Archive for the ‘Morning After’ Category

MORNING AFTER: Review of ‘Up in the Air’

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Julie and I got into a Variety hosted screening of ‘Up in the Air’ (thank you Editors Guild!) that included a QnA sesh with director Jason Reitman and stars Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick.   I love screenings (they’re free!) and I love Q and A’s (the inside scoop!).  Jason Bateman was slated to attend but was a big fat no show, so you heard it here guys, he is NOT perfect.

The movie was definitely on the side of Yes, veering into ‘really good’ territory.  It’s success lied in the chemistry between George Clooney and his co-leading ladies, it’s timeliness, and it’s authenticity.  It was sincere but not schmaltzy.  Funny, touching, and in my opinion- genuine. It helped that – QnA inside tidbit! – George doesn’t wear make up. I appreciated his under-eye bags.  Not so genuine was Vera Farmiga‘s botox face, seriously woman, you’re playing your age, you’re supposed to have a wrinkle!  It was distracting.

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The ladies weren’t that interesting, hate to say.  This just in: George Clooney is a joy to work with!  Jason Reitman should score an adapted screenplay nom, easy.  From the sound of it the book provided a skeleton of a story and he provided the meat.  Kudos and congrats to all involved.  See you come award season.

Scale of 10:

3 Relatable Heartbreaks – both career -wise and love-life-wise.
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5 George Clooneys, he takes up a lot (read: all) of space in this movie and as this picture illustrates, he is the perfect mix of ladies love him, dudes want to hang with / BE him.
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and 2 mirrors – this movie asks you to take a look in one and ask yourself what’s important in life.
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This just in! Human connection is a good thing!

MORNING AFTER: New Yawn, I Meh You

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Get it.  I was unimpressed.

When I posted the trailer for ‘New York, I Love You’ I was anything but confident about the final result.  And sure enough, this thing fell flat.  But beyond my predictions that it would be too sappy and aren’t-we-all-connected-you-know-what-I-love-about-New-York-y, it was also labored, clunky and eye-roll-y.

I could use a thesaurus right about now, can A.O. Scott lend me his?

What am I saying?  I’m saying it rarely worked and I didn’t appreciate the tinkerings with the format.  ‘Paris, Je t’aime‘ gave a simple assignment – set it in Paris.  ‘New York, I Love You’ was like, set it in New York, make sure it’s about love, connect to another character in another short film, please include a major gimmick… This is just a guess, I wasn’t at the meeting… And I think it got bogged down by all of that.  There were mini scenes in between the shorts with characters colliding, and I just feel like this effort to connect everyone – this guy shares a cab with this guy who had sex with this chick who uses this dry cleaner also used by that first guy – just made you wonder, ok, why?  WHERE IS THE MAGIC?!  The fact that the kid who lost his virginity to the actress and the woman who slept with Bradley Cooper have the same pharmacist doesn’t really matter to me unless there’s a point.  It’s distracting OK?

Last gripey comment – they did not include the director in credits before or after the individual films, they did a full scroll at the very end.  This was, in a word, ANNOYING.  Maybe it’s just me and my nerd I-wish-I-were-Rain-Man sensibility but all I could do was try and remember what I read, who directed what, who was in each one, which one the reviewer liked and so on…  The short with Orlando Bloom had a mystery woman on the other end of a phone call for basically the whole thing.  I could not relax and watch until I had figured it out, until I was like ‘Aha!  Christina Ricci!!’  Then I’m like “Wait, so who was she to him again?”  This is a problem I have, and it was seriously aggravated by their withholding.

Final thought- this thing HAD to have been financed by big tobacco.  New Smoke, I Inhale You?  Everyone was smokin’ it up and I get that as a conversation starting device, but really…

For the record, cause duh it’s basically a competition, Allen Hughes gets the prize with Bradley Cooper and Drea DeMatteo as two strangers who find themselves in an unlikely romance – it was attractive, relatable and included nudity.  So give them the trophy.

Look what I found!  Big old pat on my back for remembering Alexander Payne directed my fave from ‘Paris, Je t’aime‘:

Oh man.  I pretty much laugh/cry throughout that whole thing.  From her walking outfit to her sighs…

MORNING AFTER: ‘More Than A Game’

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

MTAG

(Dru Joyce Jr., Sian Cotton, Coach Dru Joyce, LeBron james, Willie McGee and Romeo Travis – photo courtesy IMDB)

So first things first. This isn’t a REAL morning after since Angela hasn’t seen it and we’re not discussing it. Second, I’m not the hugest basketball fan on earth. In fact, I just recently got into basketball and I root for the Lakers. Little did I know, it didn’t matter how little I knew – this film fits its title perfectly. It’s more than a game. It’s the real Lebron James and the first team with whom he played…his boys, his best friends. It’s about all of them.

