Sunday, November 22, 2009

Synecdoche, New York

Directed and Written by: Charlie Kaufman aka my personal screenwriting Jesus
Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams, Catherine Keener, etc etc

Wow, this movie is a real doozy. Charlie Kaufman, you mind-fucked me again. I can't explain this movie, but it defies all laws of reality and chronology. Even more so than Adaptation and Being John Malkovich. It's totally crazy and confusing and if you are the kind of person who has to know what everything means and the order of events and you must take things literally, then don't watch it. It's like The Fountain; you just have to accept that it's weird, you're not really going to fully GET it, and you probably aren't supposed to. Just relax and go with it. Feel it. Surrrrreal it.

I think I need to see it a couple more times before I can give it a grade. It needs to sink in a little, but right now it's feeling like the A- range.

Pirate Radio

Directed and Written By: Richard Curtis (Love Actually guy!)
Starring: A plethora of amazing people, including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, and the hottest little thing I ever did see, Tom Sturridge

I went to see this movie at my favorite movie theatre, Los Feliz 3, with Jonathan tonight. I call it the feel good movie of 2009. It was amazingly delightful. Wonderful soundtrack, wonderful cast, and heart-warming, inspiring story. It really made me wish that I was young in the 60s in Britain. My hair would look so good in that decade. Highlights include Bill Nighy dancing (the definition of cool in everything he does), Tom Sturridge (who I've never seen before, but has the most beautiful lips of...oh man...those lips), Emma Thompson as a total milf, and some seriously funny moments. It made me want to dance and cry and laugh and steal a boat and play music on it. I couldn't recommend it more; it put me in such a good mood!


Monday, November 16, 2009


Directed by: Joel Coen
Written by: Joel and Ethan Coen
Starring: William H. Macy, Steve Buscemi, Frances McDormand, Kristin Rudrüd

I finally saw Fargo! The parts that were funny were REALLY funny, mainly the moments with the hilarious Kristin Rudrüd as William H. Macy's kidnapped wife. She was actually born in Fargo, so it makes since that she had the accent and mannerisms down so perfectly, but also, just her face is hilarious. Like, the face she was born with. Like a pug. She was definitely my favorite part of the movie.

Aside from some brilliant comedic writing and amazingly funny cast, this movie was just a...Coen Brothers movie. I'm a little sick of the "small town loser gets caught up in something super scandalous and it is HILARIOUS and INTENSE" formula, but it definitely works for Fargo, making it better for me than The Big Lebowski and Burn After Reading (and I don't think I can compare it to No Country for Old Men). Also, violence is always a plus for me.



Starring: Woody Harrelson, Abigail Breslin, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg

So, it's a zombie comedy. The apocalypse. A few people survive and find each other, forming an unlikely army against zombies. There's a lot of gore. Some romance. Basically, it's that old joke about quirky people and zombies that you saw in Shawn of the Dead and probably lots of other places. Nerdy kids battling zombies...oh hahahaha!

Whatever, I'm over it.

Also, the humor wasn't up to par. It was rough draft jokes. Like, they chose their jokes during the first brainstorming idea, without trying to make them funnier. Like the line, "I haven't cried this hard since Titanic!" Uh...Titanic? SO the obvious choice. It should have been something random that the character wouldn't have even Weeks Notice with Sandra Bullock. Or...Dan In Real Life. You know, something more obscure. And making jokes about people updating their facebook statuses too much? Thanks, Zaydeh Feldstein, for this knee-slapper. You sure do connect with the kids!

I probably shouldn't write movie reviews when I'm on Ambien.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Paranormal Activity


I don't see many movies in the theatre, but it was absolutely necessary that I see this in the Arclight Cinerama Dome on a Saturday night with my best friend and a crowd full of scared, giggly people.

It was so scary and suspenseful and realistic! It reminded me of The Blair Witch Project. Also, if I wake up to pee in the middle of the night, I'm going to be so scared. Also, if I hear the neighbors above me stomping around, I'm gonna assume it's something scary that wants to steal my soul and crawl inside my vagina or something.

I recommend seeing this in theatres, when you're feeling silly and like you need an adrenaline rush. It's great fun, and it's also really good quality.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

Waltz With Bashir

Directed and Written By: Ari Folman

This was nominated for Best Foreign Film by the Academy last year. It's an animated film about one man's journey to try to remember his time in the Lebanon War. It's in the style of documentary realism. It's in Hebrew.

Just so you know, this kind of movie is totally my thing. As a documentary film student, I get way into really interesting ways of portraying personal history/memory. It makes me want to have a pretentious discussion with a bunch of other pretentious film students. I love animation used in creative ways, and as the director/writer asserts in the special features--animation can be much more real than live action. It's amazing that it was animated from scratch--no rotoscoping here, even though it looks like it. The movements and expressions of the people are so awesome. Performative, animated documentaries are some of my favorites--so this was really effective.

