Year 2, Day 111

Movie #190~906: Breaking Dawn Part I (2011)

No measure of time with you will be long enough. But we’ll start with forever.

Plot: The Quileutes close in on expecting parents Edward and Bella, whose unborn child poses a threat to the Wolf Pack and the towns people of Forks.

Review: Alright, folks. It took some time for me to get my head back in the game but I’m back on track with the theme.

  • Less than a minute in and we have a nonsensical voiceover, a shirtless Jacob, and poor CGI work. They didn’t miss a step.

  • What mother would be that happy about her 18 year old daughter getting married?

  • I am going to hate this. I can tell already.

  • I hate these flashbacks.

  • So Edward was some suave vampire vigilante?

  • Why does this bitch think becoming a vampire is going to be so wonderful when a handful of vampires have told her how awful their existence is?

  • I’m no dream analyzer but I think this nightmare means something…..

  • This is so ridiculous I can’t even wrap my mind around it.

  • Her dress is hideous.

  • “I’m sure Jacob wishes you the best.” I’m sure he doesn’t.

  • I get the feeling this wedding toast montage is going to be the most entertaining part of this movie. Minus Edward’s part of course.

  • Oh, Jacob. Let her go get fucked to death on her honeymoon. Who cares?

  • Brazil. Nice honeymoon choice. (And that wasn’t sarcastic. It really looks beautiful. Just wish there wasn’t this sappy love story to distract me from the gorgeous scenery.)

  • Is this pre-sex montage really necessary?

  • Robert Pattinson should never take his shirt off. It’s seriously not a good look.

  • Breaking the bed? Really?

  • There are going to be a lot of pre-teen girls who are going to be disappointed on their wedding night…..

  • Don’t worry, girls. It’s okay if a guy hurts and bruises you if he tells you he’s sorry.

  • Edward is a whiny chump and Bella is an annoying twit. Maybe they are a match made in heaven after all.

  • Now they’re playing chess. Only these two buffoons can make a picture-perfect tropical vacation boring and tedious.

  • Man, Bella must have a serious case of blue balls.

  • And more chess….

  • Honestly, I’m beginning to question if Kristin Stewart and Robert Pattinson were a couple in real life because they have such little chemistry on screen. Seriously, it’s almost painful to watch them.

  • Jacob as the alpha? Don’t make me laugh.

  • That chicken looks disgusting.

  • Of course this bitch would get pregnant with a vampire baby after having vampire sex once. And of course she’s showing and can feel the damn thing even though she’s only 14 days along. This is ridiculous.

  • I hate this movie. More than any of the others, which I didn’t think was possible.

  • Why does Jacob care so much about this idiot? She would rather be with a pale, glittery douche than with you. And she’s not that big of a catch anyway. Let it the hell go.

  • She does look terrible. Am I supposed to care?

  • “I can’t see Bella’s future anymore.” If we were only that lucky…..

  • 57 minutes left.

  • Wait, how do vampires die in this story? Usually, they would burn to death in the sunlight but this author decided that sparkly vampires would be the better choice. (And while sparkles are usually the better choice, it’s not here.)

  • Ooooh, angry Jacob…..

  • Alright, this is the fourth movie so I’m calling bullshit on the speaking wolves. You just can’t have them start talking out of nowhere. Plus, this CGI is embarrassingly amateur.

  • Nobody likes a traitor, Jacob.

  • So even the vampires have to get their vampire information from a Yahoo search?

  • This is an absurd turn of events.

  • I hope those bones are CGI and Kristin Stewart didn’t lose all that weight for this asinine movie.

  • Bella’s dad deserves so much better than this moron of a daughter.  A medical center in Switzerland? That’s the best they could come up with?

  • So, Bella is responsible for a werewolf pack and a vampire family breaking a decades long no-violence pact? Because for some unexplainable reason, multiple people find her bland features and stank attitude appealing? Is that what’s happening here?

  • No self-respecting man would let his son be named after his wife’s ex-boyfriend, who is still obviously pining for her. And no self-respecting woman would even throw that name in the mix. Bella seriously is the worst.

  • Renesme? Are you fucking kidding me? That’s worse than naming it after a stalker werewolf.

  • Dramatic use of slow mo.

  • “Keep your heart beating.” Good advice, moron.

