February 8, 2014
Fargo (1996)

IMDB Summary: Jerry Lundegaard’s inept crime falls apart due to his and his henchmen’s bungling and the persistent police work of the quite pregnant Marge Gunderson.

Once again, the Coen bros kick butt. I loved Fargo so much. The comedic timing was awesome (it was about a kidnapping gone wrong- so all dark humor.) The cinematography was awesome; it involved a lot of snow and Minnesota type things. And the Minnesota accents throughout the film were hysterical. Literally, there’s nothing wrong with Fargo.

William H. Macy plays Jerry Lundegard, who needs money so he hires two henchmen, Steve Buschemi and Carl Showater, to “kidnap” his wife so that he can get money from his father-in-law. However, everything goes wrong and a very persistent and kick-butt and VERY PREGNANT police chief, Frances McDormand, gets to the bottom of things.

This movie is not only wonderful and evil, but it’s on Netflix. So if it’s snowing cats and dogs (wrong expression, I don’t care) go watch this while you curl up with your cat or dog that’s recently fallen from the sky! Animals!

Also, Steve Buschemi is hilarious, this probably my favorite William H. Macy performance (besides Magnolia), and just everyone in this film was perfect. Good job Co Bros, good job.

I recommend to anyone who likes dark humor films. So anyone. 

Rate:10/10

November 10, 2013

Not Anymore: A Story of Revoltion

I’ve been working at the local film fest, and this was a submission into one the short films/documentaries category. I must say, this was the most influential 14 minutes of my life.

It’s the story of this wonderful, brave young women photographing the horrors in Syria. I highly recommend this. Please take the time our of your day to watch. It equals watching 3 videos of cats on youtube, so I think you’ll live.

It’s so brilliant, and terrifying, but honestly this movie made me feel as though we have the power to reach out and help. It’s a little graphic, as it has very high quality footage of the horrors occurring in Syria. I’m inspired to be as courageous as the young men and women fighting for their freedoms.

I definitely rate this 10/10, please take the time to watch this!!!

August 6, 2013
Ruby Sparks (2012)

IMDB Synopsis: A novelist struggling with writer’s block finds romance in a most unusual way: by creating a female character he thinks will love him, then willing her into existence.

Zoe Kazan wrote and costarred in this film alongside Paul Dano. Essentially, the movie is about Dano playing a writer who has apparently gone into a huge case of writer’s block. He’s also super neurotic and a lot of other weird backstory that you need to watch the film to understand. Basically, he writes himself the description of this “perfect” girl, Ruby Sparks (played by Zoe Kazan) and the entire film is about the fact that he controls this real-life person, and is completely and utterly in love with her.

Rad, love story. Anyway, the kicker is, overtime he realizes that his ideal woman, this manic pixie dream girl, if you will, doesn’t actually exist in real-life, and you can’t actually control people, because that’s selfish and rude. A major plot twist in what at first I believed to be a predictable film. Instead of being the misconstrued version of 500 Days of Summer, the film ended up being a kick in the butt to any sort of setback to feminism in modern society. (As the raging angry feminist I am, this pleased me.) 

The cinematography includes a lot of natural light, appropriate given the So-Cal setting. It’s nothing too fancy.

The acting is wonderful, I adore Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan. However, I feel like Dano regularly plays the nervous, white guy, Michael Cera-act, which is fine, but I’d love to see him do something else. Zoe Kazan also wrote this film, and writer/actors are my favorite sort. 

Overall, I really liked this movie and I would recommend it.

Rate: 8/10

July 1, 2013
Cloud Atlas (2012)

IMDB Synopsis: An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.

Far from a passive film, Atlas takes the audiences into the lives and stories of 5 main concepts. Constantly bouncing back and forth, the movie watches how these character’s lives unfold, with the general concept being that everyone is connected. The religious undertones imply some sort of reincarnation of sorts, being born again in a different life but doing the same thing. The film requires the audience to keep up with the plot and always make sure to organize everything yourself. Considering it’s a 3 hour film, that takes a ridiculous amount of brain power for plot points that could be either important or meaningless. Every 30 an hour or so, a lovely narrator comes along and summarizes the filmmaker’s theme, like “Choices make all the difference” or some lovely little saying about heroes. The acting on all ends were quite impressive, however I do find it odd that they chose Halle Berry to opposite Tom Hanks. They worked as a couple, but I just would not have guessed that it would work. The special effects were horrible. If you hate green screen, it’s a relatively apparent in this film. To be quite honest with you all, there’s a scene in the film where Ben Whisaw is escaping his boyfriend’s apartment, and you see his bum. That’s probably my favorite part of the film. If you like complicated films with tons of morals thrown in, go ahead and rent Cloud Atlas from Redbox. 