It lost me a bit toward the end--probably because during the first half of watching it, I was on Adderall, and the second half, I was not. BUT--the very end is amazingly brilliant, so if you hate it, see it through!!!

Man, this was a really eloquent blog post...NOT.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bringing Up Baby

Directed by: Howard Hawks
Written by: Who cares
Starring: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant

I don't like Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, or screwball comedies. So...I guess I should have seen this one coming. This movie is on right now. There are about 20 minutes left. I don't need to finish it before I write the review, I already hate it. I watched it because it's on all the lists, and three people I trust have told me how much I need to see it. Not until the Netflix actually arrived did Jonathan say, "I think you aren't going to like this movie." He was right.

Everyone is so annoying! EVERYTHING is so annoying. I want to kill all the characters, except Baby the Leopard. This is the opposite of my sense of humor. I'd rather watch Laurel and Hardy carry a piano up some stairs.

This movie would have been better with Audrey Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart, by the way. I believe Cary Grant as an uptight nerd as much as I would believe Paris Hilton as the president of the US. Oh, and there's a lot of Amanda Bynes-style falling over adorable clumsiness. FAIL.


Friday, September 11, 2009

My Very Favorite Movies by Amy Aronson

The Graduate: Simon and Garfunkel, Dustin Hoffman, Cougartown, shot at USC, moody, amazing cinematography, best screenplay ever.

When Harry Met Sally: Christmas, romance, miraculous chemistry, the ending, the story structure, Harry Connick Jr. music.

Rosemary's Baby: Mia Farrow's hair, trust no one, devil babies, actual satanic leader as Satan, creepy music, gives me anxiety.

Full Metal Jacket: Dark, funny, great one-liners, made me want to kill myself, made me want to kill others, me so horny.

The Talented Mr. Ripley: Best male performance possibly ever by Matt Damon, super creepy, freakishly engaging.

Slumdog Millionaire: I couldn't breathe.

The Fountain: I also couldn't breathe.

Little Children: Needed a whole bottle of Xanax, I love dysfunction, Patrick Wilson and Kate Winslet are HOT.

Vertigo: I guess I really like movies that make me anxious, Jimmy Stewart, awesome twist, literally gave me vertigo.

The Wizard of Oz: Gets more magical every time I see it.

Capote: I love Truman Capote, I love Philip Seymour Hoffman = win/win

Knocked Up/Forgetting Sarah Marshall: Adorable, real, hilarious.

The Hangover: Funniest movie of all time.

Two for the Road: Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, another great screenplay.

Erin Brockovich: Totes sucked me in! Who knew how much I cared about water?!

High School Musical 1 and 3: The bread is the best part of the sandwich.

Being John Malkovich: It's okay to be crazy and it's okay to like crazy things.

Spellbound/Mad Hot Ballroom: Favorite documentaries, adorable children, heart-warming tales.

It Happened One Night: One super old movie that actually is as funny and charming as it wants to be.

Waiting For Guffman: Community theatre fantastic-ness.

Harold and Maude: Newest favorite, gruesome, twisted, amazing.


Wet Hot American Summer

Directed by: David Wain
Written by: Michael Showalter, David Wain
Starring: Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Jeanine Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Rudd, and the list goes on and on...

Part of me just loves this movie because it reminds me of hot summer Sonora nights in hot tubs with mimosas and yoga and opium tea. But another part of me loves it because it's hilarious. It's not every second painfully hilarious like THE HANGOVER, but it has some of the best one-liners I've ever heard. The cast is incredible and even though I've never really been to real summer camp for more than a week, I can tell that it is a dead-on parody of a summer Jew camp. The good kind of Jew Camp, not the...bad kind.

What else can I say? At times it gets a little boring and plotless. I think it loses focus about 3/4 of the way through. But it's the perfect movie for a silly summer night with some silly friends and some silly booze/weed/vicodin/any other vice you may choose.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Movie Recommendation List for My DADDY

And anyone else who wants some movie recs.

P.S. Papa-san, I don't know what movies you've seen. For the purpose of this list, let's say you've never seen a movie in your life.

Ooooo, feeling indie and sad? No? You are 53 and have no time for such sillyness? Well, suck it, here are my recommendations!

The Darjeeling Limited (oooo pretty, oooo mooooody)
Teeth (VAGINA DENTATA!!!!!!)
The Squid and the Whale (thanks for not getting a divorce!)
Happiness (ooooo sooooo wrong)
500 Days of Summer (when it comes out)
Adaptation (Nicolas Cage is actually...fantastic?)
Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (awwww cute!!)