  • These teenagers just performed a c-section in the living room. Really?

  • Is this the big climatic scene of the movie? Because it’s kind of boring.

  • I know Bella’s not going to die but I’m still holding out a little bit of hope.

  • Why is this taking forever? Turn her or kill her. I’m over it.

  • This Jacob monologue montage is the corniest thing I’ve ever seen. Did he just fall in love with a newborn baby?

  • Imprinting? Did the author just make this shit up as she went along?

  • So Bella is clearly dead. I’m no expert but usually don’t you have to be alive to turn into a vampire? Or is she just doing this in typical dramatic, stupid Bella fashion?

  • Great, flashbacks to remind me how much time I’ve wasted watching these god forsaken movies.

  • And Bella’s a vampire. The end!

Rating: F

Posted 2 days ago

Year 2, Day 110

Movie #189~905: Hop (2011)

I don’t want to be the Easter Bunny. ~ Four thousand years of tradition doesn’t end just because one selfish bunny doesn’t feel like doing it.

Plot: E.B., the Easter Bunny’s teenage son, heads to Hollywood, determined to become a drummer in a rock ‘n’ roll band. In LA, he’s taken in by Fred after the out-of-work slacker hits E.B. with his car.

Review: I can’t fault the director of Hop for making an Easter movie that attempts to equate the Easter Bunny with Santa Claus, complete with a North Pole-like Easter headquarters and adorable chicks as stand-in elves. But Hop is not destined to be the next holiday classic and even a short three years later, I’m sure most people have forgotten about it.

The actors do their best to make the lackluster dialogue seem credible and the animation/live action hybrid was really well done but it just doesn’t work. The dialogue is hokey, there are too many little subplots going on, and a chick inexplicably grows bunny eyes and a tail (which was the final straw for me.) Russell Brand, Hugh Laurie, and Hank Azaria do what they can with their voice work (I’ll admit, it was a funny moment when Brand makes a cameo appearance in his human form) and James Marsden mugs like no other but the actors weren’t the issue - it was the overall feel of the movie. It felt like a mishmash of other holiday movies, just tweaked to add a springy/Easter tone.

Younger viewers will probably enjoy Hop - the chicks are similar to the minions from Despicable Me and they will probably have a finer appreciation for the lame potty humor but adults won’t find anything of quality. I’d say Easter is still waiting for its big holiday movie.

Rating: D+

Posted 4 days ago

Year 2, Day 109

Movie #188~904: Easter Parade (1948)

Why didn’t you tell me I was in love with you?

Plot: A nightclub performer hires a naive chorus girl to become his new dance partner to make his former partner jealous and to prove he can make any partner a star.

Review: Before going back to the children’s books theme, I figured to check out a couple of Easter movies to celebrate the holiday. Starting off is the musical classic Easter Parade.

While not technically an Easter movie, it begins and ends on Easter at the famous (you guessed it) Easter parade. And while the plot isn’t all that intricate, the nonstop song (Irving Berlin, anyone?) and dance routines and the undeniably charming pairing of Judy Garland and Fred Astaire make it all worth it. The bright Technicolor and gorgeous costumes just add to the wonderful production.

Fred Astaire is as entertaining and light on his feet as in his Ginger Rogers days and I particularly loved his performance of ‘Drum Crazy’ in the toy store in the beginning of the film and of course ‘Stepping Out With My Baby’ is high on the list. Judy Garland keeps up with Astaire in terms of dancing and shines right alongside him with her singing. Easter Parade was clearly used as a vehicle to show off the stars’ outstanding talents so they didn’t waste much time on the plot itself but the performances are so well done and entertaining that the main storyline really doesn’t really matter all that much.

Easter Parade is a musical classic and its feel good atmosphere is perfectly set against catchy songs and beautiful settings and costumes. Any fan of the main stars or musicals in general will fall in love with this one.

Rating: A-

Posted 4 days ago

Year 2, Day 109

Movie #187~903: Stage Fright (2014)

All of life’s a song to sing so sing with all your heart.

Plot: A snobby musical theater camp is terrorized by a blood-thirsty killer who hates musical theater.

