Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's Resolutions

My film related goals this new year are to try and post at least every other day, even if it's a short review.  I'll post a short review if I'm having a bad sick day since I can always come back and edit it later.  Also, I'm making more themed weeks because those were fun.

I have an important theme coming up for the New Year: For the next 40 reviews (except Saturdays) every film will be from a different country.  I realized that most movies I watch are American and if I keep at this pace I'll only have foreign films left near the end.  So, I'm picking one film from each country and reviewing it.
Even though I'm strictly focusing on the 2012 edition, I listed all the new additions from the recent 2013 edition as well as any deleted movie in my "Honorable Mentions" section on the right side of the page.  My non-film-related resolutions include working out and lots of cosplay.  I might review one last film before the year is over but for right now I will leave y'all with a Tangled gif:

Monday, December 23, 2013

Heavenly Creatures (1994)

Today's film is Heavenly Creatures.  I found some parts to be weird, some parts boring, some parts awkward and some parts okay.  It was one of the most unusual films I have ever seen.

Pauline is an awkward lonely teenage girl until she meets the new student, Juliet.  They both have a rebellious spirit, Pauline likes to doodle why Juliet is keen to correct the teachers.  Which is typically what we do at high school, but their friendship becomes incredibly strong.  They spend most of their time in a fantasy world involving the royal family in a castle.

The fantasy world is one of the best parts because that's where Peter Jackson shines.  I don't know how he made those giant clay people but they look freakishly real.  To me, the fantasy sequences are the most interesting part of the movie.  Otherwise, it's mostly a boring teenage friendship/romance plot.  They did interview the real Pauline who said that they were not lesbians, but that doesn't matter.  What matters is they spend so much time in their fantasy world that it becomes their reality, and they cannot stand to be separated.  What I don't understand is why they burned all of their Mario Lanza records.

I was surprised at how brutally they killed Pauline's mother.  This shouldn't be a spoiler because it's a true story and it happened over 50 years ago.  They take turns bashing her in with a brick.  And all because she wouldn't let her go overseas with Juliet.  Ironically, after being arrested and convicted, Juliet and Pauline were never allowed to see each other again.  In real life, they both changed their names.  Pauline, now Hilary, runs a school and devotes her life to disabled children.  Juliet, now Anne, writes murder mysteries.  Well I guess she would be an expert in that.  Since this murder was famous, Peter Jackson decided to make a film focusing on their relationship rather than just the murder itself.  In fact, if it weren't a true story, you would never expect them to do that.  I typically don't like films like this, but it was well made.  Also, this is the debut of the main stars playing Juliet and Pauline.  I will give this film a 6/10.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Frozen (2013)

We got to see Frozen and it was amazing! It was very well done and is not like the typical princess meets prince story.  The film also redefines true love.

Anna and Elsa are the princesses of Arendelle, a secluded kingdom in Norway.  For reasons not explained, Elsa was born with the powers to create snow and ice.  She uses this ability often to create snow-time fun with her sister.  After accidentally striking her sister's head, her parents rush her to be cured.  In order to remove the magic from her sister's head, all the memories of magic were removed as well.  Elsa is so afraid of hurting her sister again that she isolates herself from her.  Unfortunately, fear and emotional distress make her powers worse and harder to control.

Fast forward a few years later, when Elsa is to be crowned Queen.  Up until then, they kept the gates shut and let very few people into the castle.  During the song "For the First Time in Forever" look for Rapunzel (with short brown hair) and Flynn as cameos.  During the after-coronation party, Elsa's powers are accidentally set off and only get worse.  She flees into the mountains.  I'm not going into a lot of detail because the film is still in theaters.

One thing I liked is how they joked about people getting engaged the same day they meet, which is what happened in a lot of fairy tales.  Prince Hans, who is handsome and charming, asks Anna to marry him.  Queen Elsa won't bless the marriage because they haven't known each other but for one day.  As Anna travels to find her sister, she meets Kristoff and his loyal reindeer, Sven.  Kristoff also makes fun of her for getting engaged so soon.

The best song is "Let it Go" sung by Idina Menzel as Elsa.  She's had to keep her powers hidden for so long and finally gets to explore her own creativity and abilities.  From personal experiences at work,  Idina Menzel can be quite a bitch but she sure can sing.

Above all, this film is about sisterhood.  Anna and Elsa are as different as can be, but they complement each other.  I can't wait until my own sisters visit here soon so we can watch it together.  We learn that true love is putting someone else's needs above our own.  Elsa truly loves her sister, that's why she isolated herself to protect her.  Anna will discover her own version of true love in the end.  The only part I didn't care for was the talking magical snowman, Olaf.  I thought he was useless, but he was cute for the kids so I'll let it pass.  I will give this film a 9/10.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Amadeus (1984)

Next up on my queue is Amadeus.  This was actually a relaxing film to watch!  Even though I know nothing about classical music or opera, this film was still accessible to me.  It is mainly a film about jealously.