Maybe a trifle of comedy? A dose of laughter? THE BEST OF MEDICINE?

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (stop being such a prude-y prude and give in. You like Family Guy, for gosh sake's.)
17 Again (become gay for Zac Efron, everyone is doing it)
Hamlet 2 (rock me, rock me, rock me, Sexy Jesus!)

Sprechen Sie Deutsch? Parlez-Vous Francais? Nein? Non? Then turn on your subtitles, dumb-dumb:

The Counterfeiters
Das Experiment

Watch documentaries because I am into them and I am your daughter!!!

The Business of Being Born (because it's never too late to have a home birth)
Man On Wire (don't try this at home)
My Kid Could Paint That (I wrote a paper on this, so you should watch it)
Supersize Me (stop eating fast food!)
Rize (you'll never be president if you don't connect with the African-American community!)

We don't fit into categories! HELP US!

Milk (Why haven't you seen Milk yet, ya homophobe???)
Zodiac (killa killa killa killa!)
Whale Rider (ride them whales)

Harold and Maude

Directed by: Hal Ashby
Written by: Colin Higgins
Starring: Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort

Words cannot express how much I loved this movie. I knew I would. It's my favorite era of movies, and it makes films like Garden State and The Royal Tennenbaums look totally overdone. It's my favorite type of movie--the mood piece. Quirky, absurd characters. Complex relationships. Irony. Cat Stevens. Everything I love, all rolled into one. The acting is AMAZING. It reminds me of The Graduate. The costumes are also fantastic. Halloween costume, here I come.

The only negative thing I can say is this stupid Cat Steven's song that is sung on the piano by Ruth Gordon and then repeatedly plays throughout. Cheese City. "If you wanna be you be you, if you wanna be me be me, something about doing things and being free..." Oh man. If it weren't for that, this movie would get an A.


Monday, August 31, 2009

Funny People

Director: Judd Apatow
Written by: Judd Apatow
Starring: Adam Sandler, Leslie Mann, Seth Rogen, Eric Bana

I saw this movie tonight not knowing what to expect. It's gotten such mixed reviews. I have heard it's sad and dark and not at all like Apatow's other films, which I love. A lot of people don't like it because of this, but I must saw, I thought it was lovely. It was as if the characters were playing themselves (hopefully not Adam Sandler--his character was a real asshole). It was a glimpse into the world of comedians and struggling comedians. It was heart-breaking, uncomfortable at times, and also pretty funny. I love me some dysfunctional films, so I really liked it. It was well-acted (Sandler didn't bug me a bit, which is quite a feat). Seth Rogen was understated and not too Seth Rogen. The supporting cast was hilarious (Jonah Hill, Jason Schwartzman, Aziz Ansari, the amazing newcomer Aubrey Plaza, and Apatow and Mann's adorable daughters, Maude and Iris Apatow). Leslie Mann is a brilliant actress who I hope to see in more films where she can show her acting abilities.

Highlights include a home video of Maude Apatow singing Memory in a production of Cats, a terrible fictional NBC sitcom called "Yo, Teach!", a scary Swedish doctor, and some seriously funny stand-up (it's definitely funny stand-up if it makes me laugh--I hate stand-up).

In other words, I really recommend this movie. Just don't go in expecting it to be Knocked Up or 40-Year Old Virgin. It's much more grown-up than that. Have no fear, that doesn't mean there's a shortage of dick jokes.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Director: Julian Schnabel
Written by: Ronald Harwood and Jean-Dominique Bauby
Starring: Mathieu Amalric

I've been meaning to watch this for some time now, and I finally did, so yay! It was a critically acclaimed movie a couple of years ago and NPR talked about it every other second. It's a true story, based on Jean-Dominique Bauby's memoir. Bauby was the Chief Editor of Elle in France, and when he was in his 40's, he suffered from a major stroke that left his brain fully functioning, but everything paralyzed except for one eye. He learned to communicate through a system involving the alphabet, very patient people, and blinking. In this way, he wrote his memoir.

It was halfway through the film before I realized I was watching it dubbed. I kept thinking, "I thought this was in French! Why are they in France with French accents speaking English!?" Oh Amy. So, that cleared up the weird sound quality and kind of...clunkiness in the line delivery. I think I may have enjoyed it more with subtitles. I've never watched a film dubbed before. Not a fan.

Anyway, it's really beautiful and depressing and thought-provoking. That's really all there is to say about it. I don't know if I thought it was quite as good as all the reviews and awards indicated, but it was still a great quality film. So, if you are feeling too happy and need to be brought down, watch this! Or if you are having a pity party because things aren't going right in your life, watch this! At least you can move and speak!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Time Traveler's Wife

Director: Robert Schwentke
Written by: Bruce Joel Rubin and Audrey Niffenegger
Starring: Rachel McAdams and Eric Bana

This movie made me cry twice. It cleared up all confusion about chronology and time travel technicalities that I had when reading the book. It's a chick flick for sure. Manipulative and heartbreaking and sappy and romantic. You might not like it if you are a dude or a cold heartless girl. I thought it was pretty quality, though. Another great movie to get you laid.



