Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Parent Trap (1998)

Remember when Lindsay Lohan used to be innocent? Yeah it does seem so long ago doesn't it. I think Mean Girls (2004) was just on the cusp between her being a normal actress and a complete train wreck. Sorry Lindsey but you know it's true; you really need to get your act together.

Watching The Parent Trap (1998) always makes me think of the potential Lohan had at a young age. She was witty and clever and as much as that came from the writers, she gave it some flair.

Quick summary this time because I'm feeling lazy. Lohan places twins Hallie and Annie in the film. One lives in California, one lives in London, each with one parent. They don't know they're twins, but meet at camp and become best friends. They switch places to meet the other parent and scheme to bring their parents back together.

Lindsay Lohan as Hallie Parker and Annie James
Natasha Richardson as Elizabeth James, Hallie and Annie's mother
Dennis Quaid as Nick Parker, Hallie and Annie's father
Elaine Hendrix as Meredith Blake
Simon Kunz as Martin
Lisa Ann Walter as Chessy

A remake of the 1961 film of the same name, this updated Disney version will always be a favourite for me. On the face of it, it isn't the strongest of movies but has a simple enough plot to follow, clever camera work and some funny and dramatic moments that keep you entertained. Watch it for a blast from the past and a nice look at the most wholesome Lohan's career will ever be.

Notes:
- There are a couple of real life references to places like the RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 ocean liner and Camp Walden for girls. I'm pretty sure they are referring to that particular Camp Walden, seems about right through vague geographical references in the film.
- Sadly Natasha Richardson, the actress who played Annie and Halley's mother, died in 2009. She sustained a seemingly normal head injury while skiing at Mont Tremblant, Quebec. She later died due to an epidural hematoma. She was also Liam Neeson's wife.
- Maggie Wheeler who played Janice on Friends has a small role as Marva Kulp, Jr. 
- Michael Lohan, Lindsay's younger brother, plays the only boy at the girls camp. 
- Poster image obtained from www.impawards.com

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane-athon!

For those without power this will not apply since you won't be able to read it and thus won't be able to follow my wonderful advice. 

For those that have a lot of midterms and finals coming up you can spare a little time for a movie break. It's good to unwind if you've been studying constantly. 

Is Hurricane Sandy getting you down? Getting blown around like a plastic bag and getting wetter than if you went swimming? Have no fear because staying inside, skipping your classes, and sitting on your backside and watching a load of movies is the answer!

I will section this off into a few parts:
  1. Those of you studying for midterms or are otherwise rather busy throughout the day:
  2. Those of you without any sort of impending doom brought on by tests and midterms, just stay inside:
    • I challenge you to a marathon! Any length of marathon you like, whether it be for a television show or for movies.
    • Here are my suggestions for marathons in order of increasing ridiculousness:
      • Mini Marathon ~ (2 hours)
        • [5-6 episodes of your favourite half-hour sitcom]
      • Half Marathon ~ (4 hours)
        • [10-12 episodes (half-hour), or 5-6 (hour-long)]
      • Any trilogy Marathon ~ (varies)
      • Full Marathon ~ (8-9 hours)
        • [Full Season (half hour), 10-12 (hour-long)]
      • The Lord of the Rings (Extended Edition) Marathon ~ (11.5 hours)
      • Steve's Lazy Sunday Afternoon Special ~ (16-17 hours)
        • (Full Season or 24 episodes (whichever is longer) of an hour long drama)
      • Harry Potter Marathon ~ (19-20 hours)
        • At this point it's not even about if you like the films or not, just whether or not you can do it in a 24 hour span.
      • All of these marathons must be given the respect they deserve and cannot be fast-forwarded save for the repeats of beginning and end credits for television episodes.
      • If you decide to attempt any of the last three, good luck!
  3. Those of you without power....umm.......read I guess. 
**Notes**
- For those that are truly being hit hard by this hurricane, I hope you get through it safe and sound.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

World Cinema: Week #3 - City of God (2002)

Super late but yet I continue to post it. I watched this great Brazilian film in class a few weeks back and it was a delight. I'll try to make this short and sweet.

