Monday, January 30, 2012

Young Frankenstein

I had the strangest dream last night that involved Young Frankenstein. I was sitting in a classroom and nothing out the ordinary was happening. I was chatting with my fellow students and we didn't know one student's name that was in the class. All of a sudden he shouts, "I am Frederick Fronk-en-STEEN!" I don't know why I was dreaming about it, but it was hilarious the way he said it, just like Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein. Sadly, no one claimed to be 'EYE gor.'

Young Frankenstein should be watched by everyone who has watched Frankenstein (1931). Frankenstein is a fantastic horror film. The problem is, it has been spoofed a lot over the years, so the joke is pretty old nowadays, which lessens its scare factor quality within the majority of today's society.

Young Frankenstein, however, is not just another overdone spoof on the classic monster movie. It is a parody that is so well done that it should be watched simply because the comedic genius of it is sublime, as are the performances by the actors. I truly do not know how someone could watch this film and not laugh throughout the majority of it. It's so witty and ridiculous, that's it's practically impossible not to enjoy it. Unless, of course, you do not have a sense of humor. In that case, you will never understand this film. If you like to laugh, then please watch this film! You will love it!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Horrific Cold & Surprise Thunderstorms

Winter is my least favorite season of them all. Every year, I sit here and wonder why I'm still living in the Midwest. I only really question this when it's the wintertime because I enjoy the other seasons, especially fall and summer. I have a love/hate relationship with the spring. The winter just doesn't do it for me, mainly because the snow in the city isn't snow, it's grey slush.

The weather has been so spastic lately, some days have actually been pretty nice, last night there was a thunderstorm, but the bad days have been awful. The winter is much more fun when you're able to enjoy it by going skiing, sledding, ice skating, and making snow caves and snowmen. Those activities cannot be enjoyed when the temperature is in the teens and below. The freezing dreary days make me want to do watch one movie in particular: The Shining. I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing, I'm going to go with good because I love The Shining.

The Shining is the perfect horror movie to watch during the winter! Particularly because it focuses on a man, Jack Torrence, going mad due to being cooped up in a hotel during a freezing cold, snowy winter. Ok, so maybe he didn't exactly go crazy because it was a blizzard outside, the hotel itself was what was infecting his mind, but that cold weather couldn't have helped matters. All that work and no play didn't help him out much either...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Happy Birthday: Cary Grant

Happy Birthday to Cary Grant! Thankfully, TCM decided to remember him on his birthday as well. It always annoys me when they decide to not dedicate the day, or at least part of the day of a favorite classic star's birthday, to that star's film work. If not the birthday, then the star's death-day would suffice.

My favorite film with Cary Grant is still Notorious. I just love his chemistry with Ingrid Bergman in that film. The two were perfect together. The kissing scenes! Gosh, they are so sexy! I may have to watch this film later on tonight, it's been a while.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Six Feet Under

Six Feet Under is hands down one of the best shows I missed out on watching when it was still on TV. This is mainly due to the fact that I was in middle school around the time it was released. It's not the sort of show that a middle schooler should be exposed to. Mainly because it contains quite a bit of sex, drugs, and swearing, and also because it's a show that follows the lives of a bunch of dysfunctional people, mostly focusing on the crazy lives of a family that runs a morgue. I have a feeling that the fake dead bodies would have freaked me out then...

I'm happy that I'm able to watch and enjoy it now due to the ingenious HBO GO. The show is brilliant, the writing, the acting, everything! The quirky characters and the stellar amount of dark humor involved in their dialogue and everyday situations is what makes the show so entertaining to watch. It surprises me that the show ended in 2006. I haven't watched all of the seasons yet, but I can't imagine it got cancelled due to it suddenly becoming crappy. I refuse to believe it! I guess I'll have to continue watching it to find out!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Dragon Tattoo: Swedish and U.S.

You know, I really don't understand why the U.S. cinema has to remake films that have already been made in different countries. Maybe it has something to do with money or maybe someone really wants to give another artistic twist to something that is already great? I'm really not sure. However, I must admit that I really enjoyed both the Swedish and U.S. versions of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. It also seemed like the U.S. wasn't trying to do something the Swedish didn't do. The story is just so awesome that everyone wants to add their artistic spin to it. I have yet to read the book version, which is odd because I usually read the book version before watching the film version. The book starts off very slow, but judging from both film versions, the plot must really take off once it gets to a certain point. I will read these books!

Dragon Tattoo is full of chilling suspense and mystery, following the thorough investigation of the disappearance of an uncle's favorite niece, Harriet Vanger, and the gradual exposure of a dark family secret. Mikael Blomkvist (Michael Nyqvist-Swedish and Daniel Craig-U.S.), a recently disgraced journalist, and Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace-Swedish and Rooney Mara-U.S.), an extremely intelligent and skilled computer hacker, are both hired to investigate the case. The two are a power team, both with different strengths and very different lifestyles, their differences are what allow them to collaborate so well.

Although Mikael seems to occupy the majority of the screen time, Lisbeth is the most important and interesting character. This should evident given the title of the film and the trilogy, of course, but that doesn't mean that Mikael isn't important to the story as well. Lisbeth has had a very difficult life, which is why she appears to be odd and off-putting to some people. Given how she has been treated by others, especially her father, past psychiatrist, and current "caretaker," it's not very surprising that she doesn't generally warm up to people right away. Not because she fears the people, she just has to decide how to take care of them if they happen to treat her badly. Lisbeth is one tough girl, she has no problem bending the rules when need be, nor is she afraid to stick up for herself. She's a spectacular character.