Director: Mitchell Lichtenstein
Written by: Mitchell Lichtenstein

I just watched this movie for the second time. It's so great. It's about a girl with Vagina Dentata, which is exactly what it sounds like. It's a dark comedy/horror movie chock full of gory castration scenes. The vagina-toothed girl is a Christian who leads an abstinence group at school. Oh the irony. Anyway, I think this movie is perfect. Brilliantly acted, smart, funny, terrifying, and profound. You can watch it instantly on Netflix, so you should do that pronto.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Director: David Yates
Written by: Steve Kloves and J.K. Rowling
Starring: Oh you know who it's starring!

You know, wizards and Voldemort and shit. I have very mixed feelings on the HP movie series. I thought 1 and 2 were cute kid films, 3 was genius, 4 was dull, and 5 was genius. I had high expectations for the sixth movie because it was directed by Yates, who directed the 5th movie. Let me just say, I was VERY disappointed.

Maybe it's because I get as excited for the new movie to come out as I did on Christmas morning when I was a kid (or, still do). Maybe it's because as soon as the theme song starts playing, I can hardly stay in my chair. Maybe it's because I miss the books so much that the movies are all I have left? In any case, I was so sad when I found that a half hour into HP and the Half-Blood Prince that this may be the worst film in the series.

It focused on the trivial stuff, the teenage hormones, the obnoxious Weasley twins, etc. We were two hours in before anyone even said the word "horcrux!" Wow, I'm a major nerd right now. Now, I'm not at all picky about sticking to the book. I treat movies and books as different artistic mediums that each creator should have the freedom to change and adapt however he/she wants to. Maybe this movie was a little too close to the book (6 was my least favorite) and that was the problem.

Maybe I hated the awkwardly bad writing and "humor." Example: Ron, Hermione, and Harry all sit around talking about Dumbledore. Ron makes a bad joke about Dumbledore being 150 years old. The three force very very bad-acty laughter for about 20 seconds. I shift in my seat.

Side note: I think Emma Watson is a VERY bad actress.

There are a couple of cinematically-stunning moments. They take up about 10 minutes of the 150 minute movie. Ruh roh.

This movie sucked major wand. It made me want to avada kedavra someone, for realsies.


500 Days of Summer

Director: Marc Webb
Written by: Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel

I just saw this movie for the second time. It's adorable. It's a quirky indie romantic comedy with uber-charming characters. There are some twists--it's not quite just a boy-meets-girl movie. Deschanel and JGL are so endearing, I can't even explain it. I'm so in love with him, and I'm a little lez for her, too. Or maybe just her clothes and her hair.

This movie is very easy to identify with. If you've ever been in love, fallen out of love, been unhappy in a relationship, or dwelled over someone like a psycho (I have experienced all of these things), then you'll find yourself saying "Yes, exactly!" Which, in my opinion, is all any director can hope to make his audience say.

Speaking of the director, 500 Days of Summer is filled with fun little experimental moments, like a dance number, a French film dream sequence, a split-screen "Expectations vs. Reality" scene, and some documentary realism. Most of the time, this works, but every once in awhile, you get the feeling that you are watching the first film of some over-eager director who just wants to throw in every Michel Gondry idea he's ever had. Aside from those rare moments, this movie is brill. Loves it.

Also, for the guys/lesbians, I think if you take a girl to see this movie, it will get you laid afterwards.


Paper Heart

Director: Nicholas Jasenovec
Writer: Nicholas Jasenovec and Charlyne Yi
Starring: Charlyne Yi and Michael Cera

This is a fake documentary about love. It sounds trite because it is. Parts of the documentary appear to be true--interviews with "real people" about love and their relationships. However, most of the film centers around a budding relationship between Yi and Cera, who play themselves.

It's hard to know what is staged and what is not (with the exception of very obviously scripted moments by the director, Jasenovec, who is an epic failure of an actor), but it doesn't really matter. The film is awkward, clunky, and dull. "I don't know if I can be in love" blah blah blah "How do you know when you're in love?" blah blah blah. Yi is so awkward it hurts. She is like an autistic ten-year-old boy, and even though Michael Cera is no Cary Grant, it's hard to believe he would be into HER. **Insert Arrested Development joke here**

I was so focused the whole time on, "Is this part staged?" "Are we supposed to believe this as non-fiction?" "Why can't Charlyne comb her effing hair?!" that I had trouble enjoying it. If you get past these obstacles, maybe you'll like it, but...yikes.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

Director:Peter Sollett
Starring: Michael Cera, Kat Dennings

I love this movie! It really captures the adorable-ness and awkwardness of young love and virginity. It makes me want to be a teenager, loose in New York City. This movie is real, Cera and Dennings are beyond lovable, and it's extraordinarily romantic. And funny! All around great.