City of God (2002) was superbly made and the audience was definitely made to feel the severity of the events throughout the story. The characters and events are based on true events in the Cidade de Deus, however certain aspects were embellished for film sake. Despite its great cinematic quality, it also held a strong sense of scenic realism that help to add to the verisimilitude to the film.

The actors were relative unknowns for the most part, which was done on purpose. Many of the children in the film were actually from the area or the sort of slums that were present in the City of God, which lends more credence to the realistic atmosphere of the film.

The story follows Rocket, a young boy who grows up in the City of God, a drug and violence riddled neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro. It starts in the 60s and follows the progression of organized crime through to the start of the 80s. 

If it seems like I wrote slightly more like an artistic douchebag than usual then you'd be right. I wanted to see what it'd be like, I did not enjoy it but my Backspace button is rather unappealing. I clearly still have my own poor writing skills present but added an extra layer of snooty banter on top. So I'll cut that crap out.

A description of the film doesn't really do it justice. This film is also not for the faint of heart. There are some pretty intense moments and a lot of violence. For those that think they can handle it, I strongly urge you to see this film. It gives a great appreciation to the events that actually occurred in Rio and gives a better idea  of certain parts of different cultures outside of our own. Even if you don't like foreign films (who likes to read subtitles?) give it a shot, you won't regret it....and if you do regret it, don't tell me about it.

Notes:
- Poster image obtained from www.impawards.com

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pitch Perfect (2012)

I've been very much slacking on the blog writing front. I've definitely been watching enough but have been neglecting chattering on about films that most people have seen. Now this movie is actually still in theaters. Yes, I know you're shocked that I spent money on watching a new movie in theaters. It was a good movie going experience with a few friends (you know who you are), and now I will share it with you.

If you're anything like me, you like great music in great films. Well this movie at least has the first part down. Don't worry it's not a bad movie but it probably won't be up for any Oscars. It's basically Glee but slightly less cheesy, slightly more cliche (actually probably the same amount of cliche), and it a more compact two-hour format. I did like Glee....for a while, but it got kind of old. Pitch Perfect is a great film to bring together the casual movie goers and those die-hard musical lovers. 

Beca (Anna Kendrick) is a freshman at Barden College, where she has enrolled only because her father is a professor there. What she really wants in life is to be a DJ and produce music in L.A.. She makes a deal with her father to join one club for the year and in turn he will pay for her to move out there. Beca ends up joining The Bellas, an all-female acapella group headed by the only two remaining members from the year before, Chloe (Brittany Snow) and the over-controlling Aubrey (Anna Camp). Also figuring into Beca's life is boyishly charming Treble Maker, Jesse (Skylar Astin).

There are some great songs featured in this film, I'm not going to spoil too much but I will say that there is a decent variety between old, new, pop, hip-hop, and whatnot. Also, the fact that there are acapella versions of The Final Countdown and Don't You Forget About Me is so awesome and definitely made my night.

There were decent to good acting performances from the main characters but I think the supporting characters stole the show, Rebel Wilson (who plays Fat Amy) especially. She is finally getting some much deserved screen time in her more recent films and it's great to see. There were also entertaining bit parts from Elizabeth Banks, John Michael Higgins, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. There are a lot of other great performers in this film but the list would be ridiculous, besides you've already read enough don't you think?

Anyway, looking past the tired plot and the horrible acapella related puns (No, I will not give examples), this is a solid musical comedy with some great choices for music and a well rounded cast of young up and comers. Go with your friends to see this one, you'll enjoy it, unless you hate music and have no soul. I'd suggest going to the theater the next cheap day for students. For those around here (and if you don't know where 'here' is referring to, you probably don't know) the cheap day is Tuesday, tomorrow. So.....yeah....get on that.

Notes:
- Pitch Perfect at Rotten Tomatoes (just because I have IMDb as the default)
- Jesse has a great love and appreciation for film (more particular to film scores and soundtracks) so I find relating to him rather easy.
- Adam DeVine who plays Bumper kind of sounds like Jason Bateman, just saying. More of the cadence of speech rather than the sound itself.
- Poster image obtained from www.impawards.com