Everyone gives their all to their performance in both versions of Dragon Tattoo. I'll admit that sometimes I have problems sitting comfortably throughout an entire film, but I found that I was able to sit and watch these films without losing my interest at any point throughout either of them. That's really saying something because both are over 2.5 hours long. The story is engaging, the cinematography is beautiful, and the score is awesome. As a warning to some of you, there are some very brutal scenes in both versions of this film, which could easily upset you, a man next to me actually got up and left because of one of these scenes in particular. I'll admit, it's difficult to watch these scenes, but it's not like the film mainly consists of scenes that are too horrible to watch. Overall, Dragon Tattoo is awesome and should not be missed.

I LOVE the opening title sequence! It looks cool and the music is sweet.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Help

I love reading books that turn into movies before I watch the actual movie. By doing this, my expectations for the film version tend to be extremely high. So, it's pretty exciting when a film follows a book so well that it exceeds my high expectations. The Help is one of these films.

It's no surprise to me that The Help is up for so many awards. The story is great, it's full of emotional scenes, wit, and humor. It's set in Mississippi in the 1960s during the civil rights movement. The story focuses on a young woman Skeeter (Emma Stone) and her aspiration to become an author. Once she returns from college, she ends up landing a job writing a small cleaning column in her town's local newspaper. Since she knows basically nothing about cleaning, due to her family maid Constantine being solely responsible for all the cleaning. She'd love to ask Constantine to help her, but she is no longer working for Skeeter's family for reasons unbeknownst to Skeeter. Therefore, she decides to ask her close friend, Elizabeth, if she may interview her maid, Aibileen, for the column. She agrees to allow Skeeter to interview Aibileen and this ends up sparking the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Aibileen and Skeeter, as well as a collaborative writing endeavor between Skeeter and other maids in town who want to share their story about what it is  really like to work for a white family. It also ends up shaking up Skeeter's long-term friendships with the other girls in town, due to them being awful people, especially the despicable ringleader of them all, Hilly Holbrook.

Emma never seems to fail at giving her all to a role that she is in, which is fantastic because it means that all of her movies are likely to be awesome. Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer steal the show though, as Aibileen and Minny. They both play these characters exactly how I imagined them to act. Aibileen is super sweet and Minny is hilarious and definitely not afraid to stick up for herself. I also thought that Jessica Chastain (Celia Foote) and Bryce Howard (Hilly Holbrook) gave commendable performances. Celia is an interesting character, very nice and sweet, but a bit clueless at first about how mean women can be to each other. Hilly is one of the cruelest and most vile characters ever, I cannot stand her, in fact, I doubt that anyone would like her. I'm sure Bryce is nothing like Hilly in real life, which is why I find her performance impressive, especially since it's not overdone. Sissy Spacek has a small role in the film, but like always, she gives her all to it. If you are looking for a film to watch at home this weekend, then look no further than The Help. It will definitely be worth it if you are in the mood for a meaningful drama. Oh, it might make you cry, so keep some tissues nearby. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Yesterday: My Week With Marilyn

Well, yesterday was a fun and interesting day for me. I've desperately have been wanting to go see My Week With Marilyn since its release date. I'm happy that I finally got to go see it! It was so good! Even though some of the viewing experience got interrupted for a bit, due to two people, an older woman and a man in his late 20s that didn't know each other, who ended up having a loud and verbally abusive argument.

What the hell could people possibly argue about during a movie showing, you ask? Cell phone use, apparently. The man kept opening his cell phone and the woman kept asking him to shut it because it was distracting her from viewing the film. It is pretty annoying when someone continually looks at their cell during a film. He shut it the first time she asked him, but then went back to opening it again about 15 minutes into the film! She kept quietly asking him to shut it and wouldn't leave him alone until he did so. Well, this annoyed him, especially when she kept leaning on his chair. He starts screaming, "Get away from me! Get away!" She wouldn't get away, so then he starts spitting off a bunch of rude insults and profanity. Someone else started to yell at the guy because he was being so disruptive and all of us just wanted to enjoy the movie! However, the guy would not stop and his last insult to the woman was so disgusting and impolite that the lady packed up her purse and told him she was going to report him. The guy ended up following the woman out, continuing to yell insults at her during their walk to the theater manager. The woman eventually returned, but the man never did, which wasn't very surprising.

Michelle Williams is incredible as Marilyn Monroe and I think she is the main reason that the film is worth seeing. She had her mannerisms down so well that sometimes it seemed like I was watching the real Marilyn. It was odd because Michelle really doesn't resemble Marilyn much in her physical appearance, except maybe when she was in the Prince and the Showgirl makeup/outfit. However, I think this works better because Michelle isn't acting like a caricature of Marilyn, which would have been irritating to watch. Marilyn was much more than a ditzy blonde and I feel like if they casted someone just based on their physical resemblance to Marilyn, then it would have been awful to watch. The mannerisms Michelle displayed are what made the character of Marilyn come to life again. Michelle definitely deserves all the praise she has been getting regarding her performance as Marilyn. I'd love to see them make a full life biopic about Marilyn someday with Michelle casted as Marilyn again. I wonder if they will ever do that?

I also thought that Eddie Redmayne (Colin Clark), Kenneth Branagh (Sir Laurence Olivier), and Judi Dench (Dame Sybil Thorndike) all gave commendable performances as well. Honestly, when doesn't Judi Dench give an awesome performance? I've never seen Eddie in anything else, but I hope to see more of him. Kenneth Branagh basically IS Laurence Olivier, so if you like Laurence, I think you'll like Kenneth's portrayal of him. Dominic Cooper (Milton Greene) was also pretty great in the film, which kind of impressed me. If you want to see a spectacular film, then please go see My Week With Marilyn! I don't think you'll be disappointed.