The Swenkas

Director: Jeppe Ronde
Starring: Some Swenkas!

This is a documentary about Swenkas. Swenkas are South African guys who dress up all snappy-like (or swanky, shall we say) and have swanking competitions, where they show off their outfits in a semi-choreographed/model-y way. It's strange and I've never heard of it before, so I was a little distracted throughout the documentary, trying to figure out exactly what this whole Swenka thing is about. I think I'll Wikipedia it when I'm done here.

Anyway, the movie isn't so much about swanking as it is about a young man who has lost his father, who was the leader of the Swenkas. Now, in the midst of grief, the young man has to decide whether he wants to continue his father's legacy and continue swanking, or disappear completely.

It wasn't like any documentary you've seen before. It was performative, mixing seemingly scripted elements with non-fiction. There's an elderly narrator-y guy who begins and ends the story with a script. The cinematography is beautiful. It's hard to accept a film that straddles the line of fiction and non-fiction. It's easy to disregard reality when watching fiction films, and sort of easy to assume truth in non-fiction films, but somewhere between the two, it is difficult to figure out how to comprehend the information and meaning.


City Lights

Director: Charlie Chaplin
Starring: Charlie Chaplin

Call me a postmodern baby, but I just do NOT get early Hollywood/silent film "humor." It's just a bunch of long-winded repetitive slapstick segments that make me want to kill myself. I know it's a classic, but oh my. I get it, Charlie Chaplin was an auteur and really shaped comedy and he's a great physical comedian and blah blah blah, but goodness sakes, I was bored.



Director: Roman Polanski
Starring: Jack NIcholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston

She's my sister she's my daughter she's my sister she's my daughter she's my sister she's my daughter she's my sister she's my daughter she's my sister AND my daughter!

Jonathan and I love re-enacting this scene. I guess this movie was about as exciting as a movie about DWP can be. Which is not that exciting. But it kind of fools you into thinking you're watching some super scary thriller. But then you're not.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Director: Adam McKay
Starring: Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly

Funny! Lots of good one-liners. Very quotable. Totally entertaining. Not the best comedy I've ever seen (not up to par with 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and Superbad), but still funnier than just about everything else.


The Break-Up

Director: Peyton Reed
Starring: Vince Vaughn, Jennifer Aniston

This movie wasn't so much funny as it was sad and true. Break-ups suck, and this movie really captures it. And I like the ending. A lot of people don't. Not a great movie, but worth watching.



Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Billy Crudup, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Denny Duqette!!!), Malin Akerman

Who watches the Watchmen? I don't know, but I wish it hadn't been me.

I HATE THIS MOVIE. It's pointless and silly and messy and confusing and the acting is terrible and I do not CARE if it follows the comic book loyally because it is a MOVIE and needs to hold up as a MOVIE and no I will not read the graphic novel and then say, "Oh yeah, the movie WAS great." Not many people have read the graphic novel, so the movie needs to make sense as if no one knows anything about the story.


Midnight Cowboy

Director: John Schlesinger
Starring: Jon Voight, Dustin Hoffman

A farm boy (Voight) moves to New York to be a male escort and meets up with a small-time hustler (Hoffman). They become the bestest of friends. Life is rough, they are poor, things are gritty. There's a fun song that plays through the whole thing that WILL get stuck in your head for a very long time. It's SAD. Jon Voight looks like Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt. Dustin Hoffman is grimy as.

Pretty good.



Director: Robert Altman
Starring: Donald Sutherland, Elliott Gould, Sally Kellerman, Robert Duvall

It's the Korean War and these are the doctors and nurses who help injured soldiers who fly in from the battlefields. Basically, this movie has a bunch of crude, male chauvinist pigs exploiting women. There's no plot--it's just a bunch of little pointless segments that would work best for TV (and apparently DID work best for TV). Donald Sutherland is pretty charming, even though his character is awful. The theme song is catchy.


The Man Who Knew Too Much

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Jimmy Stewart, Doris Day

A family vacationing in Morocco gets caught up in some skeevy stuff and their little boy is kidnapped. Not Hitchcock's best, but it's interesting enough for a rainy Sunday afternoon. It's pretty offensively racist (think Raiders of the Lost Ark). Doris Day sings Que Sera Sera, so that's pretty great, I guess.

I heart Jimmy Stewart.