Rate: 6/10

June 12, 2013
Promised Land (2012)

IMDB Synopsis: A salesman for a natural gas company experiences life-changing events after arriving in a small town, where his corporation wants to tap into the available resources.

Ok, Promised Land. Let’s start with what you should know. Matt Damon plays this guy who is trying to buy land from people in the Midwest in for a gas company so they can drill there. Obviously, this causes problems because drilling for natural gas can be dangerous, yada yada. Then John Krasinski comes along as an advocate for an environmental agency, protesting Matt Damon’s business. So that causes a whole issue in the town. Gus Van Sant directs this  movie with a great amount of care. It’s political, and supposedly dramatic, but I interpreted the whole thing more as cheesy. And yes, I adore Matt Damon, John Krasinski, and Van Sant, and props to them for writing/directing/producing the whole thing. The acting was great. The cinematography was pretty. But in actuality, this movie was really boring. There’s a wee bit of a plot twist that stimulates the whole film quite a bit, but I just did not love it. I would recommend it if you have redbox money and ABSOLUTELY nothing to do, but the plot just didn’t tickle my fancy. 

Rate: 4/10

April 29, 2013
Friends with Kids (2011)

IMDB Synopsis: Two best friends decide to have a child together while keeping their relationship platonic, so they can avoid the toll kids can take on romantic relationships.

Jennifer Westfeldt (Jules) wrote, directed, and starred in this romantic comedy in which herself and Adam Scott (Jason) are two bff’s and want to have a kid, but not miss out of having sex. So this film basically takes you through this 3 year experiment filled with sexual exploits, judgmental friends, etc. Yes, it is a romantic comedy. Don’t let the cover fool you. It’s funny, and it’s raunchy, but it’s cheesey and gooey and romantic at times too. This includes (spoiler) a big over the top romantic ending as well. However, the parallelism between this film and When Harry Met Sally can be obvious; it’s then overwhelmed with this modern twist. This big, enormous modern twist: the last few lines. These lines being “Let me f**k the sh** out of you.” (Jason is trying to prove to Jules he is attracted to her as well as emotionally devoted.) Yes. Crude and naughty, proving that long gone are the days of cheese rom-coms, filled with Meg Ryan antics and saying “freaking” when we all know you meant to drop the f bomb. And although I’m typically a traditionalist when it comes to films, I adore this progress in romantic comedies. At one point, it was shameful to say you adore rom-coms. They’re known for their classic cheeseyness. But this movement in crude dialogue gives the entire genre a general feeling of relatability. It’s so much more real in a sense. It makes more sense for a boy to profess their love in a profane way as opposed to a Shakespearean sonnet. Romantic love in the traditional sense has completely become obsolete in today’s society, but in all honesty, I don’t even mind. Granted, it was cute and funny to act in the PG way, but let’s face it, we live don’t live in a rated world and that’s makes life so much more interesting. 

Ok, back to the film itself. The cast was brilliant; the dialogue was real and wonderful. The pacing and the cinematography were mediocre.  It was a solid film though. I would recommend this to anyone who likes crude humor but has a romantic side as well. Plus it’s on instant on Netflix.

Rate 7/10

April 24, 2013
Garden State (2004)

IMDB Synopsis: A quietly troubled young man returns home for his mother’s funeral after being estranged from his family for a decade.

AHHHHHH! Ok, well this is probably one of my favorite films. Ever. I first watched it because Zach Braff was on Scrubs at the time, and that’s was (still is) one of my favorite shows. Anyway, he plays the “quiet troubled young man” Andrew Largeman, who returns home (New Jersey) after his paraplegic mother dies. He basically hates his dad, a crazy psychologist, and he reunites with old friends and meets this manic pixie dream girl Natalie Portman. I know, “Sarah, manic pixie dream girl stereotype? You hate those!” Well, yeah I do. But on the other hand, she is and she isn’t. She is manic, and spontaneous, and romantic, but she’s also just as crazy as Andrew Largeman is, which compensates for her quirkiness.

But here’s the real reason why I love this film. Minus the fact that’s it’s the awkward humor that’s just glorious. The soundtrack. Is. Amazing. If you’ve never experienced a good soundtrack, well here’s the best, of all time. Please listen to it. Ranging from The Shins to Coldplay to Frou Frou to Simon and Garfunkel, it’s just so perfect. And if you listen to it while drinking some tea in your room with some rain, it’s the best experience ever. I highly recommend this film, if not, just listen to the music, because there is a very good chance it will change your life.

rate 10/10

April 10, 2013
The Giant Mechanical Man (2012)

IMDB Synopsis: An offbeat romantic comedy about a silver-painted street performer and the soft spoken zoo worker who falls for him.

