Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dark Shadows

As the credits ended and the overhead lights came back on, a Regal employee asked Laura and I if we liked the movie. In a word, yes. He then added that Johnny Depp fans like it. To which I replied, "yeah, we fit that category."

This film is a classic Tim Burton vision, a Beetlejuice flourish here, a Corpse Bride-esque darkened eye and pale complexion there, and of course, Helena Bonham Carter (she is great with an American accent, as is Depp with an English one). The Burton-Depp collaboration is one any fan of theirs would enjoy. Johnny Depp is also a producer on the movie. It is the producers that have the power, the say and that win the Oscars.
The score by Danny Elfman was fantastic as are all of his Burton film scores. The songs selected for the soundtrack were equally terrific hits from the late 60s and early 70s; The Moody Blues' Knights in White Satin kicks things off over the opening credits. With the Carpenters, Donovan and Alice Cooper also making appearances. Steve Miller Band's The Joker also makes it into dialogue. To sum up as Barnabas did, "I really enjoy the music of this era. 'I'm a picker, I'm a grinner. I'm a lover and I am a sinner. I play my music in the sun.'" sizzle. The end credits feature a Killers cover of the Raspberries' Go All the Way.

I am not familiar with the 1966-1971 soap opera for which the film is based upon but I have heard boomers reflect on it fondly. The cast of characters are the same in name and there seem to be acknowledged nods to the original throughout the movie.

The movie has many laughs and is very fun. This is certainly a fantasy so be ready to suspend your disbelief. The extensive main cast that includes, Michelle Pheiffer, Eva Green, Jonny Lee Miller and ChloĆ« Grace Moretz, is strong. Get your Depp on.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Las Vegas special edition for Scott and Shannon

In honor of Scott and Shannon's wedding in Las Vegas, I give you some of my favorite Vegas pop culture moments on film, and one from tv. After all, there would be no blog without Scott suggesting it!

Ocean's Eleven
George Clooney and Brad Pitt leading a crew that was originally made up of the Rat Pack? Fantastic. Blows the original away. Say what you will, I love the third one too.
Fools Rush In
I have not watched this one in awhile but when I was younger it was one of my favorite romantic comedies. I saw it at a theater that no longer exists.
Honeymoon in Vegas
Another fun one from youth. Much more fun than Nicholas Cage's Academy Award winning role in Leaving Las Vegas. And all the flying Elvises you can imagine.
I just watched this tonight in honor of the Vegas edition. Classic gangster Scorsese. Excellent use of classic rock and Vegas standards for the soundtrack. I was a bit daunted by the nearly three hour run time but over the break for Mother's Day dinner, my sister Erin told me how fantastic it was and when I resumed watching the last hour and ten, it was much improved. I think that is where the plot picked up for me. The end is perfection.

On the mini bus to the wedding, the question of how Vegas became what it is was asked by Miss Foltz. I stand by my answer, the Mob.
Thanks for letting me borrow the DVD Cup.

The Hangover
A contemporary classic often referenced. Saw a normal looking dude in Vegas carrying his baby a la Zach Galifianakis and actually said "oh sh8t" when I saw it. Really? I hope it was being done ironically. Also love the tag line, "Some guys just can't handle Vegas."
One of my favorite arcs of the show, just for Ross and Rachel's drunken wedding. At the champagne brunch at Paris the morning after the wedding I could not help but think of Joey "here's where I win all my money back."

Honorable mention to Bridesmaids. The ladies never quite made it there but they had a memorable flight trying. Can not say how happy and honored I was to make it to Vegas to see an amazing couple get hitched.

The Hunger Games, the Lucky One and the Five Year Engagement

I have not blogged in awhile. Life has been busy to say the least. That's part of it. I think the main reason for my delay is that the last three movies I saw in theaters were not that wonderful. Seeing the films with Dana and Kari, and watching Rum Diary with Laura was great though.

The Hunger Games
The widely anticipated adaptation of the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy was very well done. It was a great movie and was also a memorable movie going experience. I saw the film with Dana. Midway through the movie, right at a very serious and poignant scene in the story, a man walked out and yelled, this movie is messed-up, why are you here? Well, sir, maybe you should inform yourself before you go to the theater. Just because something is popular and not what you thought it would be, refrain from attempting to ruin others' time at the multiplex. Despite this interruption, I did enjoy the movie and I have only positive things to say about it. The experience of reading the book was just so powerful that even the best interpretation by a movie pales in comparison.

The Lucky One
Another book adaptation. This marks a first for me -- I read my first Nicholas Sparks novel before seeing the movie. There is a certain amount of cheese that comes with a film based on a Sparks book. There was just too much in this one. It was more A Walk to Remember and very much less than the Notebook. The acting is poor and too much of the story had been changed from the book. Taylor Schilling is a very bad actress, beautiful and very well cast in the role of Beth, but not a good actress. Blythe Danner was a highlight, as was Zac Efron's bod.

The Five Year Engagement
I was very eager see to this flick. I am a big fan of both Jason Segel and Emily Blunt. There were many hilarious moments and the extensive supporting cast including Parks and Rec's Chris Pratt and Mad Men's Alison Brie was excellent. One plot complication just ruined things for me. If you see it and you know me, you will know what I am talking about. If you enjoyed it despite some events, I am genuinely happy that you did because I could not get past it.

And on DVD...
Rum Diary
Laura and I were planning to watch the new Muppets movie but after three Red Boxes I was done searching. I know you can reserve online and there is an app for that but it all worked out. Fresh on my mind from our top five movies as friends, I saw a picture for Rum Diary as I headed back to my car, nearly defeated. The movie is based on a Hunter S Thompson's novel and is a must see for any Johnny Depp fan. The wacky exploits of an American journalist in Puerto Rico during the 1950s unfolds hilariously. There was line after line of laugh-out-loud dialogue. A very fun flick for those who would like the Hangover crossed with the Mexican, taking place in the 50s. I am also very excited to see Dark Shadows this week with Laura. I am optimistic that the film will end my slump.