The Counterfeiters

Director: Stefan Ruzowitzky
Starring: German People

Germans really know how to make a good film. This movie is sad and intense, without being manipulative. It's about talented Jews who are given jobs as counterfeiters at a concentration camp, and thus, treated well (in comparison with untalented Jews). It's all about morals and integrity and which is worse--death or losing one's dignity? Very interesting and very well done.


Lawrence of Arabia

Director: David Lean
Starring: Peter O'Toole and a bunch of white people in brown people make-up

Oh, I tried so hard. First, I tried to like it. After I gave up on that, I tried to stay awake. After I gave up on that, Jonathan and I took turns sleeping and filling each other in. After we both fell asleep, we decided to read the synopsis online when we were awake enough.

I should own Lawrence of Arabia so I can use it when I can't sleep. My mom did that with the golf channel.

Peter O'Toole has pretty eyes. Deserts and camels = Expensive movie/critically-acclaimed epic

I tried. So very hard.


Pineapple Express

Director: David Gordon Green
Starring: Seth Rogan, James Franco

Ah, David Gordon Green, you always know just how to bore me to death.

No amount of drugs could make me find this film interesting or funny.

Oh. I get it. They witnessed a murder. And they're stoners. And know they have to escape. While they're stoned. That's. Funny. Almost as funny as that one movie where everyone was turning into a zombie but no one noticed. That was also funny. And it never got old.



Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Director: Woody Allen
Starring: Scarlett Johannson, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Rebecca Hall

Ooooo, Spain is pretty. I want to go there (again).

That's pretty much all I got out of this movie.


The Visitor

Director: Thomas McCarthy
Starring: Richard Jenkins

This is a quiet, intimate indie film that I like to sum up as a "nice movie." It is touching and sad, lonely and warm. Like Frozen River, this movie explores issues in illegal immigration and American politics. Richard Jenkins is fantastic, and I'm glad I've seen him in so many movies lately. Also, it made me want to play the djembe, so that's cool.


Rachel Getting Married

Director: Jonathan Demme
Starring: Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, other good actors you haven't heard of

Let me start by saying that Anne Hathaway annoys me like no other. And by no other I mean everyone excluding Keira Knightley and Renee Zelweger. Her bumbly doe-eyed stuttery girl-next-doorishness makes me want to cut a babies' legs off.

BUT....she was really fantastic in this. I don't know how she did it, but she should do it all the time.

This movie is more than your average dysfunctional family indie flick. It's not Margot at the Wedding or The Squid and the Whale or Little Miss Sunshine. It doesn't try to be cute or quirky or indie. Instead, it is artistic and tragic and real. Lengthy scenes of the married couple getting toasts and the dancing at the wedding reception place you into another world. It is less of a movie and more of an experience, like you are getting to live another person's life for a couple of hours. It is tragic like a long episode of A&E's Intervention. You become very invested in the characters. I actually have never seen anything quite like it. Well done!


He's Just Not That Into You

Director: Ken Kwapis
Starring: Everyone and their mom. More specifically, Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Ginnifer Goodwin, Justin Long, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Connilly, Ben Affleck, ScarJo, etc etc etc.

Okay, I'll admit it: I read the book. I had a crazy obsessed going-nowhere high school crush that I needed to get over, and my best friend loaned me the book. It was affective. But now I'm a big girl and I'm not totally lame and I understand the message: If a guy is into you, HE WILL ACT LIKE IT. Knowing this, I was kind of bored through this movie. It wasn't, it didn't make me want to yell at the screen and punch the person next to me and pull my eyelashes out one by one. But nothing really lingered either. It wasn't funny. It wasn't really sad. The ending for each couple didn't really follow the message of the movie.

What I DID like was how extremely relevant the smoking/cheating/lying subplot was to my life. Er, I mean...this friend I have. Not me. Nothing like that ever happened to me.



Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Frank Langella, Michael Sheen

I am 21. I didn't live through the Watergate Scandal. I don't really know what a great Nixon impersonation looks like. Despite these things, this movie was riveting. It wasn't so much about the Watergate scandal, but more about the aftermath and toll the scandal took on Nixon personally. It also explores the problems with journalism and the power struggle between Frost and Nixon. I love the documentary style of the film. What a great screenplay. What a great cast. Frank Langella and Michael Sheen deserved heaps of recognition for those performances. Wow.



Director: Gus Van Sant
Starring: Sean Penn, James Franco, Emile Hirsch, Ryan Evans from High School Musical, Diego Luna, other hawt gays with 70's hair

I was expected Milk to be kind of annoying. Now, I love me some gay rights, but I thought this would be so preachy and Sean-Penn-y and self-important. It kind of was, but goshdarnit, Sean Penn is such a good actor. It was inspiring and I loved the style and screenplay structure. I REALLY felt like I was in SF in the 70s. I visited the Castro District while on Spring Break and went inside Castro Camera (which is now a gift shop called Given). Being in this neighborhood really helped me to understand just how revolutionary and important and brave Harvey Milk was. Regardless of your feelings towards gay rights and gay marriage, please use Harvey Milk as a role model for anything you believe in.