Review: This movie is amazing. I had some reservations about the quality of a film that attempted to blend the horror and musical genres and whose biggest star (besides Minnie Driver, who doesn’t make it past the opening scenes) is 70’s rock god Meat Loaf. But Stage Fright is funny and entertaining and ended up being a movie that was right up my alley. (I especially loved the mock Broadway posters hanging in the camp mess hall - Arkansas instead of Oklahoma and a weird mashup of Les Mis and The Producers with Les Producerables, not to mention the camp’s production of A Haunting at the Opera.)

I love how it seemed like a throwback to the slasher movies of the 80’s, while still maintaining a more modern feel. There is just as much focus on the killer aspect as the musical numbers and I was pleasantly surprised to see how well done the songs were. They were catchy and the performances were nicely done - over the top and silly, but nicely done nonetheless. This is where the movie really shined - the slasher storyline was well done but more on the generic side. But it is the music that most people will remember.

Stage Fright won’t be as entertaining for everyone as it was for me - if you’re not a big horror fan, you may miss the tongue in cheek humor aimed at the genre, not unlike the movie Scream. Yes, the killer is over the top and corny and a bunch of dorky kids randomly breaking out into songs and choreographed dances is not everyone’s cup of tea. But I thought it blended two very tough genres well and there was some great comedic moments to balance out the more gory scenes.

Rating: A-

Posted 4 days ago

Year 2, Day 108

Movie #186~902: A Haunted House 2 (2014)

That pollo is loco.

Plot: Having exorcised the demons of his ex, Malcolm is starting fresh with his new girlfriend and her two children. After moving into their dream home, however, Malcolm is once again plagued by bizarre paranormal events.

Review: You may remember (or probably not) that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first Haunted House - the humor was inconsistent, offensive, and downright stupid at times - and this sequel picks up right where the first film left off. The writers didn’t change any part of the formula and basically appealed to the lowest common denominator, using graphic sex scenes and racial stereotypes to go for the easy laughs.

I guess one positive thing I can say about the offensive humor is that everyone gets their fair share - African Americans, Mexicans, women, and gays are all targets. The n-word is dropped so many times that is becomes a lazy crutch for jokes and between the animal cruelty (although clearly fake) and the insensitive jokes at the expense of real people (I’m no fan but the insinuation that Rihanna deserved the Chris Brown beat down because she was talking too much crossed the line for me), I got the feeling the filmmakers were being extreme and controversial simply for the sake of being extreme and controversial.

I’ve seen Marlon Wayans in genuine comedies and he’s a good actor but he does himself no favors by continuing to appear in these half-assed parody flicks. It’s obvious he will do anything for a laugh but that’s not necessarily a good thing when ten minutes of a movie is spent covering an uncomfortable sex scene between a grown man and a plastic doll. The plot itself is pretty aimless, with spoofs of a number of recent horror movies, including Sinister, The Possession, The Conjuring, and, of course, Paranormal Activity. There was too much emphasis on the random vignettes and jokes and not enough of a clear plot. (Although, I guess you don’t watch this kind of movie for a coherent, meaningful storyline.)

All in all, if you enjoyed the first Haunted House, you will probably enjoy this sequel as it is basically the same movie with the ‘juvenile humor’ dial turned up to ten. If you barely tolerated the first movie (as I did), you will find this one tedious and stupid. But maybe that was the point of the film - to deliver unintelligible, immature jokes in an unintelligible, immature fashion.

Rating: D

Posted 5 days ago

Year 2, Day 108

Movie #185~901: Free Samples (2013)

One life is enough for anyone. But there are so many lives within that life.

Plot: A law school dropout finds herself manning an ice cream truck for a day, where she meets a variety of people, both new and familiar.

Review: I love a good ‘mid-twenties woman fed up with life’ movie and Free Samples is one of the best examples. It is funny and witty and sad and real and reminded me a lot of an old favorite, Clerks. Both films take place in a central location - the place of employment of people who don’t want to be there - and both employ a unique brand of sarcastic humor that is either brash or hilarious, depending on your tastes.

Jess Weixler is perfect as Jillian, especially in the beginning scenes when she is battling a hangover while answering stupid questions from the ice cream buying public. (One man repeatedly asks if she sells stamps, while another wants to know if the ice cream is lactose free.) She has a sharp, sardonic wit that carries the film effortlessly and I loved seeing her interact with the wide range of characters she comes in contact with. From Jesse Eisnberg, as the guy she met at the bar the night before, to Jason Ritter, an old friend, to Tippi Hedren, an aging actress who stops by for her daily ice cream and chat session, we see different sides of Jillian as different characters bring out the different facets of her personality.