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a documentary that’s blown me away. This one does all the right things in all the right places. It tells a story, a good one for that matter. It highlights this amazing found footage, puts it into context, makes us feel like we were there and helps us understand it all. On top of that, it utilizes After Effects in exactly the right way and punctuates it with perfect sound editing. Ok, I know. Can I rave about it anymore?

No. Go see it. Basketball fan or not – this is a story about friendship, goals and life – something to which we can all relate and from which we can draw inspiration.

“Para-scary Activity”

Monday, September 28th, 2009
"What happens when you sleep?"

"What are you going to do???"

Ok, so this movie was shot on a shoe-string budget for around 10-15K, was just picked up a few weeks ago by Paramount Studios, limited release last weekend (interesting marketing scheme preaching: “not playing Paranormal Activity in your city? Demand it!”), and frequently compared to the Blair Witch Project. I saw Blair Witch…this is way better.

I like scary movies but hate going in thinking i’m going to get freaked out and then leaving thinking my time could have been better spent walking through downtown’s skid row at 3am on a tuesday night.

Although you may think i’m being biased when i plug this movie because I’m from San Diego (where the movie takes place) and it’s distributed by Paramount Studios (where i’m currently employed), but you’re wrong. Even before going into the movie i asked a friend, who had already seen it and who’s opinions actually matter to me, whether it was indeed scary or not.

These were her words: “Seriously, it’s super creeeeeepy. The story builds very slowly but if you can make it through ’til the end, it will be worth it.”

I can echo those same sentiments but would like to add: the characters are pretty lame and irritating (but i’m sure that was part of the effect). If you can get past that and sit through some horrible dialogue, i will guarantee you that you will have nightmares.

in my case, no nightmares, but it sure as hell took a long ass time to get to sleep…for almost 3 consecutive nights!

In short, go see it. If it’s not playing in your hood, do like the poster says and “DEMAND IT!”

TIFF: That’s Canadian for ‘film festival.’

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

September 18th goes down as my first international film festival experience.

And it started early in the day. My first elevator ride upon arriving at the hotel was shared with none other than Indie darling Peter Gallagher.

That's me!

"Why, hi there."

It was a short ride but still he managed to charm with his floppy hair, sport pants and spectacles.  I was like ‘shooo we gonna be seein mad celebrities up in here!’  Amanda was like ‘he looked familiar.’

What other superstars did the Toronto International Film Festival plan on throwing our way?  None.  But we did see a horde of youngins’ (mom accompanied) waiting outside our neighboring hotel.  Me: ‘Who are you guys waiting for?’  Lady: ‘The Jonas Brothers. *eyeroll* Not me. *shrugs to nearby young ladies* Them.’

Our first film screening was ‘The Invention of Lying.’  Co-written and starring Ricky Gervais.  Cast includes Tina Fey, Rob Lowe, Jennifer Garner, others.  It’s about a world where no one knows how to lie, but then Ricky’s character invents the concept when he almost gets evicted.  He gets very rich, invents religion, un-invents religion, bags Jennifer Garner.

It had some funny moments but some major problems, for sure.  Mainly, the universe in which this story takes place is very mean spirited.  Sure, ok, I can’t lie, but why am I also really really negative?   There was no goodness in the world until the lies started coming.  I find that to be a strange conceit.  And also, I think Ricky and I need to have a nice chat because he has some serious body dysmorphia.  The guy doesn’t let 10 minutes go by without someone mentioning how fat he is.  Bro, a slight belly does not obesity make.

I could go on, but you won’t see it, I doubt many people will, so I’ll stop.

Then!  It was time for our screening of ‘Hipsters‘ directed by Valery Todorovsky, straight out of Russia, co-produced by our very own Leonid Lebedev.  Julie’s dad y’all!

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It was indeed this bright.

And very entertaining.  And this is where we voted it as ‘best movie ever’ :

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So then the next day… we went to Niagara Falls.

Ok, well, I got in one full day of an international film festival.  It’s a start!

THE MORNING AFTER : ‘(500) Days’ Discussed, with spoilers.