The only thing I didn't like was imagining what happened after the Sean Penn/Emile Hirsch scenes ended. I think it went something like this:

Sean Penn: Wow, Emile, that was really great. We were so IN that scene.

Emile Hirsch: I know, it felt so REAL, man. I am learning so much from you.

Sean Penn: Ah, Emile, you're so talented. You remind me so much of a young me.

Emile Hirsch: Can I blow you?

Sean Penn: It would be my pleasure.


The Reader

Director: Stephen Daldry
Starring: Kate Winslet, David Kross, Ralph Fiennes (kind of)

Dear David Kross,

You are the luckiest 18 year old boy on the planet. Most grown men would kill to be you, even though you are German. I hope you are gay so that you didn't have to go through the sheer embarrassment of being naked with Kate Winslet all the time. You should have been nominated for an Oscar.

Dear Kate Winslet,

You are so naked all the time. You are the best young-ish actress right now. This was not quite your best performance, but it's about time you won an Oscar.

Dear Stephen Daldry,

This movie was pretty good. You know. Decent.




Slumdog Millionaire

Director: Danny Boyle
Starring: Dev Patel, Frida Pinto

Best movie I've ever seen, I think. I wanted to cry the whole time. I literally couldn't breathe at the end. So brilliant. So romantic. So perfect. So engaging. A fairytale of epic proportions. I don't think I've ever cared so much about a movie. It deserved every Oscar it won and more. If I could marry this movie, I would. I want to make sweet sweet love to this movie.

A+++++++++++++ or maybe a letter that I can invent that comes BEFORE A

Encounters at the End of the World

Director: Werner Herzog
Starring: Antarctica

Suck it, Herzog! Just stop with the voiceover! Just show me pretty shots of Antarctica and shut up!


The Fugitive

Director: Andrew Davis
Starring: Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones

Hold on, Tommy Lee Jones was nominated for an Oscar for this? Jigga whaaaa?! Man, I'm glad the Oscars have strayed a bit from mainstream Hollywood films and into higher-cult films.

This is that action movie about the innocent heroic doctor fugitive who allegedly killed his wife (but totally didn't, y'all!). You know the one. Your parents loved it. Maybe they even own it on VHS. This movie is entertaining enough until you realize that it's been going on for approximately 12 hours. Okay fine...2 hours. But it feels like 12 hours. JUST CATCH THE GUY ALREADY, YOU INCOMPETENT COPS! I COULD HAVE CAUGHT HIM BY NOW AND I AM NOT A COP! Okay, I feel better now. Anyway, if time seems to be moving too fast, watch The Fugitive--it'll be sure to slowww things down.


Grizzly Man

Director: Werner Herzog
Starring: Timothy Treadwell

This is the doc about that guy--you know the one--he lived in the wild and filmed grizzly bears until he and his gf got mauled to death by the bears? It's a very good documentary because it's an interested topic and Timothy Treadwell is a really eccentric character. It provokes a lot of good discussion, so watch it with other people! There's also some great cinematography of nature and bears.

My biggest problem with this film is Werner Herzog. Werner Herzog can suck it. He gives his opinion and analysis in all of his docs, and it's annoying. He is pretentious, over-analytical, pseudo-intellectual, and has a super annoying accent. His interviews seem contrived, his subjects seemed rehearsed, and everything seems super-manipulated. I do not like him. He's lucky that this was such a great topic--almost impossible to mess up.


Tell No One

Director: Guillaume Canet
Starring: French people you haven't heard of

I kind of hated this movie. It's another one of those postmodern action male melodramas. It's a completely exhausting, contrived murder mystery. No amount of Frenchiness could make me like this film.


Grey Gardens

Director: The Maysles' Brothers
Starring: Big and Little Edie Beale

Big Edie is Jackie Onassis Kennedy's cousin, and Little Edie is Big Edie's daughter. They live in a neglected house of squalor, isolated from the real world. They are the source of scandal in such a famous family. They do not seem to care. They dwell on the days of beauty and men and society, but they choose to continue living in isolation, reminiscing and bickering. This doc is a cult classic and brings up a lot of issues about exploitation in documentary film. Should we feel sorry for the Beales? It is a challenge to step back from our own world views in order to try and understand where they are coming for, but the challenge is worthwhile.

Funny, charming, but often depressing, this film is a major triumph for the genre of documentary films. Also, it's providing me with some pretty sweet Halloween costume ideas.