Antonio Salieri came from a humble family that didn't care much for music.  He worked very hard and eventually became court composer for the king.

Mozart was a child prodigy that could play the piano and violin and a very young age.  He wrote symphonies before he was 10 years old.  He had an amazing inborn talent for music.  He could hear a song once and play it perfectly.  But, like many child stars, he was a spoiled brat.

Salieri is insanely jealous of Mozart and vows to destroy him.  He also blames God for all his problems.  Mozart is very good at writing music, but has no idea how to make or budget money.  In the end

I loved the costumes.  I thought they were glamorous.  My favorite part was Mozart's apartment.  It was so gorgeous.  It was elegant yet simple.  I really wish I could live there.

After watching this, I looked some facts up and it turns out this movie is not very historically accurate.  But that doesn't matter.  Even though I don't know anything about opera, this movie was quite appealing to me.  I thought Tom Hulce, who played Mozart, did an excellent job.  Even though I was relaxing, there was plenty of drama to go around.  I will give this film an 8/10.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Today's film is Bringing Up Baby.  I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.  First off, Baby is a leopard and not an actual baby.  Everyone is so manic in the film and nothing normal is happening.  The gags go on for so long that they stop being funny anymore.

I don't like Cary Grant in comedies.  Sure, he's cute, but I don't like his style at all.  He always comes off too manic and fake for me.  I found his character really annoying.

My favorite was Katharine Hepburn's character.  She made the entire movie, especially when she just randomly takes people's cars.  I finally figured out why these sort of movies are called screwball because this is the screwiest  movie I have ever seen. There is so much randomness.  There's a leopard, a piece of a dinosaur skeleton that gets stolen by an ugly dog, and everybody gets jailed for some reason.  I will give this film a 6/10.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Mid-December Update

Mid-December Update
As most everyone knows, I like to review films as a cope with living with my illness.  I focus on the 1001 list, and in doing so, am able to complete smaller lists as well.  It gives me a sense of accomplishment.
Since last week, I started two new medications, and I'm having a really hard time adjusting to them.  One is for my nervous system in general, and the other is for seizures.  This is on top of the others that I take.

How I feel taking all this medicine

 I'm starting to walk a little better, but I still use my cane.  The problem is my cognitive abilities are going down faster than I'd hope.  Sure, I can lay here and watch a movie but that doesn't mean I'll remember it.  I've mainly been watching Top Chef on Hulu because it doesn't require much thought.  Here's what I've been watching so far and what I remember of it:

Man of Steel.
My husband put this film on as I am not in a position to protest.  It's an outrageously long film about Jesus. Lots of religious undertones and lots of long drawn out violent scenes that add nothing to the story.  I kept zoning out during the drawn out fights.  This film wanted so badly to be Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight,  but it can't.  And it never will be.  I can't recommend this film to anyone.

Friday the 13th part 2
I watched this because it actually was Friday the 13th last week.  Quite an outlandish premise.  To suggest that Jason didn't die by drowning, but survived, albeit brain damaged, and lived like a wild man in the woods.  Then, as an adult, he starts killing people.  There are so many questions left unanswered.  Is this a terrible movie, or is it my meds?  At this point I don't know.

Iron Man 3
I liked it because it's Iron Man.  I like anything Iron Man.  I'll have to watch this movie again because a lot of parts confused me.

For Animation Saturday, we watched Turbo.  It's about a snail that races the Indy 500.  That should tell you all  you need to know.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

Today's film is Hannah and Her Sisters.  Every character is deplorable, selfish, and generally awful.  What a fun movie. This film is 100% about the various interactions of the family members.  Let's look at them in depth:

Super Asshole Elliot, played by Michael Caine.  He cheats on his wife.  With her own sister. And then, he never tells his wife because he's afraid to break up his marriage.  He quietly watches the sister's own marriage fall apart and is upset when she marries someone else.  But he never stops loving her.  I think he stays with his wife because she's so successful and she suspects nothing.  He feels comfortable with her, but does he care about her at all?
Second asshole on the list is Lee.  She should know better than to sleep with her sister's husband.  That is a serious violation of the sis code.  Do not narc, don't lie, and always defend.  If anyone wrongs or insults my sisters, it is my righteous duty to shank them.  Sure, her husband is an antisocial weirdo, but that's no excuse.  Sometimes marriages end.  But don't ruin someone else's happiness just because you're unhappy in your own marriage.
Mickey.  Not necessarily an ass, however he is very self-centered.  As a hypochondriac, he constantly worries about his health.  After a serious health scare, and realizing he is perfectly fine, he pretty much just shuts down.  He stops producing shows or whatever he does, and spends the next year trying out religions and subsequently making fun of them.  Which leads me to my main question, Does anyone up north work?  Do they just hang around coffeehouses all day?  And do they really gather around a piano and sing old songs?  That doesn't seem real to me.  In fact, the entire family have an air of artificiality around them, what with them all sleeping with each other and lying.
Hannah.  Hannah's not an asshole, but she is the weakest character of all of them.  I don't even understand why she is the star.  Mia Farrow did the weakest acting job and I got nothing from her.  It's ironic that her character is supposed to be an amazing actor because that is totally the opposite of what happened.  Hannah is Mickey's ex-wife.  After having twins through a donor sperm (read: not Mickey), their marriage fell apart.  Later, Hannah and Lee set up Mickey on a date.  With who?  Why, their other sister of course!  This gets better and better.


Holly. She's the other sister that was set up with Mickey.  She's a dope fiend that lives in her more successful sister's shadow.  She's not a good singer or actress but eventually finds her passion as a writer.  After a terrible date, she later rekindles her romance with Mickey and it somehow works.

So why would I want to watch this if all the characters are so unlikeable?  It's more realistic this way.  In fact, Hannah is supposedly perfect and she's the most annoying character because of it.  Nobody on Seinfeld was perfect and that was the greatest show ever.  No, I don't like how they just all hop in bed with each other, but if you want to see characters that truly "keep it in the family", then you will enjoy this too.  I will give this film a 6/10.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Suspiria (1977)

Today's film is Suspiria.  *Yawn*.  I don't know what I was expecting, but not this.  It's not a bad movie, but it's not great either.  Also, before I got sick I studied dance very seriously, so maybe I had too high expectations on this.  Dance, especially ballet, and horror films are like two of my favorite things.

The editing is really bad in this film.  In the beginning, the main star Suzy is shown leaving the school at night.  Then, it jumps to another girl talking about how she left the school.  The girl has the same hair and clothes style as Suzy, so I just assumed it was the same person because nothing told me otherwise.  Then, she gets killed and the next day, Suzy returns to the school!  Oh, they are different people.  The shift in narrative was so jarring there was no telling who was who.

The creepy electronic music gives a nice atmospheric horror touch to the film.  Otherwise, it is a very colorful film for a horror.  In fact, the director told the cinematographer to study Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to match the color scheme.

For a movie about a dangerous witch coven, only three people die, and for stupid reasons.  One was killed because his seeing eye dog supposedly bit that creepy child, and another one got expelled.  She's already gone, leave her alone.  All of the deaths are gruesome and not badly done.

Suzy figures out where the coven is holding its meetings and kills the old gypsy witch leader.  Then, everything starts collapsing around her and as she runs out, the building is engulfed in flames.  Are we forgetting all the other students that lived there?  This movie is so frustrating.  I will give it a 5/10.

Monday, December 2, 2013

All About Eve (1950)

Today's film is All About Eve.  Let me tell you all about Eve.  Eve is a winner, a go-getter. Eve is determined to succeed.  Eve gains her success not in spite of, but with the help of, her haters.

What is a hater?  A hater is defined as: A person that simply cannot be happy for another person's success. So rather than be happy they make a point of exposing a flaw in that person.  Margo is a hater.  Look at her.

Margo is about 40 and still playing characters that are in their 20s.  How can anyone buy this?  Eve knows this better than anyone.  She waited and waited until she got the chance to meet Margo, and quickly involved herself in her life.  After all, who better to replace an old actress than her?  Margo is too used to her lifestyle, hardly rehearses, and shows up late to everything.  Eve shows up on time, works hard, rehearses (as I can tell by how well she read lines), is the correct age and look for the parts she plays, and is generally everything Margo wants to be but can't.  And what about Karen?  How dare she treat Eve the way she does.  What has Karen ever done with her life except fuck a playwright?  She doesn't deserve any more time in my review.
Also, let's talk about Addison, the drama critic.  Homeboy looks like Stephen Fry and that is probably the reason I like him so much.  In addition, he is the only one smarter than Eve.  I first noticed that when he was asking Eve questions about San Francisco.  When he mentioned the theatres, I didn't recognize the names, but realized he was testing her.  I've had to use that tactic before.  When you're in a relationship with a pathological liar, you have to.  Eve didn't need to make up all those stories about a fake husband and living in California.  But, nobody is perfect.  At the end, Eve gets her own mini-Eve in the form of a high schooler that broke into her apartment. Circle of life right there.  But I don't think she's going to succeed as well as Eve did.  Eve is a boss.  I will give this film a 9/10.