August 30, 2014
Frances Ha (2012)

IMDB Summary: A story that follows a New York woman (who doesn’t really have an apartment), apprentices for a dance company (though she’s not really a dancer), and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possibility dwindles.

Imagine a skinny white girl, parading around a park in New York. Doesn’t this sound like the premise of a stupid romantic comedy? I know, that’s what I thought. But I was pleasantly surprised by Greta Gerwig in this black and white film about a life that isn’t so black and white.

Gerwig plays Frances, a disheveled modern dancer trying to make it in New York. Initially, she’s living in an apartment with her best friend Sophie, but as their relationship takes some weird twists and turns, the film focuses on Frances just trying to do her thing. The film is so multi-faceted and it delves into the mysterious world of what “being a grown-up” really means. Do we take that seriously? Or do we just laugh it off? Either way, the movie takes you along on the crazy life of Frances Haliday and how she manages to just get by.

I can’t say that I’ve seen anything else Noah Baumbach has done, but I definitely will look into his other films based on how impressed I am with Frances Ha. I think it was a wonderfully executed film and it made me laugh, it made me on the verge of tears, and watching this movie was a really great experience. I recommend this to people who can relate to feeling a little lost at times. Keep in mind, this is a modern film done completely done in black and white! 

Rate:9/10

August 30, 2014
Zodiac (2007)

IMDB Summary: A San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac killer.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr. star in David Fincher’s thriller about the San Francisco killings in the 1970’s. Gyllenhaal plays Robert Graysmith, the somewhat OCD cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle who begins to casually help reporter Paul Avery (RDJ) with the Zodiac killer case. San Fran homicide detective David Toschi is played by Mark Ruffalo, who also investigates the brutal killings in the area by the mysterious Zodiac figure.

This film is the ultimate Fincher film. It not only has the air of ambiguity and that yellow-ish cinematography that we all know Fincher so well for, it elicits from the audience the hunger that the Graysmith, Avery, and Toschi feel. It struggles to make sense of insanity, it questions reality within the everyday reality we all think we know. Although the movie is a three-hour long epic, you really have to see all of it.

Now, I’m not going to lie, the first time I saw this film (about a year ago) I was extremely disappointed in it. I could barely pay attention, and to be honest, it just wasn’t Fight Club. However, now I realize that this is the beauty of Fincher, his progression as a filmmaker within a mere decade is not only amazing, but truly inspirational. Granted, you can tell he as a “type” of script he likes to work with. The kind of plot that blurs distinctions between what is known for sure and what is not, and you definitely do not know what is going on in Zodiac for sure. However, this film has so many awesome techniques and shots used to film it (ie. The brilliance of the insert shot) that it’s hard not to appreciate it from a technical standpoint. On top of that, the story itself is really interesting.

Even if you’re not a person who appreciates a good serial killer film (I know I’m not) I recommend this to anyone who appreciates a good thrill.

Rate:7/10

August 18, 2014
Wish I Was Here (2014)

IMDB Summary: Aidan Bloom is a 35-year-old man who finds himself at major crossroads, which forces him to examine his life, his career, and his family.

The Kickstarter project Zach Braff wrote, directed, and stared in was definitely not Garden State. Granted, it’s been a decade since the generation x coming of age film, so I shouldn’t have EXPECTED the audience to be aimed at the same age group. But, as a young person who related to Garden State so hard I cried 3 separate times, I was a little disappointed with Wish I Was Here.

It’s sad, it’s funny, Kate Hudson is way too pretty to be a mother. The premise is that Zach Braff (Aidan) is a struggling actor with very Jewish children and a dying father. Yeah, sad, I know. However, the humor is subtle but worth it. It includes performances by Josh Gad, Donald Faison (as a huge Scrubs nerd, yes I screamed.) and the daughter is a really talented up-and-comer Joey King. Definitely keep an eye out for her, because her performance in this was really spectacular. I won’t criticize the acting aspect of this too much since I think everyone was really into it. However, I just wasn’t a huge fan of the dialogue and I think it wasn’t written as well as it could have been. Some parts were endearing, but the tackiness of a few awkward lines just ruined a majority of the film for me.