Eventually, Jillian is forced to confront problems and people she had been avoiding and there is the patented ‘aha’ moment where everything in her life falls into place. Free Samples may not be entirely realistic (a woman goes from hungover emotional mess to an enlightened, better person within the course of several hours) but it is enjoyable. There is the perfect blend of quick witted humor and meaningful life lessons that make it an easy, fun watch. Free Samples isn’t going to be a movie that changes a generation but it is a charming and entertaining movie that doesn’t try too hard.

Rating: A-

Posted 5 days ago

Year 2, Day 107

Movie #184~900: Shotgun Wedding (2013)

I’m sorry my face got in front of your bullets.

Plot: After Robert accidentally shoots his fiance’s maid of honor in the face during a drunken skeet-shooting session, his meddling mother does whatever it takes to ensure the wedding takes place.

Review: Despite its obvious low budget, cast of mostly unknowns, and use of the overdone ‘found footage’, Shotgun Wedding is surprisingly enjoyable. One of the biggest issues I have with these ‘found footage’ movies, whether it be a comedy or horror, is the plausibility of it all. But director Danny Roew did a wonderful job making sure that all the camera angles made sense and I found it believable that everything that was caught on camera could actually have been caught on camera if this were to (god forbid) happen in real life. 

Shotgun Wedding is also a breath of fresh air; I can honestly say I’ve never seen a movie like it. After a pre-wedding drunken night of partying, a groom accidentally shoots his fiancee’s maid of honor in the face. After consulting his mom (who desperately wants her son to marry his wealthy and connected fiancee), a complicated cover-up takes place. At first only the groom, his mom, and the best man are involved but soon more and more of the wedding party gets implicated and its fun seeing what completely ridiculous thing is going to happen next.

There is a lot of gore but it is all handled in a very tongue-in-cheek kind of way. The characters’ reactions to the various acts of violence and murder are what makes the film as funny as it is. From the bridesmaid who is eager to be promoted to the maid of honor to the best man who wants nothing to do with any of the coverup to the bride who is adorably clueless, each actor plays their role to perfection and they all have great chemistry with each other, making their interactions believable and the dialogue more enjoyable.

Shotgun Wedding is a funny, entertaining comedy, a dark look at a wedding gone bad. It manages not to get repetitive, adding more characters and problems to the mix to keep what could have been a one note story moving forward. It is well paced and funny with the right amount of cringeworthy violence. Another indie comedy gem that people should take the time to seek out.

Rating: B+

Posted 5 days ago

Year 2, Day 107

Movie #183~899: Rapture Palooza (2013)

Are you trying to do good or something to get raptured? Because I’m telling you kids, that was a one time deal-y.

Plot: Two teens battle their way through a religious apocalypse on a mission to defeat the Antichrist.

Review: I love both Anna Kendrick and Craig Robinson so I had pretty high hopes for this dark comedy. And for the most part, it met those high expectations. It had a pretty impressive cast - besides Kendrick and Robinson, we have John Francis Daley, Rob Corddry, Ana Gasteyer, and Thomas Lennon - so I’m surprised that it stayed as under the radar as it did. I guess the overt religious mocking got in the way of a wide release but I never got the feeling that the tone was anti-religion (it doesn’t make a statement regarding religion one way or the other), although I’m sure that wouldn’t stop certain groups of people taking massive offense to it.

My favorite aspect of the film is how it treated the ‘rapture’ experience. Instead of making it out to be a huge, life changing event, it is portrayed as more of an inconvenience. Most people just continue on with their lives despite the blood rain and locusts and giant rocks dropping from the sky and the Anti-Christ (played hilariously by Robinson) taking control of everything.

There is a heavy reliance on jokes regarding both marijuana and sex so if you’re not a fan of vulgar comedy, I would skip this one. But even though some of the jokes were over the top, I found most of them to be well paced, witty and fun. Rapture-Palooza is not a life changing (or even genre changing) movie but it is entertaining and a great example of a low budget comedy that uses its talented cast to the best of their abilities.