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

Here is where we discuss ‘(500) Days of Summer’ – some highs some lows, likes dislikes, etc…..  Then we inanely discuss our rating system.

Capsule reviews for spoiler avoidance:

GRADES: Nina predicted a C+, actual grade: B+.  Angela predicted B+, I’m teetering up to an A-.

RATINGS: Since this is fairly new, we’ve included our ENTIRE discussion on this. Look out for a page that explains these in depth soon enough…

Awww_Icon Awww_Icon Awww_Icon

LOL_Icon LOL_Icon LOL_Icon LOL_Icon

Indie_Icon Indie_Icon Indie_Icon

In short : SEE IT.

500days

nina: ok. so. you ready to rock this review or what?
Angela C:
totally
nina
: k let me find my glasses
nina
: i’m fucking blind…
nina
: so. i fleshed out my issue with the numbers and the time jumping
Angela C:
ok, first remind me of your predict grade and you’re end grade? C to B?
nina
: let’s go with C+ to B+
Angela C:
mmk… I can’t decide if I’m bumping my B+ to an A-, I might be…
nina
: wow
Angela C
: explain your numbers issue.

nina: ok.  i’m ok with time jumping
nina: but my problem is that there was no “present” or anchor or point of reference
nina: like in eternal sunshine or memento
nina: where you always come back to a certain place
nina: with this
nina: (a) you are kind of just floating back and forth
nina: and (b) he references particular days that you’re supposed to remember

Angela C: but I wouldn’t say floating because you do get the feeling of going somewhere, there’s an anticipation.
Angela C: and I think if you just let the vague progression, which they help with the numbers / shade of the background / tree growth etc… you can just let it happen
Angela C: which is kind of hard cause numbers are numbers
Angela C: and for numbery people I imagine it’s like, do the math do the math
Angela C: but I don’t think it has to be that specific

nina: right…it wasn’t a HUGE problem for me, but i would’ve preferred a different device
nina: i wanted to go back to a particular place a little more
nina: so i had a point of reference
nina: but what bumped it up to a B+ was definitely (a) it was fucking hilarious and (b) joseph made it feel totally real
nina: can’t say the same about zooey
Angela C: yeah i have nitpicky things about her character. they just rely on her big eyes and bangs
Angela C: but when she’s like ‘he could be a really great architect if he wanted to be…’
Angela C: i’m like ‘ and what do you do, bitch?’

nina: right?! and she’s ALWAYS some larger than life crazy girl that comes in and is wacky and they fall in love with her wackiness
Angela C: she has no real meat to her besides the obvious charmy charm
Angela C: which really is a writer’s problem
nina: i wonder if it’s because she can’t do normal
Angela C: such a dude perspective
Angela C: like, he doesn’t even care, cause of those blue eyes! and they both like the Smiths!

nina: hahaha yea – and i love how that’s the music they like
nina: and all we get is regina spektor
nina: like um…maybe we should be hearing the smiths?
nina: another writer’s flaw i think
Angela C: smiths was a weird choice to me
Angela C: but that’s always a problem with movies that are playing to an indie / hip sensibility
Angela C: people are sooooo particular (people, read: me.)

nina: and when they’re in the bar and he’s talking about the way women dress?
nina: what the fuck was that?
Angela C: that conversation was too real to me, he’s just trying to think of something to say
Angela C: he’s all lost cause she’s being distant I think
nina: i really loved him in this
nina: i was impartial and now i’ve turned
nina: he did really well at being someone i knew
Angela C: he MADE the movie, would have been a meltdown otherwise
nina: like i wanted to shove her out of the way and be like NO date me…ME!!!
Angela C: ha… you’re waving your hands ‘yoohoooo’
nina: exactly!

Angela C: i wonder if they stuck Autumn in the background of any scenes…..
nina: yea i wanted to watch it again cause of that
Angela C: ok, well, as a kind of wrap up, i was thinking about it last night, and regardless of the little issues it’s definitely a special movie
nina: yes, overall like
Angela C: A.O. Scott actually words it:
Angela C: “So a winsome, accessible movie about more-or-less recognizable young people navigating the murky waters of post-sexual-revolutionary, midrecessionary heterosexual attraction has a novelty and a measure of bravery working in its favor, whatever its shortcomings. And “(500) Days” finds just the right scale and tone, neither trivializing nor melodramatically overstating the delicate feelings it explores.”