I did really like the religious aspect of this film. The Blooms all deal with religion and God in different manners when the grandfather begins to pass away. It’s interesting how Braff’s existential dilemmas were examined from each perspective.

Cinematography-wise, it was a very LA film. There was tons of natural lighting. So much. You may even confuse it with a teenage romantic comedy.
Overall, I wasn’t a huge fan of this film. I’m a huge fan of Zach Braff, but I think the idea was just ok and the writing was just ok.

Rate: 5.5/10

August 11, 2014
update!!

hey sorry friends I always mean to update my blog and i’ve seen TONS of new and exciting movies that I want to share with you guys but I’ve been working non-stop all summer and have barely enough time to write~~~~

SOOOO since I’m leaving my job thursday to go back to school-expect a purge of new reviews!!!!! <3 <3 <3

-sarah

August 5, 2014

Anonymous said: Can you do a movie review for the movie Candy and the movie 10 Things I Hate About You - both with Heath Ledger?

I haven’t seen Candy but I will do that ASAP! In the meantime, here’s 10 Things I Hate About You

August 4, 2014
Moulin Rouge! (2001)

IMDB Summary: A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets in this stylish musical, with music drawn from familiar 20th century sources.

Baz Lurhmann is one of the most bold filmmakers of this time, and that is literally so exciting to me that I want to sing at the top of my lungs. Not really, but have you heard Ewan Mcgregor and Nicole Kidman sing? I’m going to let you know right now- it’s adorable.

Ewan McGregor plays Christian, a young playwright trying to make his production on to French stages. Nicole Kidman is Satine, a young actress trying to become famous. Basically-forbidden love with crazy musical numbers thrown in. Plotwise- there isn’t anything incredibly surprising about the story. However, you have to admit it’s an incredibly unique idea with a very special cast and for some weird reason everything just works.

This movie combines the sexual appeal and energy of the French bohemian era with the sexual energy of modern pop music. Think fat dudes singing “Like A Virgin” by Madonna. Lurhmann uses this crazy editing technique that’s appropriate for the high-energy pace of this film (it’s an hour and half, but it feels like 20 minutes) It’s basically a love story/musical- which doesn’t appeal to most people, but I really enjoyed it. (PS If you didn’t like The Great Gatsby, probably not a good idea to watch this movie.)

Rate: 7/10

July 8, 2014
They Came Together (2014)

IMDB Summary: When Joel and Molly meet, it’s hate at first sight: his big Corporate Candy Company threatens to shut down her quirky indie shop. Plus, Joel is hung up on his sexy ex. But amazingly, they fall in love, until they break up about two thirds of the way through.

“You didn’t tell me your parents were white supremacists!” that’s it. That’s literally the comedy of this film, and it’s wonderful. It’s basically early 2000s SNL reenacting every Nora Ephron film ever made. (Ok except Julie & Julia) However, I loved the humor. It’s typical Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd humor, sort of slap-stick, sort of witty, really weird stuff.

The overall point of the film is to ridicule the absurdity of romantic comedies. The whole “goofy girl” and “idealistic young man” thing is outdated and completely unrealistic, similar to this film. I also believe this originally showcased at the film festival part of Bonaroo. I simply watched it on demand with my mom a few nights ago.

I really think it was hilarious. Not my favorite film by far, but I definitely find that it was entertaining, and let’s be honest, anything that Paul Rudd and Amy Poehler are in usually is worth watching once.

Rate: 5.5/10

July 3, 2014
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)

IMDB Summary: An officer finds himself caught in a time loop in a war with an alien race. His skills increase as he faces the same brutal combat scenarios, and his union with a Special Forces warrior gets him closer and closer to defeating the enemy.

Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt star in this mash-up film of Pacific Rim/Source Code/Groundhog Day/Oblivion in which Tom Cruise has to relive the same day in order to try and win a war. It’s pretty crazy.