Rating: B+

Posted 5 days ago

Year 2, Day 106

Movie #182~898: I Am a Girl (2013)

I am a girl. And today, a woman.

Plot: Six young women, from a variety of backgrounds, share their stories of hardships and triumphs.

Review: This documentary had a much different feel than Girl Rising, even though the subjects were pretty similar. Instead of making some overall statement, I Am a Girl simply showcases the lives of six different women, each struggling with their own issues and societal woes. Hailing from New York City, Australia, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Cameroon, and Papua New Guinea, each girl is faced with their own life changing experiences. Some are more relateable than others and some appear to be more serious (Kimsey’s story is especially heart-wrenching and the one that will stay with me the longest) but each are treated with a respect and dignity that most are lacking in their day to day lives.

I loved the unique transitions between the girls’ stories, with the camera shooting the sky and then coming down in a completely different part of the world. It was seamless and really emphasized the fact that we are all connected and intertwined, despite our geographical and cultural differences. We are introduced to each girl by themselves but we also get interviews with their family members to get a full look at who these girls are. And while their differences are numerous, each girl displays their own brand of strength, determination, and power that can’t be taken away from them, despite what position society puts them in.

I read a review that stated “The girls are presented not as victims of society, but members of an unfair one” and I love that sentiment. None of these girls could have prevented the situation in which they live and none of them suffer because of bad decisions on their part. Whether they live in the projects of New York, the mountains of Afghanistan, or the suburbs of Australia, these girls each face (and for the most part, confront) their own challenges and difficulties, all without a ‘woe is me’ victim-like mentality. 

Like Girl Rising, I Am a Girl does a fantastic job at putting a face to all the hard hitting statistics regarding the lack of education or the dangers of prostitution that affects a large percentage of the female population. People interested in women’s studies or the treatment of women in society in different countries will be well served to check this film out. I am grateful that documentaries like these are being made, not only are they raising awareness for societal problems that may not impact the typical Westerner, but they are giving a platform and a voice to young women that are far too often overlooked and ignored.

Rating: A

Posted 5 days ago

Year 2, Day 106

Movie #181~897: Girl Rising (2013)

It’s a simple fact. There is no one more vulnerable than a girl.

Plot: The film tells the stories of nine girls, written by a renowned author from their native country, from different parts of the world who face arranged marriages, child slavery, and other heartbreaking injustices. Despite these obstacles, the brave girls offer hope and inspiration; by getting an education, they’re able to break barriers and create change.

Review: This is a beautifully crafted documentary, with an imaginative blend of animation, live action, narration, reenactments, and exaggerations. Interspersed between the nine original stories are sobering facts about the treatment of girls around the world regarding high pregnancy and early marriage rates and few education opportunities, which make the individual stories of the girls that much more powerful.

From an earthquake survivor in Haiti to a young Ethiopian girl whose older brother steps in to protect her from an arranged marriage to a child bride in Afghanistan to an Indian girl whose parents have to choose between paying for a home and paying for school for their three daughters, we see several stories of bravery and strength. Of course there are the more heartbreaking aspects (more often than not at the hands of men) but there is equal emphasis on the power each girl holds and their abilities to overcome obstacles and triumph in their own ways.

Although there are famous voices narrating the tales (including Meryl Streep, Salma Hayek, Anne Hathaway and Liam Neeson), they do not draw your attention away from the most important aspects of the film - the young women who have suffered and survived through so much hardship. There is a constant fight for what most of us take for granted - from the freedom of choosing our own romantic partners to getting a decent education.

I especially liked the emphasis on how important education is, not only to the individual girls who are suffering without it, but to their families, immediate communities, and even their countries as a whole. According to Girl Rising, if India allowed only 1% more of their female population to attend and finish secondary school, $5.5 billion would be added to their GDP. It is amazing to think of how much improved the world’s economy would be if only everyone was given fair treatment in regards to education.

These nine girls provide only a small glimpse of the hardships and unfairness the majority of females face in this world. It is one thing to hear the facts and statistics but it is another to hear the personalized stories and reenactments of young girls that we can connect and empathize with. This documentary had a point to make and it made it very well. It is a strong, well made movie that will touch your heart and inspire you to make a difference.

Rating: A-

Posted 5 days ago