nina: nice.
Angela C:
fuck him and his good ass writing
nina: hahahhaha
Angela C:
heehee.
nina: time to rate.  what categories should we use?
Angela C: we need a good indie rating

nina: oh! also – such a great relief from judd apatow
nina: had to say it
Angela C: yeah that’s what Scott was referencing- allow another cut and paste
Angela C: “But it is, all the same, a fairly pointed response to the sorry state of romantic comedy in Hollywood, which runs the gamut from gauzily implausible fantasy to blatant and fatuous dishonesty, with an occasional detour into raunchy humor. The governing commercial calculus these days seems to be that dudes want smut, ladies want weddings, and a picture (like “The Hangover,” say) that delivers both will make the audience happy and the studios rich.”
nina: ha yes

nina: so we need an indie icon
Angela C: yes, but a good one
nina: and i think we need a ‘laugh out loud’ icon
nina: cause i was doing plenty of that
Angela C: yes, and something that conjures ‘awwwww’
Angela C: I was thinking we could have a 10 rating and then fill it however.
Angela C: like 4 good indies, 3 awws, 3 lols.  ya know?
Angela C: and if a movie sucked it could be like 8 poops and 2 tampons
nina: hahahah wow that is a crappy movie
Angela C: hahahaha, right? 8 poops is a lot of poops
nina: but we digress
nina: ok so how do we visualize these indies, awwws and lols

Angela C: hmmm, a good indie …………
nina: is it fair to say that indie = lo budg?
Angela C: um, no, indie = hip
nina: ok so hip = …
Angela C: and also low budg… but more hip…
Angela C: like bad / cliche icons might be – raybans, flannel, skinny jeans, certain haircuts, beards….
nina: ok…cup of coffee?
Angela C: that kind of works, it would have to be Intelligentsia, it’s hip but it’s also GOOOOOOOD
nina: right. we could do that
Angela C: you can make an intelligentsia coffee cup icon?
nina: yes.  for sure.
nina: and awww?
nina: so cute aww or sad aww?
nina: cause i felt both
Angela C: both
Angela C: a sick kitten
nina: that’s horrific

Angela C: charming heartbreak. how do you personify??
nina: argh
nina: ok what if we go to LOL first
Angela C: well maybe just a laughing emoticon
Angela C: with a bubble ‘lol’
nina: ok
nina: damn now we’re back to awww
nina: shit. i don’t know
nina: joseph gordon levitt heads?
Angela C: yeah just do that
Angela C: he deserves to be a part of the rating

THE MORNING AFTER: ‘Star Trek’ DVD Goody

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

Star Trek

The cast of J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek. James T. Kirk can augment my reality anytime…

Parmount is getting cheeky. According to a spankin’ new article in Variety, there are big plans in store for the DVD release of Star Trek. Get this:

‘With the packaging feature dubbed “augmented reality,” consumers will be able to hold their disc packaging in front of any standard webcam to unlock an interactive hologram on the computer screen, through which they can tour five cabins on the Enterprise, even shooting enemies from the ship’s deck.

Users will have to log in to a website to access the feature, but they control the hologram by holding the disc packaging.

“If you took the visual cue in the package and turned your hand, then you’re turning the ship,” Paramount homevideo senior VP of brand marketing Bob Buchi said.’

- Jennifer Netherby of Variety

How’s that for interactiviy beyotch. Due to this goody, my sister might never leave her webcam. Find the complete article here: Variety

THE MORNING AFTER: ‘Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince’

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

Potter

Harry in a dingy tube station. I don’t remember them being so green…

The morning after? But Nina, it’s nighttime. I know, but I just got home from watching the Potter and yes, it is Potter-licious. Some of my Potter history for you: When The Sorcerer’s Stone came out, I thought I was reading the book and seeing it play in my head. But wait, I was in a theatre and in fact Chris Columbus had reached into my imagination and perfectly casted all of the wizardly characters and built the sets straight out of my very own vision! Awesome.

Half-Blood Prince hits all of the major points. Harry, Ron and Hermione have aged pretty normally but Draco Malfoy looks like he’s about 35. What a growth spurt! There’s lots of attention on the love stories, but it had to come into play sometime and in fact it’s pretty well balanced with the rest of the story. I was sad not to see more of the Order of the Phoenix and Helena Bonham Carter is a little too well, Helena Bonham Cartery but she’s excused. Alan Rickman might be the most brilliant part of this whole operation, partly because he makes me laugh even when he doesn’t intend to and mostly because I see much of myself in him – at heart, I’m a cantankerous, cynical old man.

Go. Watch.