This super futuristic film has a pretty intriguing plot. Like I said, it’s a mash-up of literally any random film that pertained to a surreal future. Cruise’s acting hasn’t really changed; he’s actually one of the more consistent actors in Hollywood today. He picks roles he knows he can do, nothing too crazy, and that’s cool! He’s found his niche and stuck with it. Blunt, on the other hand, has seen better roles. I’m not really sure why she was in this film, not because she wasn’t good, but because she seemed really misplaced the entire film.

The music was awful. However, being a summer blockbuster that’s to be expected.

The special effects were pretty good, I only saw it 2D but I was pretty impressed. The alien design was really similar to Pacific Rim (which had awesome visual effects).

This film had all the components of a typical summer blockbuster: awful music, ok plot and crazy special effects. I can’t say it was my favorite, but it was like two hours of overpriced entertainment!

Rate: 5/10

June 20, 2014
How to Marry A Millionaire (1953)

IMDB Summary: Three women set out to find eligible millionaires to marry, but find true love in the process.

Betty Grable, Marilyn Monroe, and Lauren Bacall star in this mid-50’s romantic comedy about “gold diggers” in their mid-20’s attempting to marry rich. Lauren Bacall plays Schatze Page, the mastermind of their girl group who has been burned by marrying a poor man before. Marilyn Monroe plays Pola, who is afraid men won’t like her for having glasses. Betty Grable plays Loco, and she can seduce men casually at the grocery store and I am SO ENVIOUS OF HER FOR THAT.

Like I said before, this is a total romantic comedy. Probably one of the first in the genre, which I totally award props for that. It’s really subtle humor, and sometimes it’s laughing at the expense of one of the girls being naïve, so I’m not in love with that, but this movie is nonetheless hilarious. By no means does this film qualify as cinematic merit for me. It has really great dialogue, and the acting is pretty good, but I’m just not completely in love with it. It’s understandable to watch it as a pure form of entertainment, like most in that time period.  I’m not a huge Monroe fan, but I adore Bacall every once in awhile. As for Grable, I really am not familiar with her other films, but I was pleasantly surprised. They all seemed equal in talent and screen time for this particular movie.

Millionaire was entertaining, it’s also on Netflix if you’re staying home tonight and feel like watching ridiculously gorgeous women do relatively funny things. It’s a really OK film for me. I would recommend this to people who also liked Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, or maybe Bridget Jones’ Diary. 

Rate:5/10

June 18, 2014
Goodfellas (1990)

IMDB Summary: Henry Hill and his friends work their way up through the mob hierarchy.

This is another installment in my blog of “Why I Love Scorsese Films.” Ray Liotta stars as gangster hopeful Henry Hill in this famous/infamous Scorsese film. I love it. Wow, just so powerful. Scorsese has this eye for a good plot, and actors to perfectly carry out said plot. Robert de Niro and Joe Pesci also play in this hardcore gangster-gang film about gangs in New York somewhere. This movie is really good. Not my favorite Scorsese film because I’m like, obsessed with The Departed, but definitely awesome.  

OK, 1. Scorsese is GOD

2. GOODFELLAS IS AWESOME FOR MANY LEGIT REASONS

3. WHEN IS SAY LEGIT REASONS I REALLY MEAN IT’S WORTH THE WATCH FOR RAY LIOTTA’S CHEST HAIR

No but seriously, way awesome characters + plot. Cinematography is very symbolic, but I’m not obsessed with it like The Aviator. It’s a really cool film because you basically identify with Henry Hill as the protagonist, you’re gunning for him to come out on top. But wait, he’s what society has labeled “a bad guy.” Scorsese basically sets up this entire gray area of film, implying that the blur between good and evil in today’s world is obsolete, as the devil inside of everyone is more apparent in certain events than others. Ray Liotta and Robert de Niro were killer in this movie (literally) but who really stole the stage, and the Oscar, for me was Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito, mainly because he’s flippin’ crazy. I was amazed with how authentically gangster he seemed onscreen. Maybe he’s a gangster in real life, and that’s why he was so believable. Maybe.

I recommend this to any fan of Scorsese, or gang films. It’s actually one of the shorter Scorsese films!

Rate: 9/10