but like I said this is easily one of O'Hara's best performances. Another snub for her at the Oscars! (Though she did get to sing "A Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" at them - yay!). Oh, and the movie has so much to recommend besides just her. Jane Lynch is amazing, the rest of the cast (especially Parker Posey's one tiny interview) is wonderful, and the music is great. It may not be Guest's funniest, but it is probably his most lovable.

The Movie: 8/10
Catherine: 10/10
Best in Show: Of course, Catherine, though this is also Jane Lynch's finest hour.


Monday, December 6, 2010

AFRICAN CATS.

So the other day I went to go see "Morning Glory" (which I really, really enjoyed) with one of my bestestest friends, and one of the trailers that played before the movie was this one, for Disney Nature's upcoming Earth Day epic...





So anyway, I was already in a giggly mood. But at the beginning of the trailer, when it showed a clip from "Oceans", I was like "Ooh, what is this going to be? Deserts? MOON? UNIVERSE?" and I was expecting it to be some super dramatic one word title.

And then the announcer guy said "African Cats" and I just started laughing hysterically. I could not contain myself throughout this entire trailer. I mean, you have to admit - it's pretty funny, right?

Anyway it looks pretty good nonetheless. But I mean, come on. "African Cats"? It's hard to take a title like that seriously. Hahaha

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Incoherent Ramblings Regarding "Black Swan"

Because I cannot even begin to wrap my head around it enough to write any kind of formal review, I decided to do this instead. It's like, a review, minus all that stuff you learned in English class about development and paragraphs and stuff! Bahaha.
  • After the movie ended, a very candid woman behind me loudly exclaimed: "What the HELL was that?!", which gave me a giggle. Speaking of giggle, during a scene that, at the time, I thought was particularly serious, a woman near the front of the packed theater began laughing hysterically. It was a little awkward though it did cause me to see the obvious humor that existed during that shot.

  • I know I'm totally the first one in the whole world saying this, but, Natalie Portman basically knocks it out of the park. In fact, hers is probably my favorite female performance this year. I never once saw her acting - I simply saw Nina Sayers onscreen, and I was totally immersed. Her descent into madness is perfectly timed and brilliantly executed. And how about that scene where she was on the phone with her mom in the bathroom stall? Oh my goodness. That was just so...so perfect.

  • The supporting cast is great too even though this is obviously about Nina, and nobody else. Mila Kunis (who was kind of awesome) is seductive and mysterious without being cliche, Hershey is scary and overbearing without being irritating, and Cassell is sultry and egotistical without being stupid.
  • But my personal favorite in the supporting cast was Winona Ryder. She gets her own whole bullet point! As I was thinking about it today, I think her total screentime was probably about 5 minutes (if even that) and in that time she probably only says about 3 lines, but even so I left the movie with her character having left the greatest impression on me. As Beth, the past her prime dancer, she evokes so much in just the way that she carries herself, the way that she speaks, the looks in her eyes. She was just so captivating to behold.

  • Um, technically, this movie is kind of perfect. The cinematography is absolutely gorgeous, and the score...ah, ah, ah the SCORE. Thank you Clint Mansell, for being freaking awesome once again. The way that the score seamlessly intertwines with Tchaikovsky and the way that it could stand alone as its own ballet music is just...so...wonderful. It heightens the emotion in every scene and is so perfectly orchestrated.

  • I was effin' scared during this movie. Like, the most scared I've been in a LONG time at the movies. Maybe even ever. Though I haven't seen a lot of scary movies. But I was seriously clammy the whole time. I also felt kind of sick for the rest of the day after watching it - though that's probably the fault that all I ate all day was a bagel and a sandwich from Starbucks. Not the most stomach-friendly choice. Hehe.


  • Personal Story: A couple hours after I saw this, I had one of the more rigorous piano lessons I've had in quite some time, and I just kept thinking about the movie, and how Thomas was like, intensely coaching Nina and how she was getting all stressed and I kind of related. Okay, I don't know if anyone can fully relate to this movie, but the theme of a relentless pursuit of success and how it can affect your persona really resonated with me.

  • I loved it.

9/10

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Tangled up.


That pun was just too obvious but I couldn't help myself.

Last year I fell just a little bit in love with Disney's back-to-roots princess animation story "The Princess and the Frog", which, though not one of my FAVORITE films of the year, was absolutely lovely. To be honest though, my love for that movie is kind of what made me worry about "Tangled". It seemed to me like Disney was going for a snarky Shrek kind of thing, and I was sort of upset - that sort of thing is better for Dreamworks, and after proving how well they could do it the old-fashioned way, why go back to the same old generic thing?

Thankfully, my reservations were proven to be somewhat incorrect, though after watching Disney's 50th Animated Film EVER I have an entirely new set of scruples.

"Tangled" is, as you all surely already know, a reinvention of the Rapunzel story. Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) is a girl whose hair has magical healing properties due to a flower that healed her mom during pregnancy. Her parents, the king and queen of a kingdom, lost Rapunzel when the evil Mother Goethel (Donna Murphy) stole her as a baby to keep her powers to herself. Of course, Rapunzel yearns to be free, and on her 18th birthday, she decides to sneak out of her tower, with the help of a bandit named Flynn Rider (Zachary Levi) who accidentally lands up there while escaping the king's guards.

This reinvention of the Rapunzel story is quite successful and works perfectly as the vehicle for the typical Disney romance. Duh, Flynn and Rapunzel fall in love and whatnot, but for some reason it doesn't feel corny or anything. A lot of this is due to the technical brilliance of the animation. The movie is so refreshingly colorful and carefully animated - though Rapunzel's hair may not be a consistent length, as my sister lamented, it is still captivating to watch. CGI is very rarely beautiful, and I'm pleased to say that this film achieves some rather aesthetically gorgeous moments.

And Mother Goethel is, simply, one of the best Disney villains in recent years. Where "Princess and the Frog" and even in some ways, "Enchanted" fell slightly short was the very one-dimensional nature of their villains. 'Tis not the case here! The maternal relationship that Rapunzel has with Goethel is rather compelling - we can't forget that she is basically the only mother that she's ever known - and seeing the affection, such as hugs and kind words, between them, makes the villainship so much more horrifying and perfect. Of course, Donna Murphy's brilliant voice work is much to credit for why Goethel is such a great character. She's over the top, she sings wonderfully, and she nails every line.

Sadly, such laurels cannot be awarded to Mandy Moore. Her Rapunzel is occasionally quite good, but too often she sounds whiny, or even worse - as though she's not getting into it enough, which leaves the viewer feeling super distanced from the character. This happens especially during the musical numbers. Her singing voice (at least in my opinion) is kind of annoying, with this weird airyness that is just not convincing.

This leads to another problem with the movie - it doesn't seem committed enough to being a musical! The songs are fine, if not somewhat unmemorable (I mean, it's hard to say anything bad about Alan Menken), but somehow in the context of the entire narrative, they don't feel natural or necessary enough. However, Mother Goethel's song "Mother Knows Best" is probably the best in the movie; it's funny, creepy, and its animation sequence is tight and clever. On the other hand, the movie's musical non-singing score is quite fitting and often transcendent.

Of course, that's not to say that I didn't like the movie. I very much did, and I guess I almost started crying at the end (I'm a leaky faucet though, so don't mind me...). I suppose I'm just trying to identify the reasons it didn't lodge itself into my heart like I would have expected. It's good in so many ways, and it did not fail in the ways I expected - it just didn't reach the level of quality that perhaps it could have. I'm honestly a bit conflicted about it, but I would recommend it even if only so you all will be able to discuss it with me and help me figure it out. Haha!

7/10