So you basically see this cast on Netflix: Chris Messina and Jenna Fischer and Topher Grace: holy cow!

But then you start to watch this film and quickly realize that this is just another “off-beat” indie rom-com where two white people have no clue as to what they want to do with their lives and fall in love. However I did like the focus on a female protagonist, this film basically included every cliché of an indie romance that I just did not enjoy it. The sarcastic tone of the entire film layed on thick, reminsicient of Garden State but it didn’t compensate for that tone with humor. Now trust me, I understand dry humor, I love it, I bask in it, I drink it from a metaphorical flask in my purse of comedy, but this humor wasn’t even dry, it was just boring and dumb. Unless you count how annoying Topher Grace was as Doug Duncan (even has cliché white guy names) in this film. I wouldn’t really recommend it unless you have a hankering for drinking tea and feeling like a pseudo-hipster-intellectual of some sort. But even then, don’t resort to that, that sort of human has no appreciation for fine films. 

Rate: 4/10

April 4, 2013
Monsters (2010)

IMDB Synopsis: Six years after Earth has suffered an alien invasion a cynical journalist agrees to escort a shaken American tourist through an infected zone in Mexico to the safety of the US border.

Hello everyone! Long time, haven’t written anything worthwhile. I hope you’re all doing lovely and enjoying life and cinema. Anyway, Monsters was actually fantastic. Reminiscent of District 9, Gareth Edwards wrote and directed this mockumentary following Kaulder (Scoot McNairy) and Sam (Whitney Able) through Mexico as it has become an “infected zone” filled to the brim with aliens. Considering the overall budget for the film was a mere 9,000 dollars, it’s really quite impressive. The camerawork and editing was absolutely remarkable. Scoot McNairy was in Argo and Killing Them Softly, his performances in other films weren’t as memorable, but this film gave him a lovely opportunity to shine as the cynical photographer capturing pictures of children affected by the “monsters” in this country. 

The actually plot and storyline was pretty original, which was refreshing. However, the dialogue wasn’t that wonderful, and everything felt very predictable. However, because of how AMAZING the cinematography and general production, I recommend other film/sci fi nerds watch this. The graphics weren’t Prometheus level, but given the circumstances in which this film was produced (completely on the spot and for mere pennies) they are pretty good. 

Rate 7/10

Also, if you have any film recomendations for me, my ask is always open c:

March 18, 2013
The Hurt Locker (2008)

IMDB Synopsis: Forced to play a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse in the chaos of war, an elite Army bomb squad unit must come together in a city where everyone is a potential enemy and every object could be a deadly bomb.

To be quite honest, I’ve seen this movie before. I just really wanted to write a little piece about it, considering I live in that world where Kathryn Bigelow is God. 

Anyway, Bigelow and Mark Boal takes the audience on this tumultuous roller coaster of the story following the lives of the men that basically disarm bombs. It’s literally the coolest thing ever. The sound effects, the visual effects, everything is so insane that it works. Unlike other films about war, you’re not overwhelmed by backstory all at once, which I enjoy. The pacing is perfect. The story is incredible. The acting of Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie, and Brian Geraghty are absolutely impeccable. 

Now that I’ve stated the obvious, here’s why I love this film.

I love the fact that this movie holds your attention from the very beginning. Granted, there’s a dull spot here or there, but the filmmakers really wanted to keep you on your toes.

I love the way they mixed the sound; it changes constantly in accordance with the onscreen tension, but not in an overly dramatic or emotional way.

I love the lightening in this as well, they really captured the natural light in such a way that the film almost looks artsy, but it’s not overdone.

The story is incredible, and you really never know what’s going to happen next, which I adore. Ok, sorry, except for Guy Pierce’s quick performance in the first ten minutes. That, I saw coming, but not in the way that I expected. 

I love how Bigelow took on this project. Considering she is a woman, and typically “war films” aren’t tackled by directors of the female persuasion, it was really awesome to see her rise up to the challenge in such a way that it changed the film industry forever. I adore her, I adore her style, and I think she’s an incredible woman. In addition, shout out to my boy Mark Boal, who wrote this amazing film! Yes, the dialogue did lack at times, but in retrospect, it makes sense given that Boal tried to capture the way soldiers talk.

I highly recommend this film to anyone. It’s really amazing, and considerably better than a James Cameron film.

Rate 10/10