The Business Of Being Born

Director: Abby Epstein
Starring: Ricki Lake

Thank you, Ricki Lake. You have provided me with hours of daytime TV pre-teen entertainment, introduced me to the world of Hairspray, and have convinced me to have a home birth. Quite a feat, if I do say so myself.

This is one of the most compelling docs I have ever seen. It presents the viewers with the horrors of the medicalization of hospital births, and the benefits of having a home birth with a midwife. Most of the complications in childbirth at hospitals are caused by labor-inducing or pain drugs. Birth should be beautiful and natural and not rushed. I want to have a behbeh in the water in a gross squatty position and pull the baby out of my own vadge, and if you watch this movie, you will, too!


Blue Vinyl

Director: Judith Helfand

This is a documentary about the hazards of chemicals found in vinyl and the carcinogens released in vinyl production. It's a good look at how prevalent vinyl is in our everyday lives, and how little we choose to give a good hard look at the potential hazards of the things we use. The story is told by the director, Judith Helfand, whose parents have recently replaced their rotting wood house with vinyl. We follow Judith's exploration in the vinyl-making process. Throughout the film, she tries to persuade her endearing parents to replace their vinyl with something more health and environmentally-friendly.

It's not THE most interesting documentary I've ever seen, but considering the topic is VINYL, Helfand does a pretty darned good job at being persuasive and informative, while still being fairly entertaining.


Bullets Over Broadway

Director: Woody Allen
Starring: John Cusack, Rob Reiner, Dianne Weist, Jennifer Tilly

It's a play within a play! It's a period piece! It's about art and love and sex and neuroses. Totes Woody Allen.

Aside for some clever points about art and pretentiousness and love, this movie is not one of Woody Allen's best. Though, I do appreciate that he isn't IN the film.


Frozen River

Director: Courtney Hunt
Starring: Melissa Leo

The Academy's obligatory nod to independent films this year. It's a small, bleak, intimate film that comments on poverty, feminism, race, and illegal immigration. It's so low-key, that it gets kind of dull. The dialogue is really subtle, and the performances are so under-performed that it almost just looks like really bad acting. This movie leaves you feeling like something AWFUL is about to happen through the whole thing. It's a two-hour anxiety attack. The visual design and mood is cool, but the story and characters don't really hold up.



Director: Barry Levinson
Starring: Warren Beatty, Annete Bening

A gangster movie about how the Las Vegas Strip began. Full of sex and violence. Annette Bening can't act. The characters are terribly annoying. Melodramatic.



Director: Gregory Hoblit
Starring: Denzel Washington, Donald Sutherland, John Goodman

So, Denzel Washington fights Satan. I mean, if anyone can defeat Satan, it's Denzel Washington, right?

It's super dumb, but kind of creepy before it completely falls apart. Do not watch if you don't want the song "Time Is On Our Side" to be stuck in your head for approximately eternity.


The Big Clock

Director: John Farrow
Starring: Ray Milland, Charles Laughton

This movie is based on the same book as No Way Out, so the basic plot is the same. The differences are as follows: The Pentagon is now a NY Newspaper office, there is no sex, Ray Milland isn't sexy like Kevin Costner, and there is no lame-o twist ending.

I have trouble believing that I actually saw this movie because I don't really remember anything about it except I was bored to tears.


No Way Out

1987 (the year I was born!)
Director: Roger Donaldson
Starring: Kevin Costner, Gene Hackman

An action movie that takes place in the Pentagon. The protagonist (Costner) witnesses the girl he loves being murdered by his boss (Hackman), who is also having an affair with her. His boss entrusts him to frame someone else. Ah, corruption. Ah, politics. Ah, love affairs.

This movie is totally hokey and cheesy and melodramatic and 1987, but it is entertaining, engaging, action-y, and full of ridiculous sex. Also, Kevin Costner wears a tight uniform. Also, I want to have Kevin Costner's babies (not now, just in 1987!). A+ for sex and Kevin Costner's butt, C for a lame-o twist ending, and A for keeping me awake in my Postmodern Hollywood class.


Being There

Directed by Hal Ashby
Starring Peter Sellers and Shirley MacLaine

Peter Sellers plays a gardener who has lived with a rich guy his whole life, and has never been in the real world. The rich guy dies and the house is seized, leaving the gardener homeless an thrown into a new and scary world. He is possibly mildly retarded or autistic, but no one notices. Instead, the world thinks he is totally profound and he becomes friends with president.

I think this movie is supposed to be commenting on how easily Americans will believe in and trust someone, even if what they are saying is bullshit. Cute, I guess, but not a new idea. This movie is absurd and postmodern and Peter Sellers-y, but it was tedious and tiresome and I do not recommend it.